Eat / Run /Yoga in Tulum

Tulum: destination to view the ancient Mayan ruins, right?

Yes, but that’s not all…not by a long shot.

As if I needed any more reason to fall in love with Mexico (I didn’t), after a recent four-day getaway to Tulum with my husband, I’ve become even more enraptured.

We arrived late Wednesday afternoon in Cancun and after a 90-minute drive from the airport, past Riviera Mayakoba, where we spent Christmas a few years back, we began to see the signs indicating we were approaching Tulum.

We’d picked this as our destination as we wanted a nice, relaxing few days and always enjoy visiting new places.

I’d heard of the yoga scene here, as several friends and colleagues had either taken or taught classes or attended retreats along the beach, so it wasn’t surprising to find there was also a strong spiritual presence, as evidenced by the meditation centers, spas offering Temazcal ceremonies and energy healing in addition to the typical menu of services.

The feeling of being connected to something greater was tangible the moment we landed in the jungle.

We arrived at our hotel, Be Tulum , checked our bags in and spent only as much time in our room as was necessary to kick off our jeans, boots and jackets and don sandals, shorts and swimsuits before heading just a few steps out to the beach…and wow.

There was one of the most pristine waterfronts I’d ever seen.

With the sun nearly due to set, we opted for one neat Mezcal at the beachfront bar, a beach-weathered, rustic little hut with a view to die for, where we toasted our having arrived in paradise.

Over the next few days, we enjoyed incredible runs through the jungle (ok, maybe we weren’t exactly running through the jungle, but on clear, white sandy roads that allowed us miles and miles of trails upon which to begin each day with, doing one of the things we love most, but it sounds better to write that we ran though the jungle!), yoga classes in the treetop studio at Yaan, meditation on the beach and the cuisines…. oh the cuisine!

And here’s where I always find it worth harping on, just a little.

The food is amazing, authentic, true to the region, yet at the same time, from restaurant to restaurant, varied greatly with much originality and creativity depending on the chef who was running the helm in the kitchen.

Each and every dish we enjoyed was healthy. All of it was seasonal. None of it contained any junk, fillers or additives of any description and I didn’t even have to ask for anything to be modified, because it was all food!

There was no need to ask for extra veggies instead of a starchy side, no reason to request sauce on the side and it would have been unnecessary to ask for changes in any way, shape or form.


Because, again, it was all food.

Fresh, local fish from whole, roasted-in-a-banana-leaf grouper to tuna crudo to smoked blackjack, octopus and scallop ceviche and giant grilled wild-caught shrimp.

Salads made with cucumber, papaya, avocado, lime and jicama, veggie side dishes of roast peppers and squash with local herbs, grilled asparagus with fennel atop a puree of roast pistachio and beets

And the salsas!  Roast tomatillo with cilantro, blackened Habanero so hot you could only taste the tiniest bit before setting your mouth on fire then finding relief from a bite of cool, cucumber-ginger-mint puree served as part of a fish entree…it goes on and on and on.

In particular, the two places that stood out most were Hartwood and Casa Jaguar

Following our typical routine of intermittent fasting felt as natural as can be here, too; rising without the alarm around 7 allowed for a leisurely black coffee as we stretched, then headed out for a few hours of running, yoga, or both, and then enjoying a lovely lunch around 12:30 worked just as effortlessly here as it does at home.

A few hours of R&R at the beach gave us plenty of time for long walks on the beach, getting in some good reading and jaunts out on one of the complimentary beach cruisers from the hotel (which, by the way, were just a tad different than riding my BMC).

Then, before we knew it, it’d be nearing 630 or 7 and we’d head out for a dinner meal, much the same insomuch as it would contain the same food categories (local, wild protein, ample veggies and good fat) and each meal seemed more delicious, more decadent than the last.

Another example of how if we provide ourselves the opportunity to adopt habits at home that become our lifestyle (most simply, if we eat food, real food, and move), we can easily carry those very same habits wherever we may go.

I didn’t deprive myself of any of the experience of being there from a culinary perspective. I even gleaned new recipes and prep tips from some of the chefs who were kind enough to divulge their secrets.

And simultaneously, I didn’t ever find myself in a situation where I felt I had to choose between eating something good and eating something good for me.

Training myself years ago to isolate what foods make me feel great and what items, which aren’t really food anymore, make me feel awful, and deciding according to that, what to eat and what to avoid, is the key thing that has allowed me to become lean, stay that way and feel the healthiest I can, each and every day.

Call it Paleo eating if you want, or perhaps clean eating, healthy eating or whatever the case may be…. but at the end of the day, it’s just food.

(That’s what real Paleo is all about anyway, in case anyone was wondering.)

Highly, highly recommended destination for all.   Next time, we’ll plan to stay twice as long!