Ecuador Food & Nutrition


Ecuador food and nutrition are often a surprise to those who visit the country for the first time. Ecuador shamanic nutritional ideas can help health, energy and longevity.

Ecuador nutrition strikes again.  Last week a message at this site showed how, upon moving to Ecuador, Jim Reed lost 55 pounds in the last year… without trying.

A reader just sent this note which contains this common Ecuador weight loss refrain.

Hi Merri, Thanks again to you and Gary for your help when I was checking out Cotacachi.  Things have worked out well.  I am healthier than I have ever been, lost 32 pounds since arriving in Sept.  Bought a house and have finished the first level.  What an amazing place you have found.  Thanks Phil

Ecuadorians are noted as among the longest lived people on earth. This is, in part, from Andean foods and nutritional habits that began long ago. Since ancient times Andean Yatchaks, Shamans and Curanderos have taught healthy living supported by good nutrition. They based these healthy lifestyles on three ideals; clean food, good food combinations and a correct fat, carbohydrate and protein balance.

One reason Ecuador food is so good is that it is so fresh!

Cotacachi-food-market

Cotacachi food is really inexpensive too.

Our seafood in Cotacachi is fresh brought right from the coast.

Cotacachi-fresh-seafood

Here we are with our chef Santiago after buying seafood from the Ibarra market.

Nutrition is a huge problem in North America.

Excerpts from an article published in USA Today entitled “20% of U.S. preschoolers are obese” by Lindsey Tanner shows that dietary problems are still growing.  The excerpt says:   A striking new study says almost 1 in 5 American 4-year-olds is obese, and the rate is alarmingly higher among American Indian children, with nearly a third of them obese.

Overall, more than half a million 4-year-olds are obese, the study suggests. Obesity is more common in Hispanic and black youngsters, too, but the disparity is most startling in American Indians, whose rate is almost double that of whites.

The lead author said that rate is worrisome among children so young, even in a population at higher risk for obesity because of other health problems and economic disadvantages.

“The cumulative evidence is alarming because within just a few decades, America will become a ‘minority majority’ nation,” he said. Without interventions, the next generation “will be at very high risk” for heart disease, high blood pressure, cancers, joint diseases and other problems connected with obesity, said Flores, who was not involved in the new research.

The study is an analysis of nationally representative height and weight data on 8,550 preschoolers born in 2001. Children were measured in their homes and were part of a study conducted by the government’s National Center on Educational Statistics. The results appear in Monday’s Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

The current study looked only at obesity and a specific age group. Anderson called it the first analysis of national obesity rates in preschool kids in the five ethnic or racial groups.

This study shows that poor nutrition is a North American plague and it is embedded in every portion of the culture.

There is a lot we can learn about nutrition from Ecuador shamanic disciplines.

Our restaurant in Ecuador, the Quinoa Cafe celebrates the wisdom of the past and combines it with the unity of mankind. We continually serve fresh fruit…at coffee breaks.

Cotacachi-fresh-food-flowers

Quinoa Cafe’s core bill of fare is Quinoa, often referred to as the Andean grain, a wonderful food, native to the Andes. Quinoa sustained the ancient Incas and has been grown continuously for over 5,000 years. The plant thrives in poor soil, and the high mountain terrain of South America’s Andes.

Qunioa has been described as the super grain. Actually it is the SEED of a leafy plant that’s related to spinach. What makes quinoa special is that it has a very high protein content, more than any single grain. Plus unlike grain, Quinoa has the amino acid lysine, so the protein is complete. The World Health Organization ranks quinoa protein equivalent to milk. Quinoa offers more iron than grains and contains magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese, potassium, riboflavin, thiamin, B vitamins: B6, niacin, magnesium, zinc, copper. It is also a good source of folate (folic acid).

Quinoa is delicious and can be substituted for almost any other grain.

A lot of stress comes from poor nutrition. Quinoa offers an optional, delicious purifying and the diet you will enjoy at the farm can enhance your rest and boost your energy and heath as well as reduce your weight without any feelings of giving up or not enjoying your food.

Ecuador shamanic nutritional goals provide a delicious menu that improves digestion, reduces weight, increases energy, reduces toxicity in the system and balances the hormonal system so cravings and excessive hunger disappear. This system was taught to Merri and me, when we lived with Andean Yatchaks in an indigenous community.

The cornerstones of the Andean nutritional program are:

#1: Eating a balance of fat, carbohydrates and protein.

#2: Eating combinations of food for ideal digestion.

#3: Eating clean organic food prepared and served by happy, joyful people.

#4: Eating in good spirits at the right times.

#5: Chewing in the correct way.

#6: Eating purifying and satisfying meals.

#7: Balancing nutritional with correct sleep and exercise.

Here is what we will learned.

