Saturday: Mexico City Markets & Meat

Note: This post does contain some images that may be disturbing to some.  Click off the page now if you’re not interested in seeing raw meat.  Also, please do not shoot me as the messenger, either.  I am simply telling a story as a photographer on assignment, so to speak.

My day started shooting my first photograph at about 6:30am, some of which are shown here in my last post, Breakfast.

And I didn’t take my final image until 11:22pm.

I took a taxi back to the room but the other ladies stayed out enjoying their mezcal.  I’m not a fan of it and actually haven’t drank at all this trip.  I am tired enough; alcohol is just going to put me to sleep!  But it’s traditional here in Mexico to enjoy mezcal.  Or enjoy lots of it.

  In between breakfast and mezcal, we shot.all.day.  I am exhausted.  Both physically and emotionally.

We went to the open air markets and there was so much meat, everywhere.  This is the land of chop it off the bone, fry it, add cheese to it.

The pride this woman has making her blue corn tortillas is evident and beautiful.

And then she fills them with meat and cheese.

The joy this woman has frying potatoes emanates from her.

And these guys were so happy at 8am on a Saturday morning in the rain just hanging out on the back of a truck.

Carcasses and all.

As was this man.

If nothing else, this trip has reinforced my commitment to a plant based diet. 

I also cried a couple times today when photographing the meat, the carcasses, the dead birds.

But, as a photographer, I am telling a story.

I am showing how the overwhelming majority of people here seem to eat.

Young…

…to older.

I don’t choose meat for my own life path, I don’t judge others who do, but I do at times have a hard time seeing it raw, bloody, and in such abundance.

On that note, I’ll take a pineapple juice please!

I’ll have what these guys are having!

It’s been a very long, emotional, moving, and powerful day for me.

I will process and ruminate about this day for a very long time to come.

The winners of the Two Cookbooks for Two Winners are:

Kristina @ spabettie July 7, 2011 at 3:03 pm

all right, Averie, you are gonna laugh at this one, but something I make that is TOTALLY tasty and easy (and healthy) – all the variations of christin’s chickpea balls! :) I have made so many variations of them and they’re all good. ;) perhaps I’ll send you some as a housewarming…

And

Alex@Spoonful of Sugar Free July 7, 2011 at 4:01 pm

I already facebook like you :D

Please email me your shipping addresses, ladies!

Questions:

1. Have you ever had to do something that you don’t personally agree with but for the sake of something else, or for another reason or to tell a story or to demonstrate something to others, you endured it or dealt with it in some capacity?

I apologize to anyone who is offended by the photographs in this post.  I almost didn’t post some of them but I wanted to show you what I saw.  And trust me, I saw a whole lot more that would make your eyes pop out of your head.  Those images will never be posted. 

I imagine that teachers who have to teach about concepts like evolution or creationism, or health teachers who discuss topics like abortion or family planning, if what they are instructed to teach goes against their own personal views, I imagine this is extremely difficult for those teachers.

Or perhaps a vegan waiter in a non-vegan restaurant has ethical issues serving the food but needs his paychecks to support his own family and in this economy it’s not always so easy to just go find another job.

Or perhaps a lawyer who is a public defender and has to defend someone who is behind on their child support payments or who has committed a very serious crime, I am sure this is gut-wrenching for that attorney, but because all people have rights to legal representation in the U.S., someone must defend those persons.

As a photographer, I am telling a story.  A very hard story for me to tell.  But one that I feel is important to showcase rather than not tell it and pretend it doesn’t exist.

I love all my friends, the meat eaters and not.

This is no way is a judgment on anyone who eats meat, seafood, plants, eggs, dairy (and I have cooked with dairy and eggs in some of my baked goods and desserts the past six months such as White Chocolate Blondies with Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting or Fudgy Nutella Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting).  We are all on our own paths.

I wanted to showcase some of the powerful images and photographs I made today.  Hard or not.

2. Where are you at with your own personal meat eating, seafood eating, dairy or egg eating?  And why?

3. On lighter matters, what’s been going on for you this weekend?

I have a 6am wakeup call to start it all over!  Whirlwind, indeed!

Never intended to write this type of post tonight but could not sleep until I shared some of what I experienced today. 

Please let’s all be respectful and kind in the comments.  Thank you in advance!

   

69 Responses to “Saturday: Mexico City Markets & Meat”

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    Tasha @ Voracious Eats — July 9, 2011 at 11:28 pm

    You are SO incredibly talented, Averie! You have a knack that I don’t think can be taught – you capture *moments*, split seconds that seem to showcase the whole scene perfectly. I don’t know how you do it but WOW. I am loving watching you grow as a photographer. Thanks for taking us all on the ride with you!

