We stayed at the El Dorado Royale in Playa Del Carmen. It was GORGEOUS!!! We picked this resort for two reasons...
1. Comfortable beds
2. Seven AMAZING restaurants!!!!
This vacation was all about sleeping and eating. We would wake up from an amazing nights sleep, eat, go chill on the beach on our fancy beach canopy bed, nap, eat lunch, lay on the beach some more, eat dinner, lay on a hammock under the stars, order room service around midnight and then back to more of that amazing sleep. It was MAGICAL!
I have read a bunch of blog posts about how to travel and still stick to the paleo guidelines. It usually requires an entire suitcase full of jerky, precooked sweet potatoes, nuts, paleo bars, dried fruit and carrot sticks. This was just way to much work for me. I threw some bathing suits in a suitcase, grabbed a few tiny dresses and called it DONE. I still wanted to stay paleo but my "plan" was just to wing it...because that always works, right?
We started out good. I knew the flight wouldn't have paleo snacks to offer so we stopped by Blue Mesa in terminal D and filled up on some sweet potato chips, guacamole and salsa. We love Blue Mesa and eat often at the one across from North Park. It is a great place eat pretty clean without having to give your waiter a list of items to remove from your dish.
Once arriving at our very humid paradise (my hair doubled in size) and after surviving the gauntlet at the airport we were getting hungry again. We chose the Korean restaurant at the resort as our first meal mainly because it was the closest to our casita. We made a slight allowance and had sushi with rice but made sure our main course consisted of mostly protein. That is when we learned our first lesson about the El Dorado Royale... Yes the food is amazing and all inclusive but the portions are TINY. Like maybe four bites of actual protein tiny. This girl eats a lot and I was a little concerned I was going to starve on this trip. But we figured out the game quickly and started ordering two or three entrees a piece.
And yes I ate it all and yes, I still looked good in my bathing suit. I was actually kind of amazed because usually on vacation I feel all bloaty and gross after eating lunch because I eat whatever sounds yummy at the time because it's vacation...right? But this time by sticking to mostly protein in my meals I never felt that overly full, yucky feeling even though I ate as much as I wanted.
Breakfast was super easy to get the protein in. It consisted mostly of black coffee, lots of eggs, and lots of bacon. Lunch was a bit more difficult because we didn't want sandwiches or pasta salads. We made it work though. Then there was that awkward time between 4 and 6 when there weren't restaurants open and all you could get was a sandwich, wrap, or smoothie from the "Health Bar." I would almost feel panicked during this time. All that was in our minibar was alcohol, sodas, candy and cookies so that wasn't an option. I managed to survive but every day wished I would have brought some jerky.
We made some paleo exceptions in order to enjoy some of the local flavors such as tamales, empanadas and a few of the deserts. But we were really able to stick to paleo pretty good for every meal except for that midnight room service snack. We splurged and ordered nachos and cookies and I don't even regret it. They were THE best nachos I have ever had in my life. I miss chips...a lot and I felt good about making the choice to enjoy something that may not be the best option for me but was not going to hurt me as a special treat.
But then on the last day we kind of let the whole "treat" concept get away from us. It was like we knew all the special was about to be gone so we were going to eat as much of it as possible. We had coconut almond pancakes (which sounds healthy but had wheat), cream cheese filled French toast, along with our eggs and bacon. Then on the plane ride back I became blissfully aware of the grilled cheese smell wafting through the recycled air. I got ridiculously excited about having no other options than choosing between the melty carby cheesy sandwich or obviously starvation. But then that wicked flight attendant ruined my perfectly good excuse for diving into that grilled cheese by offering me a luke-warmish beef salad. Blah. But I was strong and stuffed that barely edible meat down my gullet and chased it with my teeny tiny glass of wine. Yay me! I make good health choices...
Well...that was pretty much my last good nutrition choice for the next few days. For dinner we went to our favorite little stone-fired pizza place and although we could have ordered quail or salmon we chose creamy crab dip with thick bread to dip into it, and super cheesy pizza. Not paleo in any way.
Okay, but that was still technically vacation because we hadn't made it home yet. I would do better tomorrow. Tomorrow was a new day. Except I continued to succumb to my cravings instead of choosing foods that were nourishing to my body. I didn't go crazy. I still ate mostly paleo but I gave in to lots of "treats." If I grabbed a coffee from Starbucks with cream then I would have this mindset that the whole day was ruined so I might as well take advantage and eat as much corn chips, tortillas, ice cream, and cheese as I wanted throughout the rest of the day. I continued on this way for about three days and then I started to feel it.
I just felt yuck. Kind of draggy. My workouts sucked. My mood was not pretty. My skin was definitely not glowy. My tummy was not happy. I didn't poop for three days!!!
So I cleaned up my act once again. It is incredible to me that I could actually forget how bad I used to feel before paleo. But it was a good reminder of why I spend more money on our grass-fed, organic, clean foods, and why I constantly make the choice for nutrition over quick gratification.
But now that we are back on the paleo track again we have missed Mexico. We actually found a Pandora station that plays Mexican music and bought the ingredients for our favorite beach side drink and made the following recipe in order to recreate a tiny part of our amazing stay at the Eldorado. This meal is great served with kale chips (organic kale found at the Sunshine Shoppe) and a simple cherry tomato and avocado salad.
Mexican Stuffed Mushroom Caps
2 lbs. ground beef
1 lb. ground chorizo
1 onion chopped
1 bell pepper, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
4 tsp. garlic
2 TBSP coconut oil
Taco seasoning (See Below)
Portobello mushroom caps (these are in this week's produce box at the Sunshine Shoppe)
Saute the onion, pepper, and celery in 1 TBSP oil until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add all the ground meat and cook until browned.
Add 1 TBSP of taco seasoning and egg to meat and veggie mixture.
Put mixture into food processor in small batches and pulse four or five times.
Rub remaining coconut oil onto the mushroom caps. Fill mushroom cap and pile high. Place on a cookie sheet and cook at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
1 TBSP chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion
1/4 crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
Mix all of these spices together and store in an airtight container. I like to make a huge batch of this to use when needed.