Vegan Info

Information about veganism, why it’s important, and how going vegan will reduce your harm to animals & the environment. It’s the single most important thing you can do as an individual, and it will change your life for the better in unimaginable ways. Join us on our journey to reduce harm and to ensure we leave our children a habitable planet.

Cuenca Ecuador Bloodwork + High Cholesterol on a Vegan Plant-Based Diet (Episode 92)

We recorded this video several weeks ago, but it kept getting pushed down the queue for other, more time relevant videos. We start out with a trip to the Santa Ines lab to get our Cuenca Ecuador Bloodwork done. I get my cholesterol checked regularly to make sure it’s under control.

Since we recorded it, the Nut Wars between Jeff Nelson at VegSource and Dr. Joel Fuhrman that inspired this video have simmered down, but that doesn’t make this issue less concerning for people like me (JP) with a strong family history of heart disease and a long-term battle with high cholesterol.

This video isn’t about the science or the confusion about cholesterol that has been systematically manufactured by the dairy, meat, egg, nut, cooking oil, avocado and other high-fat product industries. I’ll share the science below in case you’re wondering about it. Instead, our video is about MY frustration with the plant-based doctors for not coming to consensus on this very important topic.

Fuhrman, Greger and other doctors say nuts are the key to living longer. Ornish and Esselstyn say they contribute to heart disease and can shorten our lives. Both sides can’t be right and they owe it to those of us in the high-risk heart disease category to put their egos aside and agree on the best recommendation.

If you have total cholesterol under 150 without paying any attention to your saturated fat intake, good for you. Please think of me when you’re chowing down on nuts, avocados, chocolate and coconut oil.

See More: Cuenca Health & Beauty Services

My History with High Cholesterol

When I was 34 years old, I got routine blood work done for keyman life insurance policy for my business. My business partner was 10 years older than me, but his premium was half the cost of mine. That prompted the question: why?

My total cholesterol was 270! If you want to know the truth about cholesterol, just look at the stance taken by life insurance companies. They’re in the business of assessing risk, and they know high cholesterol is a risk factor for sudden death. Some life insurance companies like Health IQ are now giving discounts to vegans due to our lower risk of death compared to non-vegans.

After getting this shocking news, I went to see my doctor to find out what could be done, and he recommended a Mediterranean-style diet with fish, lean mean, olive oil, fruits, veggies and no more than 2 eggs per week. NOW I know that diet is a recipe for heart disease, not a cure for it.

After a few months on this diet, regular exercise and 10 pounds of weight loss, my cholesterol barely moved so he put me on a statin and told me there was nothing else I could do.

That simply wasn’t true.

On the statin, the lowest my cholesterol got was 196. Eating a vegan whole-food plant-based diet without a statin, my total cholesterol has been as low as 188.

Our Whole-Food Plant-Based Diet

Before I share links to the science and my cholesterol numbers, I think it’s important to discuss our diet. For the past 3 years, we’ve been 100% vegan, consuming no cholesterol-laden animal products.

For the past 2 years, we’ve eaten a Whole-Food Plant-Based (WFPB) Diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes (beans) and a few seeds (chia and flax for Omega-3), but almost no nuts or oil.

Almost 9 months ago, after finding out my total cholesterol was still 225 (the exact average cholesterol level of heart disease victims), I cut out all oil, nuts, avocados and chocolate. We even ask our restaurants to cook without oil for us.

We tracked our diet on MyFitnessPal for a month after going truly low-fat, no-oil and I averaged 10% fat, 15% protein and 75% carbs. Amelia’s was a little higher in the fat category because of her chocolate addiction.

Even with this truly low-fat diet recommended by the experts on heart disease prevention and reversal, Dr. Esselstyn and Dr. Ornish, I still have high total cholesterol, high LDL cholesterol, low HDL (good) cholesterol and high triglycerides. That’s 4 for 4 in terms of heart disease risk.

And considering my family has a strong history of heart disease and stroke, I’d say it’s a safe bet that I have heart disease that just hasn’t manifested itself yet.

In the video, I mentioned Amla Powder as a treatment for high cholesterol. It’s dehydrated, powdered Indian gooseberry and has been shown to lower cholesterol in most people as effectively as statin drugs. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear to work for me.

How Do We Know Cholesterol Causes Heart Disease?

Most people are very confused about cholesterol thanks to the efforts of high-fat food industries like meat, dairy, eggs, oil, nuts, avocados, etc. Some people are even adamant that cholesterol has nothing to do with heart disease. They think it has been unfairly maligned by the sugar industry, which is the real cause of heart disease.

While sugar products are no-doubt unhealthy, our heart disease epidemic is due almost entirely to foods that are high in cholesterol and/or saturated fat. The below video by Dr. Greger at is a great review of the science showing how we know, without a doubt, that heart disease is caused by high blood serum cholesterol, especially high LDL cholesterol.

The dairy industry launched a full-scale assault on this science starting back in 2012 to manufacture doubt where none exists because their profits were tanking. They even had me believing their corporate junk science for a while, and some people very close to me still believe it, but it’s simply the best marketing money can buy. Don’t believe a word of it.

What Are the Optimal Cholesterol Levels?

Based on decades of legitimate, irrefutable science, the optimal cholesterol levels to avoid heart disease are total cholesterol below 150 and LDL (bad) cholesterol below 70. In populations around the world, with cholesterol levels below these numbers, heart disease is almost non-existent.

What Are MY Cholesterol Levels?

Here are the results from my last blood test.

Total Cholesterol: 195

In the medical profession, a total cholesterol below 200 is considered “normal.” But nearly 1/3 of all heart disease patients have a total cholesterol between 150 and 200, which means “normal” is actually abnormal. Ideally, my total cholesterol should be below 150.

LDL (Bad) Cholesterol: 109

In the medical profession, LDL cholesterol below 100 is considered normal. But the optimal level is below 70. Again, in populations around the world with LDL below 70, heart disease is unheard of.

HDL (Good) Cholesterol: 42

The medical profession likes to focus on the good HDL cholesterol. They say having an HDL above 40 is optimal, but in reality, HDL is almost meaningless. That’s because if your total and LDL cholesterol are low enough, in the optimal range, HDL doesn’t matter. This measure is unimportant in terms of heart disease risk.

Triglycerides: 219

The optimal range for triglycerides is below 100, but the medical profession says anyone with triglycerides above 150 is at elevated risk of heart disease. My blood test from 9 months ago when my total cholesterol was 225 (before we went truly low-fat) showed triglycerides of 296, so that has improved, but it’s still not good enough.

Based on these test results, which are actually quite a bit better than past tests, I’m at high risk for heart disease. Considering my long-term battle with high cholesterol and a strong family history of heart disease, I think it’s a safe bet I have undiagnosed heart disease.

Additionally, heart disease might actually be the cause of my degenerative disc disease, as well as my struggle with breathing at high altitude here in Cuenca, Ecuador.

UPDATE: What Does Dr. Esselstyn Say About My Numbers

After posting this video, one of our subscribers shared this video from Dr. Esselstyn talking about people just like me who eat a clean, WFPB diet but still have cholesterol in the 200 range instead of below 150.

Nut Wars 2019 Between Jeff Nelson and Dr. Joel Fuhrman

The motivation for this video came from what I call the Nut Wars 2019 between Jeff Nelson at VegSource and Dr. Joel Fuhrman. Here are the videos I’m referring to.

