How It All Began (My Story of When I Went Meatless)

Hola amigos! Today, I want to share how my meatless journey began. While I’ve focused on sharing recipes, I haven’t talked much about my personal experience. I hope this helps you get to know me better and inspires others to take the leap into a meatless lifestyle.

A picture of cookbook author Nancy Lopez eating a tamal on the beach in Playa del Carmen.
Can’t Resist a Good Tamal (shortly after going meatless)

It was almost nine years ago on the 3rd of August in 2015 when my husband (who has since passed away) and I decided to (finally) make the change from a heavy carnivore diet to a meatless one.

Just a few hours earlier, we had stuffed our bellies with a pile of tacos at one of Playa del Carmen’s best taquerias, Billy The Kid. I still remember that I ate six tacos, because your girl can eat! Haha!!

Had you told me, in between bites of animal flesh, that this would be the last time I would eat “proper” tacos, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. And if you had told me that my husband would be the one to instigate this lifestyle change, I would have laughed in your face.

Much to my surprise, that evening he suddenly burst into my office and said he no longer wanted to eat meat.

He told me that he’d just spent hours studying carnivores and herbivores and something about teeth and diets…If I’m honest, I stopped listening to him after I heard those magical words “no longer eat meat”.

At first I wasn’t sure if we’d actually stick to it.

A wood table on the beach in Playa del Carmen and on it is a square orange plate with two chicken salbutes and off to the side is a Dos Equis beer bottle.
Chicken Salbutes and a Beer on The Beach

You see for years, I had contemplated becoming a vegetarian. Though I made some attempts, it never stuck. I made too many excuses to keep eating meat and in the end, it just seemed easier.

During those years I still had to cook meat for hubby, and that was one of the main reasons why I would go back to eating meat. It was just too much work having to cook two meals – I know many of you know exactly what I mean.

Another reason was that I didn’t educate myself on how to properly nourish my body and was always hungry, so I’d give up.

Well, this time it stuck!

A yellow table and on it is a white plate with three empanadas and small bowl of red salsa, off to the side is a green drink.
Empanadas and Chaya Piña

We began educating ourselves and settled on becoming pescetarians to make the transition easier and each decided we’d determine from there how far we wanted to take it.

If you don’t know, pescetarianism is a diet that is mainly vegetarian but also includes fish and seafood now and then.

At that time, living in Playa del Carmen made it very easy to follow this lifestyle because there were plenty of vegetarian, vegan and seafood options available both for dining out and cooking at home.

Eventually, about one year into it I decided that I didn’t want to consume fish or seafood anymore. So at home I began cooking only vegetarian and vegan meals.

A dark wood table that has a blue and white plate with three potato and spinach tacos, a small bowl filled with salsa verde, a beer glass and a frying pan filled with cooked potato and spinach taco filling.
Potato Spinach Tacos

The most important thing I did during these early months and years, was listen to my body and not be too hard on myself if I “slipped”. Occasionally I would still crave shrimp and maybe once a month would order it at restaurants. This went on for several years.

During this time I set out to properly educate myself on this lifestyle. But the most important thing I did was start making meatless versions of all my favorite classic Mexican dishes.

I knew that I was willing to give up meat but not the flavors of my culture.

One vegan red tamale on top of a corn husk drizzled with salsa verde.
Vegan Tamales Rojos

That’s when Mexican Made Meatless was born. Below are some of the first recipes I adapted after giving up meat.

My journey hasn’t been a “perfect” one, and at times has been quite challenging to stick to this lifestyle. But it’s my own journey and we all have our paths to follow.

The vegetarian and vegan recipes here on the blog are a reflection of my journey. Hey I even managed to write a meatless tamales cookbook!

Portrait of an orange tabby cat laying on top a woman's foot.
Rayito, The Cat That Won My Heart

After moving away from Playa, and during my husband’s cancer battle, things got quite challenging (in many ways) because he had gone back to eating meat and I went back to cooking two separate meals.

Yes, of course there were times that I would want to give up and just go grab some tacos or a big medium-rare steak. But I stuck my ground, and eventually those feelings would pass.

Hey, at nine years I still crave going to the taqueria and scarfing down a mountain of tacos. And that’s ok because I stop to remind myself that I don’t want to eat animals or contribute to their suffering.

A blue and white bowl filled with cooked whole black beans and vegan chorizo cooked in red salsa. Off to the side is a basket of warm corn tortillas and another plate with more chicharron.
Vegan Chicharron in Salsa Roja

As I sit here writing this and about to celebrate almost nine years of not eating beef, pork, chicken, turkey, and game meats, I’m realizing that there is so much of my journey that I want to share with you.

In these years this blog has grown not only with recipes, but into a beautiful and supportive community. I am always here to help support you on your journey no matter where you find yourself.

I have tons of stories, tips, and of course, loads of recipes to help anyone considering making the change or who has already done so but could use a bit of extra support.

I no longer eat fish or other animal products – I’ll explain more in another post.

I hope you come back often to check for new posts, and if you haven’t already, do signup to my free newsletter.

Have a beautiful day and happy cooking!

Hugs,
Nancy

Nancy Lopez author of Mexican Made Meatless

Gracias

I’m so happy you stopped by. If you have any questions or would like to share about your journey, do leave a comment. Muchas gracias, I appreciate you!

A white bowl filled with chopped mango covered in red chile powder and a lime half off to the side.
Mango con Chile

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