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Healthier Food Is Why We Lost Weight When We Moved to Cuenca Ecuador - UPDATED 2016

Update 2016: Losing weight is easy in Cuenca Ecuador. Hello Folks, it is amazing but the first couple of months of living in Cuenca we lost a bunch of weight without even trying. Both of us lost around 12 to 15 pounds right off the bat and our sons lost some weight as well, even though they really didn't need to. It's been almost 5 years later and we're keeping it off, we eat when we want and eat out once a week.

Note: Remember, everything in black text was written almost five years ago and all the new updates are in red text.  This article was first published in August 2011.

Let me first say that we weren't overly overweight before we moved here but we did carry unnecessary extra pounds that made us look puffy in the face and more rounded people. Tall people can hide the weight better too...snicker...

What did we do to lose weight? Absolutely nothing. We already ate a healthy diet. Our biggest downfall in the USA was eating out once a week. In Cuenca when we first moved here, we were eating out twice a week and sometimes three times a week and eating (very small) pastries from the bakeries almost every day and we still lost the weight

Living in the Andes mountains and eating fresh farm raised food has its advantages.We eat pretty healthy and so because of that we can eat at our favorite dessert cafe (Tutto Freddo's) once or twice a month.  

Update 2016 - We quit doing that so often; when we first moved here we were splurging like people do when they are on a vacation but after awhile and at our age, you have to almost give it up. In fact in the last 6 months only had a dessert cake once Tutto (last week) and no ice cream. We make homemade sweets at home which are much healthier using ingredients that have healthful properties. like raw honey, chia seeds, oats, peanut butter, cocoa, etc.   

We have to attribute our weight loss to two things that we're doing differently and here they are:

1. Cuenca and Organic (or fresher, cleaner) Foods

We're eating a lot more organic (or fresher, cleaner) food, even when we go out to eat the food is simple, tasty and wholesome, as you can see in our videos. 

We feel very grateful and blessed that we are living here in Cuenca, where you can buy a hormone free chicken for $8.00 and ten organic apples for $1, and 30 farm fresh eggs for $2.80. This is the biggest factor to weight loss, eating wholesome, clean food. I've written about this for years but was never truly able to live it. This was one of the reasons we moved to Ecuador.

Update Apples: Apples (apples from Chile) prices have gone up. Expect to pay $1.90 to $2.40 a kilo for out of season apples and $1.40 when they are in season, which is still a pretty good price. We're very picky about our apples and like the ones from Chile (Gala) that are crisp and juicy. (2014 prices). 

UPDATE EGGS: Prices have gone up in the 3-years we've lived here. We have noticed some fluctuation in the egg prices. When they are in season you can get 30 eggs for $3.30 as of 2014 prices. Out of season price for 30 eggs, after negotiation is $3.70. Right now, September 2014, eggs are not in season; hens do not lay as much this time of year so prices go up.  

Update 2016 -  Same prices with whole chickens and eggs. 

Eating fresh, clean food is especially important to us, and here's why. What they don't want you to know is the hormones they feed the animals cause weight gain in people.  There's a lot more to say about this but that will be later.

We can't speak for other countries, but I know the cost of organic food in the U.S is out of reach for many (most) people, while here it is available to everyone! We hope it stays that way!

Update 2016 - As always, we are still getting conflicting information about the cleanliness of the food in Ecuador. Some tout the beef is grass fed and others insist the meat (chicken and beef) is full of hormones and is not grass fed. So which is it?

Just like we believe in listening to our body and letting it tell us we're feeding it something wrong, we do that PLUS, we also believe in listening to our tastes buds. Grass fed and chemically fed meat tastes worlds apart.

If you have ever had venison (wild elk meat) that's what the beef tastes like here, very strong taste and very low in fat and that means the beef is grazing on grass not chemicals...and the chicken and eggs are the best we've ever eaten...we don't eat a lot of meat in our family so it is not too much of a concern for us but when we do eat meat we usually stick with the leaner meats such as chicken and fish and only occasionally beef. 

Latest update 2016:  The leanest ground beef price has tripled in line with u.s. prices, and they now put out a fattier ground beef for the lower, original Ecuadorian price.  We've mentioned this in a video.

On another note we never changed our diet when we moved here; we do walk more and the altitude does make your body burn more energy through exertion but the weight loss was quite dramatic and is why we also attribute the loss of weight to there being no or very little hormones in the meat in Ecuador. Until someone can show us some facts to back up that the meat is full of hormones and is NOT grass fed, we're sticking to our story. :-) ;-) F and A.

Facts are welcome and we'll post them at the bottom of this article. Perhaps an Ecuadorian who was born and raised in Ecuador would like to let us know about the cleanliness of the meat and produce in Cuenca Ecuador. We tend to believe what we see, and we do see a lot of cows just pasturing around town.  Perhaps its what we don't see that we don't know.

Some people say the produce at the mercados is organic and others no. But there are several places in Cuenca where you can still buy organic no worries there. See the links below for the organic markets located around Cuenca. Many food items are organic that you buy in the grocery stores too. 

Walking Every Day!

We're walking (almost) every day! We walk about 2 to 4 miles every time we go out. We try not to take the bus.  We love walking, seeing the sights and smelling the fresh air (hahahahaha), except for the exhaust from the buses.We try and stay off the really busy bus road but sometimes that's difficult to do.

Cuenca is a walking city!

We walk from one end of Cuenca to the other. When we get tired we know there is going to be a bus route anywhere in the city. There are no shortages of buses or taxis in Cuenca. The buses only charge $0.25 where ever you need to go, and taxis charge only around $1.50 to $3.00 anywhere in Cuenca. 

Until we write again, check out these other articles about organic foods and healthy eating in Cuenca Ecuador. 
We're an expat family of five, living frugal, healthy and happy in Ecuador. Come follow us as we experience living abroad. We'll take you down the nitty-gritty road so you can discover if Ecuador is for you or maybe not after all.   


  1. I am basically a vegan who eats fish occasionally. We eat organic and gluten-free products, use little to no oil or sugar, and don't eat white rice. I am a little bit nervous about food when I go to Cuenca. Thank you for your blog and the details.

    1. Thank you! Check out our free restaurant guide. In it you will find a organic restaurant called "Nectar". Everything is organic and they use integral rice and other grains in their almuerzo. It is popular with expats. Nectar also has a small health food store where expats bake gluten free breads.

    2. Thank you for that insight. Your guide,, was great! I'll plan to visit Nectar and some of the other options while I'm there. I'll also keep your blog bookmarked in case I need to get some real-time information. Thank you again.

    3. Just my thinking on beef there being chemically fed, chemicals cost money, grass which I'm sure is plentiful there is free. I would think the majority if not all Cattle would be grass fed.

  2. Weight loss is about eating fewer calories than you burn. An organic calorie has the same amount of energy as any other calorie.

    I've probably lost more than all five of you combined, eating exactly the same things I ate as before, just less of it. And walking more.

    Whatever works for y'all is good for y'all, but if you've lost weight, your caloric intake is less and/or your caloric output is up.


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