I recently visited a spa for a few nights. At Rancho La Puerta the food was fresh from the garden for the most part, full of whole grains such as quinoa and farro, and primarily vegan and fat free.
It was a bit of a shock to the system and a rude awakening that I probably need to make some adjustments to my regular diet.
The breakfast buffet at the spa consisted of oatmeal, nuts, dried fruit, fresh fruit, whole grain cereals, eggs, salsa, and even vegetables. What was missing where the two things I usually have, bread and cheese (for cheese toast). Sometimes I have almond butter toast with jam, and neither of those items was on the buffet either.
Lunch consisted of a huge salad bar with fresh steamed carrots and veggies, a whole grain salad, beans, brown rice, soup and salsa. Again, no cheese, no bread, no sandwiches, no meat. The salad options were so good that I didn’t miss any of that.
At dinner there was occasionally seafood, but the meals were again primarily veggie laden and close to fat free.
The food was flavorful, plentiful and healthy, but eating that cleanly was still a bit of a challenge. While I feel like I eat relatively healthily, and often my meals are vegetarian, my body still reacted to not have any fat, or a lot of protein by being hungry a couple hours after eating. I loved what I was eating, but my body was craving what it was used to having.
What made the meals great, even if they weren’t super filling, was the variety of what they served. The salads were colorful, had lots of options and tricked your brain, even if temporarily, that you weren’t missing out on the cheese and oil you usually douse similar ingredients with.
The experience also taught me that it was important to check in with yourself and your diet every so often. Take inventory of what you are feeding it regularly, and what you may be creating an addiction for. Then, switch things up and try to feed yourself something different to try to break those habits.
More than anything I think I realized that I needed to diversify my diet and incorporate a lot more vegetables into my menu. I don’t want to be addicted to fat and cheese, and it seems that may be the case.
I made this healthy slaw this summer and served it with grilled tuna. It is beautiful, with many colors, and offers a clean, fresh taste with a spicy kick, too. I loved it and so did the others I served it to.
I think it would be amazing with fish tacos, on top of any burger or sandwich, or, if you want to eat it like they would have at the spa, serve it with other veggies and a salad to brighten up your meal.
Dishes like this are, I hope, going to become my new normal while I try to kick some of my less healthy habits. Feel free to sprinkle this with some nutritional yeast or flax seeds (they served these and chia seeds on the side of all of our meals too).
Recipe: Sriracha Slaw
- 1 head purple cabbage, sliced as thinly as possible (on a mandolin if you have one)
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 cup thinly sliced red pepper
- 1 cup thinly sliced yellow pepper
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- 2 tablespoons of toasted sesame seeds
- 1-2 tablespoons Sriracha (depending on how spicy you want it)
- ¾ cup rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- pepper to taste
- Toss all ingredients for the dressing in a bowl, and whisk until combined.
- In a larger bowl, combine all the slaw ingredients, and mix with the dressing. Add the dressing and mix until well blended. Taste for seasoning and add more soy sauce if it isn’t salty enough and more Sriracha if you want it spicier.