    Well, as just about everyone in the food blogging world knows, I gave up veganism last year after 3 years of it left me sick and weak and very ill. I still get death threats and violent emails about my decision TO THIS DAY. It is really ridiculous. But, I now eat meat, eggs, or fish, every single day and I have no plans to ever give it up again because it gave me my health back. Until someone has lost their health and experienced serious illness, you just can’t predict what you will do in that situation. But I will guarantee that you will do anything to feel better again, even if that means being forced to reevaluate your entire world view. Eating meat saved my life, and I’m so thankful for that.

    Reply

    • Averie (Love Veggies and Yoga) replied: — July 10th, 2011 at 12:03 am

      I am humbled by everything you just wrote in your 1st paragraph, Tasha. Thank you. So.much.
      :)

      “I still get death threats and violent emails about my decision TO THIS DAY. It is really ridiculous.”–
      It makes me sick FOR YOU! I love and respect you, I know what you went thru, and what you still go thru. Thank you for being honest and true to yourself and I am so sorry, Tasha, for what must be hell on earth as you deal with this stuff. It makes me so mad on your behalf!!

      Reply

    • Baking 'n' Books replied: — July 10th, 2011 at 11:38 am

      Wow. That really is powerful Tasha. Thanks for sharing that. I’ve never been vegan but Lord knows used to think that I *should* just be eating raw or fruits and veggies all day. It only left me weak, sick and looking like it.

      BUT I don’t judge anyone else’s preferences as long as they do what they truly know is right for them and now to restrict or something somehow.

      Also I am a meat-eater, but I find those images disturbing. Sorry you had a rough day Averie -it’s a testament to your love for photography for sure at least! Get some needed sleep.

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    Kristina @ spabettie — July 9, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    yay Yay YAAAAY! thank you, Averie, I’m emailing you now. :D

    I’m sure I would have had a similar experience as you today. I’m not offended and I don’t judge others with different views than mine, but yes, that would be hard to see and be around. Even though about 88% of my normal daily diet is vegan (much of it raw!), I do occasionally eat fish. I was a vegetarian for many MANY years, and a vegan even more recently. My main reasons initially (and before I really saw/read/heard anything about treatment of animals) were food preferences and eating clean. While my reasons now still include diet, they also include how I feel about the industry as a whole – it’s horrifying.

    I respect your approach, Averie, and your want as a photographer to tell the story of your weekend, your experiences, the ways of life you are seeing. I appreciate an open mind.

    Big busy wedding all day today (super fun!), and tomorrow Basil and I are going to the triathlon to cheer on James Cotter with Lindsay! WEEE I am excited!

    enjoy the rest of your trip!

    Reply

    • Averie (Love Veggies and Yoga) replied: — July 10th, 2011 at 12:04 am

      congrats hon and thank you for respecting my approach…and for clarifying your path. I never really knew (or can keep everyone’s path) straight!

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    Anne — July 9, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    Your pictures are just beautiful Averie. I hope your are enjoying and sucking the marrow (haha – figuratively) from this experience, but it sure looks like it. I am totally in the boat with you on the alcohol choices. Sometimes a little alc is just what you need to round off an experience – sometimes it just isn’t, especially if you’re a tad exhausted. And more than a little alcohol? Been there, done that, no need to repeat, haha! Better get the full blast of every other experience, sometimes that’s intoxicating enough as it is!

    I eat meat. I have a very limited diet and I am underweight, so there’s no other way. I get sad and angry sometimes from looking at the gorgeous meat free meals on your and other bloggers’ blogs, but I don’t want to be a cry-baby about it – there are people in the world much worse off for food choices than me. Much. And many of them.

    I think taking a peek at the meat indusry will make any sensitive person cry. I know I was a vegtarian for a couple of days after visiting a meat “factory” in school – but vegetarianism isn’t easy when you are not packing your own lunch box ;-). Now, I try to get my eggs organic or free range, and my meat the sam, but I am conflicted about it – eating a chicken breast or a slice of pork is very, very different from witnessing how most of it is produced. The sheer scale of it! The inhumanity! It is shaming. Well, I’m sure you’ll get enough comments on this one :-). Hope you continue to enjoy your trip – and keep the pics coming!

    Reply

    • Averie (Love Veggies and Yoga) replied: — July 10th, 2011 at 12:05 am

      thank you Anne for always reading, your thoughtful comments, and like Tasha above you and a few other friends of mine, I know meat is really key to your health and is a well researched, well thought out, very conscious choice. And I will always respect that :)

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    Tiina McKay — July 10, 2011 at 1:43 am

    Oh my gosh, what a draining day, both physically and definitely more so emotionally! I actually got emotional reading this, and I’m not even vegetarian. And I’m not going to pretend I know anything about photography, but I have to agree with what Tasha said above about you being great at capturing moments. I definitely feel like I’m there with you through the photos.

