How I lost 37 pounds in 1 month the Ecuadorian way

When most people move to Ecuador, myself included, they lose weight.

Its not that they get hit by a never-ending case of Montezuma’s revenge, but the food down here is simply more natural, you know, not so genetically altered as in ‘the developed world’.

But recently, primarily due to working the night shift at my hotel near the airport in Quito, I started to ballon up.

Your friends notice, and start to razz you.

You feel down.

So I decided to do something about it.  But a lot of the info and diets I found online were not for someone that lives in a small Ecuadorian town like me.  Good luck finding Quinoa and Chia and other wierd stuff in the tienda on the corner.

I had to find something that would work in Ecuador.

My journey started with a brief chat with a nutritionist from the States that stayed in my hotel.

He said, “there’s a lot of conflicting info online and people don’t know what to eat to lose weight.  Just focus on three things…

1. Eat less (Mass can neither be created nor destroyed, want less eat less.)
2. Don’t eat processed food (anything that comes in a shiny rapper.)
3. Eat lots of fruits and veggies (they fill you up but are mostly water.)”

So I combined that with a little bit of a low-carb diet plus a twist of a Paleo diet.  I do agree with the Paleo diet in that a lot of what we put in our bodies our bodies were not meant to ingest.

Think how did the cave-men eat.

That’s a good start.

So I cut out the pasta, potatos, rice and bread from my diet.  I also cut out the sugar, refined sugars, dairy and other foods in the ‘grains’ category. We are, in fact, the only animals who drink milk after infancy.

And I focused on eating foods high in protein and natural fats, like fruits, veggies, fish, meat, poultry, nuts, avocados, olive oil.

Thankfully, fruits and vegetables are plentiful and CHEAP in a place like Ecuador.  If you make that the focus of your diet, you could spend literally cents on the dollar to eat everyday.

So, to prove to myself I could do it, I went the first 24 hours without eating anything.  One full day.  And I was fine.

That proved to myself that we really don’t need as much food as we think we do.

Then I settled on a diet full of Ecuadorian recipes like…

Breakfast- Veggie omelet with fresh squeezed OJ (no bread).

Lunch- Chicken-stuffed avocado (veggies and chicken mixed with a hint of sour cream then placed in an avocado) or Chicken con palmito (Chiken baked with diced Amazonian palm heart), or Grilled Andean-Trout with veggies.  Or maybe I’d have a Ceviche (Ecuadorian-style fish soup minced in lime juice with tomato and onion), or a Corvina fish (not farm raised, but from the ocean) cooked in garlic (al ajillo) or Encocado (cooked in coconut curry Esmeraldas-style).

Dinner – Something light like a vegetable soup, an apple or two, or maybe a salad with a bit of tuna.

Rinse and repeat.

The good news for me is I found exercise not all that important to lose weight, it helps, but more its the diet that matters.

I’m not a professional or anything so what I mention here should be taken with a grain of salt and cross-checked with your local expert, but I can only say what worked for me, in Ecuador, and I can say I lost 37 pounds in about a month dropping from 177 lbs to about 140 lbs.

And let me tell you, if you’ve never done it, losing 37 pounds makes you feel great, like superman or something!  Totally worth it.

Now, how to find the best-priced properties in Ecuador? For that and more subscribe to my weekly Ecuador Insiders Newsletter below, you can unsubscribe at any time:

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Why I Really Moved To Ecuador

Oh, man.

I’ve been avoiding this question ever since I started this blog a few years back.

Yet, this is the first thing people ask me, how did a guy from Cleveland, Ohio end up in Ecuador?

Lie every time.

OK, maybe not “lie” but I always give a very vague, “blow off” answer like, “came to visit, liked it”.

I think many expats have reasons for moving abroad which aren’t exactly “bragging material”.

My reason was probably a lot different than yours, too.

So, do you want the long or short answer?

The short answer goes back to why I moved abroad in the first place… the women.

