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
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
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:
- A Pedir de Boca
- Namaste India
- Origami Japanese Kitchen & Sushi Bar
- Soul Bistro
- Mía Pizza Gourmet
- Noe Sushi Bar
- Yasu – WhatsApp: 098 181 2049
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
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
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
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
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.
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