    Hopefully people will keep the comments respectful as you are obviously already having such a hard time with this. I greatly believe in bioindividuality, and I’m a great believer in the Blood Type Diets. Veganism works great for some people, but would literally kill others. I have a lot of respect for people who are vegan out of compassion for our animal friends, but I’m not going to lie, to me my own health and that of my family and friends comes first. Having said that, I’m not a complete monster. It’s sickening the way animals are treated and would love to see a shift towards humane treatment of animals.

    Can’t wait to see more of your trip! Oh, and I had a fun beach day today with the family :)

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    cathy — July 10, 2011 at 3:19 am

    thanks so much for sharing your emotion-packed day, averie, both thru the images you photographed and with your words/impressions. the key, as you say, is that you are telling a story. i appreciate this weekend’s posts as i’ve never been to mexico, and you are opening up a whole new world to me – thanks.
    i eat very little meat – have just never liked the taste, even as a child! “everything in moderation,” my dad’s favourite quote, is what i try to keep in mind.
    best wishes with your day today – what a whirlwind!

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    Hayley @ Oat Couture — July 10, 2011 at 3:50 am

    Great photos, I think sometimes you have to take yourself completely out of your comfort zone to get the most moving images. Thank you for doing so and sharing them with us! :) My personal approach is that I have tried to cut meat out as much as possible. I grew up with meat and If i’m honest I still love it! However I know that it’s not the best thing for my health and I think some of the ways in which meat is farmed is absolutely disgusting! Therefore I try to stick to a mainly vegetarian diet. I’m not saying I will never eat meat again because that would probably be a lie but I will certainly be a lot more conscious of where it comes from etc etc. Aside from this I do eat dairy but again I try to keep my intake to a minimum. I’m not saying my way is the right way, just the best for me at this time in my life! Have a great sunday! :)

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    Lisa — July 10, 2011 at 4:00 am

    Looks like an amazing time! I think it’s good to acknowledge the meat practices going on…even if we are disturbed by them. It’s just reality and part of their culture—so thank you for showing it (even though it did make me a little nauseous!).

    I teach nutrition, and some of the things I have to present (like almost every government recommendation) are not things I personally believe to be true. My method to get around this is to ask probing questions and trick them into coming to their own conclusions–I assign articles to read and show documentaries that show the “other” point of view…and then I lead them into a debate among themselves or ask them to make their own interpretations. Some of them still really don’t get it. But many of them do… Usually, the biggest misconceptions are about dairy and meat/protein.

    I personally do not eat many animal products, but I occasionally eat fish or seafood, and I’m contemplating eating eggs again. No dairy, and rarely gluten (sometimes I do, even though I know I’ll feel crappy). I really enjoy veggies and fruits the most!

    Have fun!

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    Tara — July 10, 2011 at 4:01 am

    Averie, your pictures are gorgeous! I can’t wait to see more.

    My diet has been rocked a few times in the past 4.5 years. It’s almost 4.5 years ago that I went vegan for health reasons. I constantly didn’t feel good and I was hoping for the miraculous health shift I had heard so many vegans describe… it didn’t happen. I gave it up about a year and a half later after my uncle passed away and it just seemed suddenly very silly to me to be passing up homemade comfort food. About half a year later, I was back to eating vegan. Not for health reasons this time, but just because I liked it better. Well, my health problems got worse so I went back to meat eating. 6 months later, I’m still struggling with health problems. It suddenly clicked that I needed to see a doctor (I know, I know… I have NO idea why it never clicked before) and it turns out I might have celiac or some other gluten intolerance (test results in a few weeks!!). While on one hand I’m really excited/relieved to have all of my complaints justified, I’m also completely devastated about removing gluten from my diet. It sounds dramatic, but I love carbs! (Which could explain why I’m so sick, ha.) Anyway, if I do have to become gluten and dairy free (I’m lactose intolerant), I’m struggling with what to do with the rest of my diet. I’ve reached a more ethical understanding of my veganism, so it’s hard for me to justify adding meat back in. I can probably eat eggs, so maybe I will add them. And fish? Well, I’ve never liked fish but I could try it… maybe. What I’ve learned from all of this is that how we eat is such a personal decision and that sometimes we have to reconcile what our brains want with what our bodies need.

