Posted in Life in Brazil

Being a vegetarian in Brazil

I haven’t found it difficult to be a vegetarian so far, despite all the comments about how much Brazilians love meat (no lie), and how good the meat is in Brazil (probably true) that I received back in Europe. Out here people really can be shocked by the idea of not eating meat, the look of surprise really is funny, the endless questions about my nutrient levels are less so (I am not deficient in anything, I have a blood test to prove it!)

Living in Minas means that people mainly eat meat, and cheese. Not forgetting rice and beans, (that goes without saying). So if I ever ask for a prato feito at a restaurant(rice, beans, salad, at least one meat and farofa- manioc flour) without meat, I just get offered a fried egg or an omlette instead, (I would recommend vegans do this when travelling to Brazil, good luck turning the egg down though, they’ll start worrying about your health!), I’d say that’s the second easiest option. The easiest is to go to a per kilo place, where you serve yourself, that way you just don’t pick the meat.

Churrascos (barbeques) are probably the hardest part of being a vegetarian in Brazil, but in my experience there is always salad, rice, barbequed cheese (yum!), garlic bread (again, yum!) or other snacks, aubergine spread on bread for example, to keep me happy. Once there was even barbequed banana with sugar and cinammon on top, which was absolutely amazing.

Vegetarian restaurants and food trucks are also quite common in BH, as in all large cities. In small villages they normally don’t exist, so follow the advice in the previous paragraph. Pao de queijo, and other pastries without meat (palmito- açai palm heart is always super creamy, but veggie), and queijo quente (grilled cheese sandwich) have often been a life line. Honestly the hardest thing is not rolling my eyes at the endless questions about being a vegetarian, yes I do know what I’m missing, I ate meat for most of my life, and no I don’t lack protein, or any other nutrients, and no I don’t really miss meat.

In different parts of Brazil, the diet is  different, Bahia and other places in the North East are famous for fish for instance, and from what I’ve seen it may be harder to avoid fish there, but I’ll let you know once I go! But as far as I know per kilo places exist all over Brazil, and vegetarians and vegans are safe there.


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