Last week the Great NEWS blog shared Paradise In Panama and today we follow up with the Problems in Panama imported from the US and other developed countries. After my recent trip to Panama to study the culture and foods in paradise it was quite apparent there are major challenges and issues harming the country and its people. As you read the blog you will soon see numerous examples and warnings highlighted and shared in this post on the Problems in Panama that help to serve as a wake up call regarding risks that may also be robbing you of your health and longevity.

While Panama is a neighbor to the south of Costa Rica (currently one of the Blue Zones for health and longevity) there are many alarms, red lights and warnings signs to alert people to the problems in Panama. This blog post is intended to educate and motivate you with valuable life lessons learned regarding how quickly fake foods, fast foods, junk foods and highly processed foods will harm the health and longevity of any culture.

Panama has beautiful rivers, mountains and rain forests.

Problems in Panama are replacing the Paradise in Panama.

Problems in Paradise

Several decades of introducing modern food production and processing from the US into the Republic of Panama is undoing hundreds of years of the local people living in harmony with the land. Alarms should be going off in your head as this really sends a clear and loud message regarding what one hundred years of modern commercial foods are doing to the people of the US and other developed countries. As you understand the trends in Panama is should be a wake up call for realizing how quickly healthy habits can be converted into unhealthy habits based on the commercial food industry and government influence and intervention. Where else do you notice your life being unduly influenced by big business and corporate conglomerates?

The majority of people today are eating significantly more highly adulterated, processed, refined and treated foods. Most people in the cities and towns of Panama are replacing one or two traditional meals of beans, rice, roots and vegetables with fake foods and fast foods. It is now common to see burgers, candy, chips, cookies, fries, fried chicken, pastries, pizza, sodas and sweets being consumed quite frequently. All one needs to do is look at the litter and you get a good glimpse at what the people are drinking and eating.

My first hand experiences and observations came from asking questions, eating with the locals at fondas and going to the local Mercados. Interviewing Conrad Grant (age 76) a slim, trim and talkative man I met in the old city zone of Casco Viejo provided lots of helpful insights also. His life in Panama provides first hand insight about the changes that have occurred. As both a native Panamanian and US national/ citizen born in the canal zone at a US hospital and educated in US schools he offers a unique insight and perspective.

He is a wealth of information and definitely energetic, fit and healthy. He revealed his secrets for longevity includes eating fresh whole foods, education, enthusiasm for learning and exercise. He avoids fast foods and junk foods and consumes fresh fruits and home cooked meals. Basic meals consist of beans, rice, roots, vegetables, coconuts, fish, eggs and chicken. He avoids excess sugar, fast foods, fried foods, junk foods, modern corn oil and sodas. He also claims clean living and hard work while avoiding the problems associated with alcohol, gambling and tobacco are essential to health and longevity. He is a wealth of knowledge and works every day offering guidance, history, tips and tours to tourists. Lucky for me our paths crossed and he shared informative answers to my many inquisitive questions.

Panama City has many modern condos, casinos and concrete towers.

Panama City looks a lot like Miami.

Problems in Panama

People are now eating significantly more foods that are not fresh. Adults and children are drinking many juices and powder drinks instead of consuming the whole fruit.

Today many of the foods are no longer whole foods and cooked from scratch. Instead many are eating highly prepared and processed foods.

People are eating significantly less of the beautiful rainbow of colors and much more white pasteurized and processed foods such as salt, bread, flour, milk, pasta, potatoes, rice and sugar. With less whole foods such as beans, fruits, greens, plants, seeds and vegetables they are receiving less antioxidants, enzymes, minerals, phyto-nutrients, trace elements and vitamins.

Many adults and children in Panama cities and towns are eating fewer whole foods and home cooked meals each day. As a result of school programs and work they are more frequently eating unhealthy meals and snacks.

Markets are now selling corn, canola and soy oil which is decreasing their consumption of healthy fats and increasing the unhealthy fats. As a result they are now eating many more foods being cooked and fried in rancid oils.

On the farm they still work hard five to six days a week while in the city they are doing less physical work and end up sitting or standing around more of the time. Due to conveniences such as Cable and TV they are less active and often stay up later. Longer work days and 24 hour shifts are also reducing their time to enjoy family, friends and fun.

Houses are often closely crowded together and built along busy roads and streets. Exhaust fumes and noise are increasing which contribute to many unhealthy effects to sleep and well being.

