Learn more about the program, vacation and spa retreat locations across the world. Check the updates, see the facilities and prepare yourself for your visit.

Posts

Eco-Friendly Travel Tips

Eco Travel Tips from Mountain Trek

We at Mountain Trek are very conscious of the fact our guests are required to travel, sometimes great distances, in order to benefit from our program. Whether they’re joining us during one of our adventure treks around the globe, or at Rancho La Puerta in Baja, Mexico, or our beautiful lodge in British Columbia, inevitably they will have to pack a suitcase.

In honour of Earth Day this year (April 22nd) we wanted to share with you some super easy tips that will not only have a positive impact on your environment, they will also help make your travelling experience easier and healthier.

1. Pack Less and Be More Fuel Efficient – The fewer items you put in your suitcase, the easier it will be to get around and it will involve less energy and fuel to get where you’re going.

2. Minimize Your Use of Air Conditioning and Heat – Follow the same rules you do at home: if you’re cold, put on a sweater, and if you’re hot, open some windows, take a quick, cool shower and put on lighter clothes.

3. Opt Out of Daily Housekeeping – By reusing your towels and sheets, rather than having the housekeeping staff launder them everyday, you’ll help conserve water and energy during your trip.

4. Bring Your Own Toiletries – At Mountain Trek we offer locally-made, hypoallergenic and natural soap in reusable dispensers to all our guests. But in many hotels, toiletries come pre-wrapped or in tiny bottles. You may use them once or twice and then discard them, at which point they’ll end up in landfill. Instead, bring your own soaps and shampoos and leave the pre-packaged cleansers for others.

5. Eat Local & Organic Food – Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you should veer away from the local markets. In fact, some of our best travel experiences are had when shopping for fresh food. While eating McDonald’s in Russia may seem novel, you’re actually doing harm to your body and the planet.

6. Bring Your Own Mug – According to a study done by Simon Fraser University, over 58 billion paper cups are thrown away every year, the equivalent of 20 million trees. Do the planet a favour and reuse your own mug or ask the kitchen staff to get one for you.

Happy Earth Day from all of us here at Mountain Trek! Be sure to enjoy the beautiful outdoors wherever you may be.

Mountain Trek Eco Travel Tips

14 Ways To Pamper Yourself This Valentine’s Day + How to Balance Work & Play

[wps_social_buttons] Happy Valentine's Day!

14 Ways To Pamper Yourself This Valentine’s Day

For some February 14 is an opportunity to prove to your significant other just how much you love them. For others, Valentine’s Day is more of a manufactured holiday that’s about selling cards and chocolates. For very few, however, the day is about celebrating themselves. This year, we invite you to pamper yourself on February 14th and reinvigorate your love of you. In the past we’ve talked about Self Soothing to Replace Emotional Eating and Christmas Holidays Gifts for Yourself but we’ve never really touched on ways to offer loving gestures to yourself on Valentine’s Day. So, without further ado, here are fourteen ways to pamper yourself this Valentine’s Day.

#1. Take a bubble bath

Take a bubble bath

#2. Buy yourself a colourful plant or flowers

Buy yourself colorful flowers

#3. Better yet, take a walk outside and enjoy some outdoor foliage

Take a walk outside

#4. Set aside time to read that good book or magazine

Read a good book

#5. Write a letter to yourself stipulating the things you love about you

Writer yourself a love letter

#6. Schedule a massage

Schedule a massage

#7. Enrol in a yoga, fitness or any type of class that offers a subject you’re interested in

Enroll in a yoga class

#8. Detoxify your body (see here for more details)

Detox

#9. Go to your favourite restaurant by yourself and order anything you want

Take yourself out for dinner

#10. Take a nap

Enjoy a restful nap

#11. Spend time with a puppy, kitten or pet, whether it’s yours or someone else’s

Play with a puppy or kitten

#12. Give yourself a facial, manicure, pedicure or foot bath

Pamper yourself with a pedicure

#13. Make a delicious meal just for you (we suggest it includes our Vegan Chocolate Mousse)

Spa Cuisine

#14. Book yourself a vacation

GeneratedHDR_Tonemapped


How to Balance Your Work and Play

balance work and play

About 50 years ago many of us moved from work that involved standing and moving to desk jobs that require more sitting. Not only that, but our work hours have increased and, for some of us, we spend two-thirds of our day connected to our job in some capacity. This can make for an incredibly stressful lifestyle, one in which we spend all our time either working or sleeping (poorly) to recover from the work. This can take a toll not only on the mind but also on the body. After all, our system is designed to run after gazelles on the African savannah – it doesn’t feel good when we sit in front of a computer or TB screen for 14 hours a day. The good news is there are some easy things that you can do in order to better balance your work and play. In our opinion, the latter doesn’t get emphasized enough in our current work-obsessed society but it’s just as important (if not more so) for personal health and happiness.

