Healthy Resolutions in St. Lucia

The dawn of a New Year is always an exciting time that I enjoy for a variety of reasons beyond NYE parties and toasting champagne at midnight! I love making resolutions and setting goals towards an even brighter future. I would wager there are only a few people out there who have not resolved to be healthier in the coming year and rightfully so. The ambition to continuously strive for healthier habits is well-ingrained in most people. One of my favorite things about St. Lucia is how amazing I look and feel when I spend time here. Clean air, outdoor activities, sunshine and fresh food is a definite recipe for personal well-being.

In honor of the New Year, I decided to share my favorite ways to jumpstart health and well-being resolutions in St. Lucia. I find it to be a great reminder that “healthy” doesn’t have to mean bland or boring!

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We all know exercise is a primary factor in our health but I’ll take adventurous exercise over gym exercise any day! St. Lucia has a wide array of hiking trails that vary in difficulty. On days when I want a more leisurely hike, I’ll venture over to Tet Paul and when I’m up for something a bit more challenging, I like to hike in the Rainforest. But my favorite hike is up the Pitons! Though the difficulty level is more advanced, the rewards are unprecedented. Not only will you feel great from a cardiovascular perspective, but reaching the top will give you a sense of joy and accomplishment that isn’t quite as profound on a stairmaster. Take a look:

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I have a hard time remembering to eat the correct amount of fruit each day, that is, unless we are talking local options. There is nothing quite like fresh Caribbean mango or pineapple. Smoothies by the pool are another of my healthy treat choices and of course, the ultimate, fresh coconut water!

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I love having a coconut first thing in the morning and then again throughout the course of the day. Aside from being delicious, coconut water straight from the fruit leaves me feeling rejuvenated, hydrated and practically glowing.

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Swimming is an amazing form of exercise because the water provides natural resistance without any impact on your joints. Therefore snorkeling tops my list of healthy outdoor activities, as it combines swimming with underwater adventure! When I snorkel, I don’t even realize that I’ve been swimming for over an hour straight because I’m far too mesmerized by life under the Caribbean sea. Plus, my underwater camera helps me capture incredible photographs. I highly recommend bringing one along.

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Being healthy is about so much more than just exercising and eating right. So many of us forget one of the key factors in our well-being – relaxation! I never feel better than right after a massage or spa treatment. Not only does it ease the aches and pains that build up in joints and muscles, but it also is a great way to mentally unwind.

No matter where you are when you’re getting a jumpstart on your health goals for the New Year, I certainly hope you will remember to take some time for yourself to relax, de-stress and feel better overall.

I wish you a happy and healthy 2016!

The Legend Of The Chinese Zodiac

The Lunar New Year is probably one of the most important Chinese festivals each year as it marks the coming spring.   This year, the New Year falls on February 10th.  The Lunar New Year is surrounded by age-old myths and folklore.  One of the most popular is the legend of the Chinese Zodiac.  Chinese astrology follows a cycle of twelve animals.  Each represent the Zodiac signs for their respective lunar year, with 2013 being the year of the snake.

According to legend, the Jade Emperor invited all of the animals to participate in a race across the river.  The winners would earn the twelve coveted seats in the Chinese Zodiac.

The rat and the cat were clever enough to hitch a ride on the strongest swimmer – the ox.  Just before it reached the shore, the rat pushed the cat into the river and jumped off the back of the buffalo and across the finish line, making it the first animal to earn a seat in the Zodiac. The ox then took second.

The Chinese Zodiac

In third place came the tiger, which was no surprise.  But in fourth and fifth place, and nearly tied, came the rabbit followed the dragon.  It is said that the dragon, who could have easily won, chose to help the rabbit across the river instead, thus claiming a later place on the calendar.

Behind the dragon, the horse could be seen approaching the shore.  But just as he was about to climb out of the water a snake slithered off the horse’s hoof.  Resulting in the sixth position going to the snake and the seventh to the horse.

The goat, monkey and rooster helped one another across the river on a raft and arrived at the same time.  The Jade Emperor was impressed with their resourcefulness and each received a place on the Chinese Zodiac calendar.  In eleventh place was the dog, who’s arrival was delayed because he enjoyed playing in the water.  After a break for a meal and a nap, the pig crossed the line and claimed the calendar’s final seat.

And now you know how the animals secured a place on the Chinese Calendar!  Oh and the cat?  It crossed the river in the 13th position, thus missing out in the competition.  The cat blamed its misfortune on the rat and they haven’t been friends since!