"Jim is a retired airline pilot who moved to Ecuador two years ago and lived in our Casa Blanca condos for the first year. He has become an Ecuador resident and has built a beautiful house nearby.
Like so many others I have spoken with who have attended our Super Thinking + Spanish course… he gained much more than the ability to speak Spanish in just four days. He claims to be much happier… more relaxed and has become healthier, shedding medication and weight.
Jim lost 55 pounds in a year and, as reported by so many… without trying… without eating less… without any feeling of deprivation.
One reason is that there is not so much fast food in Ecuador and the meals are balanced. Ecuador fare is very balanced and European… no tacos… burritos or anything of this sort.
Another reason Americans in Ecuador lose weight is that many high carb grains are replaced with Quinoa.
An article at Yahoonews.com Larry Crowe/AP gives some insights into quinoa and says: Late March or April, the flowering plants will paint the rugged landscape yellow, green and red. Their diminutive seed, which powered Inca armies only to be elbowed aside by the wheat preferred by colonizing Spaniards, is unmatched in nutritional value.Quinoa’s rising popularity among First World foodies — the wholesale price has jumped sevenfold since 2000 as global demand climbed — has been a boon to the poor farmers here in the semiarid highlands where most of it grows.Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) provides 10 essential amino acids, is loaded with minerals and has a high protein content — between 14 and 18 percent. The FAO (U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization) says it is so nutritious it can be substituted for mother’s milk.“This food is about the most perfect you can find for human diets,” said Duane Johnson, a 61-year-old former Colorado State agronomist who helped introduce it to the United States three decades ago.Quinoa isn’t a cereal. It’s a seed that is eaten like a grain, but is gluten-free and more easily digestible than corn, wheat, rye, millet and sorghum. And it can be substituted for rice in just about anything — from soup to salad to pudding to bread.“I’ve got high-performance athletes that swear by it,” said David Schnorr, president of Quinoa Corp., the largest U.S. importer. It’s also being embraced by the increasing number of Americans with food allergies or celiac disease, an immunological rejection of gluten, a wheat protein. NASA researchers consider it ideal for inclusion in possible future long-term space missions when crops would need to be grown on spacecraft.“It’s very specific in the environments where it will grow,” he said. “It requires very cool days and even cooler evenings.”And demand is booming.“We’ve easily doubled our business in the last couple of years during the worst economic recession we’ve had in a long time,” said Schnoor.Schnoor said prices soared threefold in early 2008. A decade ago, a 12-ounce box of his quinoa, marketed under the Ancient Harvest brand, retailed for 99 cents in the United States. Now it costs about $4.50. It’s also available in bulk at natural food markets — and even Costco warehouse stores now carry it.Martinez traces the boom in quinoa’s popularity to a visit by the king and queen of Spain in 1987, when the royals sampled it, and the news media and the world took note. Food exporters in the coastal Peruvian capital of Lima, where it had been considered “poor people’s food” by the European-descended elite, took note and began buying it up.In the 1990s, Johnson and fellow Colorado State University crop scientist Sarah Ward patented a high-yielding hybrid with the intention of spurring large-scale cultivation in the U.S. But they were challenged by ANAPQUI in an international court and abandoned the effort.Officials are working on details of a plan to boost quinoa production, including credits for farmers that never before had access to financing. Many producers are suspicious, however, that the government could turn into a competitor.“Its support is fine, but we’d like it to help with irrigation and research to improve the quality of the seed and soil performance,” said Martinez.Meanwhile, some quinoa farmers have put their increased income to work raising more llamas and alpacas, whose waste is used as fertilizer and which also produce wool. And while most harvesting is still done manually, some have abandoned the ox-pulled plow for tractors.Some farmers believe current cultivation methods inadequate.“The soils are tired and need nutrition. Production is dropping,” said Francisco Quisbert, an indigenous leader in the region where Quinoa Real is grown.But other quinoa boosters caution that traditional, organic farming methods must be maintained to preserve the purity of the crop.
Consumers in the developed world don’t want quinoa grown with chemical fertilizers or pest controllers, said Schnorr.However it plays out, Martinez, the producer’s association president, is not complaining.“Quinoa isn’t lifting us out of poverty,” he says. “But we are living better.”
See Merri’s recipe for Quinoa Chocolate Pancakes and Quinoa Strawberry Shortcake here.