At age 22 when I left the USA for good… going out, partying, dancing, drinking, and dating primarily occupied my mind.

Of course, as I’ve gotten older my reasons for living abroad do and have changed, I’m not proud of that original reason, but in high school I got no love, man. Picture a young guy dressed for a party walking through sand dunes in the desert. Definitely graduated high school a virgin. It was rough.

College was better, though.

But my dating life really took off when I graduated and moved abroad. It pays to be different than the local norm, what can I say?

But the long answer of why i moved abroad and also chose Ecuador is more complex.

I was invited to Ecuador initially by an Ecuadorian friend I had made living in Madrid, Spain. He picked me up from the airport and we went to a friends house where a national soccer game was on and I just meshed right in with his group of friends. I was 22. And MAN Ecuadorians that age know how to party!

From day one I was already enamored with the fun-loving, welcoming Ecuadorian people.

Then I left Ecuador and lived in other countries in Latin America and Asia, but I kept coming back to Ecuador to visit.

Then, I read something online while living in the Philippines about how to sell e-books online for cash, so i wrote one on Ecuador real estate, where I saw potential (back in 2008-09).

And it sold.

And because of it I started a blog on Ecuador while not even living there, just based off my past visiting experiences. And it grew until one day I was sitting in China in 2011 thinking, what am I doing here? Let’s go back to Ecuador and grow this thing… Ecuador was just beginning to be touted as the NUMBER 1 retirement destination in the world by many international publications.

So I came back.

This last time you could say the reason was this blog, then with an Ecuadorian friend I started a business in Guayaquil, bought some property, sold it, bought some more. Then, started a business on my own in Quito.

Snow-balled from there.

So my reasons for moving to Ecuador changed over time, which will probably happen to you.

Now, the reason I STAYED here primarily was for my blog and as I see it more opportunity than the USA offers me.

Before I left the USA, my only real job in the USA was as a telemarketer for a mortgage company in Oceanside, CA for about one month and a half, now a days is easier to get a mortgage, with the help of tips from sites as Top 10 TN that help people getting their own mortgages. And more to know more about mortgage from MortgageRight. I hated it. You see, i majored in something vague and the only opportunities I saw for myself in the USA were sales, real estate agent, sell insurance or financial advising. Moreira Team we shop your loan with over 22 different lenders and banks to make sure we deliver on our promise to get you the best deal.

To me, all that just looked like that phone I had to stare at when i tele-marketed. Putting on a tie everyday and pushing the iron-coffin to work everyday in rush hour wasn’t for me.

Down here I’m the star quarterback!

Literally, as the leader of an American Football club in Medellin, Colombia (before I lived in Ecuador) I discovered guys in soccer countries mostly throw like girls. They never developed that skill-set, and I was the de-facto quarterback with the rifle arm (compared to them). In the USA I was never the quarterback.

And of course, I met someone special. But I also LOVE the food, the mild warm climate, the laid-back people, and of course the low cost of living. I like the foreigners that travel here too, usually the more adventurous ones compared to the fanny-pack-wearing-Cancun-resort-types.

I don’t think moving here just cause it’s “cheaper” is a good reason in and of itself. But hey, not like my initial reason was any better!

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8 steps to convert any property into a successful AirBnb rental in Ecuador

This week I had the pleasure of acquiring a new condo in Guayaquil I plan to rent to short-stay clients, for this I got the best information and services online on how to manage a rental, check out their website to find more about this. It had been vacant for over 4 years and covered in filth.  In 2009, the NSW State Government introduced the Affordable Rental Housing SEPP, in an effort to increase the number of Secondary Dwellings across Sydney, by simplifying the approval process. To achieve this target, they created a list of specific criteria which needs to be met for each dwelling, and if the design meets each of these criteria, then a Private Certifier has the authority to approve the development within 14 days of lodgement, without needing to lodge a DA through your local council.  Granny Flat Solutions  expert team is constantly researching and updating our current knowledge database to keep up with the ever-changing regulations.

