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10 Reasons Why it’s Healthier to Live in South America

10 Reasons Why it’s Healthier to Live in South America

Life Abroad, Travel

South America is a vast continent of adventure, diversity and culture. It is also a source of some of the purest untouched natural resources in the world today.  Untouched rainforests, pure waters, jungle adventures, its all here for those brave enough to jump in and take advantage of the opportunity, keep reading for my reasons why it is healthier to live here…

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Here are 10 reasons why I feel Healthier and Happier in South America:

10. Fresh Juice: if I go to a restaurant and order something like orange juice, it quite often comes freshly squeezed. Not always frozen pulp, no prepackaged concentrate or preservative infested orange colored liquid. Plus the taste is absolutely scrumptious!  Too often we over look the health benefits of a cup of fresh juice, its a great source of instant energy while delivering vitamins and minerals to your body that are just not as potent or even existent in processed juice.

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One of my favorite juices to do at home with my blender after a hot day teaching!!

9. Exercise
In South America public transport is cheap and easy to use. Which is plenty of reason to avoid the costs and headaches of owning a car or motorcycle. Plus most things you need can typically be found within walking distance which will help you stay more fit and help save the environment. One last item to note regarding exercise is the cost of gyms, personal trainers and programs like Yoga or Pilates. It’s way cheaper and more cost efficient than you would expect even if you are earing pesos versus dollars.  Unfortunately Pilates is super expensive in the US/Canada/UK but books and videos like this one !  Its super easy to follow and can help you find a regimen of your own to get that pretty body you always wanted without the stress that gyms tend to put on your joints and tendons.

8. Less Pesticides and Fumigation
In the US it is extremely common for farm areas (especially GMO crops) to use large amount of pesticide and synthetic fertilizers to create fruits and veggies that are larger and prettier. Unfortunately the health impacts are serious and can cause birth defects or even cancer. There is also the chemtrail issue.
In South America the farms are typically small and cheap which means uglier, smaller produce which translates to healthier and stronger bodies. I haven’t seen any chemtrails in the times when it’s not raining, it’s also rare for me to ever (truly) get sick.

7. Beans, beans that musical fruit…
The staple of any He-Man Colombian is rice, beans and some sort of meat. The poor will eat rice and beans. They are hard workers.
Without it the hard working husbands of the Southern Hemisphere would go on strike. However studies have shown that heart disease risks can be greatly reduced by eating one serving (3/4 Cup) per day. In the typical foods of these beautiful southern climates beans play an important role, they are cost effective, easy to cook and culturally relevant.

6. Soccer
The cultural lifeblood of most of the world outside the USA, soccer is especially important in Latin Culture. While I was living in Brazil I ran out of my apartment one night after hearing a CROWD cheering and making noise in the street (of a small town) on a SUNDAY night! I wandered past groups of people waving flags, throwing confetti and dancing in the street. Why? Their favorite regional soccer team had won a game. I have met some dedicated football fans, especially in the southern US, however their enthusiasm pales in comparison to the fanfare of the soccer culture. Here in Pereira groups of cars will drive around honking while crowds of men and youths yell and bang pots and pans in the central plazas.
Not only does cheering and enthusiasm burn calories but on the weekends it is rare to see a park or field with no soccer matches in progress. Wealthy families have soccer fields built at their farms for weekend use and it is a constant source of amusement for Latin children.

5. Variety of Exotic Healing Fruits
On every street corner in every part of the city are vendors who sell fresh fruits. Not only is the fruit sweeter but here it matures longer on the plant because it only gets transported short distances for consumption. Papaya, Pineapple, Custard Apple, Pitaya, Noni, Mangosteen, Mango (3-4 different types), Banana (3-4 types), Cherimoya, Granadilla (one of my personal favorites), passion fruit, guanabana (cancer cell killer), Guava, Lulo, Mamoncillo, Tree Tomato, Uchuva, Zapote, and many more. I have tried different fruits every month for a year and there are still more I have never tried. Each one has it’s own distict benefits.  A great way to get some of these super healthy fruits in your diet if you are not in South America is just to buy a capsule or pill form and include it with your daily regimen, like this one to help you get the benefits of Soursop.

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4. Healthcare
In a study published by the World Health Organization in 2000 there were two South American countries who outranked the US which came in as 37th.  Chile was 33rd with Colombia as 22nd.  Not only are the costs low and easy to pay out of pocket but the quality of care is also better.  That’s a reality check for anyone who still thinks America is the best place to live.  Due to the Obamacare program, the quality has not only gone down further but many are now without any health insurance at all.

