I often spend many of the winter months away in warmer climates. However, me and my partner have a bit of problem with being together in the sun and staying healthy. The second the sun comes out we want to celebrate and that usually means wine, nice food and lying in the sun. Which is fine occasionally but not the best recipe for staying fit when your in the sun for 3 months!
At the start of this year we travelled to the USA and Mexico (Mexico for food research of course. I invested in some dumb bells for when we were on the road in America and the ocean when we were in Mexico. Luckily there is a lot of gorgeous fresh fruit in Mexico including my absolute favourite; watermelon!
Along with tomatoes, the watermelon is one of the best sources of lycopene important for cancer prevention. Its rehydrating which in perfect in the Mexican heat and only 40 calories per cup. I covered mine in lime juice which is just heavenly!
Staying healthy in Mexico was not too much of a chore. The fresh produce was on every street corner. One of my favourite foods, the avocado were readily available, huge and perfectly ripe every time. They make a great breakfast on whole grain or gluten free toast. The Mexicans seem to put lime juice and chilli flakes on almost everything, a tip I have bought home with me, not only for irresistible flavour but for an added boost of vitamin C.
To make: Use one half of an avocado on two piece of either whole grain or rye toast. Squeeze on some lime juice and sprinkle on some chilli flakes or chilli sauce and season. Enjoy! Avocados are a great example of ‘good fats’ that lower cholesterol and help burn belly fat. Otherwise known as monounsaturated fats.
During our 8 hour days of driving down the Baja California, Mexico (with no air conditioning) we had to stop for food when we saw it. If anyone knows the Baja they will know the long, hot winding roads that you certainly do not want to break down on. When we drove through small towns and villages there appeared to be a certain dish continuously on the menu; fish tacos. Initially, I thought sounded a bit odd, imagining a tin of tuna in a wrap. But these little taco stands on the side of a dusty street became my shrines to the delicious and simple fresh food real Mexico had to offer.
Whole families working together in their very simple stands, deep frying some local freshly caught fish and serving them on a hot taco with a traditional homemade chilli sauce and salsa, each family sauce different to the next. It was such a joy finding the next stand and comparing the tacos as we made our way slowly winding down the Pacific coast.
We took our beat up little van over to Mazatlán where we stayed for a couple of weeks. In the old town we discovered our first authentic ceviche. Me and my partner never let a summer go by at home on the Devon coast, without catching some mackerel and making fresh ceviche on the beach. So to finally try an authentic Mexican ceviche was very exciting for us. In just one town one the ceviche varied from restaurant to restaurant. It was this that I found so interesting about Mexico. Using fresh and local ingredients, each family run restaurant or street stand produced their own unique dishes tasting completely different to the next.
Recipe for Ceviche-You can use any fresh fish; we like mackerel as it is a sustainable fish containing Omega 3, Vitamin B2 and B3. Mix with raw chopped onion, cucumber and chillies and cover with freshly squeezed lime juice. The acidity in the lime juice will ‘cook’ the fish enough to eat. Add some fresh coriander and a little seasoning and there you have it; a quick and fresh healthy dish full of raw goodness you can make on the beach! Some restaurants used shredded carrot instead of cucumber and some added avocado which I loved! You can experiment with what ever you like.
The third food that also happens to be one of my top health foods is the coconut which happens to grow in abundance in Mexico. Drinking a fresh coconut on a hot Mexican beach or whilst on a long hot car journey was an absolute saviour! Coconut water contains vitamins, minerals, enzymes, electrolytes and phyto-hormones. The health benefits of the coconut are endless, which is probably why its otherwise known as ‘the tree of life’.