You may notice that Dr. Fuhrman isn’t featured in any of these videos, yet he suggested in his interview with Plant Based News that Nelson’s criticisms were directed squarely at him. A case of guilty conscious or maybe extreme narcissism? ?

Nuts Won’t Save Your Life (Part 1 of Nuts)

Nuts Studies Are a Hoax (Part 2 of Nuts)

You Don’t Need Added FAT to Absorb Nutrients (Part 3 of Nuts)

Nuts and Heart Disease – Dr. Esselstyn (Part 4 of Nuts)

More Nut Industry Lies Exposed (Part 5 of Nuts)

Dr. Joel Fuhrman Loses His Mind in Plant Based News Interview

Dr. Fuhrman accuses people like Esselstyn, Ornish and Jeff Nelson of trying to protect their legacy despite contradictory science. However, this appears to be a severe case of projection.

He has a long legacy of recommending nuts, even to heart disease patients. He also sells nuts and nut butters on his website. If anyone is attempting to protect a legacy, I think it’s Fuhrman. Jeff Nelson has no legacy to protect. He’s simply trying to determine what the truth is.

You can also read Dr. Fuhrman’s rebuttal on his website: The Attack Against Nuts and Seeds—Getting Nuttier All The Time. Rather than refute Nelson’s review of the science, Fuhrman resorts to name calling and ad hominem attacks while insisting that studies funded by the industries that benefit from positive results have no impact on the findings.

If you think industry funding doesn’t affect the outcome of studies like Dr. Fuhrman suggests, you should consider reading Unsavory Truth by Dr. Marion Nestle.

Unsavory Truth Nestle

She has devoted her entire professional career as a scientist to studying corruption in the food industry and she has proven without doubt that the funding source affects the study methodology, the outcomes and the conclusions. In fact, she calls industry funded studies “marketing studies” because their sole purpose is to sell more products, not discover scientific truth.

Dr. Fuhrman needs to read Nestle’s book before suggesting that funding source doesn’t matter.

Heart Disease Experts Dr. Esselstyn and Dr. Ornish

For the time being, I’m going to continue to trust the advice of Dr. Esselstyn and Dr. Ornish when it comes to heart disease prevention and reversal. If you have heart disease or a history of high cholesterol, I suggest reading both of their books:

To reiterate, I don’t care WHO is right! I only care WHAT is right! This is a serious issue for people like me with genetically high cholesterol and a strong family history of heart disease. The experts in the plant-based community need to put their egos aside, stop protecting their legacies, and come to consensus on this issue to prevent more unnecessary premature deaths.

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias y Hasta Luego!

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This newsletter covers things we don’t share ANYWHERE ELSE! You’ll get all sorts of timely information about Ecuador and global expat news that might affect your travel or move decisions.

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Vegan vs. Plant-Based: What’s the Difference? (Episode 83)

If you’re confused about vegan vs. plant-based, you’re not alone.  When we first went vegan in 2016, we didn’t know there was a difference either. We thought being vegan meant eating a vegan diet, but that’s not entirely accurate as we later learned. Some people who claim to be vegan experts, are still confused about the fundamental differences between being vegan and eating a plant-based diet.

This video is a response, of sorts, to the rash of “ex-vegan” YouTube “celebrities.” Several, including Rawvana and Raw Alignment, have said they’re eating animal products due to health issues caused by their previous “vegan” diets.

These people were never actually vegan, though. They ate extreme fad diets that were plant-based, but they lacked the vegan ideology and mainly focused on the diet/vanity aspects related to being thin. Additionally, many of them were using veganism to hide an eating disorder for which they need to seek professional help.

Welcome to our blog!

Before we dive in to vegan vs. plant-based, welcome to our blog! We haven’t thought to promote it before, assuming people would dig deeper and find it, but several people pointed out they didn’t know about it so we thought we’d tell you.

All of our videos have an associated blog post with more pictures, context, details and links to relevant information and businesses. If you ever have a question that we didn’t cover in the video, check the blog post linked in the YouTube description. It might be there.

Veganism Defined

Many people try to redefine veganism to paint vegans as hypocrites. However, there is a clear definition of the vegan ideology that was written more than 40 years ago. It states:

Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.

The key phrase in this definition is “as far as is possible and practicable.” It’s impossible to be a perfect vegan in a world built on top of animal exploitation. All we can do is try our best to avoid most animal products “as far as is possible and practicable.”

Just because we have to get a vaccine that’s made using eggs doesn’t make us hypocrites. Unfortunately, the companies who make vaccines are resistant to adopt vegan methodologies because it costs money to switch their production systems over, so we’re stuck with what they offer.

The same goes for bugs and small animals killed during the harvesting of our crops. There are ways to reduce the impact of our farming methodologies on insects and animals, but they’re more expensive so most companies haven’t adopted them.

With that said, nearly 80% of all land on this tiny planet is used to either raise livestock or the grain that’s fed to livestock, which yields less than 20% of the calories we consume. So if you really want to reduce the number of insects and small animals killed during farming, go vegan.

The Plant-Based Diets

When you think about vegan vs. plant-based, remember that veganism is NOT a diet. However, it does have a major dietary component because we eat several times per day. Just like with the omnivore diet, there are several different types of plant-based diets:

  • Fruitarian Diet – only eats fruit.
  • Raw Vegan Diet – only eats uncooked fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and grains.
  • Vegan Junk Food Diet – doesn’t care about health; eats anything as long as it doesn’t come from an animal.
  • Whole-Food Plant-Based (WFPB) Diet – the Mediterranean Diet without animal products; lots of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds and mushrooms.
  • WFPB No-Oil – WFPB without any oil (olive oil, coconut oil, canola oil, etc.).
  • WFPB No SOS – WFPB without any added sugar, oil or salt.
  • Starch-Based Diet – Dr. McDougall’s version of a WFPB No SOS diet that focuses on complex carbs like potatoes and whole grains.

There are others, plus some people also opt for water fasts, juice fasts and intermittent fasting.

However, NONE of this has anything to do with veganism. They’re diets that happen to be vegan or mostly vegan, and just like all the omnivore diets (Mediterranean, Atkins, Keto, Paleo, Weight Watchers, Zone, South Beach, DASH, etc.), some have been scientifically proven to be healthier than others.

Whole-Food Plant-Based (WFPB) No-Oil Diet

After extensive research and reading, we opted for the WFPB No-Oil Diet promoted by many doctors and scientists, such as Dr. Greger, Dr. Esselstyn, Dr. Campbell, Dr. Popper, Dr. Garth Davis, Dr. Neal Barnard and many others. It’s essentially the Mediterranean Diet without animal products.

We have a LONG blog post on our sister website,, that lists our Credible Nutrition Sources and we also share our criteria for selecting them. We encourage you to read through that blog post and develop your own criteria for choosing who to trust because not every “expert” is trustworthy.

Credible Nutrition Sources Banner

Please keep in mind that just because someone publishes a book doesn’t mean it’s true or scientifically valid; it only means the publisher thought the book would sell. Unfortunately, a lot of so-called “experts” misrepresent the science to sell books, supplements and diet programs that don’t actually work. Trust no one.

We also have a list of the Best Plant-Based Books for a Longer, More Vibrant Life over on If you want to know the science behind our diet, we encourage you to read two or three of these books.

