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Well, I don't know about that, but I fell instantly in love with the Peruvian culture. It could have been reading all of those Paddington Bear books. He was from darkest Peru. Or it could have been the Peruvian Dark coffee I used to drink roasted by Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting Company.
Or was it the delicious food?
Getting used to the food can be a challenge when traveling. Not in Peru! The food was delicious no matter where we ate. Even the food on our trek to Machu Picchu was some of the best food I've eaten.
It was all about the food the instant we arrived in Cusco.
As we checked into our hosteria in Cusco, we were advised to rest for a half hour or so, then to have a light lunch of quinoa soup, walk around a bit (slowly), then another light meal for dinner (soup) and go to bed early. Cusco is at 11,150 feet in altitude, so these recommendations are for avoiding altitude sickness.
Quinoa is grown and eaten a lot in Peru. It is a great source of carbohydrates and protein!
Coca tea is also recommended. I had drank Coca tea in Ecuador, as well, when we were in the Andes at high altitude. It tastes like green tea. Yes, they are the leaves that Cocaine is made from and it is imported to the US legally to make all the ¨caine¨ anesthetics, such as lidocaine and novocaine. The leaves are legal here and have a place in the South American indigenous culture. I read a lot about the history in the the book One River, by Wade Davis. It's about the botanical expeditions in South America of Harvard Professor, Richard Evans Shultes in the 1940's and early 1950's and his protégés, Wade Davis and Tim Plowman's journey nearly thirty years later. It's a very interesting book spanning the use of plants and herbs as food, medicine, clothing, etc.
I like to ask questions about food and culture, and had plenty of time as we hiked the alternative route to Machu Picchu over five days. The cook and assistant cook carried all of our food on horses then later by car to each meal site.
They even had to carry our food over a land slide that blocked our path after a night of heavy rain. It was scary enough to cross once, much less going back and forth with heavy bags.
Something our guide told us early on really made sense to me. The people that live in the mountains or country in Peru, the farmers, eat vegetables and grains during the week, and eat meat only on the weekends.
My son decided to become a vegetarian after visiting some food markets in Ecuador and Peru. In both places, guinea pig and alpaca are specialties. We managed to avoid eating both of those.
Environmentally, meat consumption is hard on our planet. Some people become vegetarian or vegan for those reasons. Others, like my son, decide they don't want to eat animals or don't like the way livestock is treated.
Top Benefits of Vegetarianism
Research found that vegetarians had lower scores on depression tests and mood profiles when compared to fish and meat eaters.
When done right, vegetarian or vegan diets are naturally lower in saturated fat and have been shown to reduce heart disease risk. Vegetarians also suffer less disease caused by a modern Western diet such as coronary heart disease, hypertension, obesity, type 2 diabetes, diet-related cancers, etc. This can be attributed to a higher intake in fiber, phytonutrients, antioxidants, avoids, and carotenoids.
Grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables have fewer calories, but more nutrients. And they fill you up more!
Vegetarians tend to have better eye sight and less macular degeneration.
Plant foods tend to be less expensive, which can save big on grocery bills. We can all benefit by cutting costs!
Supporting Animal Rights
Ethical reasons can be a consideration when choosing a vegetarian diet. When you do eat meat, you can research where your meat comes from.
Vegetarians have been found to enjoy longer and healthier lives when compared to meat eaters.
How do you feel about eating meat? If you eat meat, do you limit your consumption of meat? Have you ever been vegetarian?
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Hi, I’m Crystal!