By Denver Gray, International Living,

My wife Ann and I moved to the Ecuadorian beach town of Salinas at the start of this year.
We came for the wonderful weather and the low cost of living, and we have met some of the nicest people in the world—both Ecuadorians and expats.
But there was another factor involved in our move and that was our health. Now, I’m in no way an expert on the subject. What I’m about to tell you is simply based on our experiences and those of folks we’ve talked to here in Ecuador. But we are happy with how things have worked out.
With good food, more exercise, fresh air, and the relaxing sounds of the waves in the background, there is no doubt that we are living a healthier lifestyle in Ecuador.
I have Type II diabetes; I’m overweight—obese, really, by definition—and 56 years old. My cholesterol has always been low and my heart is not a problem. But if not controlled, high blood sugar will eventually cause me trouble. My doctor compares it to operating a vehicle with just a little over-pressure on the radiator hoses—the car will run just fine for a while, but after a certain amount of time, things start to go bad.
After we bought our condo unfurnished in March of last year, we came to Salinas for five weeks, starting in April, to set things up. Some interesting things happened during those five weeks. Without any deliberate attempts to change our diet or lifestyle, my wife and I each lost 10 pounds. After two weeks, I found my morning blood sugar was getting lower. During the third week, I had to cut my medication in half because my sugar was getting too low. Once we went back to the States, both the weight and sugar levels crept back up.
In talking to other expats, I have found that this is not unusual. In fact, many overweight expats who move to Ecuador find that in the first year they lose anywhere from 30 to 50 pounds. Again, without making any conscious effort to change their diet or exercise habits.
So what happens? First of all, the food is different. In Ecuador we get our fruits, vegetables, seafood, and grains from the mercado in Salinas. The food is fresher and tastes better than what we were getting in the U.S.—even though we shopped as often as we could at local produce stands and seafood markets. In Ecuador, for the most part, these foods are grown without pesticides and chemical additives. The milk, cheese, and eggs come from animals that have not been fed steroids.
Second, we chose not to get a car in Ecuador. Our first visit convinced us that it was an unnecessary expense here in Salinas, where local buses are 25 cents and taxis are plentiful, with most fares between $1 and $3. Since there’s no point in stocking up when you can get the food fresh, we walk to the mercado two or three times a week. Each time, that’s a walk of just over a half-mile each way. If we need something the market doesn’t have, the supermarket Mi Comiseriato Jr. is about a mile round-trip in a different direction. Sure, we go to the SuperMaxi, a supermarket chain, once every week or so for some items we don’t get locally, but at least 80% of our groceries comes from taking a little walk.
Plus, the beautiful weather encourages walking or just being outside. Most days we take a morning walk down the boardwalk or an evening walk after dinner—or both! We may walk to a restaurant rather than cook, or walk down to meet friends at a local hangout. Even walking the dog becomes a nice stroll outdoors. I guarantee you, if we were back in the States, with sub-freezing weather and six inches or more of snow on the ground, we would not be lingering over the dog-walk!


Tags: , , , , , ,

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


Subscribe without commenting