Awesome Street Eats, Ageless Women and Watch Out White People! : The 7 Things I Learned This Week

Monday May 30 | BY |
| Comments (33)

Just a sampling of some of the traditional foods here in Peru.

It’s been another interesting week here in Renegade Health land…

This Memorial Day (happy holiday to those in the U.S.) Edition of the 7 Things I Learned This Week focuses again on our travels in Peru.

I think you’ll find it interesting and entertaining because we’ve found some amazing things here that may just convince you to book a flight right away. LOL!

I hope you enjoy it…

1. Street food is where it’s at.

The first two times we were in Peru, we were a little afraid to try the street food.

One, because of that time in Mexico that I keep talking about where I had a 104 fever (and the only doctor in the town was out sportfishing… you remember.)

Anyway, now that we have some Peruvian friends this time around, we’ve asked them to show us the ropes.

What we’ve found is that there are some awesome options for vegan, raw, vegetarian or even organic, farm fresh eaters.

First off, you can get a carrot juice or beet juice (or combined) in the market for under $1.00 U.S.

You can also get fruit smoothies for under $1.00 as well.

Not a bad deal considering how much it would cost us back home.

In the mornings, you can get hot, steamed corn tamales – made with fresh, non-GMO Peruvian corn.

There are two types – saltado or dulce. The saltado have aji (a mix of sauteed onion, garlic, pepper and oil) and an olive inside and the dulce (sweet) have a raisins.

These range from $.20-.35 U.S. a pop. It’s pretty easy to burn through 4-6 of them on a park bench just after buying them. LOL!

If you’re vegan or lactose intolerant, please make sure you ask for them without cheese. (Sin queso.) Most of them are, but I just finished picking around a hunk of cheese in the ones we got this morning.

(Side Note: In Peru, nothing is exactly the same, so it’s best to ask. LOL!)

For plant based eaters, there are also – usually in the countryside (campo) – women who sell earth-oven roasted potatoes. These are called “watia,” and they are amazing.

For a bag it should cost about $.60 U.S.

Once you get them, you peel the skin and eat them like candy.

Every time I peel one, it’s like opening a gift at Christmas, because each one seems to be a different variety, with a different color and a different flavor.

Some of our friends here also suggest the anticucho and the caldo. These both are street meals that have meat in them.

If you’re into eating fresh, farm raised meat, this is the place to do it.

The caldo is a soup with lamb, potatoes, carrots and yucca. It’s about $1.00-1.50 U.S. for a big old bowl.

The anticucho is grilled meat on a skewer. Here the most popular is corazon (beef heart.) There’s also chicken, beef and alpaca. I don’t know how much this costs because I haven’t asked.

Other options that we’ve seen are prickly pear – peeled in front of you, popcorn (though it has sugar on it), choclo – roasted corn, chicha – a drink made from fermented yucca, corn or quinoa, and fresh mate – which is street tea made with various herbs.

We’ve tried most of these with exception of the mate. All of them are, of course, under $.30 U.S.

Buen provecho!

2. Would you risk dying to go to hot springs?

I think we did.

Over the weekend, we made a trip to Lares. Here we were told there are some of the best hot springs in Peru.

We didn’t need much to be sold on going.

Luckily, our plans changed and we were able to get a driver last minute (I don’t think this is too hard here, it seems like there are more cabs than people in Cusco, LOL!)

Anyway, we left early on Saturday, only to find that the road to Lares, is under construction and wouldn’t be open until 6:00 PM.

No big deal, we decided to wait.

Just a few minutes after 6:00 PM – very punctual for Peruvian time – we started our trip up and over the Andes to get to the valley and eventually Lares.

As we climbed up the mountains, it became darker and we started to realize why the road was under construction.

It seems like a series of landslides over the two years had made the road impassable. Now the Peruvian highway organization, is working to make the road wider and, of course, less susceptible to falling earth.

These slides turned the normal 2 hour drive into about 3.

At points the road was smooth and modern. At others, it was rocky, jagged, and extremely close to hundreds of feet of freefall.

