Sunday, January 18, 2009

Good Vegan Eats in Mexico

Eating vegan in Mexico is easy! The main strip in Playa Del Carmen is very touristy. Walk a few blocks over, and eat like a local...and pay local prices. These were veggie enchiladas at a local dive in Playa, which I washed down with a strawberry kiwi shake.

Grilled veggie and pineapple fajitas

Frothy iced coffee. I can't live without my Trader Joe's soy creamer at home, but I quickly became accustomed to drinking coffee black.

A bagel with shredded vegetables. I think I could even give up my tofu cream cheese and start eating bagels this way.

A roll with refried beans, tomatoes, and sesame seeds at the Tamarindo B&B. Do try recreating this at home!

After driving around Cozumel, sauteed mushrooms in corn tortillas hit the spot.

Black beans, rice, avocado and warm tortillas at a charming local restaurant on the way to Uxmal.

Sweet fried plantains over rice, guacamole and chips, and a tropical shake at the local food hall in Valladolid

A pool-side breakfast at Dolores Alba.

Fresh fruit is everywhere. I bought a bag of mango with sliced lime and a side of chili pepper from a woman on the roadside. It was some of the best I've ever eaten. You can also grab some fresh fruit before hopping on the Cozumel ferry.

Can't go wrong with a margarita...

...or a Corona or a sangria. Everywhere I ordered it, the sangria was just fresh squeezed lime juice, topped off with red wine. So refreshing.

I have a confession to make. I fell off the vegan wagon - once. These Mexican rolls, included in my breakfast at the Posada Luna del Sur, had dairy, which I didn't realize until I got home and googled their ingredients. But I think about what Kathy Freston said in "Quantum Wellness." To paraphrase, she said vegans shouldn't torment themselves when they consume minimal amounts of animal by-products, which might make up 2 percent of our diet. It does nothing for the bigger picture of animal welfare.

The non-Mexican fare I tried, including spinach risotto at an Argentinian restaurant in Tulum and cheeseless veggie pizza at a pizzeria near Chichén Itzá, were descent but nothing impressive. The basic, rustic Mexican food was the best. I really embraced the simplicity of the food. No overproccessed ingredients. Just natural, whole foods. I think traveling is one of the best ways to spend money. You learn invaluable lessons about how others live, including how and what they eat, that stay with you a lifetime.

Traveling in developing nations is eye-opening. You appreciate the things we do have, like drinking water that is safe to consume from your tap, sanitation systems for our waste, and a relatively good education and health care system. But you also see how our sense of happiness is often so tied to materialistic possessions, when many others seem content without them. I'm reminded of one of my favorite quotes from "The Little Prince," by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."


Anonymous said...

Thank you! I am heading off to an annual trip to Puerto Vallarta, and have only been vegan for 4 months. I was a little concerned about my fare, but you've given me some awesome and tasty ideas---gracias!

Vegan Good Life said...

Have a great time on your trip! I transitioned to veganism gradually, and decided to fully commit to eating vegan on vacation before I left. It was so rewarding not compromising my beliefs. Since my trip, I have even transitioned to eating more "whole" foods vs. processed vegan foods. Enjoy!