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  • Writer's pictureCharlene Peters

Wellnessing at Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, Mexico

I love options, especially when every single one is focused on wellness. Keeping in sync with the Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit’s new “Wellnessing” getaway, I grabbed my Gratitude Stone and held it close to my heart while giving thanks for the moment I arrived in my two-floor wellness suite in Puerto Nuevo, Mexico. My room smelled of myrrh, my choice of diffused aroma from a pre-selected list I filled out before my arrival. And as I slid open the door leading to the balcony with the Pacific Ocean view, the warm, humid air felt like a tropical hug from Mother Nature.

I hugged her back by accepting all of the earth’s gifts, beginning with a juice therapy demonstration and tasting with Chef Yogui. What I learned from the master is that between 4 a.m. and noon marks the detoxifying process inside the body; first thing in the morning is the time to detox with liquid. What type of liquid is in accordance to your personal needs. If you experience acid reflux, then try a shot of antioxidant superstar, mangosteen, with water. According to Chef Yogui, you’ll feel better after two weeks. Another tidbit of information learned is that whenever you consume berries, use with lemon juice and it works best in your system.

One recipe he blended is a healthy blend of 1-1/2 cups oatmeal, 2 bananas, ½ teaspoon olive soil, dash of sea salt, and any berry you prefer, such as a mix of 7 blackberries and 7 strawberries. Add acai as a bonus. Need a hormone regulator? Try Peruvian maca (1 tsp.) with a little kale, ½ teaspoon lemon juice, a little celery to neutralize the flavor, and white grapes. Add goji berry powder for an added benefit of health.

If you’re not sure about the effects of dairy and flour in your body, try to abstain for one week and see if you notice a difference in the way you feel. And know this… from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m., whatever you’ve eaten is now absorbed in your body system.

Following Chef Yogui’s juicing class, cookbook author (17 books to date!) and nutritionist Robyn Webb stepped in to teach us how to create the perfect pantry. It’s a good thing that most dry products that remain unopened will last for a year. Robyn advises to think of your pantry in terms of product expiration dates, which she suggests should be indicated with a label on the bottoms of cans or bags. Here are Robyn’s pantry suggestions in a nutshell:

  • Olive Oil – keep two kinds on hand (one inexpensive and one more flavorful for salads).

  • Vinegar – stock red and white and use a splash at the end of making a soup or stew.

  • Mustard – stock up on small jars so flavors stay potent.

  • Canned Tomatoes – BPA-free containers, though. Or can your own home-grown tomatoes.

  • Soy Sauce – the fifth taste of umami, or pleasant savory taste. Get the Japanese soy sauce.

  • Panko Bread Crumbs – Get the whole wheat version.

  • Beans – Almost a perfect food, rich in fiber and a meatless protein, plus inexpensive! Get the BPA-free cans or glass jars. You can easily substitute one bean for what’s in your pantry, FYI.

  • Grains/Pasta – Well sealed in airtight containers will keep them lasting up to 1-1/2 years.

  • Dried Spices, Herbs and Salt – Use fresh herbs whenever possible, but do keep a small supply of dried herbs on-hand (they’ll last up to one year). Use kosher or sea salt, which tastes better than iodized salt and you can use less. Also, black pepper should be freshly ground, so a pepper mill is a must.

Robyn’s next task was to recommend the perfect equipment list, which includes a wok, a heavy skillet, preferably cast iron, casserole dishes, a Dutch oven and/or 6-quart saucepot, and a salad spinner. Oh, and last but not least… a good sharp 9-10 inch chef’s knife and a large cutting board.

Now that you’ve got the tools, Robyn’s suggestions continue with “how to cut”, such vegetables as onions. “Leave the root on,” she instructs, “that’s where you cut it in half and it will prevent you from crying.” She also suggests using a sprig of rosemary as a skewer, and to heat an empty pan before adding oil so your food won’t stick, and only cook garlic for 30 seconds to one minute so it doesn’t burn and ruin the flavor of your recipe.

More tips included staying away from curly parsley and chopping this herb, as well as mint and basil, by gathering it like a bouquet of flowers with stems cut off, and then rolling into a ball before cutting right through it. She also recommends using Staub cookware.

As I lounged ocean-side for the remainder of the afternoon, I thought about all I’d learned and looked forward to applying to my daily routine, not to mention stocking my pantry. But before I departed, I experienced Se Spa’s hydrotherapy, beginning with a spa shower before heading into the eucalyptus steam room and then trotting off to sit in the Jacuzzi -- all efforts to loosen my numerous muscular knots before Gloria’s aromatherapy massage.

When we arrived to the treatment room, Gloria showed me a tray filled with basil leaves and rosemary, which she then crushed with a mortar and pestle. She asked me to smell the mixture before she added it to her mix of aromatherapy. She proceeded to fit me with slippers where the heels felt like rocks inside (mineral stones?). Following the foot introduction, I propped my body on the massage table, face down to breathe in the eucalyptus steam set below me in a bowl on the floor. I took a breath so deep it seemed to travel all the way to my toes. All clear.

Gloria concentrated on my knotted shoulders and neck, per my request, but added peppery oil that heated up, and then she utilized stones. The idea of this massage is to adapt to each person’s needs. The only thing missing from my time spent in Se Spa was, well… more time to spend in Se Spa. You know it’s a good massage when you’re sad it’s over. I did spend a while sitting back in the relaxation area, sipping on anise tea before I headed back to the beachfront to enjoy lunch and more relaxation.

If you’re interested in experiencing “Wellnessing” by Velas Resorts, visit the website online: or check out the Grand Velas blog for ideas on what to plan for an upcoming visit to one of the resorts:

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