We made it to Lares – a little dusty and hopped up on adrenaline – but we were able to soak all night and morning in the iron rich springs which made up for much of the stress induced on the trip in.

Luckily, on the way back we left during the day, and the road didn’t seem as bad.

Maybe it was because of the soaking, or maybe the dark magnified our fears.

Ann and I both decided this was something to think about as a grander metaphor.

What are we scared of that when we actually encounter it, isn’t really that bad?

3. Learning is humbling.

I’ve mentioned this a few times in the past week, but I want to emphasize it again.

Learning is very humbling – particularly when you’re learning a language.

Annmarie and I have 3 days of Spanish classes left and it’s bittersweet that they’re ending.

We both know we have many months of Spanish classes left before we master it, but at the same time, I think our minds needs a break.

It’s very frustrating to know how to communicate something very eloquently and directly in English and then when you try to say the same in Spanish, you’re reduced to words that resemble caveman talk.

“Me… want… go… hot… springs.”

“I… no… eat… cheese.”

“You… charging… me… to… much… because… I’m… gringo.”

I think you get it.

This learning gap does help re-emphasize that you can’t be good at very much the first time you try it.

I think this is a good lesson to keep you humble and always willing to learn.

I look back at my health education and I can point out 3-5 times when I thought I knew everything, only to find out there are different solutions that work just as well.

This learning process is necessary for true understanding and now I’m always open to possibility when it comes to health.

Anyway, the fun is in the process, so we’re having as much fun as we can screwing it up! LOL.

4. I don’t think this is the idea for organics…

I asked Howard Lyman a few months ago this question:

“When the small farmers who are starting to grow locally, start to see the profit potential of their business, what’s stopping them from growing and expanding to be the large agribusinesses that we have now?”

He really didn’t have an answer to this one. (Nor did he have to have one.)

But it’s something to think about…

An article in the New York Times (thanks Jonathan!) recently highlighted farms in Europe being bought by larger industrial farms. (here)

This trend may change the “local” movement in a way that may not be the most ideal.

The local movement isn’t meant to be part of a conglomerate.

I’d hope that the smaller more conscious farmers would grow in a more conscious way, instead of being bought out like in this article, wouldn’t you?

On the bright side, I think many of them will proceed, or even be bought with consciousness, but it makes you wonder if the local farm movement is a cycle or a readjustment period, not a full on take-the-power-back movement.

5. Ageless women.

While we were waiting for the road to Lares to open, we stopped at the market in Calca to get a smoothie.

To order a smoothie, you pick the woman who you think will make the best and sit down at a counter in front of here.

Once there you place and order and watch her do all the magic.

While we were drinking ours that day, a woman walked up to the counter and ordered a beet and carrot juice.

In a previous conversation, Ann and I were talking about how the women and men here in Peru rarely turn gray.

Their hair is dark long into their winter years.

There were a lot of reasons that we hypothesized about, but at the same time, we both thought we may be witnessing one of them.

Mineral and vitamin rich vegetable juice.

The woman looked ageless. Her skin was smooth with an even olive tint. She had enough wrinkles for you to know she was a parent of at least 2 or 3 and her hair was as shiny black as an oil slick. She could have been 40 or she could have been 70, but my guess was closer to the latter.

I’m sure there are genetics and other factors involved, but this woman made me want to drink carrot and beet juice, that’s for sure.

(NOTE: Not all Peruvians are healthy. Please don’t get caught up in the romanticism of this story…)

6. White people need to watch out in Cusco.

Don’t worry, this isn’t going where you think it might.

Isn’t it funny that where your mind went is exactly where our minds go when we read a statement like this?

Anyway, what I really mean, is that if you have light skin, you better be careful here in Cusco.

The sun is very hot and can burn you in just 15 minutes.

The other day, at about 9:00 in the morning, we sat down to eat some tamales before we headed off to Lares.

In 15 minutes, my face was as red as a Peruvian chili pepper.