The key to a good balance is not biting off more than you can chew at first. Remember, “Inch by inch is a cinch but yard by yard is hard.” The first thing you want to do is make a list of things that you consider fun and make you happy – even if the list is only one activity long. Perhaps you were a cross-country running champion in college but since starting in the workforce you haven’t found the time to get outside. The key is to not expect to get out everyday for a few hours right off the bat. But you can get outside, even if it’s just walking from your car to your office. For the first few days, park further away than you normally would and as your striding along, take deep breaths and remember what it was like to run freely through nature. Before entering your building, look up at the sky for 30 seconds and just enjoy the view. Then, when you’re in the office, follow these five steps:

  • Take 10 minutes out of your work day and relax, sit down and just clear your mind. (Recently we’ve been playing with the Buddhify app to achieve this and it’s very good.)
  • Drink lots of water. Not only will it cleanse your system but it will force you to get up and move when you need bathroom breaks. It will also allow you to step out of your work mode for a few moments to give you time to think of other activities.
  • Occasionally get up from your desk and stretch in a doorway or stare out the window at the sky. While you’re doing that, think about what makes you happy.
  • The next time you’re perusing Facebook or on some other social media site, stop what you’re doing and instead Google classes, courses, groups or apps that are related to the activity you love. Bookmark relevant sites. Even if you don’t sign up right then and there, it will be beneficial to have your mind dwell on it.
  • Mention to a friend or co-worker about your desire for better work/play balance and the activity you would like to get involved in. By putting it out there, you’ll enlist the help of acquaintances and it will become “real” as opposed to a “wish” that only exists in your mind.

Try and do the above things everyday and eventually you’ll find yourself setting aside more and more time for the activity you love.


Endurance Crackers Recipe

Endurance Cracker Recipe These crackers are a great alternative to bread when enjoying such dips as hummus or our famous Afterglow Almond Butter Dressing. The seeds in this recipe are packed full of protein (there’s a total of 2 ounces or 56 grams in one batch of these crackers) so they’ll provide longer-term energy for whatever activity you’re involved in. These amounts make enough for 22 large crackers but it can easily be doubled.

Ingredients:

  • 1⁄2 cup chia seeds
  • 1⁄2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1⁄2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1⁄2 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 lage garlic clove, grated
  • 1 tsp grated sweet onion
  • 1⁄4 tsp salt
  • Herbamare/kelp or herbs of your choice

Directions:

Combine seeds together in a large bowl. In another bowl mix together water, garlic and onion. Pour water mixture into seeds and stir until thick. Let mixture sit for 15 minutes as the chia seeds will swell and this will help to bind the cracker. Add seasoning. Drop from teaspoon onto prepared baking sheet then spread with the back of a spoon until less than 1⁄4 inch thick. Bake at 325°F for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and flip over carefully. Bake for another 30 minutes.


Suffering Some New Year Resolution Setbacks?

Not to Worry! Here’s How to Cope and Change

How are you doing with your resolutions?

How are those New Year’s Resolutions of yours going? Still on track or are you mired in self defeat? If it’s the latter then we’re here to help. Setbacks are just part of the process when we make big changes. Perhaps you vowed you’d eat breakfast 30 minutes after you wake up every morning and then fell back into the routine of consuming only three coffees before lunch. Or maybe you said you’d exercise three days a week and have only managed to go twice or once. Fear not! You are not failing! You’re doing everything right by just deciding to make the positive change in the first place.

Here are a six tips to prevent you from becoming discouraged and to help keep you on track with your changes in the coming months. Remember, it can take upwards of three months to create a healthy habit so continue to stick with it, even through the setbacks, and you’ll be increasing your overall vitality in no time!

  1. Firstly, if you’ve suffered a setback the key is don’t beat yourself up over it. Just acknowledge it, try to discern why you slipped and then immediately get back on track again.
  2. If you find yourself continually encountering setbacks, maybe the change you’re trying to implement is too big? Is it possible to make a smaller change that will lead to a healthier path. For example, if you wanted to hit the gym three times a week but are struggling to make it there even once, then just change the playing field, so to speak. Resolve to go to the gym once a week at the start and then work your way up from there.
  3. If you keep lapsing into a bad habit (such as snacking on potato chips and drinking soda pop throughout your workday) then simply swap out the context of the bad habit. Instead of potato chips, snack on baked kale chips and enjoy an herbal ice tea instead of pop.
  4. Get outside! There’s no better tonic than a walk through nature in the fresh air. If you find yourself lapsing into self-judgement and despair, just take a step outside and breath deeply. It seems like such a simple solution but you’ll be shocked at how it clears your mind and puts you in a better mood.
  5. Phone a friend! You are not in this alone. Engage a family member or friend and tell them about where you’re having difficulty. You’ll be amazed at how just talking about it to a good listener will help put you back on track.
  6. Travel! Nothing helps you break a bad habit faster than completely changing your environment. It’s so much easier to reinvent yourself when you’re not surrounded by the same-old, same-old. The trip doesn’t have to be an epic cross-country adventure – you could simply book a room at a local hotel, take a good book and relax away from the stresses of your regular life. That said, we believe joining us on our trip to the Amalfi Coast would definitely help reset your batteries and put you on a path to overall wellness!
[fbcomments]

Kirkland’s Gift Guide + Tips for Relieving Holiday Stress

[wps_social_buttons] Wellness Stocking Gifts Guide

Kirkland’s Stocking Stuffer Gift Guide for Wellness

There’s nothing more enjoyable than giving a gift to someone who absolutely loves it. However, this can be tough if we’re looking for smaller items for stocking stuffers or are limited to a “Secret Santa” budget at the office or have dozens of friends we want to surprise. Especially in this day and age when we’re surrounded by so many consumables that it’s difficult to get a gift that is not only thoughtful but also promotes vitality and wellness. (In other words, the opposite of a box of Turtles.) We sat down with Mountain Trek manager and head guide Kirkland Shave to ask him what stocking stuffers he plans on giving this holiday season and what he is hoping to receive.

