By Jeff Paul

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Tacos, tamales and all the Mexican food favorites made without any meat. A North Texas family is breaking tradition and going vegan after the health scare of a lifetime.

Aurelio Arias felt like he had no choice.

“I don’t want to be dead. I love my family,” said Aurelio Arias.

After suffering a heart attack a few years ago, doctors told Aurelio Arias his diet was killing him.

“I say this is my problem, I want to change,” said Aurelio Arias.

He decided to stop eating any animal products and make it his business.

Aurelio Arias opened El Palote Panaderia with his wife Lily and son Aaron in the heart of Pleasant Grove’s Hispanic community.

“The people, they see the food and they say, ‘No, this is not vegan,’” said Aurelio Arias.

But converting traditional Mexican dishes was not so easy.

“At first, I remember we’d throw out so much stuff just because it wasn’t tasting good,” said Aaron Arias.

Aaron Arias said after perfecting recipes, the new challenge was changing minds.

“I’ve had some people just laugh, scoff and walk out thinking that’s kind of offensive to change traditional Mexican food,” said Aaron Arias.

Every customer is given the warning at the register before ordering that all the food is vegan.

“It’s better. (It) makes you feel different, not heavy,” said Manuel Lopez, a recent customer.

The Arias family said that is the goal of their restaurant… to turn more people onto healthier options.

“We’re trying to get it from a trend to a for-sure life style for our people, the Hispanic community,” said Aaron Arias.

They said it saved one life already, why not aim for more?

“It helped me, I want to help other people,” said Aurelio Arias.

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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