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    Jess@HealthyExposures — July 10, 2011 at 4:51 am

    I’m going to attempt to keep this post short, even though I feel like I could ramble for days right now, haha. I’ll make lists to keep myself on topic.
    a. Your photos = phenomenal, from start to finish. Did you get a new lens or is this the same one you’ve always had? Looks like you’re getting a shallower DOF on the close-ups than I’ve seen you use before. Love it, though.
    b. you’re capturing wonderful moments. i love photojournalism. and props to you – it looks like you’re dealing with going from one lighting condition to the next! usually makes for some hair pulling :P
    b. I am not offended by the meat, but I agree with you – don’t shoot the messenger. It’s a part of their life. You are documenting it. It is inevitable. People eat meat! It’s just how it is, whether it’s agreed with or not. Around here, people think there’s something wrong with me for not eating meat. To each their own. There is no right or wrong.
    c. I don’t eat meat or dairy for ethical reasons. I’d be okay with locally-produced dairy in small amounts where there are no animal by-products…but by now I honestly don’t even care for eating it. And it sounds like a warped perspective, but I don’t have as much against eggs, as you know. I do always source them from a local farm, however.
    d. hah, there was mezcal on chopped last night. i’d never even heard of it before and now you’re mentioning it, too!

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    Lindsey @ Gluten-Free Lindsey — July 10, 2011 at 5:00 am

    You are just so talented :)

    I do eat meat..and I enjoy eating it.. but it is a tough one… I try to be aware of where my meat is coming from, how it is raised, etc. I know it’s not always possible, but I really do try. Seriously, watching Food, Inc. changed my entire outlook on eating. I live in Australia, and I know standards are different here, but I can’t imagine it’s all that different… it’s a tough one and I have been thinking about it a lot lately…

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    Jaime — July 10, 2011 at 5:02 am

    As a vegan, I too have a very difficult time with images like the ones you show and refer to above, but I very much appreciate your honesty in this post. Thank you for sharing your journey with us!

    Reply

    • Averie (Love Veggies and Yoga) replied: — July 10th, 2011 at 9:18 am

      I know. I am an almost vegan (trace dairy, eggs in recent months ) but have spent my lifetime as a vegan or vegetarian. This was sooo hard.

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    marla — July 10, 2011 at 5:45 am

    Averie, it is amazing how much you are learning beyond the photography on this trip. I am so happy that you share all of this with us. You are right, this is all part of the big story. You are documenting a culture and to trim off all the “meat” would serve no purpose at all. I look forward to each and every one of your posts :) xo

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    char @ char on a mission — July 10, 2011 at 6:14 am

    I’ve given up meat for almost 2 months now, but still eat seafood the odd time. I gave up meat because chicken starting seeming gross to me, so I figured, ‘why eat it if it’s not appealing to me anyways?’ And I never really ate much steak, pork or beef to begin with. I don’t know if everyone has taken me seriously yet, since even yesterday my friend asked, ‘so how serious are you about this vegetarian thing?’

    I’m content with seafood for the summer because I feel it’s better for you and I love sushi; the thought of finishing out the summer with it works for me :)

    Since not eating all those other meats above though, I’ve lost some weight and feel way better about myself than I ever have. This is dumb, but I used to have ‘fat days’ and now I may have one thought in my head the odd day, but nothing close to what it used to be! I totally need to write a post about this on my own blog soon instead of taking up your comment section! haha

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    Rachel @ Eat, Learn, Discover! — July 10, 2011 at 7:09 am

    Wow. This really struck a nerve, hit a weak spot that I didn’t even realize I had. While I am not truly vegan or even vegetarian really, I’ve recently given up eating most meat and dairy. I did this mostly for health reasons, in an effort to only eat foods if I know where they came from, to avoid anything really processed. While I always support animal rights, it has never been a driving force behind my eating habits. That being said, the less I eat meat, the more I am repulsed by the idea of doing so.

    This post has really made me feel like I’ve been doing a good thing, even if it was originally for my own selfish reasons. For this, thank you for this amazing story.

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    Rachel (tea and chocolate) — July 10, 2011 at 7:11 am

    I just caught up with all of your Mexico posts. What an incredible trip! I feel like I’m there through all of your photography. It’s amazing how far you’ve come with the photography.
    I’m a vegetarian, but the meat pictures don’t offend me. Like you said, you’re documenting their culture, and it seems like it would be offensive to censor it according to your own beliefs, if that makes any sense. That doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be difficult to be around. I just hope people will respect my beliefs as I respect theirs.

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    Madeline - Greens and Jeans — July 10, 2011 at 7:18 am

    I’ve been to meat markets in foreign countries and I have an idea of some of the things you saw… not pretty. Although, I have to say, if you get rude snarky comments from the pictures you posted, I have no idea what these people are seeing. I actually scrolled through the post twice trying to find a picture that would be truly cringe worthy and I didn’t find anything. I think it is GREAT that people have set dietary paths, some by choice, and others not, but I don’t agree with pushing your views on others, unless asked. Yes, I eat meat, dairy, and eggs, but I haven’t always, and I have HEALTH reasons why I do so. I don’t need to be lectured if I want to order a hamburger when I’m with a vegetarian or vegan who doesn’t know my personal path with food!

