10/24/2011 12:49 pm ET Updated Dec 24, 2011

Wheat and Weight Loss in Argentina

I've never been much of a "weigh myself" kind of person. I've only been on a scale twice in the past five years -- once on a dare and once in a doctor's office.

While I don't think much about weight, I do think about the foods I eat. I've had to, given a rather intense wheat allergy. Even small amounts of flour added to soups or sauces result in large and immediate reactions. And the evidence is as external as internal; dining partners are able to watch my eyes swell at virtually the same rate that my stomach cramps.

That doesn't mean I always avoid the stuff. On certain occasions, I'll go wild and willingly suffer the consequences of a good pizza or French bread with cheese and olive oil.

So it was, on my second day in Buenos Aires, that I chose to down a plate of warm empanadas. Reveling in the taste, it was only when my husband asked how I was feeling that I realized I wasn't... nothing happened.

And it still hasn't. With a "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" kind of glee, I've therefore been eating my way through just about every wheat and bread product (along with meat and wine) this country has to offer, with absolutely no consequences. What's more, I've been losing weight according to clothes that return from the laundry substantially looser than they went.

Over yet another breakfast of medialunas (mini-croissants with sweet or savory fillings), I remain intrigued by what appears to be a break in the laws of nutritional physics here in Argentina. From the looks of it, no one seems to be suffering from the effects of glutton we're accustomed to in the States, in spite of eating as much-- if not more -- than we do. Everywhere we go, behind plates piled high with food and goblets filled with Malbec are fit, healthy and youthful people of all ages.

Certainly exercise, stress and happiness are factors, though conversations with the locals reveal that couch, computer and car-bound Argentineans "suffer" the same fit and trim fate of edible excess. I've therefore wondered if it is perhaps not the quantity or even the types of foods we're eating in the States that is the problem. Our manipulation of food, genetic and otherwise, as well as the preservatives we add might have consequences not only for the foods themselves, but for the bodies they feed. I'm not a dietician, but it I wonder if these manipulations and preservatives could play a role in the allergies and weight gain that we attribute to diet.

It's a topic I will continue to look into both here in Argentina and back home in New York. Until then, please pass the migas!