In my teenage years I lived on a steady diet of regular Coke, chips, ice cream, and whatever else I wanted to eat… without much thought about the consequences. Keep in mind I had been a year round competitive athlete since I was a young kid and my metabolism probably neutralized the negative impact of excessive calories; I was still growing and my world revolved around playing sports. And like many teenagers I believed I was somewhat invincible. I had convinced myself the natural laws of aging would not apply to me, nor would they into the future.
In my early twenties I remained active playing in adult tennis and volleyball leagues still convinced I could still eat and drink whatever I wanted without much consequence. Then I got pregnant and everything changed.
Three kids later and just months shy of turning 40 years old my body is still relatively fit and healthy, but it’s only a shadow of its former self. The back of my legs aren’t as smooth as they used to be and the faded stretch marks on my stomach remind me daily my body carried three (awesome) kids. Even though I continue to work out regularly, my metabolism has slowed down to a snail’s pace. I have to work three times harder for a quarter of the results, which used to be so easily achieved in my ignorant yet youthful days.
Today I still eat and drink whatever I want, but now I understanding there is a cause and effect with how my body responds. I don’t like to be told I can’t or should not eat certain foods so I try to use a common sense approach to eating sensibly. Eat relatively healthy most days will allow me to indulge in whatever it is that makes me happy when opportunity knocks. But here’s the problem that occasionally arises: I go through seasons when I don’t feel motivated to exercise. Or I get a hankering for eating too much of something regularly instead of saving the indulgence for a special occasion. Right now, for example, I’m particularly fond of eating ice cream… and lots of it.
I’ve discovered the best way to take care of my body is to be kind to it by being mindful of what it needs instead of what it wants. There is a time the body does need and want ice cream, trust me on this one. But most of the time our body needs nutrients and whole foods as close to its natural state as possible.
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of going to Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, Mexico on a press trip (sponsored by Rancho La Puerta). This spa and fitness resort specializes in nourishing the mind, body, and soul. I hiked every morning to La Cocina Que Canta for a wonderful farm-to-table breakfast. It was the most impressive organic and sustainable farm I’ve ever seen. Imagine eating fresh vegetables and fruits picked the same day at its perfect peak, where every bite needs very little to no seasoning because everything picked from the farm is ripe with flavor.
From cooking and meditation classes to HydroFit fitness and tabata sessions, with each passing day I made small but important decisions on how to care for myself. I was both feeding my body great fresh whole food and staying active. By making good choices about how I would care for myself for the day I reset what my body craved and gave it what it needed with the occasional break to rest.
Since being home I’ve continued to incorporate the small changes I learned at Rancho La Puerta into our family life. That includes this recipe for guacamole. Unless you make it for yourself you will not believe this is actually a healthy lower in fat guacamole because the flavor is all there. You too can enjoy a touch of ranch magic at home and take a small step towards resetting the way you care for yourself.
- 1 cup frozen peas, slightly thawed
- 1 medium Hass avocado, peeled and pitted
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lime or lemon juice, or to taste
- 1 medium tomato, seeded and cut into ¼-inch dice
- ½ red or sweet onion, cut into ⅛-inch dice
- 1 jalapeño or serrano chile, seeded and minced
- 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 tsp. minced fresh garlic
- ½ tsp. sea salt
- ¼ tsp. fresh ground black pepper
- In a blender or in the bowl of a food processor, process the peas until smooth.
- In a medium bowl, mash the avocado with a fork or potato masher. Add the juice, tomato, onion, jalapeño, cilantro, garlic, salt, and black pepper. Add the peas and mix well.
- If the guacamole won’t be served immediately, press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface to prevent browning.