Increasing Obesity

The long history of consuming natural whole foods and significant raw foods in Panama is being replaced my mostly over cooked, fried, micro-waved and pasteurized foods. Larger quantities of fake foods, fast foods and junk foods are being consumed. As people eat much less fresh foods and much more processed and refined foods they are gaining weight and showing the tell tale signs of obesity.

More frequently people are consuming the apples, grapes, peaches, pears and plumes as well as their juices from California and Chile rather than eating local fruits.

Increasing amounts of farm raised fish such as catfish, salmon and tilapia is being sold. Many people are eating fried chicken and fried fish rather than more traditional methods. Beef, chicken and pork are being consumed in larger quantities and more often raised in crowded conditions which causes them to carry more diseases. More of the eggs and dairy is coming from commercial growers rather than free range organic sources.

The adults and children are walking less due to the conveniences of buses and cars which produce quite a bit of pollution and soot. Most Panamanians still walk more than the average person in the US but the benefits of modern transportation combined with less healthy foods is taking a “heavy” toll on the population.

Adults and children are eating less of the locally grown and natural whole foods and consuming way too many processed foods, sugary fake foods, fast foods and sodas. More people in Panama are now consuming fake foods such as: candy, cakes, crackers, cookies, corn chips, donuts, potato chips and sodas which are some of the unhealthiest substances in the world.


With a significant increase in the consumption of breads, burgers, cereals, pancakes, pasta, pizza, sandwiches and tortillas (white wheat flour) they are well on their way to replicating the health challenges and obesity disaster of the US. All of these foods made with processed and refined white flour are concentrated sugars and are usually consumed with other sugar laden condiments and coatings.

Refined white sugar and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) have become the sickening sweetener of choice for most families.

French fries, fried chicken, fried chips, fried fish, fried plantains, fried pies and fried foods in general are quickly becoming more common in the Panamanian diet. Fried foods and frying oils are foods that harm.

Due to the US influence from manufacturers of commercially processed and refined Genetically Engineered (GE) canola oil, corn oil and soy oil is replacing natural fats and oils like butter, coconut, lard and palm oil for cooking.

Unhealthy Lifestyle Choices Harm Health

People buying lottery tickets and gambling are wasting their money instead of investing for their future.

Excessive car crashes, construction accidents and pedestrian mishaps cause serious and significant injuries. Most adults and children do not wear a seat belt when in buses, cars or trucks. Most people riding a bike or motorcycle do not wear a helmet or one that is a proper fitting helmet and therefore many suffer excessive head injuries.

The rapid expansion and exposure to modern electronic devices such as cell phones, Electro Magnetic Frequencies (EMF), improperly grounded electric wiring, microwaves, power lines, televisions, transformers, transmission towers and WiFi is significantly increasing. Kids are playing more computer and electronic games with less outdoor activities to stay mentally and physically fit.

Consumption of alcohol, juices, sodas, sugar and sweets is rapidly rising and you can see the sad consequences in most parts of the country.

Coffee contaminated with synthetic chemical compounds and consumed combined with pasteurized milk and artificial sweetener or sugar is very acidic, addictive and harmful to ones health. Since most of the coffee trees are concentrated commercial plantings versus ecological and sustainable forest and shade grown they are sprayed with excess toxic fungicides, insecticides and pesticides.


Beautiful beach with a coconut trees

Beautiful beaches and tropical paradise.

While Panama is blessed with access to the Caribbean sea, Pacific Ocean and clean rivers more of the water is being polluted by bar soaps, chemicals, laundry detergent and other harmful industrial chemicals manufactured and promoted by foreign companies. Excess chemicals in the body care products, cleaners, detergents and soaps,are being used in the home and end up contaminating the waters.

A significant increase in using synthetic toxic compounds on farms is exposing more people to these harmful toxins. Uneducated farmers are encouraged to borrow money to buy fungicides, herbicides, insecticides and pesticides for use on their farms. You can see boys and men carrying sprayers on their backs loaded with herbicides to kill grass and plants. They have no protection and end up breathing and coming in contact with these very toxic compounds. It also ends up in their food, drinking water, rivers and soils so the whole family is affected now and in the future as these toxic compound accumulate in their environment.

Many of the teens and young women are wearing high heels which cause the body to be out of alignment and the bones, cartilage, joints and ligaments to become misshaped and torqued out of alignment. This results in deformed, misshapped and unattractive feet as well as back, knee, hip and neck problems in the future.

