In Costa Rica, the fast food restaurants are just as expensive as in the states. Many people would rather go to a soda (small local run restaurant) next door and eat a delicious dish of gallo pinto. I’ve often gone to breakfast with Tico friends where I order the American choice of eggs, bacon, and pancakes and watch in embarrassment as they order rice, beans, and fruit. “How can you eat such a heavy breakfast in the morning? Don’t you feel sick?” they would ask me as I eat my 2000 caloric meal and consequently fall into a carbohydrate induced haze.
I know what they are thinking but are too kind to say. They want to talk about how overweight the Americans are that come to Costa Rica. The gringos that can’t hike the trails, walk up a mountain, or even carry suitcases to their room.
Costa Rica is listed as one of the Blue Zones; a place where people reach the age of 100 ten times greater than in the United States. I’ve personally watched seniors stroll up our steep mountain at a speed that surpasses my own. I’ve seen old men clear an entire field of sugar cane with a machete and walk back home at dusk.
Why not grow old like this? It sure beats spending our end years in a nursing home. Maybe it all starts with that rice and beans breakfast.