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May 25, 2010

I love Central America.  This was my second time to the region and Nicaragua.  What a beautiful country.  Regrettably, I didn’t take my normal camera (Nikon D90), so I relied on a point-and-shoot and the photos of others…here it is:

I love the warmth of the people, the weather (despite the humidity), the language, the culture and the food.  On that note, it was pretty easy to eat in a way consistent with my new nutritional paradigm.  Here was my strategy:

5:30 AM: wake up, make black coffee in my room, or go down to the lobby of the hotel and order cafe amargo, literally “bitter coffee”.  coffee without a generous sugar addition is truly the exception to the rule there (to be fair, it’s NesCafe, as all quality coffee grown there is exported for folks like me).

6 AM: go for a run.  people now run for fun/exercise/leisure in Nicaragua; this is something I certainly did NOT see the last time I was there.  Funny that I was running down the road in my huaraches, getting odd looks from the local folks running in a pair of big, cushioned Nike Airs.

7 AM: resistance training on the roof (pushups, planks, prisoner squats, etc.)  I LOVE the way the weather allowed me super-human sweating abilities.

7:30 AM: More cafe amargo.

8 AM: Off to the Hogar de Ancianos, or the old folks’ home.  This was a place run by a foundation of great people, and many of the old folks living there were literally from the streets.  Some days were devoted to health clinics for the local communities, some to capacity building and training for the healthcare professionals in the area, and some days were just for fun:

Doing some training for local healthcare professionals and volunteers:

Health Clincs for the local community:

Me and one of my pals, José:

12:30 PM: lunch, often consisting of a piece of meat, plantains and a small assortment of vegetables such as beets, tomatoes and onions.  Apologies for no food photos.

4:00 PM: head back to the hotel, perhaps a shower, head to dinner.  often dinner was some configuration of chicken wings, beef (flank steak cuts) with some sort of sauce such as chimichurri, fried plantains, chicharrón, jalapeños and a small salad.  mediocre Chilean red wine when available, sparkling mineral water otherwise.

6:30 PM: rapid sunset.  darkness. sleep.


Some dietary downsides:

*EVERYTHING is fried in vegetable oil.  omega-6 overload.

*Coca-cola and Fanta are both cheaper, more available and more widely consumed than water.  Coke is sold in 4-packs of 3Liter bottles if that is any indication of typical quantities purchased.

*Lots of sugar added to daily coffee

*Much of the food available in the streets for cheap is either candy or sweetened white bread.


*Plenty of local meat and vegetables available

*Plenty of Vitamin D i.e. sunshine

I lost about 5 pounds on this trip, and I am feeling pretty great.

Good times on the zip line:

Our group:

Back in the kitchen….today was wild alaskan pollock breaded with crushed macadamia nuts, coconut flour, salt and pepper, fried in butter and coconut oil.  served with avocado and grape tomatoes:


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  1. your favorite sister permalink

    Love the update and pictures. You are looking SO good Daniel!!!!!!!! I’m shocked by your progress photo – the headless one!!! 🙂 And your dinner sounded amazing. I’m going to have to make that. I love you!

  2. TrailGrrl permalink

    I’ve noticed that despite higher sugar and carbs when traveling in other countries, that I tend to lose weight or at least stay pretty much the same. I try to front load on protein when possible (like if I know I can get eggs for breakfast, I will eat breakfast where I might not eat it at home) so that it sort of offsets what I might find to eat later. I just started drinking espresso in an effort to cut out Diet Pepsi (really bad… about 6 cans a day) but without subbing a regular Coke with a lot of sugar. Drinking just water otherwise (usually a double espresso in the morning, and then another hit in the afternoon). Quitting the fizzy stuff is definitely harder than I thought because it is a work-associated habit. Whenever I go back to work I start it right up again. I’m trying to kick very seriously this time, and the really good, strong coffee is helping to get through the caffeine headache. I suspect there may be more to the sweetner headache though, than just it’s caffeine withdrawal.

    Great thing that you were able to go to Nicaragua and do some useful work! Love chimmichuri on a skirt steak and fried plantains. The plantains never turn out right when I try to do it myself.


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