#1. Homemade gift certificates

These are by far some of the most popular (and least expensive) gifts of all time. Present your friends with a coupon for a “free night of babysitting” so they can get away and enjoy each other’s company. Or offer your spouse a booklet filled with different certificates for such things as a foot massage, homemade dinner and back rub. Or your elderly neighbour a free driveway shovelling session. Anything is possible with some paper, pens and a lot of empathy and imagination.

#2. F.lux Software

Just download the free F.lux software to your partner’s phone, tablet and computer and it will make the colour of their screen adapt to the time of day – warm at night and like sunlight during the day. No more eerie, bright blue light stimulating cortisol levels at 9:30 pm! Their sleep patterns will improve and their eyes will thank them (and you) for it.

#3. Spa voucher

Everyone loves a trip to the local spa for a relaxing massage or detoxifying Infra red sauna. Even if the voucher isn’t for the entire cost of the treatment, it will still be greatly appreciated and will help go towards the receiver’s stress relief and well-being.

#4. Home-cooked food

And by food we don’t mean cookies filled with butter, sugar and chocolate. Instead we’re talking about items that a person can store away and then bring out when they’re strapped for time to make something of their own. (Or they could always eat them on the spot, too.) For example: frozen soups, dips and dressings (like our Afterglow Almond Butter Dressing), or beautiful tins filled with mixed nuts and fruit you dehydrated yourself. Remember to keep the food offerings healthy and convenient and the receiver will be grateful the next time they’re hungry and go to the cupboard and fridge and find your healthy food gift there for them.

#5. Aromatherapy and healing salts

One of the best ways to wind down after a hard day is an a bathtub full of relaxing lavender oil and Himalayan healing salts. Or sitting in a comfortable chair, eyes closed and breathing deeply the aroma of sandalwood or mandarin. By gifting these essential oils and salts, you help the receiver  de-stress from their day and get ready for a restful night’s sleep.

#6. Schedule a day outside just for them

This is similar to the homemade gift certificates idea but in this case you’re setting aside at least one full day during the holidays to spend with your loved ones doing something fun outside. Perhaps it will be going skiing with the kids or snowshoeing with friends or a sleigh ride with entire family. The best gift is the gift of our time and by spending it outdoors, everyone wins.

#7, A good book

There are so many fantastic novels out there that are both entertaining and inspirational. Take Paulo Cohelo’s “The Alchemist” for example or “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry” by Rachel Joyce. Or even “Oh The Places You’ll Go” by Dr Seuss for the children in your life. So called “self-help books” don’t have to be boring dialogues about what to do when; they can be uplifting tales of characters who experience challenges and in so doing, change their lives for the better.

#8. Socks

This may seem an odd gift for this type of list but we’re not talking about black dress socks or bundles of cheap tube socks from a big box store. Rather, we’re suggesting you gift one pair (or a few pairs) of excellent quality athletic socks that breathe, support and just might encourage the receiver to go out for a walk with you. In our experience, Darn Tough in Vermont make some of the best socks on earth. (They’re guaranteed for life!)

#9. A One-Week Permission Slip

One of the things we hear most from our clients is that it’s so hard for them to take a week or two away from their busy lives in order to reboot their vitality. This is where you can come in: you can either hand-write a coupon or just tell your loved one that it’s okay for them to take time away in order to take care of their own health – you offer to look after things while they’re away and not to worry and they, in turn, can come and join us at Mountain Trek where they’ll reignite their vitality and return back to you a reenergized person. Really, it’s a gift for you both!

For more gift ideas, check our Mountain Trek’s holiday gift guide for yourself and six gifts to support a healthy lifestyle.

Tips for Relieving Holiday Stress

Tips for Relieving Holiday Stress

This time of year can be difficult for people’s stress levels, given the number of potential stressors out there: planning family dinners, buying the right gifts and attending numerous parties all contribute to a busy and stressful time. However, there are easy ways to relieve that stress as outlined below.

#1. Digital Detox

Make a plan to detox from your digital devices for a set time each day. Even if it’s just a matter of turning off your TV, phone and computer at 9pm each night the result will be less distraction, better sleep and less stress.

#2. Massage

Enjoy an evening massage regularly. It will help relieve sore muscles, release toxins and, ultimately, relax you. Plus it’s something to look forward to after your busy days.

#3. Exercise

Even just a little. Follow these tips to help beat sedentarism and remember that in order to keep your metabolism up, your weight down, and your stress levels low, your body has to move for at least 40 minutes a day, even if it’s just a brisk walk around the block.

#4. Go for a soak

Whether it’s a hot spring, hot tub, or your tub at home, a good, long soak in warm water invigorates circulation and, ultimately relaxes you.

#5. Eat Well

We know this can be difficult around the holidays what with the plethora of sweets, alcohol and processed food available, but eating healthy foods puts your body in a better state of equilibrium. That’s not to say we don’t encourage the occasional treat, but remember to do so in moderation. At the very least remember to drink lots of water a day. That will help flush toxins from your body.

#6. Be With Friends

Spend time with friends and loved ones who are relaxing to be with. Often we hear from our clients that the holidays are stressful because they’re obligated to hang out with family members who cause them stress. If this sounds familiar, then be sure to book equal amounts of time with individuals who help you to feel the opposite of stressed. Have to do dinner with the in-laws who are regularly argumentative? Then book a breakfast date with a friend who will listen and laugh as you debrief about it all.

