Going abroad...

Discussion in 'Vegetarian' started by riofrio, May 15, 2007.

  1. riofrio

    riofrio Member

    Hello, I'm new to these forums....

    I'm going through a bit of a "moral" dilemma. I recently decided to become fully vegetarian. Not necessarily vegan, but eventually I'd like to work my way into it. Here's the catch: even though I lived and have lived in the US for about 8 years, I'm originally from Peru, and I still go visit quite often (I moved here by myself, so my whole family is there). Food in general is a strong part of peruvian culture, and meat-eating is a no brainer. Vegetarianism is pretty much unheard of there, and I remember even telling my family that I was thinking about becoming a vegetarian made them upset! I haven't visited since, but I'm actually going down there in a couple of weeks. My dilemma is how to go about my vegetarianism without offending anyone, or being a pain in the ass (since people will cook for me all the time). It's extra tricky because peruvians take so much pride in their cuisine that I would feel like a traitor, kinda. Has anyone had similar inter-cultural vegetarian experiences??

    Also, since one of the main reasons for being a vegetarian has to do with animal treatment in the US, how can I find out information regarding other countries? I'm pretty sure fish is caught from the wild almost exclusively in Peru, but I also know that my survival is not dependent on eating them. Regardless, I anticipate people wanting to talk and debate me on the issue, and I'd like to have practical information available (i.e., regarding animal treatment in Peru). Would somebody be able to point me in the right direction?


  2. Dakota's Mom

    Dakota's Mom Senior Member

    Maybe you could focus on how animals are treated in the US. Make it out like Peru is so superoir in the way they treat animals. But since you don't want to participate in the cruelty of animals in the US you have made the decision not to eat any meat. Even though the animals are not treated badly in Peru, your body has gotten used to not eating meat. If you start eating it again in Peru, 1) it will make you very sick, and 2) you will have a hard time quiting again when you return to the US. This way you can let your family think it is not their lifestyle or culture that you are rejecting but the way things are done in the US that you are rejecting.

    Hope this makes sense.

  3. riofrio

    riofrio Member

    Thanks Kathi, That is great advice!
  4. drumminmama

    drumminmama Super Moderator Lifetime Supporter

    My point of reference is Mexico, over many years.
    animals are treated horribly. No pampered pooches, on the main (Note: I did not live in large cities aside from Cuidad Juarez) cows and horses both used for carne, and bony and overworked.
    I cannot think that care would be any better in Peru. The focus is on survival of humans.

    BUT turista areas are starting to see the money to be made on veggie tourists.
  5. Carlfloydfan

    Carlfloydfan Travel lover

    I posted about a similar dilemma a while ago so I will keep an eye on this post.
  6. drumminmama

    drumminmama Super Moderator Lifetime Supporter

    you know, there is also the when in Rome theory.

    I've always said that if I moved to CR like we plan, I'd probably eat fresh caught fish, depending on season.

    If veg alternative are available, go for those. Share some recipes and enjoy the people.
  7. drumminmama

    drumminmama Super Moderator Lifetime Supporter

    Rio, I can't believe it took me so long to pop this idea, but is the Seventh-Day adventist church established in Peru?
    they are typically at least pesca-eaters if not full blown veg. they'd be able to help you with local ingredients.
    We have an SDA-er here... help?
  8. You'd probably be suprised at what's avaliable. I was in slovakia 2 months ago, I've visited different areas of Eastern Europe a few times and they're not exactly that used to the idea of vegetarianism. The key to every meal seemed to be meat and cheese but I was shocked that there was also a few specalist Veg resteraunts, and veg options on menus. The best place I found was actually a Hare Krishna resteraunt there. Oddly one of the veg take out places was only open for a few hours a day and had huge lines coming out of it for those few hours.
  9. bruschetta

    bruschetta Member

    Before I went traveling I was just as worried as you are now, but trust me it isn't as bad as you think. I havn't yet been to Peru, but nearly everywhere in the world the concept of vegetarianism exists. Before leaving Canada, I worked in 2 restaurants. I tried again and again to become vegan, but there was too much temptation and I could never hold together and pull through. I've been in southeast asia now for just over a month, and like most other places ive travelled, I've become vegan without giving a seconds thought... it's easy when you don't have a choice.

    On the topic of wondering whether or not to eat the fish, you can't ask other people what YOU should do. This is your decision, and regardless of what you decide, it really shouldn't make that big of an impact on adjusting your diet when you go/come back.

    On the topic of offending your family, I can't say forsure because I dont know your family. Speaking from experience however, I dated a girl from southern saskatchewan whose parents own an elk farm. When we started dating, her freezer was full of elk and beef and all sorts, but I managed to convert her. Her dad thought she was crazy, and it was the source of much nagging and harassing, but when it all came down to it, they loved her as family and respeceted her decision, however alien it might have seemed to them.

    Good Luck!
  10. Clover

    Clover Member

    Yeah, Southamericans can be quite closeminded towards alternative lifestyles, I should know, I'm from Uruguay. When I became a vegetarian, my friends and family laughed at me and said it was just a phase, as they saw I wasn't changing my mind they started criticising me. My uncle didn't talk to me in two weeks! I guess they were scared of me changing or maybe they were offended, maybe they thought I no longer shared their values or something. Anyway, they are now used to it, and they are no longer trying to make me eat meat. Now they even eat soy "milanesas" once in a while.
    Once they understand that you are not rebelling against them, and that you have valid, solid reasons for being veg, they will accept it. Who knows? Maybe thay even like veggie food :)

    Mucha Suerte!!!!

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