Decolonizing My Diet

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In my research for our past two assignments, I’ve frequently come across a cookbook called “Decolonize Your Diet,” written by Luz Calvo and Catriona Rueda Esquibel. I bought the Kindle version of it on Amazon for about $9.99, and I’m looking forward to making at least one of its recipes, which I’ll be sure to post about.

This Alternet article on the cookbook details its beginnings:

It all started when Luz Calvo, professor of ethnic studies at Cal State East Bay, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006. Her research led her to discover that Mexican women have some of the world’s lowest breast cancer rates. And that immigrant Latinas had lower breast cancer rates than non-immigrant Latinas.

She began researching early Mexican foods extensively with her partner Catriona Rueda Esquibel, associate professor in race and resistance studies at San Francisco State University.

Together, they have written Decolonize Your Diet: Plant-Based Mexican-American Recipes for Health and Healing. The cookbook combines ancient wisdom with modern-day conveniences, using lesser-known ingredients such as jicama, nopales, and chayotes in creative ways. But it’s more than that.

The book is also a well-researched “love letter” to all the abuelas(grandmothers) out there, who have kept alive these culinary traditions for thousands of years. Recently, Luz spoke with me about traditional Mesoamerican cuisine, and how returning to these culinary roots can improve many people’s health and well-being.

Indigenous influences on Mexican food are pretty well-acknowledged, but I’d say they even serve as a collective foundation for modern Mexican food. European tastes have certainly brought the more unhealthy element to Mexican food that we know of, particularly the heavy usage of dairy and meat. I’m looking forward to learning more about Indigenous cuisines and what makes them so healthy, and hopefully implementing them into my own diet.


  1. Quick note, amiga–I have you down for all 12/12 blog posts so far, and all the IG posts too. So cool to watch you explore nuestra comida. It’s quite rare when being Mexicana/o becomes front and center of a class in NYC, so I’m happy you’re able to experience this. It’s been a joy to have you in class too. Adelante!


  2. These are two of the best scholars around who study Chicanx culture. I presented with them previously and they blew me away. The book is great with tasty recipes. But one thing to consider is that Mexican food is a hybrid cuisine, of indigenous, Asian, African, and European influences. This book, though, celebrates the indigeneity of Mexican food. That’s something that will come back when we really focus on corn in some of the books this semester.


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