The mega media marketing machine influence created with magazines, movies, newspapers and television is shifting behaviors away from living a healthy lifestyle and towards living an unhealthy lifestyle.  People are becoming more centered on excessive consumerism and consumption of commercial products even if they are harmful to their long term happiness and health

Excess consumption of pasteurized cheese and pasteurized milk is contributing to excessive fat on the people.

More people are working early and late shifts to accommodate the new businesses and industries developing in Panama. This is increasing in their level of stress and reducing their harmony with nature.

There is abundant clean water in Panama from springs and wells yet much of the water is being treated with chlorine as a precaution.

Excess litter in the form of boxes, cups, paper containers, plastic bags and bottles is resulting in unsightly and unsanitary trash accumulating in most of the country. Often the trash is burned creating a lot of exposure to chemicals in the paper, plastic and products derived from petroleum (like motor oil, Styrofoam and tires).

Many people that originally grew up on the farms are migrating to the city for jobs and are less connected to the land and the holistic and natural ways for living a healthy lifestyle. While the job they are doing now probably pays better and seems easier they are probably spending much more for food, housing and transportation. There is a fine line between a healthy lifestyle with long term enhancements and improvements and an unhealthy lifestyle that also involves your quality of life deteriorating with debt, dependency and disease.

Panama has benefited from its strong focus on family yet now many people are being more separated from family and the family unit is deteriorating.

Too much alcohol and beer is a big problem

Excess alcohol and beer is an unhealthy lifestyle choice.


Consuming excess alcohol, beer, coffee, fake fruit drinks, kool-aid, sodas, sugar and sweets in Panama appears to be harming their warm and friendly nature. You can sense they are stressing and struggling more with the tension, turmoil and traffic. More people are turning to alcohol, drugs, loud music and late night partying which harms the body, mind and spirit. It seems like the strain, stress and struggles are contributing to more unhealthy lifestyle choices. With more people drinking excess alcohol and smoking cigarettes this causes increasing problems for the future.

Excessive tree harvesting for wood and deforestation and land clearing for cattle grazing has greatly reduced their tropical rain forests. Many beautiful birds and rain forest animals are being negatively impacted and lost. Excessive clearing leads to invasive grasses, lack of native hard wood trees and loss of natural foods which are isolating many species and causing significant population declines.

Due to excessive land clearing there is excessive flooding and soil erosion during the rainy season.  Diverse and native hardwood rain forest trees are being replaced with invasive trees and non native species (eucalyptus, pine and teak) that upset the ecology and ecosystem.

Fragrant flowers, plants and trees help fill the air with sweet smells while the increase in burning trash, diesel fumes and pollution are offensive and unhealthy.

Many parts of Panama are losing the peace, quiet and serenity of paradise and are plagued by significant noise from loud cars, horns, radios and trucks.

Ship passing through the Panama Canal.

The Panama canal

Two Sides to a Coin

While there is still lots of beautiful Paradise in Panama it is important to sound the alarm because it is obvious there are many Problems in Panama when you look at the flip side of the coin ( Balboa are local coins).  The official currency in Panama is the US dollar which is losing significant value to inflation

Adding a trip to Paradise in Panama on your bucket list is a great idea before more paradise is lost and they put up more casinos, condos and concrete towers. Panama is still a beautiful and ecologically diverse country with lots of beautiful beaches, rain forests and tropical wildlife. As we make healthy lifestyle choices to be more eco conscious and sustainable we help stop the damage and destruction caused by excess logging, cattle ranches and sugar cane.  This will help prevent more environmental damage and harming the health of people in Panama. As we all implement and promote more global peace, prosperity and positive possibilities we become the changes we wish to see in the world. Now that you clearly understand what is causing the Problems in Panama remember to choose behaviors and habits that create a more happy, healthy and holistic lifestyle.

Mastery Action Plan

What unhealthy lifestyle choices are robbing you of your happiness, health and harmony?
What will you do this week to lessen your carbon and water footprint?
How will you help create a more renewable and sustainable future?
Why will you improve your health and longevity?  What is the big benefit for you?

Call to Action

What comments, commitments or concerns and questions do you have for protecting paradise ?

The next Great NEWS blog post will share: Natural Prevention and Protection from Bug Bites