For some reason or another, I figured I was safe that early in the morning.

So please take note… if you’re as white as I am and you’re in a high altitude area that’s close to the equator, be sure to protect yourself with sleeves, pants and a hat.

Or else, you’ll really end up looking like a silly, unprepared American tourist. (Like me.)

(Everyone from every other country in the world, knows what I’m talking about.)

7. A big thank you this month.

I want to take #7 this week and thank you.

We ran specials this entire May on our information products. Our blood test program, digestion program, adrenals, thyroid, etc.

Many of you took advantage of purchasing these to help improve your own health.

This means a lot to me on many levels. So I want to personally thank you.

I’ll be transparent about all the reasons I’m thankful here.

First off, since we’re in Peru now, it is important to tell you that a portion of the profit from all the programs we do with Dr. Williams goes to support AyniGlobal – a non-profit organization that is assisting the native Q’ero to assimilate into modern culture.

Second, the profits allow us to continue to do what we do – which is help you get results. As you can probably tell, we’re in this to help. Anyone who’s ever met us personally can you tell you that.

There’s an interesting separation between Internet connection and real connection, but I can assure you that we really want to make a difference. Your purchases help us create new solutions, find new healthy products and continue to do research that will help you in the long run.

Third, I thank you for taking an effort to help yourself. Most people DO NOT EVER help themselves or put themselves in a better position to get the results that will actually help them. Your purchase is the first step to getting better. Congrats!

Fourth, the profits allow our team members to pay their bills, live, and eat in an economy that isn’t the greatest.

It makes me happy to be able to provide jobs where the unemployment rate is up to 13% or so (reported). You’re a part of this entire cycle, and for that we all thank you.

Finally, I want to thank you for choosing to “vote” for consciousness. When you purchase from a conscious company, you – in essence – are placing a vote for the way you want commerce to be. Sometimes the price is more or sometimes it’s less. But regardless, your dollar is a vote for good business practice and the more we vote like this, the more possible it is for smart, conscious businesses to grow.

How’s that for changing the world by just buying a $49.95 program? LOL!

Thanks again!

I want to know your thoughts: Do you agree that your dollar is a vote for conscious business?

Live Awesome!

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.


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  1. Jean says:

    Definitely. Always great to hear from you.

  2. Jim says:

    Wow, those tamales sound divine!

  3. Gail Jensen says:

    It certainly CAN be. I have a very limited ‘disposable’ income. Therefore after all the essentials are paid, IF there is anything left, I choose carefully.

    I just finished watching the movie “Urban Danger” that was recommended both by Jay Kordich and also a Meetup preparedness group that I belong to.

    I really enjoyed the movie, so your question is very timely as I see that various families (depicted in the movie) left their lives and livelihood to become more prepared (certainly), more sustainable, more responsible, and more connected and therefore ALL their dollars went for more conscious thought. As far as ‘business’ goes, somebody provided the solar panels, the generators, the cook stoves, etc.

    Mi papa hablaba espanol perfectamente. Yo crecia escuchando y hablando espanol pero no como el! Hace mucho tiempo..mucho tiempo. Y you se olvida casi todo. Y el ya se murio.
    Es bueno que tu estas ensenando hablar! Yo tengo un primo que es de Chicago quien esta viviendo en Chile. El es un profesor y le gusta mucho Chile. El no quiere regresar en Los Estados!
    Tenemos (aqui) mucho para ensenar de las personas alla..seguro.

  4. Bruce says:

    Hey Kev,

    I am glad you never ate your mate:)lol I think it was a typo.teehee
    Unless you are talking about yerba

  5. andria says:

    I can so relate to you!!! I am in Costa Rica right now, staying with a host in her private home. Everyone speaks espanol and Mi ablo unpocito espanol. It is very challenging and very humbling!! Regardless it is an amazing experience!! Muchas Gracias Kevin!!

  6. Cici Cummins says:

    I liked your title. I feel the content is part of eliminating racism through relaxed conversation and gently triggering awareness and self-reflection.

