Can You Really Eat Vegan on a TrekAmerica Tour?

One question we're regularly asked at Trek HQ is about eating on our tours if you're vegetarian or vegan. America isn't necessarily known for it's vegan eats, outside of major cities like New York City and Los Angeles. But can you still eat well if your diet is plant-based? Vegan food and travel blogger Leigh joined us on the Western Wonder to find out! 

Before booking your trip, did you have any worries about what you’d be eating on the tour?

I actually did. I was a bit worried that because I was doing a camping tour that my trek wouldn’t cater to vegans when we cooked around the camp in the evenings. Also, I had no idea how vegan-friendly the overall food scene was on the West Coast because I’d never been before!

Were there any other vegans, or vegetarians, in your group?

There was one other vegan and two vegetarians out of a group of 13 so there was quite a few of us!

Vegan meal while camping

How did the shopping and campsite cooking work to suit everyone’s diets?

When shopping at Walmart, our trek leader let myself and my fellow vegan shop for our own dinner that we could cook around the campsite later that day. Every night the group made one vegan dish and one meat-based dish to suit everyone. We had complete control of what we bought and ate in the evening, meaning we knew exactly what we were eating! Also, the vegans and veggies were only expected to cook their own dishes and not have to deal with the meat without being made to feel awkward, which I really appreciated.

What was the best vegan meal you cooked while camping?

Oh, it was definitely a spaghetti bolognese alternative; whilst the rest of the camp had beef mince, we ended up having tofu sausages with veggies in a bolognese sauce with vegan pasta and it was delicious! I mean, I’m kinda biased because I cooked it that night but a few of the omnivores in the camp also enjoyed it too!

Also, during one of our evenings in Yosemite, our trek leader ordered everyone pizza and even made sure to get us a vegan, cheeseless pizza so that we didn’t miss out - we devoured it all in under five minutes!

How about your time in cities – was finding a restaurant that had good vegan options easy or hard?

Some days were harder than others as let’s face it, America is pretty well-known for its meat dishes! For example, our local McDonald’s in Vegas didn’t even offer a veggie burger, which I assumed was pretty standard! However, our Trek leader always made the effort to try and stop off somewhere with a vegan option on our drives so that we didn’t go hungry. When we went out for group meals everyone in our group was so accommodating and would be more than happy to eat somewhere that offered a vegan option.

Do you have any recommendations of great vegan eats in any of the cities you visited?

In Vegas we visited Nacho Daddy, which has its very own vegan menu and the portions are huge! Unfortunately, I didn’t get to spend much time in Los Angeles but I’ve been told it’s vegan heaven, so I’m sure there are plenty of great restaurants there for you to find if you do a little research beforehand.

What would your best tips for someone who eats a plant based diet joining a Trek trip?

Let your trek leader know in advance that you’re vegan and maybe offer to do the dinner shops yourself so that you can shop for your own dietary requirements and others. Also, definitely download the app HappyCow on your phone, as it’s a lifesaver when hunting down vegan restaurants in the cities!

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