Proteinaholic by Dr. Garth Davis is a good place to start because he goes into detail about how to spot bogus, corporate junk marketing science. If heart disease is a concern for you, skip straight to Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn.

Recommended Plant-Based Books Covers

That’s the difference between our diet and most other diets: there are dozens, probably hundreds of doctors and scientists who study it and use it to treat their patients. It’s not one guy who published a book or YouTube channel that misrepresents the science in order to profit from your confusion.

They may not agree on all the fine details, but they all agree on the main premise: eat plants, not animals. We evolved from primates who eat plant-based diets. We didn’t evolve from lions and tigers and bears.

If you’d like to see what we eat on a WFPB No-Oil Diet, check out our Plant Based Cooking videos.

Unsavory Truth

If you want to know why we don’t trust science paid for and/or conducted by corporations or industry associations, please read Unsavory Truth by Dr. Marion Nestle (no relation to the food company). She has made it her life’s work to uncover corruption in the food industry, and it’s far more insidious than we ever thought.

Unsavory Truth Nestle

Studies funded by any industry, including beef, diary, egg, nut, avocado, olive oil, pomegranate, cereal, blueberry, etc. cannot be trusted. Whether plant or animal, food studies funded by industry are setup to sell more products, not discover scientific truth.

Other Useful “Ex-Vegan” Response Videos

Don’t take our word for it, thought. A lot of people have shared their thoughts on the confusion about vegan vs. plant-based. Here are just a few:

GojiMan on Vegan vs. Plant-Based

Mic the Vegan on Vegan vs. Plant-Based

Plant Based News on Vegan vs. Plant-Based

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias y Hasta Luego!

FREE Weekly Expat Newsletter

Sign-up for our FREE weekly newsletter and get immediate access to:

This newsletter covers things we don’t share ANYWHERE ELSE! You’ll get all sorts of timely information about Ecuador and global expat news that might affect your travel or move decisions.

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Cuenca Ecuador Yoga in the Park with Olesya (Episode 78)

Before we share our Cuenca Ecuador Yoga In The Park experience, we just passed 500 subscribers on our Amelia And JP YouTube Channel! Thank you all for subscribing and continuing to watch our videos! They’re quite the labor of love so knowing so many people enjoy them makes it all worthwhile!

We also celebrated our 3-Year Veganversary over the weekend! We went vegan on March 8th, 2016 and haven’t looked back! We did several fun things to celebrate our compassionate, environmentally friendly and healthy lifestyle, and we share a couple of them with you in this video.

Cuenca Ecuador Yoga in the Park with Olesya

You may recognize Olesya from this Food With Friends video or the 2nd Food With Friends video, but she’s also an amazing yoga instructor. In fact, Amelia says she’s the best she’s ever had!

Olesya Amelia

The yoga style in this video was relaxing and restorative, but she also teaches much more difficult Cuenca Ecuador Yoga In The Park class that gets the heart pumping and the sweat rolling. It all depends on which class you attend.

You can visit her facebook page at Yoga con Olesya en Cuenca for her schedule or to contact her about her upcoming classes or private training.

See More: Cuenca Health & Beauty Services, Cuenca Parks

3-Year Veganversary Dinner at Fratello Vegan

After Amelia’s Cuenca Ecuador Yoga In The Park with Olesya, we thought celebrating our 3-Year Veganversary at Fratello with our good vegan friend, Rosy, was apropos.

Fratello Sign

Amelia Rosy

Rosy was our very first vegan friend in Ecuador, and our VERY FIRST subscriber on our Amelia And JP YouTube Channel! She subscribed before we even launched our channel and now we just passed 500 subscribers! It’s really hard to believe!

Our dinner at Fratello Vegan was delicious as usual. We hung out with Rosy and ate her brother’s amazing vegan food for almost 3 hours! I messaged Rene on Facebook the day before to order a small vegan chocolate cake for our Veganversary.

Fratello normally has a cake on-hand, but Amelia really wanted our own oil-free chocolate cake. If you want something special, it’s best to message Rene a day in advance. This cake was moist, decacadent and utterly delicious!

Vegan Chocolate Cake

The Impact of Veganism on Our Lives

We didn’t go vegan on a whim. We spent several months researching the diet aspects because we were raised to believe humans would die without eating meat, dairy and eggs. It took a lot of documentaries and reading to reverse a lifetime of beliefs that were based almost entirely on marketing messages. Sometimes, I’m still shocked that we haven’t died of some nutrient deficiency yet!

Here are the Best Food Documentaries and Other Mind Altering Films that we recommend. And here are the Best Plant-Based Books for a Longer, More Vibrant Life that we recommend.

While veganism isn’t a diet, food is a really big part of being vegan. We don’t buy shoes or coats or cosmetics every day, but we do eat food every day so it’s always on the top of our mind.

We choose to eat a vegan Whole-Foods Plant-Based (WFPB) Diet, a term coined by Dr. T. Colin Campbell back in the early 1980’s. We eat NO animal products of any kind, and we avoid all processed foods, including oil, which is a processed, refined fat just like sugar is a processed refined carb. This way of eating has dramatically improved our health while leading to significant weight loss.

JP’s Weight Loss as a Vegan & WFPB

Before we went vegan, I weighed in at 197 pounds! At 5’10”, that’s borderline obese.

JP Before Vegan

After 3 years of being vegan, I’m down to 164 pounds and a size 30 jeans! I haven’t been this thin since before I graduated college in my early 20’s! Taking all that weight off my spine has also enabled me to be more mobile while reducing the level of pain I feel on a daily basis.

JP 3 Years Vegan

Amelia’s Weight Loss as a Vegan & WFPB

Amelia has seen a similar transformation. She weighed 130 pounds before we went vegan and WFPB. At 5 feet tall, that’s considered overweight.

Amelia Before Vegan

After 3 years of being vegan, Amelia has lost 25 pounds and now weighs only 105 pounds! She hasn’t been this thin since her early twenties, as well!

Amelia 3 Years Vegan

We’ve lost the weight slowly over the last 3 years, and we’ve kept it off because our diet is ideal for both losing weight and keeping it off. Combined with our “big why” to reduce animal suffering and protect our planet from environmental destruction, it has been very easy to stick with this way of eating (WOE).

Like I said before, veganism isn’t a diet (even though food is a big part of it). Rather, veganism is an ethical stance to cause the least amount of harm, as is practicable and possible, to innocent animals and our environment. Therefore, we don’t have “cheat days” because that would mean we would be violating our own ethical and moral standards.

By not having cheat days on our ethics, we also don’t have cheat days on our diet. The worst things we consume are oil (sometimes when we eat out) and beer/wine. Those are the only two things we consume that are unhealthy, and we try to avoid them as much as possible.

Improved Cholesterol Numbers

It’s not just about the weight loss, though. Our total cholesterol levels are under 200 without a statin. I have a genetic predisposition for high cholesterol and have been battling it most of my adult life. The only time it went below 200 before going vegan was thanks to a high dose of Simvastatin, a drug that I NEVER want to take again! The side effects were horrible!

Despite what the dairy, beef and egg industries would have you believe, we’ve known for 80 years that high blood serum cholesterol leads to cardiovascular disease. And since the 1960’s, we’ve known that dietary cholesterol, and especially saturated fat, increases blood serum cholesterol.