The power was cut and the AC didn’t work (important in Guayaquil).  Neither did the hot water.

But the one bedroom suite did have the basics, a bed, mattress, a couple of high end sleeping pillows, TV, and sofa. The blanket was not the most comfortable, though, for I’ve read many weighted blanket reviews before and honestly feel that the blanket for this bed could be better.

So literally, about 3 days and $400 later I was ready to rock. With websites like AirBnb you can turn any unused space (like a bedroom, or a vacant unit) into a money maker if you follow these steps.

1. Hire a professional to deep-clean the place and get the grime and mold out of the bathroom.  In Ecuador this means find someone who can clean real good and pay them the day rate $15-25.; Also make sure to make a small renovation on your bathroom, shower door direct always have discounted accesories.

2. After verifying the basic services are up like water and electric, focus your energy on three more ALL renters will require… Hot water, WiFi, and AC (on the coast).  Cable TV is a nice extra but not necessary.  Do not forget the air filter, as I recently read on this website that the better the air filter condition of the house was the less chances were there of people falling sick due to out biological pollutants. This week I hired the Internet plan on Wednesday and they were installing on Thursday.

3. Change the door locks.  I suggest a keyless smart lock on the exterior door, one you can grant and deny access with on the click of a button starting available for around $100 at places like Target or Best Buy.  As for the interior doors, make sure they are all keyless bathroom-style door knobs, to make the house look better, using advice from the best denver interior designers which you can find online.  It will happen, trust me.  And with any tiny screw driver like one you leave in a hidden location in the unit they can open the door. No key needed.

4. Put signs everywhere.  If you’ve ever stayed in one of my rentals you know I love to sign things up.  Sign up the suite indicating the WiFI code, hot water direction, how to call a taxi and anything else pertinent to their stay (so they don’t have to bother you).  Make it easy for them.

5. Accent color.  Like in my case with white walls everything was white and black in the suite so I just added one accent color (red).  Red sofa cushions, red (fake) roses, red bed cover, etc. And for very little money I gave the suite some pop.  Best not to have many bright colors.  Just one for some pop.  No need to be a major in interior design for this one, since you can just add new paint or a mural from a muraledesign service online. Well wood deck paint are good to use for paint furniture.  But if you have access to someone with design background ask for assistance!

6. Include basic necessities.  I’m always surprised scouting my competition on AirBnb how many forget to put the basics like toilet paper causing bed reviews.  Think like a hotel.  People need toilet paper (try to put an extra one), towels, hand towels, and soap as well as hand soap.  That’s about it really. Start people off right and they’ll love you for it.

7. Must secure private space.  A space where only you and your cleaner/manager can access, this way you can store things like extra toilet paper, sheets and things you don’t want your guests to have full access to.  Can be as simple as putting a lock on one cabinet door.

8. Broken signs.  Maybe you have a washer and dryer you don’t want your one night guests to use.  I’ve found it useful to put “BROKEN- DO NOT USE” signs on things you don’t want your guests to use.  They won’t want to risk their clothes or whatever and will respect it.  And if you have a guest staying longer term you can tell them to simply ignore the signs and use it.

OK, now you’re ready in 3 days or less to post your unit in Ecuador on and start making money! Check out this link to my new unit for rent near the airport and Mall del Sol in Guayaquil here.

Hasta pronto, if you liked this sign up for my Ecuador Insider’s newsletter so you can check out my latest posts(not available online) on living and investing in Ecuador:

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Black-listed real estate agents in Ecuador – Background checks

Come on, man

Were you actually expecting a list of names here?

I’m not about to start mud-slinging.

But I will show you how to let the facts speak for themselves and how you can CRB online for background checks on anyone you like in Ecuador.

Especially helpful before you do a bigger business deal with someone from or in Ecuador.