#7. Don’t be so hard on yourself

So what if the turkey burned or the place settings aren’t perfect or you didn’t have time to get all the gifts on your list? Your family and friends love you and the most important thing for them is to know that you’re happy. They do not want you to feel overwhelmed at their expense. Breathe deep. Think of the ones you love. Remember how lucky you are. Breathe some more. Relax.

#8. Book a stay with Mountain Trek

Our Winter Retreat program from Dec 27-Jan 3 exists to allow people a chance to escape their busy lives and stay in a beautiful mountain lodge with every amenity from hot tub to infrared sauna, and to enjoy having a professional chef do all the cooking. Imagine escaping everything this holiday and curling up beside a warm fire with a good book while the snow falls gently outside. Talk about stress relieving!

_________________________________________________________________________________

Squash and Turkey Soup Recipe

Captain Ainsworth’s  Squash & Turkey Soup

This recipe will make between 7-8 cups of soup and will taste excellent after those fun, active days outdoors.

Ingredients:

16 oz turkey breast – cubed
1 1/2 tbs oil
1 cup onions – diced
2 cloves garlic – minced
1/2 jalapeño pepper – seeded and minced
4 cups veggie or chicken stock
1/2 tsp allspice
2 cups butternut squash – cubed
1 cup yam – diced
2 1/2 cups kale or chard – finely chopped
1 cup coconut milk

Directions:

In a heavy pan brown turkey in 1 tbs of oil. Deglaze pan with a little stock or wine and set aside. (Keep this liquid for soup.) Put the remaining oil into pan and sauté onions, garlic, jalapeño pepper. Add stock, allspice, squash, and yam and cook until tender. Puree until smooth. Add kale or chard, coconut and turkey and season with salt to taste. Simmer lightly.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Snow or Sand This Holiday Season?

Some of us look forward to the clean, crisp days of winter when we can play in the snow and then rest by a warm fire with our loved ones in the evenings. Others prefer to travel to warmer climes and soak in the daytime warmth while wearing shorts and T-shirts. There are benefits to each style of vacation that we’ll list here but keep in mind Mountain Trek offers both styles.

Our Winter Retreat from December 27-January 3 at the beautiful BC Lodge features fun snowshoe treks, delicious food cooked for you by our professional chefs, massages, sauna, steam room, and a hot tub in a winter wonderland. On the other hand, our Rancho La Puerta retreats from Feb 7-14 and 14-21, showcase the best of Baja, Mexico, with sandy trails winding through Eucalyptus and organic gardens in a warm, desert-like environment.

Join us for our Winter Program

The Benefits of Snow (Winter Retreat)

  1. There’s nothing more beautiful than a pristine, white landscape.
  2. It’s easier and faster to get a great workout in the snow because there’s natural resistance when snowshoeing through it.
  3. People tend to congregate more when the weather is cooler – it’s human nature to want to be with friends and family this time of year.
  4. It’s invigorating stepping out into a cooler environment – it makes you feel alive!
  5. On sunny days it’s awe-inspiring seeing the light glint off icicles and snowflakes.
  6. It’s easier to spot wildlife when the trees are bare of their leaves.
  7. It’s a wonderful thing to spend time outdoors and then come in to a warm fire and a hot drink.
  8. One of life’s greatest pleasures is sitting in a hot tub feeling snow flakes fall on your face.
  9. In the case of Mountain Trek’s Winter Program, our professional cooks will do all the cooking for you, leaving you more time to lounge by the fire or in the spa.
  10. A cool day outdoors followed by a massage in a warm room = heaven.

Join us in February in Rancho La Puerta

The Benefits of Sand (Rancho La Puerta)

  1. It’s warm!
  2. Warmer temperatures make it easier to get outside.
  3. In the case of Rancho La Puerta, you’re guaranteed sunshine (there’s over 325 days of it per year).
  4. It’s easy to relax outdoors.
  5. Your body is more limber in a warm environment so workouts don’t require as long a warm-up.
  6. Enjoy gardens, landscaped grounds, flowing streams and miles of meadows.
  7. Vitamin D is easy to come by.
  8. You don’t have to wear a lot of clothing.
  9. You can enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities from dance to tai chi to tennis.
  10. You can go swimming.

10+ Tips to Keep Well and Active as the Cold Weather Approaches

Autumn Hiking at Mountain Trek

Summer is officially over in many parts of the world and the cooler weather is upon us. The days are getting shorter, the thermometer is dropping and our bodies are entering into what was, traditionally, a time of dormancy. Before the industrial revolution, we humans would spend the winter months in a state of quiescence – there was very little farming, hunting or gathering to be done so we’d slow down and conserve our fat stores. These days, our bodies are still programmed to a certain amount of inaction during the colder months but, unlike the past, we now have plenty of fatty and processed foods to snack on during that time.

Here are some tips to help you avoid a lot of unhealthy snacking and remain well and active as winter rolls in.

#1. Avoid Drinking More Coffee

Morning Ginger Tea

With cooler temperatures comes the desire to drink hot drinks and the most prevalent, especially in the Western world, is coffee. However comforting that cup of Joe is on a cool day, however, one must remember the harmful effects of caffeine. There is a proven relationship between caffeine and weight gain. Continuous consumption of it leads to prolonged levels of cortisol in the bloodstream, which has a negative effect on metabolism, blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Instead of drinking more coffee, consider other hot drink alternatives such as a detoxifying and energizing morning ginger tea.