The blockages present in the vast majority of Americans is literally made of oxidized cholesterol, which can be cleaned out by eating a WFPB diet that’s free of cholesterol laden animal foods and low in saturated fat.

Heart disease kills over 600,000 Americans each year, but you don’t have to be one of them. We recommend reading Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn’s book, Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease for details about how to prevent, arrest and reverse the number one killer of people eating the Standard American Diet.

The Impact of Our Veganism on Our Planet

During our 3 years of being vegan, we have dramatically reduced our environmental footprint on this tiny blue and green planet. In 3 years, Amelia and I have saved:

3 Year Vegan Stats

These numbers come from The Vegan Calculator, which is based on stats from the documentary, Cowspiracy. If you’re skeptical about these numbers, great! We encourage you to do some independent, unbiased research. These numbers are corroborated by countless scientists and international organizations much to the chagrin of animal ag, which has paid for their own biased research.

When doing your research, please consider the source. Industry funded research is seldom reliable, whether it relates to plants or animals. We recommend reading Unsavory Truth by Marion Nestle to better understand how insidious corporate junk science has become. You simply can’t trust anything until you understand the study methodology and conclusions.

Vegans for Life

After 3 years of being vegan, our only regret is that we didn’t do it sooner. Both Amelia and I considered going vegan many years ago, but never pulled the trigger. We were too afraid of the unknown.

But once we realized how horribly the animals suffer, how destructive animal ag is to our environment, and how unhealthy animal products are for human health, adopting a vegan lifestyle became unavoidable. We just couldn’t continue living as hypocrites once we knew better.

This brings us to a quote by Maya Angelou that I mentioned at the end of the video, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” We try to live our lives by this guiding principal. We’re far from perfect, but we’re doing the best we can. And each day, we try to do a little better. That’s all any of us can do.

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias y Hasta Luego!

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Sign-up for our FREE weekly newsletter and get immediate access to:

This newsletter covers things we don’t share ANYWHERE ELSE! You’ll get all sorts of timely information about Ecuador and global expat news that might affect your travel or move decisions.

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Being Vegan In Cuenca Ecuador – Is Cuenca the Best Vegan City? (Episode 76)

A few of our viewers have asked us what it’s like being vegan in Cuenca Ecuador, so we thought we’d record a video discussing the topic. We think it’s VERY easy to be vegan in Cuenca, and here are our top 7 reasons why.

#1 Colorful Mercados

Mercado 27 de Febrero Organic Market Cuenca Ecuador

The mercados in Cuenca and throughout Ecuador are like vegan candy stores. They’re loaded with all the colorful fruits and veggies that we love to eat, and they’re extremely affordable. We spend about $20/week on produce at the mercados, which used to cost us around $100/week back in the states for lower quality, less flavorful fruits and veggies.

#2 Vegan & Vegan-friendly Restaurants

Zatua Miski Smoothie Bowl

When we first arrived in Cuenca, Fratello Vegan was the only fully vegan restaurant. Now we also have Café Libre and Zatua Miski, and several vegetarian restaurants. Plus, nearly every non-vegan restaurant has a vegan and/or vegetarian section on the menu. It’s SUPER easy to eat out as vegans in Cuenca.

Here’s our list of the best vegan/vegetarian restaurants in Cuenca Ecuador:

The best vegan-friendly restaurants in Cuenca Ecuador:

Plus the vegetarian restaurants we haven’t tried yet:

#3 No Negative Vegan Stigma

Unlike in the states, people here haven’t been bombarded with marketing messages for the past 100 years so they don’t put animal-based foods on a pedestal. No Ecuadorian has asked us where we get our protein or if we get enough to eat. The attitude here is that a vegan diet is healthy. A common response we hear when we say we’re vegan is, “That’s great. I need to eat healthier, too.”

All of our doctors (GP, neurosurgeon, physical therapist, OBGYN) know that a plant-based diet is healthy. My GP asked if I’m taking B12, which should be recommended for everyone, not just vegans. And he tested my calcium levels, which are in the normal range. Our doctors didn’t say anything negative or derogatory about the vegan plant-based diet and they weren’t at all concerned about our health from eating it.

The traditional Ecuadorian diet is a starch-based diet. They eat lots of fruits, veggies, legumes, whole grains, rice, yucca and potatoes, while meat, dairy and eggs are used as a garnish. Animal products have not traditionally been the central component of meals, although that has been changing over the past 10 years as the country becomes wealthier.

And guess what… Along with the increase in consumption of animal products and processed foods, we’re also seeing an increase in obesity, diabetes, heart disease and all the other preventable western diseases of affluence. It’s a very sad development here.

#4 Vegan Skin Care in Cuenca Ecuador

Vegan Skin Care Cuenca

You may have seen our earlier video on Vegan Skin Care here in Cuenca, featuring our fellow vegan friend, Dr. Rosy. In addition to Rosy’s skin care treatments, there are also several stores that sell vegan and cruelty free beauty products. One that’s very close to our house is called Annoa. The husband designs and makes the products, and his wife runs the store.

#5 Volunteer at Dog Rescues

Dog Rescue Cuenca

We featured Los Amigos de Manolo in another video, but there are at least two other dog rescues in Cuenca Ecuador and they all welcome volunteers and donations. If you’re really ambitious, we could use a farm animal rescue here!

#6 Growing Vegan Community

Group End 1 Cube of Truth Cuenca Ecuador

When we first moved here, Rosy was the only vegan we knew. Since then, we’ve met more long-term Ecuadorian vegans, as well as vegans from other parts of the world, plus a few new vegans. We’re excited to see the vegan community growing here, and we’re hoping to grow it even more.

#7 Vegan Activism

Cube of Truth 3 Cuenca Ecuador

We conduct Anonymous for the Voiceless Cube of Truth peaceful street activism events on a semi-regular basis so if you’re interested in activism, Cuenca has those opportunities for you, as well. There are also slaughterhouse vigils and movie showings. Rosy showed Okja at Fratello and she’s planning a showing of Dominion en La Universidad de Cuenca.

If you have any questions about vegan products or services here in Cuenca, or anything relating to being vegan in Cuenca, please let us know in the comments and we’ll do our best to answer them.

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias y Hasta Luego!

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Cruelty-Free Skin Care in Cuenca Ecuador with Dr. Rosy (Episode 67)

Our good friend and vegan doctor, Rosy, gave us both facials as part of our routine skin care in Cuenca Ecuador. The treatments that Rosy gives Amelia have removed lots of skin damage. Amelia may not look it, but she’s 50 years old! Our whole-food plant-based diet combined with Rosy’s vegan chemical peels have literally taken years off of Amelia’s appearance.

Vegan Skin Care Cuenca Rosy & Amelia

With my fair skin, I’ve had a lifelong battle with the sun. Several years ago, I did a multi-week chemical peel prescribed by a dermatologist back in the States to remove the pre-cancer cells covering my entire face. It was a long and very painful process. It left my face a bright shade of red for months. It did work, though. All those pesky pre-cancer cells were destroyed.

Vegan Skin Care Cuenca Rosy & JP

However, I prefer Rosy’s approach to skin care in Cuenca Ecuador. It’s much less painful and didn’t leave my skin discolored. Hopefully I can avoid the need for the harsher treatments in the future by staying on top of my skin damage now.

