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  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.


…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…


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!


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 comments on “Saturday: Mexico City Markets & Meat”

  1. 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.

    • 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!!

    • 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

    • 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 :)

  4. 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 :)

  5. 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!

  6. 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! :)

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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…

  11. 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!

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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!

    • 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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!

  19. 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…

  20. 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.

  21. 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 ( 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!

  22. 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!

  23. 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…

  24. 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!!

  25. Pingback: cutting out meats | char on a mission

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