#2. Avoid More Alcohol

Avoid Alcohol

As we enter months where the nights are longer, we as a species are driven to socialize more in the evenings. And in our modern world, that typically means there is more alcohol on offer. We at Mountain Trek are not abolitionists by any stretch but we think it’s important to stress alcohol’s relationship to weight gain. All alcohol has calories (even the ones marketed as being free of carbs) and so by consuming more, you’re adding to your fat stores. In the case of alcohol this is doubly taxing because it stresses your liver and impairs its ability to flush toxins. Imbibe in the occasional drink but considering capping of the evening with a nightcap of #3.

#3. Drink More Water

Drink More Water

Last year we wrote a post about water versus soda pop and one of the most interesting facts about lack of water was that it is the number one trigger of daytime fatigue. As we enter the longer, colder months, our bodies tend to want to slow down and lethargy is more prevalent – drinking a few glasses of water easily rectifies that. Plus it helps you flush toxins and curb hunger pangs.

#4. Get a Good Nights Sleep

Get a Good Night's Sleep

As the night’s get longer our bodies respond by desiring a bit more shut-eye. Although our bodies require between seven and nine hours of sleep a night, there are many sleep problems that are preventing some of us from getting that. The good news is there are easy things you can do to ensure a good night’s rest. In this post we list seven tricks but the most important is to make your bedroom a work-free and gadget-free zone. Leave all electronic devices outside the bedroom and enjoy some shut-eye unhampered by bells, lights and agendas.

#5. Go For a Soak

Go for a Soak

This one is easy, especially as the colder months set in: find yourself a bathtub, hot tub or hot spring and just lie there. That’s it. There are many therapeutic benefits to a good soak but the main one is relaxation; the power of de-stressing is not to be underestimated, especially because balanced hormones lead to balanced health.

#6. Get Massaged

Massage

As with #5, this one isn’t that difficult either. There are reasons most cultures on earth have offered some form of massage for thousands of years: not only is it relaxing, it’s also good for your health. In fact, an evening massage is one of the best ways to relax after the day’s activities. It will help prepare you for a restful night’s sleep.

#7. Enlist the Help of a Friend

Enlist the help of a friend

In another blog post we listed seven reasons why you should work out with a friend and these apply that much more in the cooler months when it’s easy for us to justify sitting in front of the TV under a blanket instead of getting up and moving. A friend will help keep you accountable but will also make fitness that much more fun.

#8. Exercise – Even Just a Little

Exercise

It goes without saying that we here at Mountain Trek are big fans of exercise, no matter what time of year it is. We also appreciate, however, that when the cooler weather sets in, it can be harder to get motivated. That’s why we’ve compiled some tips to help beat sedentarism some of which are as easy as doing stretches in your office doorway. Remember, though, that to keep your metabolism up and your weight down, your body has to move for at least 40 minutes a day, even if it’s just a brisk walk around the block.

#9. Show Yourself Some Love

Show Yourself Some Love

There are many ways to pamper yourself but the best is to do something you enjoy. It seems like such a simple thing and yet many of us work so hard, by the end of the day we only have energy to sit in front of the TV. Take time in the coming months to do something that recharges your batteries: read a good book by the fire, indulge in a hobby or attend a class. You’ll find you’ll be happier and have more energy to face the cooler weather and shorter days.

#10. Book a Stay with Mountain Trek

Book your stay at Mountain Trek

The best way to pamper yourself is to dedicate a vacation to you and your health. Join us at Rancho La Puerta in the beautiful Baja in November or February to revel in the sunshine. Or come out for a fun-filled time of winter activity at our gorgeous lodge in British Columbia where you’ll enjoy the pristine snowy environment and hang out with like-minded friends by the fire, in the natural hot springs or in our new spa.


How to Top up on Vitamin D Now That the Days are Shorter

Vitamin D

Now that the days are getting shorter, are you feeling a little low on energy? Could be that you’ve come to your ‘D-day’, a time in the year when Vitamin D gets scarcer. But the good news is it’s easy to top up with some delicious nutrient-rich foods and, of course, a visit to sunny Rancho La Puerta in the Baja with Mountain Trek!

In addition to being absolutely necessary for bone growth and repair, Vitamin D also aids calcium absorption in the gut, is responsible for the modulation of cell growth, neuromuscular and immune system function, and reduction of inflammation. It also helps with depression prevention! There’s no question this Vitamin’s role is crucial to our body’s functioning health and there are two natural ways to get it: by the sun’s UV rays, and through our diet. Yet, in the months when the days get shorter, the sun is low in the sky and usually cloud covered and most of us aren’t getting enough of the sunshine vitamin. By the time spring rolls around, many of us are Vitamin D deficient. To help us stay topped up on this important player in the body’s functioning health, we’ve taken a look at two solutions: a sunny, healthy vacation and eating foods rich is this necessary nutrient.

Where Do I get my Vitamin D?

When UV rays from sunlight touch the skin, this triggers Vitamin D synthesis. But when sun exposure is at a minimum during the winter months, we can turn to diet to help with our vitamin D intake. Unfortunately, very few foods are high in Vitamin D naturally, and so it is not possible to get all the Vitamin D you need from diet alone. In conjunction with a high quality multi-vitamin, here are some of the best food sources of Vitamin D:

Fatty fish: So very nutritious for you for so many reasons, fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines, and even seafood such as oysters, contain some of the highest concentrations of Vitamin D in food.

