I recently travelled to Spain for my sister’s wedding — what I would do to be back there right now! The wedding week was located in Moraira, where we lived in a villa overlooking crystal clear blue seas, pebble beaches and glowing cliffs as the sun rose in the morning and went down in the evening. Not to mention we were close to many local and traditional restaurants!
With every place we landed, I was hunting for true traditional food. Let’s be honest, I LOVE eating out. We ate out nearly every night and not once did I regret it. I love trying different foods, finding the traditional cuisine in each area, discovering different methods of preparation and enjoying a local organic red wine. Traditional Spanish foods that were easy to find included; jamon (cured pork), meat balls, paella, red wine, raw cheeses, various organ meats, suckling pig (like pork belly) and more. Each were incredibly mouth-watering, moreish, nourishing and simply divine.
In almost every country you visit now, you will find the true traditional food and another version of that traditional food with an industrialised twist. For example, jamon is a traditional food in Spain, which is pork cured in salt. 50 or 60 years ago it would have been hard to find jamon cured with chemicals, now it is hard to find it cured with salt and salt only. I never had the jamon cured with additives, I always asked, read labels and ensured it was only salt. I quickly became obsessed with this and had it every morning for breakfast.
I had breakfast at home almost every morning, unless I was with someone that insisted on eating out. Each time they quickly learnt that there is no use in trying when in late-to-rise Spain! If you attempt eating out, what you will find is; a cold Spanish omelette (potato, onion and egg), bread with tomato paste, bread with olive oil or a croissant.
My breakfast every morning:
In each place we went, I researched for the most traditional and/or organic restaurants, and therefore had the most incredible experiences nearly every night. We travelled over to a small Spanish island, Menorca. Everything we ate on this island was organic, local and traditional. Of course, gluten was EVERYWHERE. And yes, I remained gluten free for the entire trip, it’s your choice. In each restaurant I would ask for my meal to be ‘sin gluten’, meaning ‘no gluten’. They have this written on packaged foods if it is gluten free.
Cas Ferrer de sa font restaurant serving ‘suckling pig’. An organic, local, seasonal restaurant in Menorca, Spain.
Traditions that I fell in love with…
- Each meal is accompanied by vinegar and pure extra virgin, usually local olive oil. It’s on every table. The olive oil increases the absorption of fat soluble vitamins in the meal, provides nourishing fatty acids and increases satiety, whilst the vinegar increases the digestion and absorption of nutrients, enhances the beneficial bacteria in the gut and much more.
- When it comes to meat, there is very little waste. They appreciate and use the whole animal, which is called ‘nose-to-tail’ eating. In one dish, there was a whole rabbit served on the plate. Although most would cringe, I lit up inside to know that most of it wasn’t tossed in the bin. I believe that the lack of nose to tail eating has resulted in the mass production of meats we have today.
- Fried liver and liver pate is a norm and can be found everywhere. This follows on from the above. This is one of the most nourishing organs and is often pushed aside in Western cuisine.
- Most cheeses are raw. In Australia I avoid dairy completely—raw cheese is illegal in Australia—so while in Europe I took advantage of their traditional system and enjoyed with a huge smile an abundance of raw goats cheese. My body loved it.
- They allow edible plants to grow wild in the streets. Olive trees, grape trees, rosemary bushes, fig trees, pomegranate trees, almond trees and much more are everywhere. I wanted to cry with happiness many times, and felt like I had found heaven! I picked food where I could and took it back with me to enjoy with my breakfasts or snacks.
- While waiting for our main meals at each restaurant, they brought out fresh bread and aioli. Of course I don’t eat bread, so the rest of the group would have my share and I would ask for ‘sin gluten patata’. Meaning, gluten free potatoes that I could have instead! I was too jealous of the strong, chunky garlic aioli (so potent it would kill any lingering flu) not to. I’ve never had an aioli like it — divine!
What I took with me:
- Activated charcoal for when I felt there was contamination in my meal
- Toxaprevent (a practitioner only product), similar to bentonite clay however has a much higher ability to absorb many more toxins. I took this daily to deal with any toxin exposure, and just to ensure I felt fabulous each and every day. And it worked!
- Lavender oil for my skin, calming down and sleeping in new places while travelling
- Peppermint oil for fresh breath and adding a few drops to my stomach if I felt uneasy
- Lemon oil for adding a few drops to my water through the day or just in the morning
- Changing Habits Probiotics to have daily
- Changing Habits salt to take EVERYWHERE with me. This is so important, because when you’re eating out all the time, they can only afford white refined salt, so it is important to take with you some delicious mineral rich salt.
- Magnesium spray to apply daily
- Licorice root tea to support my adrenals and adapt to any stress (stress includes sleep deprivation on travels!)
- Tulsi tea for immune support, detoxification, adapting to any form of stress and to support my adrenals
- When you get there, buy a bottle of olive oil. Take it with you to each place you’re staying, so you can cook your breakfast every morning, or use it as a moisturiser!
My trip was incredible and I hope your Spanish trip is too! Make the most of it by nourishing your body daily. It is worth feeling fantastic each and every day so you can enjoy every moment.