Vacations, Holidays, and a Recipe for Ceviche

This morning was one to reflect, be still, and take in the world around me.  Just as the sun began to peek through the haze, I slipped into my favorite pair of running shorts and laced up my sneakers that still have a few more miles left in them.  Libby dog and I headed out the door for our morning run and I quickly be came aware of the stillness that surrounded the beat of our pace.  No cars carrying men and women off to work.  No lawn crew filing through the rows of houses.  No children racing to the bus stop or people walking their pets before hurrying off for the day.  Nothing.  Instead of a background of traffic and business, I became aware of the gentle drone of bugs against the melodic chirp of birds.  The humid air still cool from the night welcomed the sun, ready to give way to another thick day.  A gentle breeze ran along side us as I took in the peace surrounding my steps.  This, is real life.  Life as God intended.  One that invites us to enjoy creation and be present in the moment.  People waking up slowly and indulging in their families and activities that they want to do.  I wish our culture could place more value on a slower pace more often than a holiday weekend or vacation.  Life shouldn’t be about the pressures around us and rushing from here to there, but rather about enjoying the moment you are in and experiencing the beauty the world offers.  Take time to run/walk/job/bike while the world is silent.

Vacations have essentially been invented for two reasons 1) to experience other parts of the world beyond our 15 minute bubble and 2) to live feely as each one of us really desires at the core of our being, spending time with those important to us.  After a busy June and to celebrate our 2-year wedding anniversary we decided, for both of the reasons listed, to take a vacation to Mexico (Riviera Maya, Cancun).  If it is difficult to create a “vacation mindset” at home, going away is an opportunity to make memories and spend time with people you care about.  As much as we love traveling, I don’t think vacations should be counted on to truly live.  If you can only be yourself or be happy while away, then you may consider re-evaluating what’s truly important on a day to day basis.  Although I am often pretty busy, I know it is not healthy for me to sacrifice laughter, fun, hobbies, and surrender to the pressures around me.  Balance within all aspects of health and life (spiritual, mental, physical, nutrition) helps me to be a more centered, whole person who can live and love each day.

So back to our vacation adventure…

We enjoy food.  An exciting perk about traveling to a new place for us is experiencing the food culture.  I did some research on the resorts we were looking at and looked over menu’s to see if we’d be totally out of luck with the food. 
We found Secrets Capri in Riviera Maya, Cancun and we really could not have been happier with the food selection.  Sure there were a lot of things we chose not to eat because the ingredients they used, but we definitely never went hungry.  They also offered several traditional meals and local fare making it fun for us too!

All the menu’s had these symbols on them which made it very easy to order!


Honestly it was kind of nice that we do not eat gluten because most of the gluten-containing foods are pastries, pancakes, breads, muffins, rolls, desserts, etc…basically foods that we would take because they are available, but have little to no nutritional value.  I know in the past we both would have loaded up on the tempting sweets just because they were free!!! 
Would we die if we ate gluten?  No. But making the choice to not eat gluten automatically made our vacation diet healthy because we were choosing fresher foods.

The difference between a “Diet” and a “Lifestyle”: on our vacation, we probably ate more food than we normally would, but the choices we made were in line with what we would typically eat at home, because that is just the way we enjoy and are used to eating.  No crazy diets before vacation only to give way to a gluttonous binge once we arrived…just business as usual. 

Really it’s not about eating this food or not eating that food, it’s about trying to eat real, unprocessed foods, that make your body vibrant and provides the nutrients it needs to support immune, hormonal, digestive, and total body health.  If you can do that the vast majority of the time (even on vacations) you’ll be a lot healthier for it.

Here are a few of our meals…

Grouper with Vegetables


“Mayan” Buffet: Veggies, Chicken, I made a lettuce wrap!


Raw Tuna on a Salad


Ribs with a side of veggies


Mexican Buffet Night


Yes that is a real background

Salmon Appetizer
Salmon & Grouper ordered with extra veggies

 Obviously many of the dishes (especially at the buffet), probably had hidden ingredients or additives that we are not used to eating, and that the workers are not harvesting a garden in front of the resort.  The vegetables were not organic and the meats were probably not raised how we would like, and many of the sauces were most likely processed.  But, overall I didn’t feel like I was eating from a boxed dinner or can all week and many of the dishes were simple and fresh…that is something that can be appreciated in spite of a large operation.

We did take “Digest Gold” enzymes to aid in digestion and help us adapt to Mexican cuisine.  Did they help?  Who knows, but neither of us had issues with food which is a miracle.  No face breakouts for me, no digestive issues for either of us, and no heartburn for Andy, which is a miracle in itself!  We also took extra probiotics each day and “Ultra-Mag” magnesium which really helped our digestive tracts adjust properly.  We both drank tons of [bottled/filtered] water as well.

One thing we really enjoyed was the ceviche!  I love trying new dishes and then recreating them at home!  After a little research into traditional preparation, here is my recipe for ceviche:

Overall we are very happy with the way we ate on vacation.  Our bodies felt healthy and we didn’t feel sick from crappy food.  It also made it easy to transition right back into “normal” clean eating.  Binging on vacations only makes it difficult to go back to proper portions and healthy choices once you return.  But that’s the difference between a diet and a lifestyle.  We ate healthy on vacation because we enjoy the healthy foods and we like the way we feel when we eat them, and I enjoyed my vacation without regretting extra pounds or feeling crappy! 

It is possible to have a fun and enjoyable vacation without throwing health to the wind!