Coconut oil only blocks about 20% of UV rays making it about an SPF 5 so it’s not the most effective option for blocking the harmful effects of the sun. However, if you dislike using chemical sunscreens that have been tested on animals, it’s better than nothing, especially combined with a physical screen such as a hat and umbrella.

If you’d like to contact Rosy for a facial or a plant-based nutrition assessment, you can reach her through her Facebook page: Vegan Health Cuenca – Plant Based Nutrition, Aesthetics & Health. Please tell her Amelia And JP sent you!

In the video, we showed you the tattoos that both Rosy and Amelia got at Topo Tattoo here in Cuenca Ecuador. You can view that video here: Amelia’s Hummingbird Tattoo from Topo Tattoo in Cuenca Ecuador.

Rosy's Vegan Tattoo

Amelia's Hummingbird Tattoo

See More: Cuenca Health & Beauty Services

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias y Hasta Luego!

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Why We’re Still Vegan // Our “No Longer Vegan” Response (Episode 65)

In response to a handful of YouTubers who have said they’re no longer vegan, we felt it was necessary to post a video saying why we’re still vegan and always will be.

We don’t talk about veganism a lot on our YouTube channel because we prefer to live by example rather than potentially alienate pre-vegans with information they aren’t open to hearing. We avoided veganism for many years due to the negative stigma created by well-meaning people who think the best way to wake people up is by force. That didn’t work for us so we’re taking a more positive, inspirational and educational approach…

We have Netflix to thank for our awakening. We watched more than a dozen food, environment and vegan related documentaries in early 2016. They made us aware of the atrocities being hidden from us so we continue to buy profitable but deadly products. Education and awareness is what convinced us to go vegan; not angry vegans yelling at us.

See More: Vegan vs. Plant-Based: What’s the Difference? (Episode 83)

So if you’re like us and prefer to change your opinions and beliefs based on verifiable information and rational thought, here are some resources we recommend:

Recommended Whole-Food Plant-Based Diet Books

We have a long list of recommended books and reviews on our sister website, Best Plant-Based Books for a Longer, More Vibrant Life.

Recommended Food, Environment and Vegan Documentaries

We have a long list of other recommended documentaries on our sister website, Best Food Documentaries & Other Mind Altering Films.

We also referenced That Vegan Couple in our video. You can find their YouTube Channel here…

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias y Hasta Luego!

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Single Vegan What I Eat In A Day (Episode 61)

While Amelia is back in the States, I thought I’d share a Single Vegan What I Eat In A Day video. These are some of my favorite, super simple recipes that make enough leftovers for lunch the following day. Here are the recipes:

  • Raw Rolled Oats Breakfast
  • Easy Garden Salad
  • Pasta w/ Marinara & Veggies – your favorite whole grain pasta, one jar of your favorite fat-free marinara sauce, one small chopped onion, one tablespoon minced garlic, one cup each chopped broccoli and cauliflower. Plus, oregano, fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste. Sauté the veggies first, then add all the other ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Mexican Stir Fry

Back by popular demand, I added a little Daisy Cam footage. I adopted Daisy almost 8 years ago from a shelter in Denver, CO. She’s a super sweet girl, unless you’re an invader in her territory.

Amelia also shared her delicious dinner at Watercourse Foods in Denver, CO. We used to live just a few blocks from Watercourse when we lived in Uptown before we moved to Ecuador. It’s one of the few 100% vegan restaurants in Denver and it’s freaking amazing! They have lots of vegan comfort food. It was our Denver version of Fratello.

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias y Hasta Luego!

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★ Cowspiracy ➞
★ NutritionFacts.Org ➞
★ Plant Based News ➞
★ What The Health ➞

Video Transcript

Hola veggie lovers.
I’m JP with Amelia And JP.

Amelia is currently still back
in the States in Denver for her job.

If you’re new to our channel,

we post videos every Tuesday, Thursday
and Saturday at 2PM Eastern Time

and we hang out
for about an hour afterward

to respond to your comments and
answer any questions you might have

so come join us during that time.

If you’re NOT new to our channel, we
really appreciate that you are

watching our videos and providing such
insightful comments.

We really appreciate that.

While Amelia was gone
I decided to record a

Single Vegan What I Eat In A Day video

to show you all what
a single vegan can eat.

So let’s go ahead and get started.

[Upbeat Music]

For breakfast almost everyday we eat
Raw Rolled Oats.

We put some ground flax that we grind up,

usually chia, too, but
we were out of chia,

with some oats and then we add in some
nutmeg, cinnamon,

amla powder, it’s supposed to help with my
cholesterol, and a little maca powder.

And we use almond milk here that’s
fortified with calcium and Vitamin D

because with my back I want to make sure
that I keep a good calcium level.

And then we top it all with fruit.

You can use whatever fruit you like.

Frozen fruit is just fine, too.

I put bananas and papaya on this
with some walnuts.

I just love that for breakfast.

Let’s take a little break for a Daisy Cam.

We get a lot of requests from people
to see more of Miss Daisy.

And she is adorable, isn’t she? Oh my
God she’s a sweetheart.

For lunch almost everyday, I eat a salad,
a big salad.

I normally top it with
all kinds of veggies,

but I didn’t have any prepared so I just
put some sliced onion, tomato and

sunflower seeds, oregano,
some balsamic vinegar on it.

I had made some pasta with a pasta sauce
the night before.

I decided to eat that,
which is really simple.

It’s just tomato sauce and some
chopped up veggies:

broccoli and cauliflower
and onion and garlic.

I just opened up a jar of tomato sauce
and poured it in.

Amelia wanted to share her dinner with us
that she had at Watercourse

so let’s jump over to Denver and see
what Amelia is up to.

>> Amelia: Hi veggie lovers!

I’m Amelia with Amelia And JP.

I’m still here in Denver, CO and I thought
I would share

my meal with you guys last night.

I decided to go to Watercourse Foods,

which is a 100% vegan restaurant
in Denver.

It’s in what I consider downtown Denver,

but the neighborhood
is actually called Uptown.

Anyway, I highly recommend
you all check it out

if you’re ever here in Denver because
it is the first 100% vegan restaurant

and it definitely delivers. They have
a great selection of

comfort food and definitely more
on the gourmet side I’d say.

I decided to start my meal with the
Baked Brie appetizer

and it was AMAZING!

It was super light and decadent.

The brie filling itself is made with tofu,
cashew and a little nutritional yeast

that they use as a binder.

At least that’s what the server said.

It is wrapped in a very light and flaky
pastry puff. Quite tasty.

For my main course, I decided to have the
Sage Sweet Potato Gnocchi.

And wow! It was so incredibly flavorful.

The gnocchi dish comes with a
sweet potato puree,

roasted butternut squash and mushrooms,

a sage oil, fried sage leaves, and
it is topped with a walnut parmesan.

Yes please! If you get that, you will
not be disappointed.

It is pretty filling. I had
a little bit leftover

so I had that as a snack today.

Lucky me!

That’s all I have from Denver right now.

I will see you all soon, but I am going to
go ahead and pass it back to JP.

Bye veggie lovers!

>> JP: For dinner, I made a
Mexican Stir Fry

with onion, garlic, some red
and green peppers, a jalapeño.