    Kudos, as well, on tackling Spanish, a respectful and smart thing to do for building real-time relationships across cultures.


  7. Jenna says:


    I haven’t commented before but I wanted to on this entry because I am SO convinced that we vote with our dollar. What we purchase is what businesses think we want to continue to purchase, more or less. So when we buy fast food, we are (in essence) VOTING that we like them, and while they profit, they will likely expand.

    I try my hardest to support companies who I feel will change the world and who I feel might not be persuaded to change their beliefs.

    BTW – I love your blog, and agree with some of your later posts that we are all unique individuals and life is sort of like an experiment with one’s self. We get to try different diets, just like we try different brands of shoes, clothes, food, etc. We try until we find what works best for US. 🙂 Thank you guys for sharing with us YOUR story and inspiring others to try new things and experiment!


  8. Ralph says:

    Great article today. No Maca?

  9. Dollars, pennies, Rubles, Yuan, Colones, and Rupees are all votes in the direction you want to see the world go. However, being 100% conscious about 100% of your buying decisions may actually lead to a decrease in productivity or well-being, which actually is a net loss in my book.

    I think the key to being conscious with where your dollars go is to take it a few steps at a time. Pick something – say food – and start becoming more conscious about it. Then move on to something else.

    When you’re really ready, look at electronics and transportation and work on ways to vote more consciously there with the money.

    You’re welcome for the article about local organics converting/selling to larger conglomerates. Glad it was good food for thought.

    Enjoy the choclo (big corn) there… we LOVED Cevichocho in Ecuador, though I’m not sure if they have it where you are in Peru.

    Loved your 7 things this week.


  10. Debbie says:

    I really appreciate all the wonderful information you are sharing with us. My family
    and myself are at a point of being more conscious in our diet choices. Your info has helped us immensley. I love the information
    about Peru as it is so timely for us, my husband and I are taking a 2 week trip to Peru in Sept. and I am taking note of all your tips. Best wishes to you both on this awesome adventure your embarking on.
    Debbie WA

  11. Anna21 says:

    Yes, I agree that we should vote with our dollars as much as possible by spending our $$$ on consious companies. We can change the world one dollar at a a time!

  12. zyxomma says:

    Yes, we vote with our dollars (or other coin of the realm), so best to give or send those dollars to vendors whose metier is Sacred Commerce.

    Next, why did you peel your potatoes? Were they burnt? People, MOST of the nutrition is in the peel!!

    Third, a tiny criticism. If you use LOL in every other sentence, it seems like a nervous tic, not an expression of your joy (which is, I’m certain, how you meant it). Enough with the LOL. 😉

    Fourth, I’ve learned two languages other than English as an adult. It requires concentration and effort, but it makes one more of a global citizen, and less an American idiot.:)

    There are many Peruvians, both men and women, in NYC. They’re far from healthy and ageless, and some haven’t been here that long. Apart from the long, healthy, black hair, they look old for their age. I think you’re just feeling romantic about them because you’re there. JMO.

    Health and peace.

  13. Sarah says:

    Hi Kevin:

    I made a comment earlier about a non-profit there in Peru that my husband and I support called “World Neighbors”. (I know the kind of roads you were talking about as we traversed those when we went to visit the farms). Actually, I think that with the help of programs like that, the Peruvian vilages are more likely to turn to diverse organic gardens rather than producing mono crops. The people we saw were living in extreme poverty to start out with and then on top of that they had been brutalized and traumatized by the Shining Path for a decade. Now, they are realizing how healthy they can be and how healthy their children can be if each family has its own organic diverse vegetable garden and small orchard. They are just now beginning to have a little extra produce to take to sell at the farmers’ market but they still have the problem of being so small that they are at the mercy of the “middle men” who take a cut of their profits. World Neighbors is helping them learn how to grown their crops and that diversity is the answer; not to be at the mercy of corporations that want them to grow mono crops. The WN program in Ecuador has helped villagers to move from producing mono crops (typically corn) to growing diverse produce for themselves and their villages. So I think the people themselves really “get it”. Mostly, they want to survive, thrive and see their children grow up to be healthy and happy. (This is what they all told us). Another interesting change: initially, their cooking stoves and ovens (extremely primitive) were inside the house with no ventilation to the outside. Consequently their children were suffering from bronchitis and asthma. But once they have a little extra produce to sell in the farmers market, they can afford a slightly upgraded cooking stove that has a vent to the outside. One village is now proud of the fact that now every family in the village has a vented stove, and an organic garden of their own. They said the health of their children has drastically changed because of this.