#1: Eat a balance of fat, carbohydrates and protein.

Our diet keeps protein balance without excessive amounts of meat using quinoa, eggs, cheese and yoghurt instead. A great deal of poor health and stress is tied in to the underlying hormonal disturbance caused by the excess production of insulin. This imbalance normally comes from too much food and incorrect protein, carbohydrate, fat balances in the diet. Every time we eat, hormones in our body will change, either good or bad. Delicious food with a balance of 3 parts carbohydrates, two parts protein and one part fat has the power to orchestrate beneficial hormonal changes in our body.

#2: Eat the correct combinations of food for ideal digestion.

Andean nutritional ideals also focus on combining foods in a way that avoid fermentation in the stomach. Foods and spices are divided into three types neutral, savory and sweet. Neutral can be mixed with savory or sweet, but no savory and sweet foods are mixed. The main neutral foods are grains, cereals, nuts and seeds. Meat and most vegetables are savory. Fruits are sweet. Cereals are ground and soaked to improve their digestibility. Sweet spices include cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, mint. Savory spices include sale, pepper, chiles, oregano, corriander, bay leaf, cumin, saffron, fennel. No two fats are mixed nor are fruit types.

#3 & 4: Eat clean organic food prepared and served by happy, joyful people and eat in good spirits at the right times. Food should be beautiful as well…like this feta salad we eat at home.

feta-cheese-salad

Candace Pert, Ph.D., is a neuroscientist who was awarded a Nobel prize for her groundbreaking work that shows the mind is not just in the brain but in the entire body. The mind and body communicate using the chemistry of emotion. Short chains of amino acids called peptides and receptors are found in the brain, stomach, muscles, glands and all major organs. They send messages back and forth linking mind and body. When we are happy our entire body is happy and reverse and this chemistry has a dramatic impact on our food and digestion.

Andean beliefs view the body composed of three elements earth (Pacha mama), fire (Taita Inti) and air Pacha Kuti.

There are times of the day when each of these elements are most active. The digestive fires are highest at 12 noon, so a savory meal is normally eaten at this time.

A sweet breakfast accommodates a more sluggish digestive time and the evening is set aside for a purifying fruit meal so the body can use the midnight fire energy to cleanse rather than digest.

Three herbal teas are served. In the morning cinnamon tea is served. Before lunch ginger tea lights the digestive fires and before sleep chamomile tea enhances a good night’s rest.

Part of good nutrition comes from eating, sleeping and exercising at the correct times.

The yatchaks also suggest we eat only when hungry and the stomach is empty so we recommend eating only every four hours. For cravings between herbal tea is best and juices can be added if it is uncomfortable to wait for the next meal.

#5: Chewing in the correct way.

Correct chewing releases nutrient molecules so energy from food is more quickly released and assimilated. This allows the brain to recognize flavors and release the correct digestive juices for that food. Proper chewing does even more because it stimulates the bodies sphincter (or ring) muscles that surround the various orifices of the body.

Ring muscles include the muscles around the eyes, the nostrils, anus, urethra, genitals and the mouth. In a healthy body, all sphincters work together, contracting and relaxing simultaneously. They also activate the respiratory system, the gastrointestinal system, the circulatory system, the lymphatic system, the musculoskeletal system and the urogenital system. Ring muscles are ultimately responsible for putting all the other muscles and all the organs of the body to work.

Chewing correctly stimulates the ring muscles and consequently helps exercise all our muscles.

#6: Eat Purifying and satisfying meals.

Fruit types also exist and are never mixed. Citrus stands together, but is not mixed with other foods. Watery fruits (apples pears, plums and grapes) can be mixed. Bananas are eaten alone only or with dairy only. Pineapple and melons are also eaten alone.

There are three purifying meals we will learn about during the course. The first most gentle purifier is a water combination of apples and grapes. The second meal is an entire pineapple and the third, an entire watermelon.

Organic coffee, tea and cocoa are great purifiers rich in antioxidants. Coffee and some tea is avoided by those who do not want caffeine. We recommend moderation and serve only organic, fair trade coffee and tea Coffee and tea (without milk) are neutral and can be consumed before or with any meal.

Finally the shamans drink and wash in  an Andean cleansing tea made from cinnamon, sweet pepper and chamomile.

#7: Balance nutrition with exercise and sleep.

Each day we do gentle but profound exercises to stimulate organs, glands and energy points.  We do not have television and go to bed before the evening fire cycle begins at 10 PM for more restful sleep.

Click here to read more about Ecuador water and food

Whatever your goal… weight loss,,, more energy….better health or a longer life, these ideas on Ecuador food and nutrition can help you whether you visit Ecuador or not.

Gary

Read the entire article published in USA Today entitled “20% of U.S. preschoolers are obese” here.



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