Category Archives: Guest Blogger Adventures

Blogs About Mexico Worth Reading–Letters From Mexico

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Don writes Letters From Mexico about his experiences living in Mexico since 2003.

What brought you to Mexico?

I was invited by a guy I met while volunteering at a folk fest. He lives in Connecticut and Mexico and invited me to come to the 1st Turtle Island Bioregional Congress. I did and then had two follow up visits, staying in the community that organized it. On my third visit, I was crying when it was time to go home (back up north). This signaled to me to begin the process of getting ready to move to Mexico.

What was the inspiration for your blog name?

Letters From Mexico was inspired by a previous blog I started when I moved here in 2003, to keep in touch with family and friends in El Norte. I did a Google search, and the only Letters From Mexico was by Cortez.

What area of Mexico and topics does your blog primarily focus on?

I live in the volcanic region of central Mexico, south of Mexico City and East of Cuernavaca, called Tepoztlan. (Try and pronounce that one!) Most of my topics relate to the Mexican culture, and how this differs from the US.

Why do you blog? 

My blog is primarily for retirees in the US who are interested in moving to Mexico.

The site has some information and a lot of my personal experiences about travel and living in Mexico. Hopefully, it will help make the decision about coming here.

What is your favorite blog post? 

Maybe because it was my first post—Get Lost! Is my favorite. It was inspired by some experiences, and by the image of a T-shirt that’s pictured on the blog.

What has been the most difficult for you to blog about?  

My Daily Life in Mexico was the most difficult. I feel that topic is what my audience wants to read about, but I prefer living it to writing about it.

What has been the best experience you’ve had in Mexico?  

I play in blues bands. We had a gig called Scorpio Dance Party. It was to celebrate my birthday and that of a friend. I promoted it for a month, working every day. I’m proud to say it attracted 70 people and all had a blast! I learned that I was able to organize and carry out a project.  

What has been the worst experience you’ve had in Mexico?  

I spent a night in an immigration prison cell in Acapulco. I learned it’s important to have my papers up-to-date.

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What advice do you have for those planning to move or travel to Mexico?

I think preparation should include research: reading books, online material, and talking to friends and relatives who have traveled or live in Mexico.

It’s best done in small steps, in my opinion. For example, don’t buy a house during your first week traveling in Mexico.

Sign up to subscribe to my blog and you get to download free Mexico Travel Tips.

If you are currently in Mexico, how long do you plan on remaining?

Although I am flexible, at this point I consider Mexico my home base. I’d say I’ve not been around a lot. I explored living in Guatemala, but find Mexico more diverse, with hotter music and food.

I’ll stay here until and unless I find something I like better.

Where do you see your blog going?  

My goal is to have the site be interactive, and with the help of my audience, become a published book. I published a memoir and am now revising and updating it. I have plans for two other memoir related books, for different audiences, and these may have blogs.

Where can you be found? 

Twitter and Facebook

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Filed under Blogs about Mexico Worth Reading, Guest Blogger Adventures

Blogs About Mexico Worth Reading–Call it Kismet

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Jules, a blogger at Call it Kismet, was born in Eastern Kentucky and is currently cruising the Pacific coast of Mexico on our live-aboard sailboat.  Here’s what she has to say about her life.

What brought you to Mexico?  

Opportunity to sail in a different country.

How has your life changed?

My stress level had lowered dramatically.  Mexico has a very casual vibe. We don’t have a car, so no traffic problems.

How has your belief system changed?

 It hasn’t.

How have you changed?  

I am learning to become more patient and not so time-obsessed.

What challenges have you overcome?

Living in a small space (boat) with my husband and 2 dogs has simplified my life.

What challenges are you still facing?  

I still miss shopping at Target and Marshalls.

What keeps you going?

Good friends we have met along the way and travel with keep me from getting lonely.

What accomplishment makes you the proudest?

Shedding our material life. We had two beautiful homes and two cars. But it was all just “stuff”.

What things do you miss about your life before?  

Being close to family. But my parents died recently, so I don’t feel the desire or need to return to the US.