Eggs: Not only high in protein and so many other nutrients (Vitamin B12), the sunshine yellow of egg yolks do contain a hearty helping of Vitamin D.

Beef liver: Not everyone’s favorite, but when mom said ‘eat up!’ to those liver and onions, she knew what she was talking about as far as Vitamin D’s concerned.

Mushrooms: Certain varieties of mushrooms, like white button, can provide Vitamin D among other nutrients (Vitamin B5) when lightly cooked.

Many foods are fortified with Vitamin D for the simple reason that we don’t get enough in our diet, or in general. Almost all milk (and baby formula) in the U.S. and Canada is fortified with Vitamin D as are some orange juices, soy products and cereals. But please use caution and check labels, as many of these products can contain refined sugars, hydrogenated oils, and other undesirables.

What About Sunny Vacations?

Sunny Vacations

Who doesn’t enjoy a relaxing trip to a more sunny clime during the cooler fall and winter months? It’s important, though, to moderate your solar intake while on vacation. So many of us rush to the beach and neglect proper sun care in the quest for the perfect tan. This is definitely more harmful than not having any sun at all. Instead, stay out of the sun when it’s at its peak or cover up with loose-fitting, SPF-rated clothing, hat and sunglasses. In fact, the best way to monitor your sun intake while staying healthy is to join Mountain Trek on a retreat to the beautiful Rancho La Puerta property in Baja, Mexico, just a one-hour drive south of San Diego. Our guides will help you take care of your sunscreen needs while keeping you physically active outdoors. It’s the perfect way to get both a Vitamin D infusion and a health reboot at the same time. If a sun-filled, exercise-fueled vacation in the Baja sounds like something you’d be interested in, be sure to contact us soon as both the November and February spots are filling up!

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Featured Cool Weather Recipe

[wps_seo_booster_recipes]

7 Reasons to Come to Mountain Trek

1. Beat the heat

-It’s not yet too hot! Spring offers some of the best weather for hitting the trail, since we’ve warmed up from winter, and are still cool before summer. Some of the most comfortable hiking temperatures available.

2. Our new spa

is just waiting for you to come try it out. We’ve been very busy over the winter and are proud to present our brand new, state of the art spa facility including an expanded infrared sauna, a deep, 8 person hot tub and cold plunge pool. Did we mention it overlooks stunning views of Kootenay Lake and the Purcell mountains? After a day of hiking, there’s no better way to totally and completely relax then to soak in the heat, and that view.

3. Freshest and greenest landscapes

that our alpine environment has to offer. Creeks and rivers are running their wildest, providing more uplifting negative ions than any other time of year. Nature is revitalized with spring and is literally bubbling over with vitality – and the same will be true for you!

4. Lose weight for bathing suit season

With summer just around the corner, look and feel your best to hit the beach. Not only are you guaranteed to lose weight while with us, but take home valuable strategies for life-long healthy nutritional and fitness habits.

5. Feel your absolute best

According to Scientific American, 75% of all Americans are deficient in the sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D. There are also numerous studies that demonstrate the health benefits that being out in nature brings. Up your relaxation quotient and vitamin D with a week hiking in some of nature’s most spectacular landscapes!

6. We’re selling out – weeks are filling up fast!

With recent publicity in the Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post and Muscle & Fitness, among others,  Mountain Trek is on everyone lips, and minds. Don’t delay if you have a particular week or two that you’d love to come out. We’d love to have you, but with maximum guest numbers of only 16 per week, spots are filling up as we speak!

7. Save your airfare

Last but not least, the savings! This week only, we are offering our congratulations to all the grads out there, and to the loved ones who supported them on their academic journey, with a graduation week promotion of a $500 discount! This essentially means your airfare is on us. Take advantage of this rare promotion, and book for the week of June 7 today!

Your retreat is waiting for you! Call 1-800-661-5161 for more information, or to book now!

Spotlight on Mountain Trek’s British Columbia Location: Nelson and The Kootenays

Picturesque Nelson BCWhether you’re wowed by the Alpine landscapes that surround you, or charmed by the restored Victorian style homes that dot the residential areas and main streets, you are sure to be enamoured with the Kootenay region and the small city of Nelson, in beautiful British Columbia.

Mountain Trek’s Alpine Lodge is nestled away in arguably one of the most picturesque locations in British Columbia. The nearby town of Nelson boasts spectacular scenery; at the foot of pristine Kootenay Lake and seemingly sprinkled along the hillside. But not only is it the place, but the people and our lifestyle and values, that make our area such a unique and wonderful place to be. Perhaps made most famous by Steve Martin in the 80’s classic film ‘Roxanne’, the world found itself wondering; “where is that absolutely gorgeous little mountain town?!”

Nelson and area History

Settled in the late 1800s for the purpose of silver mining, the Nelson area became an attractive option for fortune seeking pioneers. Two railroads were built to support the mining community, as well as a fleet of stern wheelers for easy access to and from all the mining communities along Kootenay Lake. By 1897, the town of Nelson became incorporated with 3,000 inhabitants, and today the population hovers around 10,000 residents.