    Looks like you are having the experience of a lifetime my friend!

    Reply

    • Averie (Love Veggies and Yoga) replied: — July 10th, 2011 at 9:21 am

      Oh it’s defi the experience of a lifetime and yes I know you have traveled extensively and Im sure you can imagine what I saw that I didn’t post about. (whoa!)

      But yes, I know you have consciously chose your path and your body calls for it, and I will always love you…and I miss our coffee clutches like never before! xoxo

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    Christine (The Raw Project) — July 10, 2011 at 7:42 am

    Loving all these trip pics, looks like you’re having a blast. I’m not offended by the meat pics and have seen plenty of that on TV. Plenty of shots like that in Forks Over Knives! For me, it renews my vegan lifestyle. Just because I don’t eat it anymore, doesn’t mean I think everyone shouldn’t or would judge them, so I know I’ll be seeing it and smelling it all around and that’s okay.

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    Alex@Spoonful of Sugar Free — July 10, 2011 at 8:10 am

    I love the picture of the lady with the blue corn tortillas. Not only are the tortillas gorgeous, but you can see the joy she has on her face of making something so simple! I do eat meat, but I completely respect those who have found their own paths without it. Everyone works differently, with meat and without. I am so glad when people find what works for them the most.

    And YAY! So excited to win :D I will email you now!

    Keep up the good work, Averie! Enjoy your trip!

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    Lynne @ 365 Days of Baking — July 10, 2011 at 8:13 am

    Averie,
    you captured life so beautifully in those photographs! What a phenomenal experience – to have your eyes opened to so many things, be validated in your choices and to capture parts of life that so many of us don’t see. I truly felt like I was there because of your pictures! I so look forward to more.
    Keep up the great work! And remember to just breathe…

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    Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine — July 10, 2011 at 8:41 am

    I don’t eat meat for mainly taste reasons, but there are some health reasons and ethical issues in there, as well. I honestly could care less what other people eat, though. I know what I feel is right and what works for me, but I can’t judge what works for others. Plus I think the best way to convert people to a plant-based diet is through example. They’re not going to listen if you just tell them how good tempeh can be, you’ve got to show them :)

    When I was in London at Borough Market there was a man shaving meat off of pig legs and strangely, it didn’t bother me. I didn’t post the photo I took, but for some reason it seemed like there was so much more of an ethical consciousness to it in that setting. Humans have eaten meat for thousands of years, and while it’s not my personal choice, I take less issue with the small farmers who have an attachment to their animals and work hard to maintain their career, than to the mega corporations that just kill to make a huge profit.

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    Katie — July 10, 2011 at 8:42 am

    I’m with Madeline. I don’t see any truly cringe-inducing photos, and I am squeemish to the nth degree with raw meat. I have been to several developing countries and seen this stuff first hand, and I know it gets much much worse than what you show. I went to Otavalo (largest market in Ecuador) and was just shocked at what I saw and I’m not a vegetarian.

    Still, I think you know that i am very very careful and consciencious about the meat and the eggs that I eat and buy. The more I read and learn about them too, the more I am convinced that for both health and environmental reasons, if you are going to eat meat, the ONLY place to get it is from a farmer you know and trust. The labels that are federally regulated mean next to nothing. I reviewed a book called Eating Between the Lines (http://makingfoodandotherstuff.wordpress.com/bookshelf/eating-between-the-lines/) that explains a lot of it. Even so, most of the organic, free range, etc. meat dairy and egg labels aren’t enough. My personal opinion of course, but as a total cheapskate, I have to say that it is worth it to me to buy my more expensive meat. Taste, health and environment.

    On lighter note, I love the photos of the people. Even if I don’t eat that food, the looks and the love that is clear in their expressions make me wish I did!

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    The Delicate Place — July 10, 2011 at 9:16 am

    i don’t eat grains or dairy but i do eat all meat, offal, seafood & eggs. i thrive on this lifestyle and in fact, was only a chicken/fish girl up until about 2.5yrs ago. the organ meats/variety is what helps me feel & look my absolute best. i’m surprised that you feel that strongly about eggs too…i mean most people have their own chickens in mexico so it’s not like they are mass factory farmed. i try to source my meat locally and i’ve visited farms before to check out the conditions.

    i don’t feel any moral obligation towards eating animals but then again i also work with research rodents in my job. i’m pretty much an abomination to PETA but i see the value in what i’m doing and how it’s helping people with disease. i’d rather test on them than start pumping people through the trials. i’m sympathetic to those with different lifestyles of eating but know it wouldn’t work for me and i’m ok with that!