And then I just sauteed all that,
or steam fried it,

in veggie broth on the stove until
it was nice and tender

all the veggies were nice and tender.

Then I added in some black beans,

some black pepper, some salt, cumin.

Love cumin! It’s one of
my favorite spices.

And then some chili powder.

And then just stirred all that up and let
it heat through.


Wow that looks amazing!

So delicious. And very simple too.

You can buy your veggies already
pre-chopped to save time, as well.

And I just threw some cilantro in
at the end there.


I had already made some brown rice,

fresh out of our pressure cooker.

Put the Mexican Stir Fry over the
brown rice

and then I topped it with some salsa.

Ah. Delicious.

As you can see, it is pretty simple
to eat as a single vegan.

All of those made leftovers so I had
leftovers for lunch

and then that Mexican Stir Fry made enough

that I had leftovers for lunch the next day.

So it’s a really good use of time.

I know some people don’t like leftovers.

Those people would be crazy.

Because we eat leftovers all the time.

Well I hope you enjoyed our Single Vegan
What We Eat In A Day video.

If you haven’t yet, please subscribe
to our channel.

We really appreciate that.

We have lots of really cool and
interesting things coming up

and you want to make sure and
get notified when we post those videos.

That’s it for today from JP
home alone in Ecuador.

We’ll see you next time.

Vegan Mexican Lasagna + Plantains w/ Peanut Butter (Episode 56)

Our good friend and Amelia’s FAVORITE yoga instructor came over for another Food With Friends to make some delicious Vegan Mexican Lasagna. Olesya is from Russia and speaks several languages, so you get to hear some cool pronunciations.

Amelia Olesya

Vegan Mexican Lasagna Recipe

Olesya had never tried tofu, so we invited her over in our first Food With Friends video back in Episode 35 to cook Tofu Scramble. And in this video, she learned how to make our easy and satisfying Vegan Mexican Lasagna Recipe. YUMMM!!! Amelia also walked her through our Vegan Refried Beans recipe, but you can use store-bought to save time (just make sure they’re oil and lard free).

Vegan Mexican Lasagna

And since Olesya never arrives empty handed, you’ll also learn how to make rich and delicious Plátanos con Pasta de Maní (You can find the recipe here: Ecuadorian Peanut Butter Plantain Recipe). It was the perfect dessert to follow our Vegan Mexican Lasagna.

Plátano con Pasta de Maní

We always have SOOO much fun when our friends come over to cook with us!

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias!

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Video Transcript

>> Olesya: Hello.

>> Amelia: Buenos días.

>> O: Buenos días.

>> JP: Buenos días.

>> O: Are you read to film?
>> A: Yeah.

>> JP: Are you ready for another
Food With Friends?

>> O: [laughing] Yeah, I am.

>> JP: Not friends FOR food.

>> O: More tofu, right?

>> A: Yes. More tofu.

>> O: You look nice!

>> A: Thank you! I like your earrings!

>> O: Thank you. It was a present from
one of the Rumisol [inaudible] actually.

>> JP: I like your necklace.

>> O: Wow! Guys!


>> O: What else you like?

[Upbeat Music]

>> A: High veggie lovers. I’m Amelia
with Amelia And JP.

JP is behind the camera and I’m
here with Olesya.

And we are going to make our
Vegan Mexican Lasagna today,

which is another tofu dish.
Yes. And delicious tortillas.

And JP’s homemade salsa.
And I already made refried beans.

You’re gonna really like this.
This comes together so quick.

All we have to do is drain the tofu
and then we’re gonna just

kinda smash it in here, put some salsa
and lime juice in here.

And then JP’s going to cut these
tortillas for me

because he didn’t like the way
I did it last time.

>> O: Wow!

>> JP: It’s just more efficient
to cut them.

>> A: Yes. He’s all about his efficiency.

And then we’re gonna layer it in

this casserole dish. And put the layers
on, put some salsa on,

and we’ll be good to go.

>> O: And how long does it take
in the oven?

>> A: About a half hour.
>> O: Ok.

>> JP: Yeah, it’s super fast.

>> A: So in the meantime, JP also made
some chips.

>> JP: Yeah, those are just corn chips.
>> O: Wow.

>> JP: Corn and water.

>> A: Yeah. They’re just.. We just use
these tortillas.

>> O: Uh-huh…

>> A: Which are just corn.

>> O: Where’d you get
those tortillas, guys?

>> A: We got them at SuperMaxi.
>> O: SuperMaxi, ok.

>> A: Yep. There’s nothing.
No oil added. Just baked so

we’ll have a delicious snack.

We have some avocado, too.

Alright! So let’s get started.

>> JP: And we have a salad.

>> A: Oh yes.
>> O: My stomach is talking to me.


>> A: We have to have salad.

Alright, so I’m gonna.. Whoops..

>> JP: That’s why we cut that over the sink.

>> A: Yeah, well.. What can I say?
I’m not perfect. [laughter]

>> JP: I love my new Fitbit!
It’s got a timer.

>> A: That’s awesome.

>> JP: So that I don’t forget the chips
and burn them up.

>> O: Yay! Chips!

>> JP: See I just put those and
bake them on there.

>> O: Uh-huh..

>> JP: And then we’re done.

>> A: Yeah. Doesn’t get much
easier than that.

>> JP: This is a whole package of chips.

A whole package of one of these.

So the nice thing is there’s no oil,
no salt.

You can put salt on them.

Sometimes I like to squeeze a little
lime juice or spritz it with lime.

And then put some.. a little salt over em,

but I didn’t do any of that because
my salsa is so good you don’t need that.


>> O: Do you like it a little bit spicy?

I think in [inaudible] they put some
kind of you know..

spice.. paprika or something like that.

>> JP: Oh, that would be good
on the chips.

>> O: And mango salsa. Mangos they eat
with pepper, or paprika.

>> JP: That sounds good.

>> A: Alright so we’re going to start
the tofu mixture,

which has a really cheesy consistency.

It’s very tricky. It’s tricky/sneaky.

>> JP: Well, it’s kind of like ricotta.
The texture of ricotta.

But there’s a Mexican cheese..
What’s it called?

>> O: I think that it’s called oaxaca,
but I’m not sure.

>> A: I think you’re right.
>> O: Look it up.

There is a city in Mexico, in the
south of Mexico that is called..

oaxaca? I’m hoping that I pronounce
it right.


>> A: Sounds good to me.

>> JP: Hopefully no one from there is
extremely offended right now.


>> A: Well if they are they can tell us
how to pronounce it properly.

So now we’re just going to.. sorry,
I didn’t explain that very well.


Just basically like we were doing the..
>> O: Eggs.

>> O: Yeah?
>> A: Exactly.

>> O: So I’ve got experience
so don’t worry.

>> JP: You’re going to be a tofu expert

>> A: I know..
>> O: [laughing]

>> A: She’s gonna re..

We’re gonna have to do a different
dish next time.

>> JP: Looks good!
>> A: Yes.

>> O: I’m done here?
>> A: Yes. Nicely done.

Ok. So I have one cup of salsa.

So I’m just gonna go ahead and
pour that in.

>> O: Nice…

>> A: And then if you wanna start
mixing that up.

While you do that, I’m gonna squeeze
in the juice of one lime.

>> JP: The juice of one lime.
That sounds so formal.

>> A: The juice of one lime.

Which I have cut in half so this is
the juice of a half a lime.