3. Elevators are the Exception a.k.a Always a Subida
It is fairly uncommon to bother taking an elevator in most public buildings. Unless you are injured, accompanying grandma or live on the 14th floor, most people will often go for the stairs. In South America stairs are usually more obvious than elevators both in the architecture and the minds of the average individual. I live on the 5th floor with no elevator, and I am also the youngest tenant of that floor. I’m sure it helps to establish the fact since most elevators are also quite slow.

2. Lifestyle
Family is a really important part of any culture south of the US. Not only is more time invested in family, the extended family tends to stay involved too. I am American and sometimes I forget that when my boyfriend wants to go see his mom and I whine “we just saw your mom last week.”
Go see your in laws. It’s healthy!!  Latinos like to party but they always take the time to say “I love you” to Mom.
This type of lifestyle is about family, weekend trips and even just walks to the plaza to see what’s happening.  Due to lack of development many tourist attractions such as El Penon in Guatape require you to walk and has no elevator option.  The downside is that many places and areas are not well suited for persons with handicaps.  Don’t misunderstand me, there are some exceptions to life in places like Colombia, but with a reasonable sense of caution the benefits will definitely outweigh the downsides, which are not as pretty as “coffee, flowers and pink dolphins.”
1. Spa
Some of the purest, and most attractive health spas in the world are right here in Colombia. Studies have been done on water purity and have found that some of the best drinking water in the world comes out of the thermal hot springs of San Vicente near Santa Rosa. For $40-$80 USD you can arrange to be transported there, bathe in the hot springs, get massage treatments, facials, aromatherapy, lunch too and all with complementary bottles of their pure water that (actually does) come out of a mountain spring.

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The path to the Turkish sauna at Termales de San Vicente

This list is just a basic summary of my reasons why I feel happier and healthier in South America, there are many more and as many people will point out many downsides too like drugs, drinking and getting robbed.  Honestly, if it wasn’t for the drugs, drinking and being robbed we would be living inside the nice safe USA right?  Umm, maybe not cause I have definitely done some garden variety drugs, did a lot of drinking and been robbed in the states.  On the contrary I have done very little drugs (some potsmoking, would like to try Ayahuasca, can’t seem to find shrooms), a bit of drinking (Brazil is crazy for this), and only been robbed once (trying to buy some weed) while living in South America so I think we can just generalize and say that shit happens everywhere if you decide to make risky decisions.  It is my overwhelming feeling however that in South America you can find virgin forest, drink the purest water and mentally cleanse yourself better than anywhere else (however I DO hope to one day experience Thailand).  So dive in and try if for yourself or contact us for tour info and accommodations in Pereira, Colombia.

About the author

English Teacher, Freelancer, Chocolate Entrepreneur and Traveler!!

2 Comments

  1. Samuel Jeffery
    October 9, 2014 at 1:14 am
    Reply

    For all of the reasons you’ve mentioned above (and many more) I’m hoping to move to South America someday 🙂

  2. Bill Clifford
    August 18, 2015 at 6:42 pm
    Reply

    Hello, my wife and I are strongly considering a move to South America next year. Colombia and Ecuador are at the top of our list. We are trying to figure out areas that will fit our lifestyle, maybe you can help? We don’t want to be in a big city, preferably we will end up somewhere with under 50,000 people. We don’t party like we used to but would like to find a town with some people our own age (early 30’s) who like to get out and live life. We love outdoor activities, biking, hiking, etc. Our plan is to find a property with some land, not a huge farm but probably 5-25 acres where we can have a garden and some space (we’ve been in L.A. for a long time). We are very interested in Ayahuasca and other indigenous spirituality so a town that has a bohemian style community would be ideal. We’ve been focusing mostly on areas in the mountains but we could be open to the beach or the jungle if it was the right fit.

    Here are a few places I’ve been reading about:

    San Gil: I like that it is known for adventure sports because I am a bit of an adrenaline junkie, but also because younger wilder type people will be coming through town. I’m not looking to hang out with a bunch of gringos on a regular basis but I’m sure that I’ll appreciate it on occasion. Besides that it looks really beautiful. I also like that it’s not too far from Bogota, we would like to be within 1-5 hours of a major airport.

    Jardin: Looks beautiful! Have you been? If so what is the vibe like?

    Guatape: Again, looks beautiful. I’d like to visit the Mystic Park and it looks like there are lots of fun things to do although it seems like a total resort town without many regular residents. Almost like a ski town, Mammoth or Whistler (if you are familiar?)

    I’ve read about at least a dozen other towns outside of Medellin but it’s difficult to get any sort of account as to what the vibe or culture is like in these places.

    Any insight would be greatly appreciated. We are visiting for the month of December and are hoping to pinpoint the area where we will make our home base. Thank you for putting your experience online, I feel like blogs like yours are the best place for real human experience.

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