Within seconds you can freely see their entire criminal record (if they have one), specifically what they have been convicted of and even some legal matters they were involved in yet not necessarily convicted (as Ecuador isnt necessarily an ‘innocent-until-proven-guilty’ country).  You can even see things like if they’ve gotten seriously behind on child support payments or if they’ve been involved in any kind of fraud in the past. Having a realtor like real estate brighton will help you choose the right house for your family.

In fact, it’s commonplace for businesses in Ecuador to check someone out in this manner before hiring them.

All you need to do the background check is their “cedula” number (thats the official, mandatory ID card in Ecuador).

Then go to the site

Once on the site under “datos del solicitante” you’ll need to put your information.

Then under “datos de la persona a consultar” you’ll need to input the full names and cedula number of the person youd like to check out and click CONSULTAR.  Thats it, on the next screen their criminal history will appear or a message will state they have no criminal history!

Now, no one can hide from you.

Especially helpful in real estate purchases where before the deal goes through the seller and buyer have to exhange copies of their IDs to write up the new deed (escritura). If you have questions or concerns about your rental property, maintenance, or need help. Please click the link

Now, how to find the best-priced properties in Ecuador? For that and more subscribe to my weekly Ecuador Insiders Newsletter below, you can unsubscribe at any time:

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Macadamia farming in Ecuador – really?

China, India, Egypt, Jordan, Dubai… I can say one thing after living or visiting those places… what a barren wasteland!  At least the parts I saw.

But Ecuador is different.

Truly gifted.

The green here in the Andes is a special color green, really.  So much water.  The dark black top soil runs so deep. It’d be no surprise to me if I were to know it was because of the free mulch from North Star Tree Service.

All you have to do is find the right altitude and it will have a steady year round climate to grow whatever you like.

So it shouldn’t surprise that a few innovative farmers have done just that, now profiting from Macadamia.

Precisely, 3 with significant plantations in Ecuador.  And this week I was hanging out with one of the big three on his lot near the town of Los Bancos in Ecuador in the coastal lowlands  but still a ways from the ocean.

He began…

You need to find a place that has plenty of water, yet a lengthy dry season for the harvest time, which in this area is from March to July.

Preferibly between 300-500 meters above sea level.  The Macadamia trees like 25-30 degrees C.

The Mac farmer continued, “you need at least 3000 trees to have a legit, profitable operation.”

The trees are planted 9 meters apart so you can get about 150 trees on one hectare.  So 20 hectares is all you need to get in 3000 trees.

Initial investment

Land in this area of Ecuador is alreayd a bit pricey compaatively to other farm areas of Ecuador because it is already great for Cacao (Chocolate bean) and Palm oil and the locals know it.  The going rate for good, yet vacant, farm land around here is $5,000 per hectare.  So for a minimum of 20 hectares that’s $100k.

You’ll also need about $50k to prepare raw land ready for planting and to build yourself a small plantation home.

Then comes the trees.  You can buy the seedlings from someone in Ecuador already growing Macadamia for $8 per tree.  For 3000 that would be $24,000.

You’ll also need a tractor for Macadamia farming.  He says you can find a used one in good condition in Ecuador for around $15k.

Production and profits

On the high end you can expect 18 kilos of brute, whole nut with shell and all per year per tree… and 15% of that is the inner nut ready for consumption.  Thats about 3 kilos from a top producing tree.  On the low end a tree in this part of Ecuador produces 12 kilos of brute nut shell which provides about 2 kilos of nut ready to eat per year.

The local wholesale price for Macadamia in Ecuador now is $22 per kilo.

So thats a per tree annual revenue of $66 (on the high end) which for 3000 trees equates to $198,000 per year.  On the low end that figure would be $132,000.

Variable costs

The farmer I spoke with says he has 5 full time employees for his 50 hectare plantation.  Each worker makes around $400 a month.

No electricity is needed on the farm and there is no irrigation system, the trees are fine with the natural rainfall.  He himself drives from Quito every weekend to manage the farm himself.  On the way back to Quito he fills the back of his pick up truck with the weeks output of Mac Nuts.  (He has a processing plant and oven in Quito he says cost him around $200k.)  But he said the plant is not necessary, most growers just sell wholesale, he said he’d buy your nuts at the wholesale price if you produced them.