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    Amber K — July 10, 2011 at 9:39 am

    I don’t eat meat, including seafood. But to be honest, my main reason for doing so is because I absolutely can’t stand the taste/texture of flesh. I just can’t do it. Sometimes I feel guilty that I don’t have a more selfless reason for staying away from it.

    I think it would be really hard to have to do something that I was morally opposed to. I knew of one biology teacher that had a question on his evolution test that asked if evolution was the proven reason we exist and if you answered false, you lost major points. I was so glad to not have to deal with that! What’s funny is that my biology teacher was actually “sick” the day we discussed evolution and so we had a sub that basically just let the class talk about it. I still think he wasn’t actually sick that day…

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    Amy — July 10, 2011 at 9:52 am

    Your pictures are great! Such talent you have! Do you ever think maybe you were put there in those circumstances to reaffirm your conviction to your plant based diet? I think sometimes we are put into situations to help us be more confident and sure of ourselves and our decisions we make in life. Goodness, I am getting all philosophical! Enjoy the rest of your trip. Can’t wait to see the rest of your photos!!

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    dragonmamma/naomi — July 10, 2011 at 10:11 am

    I’m not the least bit apologetic about being at the top of the food chain, but I do approach my meat-eating ways with a sense of respect for the animal, if that makes any sense to you. The way most animals are raised and slaughtered is absolutely atrocious. I want them happy right up until the moment they’re killed.

    I’m about to go to a local Share Fair, which is a community resources event. I’m hoping to find out if there are any local “chicken sharing” opportunities, where I can put in some work and get free-range eggs in exchange.

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    Leslie — July 10, 2011 at 10:18 am

    I think you got your point across very clearly and with taste. I know a lot of your readers are vegan (including myself), but it’s a hard fact of this world and it’s not like we can always just ignore it. I think you had no reason to apologize, but understand why you did. (However, I’m saying this from a veteran reader’s perspective, I’m sure you probably have some first time readers here too where you’d have to articulate your feelings on the subject.)

    Aside from the deep stuff, GORGEOUS pictures! You have really come a long ways in photography since I started reading your blog, and you are just doing a fantastic job! Can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

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    Jackie Smith — July 10, 2011 at 10:44 am

    Also having traveled, I have some of these same images in my head. For me, it’s not so much the meat that bothers me, but what it is a symbol of. Like a commenter above said, the longer I go without eating meat the less I want it.

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    Cait @ Cait hates Cake — July 10, 2011 at 10:51 am

    As far as meat and seafood eating go – I haven’t touched either in 14 years. I am at a weird place with dairy and eggs now, though. I went vegan for Lent this year. Since Lent ended, I am no longer vegan, but I probably still follow a vegan diet about 75% of the time. When I cook, it’s generally vegan. When I eat out, it’s vegetarian. Works for me, I guess.

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    Melissa @ Dash of East — July 10, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Thank you so much for sharing these photos Averie. Even though I know it must have been difficult for you to do this post. Seeing the meat in the market would probably bring me to tears as well.

    Luckily with my business, I haven’t been approached by any clients with projects that I feel strongly against. I have thought about what I would do if I was approached with a project like that, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens when the time comes.

    As for my vegetarianism – I’ve been struggling with it. I haven’t eaten meat, aside from seafood, since October. It’s been somewhat difficult to stay away from eating chicken, poultry, etc. because my husband isn’t vegetarian, nor does he want to be. So, I’ve been trying a to test out new vegetarian recipes that he will eat.

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    Snippets of Thyme — July 10, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    What great fun to pop in and SEE what this experience is like. Something to mull over the fact that all photography assignments are not going to be within your sphere of likes or dislikes. I remember traveling through Italy. Have you?? Woah, the amount of meat everywhere was very surprising to me. We were in one restaurant and ham hocks were hanging from every single rafter in the ceiling.
    Keep on keep’in on! What a fabulous experience.

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    Kaitlyn@TheTieDyeFiles — July 10, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    I really admire you for stepping outside of your comfort zone for your photography! You’re definitely reinforcing MY plant-based diet too. I’m fully vegan as far as my eating. I don’t know how I feel about it on the health end, whether cutting meat out entirely is THE ONLY way to be optimally healthy as some vegans are, but I definitely feel better eating a plant-based diet. My morals and also my environmental and food-industry concerns really reinforce my choices though. Gena at Choosing Raw’s green recovery series really hits home with me, as I’m a recovering disordered eater, and I think veganism is really fueling a healthier relationship with food.

