I’ve been going to Canyon Ranch in the Berkshires for many years. I go once a year and I have always thought it to be the greatest place on Earth. Years ago, when I started going, I would spend a highly enjoyable weekend eating, doing exercise classes and going to the spa. I was in heaven. The fireplace pictured above was my favorite place to sit to read a book. Aaahhhhhhh….
For the past few years, since I’ve become health and wellness obsessed (it’s a happy obsession), I still love the fireplace, but my weekend has changed considerably. Now, while I still go to the spa and eat three meals a day of delicious food, now I do so after spending the mornings sweating my butt off in some unbelievably strenuous — but ultimately beautiful and satisfying — outdoor activity. Last year it was ice-hiking in minus 7 degree weather. This year it was snow-shoeing up a mountain in a balmy 15 degree blizzard. This is myself and my fitness guru and friend, Ellen, while I was learning to snowshoe.
The next day, we snow-shoed up the mountain. The amount of sweat pouring off of us in these freezing conditions was truly unbelievable. At the top of the mountain, we really had to peel off layers of clothes just to cool off.
When we arrived at the mountain with our guide, we realized that no one had yet tried to make their way up the trail. Our guide was in incredible shape and forged the trail for us in the two-foot deep pristine snow. We came across these deer tracks and really were awe-struck by their quiet beauty.
When we got back to Canyon Ranch, we peeled our sweat-soaked clothes off, jumped in hot showers to soothe our aching legs, and practically ran to the dining room because we were famished. And, believe me, it’s not that we didn’t have breakfast before we went (those of you who know me, know I don’t miss a meal…)
Here are pictures of some of the food I ate this weekend.
This is my breakfast of 2 poached eggs with steamed asparagus, avocado, and chicken sausage. This was really good. Each morning I treated myself to some form of eggs — usually a vegetable omelet of some kind.
Before my eggs arrived, I always helped myself to some fresh fruit at the breakfast bar. I would pile up the fruit and then sprinkle it with flax seeds and nuts. I especially enjoyed the sliced bananas in orange juice.
Every day at lunch and at dinner, I would make a big salad from the salad bar. This one was made up of fresh baby spinach, lots of raw vegetables, olives and some fennel and dried cherry salad.
This salad was one I had toward the end of the trip, when I would look at the salad bar and wonder if I could eat even one more bite of salad. This time I filled my plate with fresh veg, pickled beets, artichoke hearts, and tofu and green pea salad, and skipped the spinach/lettuce completely.
We ate like queens. Not only would we have beautiful salads with lunch and dinner, but we would usually have a bowl of soup too. This is the cauliflower soup.
I am not a big red meat eater, but I ordered beef for dinner on two nights because it’s not so easy to find a place that has organic, grass-fed beef on the menu. I wish I had a picture for you, but these plates looked and smelled so good, by the time I realized I hadn’t taken a picture, I had eaten half of the food already.
This was a great weekend. It made me appreciate the amazing things that our bodies are capable of doing, even when the task seems insurmountable. Bottom line: try it now, while you can. Because you can.