What have you found is no longer important to you?

Material things like houses and cars. And shoes. I now wear flip-flops every day.

What do you consider the defining moment in your life in Mexico?

When I got my residency card I realized that Mexico truly and legally is HOME.

How do you spend your free time?

All my time is free time. Since we move around a lot, I go “Urban Hiking” to explore the local towns.

How do you maintain yourself/your family financially?

 Retired.

How have you overcome fear?

No fears.

How have you grown as a person?

I am a work in progress but am mellowing out.

What skills have you learned in Mexico?

A bit of language-learning. I take classes at marinas sometimes and went to Spanish School in Taxco for 6 weeks.

What skills do you still have to master?

The language.  Each summer, during hurricane season, we plan to continue our travels inland for 3-4 months and take Spanish classes in different areas.

What inspires you? What angers you?  

What angers me is the vast overpopulation of homeless animals. But I am inspired by the groups that are raising awareness and helping with spay-neuter and rescue.

What would you do differently if you could do it all over again?

I wouldn’t change a thing.

What is your current goal?

 Just going with the flow for now.

How do you make your life meaningful?

I surround myself with good people.

Do you volunteer?

Since we move around a lot, it is difficult to volunteer, but I frequently donate $$ to animal welfare groups.

 

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Filed under Blogging, Blogs about Mexico Worth Reading, Guest Blogger Adventures

The Benefits of Paleo and Keto Diets for Cancer Patients

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Today, I’d like to share a guest blogger post from Virgil and the team at mesothelioma.net about the Paleo and Ketogenic diets, specifically their benefits for cancer patients.  While we here in La Yacata don’t follow a strict Paleo diet with corn featuring such a large part of our diets, we do consider ourselves more Paleo than we were in the US and certainly healthier as a result. Without further ado:

The Benefits of Paleo and Keto Diets for Cancer Patients

The paleo and ketogenic diets are more popular than ever before and for good reasons. They have been shown to be beneficial in a number of ways, from cutting out processed foods to helping people lose weight. Now, there is also evidence that these diets may provide important benefits for people living with and being treated for various types of cancer, like mesothelioma or lung cancer.

The Paleo Diet and its Health Benefits

The paleo diet has a pretty simple basis: don’t eat anything our Paleolithic ancestors wouldn’t have eaten. The Paleolithic was before agriculture, so that means no grains or dairy. Instead, on the paleo diet, you eat meat, game, poultry, fish, vegetables, seeds, fruits, and nuts. Although there may have been beans and legumes around 10,000 years ago, the paleo diet avoids these as well.

Perhaps the best thing about the paleo diet is that it relies on whole foods and eliminates processed ones. There is no vegetable oil on this diet, and no junk food or packaged foods. The elimination of dairy, grains, and beans is more controversial, but the idea is that 10,000 years is not a long enough time to have evolved to digest them properly.

Some of the known health benefits of the paleo diet include:

These can all be benefits for cancer patients, but there are more specific reasons to try the diet if you are battling cancer. The paleo diet is very low in sugar, which has been found in studies to negatively impact the survival rates of cancer patients. The negative effect is greater for any patients who are overweight, and the paleo diet can help with weight loss as well.

In another study, researchers actually found that some types of cancer cells, including squamous lung cancer cells, are highly dependent on sugar for growth. With less sugar, tumors may grow more slowly, which obviously benefits the patients.

Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet

The keto diet is similar to the paleo diet. The idea is to eat fewer carbohydrates and more fats. The philosophy behind the diet is totally unrelated, but it ends up being very similar in terms of what you can eat. The idea of the diet is that eating more fat and fewer carbs forces the body into ketosis, a state in which it burns fat. On the keto diet you eat similar foods to the paleo diet, but also leave out potatoes and alcohol and you are allowed to eat dairy. The basic guideline is to consume 75 percent of your calories as fat, 20 percent as protein, and only five percent as carbs, although there are some variations.

The keto diet has been proven to be an excellent tool for weight loss, for improving sensitivity to insulin, and for reversing the course of type 2 diabetes. It has also been shown in research to reduce symptoms of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease and to reduce seizures in children who have epilepsy.

