We’ll be the first to admit it: our nutrition suffers a lot when we’re on the road. We want to concentrate on only feeding our bodies real, healthy food — we know we feel much better when we do — but the problem is that we’re lazy.
Even when we have the rare kitchen at our disposal, it’s just so much easier to step outside and eat $1 tacos. Especially if those $1 tacos are accompanied by $3 margaritas. We’re working on making adjustments to our health though, and so far we’re excited to say that the New Year has seen us take tangible steps towards mindful eating.
A huge impetus to change our dietary habits was our experience at Blue Osa. The yoga and spa retreat is serenely located on the Osa Peninsula, a secluded and pristine region in the south of Costa Rica. Blue Osa’s mission is to provide renewal for each person’s mind, body and spirit through nourishment, care, and a pure form of living.
Naturally, the cuisine is a huge aspect of that mission statement. Blue Osa utilizes only the freshest ingredients, either obtained from the on-site organic garden or local farmers. And not only is the food healthy, it’s insanely delicious, too!
As mealtimes were one of the highlights of our day, I could often be found perched at the bar to the open-air kitchen, taking notes from Jose and Olger (two of the local chefs). Luckily they were more than happy to help me jot down a few of my favorite recipes to implement on our own path to healthier eating. One such recipe was the Blue Osa Granola.
I love granola. We almost always carry some along with us on our travels, especially if we know we have a particularly long bus ride ahead of us.
But the truth is that most store-bought granolas are high in added sugar and calories — and expensive to buy abroad. We normally justify it by reasoning that granola is a lot better than snacking on Cheetos and M&Ms, but we know we could be doing better. And now we can.
This homemade granola from the Blue Osa Kitchen is insanely easy, gluten free, and can easily be made vegan by substituting the honey for more maple syrup!
10 cups of rolled oats
1 cup finely chopped almonds
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
¼ cup maple syrup
¾ cup honey
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups of dried fruit (look for something with no added sugar)
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C)
2. Line two large baking sheets with foil
3. Combine oats, almonds, pecans and walnuts in a large bowl
4. In a saucepan over low heat, stir salt, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, oil, cinnamon, and vanilla together until the sugar has dissolved.
5. Bring sugar mixture to a boil over medium heat. I recommend stirring frequently to keep the sugar from hardening or burning. Once sugar mixture has reached a boil, remove from heat and pour over the oat and nut mixture.
6. Mix oat and sugar mixture together well.
7. Spread the mixture evenly between the two baking sheets
8. Place baking sheets in the oven for 8-10 minutes, or until the oats are evenly toasted
9. Remove baking sheet from the oven and let stand until the oats are cool
10. Add the dried fruit of your choice (and a bit of dark chocolate if you’re feeling rebellious).
11. Store in an airtight container
Being surrounded by fresh, organic, and delicious food at Blue Osa was a reminder of how delicious mindful eating can be. Though we were only there for a few days, we left feeling noticeably different—healthier, lighter, and more energized.
And we got to eat delicious deserts every night! The cuisine is certainly reason enough to check out this eco-resort, but in the meantime, be sure to try some of the other recipes Blue Osa posts to their blog on a weekly basis. Many of them feature local, Costa Rican flavors, but all of them can be tweaked to the ingredients where you live!
Dan and Casey are two lovebirds, world travelers, and adventurers extraordinaire. Their website, A Cruising Couple is for those seeking adventure travel with a dash of class. You can also follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
In this post, the words were by Casey and the photos by Dan.