People & Culture

Nelson has a very unique demographic, beginning with pioneers, miners, orchardists, and forestry workers. In the 60s and 70s, Nelson became home to many ‘draft dodgers’; Americans seeking to avoid military service for the Vietnam war. In the 80s, 90s, and into today, those who are fleeing the big city life and stress come to Nelson. This combination explains Nelson’s eclectic population, generally speaking of liberal mindset and well-educated, and sharing a common thread of lifestyle over work. Coined as the number one ‘Small Town Arts Community’ in Canada, Nelson has a disproportionately high number of artists, writers, as well as spa and health facilities, and markets. Those who embrace an active, outdoor life thrive here. People who live here don’t just talk the talk – we walk the walk, literally! This mindset of health, vitality, and joy in every day pursuits is palpable when you set foot in the beauty of the area.

Arial view of Nelson BC from Pulpit Rock HikeActivities

If you enjoy the great outdoors, there is no better place than the Kootenays to get out and enjoy some fresh air, no matter what the time of year.

Summer pleases hikers, mountain bikers, kayakers, climbers, sailors, any kind of water craft-ers, and even those who just love to soak up some sun at the beach! There are many venues for the rental of any equipment you may need, as well as guides at the ready to take you for a kayak on stunning Kootenay Lake, or a horseback ride on one of the umpteen green trails. A true Hikers’ paradise, there are many trails and maps available for those who want to get out there and explore.

Winter continues the trend for great outdoor time, with the Nelson and area boasting a magnificent snow fall making it a winter play land for cross country, downhill, and heli skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, tobogganing, skating and more.

But the fun in Nelson doesn’t just start and stop with the outdoors. Here is just an idea of what else awaits you in Nelson and area:

  • Nelson Artwalk: During the summer months, local artists are showcased in various locations all over town. Displayed in restaurants and shops, the exhibits rotate each month.
  • Road Kings Classic Car Show: Are you a fan of classic, mint condition cars? If so, then plan for a fantastic weekend in Nelson Friday night kicking things off with an around the town cruise of all these beauties and burnout competition at the airport, while Saturday main street is used to showcase hundreds of beautifully maintained and refurbished classic cars, ending everything off with a rooftop dance. This summer’s Road Kings weekend TBA.
  • Numerous triathlons and fundraiser walks including and not limited to: the AIDS walk for life, Scotiabank MS walk, Cyswog’n Triathlon, and many more, take place in the beautiful parks, recreational facilities, and even just the charm of the residential streets that Nelson has to offer.
  • As was mentioned above, there is a disproportionately high number of spas and wellness centres in the area, so treat yourself to a massage, facial, acupuncture, pedicure, etc…
  • The world’s longest free ferry ride is located on Kootenay Lake, from Balfour to Crawford Bay. With stunning views of Kootenay Lake and alpine vistas all around, it may be a scenic alternate route, or it may just be enjoyable to take the ride!
  • Farmers Markets’ are a huge part of the community of the Kootenays, and can be found most weekends and many weekdays in the small villages and towns of the area. Homemade preserves, fresh and local organic produce, and so much more are readily available.
  • History buff? The S.S. Moyie, located in quaint Kaslo (just up Kootenay Lake from Nelson), is the world’s oldest intact passenger sternwheeler. This National Historical site allows you to step back in time with an on-board museum.

No matter what you’re into, there’s no doubt you’ll find some of what you’re looking for in Nelson and the Kootenays. But don’t take our word for it – come and check out this gem for yourself! We’re sure you’ll love it as much as we do.

Mountain Trek on xoJane.com

Photo credit: Margarita xoJane.com

Photo credit: Margarita xoJane.com

Mountain Trek was recently featured on xoJane.com – a sassy New York based online publication written for women by women.

Writer and Mountain Trek guest Margarita, shares her personal experience of leaving NYC for the mountain ranges of British Columbia.

“There was an introductory lecture, which included words like “tonic,,” “fat flush” “hydro therapy,” and, everybody’s favorite, “toxins.” We concluded the evening with some goat’s whey and a probiotic. I set off for my room, wondering what I got myself into.”

To read the full article: IT HAPPENED TO ME: I WENT ON A SMOKE-FREE, CAFFEINE-FREE, SUGAR-FREE “WELLNESS” RETREAT DESPITE BEING FULL OF TOXINS click here.

 

14 Hacks To Ensure the Best Travel/Trek Experience Ever

geisha in a yellow field holding a paper craneWhen Mountain Trek visited Peru last Spring, we found the following list in one of the beautiful lodges we stayed at. It includes 14 tips for ensuring you have the best travel and trekking experience ever. We thought there was some good wisdom in it that should be shared, especially now that we’re offering pre-registration for our 2014 Spring Hiking Vacation in Japan. On that trip we’ll be exploring the Tokaido (the traditional path of the Shogun), the Shikoku Temples, the world-famous vine bridges and we’ll be relaxing in Onsens every night. (An Onsen is a traditional hot spring accommodation.) Click here and tick the box at the bottom of the page if you would like more information regarding our Japan adventure in 2014.

In the meantime, enjoy these poignant pieces of advice and think of them when you pack your bags to explore the beauties of your own country or to travel around the world.

Travel lightly

You are not travelling for people to see you

Travel slowly

Jet planes are for getting places, not seeing places: take time to absorb the beauty and inspiration of a mountain or temple.

Travel expectantly

Every place you visit is like a surprise package to be opened. Untie the strings with an expectation of high adventure.

Travel hopefully

“To travel hopefully is better than to arrive,” wrote Robert Louis Stevenson.

