“Is it hard to be vegan in Medellin?”
That’s a typical question I get when I tell people that I eat vegan (plant-based).
The reality is that it’s very easy to be vegan for me here in Medellin because I live in El Poblado.
You would think that since Colombia is the land of bio-diversity with an abundance of fruits, and vegetables that it would be a sinch to live on a plant-based diet.
The reality is that most of the great food that is cultivated here is exported to countries that will pay a lot for it. So if you live in a lower-income neighborhood you may struggle more than I have.
Furthermore, if you don’t like to cook, you may have a very hard time.
The Colombian diet is fairly healthy in comparison to the U.S. and Mexico. The population isn’t as obese as Mexico or the U.S, and eating beans, lentils, beets, and cassava is commonplace.
Medellin has been my home for the past nine years. Four out of the nine years I’ve been without meat.
In my experience, people are pretty open to the idea of someone eating healthy. And when I tell a new friend that I don’t eat meat they usually don’t balk at it or see it as a sign of weakness, probably because I’m usually bigger than them…lol.
Cut Your Hair You Vegan Hippie!
First of all, I’m not a fan of the vegan stereotype.
When I think of the word vegan I think of stinky hippies with hemp clothes and dreadlocks. That isn’t, and will never, be me.
So I’m trying to redefine what a vegan is and looks like.
Obviously, Medellin isn’t like Southern California or New York when it comes to vegan options, but there are options.
Vegan Restaurants in Medellin
Prâná Cocina – Envigado
Address: Transversal 31 Sur #32d-14, Envigado – Google Map
Vegetarian Restaurants in Medellin
These are vegetarian restaurants with vegan options.
Why I Don’t Eat Animals
Primarily, I don’t eat meat or animal products because I don’t want to kill or hurt animals.
Secondly, it’s scientifically proven that meat is not necessary for a healthy diet. On the contrary, there’s a lot of evidence showing that meat contributes to many diseases and ailments, and that a plant-based diet helps reverse many of them.
- The effects of plant-based diets on the body and the brain: a systematic review
- Nutritional Update for Physicians: Plant-Based Diets
- Plant based diet may reduce cardiovascular death risk by 32%
I’m a Logical (hard-headed) Person
I dropped out of college and grabbed on to entrepreneurs’ coat-tails because I wanted to be a real entrepreneur.
I’ve had many bosses/mentors in my life. Sometimes they’d ask me to do things that I didn’t like. For example, I had a boss that sent me home whenever I didn’t have a notepad and pen on me in the office. I had another boss that would send me home whenever I wasn’t smiling in the office. Another crazy guy told me to cold call 10,000 people in two months or else I’d be fired…the stories go on.
Never once did I quit.
Because if someone that is more successful than me tells me to do something, I trust that it was for my own benefit.
Even though it was really hard at times, I kept working, I kept positive, I kept pushing.
The same goes for my diet.
If scientists, doctors, and professional athletes are telling me that a plant-based diet contributes to a healthier and stronger body, longer life, and better sex…what fuck do you think I’m going to do.
Even if I didn’t care about animals or the environment, I’d still be vegan because I’m not an idiot.
I’m also very hard-headed when it comes to my convictions.
As a matter of fact, I became vegan when I was 19…solely out of spite.
I told my best friend that I was going to give up meat. He said, “You’ll never be able to do it.”
So I did it for 2 years.
I’m 38 and I play Basketball with 25-year-olds
I’m a pretty good midrange shooter, I’m 6’2″ so I can get a rebound or two, I’m an ok defender, but my biggest advantage on the court is my stamina.
I can run, and run, and run…
When I first went completely plant-based that was one of the biggest differences I noticed. My stamina increased and my recovery time decreased.
I went from running a 10K in over 70 minutes to running it in under 65 minutes now. (And I’m not falling over at the end like I used to.)
So running for a full 48 minutes of a basketball game with guys 10 years younger than me and not getting tired is vital because I don’t like sitting on the bench.
Good Vegan Documentaries to Watch
I’m not one to push veganism on anyone. What you do with your life is on you. However, there might be someone out there wanting to get more information. Here are a few documentaries that won’t bore the shit out of you, that I like.
The Game Changers – Netflix
99% on Rotten Tomatoes – A UFC fighter embarks on a quest to find the optimal diet for human performance and health. He meets with visionary scientists and top vegan athletes including Lewis Hamilton, Patrick Babomian, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
What the Health – Netflix
61% on Rotten Tomatoes – This is a 2017 documentary film which critiques the health impact of meat and dairy products consumption, and questions the practices of the leading health and pharmaceutical organizations. Its primary purpose is to advocate for a plant-based diet.
Forks Over Knives – Netflix
79% on Rotten Tomatoes – This is a 2011 American advocacy film and documentary that advocates a low-fat, whole-food, plant-based diet as a way to avoid or reverse several chronic diseases.
Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Solution – Netflix
89% on Rotten Tomatoes – This is a 2014 documentary film that explores the impact of animal agriculture on the environment, and investigates the policies of environmental organizations on this issue.
Vegucated – Amazon
73% on Rotten Tomatoes – This is a 2011 American documentary film that explores the challenges of converting to a vegan diet. It “follows three meat- and cheese-loving New Yorkers who agree to adopt a vegan diet for six weeks.”
Plant-based Diet Ted Talks that I Like
Plant-strong & healthy living: Rip Esselstyn at TEDxFremont
Every Argument Against Veganism | Ed Winters
The Power of Plant-Based Eating | Dr. Joanne Kong
I Love Nutritional Science: Dr. Joel Fuhrman
Dating as a Vegan in Medellin
Some people ask me if dating is hard as a vegan in Medellin.
For me, it’s getting harder and harder. I mean not only do I have issues with relationships (as you may already know from my blog post about my experience dating in Medellin) but now I’ve thrown being vegan in the mix…it’s only making me less marketable, lol.
On the real, the more I become conscious about what I consume, the harder it gets to be with someone that isn’t conscious.
I’d like to think that I’ll be able to continue to date a woman that eats meat, wears leather, etc. However, that’s looking more and more unlikely.
I’ve got to make a bigger effort to go out and meet new people.
Cooking Vegan in Medellin
I like to cook and I don’t want to be supporting stores that support and promote the mass suffering and killing of animals. Here’s where I buy my fruits and vegetables guilt-free.
Mercado Campesino La Presidenta
Every Sunday morning there’s a farmer’s market at parque la presidenta in el poblado.
Vegano Market – Order On-line
This online store has many vegan products that I order online to be delivered to my home or office.
Being on a plant-based diet in Medellin isn’t very difficult, nor is it expensive. I hope that you’ve found this blog post helpful.
I haven’t been to all of the restaurants listed, so if you’d like to go, hit me up and we’ll check em out.
ABOUT THE WRITER – ANDREW MACIA
Hello, my name is Andrew Macia and the Medellin Buzz is my blog. I moved to Medellin in 2010 and fell in love with the city. I taught advanced level English for four years and then started a digital marketing company.
I love Colombia, and Medellin is my home. I like to write and I want to give back to the community. This is the best way I know how. I hope you enjoy my blog!
ABOUT THE MEDELLIN BUZZ
I started the Medellin Buzz as a resource for my English as a foreign language students. A site where they could read about their city in English, that wasn’t boring. It slowly turned into a personal blog and hub for information for people discovering Medellin. I check comments frequently, so feel free to leave your comments and/or questions below.