Sourcing Your Favorites in Chapala

Recently I changed my diet to vegan. Not because I got religion; not because I have a mission to “save the animals;” definitely not because it’s trendy. No, simply because I’ve found the scientific evidence compelling and given that I am in geezerdom, I’d like to hang around this moral coil a bit longer. I’m loving Mexico that much!

And not to worry. I’m not evangelical about it either. What you do is your business; I have enough to handle managing my own life, LOL!

Last year I knuckled down at long last and lost the excess weight I’d been carrying around for decades, thanks to Susan Peirce Thompson and Bright Line Eating. I “found” BLE right after I had totally given up on ever losing weight. In eight months I shed eighty pounds, never being hungry (beyond normal) and almost without cravings.

The current shift to vegan has been more challenging. After all, how many bowls of beans could I eat for protein without going crazy? I had to find other sources and fast in order to stick with it.

So I hunted down a source of tempeh and other frozen meatless protein. However, the only place I could find to buy these items is in Guadalajara, and even less pleasant, far on the northern side of the city. (Chapala is pretty much to the deepest south of Guadalajara.)

Nonetheless, last weekend I mounted an expedition with our neighbors to make the drive (Bonita is back in the States for a visit with family.) Off we trekked, stopping first at a lovely upscale supermarket called City Market. [This site is in Spanish, so turn on Google Translate if you go.] The closest thing we’ve found to a Whole Foods here in Guadalajara.

City Market is the anchor of an upscale mall. (Malls are alive and well here in Mexico.) Wondering around the mall, I came across a wing with a local mercardo, local vendors presenting their wares–mostly artisan foods. And low and behold, I found both vegan and vegetarian tamales. Oh joy!!! Moreover, another vendor had vegan nopale (cactus) chips. And still another had unsweetened chocolate (mixed with nuts rather than milk) and raw nuts. What a paradise for me!

Meeting my neighbors, we went back to the car and were planning to head to Mr. Tofu for the tempeh and the like. Alas, teeing it up in Google directions, the store had already closed. Disappointed in that, yet happy to have made the artisan food discovery, we headed back to Chapala.

Part of me groaned though. Would I have to make the trek back to Guadalajara every time I wanted the tamales and chips and tempeh? Wondering, wondering.

Fast forward to yesterday. I planned the trip back to Guad. This time alone. Not excited about driving in Guad, alone, even during the day. I went back and forth about it and then suddenly it occurred to me to just ask Google about vegan tamales here in Chapala. I did, and found nothing. However, I did discover a vegan restaurant here. Hmmmmm, maybe, just maybe, they have tamales.

So I drove over for almuerzo (lunch). There, I found an oasis. Ol-Lin is in the driveway and backyard of a private residence. Beautifully maintained and appointed. Impeccable. Tables dot the backyard, which is graced by birds and palm trees.

I was cheerfully greeted by Culu, a vivacious young lady (and the owner I believe) and given a seat by the swimming pool. I ordered a hearty lunch and totally enjoyed it. Then I asked Culu (who speaks English) whether they ever make tamales? Oh yes, she said, tomorrow (Sunday). Could I order some and pick them up? Certainly so.

Then I asked about tempeh. Oh yes. They make tempeh on occasion.

Sourcing problem solved, just like that, and practically right around the corner.

This morning, Sunday, I had a scrumptious desayuno (breakfast) and picked up the tamales.

And I put in a standing order for every Sunday.

Life as a vegan just got a whole lot better!

And a great lesson for me in sourcing. Since we moved here we’ve lived by a shopping rule: if you want it, buy it when you see it. It might not present itself again. When some items are standard stock, many are not. This appears to be true from the mercado to WalMart.

And as Dorothy says at the end of my all-time favorite movie, The Wizard of Oz, if I ever think again that I’ve lost my heart’s desire, I’ll look no further than my own backyard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.

2 thoughts on “Sourcing Your Favorites in Chapala”

  1. Congrats, Bob! Seeking out the “odd” items you need in a foreign country can be daunting but looks like you’re bravery and confidence stands up to the challenge! I recently made the switch to (mostly) vegan (since 2/3 members of my immediate family are not, we still share some non vegan options). I found a book at my dad’s house that convinced me it’s the best way to better health. Make sure you make some tasty non-spicy dishes to share with Bonita! And add some turmeric! 😉 miss you.

    Thank you, Hannah. Oh yes, for both of us. Miss you too!

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