When you think of going to Mexico for relaxation, a few things come to mind: Sand, surf, infinity pools, fruity drinks, and relaxation. When you have an Inflammatory Bowel Disease like Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s Disease, or maybe just gut health issues, you may view your Mexico vacation in a different light than most people. I know when I thought of my honeymoon in Cabo, my immediate thought was, “Oh no, what’s going to happen to my gut?!” Not exactly what I wanted to worry about on my honeymoon! Am I right?! However, I found that with a few slight adjustments, careful attention to my food, and serious relaxation, I had an AMAZING time in Cabo with my new hubby. This entire blog is full of what I learned in Cabo because I want to equip you with as much as knowledge as possible, so you don’t have to learn the hard way like I had to do.
Here are a few tips and restaurant suggestions for you as you are planning your trip to Cabo:
Tips for having a healthy and happy gut in Cabo
Mexican food is a great start
Stir fry veggies, corn tortillas, and fresh protein are the staples of Mexican food, so it was not hard for me to find things to eat on almost every menu. I stayed away from the fried foods, flour tortillas, and cheesy foods. I also did not indulge in most desserts for a couple of reasons. Since I chose to indulge in the fruity cocktails that were likely already filled with sugar, I didn’t want to add more sugar on top of that. Also, many Mexican desserts (i.e. Flan) are dairy and/or egg-based and did not want to make myself sick. There was one restaurant called Sunset Monalisa that was exceedingly accommodating toward my food sensitivities and suggested their homemade passion fruit macaron, which was to die for.
Through the last few years of managing my disease with strict nutrition, this has become my motto. It never hurts to ask- seriously. For example, I heard of the signature cocktail at our resort named the “Miami Vice”, where a pina colada is mixed with a strawberry daquiri. Helloooo paradise! However, my hubby informed me that pina coladas are made with cream. While I watched my dreams of paradise-in-a-glass disappear, my wonderful hubby asked if they could possibly make it without the milk. And with just a quick ask, they told us they can make it with coconut cream instead. Voila! Just like that, I had my cocktail after all and enjoyed it for the whole week we were there. It never hurts to ask.
Depending on where you are in treating your disease, you may be alcohol free or limiting your intake. For me, I limit my intake when I am in remission and eliminate it altogether when I am battling a flare up. It is up to you and your physician to make this decision for your own body. I knew I wanted to indulge a little when relaxing in paradise and enjoy a nice frozen beverage by the pool or beach. My suggestion for you is to be aware of the ingredients in your beverage. If you know there is going to be a higher amount of sugar, opt out of dessert for dinner. Additionally, be aware of any ingredients that may include food products you are sensitive to. It is still possible to enjoy these beverages, but substitutions may be required.
For example, I heard of the signature cocktail at our resort named the “Miami Vice”, where a pina colada is mixed with a strawberry daiquiri. Helloooo paradise! However, my hubby informed me that pina coladas are made with cream. While I watched my dreams of paradise-in-a-glass disappear, my wonderful hubby asked if they could possibly make it without the milk. And with just a quick ask, they told us they can make it with coconut cream instead. Voila! Just like that, I had my cocktail after all and enjoyed it for the whole week we were there.
You are in paradise, so don’t forget to relax! Inflammatory Bowel Disease is triggered largely by the effects of stress on the gut. Take a nap everyday if you want to, indulge in the spa amenities, lay by the pool everyday, read a book- for fun!. Whatever you do to relax, do it in Cabo. Initially, I was concerned about taking this gut to Mexico after hearing all the horror stories about stomach issues. However, I found that the remnants of my flare up caused by the stress of the wedding mostly went away while I was in Cabo, and I attribute it to the week of stress-free living.
For this meal, we kept it nice and simple. There is a California-style supermarket down the road from our resort (near the marina and downtown Cabo), so we stocked up on the simple necessities for making a healthy breakfast. I had gluten free oatmeal with chicken sausage most days. For my greens, I brought my Amazing Grass Greens Powder to make sure I still got in my nutrients. I wanted to keep it as plain and familiar to my gut as possible, since I knew I would be trying lots of new types of food that would be exciting for me, but possibly not so exciting for my gut. Starting out my day with the basics really helped me and I would highly suggest it.
Restaurants We Loved
If you are ever in Cabo, do yourself a favor and make reservations for Sunset Monalisa- you will not regret it! In fact, this is tied with scuba diving for the best experience of the week. The entire restaurant is outdoors and each table has the perfect view of the sunset over the Sea of Cortez. Get there early and you can sit at the bar, overlooking the Sea. On top of the incredible view, the staff were equally as spectacular. When booking the reservation over the phone, they asked for any allergies or sensitivities and the server was well-informed when we were seated. He made suggestions for what I could eat and any modifications they could make in the kitchen. For someone with food sensitivities who is accustomed to feeling awkward or as though I’m missing out, I felt so at ease and never felt like I was missing out on anything. My meal was possibly the best meal I have ever had!
A restaurant so good, we went there twice in a week! It is the best bargain for the best tasting Mexican food. We had so much food the first time we made ourselves sick, so the second time we made sure to pace ourselves. The chiles rellenos and tacos were my favorite! My hubby loved the quesadilla- this is made of flour so I didn’t have it, but he swears it was delicious!
Organized like stadium seating and brightly colored, it was a very unique environment with delicious food. We split the seafood platter that we both highly recommend- this included octopus, scallops, yellowtail, and shrimp. I had never had octopus and was quite hesitant, but it was really good!
This place was our saving grace and our budget thanked us. The sales guy running our time share presentation kindly told us about this Cabo gem. If you sit at the bar, you are privy to an all-day happy hour, which includes dollar beer and house wine and $3 and $4 appetizers. They had chips and guacamole, potato wedges, ahi tuna, and others.
You will find this restaurant in the heart of the marina, the most touristy area if I am being honest. However, you will have a gorgeous view of the marina and of the sunset if you time it just right. We had two delicious seafood dishes that we shared and had an overall wonderful time.
What a fun place! We intended to go to The Office, a Cabo beach staple, but they were closed for renovations and found Mango Deck instead. We had cocktails while we were a stone’s throw from the waves breaking on the shore with our feet planted in the sand. Talk about paradise! In fact, we were so close we had to put our belongings in a chair so they wouldn’t get washed away. We had really tasty tacos and a burrito here.
Activities We Highly Recommend
This was by far one of the best experiences of our entire trip, hands down. We have only been scuba certified for a year or less, so we were eager to scuba dive together for the first time. While diving, we saw more than either of us have ever seen on any of our other trips! We saw several reef sharks, eels, and even a shipwreck. Highly recommend this if you are certified!