Last updated April 30, 2021
A spa holiday or wellness retreat often serves as inspiration for us to place a big focus back on our personal health. We leave our treatments refreshed and renewed.
We also return ready to make changes to our daily grind, establish new exercise regimens, recite new mantras, and even add more yoga to our routine. We aim to keep the glow from our holiday and make it a lifestyle.
Yet, one of the most powerful changes we can make remains taking the lessons learned through adjustments in our daily diet. The old adages of “garbage in; garbage out” clearly rings loudest when we sit down to break bread since “we are what we eat.”
More and more wellness trips focus on this important aspect of health through their cuisine offerings and educational cooking classes.
Many destinations focus on farm to fork and garden-to-table concepts as the on-site chefs continue to work closely with local organic growers, offer cooking demonstrations and perhaps teach the benefits of a plant-based diet.
Of course, on luxury travel holidays, the exquisitely prepared courses are often paired with wine via on-staff sommeliers, but once home, we need to translate many of the dining experiences to our daily ritual in our kitchens.
Which spa inspired recipes or concepts can we easily practice along with the new mantras and create improved versions of ourselves?
Here are three options—from the practical to the delicious—inspired from destination spa retreats you can put directly into practice today.
1. Energy Bars
We often find ourselves searching for the ideal energy bar when desiring a quick bite. Often consumed as breakfast to start our day or as an afternoon pick-me-up, these bars do offer quality health benefits, but did you realize you can make your own?
Yes, instead of purchasing packaged products, let’s wipe the dust off the food processor and create a healthy energy bar from scratch.
I sat in a class where our vegan guide took the simple ingredients of ½ cup raw nuts (almonds, walnuts pecans), 1/3 cup pitted Medjool dates, ¼ tsp of almond extract, a pinch of salt and ¼ cup of shredded coconut to create a delicious, healthy energy bar. It was simple.
After processing all the ingredients except for the coconut, which is added at the end, one takes the mixture and lightly squeezes it to further combine and shape it. It is recommended to fill a cookie tray and then place it in the freezer.
Once chilled, remove from tray and cut bars to serve or store in a ziplock bag. The energy bars stay fresh for up to three months, so make plenty—you’ll be glad you did.
2. Soup for the Soul and Sustainability
Often not considered a fine dining menu highlight, soup can be the healthiest course served on a wellness retreat. And it often is remembered thanks to its unique blend of tastes and fresh ingredients.
Yet most of us don’t consider soup a daily option—let’s change that, as soup is absolutely a spa inspired recipe.
When searching for the perfect Costa Rica retreat, I eventually found myself on the Osa Peninsula. Known for its incredible biodiversity and virgin volcanic beaches, the destination resort served delicious food.
There was no reason to leave except for taking a hike into the wild. When onsite I also noticed lunch always offered a puree or soup seemingly designed from the vegetables served at the prior night’s dinner. Here, no vegetables nor any food was ever wasted.
So why not make soup? Start with a simple broth from vegetable scraps or purchase stock and then allow the creativity to flow with all the ingredients and vegetables you haven’t utilized yet. Don’t let any go to waste.
Remember, soups can always be frozen too. Make big batches and store some to and eat on days when cooking a meal is not on the agenda.
For me, I make my own broths and create soups often now, and each time I do, I am living the pura vida.
3. Plant-Based Chocolate Mousse
The word “treat” exists in retreat for a reason. We need to reward ourselves at times, so yes this gives us permission to order dessert.
But how about a plant-based delicacy? Doesn’t sound like an enticing dessert choice? Well, please remember chocolate is derived from a tropical fruit.
The Mayans of Mexico discovered many of the healing properties of chocolate, or really cacao—the fruit used to make chocolate. This Mexican global export was originally only served to high priests and the ruling class since it was essentially “a drink of the gods.”
For many people, chocolate is still godly delicious, and today, travelers to Mexico can still taste the fruit that makes chocolate in the Mayan world.
One evening a “raw chocolate mousse” (a vegan dessert) caught my attention. Attending a cooking demo on my stay, I discovered this delicious dessert was easy to make.
With the ingredients of ¼ cup Medjool dates, ¼ cup maple syrup, ¼ tsp of vanilla extract, ¾ cup avocados (I prefer Florida, the larger avocados), 6 Tbsp of pure cacao powder and ¼ cup of almond milk, you have what you need.
Add to a food processor and whip to the consistency of a chocolate mousse. Serve chilled with a slice of strawberry to augment its decadence. Trust me.
At your next wellness retreat, make sure to take home spa inspired recipes and cooking concepts to alter your lifestyle along with the other changes you may plan to implement.
And until then, please use my recipe inspirations to make energy bars, cook soup for the soul, and treat oneself with chocolate for dessert all from the comfort of home.