8 Tips for Ecuador Vegetarians

Kip (Sarah) McMillan


May 2, 2013

I know many of those who apply to GCY are vegetarians. Unfortunately, living abroad can make eating vegetarian difficult. But the good thing about living in Ecuador is that being a vegetarian here is totally possible. It’s harder than in the States, yeah. You might have to watch what you eat more carefully, but it’s possible to be a healthy vegetarian. As for the other countries of GCY, I’m not sure but in Ecuador, it has been done. I went my whole year start from finish as a happy, healthy vegetarian with only the occasional mishap of chicken in an empanada. Here are some tips for those of you who want to remain vegetarians in Ecuador:

1.       Tell your family straight up you’re a vegetarian. They’re going to think it’s weird but it’s not like they’ll hold it against you. With my family, it became an endearing thing like, oh, our cute little gringa who doesn’t eat meat. The word is pretty similar in Spanish too. “Soy vegetariano/a.”

2.       Make sure everyone in your community knows you’re a vegetarian. Because your family won’t be the only one feeding you. People might invite you to dinner or to a celebration. Tell people in advanced of an event that you don’t eat meat.

3.       Be careful of hidden meat. Some people (in the States too) don’t quite understand what vegetarian encompasses. They might give you chicken broth, thinking it’s fine since there’s no chicken. Or they’ll cook things in animal grease. If that happens with your family, just explain that you consider that meat.

4.       Go to the market with your family. Show them what you want/ what you like. 

5.       Compliment the food when they make something you like. So they know to make it again. Every time my mom knew I was coming home for lunch she’d make sure to have something with veggies.

6.       Tell your family you don’t like to eat only rice or potatoes. Because that’s a lot of what people eat. That, with some kind of meat. So they’ll take away the meat and you’re left with starch and starch every day. Explain that you want more color on your plate that white.

7.       Some key veggies you can find: beans (frijoles), cabbage (col), beets (remolacha), kail (aselga), quinoa (the same), carrots (zanahoria), tomatoes (tomate).

8.       Take along some multivitamins and iron pills, just to be safe.

Kip (Sarah) McMillan