What I eat in Ecuador as a nutrition student

- Is there something that you don't eat?
- Meat, I don't eat meat.
- Okey, so you eat chicken. Just to know what to cook.
- No, I don't eat chicken either.
- Okey, I will make you pasta with ground beef.

As you can assume, I try to eat vegetarian.
Ever since I came to Ecuador, I fail to do so.
My "family" asked me a couple of times, if there is something that I don't eat.
100% of my answers was: I eat no meat. And you guess right, 100% of my meals consisted of meat.
Now you might think, there has been a misunderstanding because I do not speak Spanish and they don't speak English. Not exactly, because I had chilli con carne too many times in my life not to know how you say "meat" in Spanish.

Market in Quito

The good thing about Ecuador is, that there is an incredible selection of fruit and vegetables, some of them I have never seen in my life. I try to taste as much of the variety as I can. I am especially excited about all the different types of bananas: I have tried sweet banana, green banana (plantain), sweet small banana, banana less sweet, banana fried, dried banana, banana in a stew, dumpling made of plantain flour, banana chips with spring onion, sweet banana chips.

The price of these foods is also quite attractive. Particularly for someone, who comes from northern Europe, where you can only get overpriced apples, carrots, potatoes, cabbage and if lucky, strawberries and asparagus in their one week season in June. Being in Ecuador, I take advantage of the great variety of fruit and vegetables and I buy anything I can or I eat all the greens that noone is interested in. My favourite energy booster is a smoothie made of cucumbers, avocados, spinach, coconut water, bananas and kiwis. It sounds disgusting but it is super delicious, gives you plenty of water and vitamins and will get you going during a challenging day.

On the market, you can get everything. Eggs, fish, potatoes, spices, lunch...

Not all Ecuadorians, however, are particularly proud of the fresh food that they themselves produce. They do like fruit, but particularly in a form of juices which are totally packed with sugar. Ecuadorians are somehow very keen on sugar. In the university canteen where I sometimes go for lunch, the default drink with your menu is a fruit juice high in added sugar. My host family drinks juices in the morning, sodas for lunch and dinner, and milk or hot cocoa (with a few spoonfuls of sugar) at any time. My Ecuadorean "mami" even puts sugar on her cheese empanada. I am the only one who would ever ask for water at a restaurant and I myself probably also drank the whole 20-l dispenser of distilled water that we got over last Sunday.

Thanks to to my internship at Universidad Internacional del Ecuador, I will be able to hold a presentation about sugar, which will hopefully shed more light on this threatening factor of Ecuadorian diet.
But not to get me wrong, Ecuadorean cuisine is especially tasty, even though it contains some meat, which is not my cup of coffee (about Ecuadorian coffee some other time on my blog) and yes, it's true, they even eat guinea-pigs here.

2 avocados = 1 dollar

Coconut water: my favourite Ecuadorean product so far.

First week I was lazy to cook so this was my lunch.

Stay tuned, and let me know in the comments what would you like me to write about next.



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