    As far as the weekend, lots of cooking and hanging with the boyfriend!

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    Holly @ The Runny Egg — July 10, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Averie I’m sure this assignment was very tough for you! But you were photographing real people and people are not always going to be around things that you like — so I’m glad you posted the photos. You’re out of your comfort zone, but I feel like we sometimes learn so much when we are out of our element.

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    Ann Claire — July 10, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Wow, these pictures are incredible! You did an amazing job of capturing the emotions of the people and the whole scene that is going on.
    And to answer number 2, I do eat meat and dairy. Not a lot, but some. I do not, however, feel it is a neccessary part of the human diet and realize that many can and do thrive on veg diets. But, for me it works. Ideally, I would like to eat less meat and dairy and have what I do eat be all organic/cage-free/grass fed etc. I appreciate the fact that, though you do not eat it yourself, you are accepting and non-judgmental of those who do eat animal products.
    Great post!

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    Rachel @ My Naturally Frugal Family — July 10, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    Seeing meat, no matter what the quantity, always makes me glad I am a vegetarian.
    Those are some great photos and, even though it looks like a whirlwind day, I am sure it has been a wonderful trip.
    Congratulations on the new pad, I know I am a couple of days behind on saying so. I am sure you will be quick to make your kitchen the hub of your home.
    I look forward to seeing its transformation.

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    Courtney @ girlinthepink — July 10, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    As a health teacher and a non meat eater I can totally relate to your post! I try to be as non judgmental and “preachy” as possible. As a teacher my job was to give information in order to help my students make more informed decisions. As far as my diet, I just do my thing and if people are interested in learning about my choices, im happy to share.

    Everyone is on their own journey and will learn at their own pace!

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    Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking — July 10, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Oh your pictures are just awesome!! What a great post.

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    susan — July 10, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Incredible photos Averie, I can see how it was such an emotional day for you. Sometimes it’s difficult to understand people’s choices in life. I find it difficult in work when I see how medicated so many of my clients are. So many of them are on a high daily dosage of laxatives, yet if they were to eat a plant based diet with lots of fruit and vegetables, I don’t think they would have a problem with constipation etc. Also so many of the clients are on sedatives and as a result are over sedated and their true personality is really lost. What makes me the saddest is when I work with clients who have been disabled by their environmental factors and lack of stimulation when they were young. Very sad.

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    Michaela — July 10, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    thank you so much for sharing! I love your pictures. And this is also a great post, word-wise.
    I am a vegan when I am at home or at my parent´s house. But currently, I am living in France as an Aupair, and as long as the dairy products are organic, I do not mind a little butter here and there, although of course I would be happier with a 100% vegan diet. I try to choose vegan food wherever I go and I would not eat dairy just to make someone else happy and myself feel miserable afterwards…

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    Ela — July 10, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    Gorgeous pictures: you capture not just the facts of it but the real people and emotions. Mexico City looks like a happy place.

    In answer to your question #1, I do that pretty much every day of my life! I live with an omnivore and cook meat and gluten and everything else. I would also prefer to use only organic methods, but he uses sprays and other things at times. It’s a big dilemma for me, but life is all about compromise. I intend to write about it as part of my writing career, as I think it’s an important thing for people to think about: having one’s own boundaries but allowing them to be occluded by the comfort zones of other people whom we live with and love.

    I’m not eating any animal products at the moment, but I do recognize that many humans do better when they do: whether they “should” be able to convert to vegetarian/vegan is not my business. I feel tremendously privileged to be able to eat vegan and take supplements instead of being forced to eat meat by simple availability issues.

    I still don’t rule out eating eggs (eg from our neighbors) at some point, as they did me so much good at other times in my life–but only from a good source where the hens are well treated. Possibly, I even think I might be healthier if I ate them. I just don’t have any desire to at the moment.

    Good luck with the rest of your trip, and good on you for going home when you were ready instead of sticking with the crowd!

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    melody polakow: Vegan for 3.33 a day — July 10, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    I would be the biggest hypocrite ever if I said I never dealt with meat.

    I will NEVER eat it.. but I admit, I have prepared it and photographed it for paid photo-shoots…

    I wish I could be a 100% vegan photographer… but that hasn’t worked out. I sometimes cook meat and photograph it it make a living.

    ..sad but true… and in the real world.. MOST people eat meat.. and nothing that I do as a vegan is really going to change that.. hell, I can’t even change my oldest son who eats meat.

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    Michele Sparrow — July 10, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    I would first like to tell you in honest sincerity, that your photos are amazing. Really. I am so impressed by how much you have improved and they look so professional. Way to go for going after something you wanted and applying it so quickly and efficiently!