>> O: So it needs another half..

>> A: Yes.
>> O: ..juice of another half a lime.

>> JP: Poor little lime. You can hear it
screaming if you listen closely.

>> A: Oh God! That’s not funny. [laughing]

And I am going to use salt.
The salt is optional.

So I’m gonna do a teaspoon of salt.

>> O: Okay..

>> A: So this looks great!

>> O: Good.
>> JP: Wow! Yummy!

>> A: Ok. So now we’re gonna set
this aside.

And then what we’re gonna do..

actually checking my recipe.

You think I’d have this memorized by now.


>> JP: Where can that recipe be found,

>> A: That can be found on


>> JP: Cut these into quarters so that
it’s more uniform

and this is also faster than ripping
them up,

which is what we used to do.

But this is so much faster.

>> O: Um-huh..

>> A: I don’t know if it’s really faster.

>> JP: It is too! Look at that!

It’s completely done!

>> A: Ok. Alright.
>> JP: Done!

>> A: Good job!


>> JP: Thank you!


Alright, now you can use as many
as you need.

>> A: Ok. Thank you.

>> JP: And then the rest, I will just
put in the oven and bake into chips.

>> A: Alright. That sounds good.

So this recipe calls for refried beans and
I made my own although

you could use jarred or canned
refried beans of course.

>> JP: These are so delicious.
>> A: Oh, I know they’re so good!

So they’re really easy to make.

I use dried canary beans but you could
use pinto beans

or black beans would be good too.

And I soaked them overnight and then
I cooked them in our pressure cooker.

But of course you could cook them on the

Just be careful, you have to add
lots of water.

I’ve had bean burns before. [laughter]

Very disappointing!

>> JP: And if you buy them, make sure
you get oil free and LARD free.

>> A: Lard-free. Yes.

>> JP: A lot of the refried beans in the
states have lard.

>> A: Yes.
>> JP: You have to look at the labels.

>> A: So once they’re cooked, I just
poured them into a pan

or a soup pot, obviously, with the
juices that they cook in.

And then I added some veggie broth.

And I did one small onion, so that’s about
a half a cup of chopped onion.

And I did about two tablespoons garlic.
I like it garlic-y.

And then I put in some salt, about..

One to two teaspoons of salt depending
on how salty you want it.

And then, you just let it cook.

So you just keep stirring it. Let it cook
and it gets nice and thick.

And then you mash it with a..
>> JP: Potato masher.

>> A: This nice little tool.

And then at the end I squeeze in
the juice of one lime.

So one of these little limes.

Little lime.

And that’s it!

So I made it ahead of time so it would be
cool enough that we could work with it.

Because we didn’t want it to be
scalding hot.

And per JP’s request we have some extra
if we want some on the side.

>> JP: I love to have extra.
>> A: Yeah.

Ok. I’m going to start the
layering process.

So I’ve got 3/4 cup salsa to go on the bottom.

I’m just gonna spread this out.

>> JP: And you don’t need to oil that,

>> A: Nope. The salsa will keep anything
from sticking.. to the bottom.

No oil in this recipe.

Step number two.

I’m going to layer our NICELY cut…



On the bottom here so this is our
first layer.

So on a traditional lasagna, this
would be pasta.

Yeah, I don’t know what the actual
meaning of lasagna is,

but I’m guessing it just means like
layered.. dish.

>> JP: Isn’t that the type of noodle?

>> A: No, because, I mean.. people..
I don’t know.. people..

>> JP: Spaghetti is a type of noodle.
Fusilli is a type of noodle.

>> A: That’s true. Maybe it is,
I don’t know.

I was just thinking how you see people
do like raw lasagna..

>> JP: Wouldn’t it be called a parfait?
If it was…


>> A: I have no idea!

>> JP: Everybody love a parfait!
[quoting Donkey from Shrek]


>> A: OK! Moving on!

I’m going to use 1 1/2 cup
of refried beans.

And I just like to do.. measure out
1/2 cup at a time.

This can be a little tricky to spread.

>> JP: Without moving the tortillas
all over.

>> A: Yes. You kinda have to press
it into place.

So this would be tricky if you did..

made this and had your refried beans
in the refrigerator.

So if you make these ahead of time,
which I often do..

I would just pull them out and let
them come to room temperature.

Next step is to add in one cup of our
tofu mixture.

And again, you wanna just kinda
evenly spread that.

>> JP: Olesya’s taking over.
>> O: Ready. Set. Go.


>> A: Alright so now we’re doing
the second layer.

>> O: Does it have to be perfect?
>> A: No.

>> JP: Yeah it does. Has to be absolutely
perfect. Geometrical.

>> A: Oh geez.

>> O: I can use all of these
for this layer?

>> A: Yeah.

The thing is, you know, it doesn’t
have to be precise

so if like.. maybe you want to use
flour tortillas..

you can use flour tortillas.

Maybe you want more tofu..

or maybe you want less tofu.

Well JP I don’t know how many extra
beans we’re gonna have.

>> JP: [Gasping]
>> O: [Laughing]

>> JP: That was my ONE requirement!

>> A: Well we do have.. I will always
make more.

The beans.. refried beans are in
steady rotation here in this house.

>> JP: A mainstay?
>> A: A mainstay, yes.

>> JP: Along with the juice of one lime?

>> A: Yes.


I don’t know why you find that so funny!


>> O: Mmmmm… A lot of beans
and that’s good.

>> A: I know. This is a very hardy lunch.

But it’s not heavy so you won’t feel
the need to take a nap afterwards.

>> O: You think so?

>> JP: No gut bomb.
>> A: No.

>> O: I just like taking a nap.


>> A: YES! You will DEFINITELY need
to take a nap afterwards.


Ok. Next thing is to put our
tofu mixture on.

>> O: Do you like it?
>> JP: Looks good!


>> A: We do wanna finish up the tofu.

>> JP: Yeah, so there’s only two layers.
>> A: There’s only two layers

I had that mixed up.

>> O: There is not so much left, though.
>> A: No.

Now we do our final tortilla layer.

>> O: Are we going to put
anything on top of this?

>> A: We are. We’re going to put
more salsa on top.

And then one final thing of salsa.

And then we just need to smooth that out.

And if you want more salsa, you can put
more salsa on top as well.

We usually just do the 3/4, but…

>> JP: You definitely want it
to be covered.

>> A: Yes.

Alright, that’s it!
>> O: Let me know when it’s perfect.

>> A: That is perfect.
>> O: When you think it’s good.

>> A: I think that looks amazing.

>> O: Ok.

>> A: And now we just need
to pop it in the oven.

Actually, that’s not true. We cover it
with aluminum foil first.

Because we don’t want it to get
burnt on top.

>> JP: Or for our British watchers, it’s


We’re using aluminium.

>> A: We don’t.. we try to use as little..

>> O: How do you say in Spanish actually.
Oh, aluminio.

>> A: Oh yeah.
>> JP: Aluminio?

>> O: Aluminio.

>> JP: How is it?
>> O: Papel aluminio.

>> JP: Aluminio.
>> O: Eso es.

>> JP: Eso es.


And then we’re going to
put it in the oven for..

>> O: 30 minutes?
>> A: 30 minutes. Yes.

>> JP: Treinta minutos.

How do you say it in Russian?

>> O: 30 minutes?