Travel humbly

Visit people and places with reverence and respect for their traditions and ways of life.

Travel courteously

Consideration for your fellow travellers and your hosts will smooth the way through the most difficult days

Peru Adventure Trek

Peru Adventure Trek

Travel gratefully

Show appreciation for the many things that are being done by others for your enjoyment and comfort.

Travel with an open mind

Leave your prejudices at home.

Travel with curiosity

It is not how far you go, but how deeply you go that mines the gold of experience. Remember that Thoreau wrote a big book about the very tiny Walden Pond.

Travel with imagination

As the Spanish proverb goes, “He who would bring home the wealth of the Indies must carry the wealth of the Indies with him.”

Travel fearlessly

Banish worry and timidity; the world and its people belong to you just as you belong to the world.

Travel relaxed

Make up your mind to have a good time and let go.

Travel patiently

It takes time to understand others, especially when there are barriers of language and custom. Keep flexible and adaptable to all situations.

Travel with the spirit of a world citizen

You’ll discover that people are basically much the same the world around. Be an ambassador of good will to all people.

Cherry Blossoms in Japan+ 6 Bonus Tips:

  • Always pause, at least for 15 seconds and take it all in. The destination is only as beautiful as the journey.
  • Make an effort to associate your feelings of peace and tranquility with a landmark on the trip. This will come in handy when you are back home.
  • Think about your loved ones. If you are with them, share and bond. If they are not with you, lend them your senses.
  • Learn with every footstep, every word, every sense.
  • Look up at the sky at night at least once. Try to understand how ancient civilizations guided themselves by this.
  • Let go, at least once during your trip. Do something you would not normally do.

Q&A with client Markeeta Brown

The Mountain Trek crew from this past May. Markeeta is front and centre in the black jacket

The Mountain Trek crew from this past May. Markeeta is front and centre in the black jacket

Welcome to the fourth installment of our Q&A series, which features guests who have visited Mountain Trek. Each person came to our fitness retreat and health spa for their own reasons and they all had different experiences. In this piece we speak with Markeeta Brown, a resident of Dallas, Texas, who works in real estate. She’s visited Mountain Trek’s BC lodge every year since 2010 as well as joined us for our programs at Rancho La Puerta in California. Markeeta says she’s been making the journey to Mountain Trek the past three years because it’s helped her work around a number of life changes she’s been going through recently. Here is Markeeta’s story.

Hi Markeeta. Thank you so much for speaking with us today. Firstly, how did you find out about Mountain Trek?

I’ve been going to Rancho La Puerta (RLP) off and on for about 30 years. It was kind of my summer camp but after I made the decision to separate from my husband I knew I had to go to the ranch and do some extended hiking. I went for two weeks in November 2010 and did the Mountain Trek program. I loved its structure and since then I’ve returned three times to the BC lodge and three times to Rancho.

Tell us about your expectations?

BC is a different type of hiking than the milder terrain at RLP but Mountain Trek’s overall program at both places is the same. I know I’ll always go home with much more energy and focus. The thing that keeps drawing me back is it’s a challenge but it’s not overwhelming or stressful. The after-effects are much more lasting that anything I can do on my own. I also like that (head guide) Kirkland emphasizes to try and take on only two new habits when we return home to keep things manageable, rather than try and alter everything about our lives. It’s a challenge but it’s doable.

What are some of the highlights of your time at Mountain Trek?

Anybody who attends Mountain Trek will take home about 18 things you can do to supercharge your energy. But the program emphasizes that you only concentrate on two things and overlay those good habits over your bad ones. For me it was about only eating three meals and two snacks max a day and doing cardio a minimum of four times a week.

RLP Group, Nov. 10-17

The Mountain Trek program at Rancho La Puerta last November. Markeeta is on the far right.

What’s a lowlight from your experiences at Mountain Trek?

They seem to be putting a lot more emphasis on using foam rollers in the stretch class and that’s challenging for me. (laughs) But between the yoga and stretching in the morning and the massages in the evening I don’t experience a lot of physical discomfort.

What’s it like every time you return home after visiting Mountain Trek?

People notice. They say, “Wow you look great and you must feel great.” And I do. I think it’s important though to clear the deck a week or two after you return. You need to come home with a plan and have a bit of time when your life isn’t totally crazy so you can incorporate some of the things you’ve learned.

So what draws you back to Mountain Trek every year?

Lately I’ve had one major life challenge after another and Mountain Trek allows me to focus – it gives me a better chance to continue with my momentum. Plus I like being active and I like the feeling I get when my metabolism is running at the rate of someone who is much younger.

What would be your advice to someone who is thinking about coming to Mountain Trek?

Mountain Trek plays a really key role in getting through your life challenges: whether it’s dying parents, caring for elderly relatives, divorce…all that together can be so stressful and Mountain Trek gives you a way to fight some of the physical and emotional damage and helps you keep your head straight. Because, ultimately, it doesn’t matter how well you do when your life is going swimmingly; it’s how you do when challenges are thrown at you. You have to have a plan to go through those periods of your life and Kirkland and Cathy and the Mountain Trek program definitely helps with that.

Anything else you want to tell our readers about the Mountain Trek experience?

To me there’s no better self-intervention than taking yourself to Mountain Trek. It’s absolutely worth the money, especially when you take to heart what Kirkland says and when you land on the tarmac at home you can incorporate a simple plan to make it all work out.