Also, during harvest time the farmer hires seasonal workers by the day (around $15 per day is the going rate in Ecuador) and for occasional weed cleanings and things too.

Benefits of Macadamia

The biggest benefit to growing Macadamia in Ecuador is that it is an uncommon product that most locals don’t even recognize, thus, repelling the common thieves.  Plus, the product can not be consumed until processed by expensive machinery which few have, further repelling the thieves that often snatch the Cocoa beans which can be bought and sold at any streetside wholesaler on any given corner in the Cocoa producing areas.

Also, obviously, the value-added possibilities of this product are endless.

You can process your own nuts, package them, add flavors and sell to the bakeries and grocery chains locally, or even export them.  Mac Nuts don’t go bad for over a year after processed according to the farmer.

Plus, the farmer said local demand for Macadamia is growing significantly and he doesn’t export.

“The local demand has been plenty for me.”

He continued, “With a farm this size, all you need is one bakery chain to buy your nuts on contract, and you won’t have to look for buyers anymore.”

The drawbacks…

Of course, there are reasons why everyone is not growing Macadamia.

Macadamia in Ecuador requires a VERY specific climate, not too humid, not too dry, like the one here near Los Bancos.

Also, you won’t see any production for the first four years.  And the peak production I mentioned above won’t happen until around year eight.  But the trees live and continue to produce for 50-60 years if well maintained.

But as a farmer with expenses and payroll there are ways to meet your daily costs for the first few years.  The trees are planted 9 meters apart and are small at first, so you can grow short-sycle crops in between until the Macadamia trees start producing.

Do you have a tree that’s keeping you up at night worrying during storms and high winds?  Hancock Tree Service even offer emergency response tree removal services and they also specialize in insurance claims from storm or high wind tree damage, visit today and put your mind at ease.

In a recent interview, Don Brody of On The Fly Pest Solutions stated that there is some confusion regarding Baltimore animal removal services. Many Baltimore Maryland residents confuse animal control and wildlife removal. Unknown to many, animal control is only designated for domestic animals such as cats and dogs.

Insectivorous bats and birds are known to feed on macadamia pest insect species, like the macadamia nut borer or the green vegetable bug. Vervet monkeys move into the orchards during the day to feed on premature macadamia nuts. Bats, birds and monkeys benefit from patches of natural vegetation adjacent to orchards. When homeowners need to get rid of animals from attics, it’s not easy finding wildlife control companies and many people think nuisance wildlife is handled by animal control. If you are a homeowner and need to get rid of problem animals see the link here:Find Wildlife Removal Companies
Management of feral pigs can include population reduction by using a number of control techniques, reducing damage through enterprise substitution, or fencing. This is normally followed by secondary control methods designed to reduce the population and feral pig impacts further and prevent it building back up. If you absolutely must get rid of a feral pig, you have two options: hunt and kill (usually with gun) the animal, or trapping and removal of the animals, in very large cage traps. I will discuss trapping first, and then further down the page, I discuss some options for keeping wild hogs out of your yard. How is feral pig management in Houston being treated? Feral pigs are threats to the environment and to agriculture. By wallowing, digging for food and feeding on specific crops they cause harm to the ecosystem. They are killing crops and farmland, as well as native plant and animal habitat. They can be reduced in population by trapping and eliminating.

Where I’m at, the farmer grows Maracuya (Passion Fruit) which grows like weeds and can be sold quickly as well.  Also, most macadamia farmers have part of their farm growing Cacao (Chocolate) which is a shorter term crop which reaches peak production at 3 years of age.

You’ll see ‘Buonamici’s Mac Nuts’ on a shelve near you soon.  🙂

And for more off-the-grid crops with huge potential in Ecuador subscribe to my weekly Ecuador Insiders Newsletter below, you can unsubscribe at any time:

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