    I think it is absolutely fine that you are showing the photos you have. The reality is, these things happen in the world. You are not advocating it, simply showing it through your photographs. It can be compared to anything that is difficult: starving children, extreme poverty, crime, etc. Those things are difficult and even awful, yet they happen and sometimes the showing of images that pertain to those things provides an honest awareness so that others can take action. Personally, I don’t feel that you need to apologize for anything, but I understand why you did.

    As for my own personal eating, I am a raw vegan, basically. I do drink coffee with unsweetened organic soymilk and I drink lots of tea. My diet is raw vegan because I have extensive food allergies, for one, and eating that way makes me feel great. I also feel that even if I did not have food allergies that the eating of dairy and meat causes mucus and can be hard on the body and create an environment for illness. However, that being said, I know that there are those who need to eat that way for whatever reason and it is in their best health interests. I have absolutely no judgment whatsoever for however any person eats. To each his/her own! :-)

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    Jess — July 10, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    Personally, I choose to eat meat, but I definitely respect those who choose not to. I try not to judge anyone over their dietary choices. I also believe that eating a largely clean, (semi for me) plant-based diet is best for our overall health, within moderation of course. I am looking forward to seeing “Forks over Knives” and so is my boyfriend/parents (hopefully). I do not wish to go 100% vegetarian, but implementing more veggie-friendly meals is definitely a positive :)
    Love your blog–always non-judgmental and honest!! <3

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    Lisa is Raw on $10 a Day (or Less) — July 10, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    Averie, your photos are stunning and so artful. You really are talented at photographing people!

    ” … but I wanted to show you what I saw.” That’s exactly what I felt looking at your photos, that you showed me what you saw, which is what all good photography does.

    I’m vegan and pretty adamant about it, but I can’t say for sure what I would and wouldn’t do because I can’t predict 100% what circumstances may arise.

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    Sheree Perelman — July 10, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    Did you read the column in The Reader a couple of weeks ago about the reporter who snapped a picture of a child even though her father tried to shield the child from the camera? She told him it was within her rights to take the picture in a public place. She bragged about knowing her rights, and how sick she was of explaining them to people who didn’t want their pictures taken. I should have written a letter to the editor because I was so appalled by her indifference to the feelings of others. I’m so glad that you are a respectful photographer. Your pictures are fantastic. I stopped eating meat a few years ago, but I still eat seafood occasionally. After I went fishing with my kids, I stopped eating seafood for a while too. Your posts are fantastic. I like them, because they are well written, and I always learn something from you.
    Sheree

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    Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) — July 11, 2011 at 12:32 am

    This post was absolutely incredible Averie. I think you captured some very real moments, and I love the candid shots. I have a hard time looking at carcasses, and large chunks of meat, and sometimes smaller pieces of raw meat too.

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    Angela (veggievinyasa) — July 11, 2011 at 6:24 am

    Beautiful pictures of the people in Mexico!
    I’m newly vegetarian (except seafood). I hate the way animals are treated in factories. If I go back to eating meat, it will have to be local and organic. I’m trying to cut out dairy (or at least keep it local and organic), but I love Greek yogurt. Either way, I’m trying to keep things mostly plant-based.

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    Gena — July 11, 2011 at 9:14 am

    I certainly do think it was your job to document the meat, no matter how gruesome: being an artist means telling the truth (though of course there are so many avenues to truth telling!).

    Glad you feel more committed to your plant-centric diet: these experiences really can make an impact! I’m also glad that’s what your reaction was, since travel is so often the reason a lot of people abandon plant based eating.

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    bitt — July 11, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    So much rather see a picture of a dead carcass than a prepared meat meal. That latter is covering up the true source and other other is helping people make connections to where there food comes from. If they can still eat it knowing that, well, there is not much hope for them giving it up. I think you are an empathic person if you see it in that state and cannot eat it. Glad your previous feelings were confirmed. Sometimes it takes things like that to do it for us.

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    mi-an — July 12, 2011 at 10:53 am

    your pics are so awesome!! ok about the meat sitch…as you know i grew up in the philippines (an underdeveloped country like mexico), so i’ve seen pretty much anything as far as meat goes…how it’s killed for food (as we used to do with our chicken), i think being raised there allowed me to be “hard core” and not get grossed out with animal stuff, but also being raised here (second half of my life) allowed me to get educated about animal treatment and the industry here. the thing is, animals in my province in the philippines were not treated badly, they were fed properly, caged free, (and i don’t think we were aware of all the animal issues there, just the way people lived). with that said, i care for animals but i still eat meat (especially seafood!). just more aware of where my food comes from.

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    Allie (Live Laugh Eat) — July 12, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    These photos are BEAUTIFUL Averie! I wish I could have gone with you! Jealous to the max.

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