We can Always be Better thanks to Rancho La Puerta! By: Heather Dawson
When I was invited by Julie Gallaher of thingsyoushoulddo.com to spend a week at Rancho La Puerta, my initial reply was “I don’t have time for a luxurious spa week in Mexico, I barely make time to eat!” Then our education reporter Jennifer quinonez told me to take a second look at the amazing amenities on their website and felt it would be an important segment to feature on our show, California life.
Even my husband who was surprisingly diagnosed with colon cancer at 38, urged me to take a break from our regular routine and focus on slowing down. It’s not easy leaving 3 kids, a full-time job producing 2 newsmagazine shows, a production company, classroom volunteering, chaffier duties to the girls’ activities and a husband undergoing chemotherapy. So, naturally the guilt set in quickly as I made my way to San Diego to catch a bus to Tecate. Too much caffeine, no time for breakfast, a lingering sinus infection I never made time to get antibiotics to cure and a frantic last minute search for my passport, left me feeling queasy and I started off my trip as “the guest who got sick on the way”.
It was all worth it when I finally descended on the beautiful resort of Rancho La Puerta, a tranquil setting, comfortable casitas, endless hiking trails, and delicious meals made from the organic gardens nearby. There was an activity for everyone; whether it’s yoga, Pilates, relaxing mediation, vintage jewelry designs, lectures on dreams and a full service spa. I was more relaxed than usual but the moment I checked my iphone, the stress would come back instantly. Then a wonderful thing happened, I forgot to bring my iphone charger and was forced to spend the week without technology (cell phones and computers are restricted to your rooms and the internet cafe). I was forced to hike without my ipod and listen to the birds and nature. Noise alone is a huge stress on the body. In fact, when I got home I researched the impact technology has on our family unit and few articles have hit home more poignantly than the genius “Report: 90% Of Waking Hours Spent Staring At Glowing Rectangles”. Kids and teens 8 to 18 years spend nearly 4 hours a day in front of a TV screen and almost 2 additional hours on the computer and playing video games. In today’s technology culture, a computer can be “watched” like a TV – as can iPods, cell phones, and many other gadgets.
I also realized how unhealthy my diet was (living on coffee and skipping meals is never a good combo). We ate 3 meals a day without processed foods, sugar and red meat. My roommate lost 6 pounds and I had more energy than my triple espresso diet. We spent one evening picking our food from an organic garden then cooking alongside a handsome, Belgium chef straight out of central casting from the Food Network in a gorgeous Tuscany style kitchen.
The food was amazing and we all swore we would go home and start our own organic garden. I did come home and make delicious recipes from the Rancho La Puerta cookbook and although the garden is on hold, I did start a routine to buy organic! My daughters can’t wait to grow yummy vegetables in a family garden after watching the Rancho La Puerta story on our show, California life. I am sending my husband next month to experience Rancho La Puerta when he finishes chemotherapy. I can’t imagine a better way to kick-start his new health regime. More importantly, I want him to take a break from technology so he can truly relax and soak up the motto “Siempre Mejor” which means “Always Better” ~ because regardless of how busy we are, we can always be better. Thank you Julie Gallaher for the invitation, Roma Maxwell for the opportunity and co-founder Deborah Szekely for creating this wonderful escape 70 years ago!