  14. Dr. Gastaldo says:



    You wrote:

    In the mornings, you can get hot, steamed corn tamales – made with fresh, non-GMO Peruvian corn…If you’re vegan or lactose intolerant, please make sure you ask for them without cheese. (Sin queso.) Most of them are, but I just finished picking around a hunk of cheese in the ones we got this morning.”

    I LOVE tamales – I am hoping that Peruvian tamales are vegan. Here in the US, the corn meal part of most tamales is half lard/animal fat.

    For anyone who follows my protest of bizarre birth-canal-closing (and other) crimes of OBGYNs…

    See MY OWN (hypo)THESIS as to why OBGYNs are being allowed to commit the crimes in, Birth crime and TSA: ‘Obstetric’ groping at airports…

    If anyone replies to this, please email so I know to come back here. My email is



  15. Patty says:

    more LOL!!!!! I enjoyed this article very much – I imagine hearing you chuckle when I read “LOL” – more people need to LOL don’t you think? Especially those that are uptight about sounding like an “american idiot”.

  16. Kuru says:

    I’m for keeping the LOL’s too, one of my favorite parts! They have varying interpretations, yes? Sometimes if I’m pressed for time, I just scroll through for the LOL’s and get a gist of the whole enchilada. LOL!

  17. Veronica says:

    I agree that our dollar is our vote for good food ect. Let people know why you are NOT purchasing GMO food or food that has been douced with pesticides.

    That is why I decided to join up to get Kosher, Organic food. I always can get Organic food and I always can get Kosher but to get Kosher, Organic food–not possible in Kansas City. That is why I decided to join with a group that can supply Kosher, Organic and anyone anywhere can also get it. You don’t have to be in Kansas City to get it. What a blessing!! I have been waiting for this for a long time.

    It will not be available until Sept. or Oct. but I am very anxious to get it.

    Blessings to you,
    Veronica (Mickey) Frierdich
    Colossians 3:23
    Young Living Products
    Beyone Organic Enroller number 0000008037

  18. Rebecca Cody says:

    Kevin and Annemarie, you may want to check out the Spanish class offered by the people who do the Ecuador Living website. They teach it a few times a year, often in Florida, sometimes in Ecuador. It’s called Superthinking and Spanish and they use various techniques to tap into your ability to learn quickly and easily, using music with a particular rhythm and other specialized techniques. They say that after a five day course you can converse with fluency in Spanish because of the way they teach you, and some easy tricks. One they mention is that all words in English that end in ion are very similar to Spanish words, with only a slightly different spelling and pronunciation. Once you realize this, you suddenly know hundreds of new words. They also teach how to speak well without having to conjugate verbs. It sounds tricky to me, but I’d love to take the course.

  19. margaret p. says:

    Hi Kev,Love your approach to health and well being, especially the eating, I would love the recipe for your chocolate pudding with irish moss, I have lost it.
    Keep up your good work

  20. Isabella says:

    Love all you’ve got to say, Kevin. It’s wonderful that your personality shines through your words: speaking and writing from the heart does that, no? Someone had to point out what LOL means, as I always thought it was Lots of Love. Which is not a bad thing?!

  21. Pamela says:

    Yes. We most definitely vote with our dollar.

  22. jasmine says:

    Loved the article. Can you tell us what the ratio of carrots to beet juice they drank? Did they drink any other vegetable juices? What did they put in their smoothies and did they use a blender?


