May 29, 2011

A Week Without Reading Labels

So I’m at Racha La Puerta, an amazing health/fitness resort in Tecate, Mexico. I’d imagine anyone who reads Elephant would love it. It’s like a little mountain paradise, with morning hikes, fitness classes (AND tai chi, yoga, pilates, Feldencrais!), pools, delicious food, arts/crafts, lectures, spa treatments etc. There’s morning hikes, even a morning garden hike where you hike down to the garden and see where food is produced (and eat some of it I hope!). There are some great looking lecturers, doctors, etc. talking about detoxing, nutrition, and the new research on genetics that shows that the way our genes express themselves depends on how we choose to live our lives. Plus, I get one free treatment… I think I’m gonna go for the “happy feet and hands”… it just sounds so… happy.

The ranch is comprised of partially residents, like us, who are here to teach and perform but get to spend the week enjoying the ranch, and guests that pay probably about $4000 per week to stay. It’s the closest thing I’ve experienced to what I’d like to run someday (minus the elitest spa-goers that are addicted to complaining about how the spa treatments just aren’t adequate enough….  but I suppose that’s the compromise). It’s staffed by a good percentage of the town, and as the nice man who walked our luggage to our room said, “It’s the best place to work in the region.”

Maybe the best part of this place is that I don’t have to worry about my food allergies for a whole week! They customize my meals for me, and I’m learning how to embrace my “specialness”… as they serve me, they say endearingly, here’s your “special meal.”

Since I found out about my sensitivity to gluten, dairy, and soy, I thought there wouldn’t be a day for the rest of my life that I wouldn’t have to read a label, and though I have a fond place in my heart for the expressive phrases “no-gluten… no-dairy… even no-soy…” (as it’s usually an exciting thing, especially when the phrases are combined), I can’t tell you how f*#&ing fantastic it is to not judge food by words, but purely by my taste buds.

I’ve had two meals so far, and saying “yes” rather than reading “no” already feels heavenly. The great thing is that it’s (at least seems to be)  quite simple for them to prepare me food, as most things they serve are good to go in the first place. They swap out the bread for a corn tortilla or hold the cheese, but the substantial part of the meal is already free of the gunk I can’t eat. It’s real food.

Certainly it’s necessary for us, not just us with food allergies, to know what’s in our food, but it makes me wonder, how much stress does it cause to be a strict label-reader? To me, it seems like choosing foods and environments that ingredients are fresh and whole enough to know what they are from the beginning is our best bet.

Just another reason to re-define “real” food.

Anyhow, I’m off to Yoga. Now, I just need to make sure I don’t get too excited about not reading labels, and make sure I read the ones telling me which water to drink!

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Madison Moross  |  Contribution: 1,000