>> JP: Or aluminium.

>> O: Alumini.

>> JP: Alumini?
>> O: Uh-huh.

>> JP: And how do you say 30 minutes
in Russian?

>> O: [Speaking Russian]

>> JP: WHAT?!

>> O: [Speaking Russian]

>> A: Wow!
>> JP: That’s so cool!

>> A: That is cool!

>> JP: I know. Olesya speaks
so many languages.

>> A: Fluently too!
>> JP: Fluently!

>> A: I’m lucky I can make..
get English words out.


>> JP: Yeah. Extremely lucky!


>> O: Sometimes you forget?

>> A: Yeah. I get them mixed up now
with Spanish. Uhhhh…

It’s like I’m making up my own language
that only I understand.


It’s a little scary.

>> JP: Alright, what are we doing now?
>> O: Ok, let’s wait.

>> A: We gotta wait.

>> JP: Do we wanna make..

Olesya brought.. what did you bring?
Mamey and..

>> O: Mamey and if you want to
have like a dessert

we can make some plátanos verdes with
peanut butter paste.

>> A: I would love to make that!
>> JP: Do you want to make that?

>> O: Yeah, sure. And it’s going to take
around 30 minutes to boil them.

>> JP: Awesome. Now what’s it called?

This is a traditional Ecuadorian dish,

>> O: Yeah. They make it with
plátano maduro, the yellow one..

the sweet one and with plátano verde
this one that I brought.

I wanted to try with this one because it’s
less sweet.

It has to look a little bit..

It always looks like this a little bit


So yeah. Basically we just boil the

and then we mix it with peanut butter.

Mash it very well and it’s good!
It’s delicious!

>> JP: It is delicious.

Wow! Look at how she’s peeling!

>> O: I’m just peeling this.

>> A: Yeah. That’s not how I did mine.

>> JP: Yeah. We did ours..
>> O: How did you do it?

>> JP: We tried to peel it like a banana
and then we cut it..

>> O: That doesn’t work.
>> JP: ..then we ended up peeling it off.

>> A: You’re right. It does not work.
>> JP: It doesn’t work..


..with plátanos. With plantains.

These are..?
>> O: Maduros.

>> JP: Maduros. Yep.

>> O: Cut them into small pieces
so they cook fast.

Let’s add some water guys.
Cover it with water..

and let it boil for about 20, 30 minutes.

I cut it in small pieces so I don’t think
it’s gonna take too long.

>> A: I’m just gonna check the lasagna to
see how it’s coming along.

And we do wanna end up taking foil off
and letting it cook uncovered.

Ooo, it looks perfect.
>> JP: Wow. It does.

>> A: I think stage two now is to
uncover it.

And we’ll finish the cooking.

>> JP: And how are the maduros coming?

>> A: Do we need a fork?
>> O: They still need.

They still need time.

>> JP: Quite a bit. That was really hard.

>> O: They gonna take awhile.

>> A: So the maduros are duro?

But those aren’t maduros.
Those are verde. Yeah.

>> O: Verde.
>> JP: No, those are verdes.

>> A: Maduros are the yellow..
>> JP: The yellow ones.

>> A: Alright. I think we’re ready.
Let’s check it out.

Let’s take a look!

Oh. See, it’s all bubbly.

And look at our tortillas kinda
getting puffed up.

>> O: Looks delish.

>> A: Yes. Yum.
>> O: Can’t wait.

>> A: Smells really good.

>> O: It’s that time.

>> A: It is that time.
>> O: [laughing]

>> A: Alright. It probably is gonna
need to sit for a minute or two

otherwise it’s just gonna kinda
spill out everywhere.

>> JP: Yeah, I would let it sit to cool
for a few minutes.

>> A: Yeah.

>> JP: How is our plántanos coming?

>> O: I think they need a little bit more
time because they need to be soft.

I don’t think they’re ready yet.

>> A: Do we wanna get our salad ready?

>> JP: Yes.
>> A: And I warmed up those refried beans.

>> JP: Yay!

>> A: Ok.
>> O: Thank you.

>> JP: That looks DElicious.
>> A: It does look delicious.

>> JP: Alright what are you guys
going to eat?

>> A: Hahaha!
>> O: [laughing]

>> A: I don’t think
we’re missing anything.

>> JP: So you’re gonna try the…
>> O: I think we..

>> JP: You’re gonna try
the nutritional yeast?

>> O: Yeah. I’ll put a little bit
just to see how it tastes.

>> A: I would just try sprinkling a
little bit on top

since you’ve never tried it maybe
just a little in one spot

in case you don’t like it.
>> O: Ahhh. Yeah.

>> JP: What’s everybody think?

>> A: Delicious.
>> O: Delicious.

>> JP: Muy delicioso.

>> O: Delicioso.
>> A: Sí.

>> A: Wow it smells really good.

>> O: Peanut always smells good.
>> A: I know, right? [laughing]

>> JP: So how do you know how much
peanut butter to put in there?

>> O: I don’t actually. It depends..
depends on the taste. [laughing]

>> JP: You have to taste it.
>> O: Yeah.

>> O: I know that my Ecuadorian family
usually uses the mixer.

They actually mix it in a
very smooth texture.

So it doesn’t have all this chunks.

But I don’t think that it’s needed,
honestly. [laughing]

>> JP: YouTube needs to invent

>> A: Yeah, wouldn’t that be nice.

>> JP: For all these cooking channels so
people can be really envious.


>> JP: Alright, what are we adding?

>> O: I added some cranberries.

So it’s a little bit sweeter.

And let’s put a little bit more.
>> A: It looks delish.

>> JP: Dried cranberries.

>> O: Yep.
>> A: Yummy.

>> O: I like cranberries.
>> A: What a neat idea for dessert.

>> O: [laughing]

But if you want real dessert, make it
with plátano maduro actually.

>> A: Ok.
>> O: Which is the yellow one.

>> JP: The yellow plátanos
are much sweeter.

>> O: It’s very good.

>> JP: And then we’re going to drizzle
some date syrup over it.

>> O: Yeah.
>> JP: Wow! That looks really good!

>> O: [laughing] Hope it tastes good also.

>> A: I’m going in.
>> O: Let’s do it!

>> A: That’s really good.. yeah.

It’s just the right amount of sweet.

>> JP: It sounds just like me!
>> A: Awww…

Aren’t you funny?!
You’re just full of it today.

>> JP: [chuckling]

>> A: Thanks for joining us for our
second episode of Food With Friends.

Thank you for teaching us how to make
the verde plantains.

>> O: Yeah.
>> A: Oh, there’s an unhappy dog.


>> O: We had a delicious lasagna today.

It was tofu and hopefully next time you’re
gonna teach me something…

somehow the desserts.
>> JP: Without tofu?

>> A: Without tofu.
>> O: [laughing]

>> A: We’ll move on to our next..
>> O: Yeah…

>> A: And we’ll do something
with nutritional yeast.

>> O: Yeah, that would be great.
>> A: Yes. Awesome.

>> O: Thank you so much guys!
>> A: Thank you.

>> O: I love being here!

>> A: Aww. Well we love having you.
Thank you.

Thank you. We’ll see you guys soon.

Oh don’t forget to subscribe!

Hit that notification button so you get
our next episode.

[Blooper Beep]

Alright. Bye…!


You’re not stopping…