Report from altitude

Discussion in 'Altitude, Weather' started by bradley, Jan 8, 2013.

  1. bradley

    bradley Member

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    Greetings everyone,

    I just returned to the USA from spending 1 and a half months in the highlands of Ecuador. I spent most of my time at around 9000 feet, but ranged from 7-12,000, with moments up to 15k when i was trekking.

    I noticed many positive effects from the altitude, both objective and subjective. Even though I upped my caloric intake, I still lost about 15 pounds, mainly body fat. I was doing a lot of trekking in the mountains which further upped the caloric expenditure. My veins were much more vasodilated. Muscles seemed more defined along with less water retention. More controlled appetite. I seemed "hardier", more energetic. Had zero allergies or signs of inflammation that i sometimes have at sea level. Slept more soundly.

    At the very high altitudes, bag breathing worked splendidly in abating symptoms. I also chewed coca leaves from time to time while trekking which was a huge help. what a fascinating plant.

    I tried to keep the diet Peaty, but it was difficult when not preparing meals. I got overloaded on PUFA, mainly from pork and chicken which i rarely ever eat. They made me feel tired. Sometimes, while trekking all there was to eat were chips fried in oil.

    I mostly had eggs and fruit for breakfast, fruit for lunch sometimes with a veg juice and grilled plantain, and then starch+animal for dinner, like potatoes and grilled trout or goat stew. The fruit there is incredible. Cheap, abundant, lots of variety.

    I absolutely loved Ecuador. The southern area around Cuenca is excellent for those looking for a high altitude place to relocate!

    Let me know if you have any questions
     
  2. charlie

    charlie The Law & Order Admin

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    Yeh, when you going back and do you have room in your suitcase? :lol:

    I bet it was really pretty over there.
     
  3. kettlebell

    kettlebell Member

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    Fantastic Bradley. Thanks for that update, great stuff.
     
  4. charlie

    charlie The Law & Order Admin

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    How was the goat stew?
     
  5. chris

    chris Member

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    Nice report, glad you enjoyed it. I would like to live in high altitude at some point in the future.
     
  6. OP
    bradley

    bradley Member

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    Delicious, called Seco De Chivo. Looks like this
    http://www.puntoporpuntointernacional.c ... s/seco.jpg

    They don't really have factory farming in Ecuador, you see all the cows, goats, pigs, and chickens grazing on the countryside.
     
  7. charlie

    charlie The Law & Order Admin

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    Never thought I would want to try goat, but now I do.

    The way it should be.
     
  8. gretchen

    gretchen Member

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    I live in a location that is 5,000 feet. It does have some nice effects.
     
  9. Ray-Z

    Ray-Z Member

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    Very interesting report, Bradley. Thank you. I like the image of all the animals grazing in open spaces. And I want goat stew!

    Good to hear that bag breathing was helpful.

    What sorts of effects did you observe when chewing coca leaves? How would you compare the effects with those of a good caffeine high or an adrenaline rush?
     
  10. OP
    bradley

    bradley Member

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    Interestingly, I found i retained much less water at altitude. I've heard it's usually the opposite, but the effect was very noticable. A couple days after returning to sea level i started retaining again. Anyone know the mechanism for this?

    Ray-z. The stimulation from coca leaves is subtler, cleaner, and more "natural" feeling than caffeine. It also hones focus, and seems to stave off hunger and thirst.. and settle the stomach! many more effects as well.

    This list may be of interest to folks here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Large_citi ... _the_world
     
  11. Dean

    Dean Member

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    I spent about 3 months in Ecuador two years ago and loved it. If I could swing an income and manage the visa issue, I'd love to live there. I was trying to learn Spanish so I didn't move around as much as I'd have liked to. I was in Quito, Otavalo, Banos, Cuenca, and Puerto Lopez (on the coast).

    Definitely missed out on doing the mountain hiking. Did you do the Quilitoa Loop. Where in the highlands did you spend most of your time? Did you get down to Loja and Villacabamba? I definitely want to go back and see more, especially the highlands. I've heard good things about Mindo (tropical cloud forest town near Quito) too. Plus I didn't do the Ecuadorean Amazon and I'd like to do the northern coast.

    I do notice a greater sense of well-being when I am at some elevation. Too elevated though and my cold intolerance makes it uncomfortable as a long term option. Banos had a nice elevation without the cold, but it was extremely windy there--something that has negative emotional and psychological effects on me.
     
  12. OP
    bradley

    bradley Member

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    Hi Dean, glad you enjoyed it as well.
    I did go to Loja and Vilca. Really nice, warm, clean and high up. Wish i spent more time there, but there's time.

    Have you traveled or lived anywhere else at elevation?

     
  13. Dean

    Dean Member

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    Hey Bradley, How was Loja and Vilcabamba in terms of wind?

    I've never lived at any elevation, having always been in the midwest and East Coast of the U.S. It's only in the last few years that I really started travelling and noticed the sense of well-being I felt when at elevation relative to my everyday life. I have spent some enjoyable times in the Ozarks and even spending time in college at the relatively low elevations in the West Virginia mountains, as I look back, where markedly good in terms of my frame of mind. Of course, the peace and quiet and closeness to nature are undoubtedly also a factor.

    I just got back from a year in SE Asia and really enjoyed my time in Northern Thailand, especially Mae Salong. The cold and dampness got to me after a few weeks, however. I think my next move out of the U.S. is to follow the lead of Dr. Peat and another iconoclastic truth -teller I admire and head for Mexico to study Spanish.

    Has Dr. Peat ever said what part of Mexico he lives in? I assume it is somewhere at an elevation. I think if I am going to study Spanish for six months, it would be a good idea to do it somewhere at some elevation to get the mental function boost.
     
  14. OP
    bradley

    bradley Member

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    Hi Dean, I never noticed any wind in Loja and Vilcabamba aside from a nice occasional breeze.

    Santa Fe seems like a nice US city at high elevation, though I imagine quite extreme temps.

    I believe Peat mentioned Morelia (oh i guess i can't type it here??). San Cristobal de Las Casas looks great too. Also look into Puebla, Cuenavaca, Guanajuato, and Oaxaca.

    What other iconoclast lives in mexico?


     
  15. Dean

    Dean Member

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    Yeah, I was thinking about Oaxaca. Need to do more research yet.


    Morris Berman
     
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