  23. Rhonda says:

    Isabella… you made me laugh with such joy! I will always think of Lots of Love from now on. Bless you!

  24. Lonnie says:

    Hi Kevin, I’m going to Peru with a group on Friday and I wonder with it being warm in the daytime what it’s like at night. I’m trying to figure out what clothes to take. We are going to Macho Picchu in the evening one day for a ceremony. I’m pretty cold-natured and have been all my life…late 60’s. Any info would be appreciated.

    A friend sent me a link to your site and it’s very timely and enjoyable. She wanted me to see the part about Oil of Oregano as I’m taking the liquid with me which I’ve used before for an infection in my mouth.

    Thank you,
    Lonnie Graf

  25. Ken says:

    Hey Kev a comment about when you said “Buen Provecho” on the 7 things you learned this week. In Spain, “buen provecho” is more commonly used nowadays by the person who is bringing you the meal. They also say it when they step into a house/dining room and they find someone eating. It is a polite way to say “there’s no need for you to interrupt your meal just because I turned up in the middle of it”. This use is beginning to disappear.

  26. oreganol says:

    Sounds like you’re having a fun time in Peru. I think something that makes life fun is visiting new places, trying out new things and see things from a different perspective. This is especially important if we are stuck in the same routines day in and day out.

    I love your 7 things I learnt this week posts. They help me learn as well.

  27. Stacy says:

    I have a few questions for you. Anyiglogal ( hope I spelledit correctly))
    Whatt is it’s mission? From what you wrote, it sounds as if Anyiglobal westernizes and citifies rural places. It is very upsetting to me. It sounds as if Anyiglobel saves these poor wretches from the very life/ lifestyle you travel the globe to preserve. Don’t get me wrong Kevin I have been reading your blog and watching your YT vids for years. I respect you, i have learned many things from you, yet I hope this is NOT what. Anyiglobal is all about. It is discussion I would love to have with you on a more personal note before
    forming an opinion. But, right now I’m really upset.

  28. Stacy says:

    I just did some research, felling a little better but…
    Would still love to find out more. I researched the meaning of “ayni”
    It basically means to help your fellow man. I should have known… Lol
    You and Annmarie would perfer to be involved in something noble.
    Please respond still, I do have questions. Ayniglobal is on facebook. Unfortunately I’m having some technical difficulties accessing my page

  29. chusmacha says:

    I enjoy your Peru travel blog.
    I would love it if you would “cut to the chase.”
    “Don’t worry, this isn’t going where you think”
    Maybe could be deleted. I find you to be too wordy.
    But thanks.

  30. Velda says:

    Absolutely believe we vote with our dollar … consumers have the power. The problem is that many consumers do not realize that, and are not willing to make what may seem to be sacrifices to make the point. We as consumers all to often go for “convenience” and “price” without realizing that a little sacrifice in those areas could change what is available to us.

    Kevin and Annmarie, you may not realize it, but even over the internet your care and concern about helping and educating people about their health comes through loud and clear. That is why I continue to read your blogs and listen to your videos and audios every day. I too have an extremely limited disposable income and cannot take advantage of all of your specials, and I have to watch every penny, but I buy from your store when I can because I really want to support you guys. Please keep up the good work and God Bless!!

  31. Yakitah says:

    Hi Kev.
    Voting with our Dollar for Food is the best
    tip ever. Thanks so much for all your info.

    Yakitah, of
    Rejuvenation Wellness Center.

  32. […] I mentioned in this 7 Things article, there are plenty of items you can get at the Markets for all types of […]

  33. Treesa says:

    Oh my gosh, I haven’t laughed this hard in some time. I can just hear you saying this, “You… charging… me… to… much… because… I’m… gringo.” lmbo…Thanks for sharing. I can’t stop laughing!

    I’ve said it before and I will share it again, I appreciate the way you and Annmarie show up in the world. You have integrity. You’re compassionate. Your heart works make such a difference in the world. It is for these reasons, and more, that I tune in daily to Renegade Health and buy from the store.

    With Gratitude…Treesa

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