Cuenca, Ecuador–The Cleanse

Since Ryan and I moved to Ecuador, it’s been surprisingly difficult to find food.  This sounds worse than it actually is because it’s fun and easy to go out to eat and the food is fantastic.  But if we don’t want to eat out three meals a day, which seriously decreases our productivity and generally raises our costs, we’ve got  a small problem.  Our apartment doesn’t have an oven or a microwave.  Instead, there are two gas burners.  Snack food does not seem like a big thing here and is very expensive.  Forget canned soup ever existed.  Bakery bread is fabulous but shouldn’t be eaten by itself all day long.  Going into grocery stores, with their endless Spanish labels, makes me feel like an alien.  The meat markets still scare me, with flies buzzing around the swinging slabs of meat and the pig heads.  I could grill chicken but I am not ready to buy a whole chicken and remove the breasts myself.  Eggs and milk are not refrigerated here.  Fresh produce doesn’t last long.  The leafy greens are too cold in our mini fridge and too hot left out on the counter.  Within a day or two they begin to look fairly pathetic and dead regardless of how they’ve been stored.  Lastly, eating only white rice or beans depresses me greatly.

Our solution turned out to be a ten day liquid diet challenge inspired by the documentary “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.”  Although fruits and leafy greens don’t last long, they are very healthy, inexpensive and readily available.  Somehow, Ryan was able to fit a Ninja blender into his only suitcase.  Don’t ask me how he did it but I am very happy that he did, although originally I looked at him and said, “Seriously, if you want to give me crap about bringing a Snuggie, let’s talk about your blender.”  We are currently blending a variety of produce, mostly veggies, and drinking them throughout the day.  This is all we get.  Endless veggies and fruits in liquid form.  We go to the market about every other day and return with bundles of health that ultimately taste like zesty grass.

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People who know me will no doubt be shocked by this news, as this is not this farm-girl’s style.  Remember, we are from Wyoming people.  We love our meat and potatoes.  Ryan once went on a bacon-only diet, eating a package of bacon every day for three weeks.  Simply put, without protein, I panic.  But surprisingly, I’m feeling pretty good on this liquid diet.  My energy and cognitive levels are fine.  The drinks fill me up and I’m not having the digestive side-effects that I’d anticipated.  For about $3.10 a day total for both Ryan and I, we are provided all the sustenance that we seem to require.

Fantastic, but for us, this will not be a long-term solution.  I’m already beginning to dream about chicken parmesan and Summer Sausage.  However, this trial has paved the way for what might be a perfect solution during our remaining time here in Ecuador.  The biggest meal of the day in Cuenca is lunch.  Lunchtime is also the best time to eat out, as the choices are endless and the prices are extremely reasonable.  Most restaurants offer an “almuerzo” which is like an ever-changing lunch special.  For $1.50-3, you can get all of the following: a glass of fresh squeezed juice, a soup, an entree often consisting of a meat and rice combination, and a small custard-like dessert.  The portion sizes are small and the food is excellent.  In five days, when we’ve finished our ten day challenge, we are going to go out for one meal a day which will be lunch.  The other meals, we will continue to supplement with the liquid diet of leafy greens and fruits.  A glass of grass.  That being said, I’m not going to lie.  I’m REALLY looking forward to my next almuerzo.

18 Comments

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18 Responses to Cuenca, Ecuador–The Cleanse

  1. Gramma Geri

    Way to go. Your natural instincts told you to take a snuggie and blender. Congratualtions!! Love the stories..and you two….hugs

  2. Laurel Vredenburg

    Dearest Amanda and Ryan…Thrilled to discover your blog. I dived back in to face book so I could track along with you two but I'm reminded every time I go there WHY I never wanted to do it — TMI. I find it overwhelming so don't visit often. Personal failing I'm sure. This blog, however, is a lovely way to see what you two are up to. I am excited for you guys and know you will continue to discover new things about our world and each other. Don't believe I've ever met the shy, quiet, hesitant Amanda. Bet she disappears pretty quickly. Traveling while sick is the worst so glad that's over. Would love to join you on eating adventures. I could do a lot with two gas burners!! Guessing I'd also do pretty well in the fly infested meat market. Does Ryan have a blog I've missed? LOVE YOU!!

    • Adventure Amanda

      Hi Laurel! I know what you mean about Facebook. Until I moved here and started a new account, I hadn't checked my old one in over five years. It's a massive time suck. But, I must admit that I'm enjoying it a lot more this round. It's nice to stay up to date with family and friends back home. I'm so glad you're reading my blog. As my first attempt, I'm not really sure what's what so it's great to have the support. I need your kitchen wisdom! They do have quinoa, but like everything else, I don't really know how to cook it decently. I bet you would THRIVE up here. There were rumors that Mark was considering accompanying Matt and Sheree for Christmas. You and Fred, OF COURSE, are more than welcome to come along as well. And JoAmy! We can get a neat place for all of us and it will be like a more tropical Alaska vacation! Then you could show me some things. Ryan has been focusing his time on learning Spanish so has not yet started his blog, but he plans to soon. I've been plugging away at the Spanish a few hours a day, but find that writing is helping me more than anything else. Love you and miss you.

  3. Wendy

    I laughed till I cried! Ryan brought a Ninja blender AND a yoga mat in that wee suitcase? Leads to the question….what is the best thing you brought? (Besides Aunt awendy glip flops)

    • Adventure Amanda

      We each packed two strange things. Ryan brought the Nina blender and a shower head. I brought the yoga mat and the snuggie. We are quite the pair…

  4. Gramma Kay

    I lived this blog, Amanda! Laughed out loud!

  5. Adventure Amanda

    I only made it 7 days! But we are only going out for lunch. I make a veggie sandwich for dinner.

  6. Megan Solberg

    Manda that is hilarious! You are living Eriks dream I think. He would LIVE to drink a glass of zesty grass for every meal! I dont know how I would feel about that….. makes my stomach rumble thinking about it 🙂 Love you!!!!

    • Adventure Amanda

      I know! 7 days and I'd had enough!!! But I learned a valuable lesson. I really am not going to DIE if I am hungry and don't get fed right away. The raging food monster might have gone into hibernation.

  7. Megan Solberg

    Manda that is hilarious! You are living Eriks dream I think. He would LOVE to drink a glass of zesty grass for every meal! I dont know how I would feel about that….. makes my stomach rumble thinking about it 🙂 Love you!!!!

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  10. John miller

    It is great to read all this Amanda. Very interesting. Keep this up. I don't feel so far away from you when. I can read about what you are doing and seeing your pictures. Love, Gramps John

    • Adventure Amanda

      Thanks Grandpa! I miss you and I'm going to do better about posting EVERY Monday. Chile was a little hard and we didn't have reliable internet for about half our time there, so that makes it tough. Love you and talk to you soon! Amanda

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