For cancer patients, there is evidence that the keto diet can be beneficial too. In animal studies, tumors shrank when the animals were fed a keto diet with restricted calories. In other studies specifically with cancer patients, the keto diet was found to enhance the effects of radiation therapy and chemotherapy, making them more effective.

There are few risks of trying the keto or paleo diets, as both are more healthful than the typical American diet. However, it is always important to speak to your doctor before making any drastic dietary changes. This is especially true for cancer patients. There may be some risks that you aren’t aware of and that your medical team can warn you about. You may also want to work with a dietician or nutritionist to get started to ensure that your diet is balanced and has adequate nutrients for you to heal and fight your cancer.

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Filed under Guest Blogger Adventures, Health, Natural Healing

Southern Comfort Food, Mexican Style – Chocolate Covered Orange Peels

By Neva Gurrusquieta

Like every country, Mexico has its own unique Christmas traditions, many closely tied to the Catholic church. For the month of December, we get Christmas church bells and fireworks, along with Christmas parties, festive food, and drink.  And Las Posadas, nine days of neighborhood reenactments of Joseph and Mary arriving at the inn in Bethlehem, along with other local traditions.  With schools, government offices, and many manufacturing plants closed, families are in the streets until quite late enjoying live music, festive lighting and delicious foods found only this time of year. And…hundreds of Volkswagen beetles lit up like Christmas trees!

The Christmas season is particularly welcome this year, a needed respite from the stress and worry so many are going through.  I hope that we all will be more kind and loving and gentle in this season. I hope we can all treat each other with grace and mercy. As I write this, my sister is being released from the hospital after a scary month-long stay with so many complications, and a dear uncle was released from the hospital because there are no other viable medical options. I have friends battling cancer, friends whose children are doing the same.  I think of friends and family who are going through really tough times, financially, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and most likely, if you are not experiencing such times personally, you are sure to know someone who is.  I pray that the hope, joy, peace, and warmth of this season will linger far beyond this winter.  I pray for healing, reconciliation, and restoration.

My husband and I are celebrating a simple, quiet holiday this year. We are foregoing the street parties, the mass decorating and the compulsory gift-giving in favor of more peaceful, more introspective Christmas. However, Christmas food is irresistible, not just because of all the sugar and spice, but because I love to cook, my husband loves to eat, and food brings families together around the table to laugh and to cry and love on each other and to remember all the goodness and blessings we share!

It’s been surprisingly cold here in central Mexico, hitting the low thirties every night for the last couple of weeks, even dipping down into the twenties a few times. Most homes here don’t have heat, so once the temperatures dip below freezing a few times, the chill settles into the bones of the concrete houses and their occupants. On the other hand, most people cook all their meals from scratch, so hanging out in the kitchen is a good way to stay warm. One of the best ways to throw off that winter chill is to cook up a big pot of beans or a hearty stew, or throw yourself into baking or whipping up a hot Christmas punch, and enjoy the company of friends.

Depending from whence you hail, a Christmas punch could mean the spiced and spiked apple cider known as wassail in the UK  or Jamaican sorrel punch spiked with rum, or Ponche Navideño found here in Mexico.  When I lived in Jamaica, I fell in love with sorrel Christmas punch, a red hibiscus based drink served everywhere during the Christmas season, even hair salons, which is where my friend Cilda first introduced me to this lovely libation. Traditionally made with fresh sorrel flowers in Jamaica,  flor de Jamaica (the flower of Jamaica)  is very popular in Mexico and it is very easy to find the dried flowers.

Popular variations of Mexican Christmas punch use either apple or sorrel as a base, and everyone has a traditional family recipe.  One of my favorite websites for authentic Mexican recipes is La Cocina de Leslie,  and she has several really great recipes for Ponche Navideño, as well as Mexican hot chocolate. For my Christmas punch, I usually start with sorrel, citrus fruits, spices, and add a nice red wine instead of rum. In past years, I’ve added pineapple, pomegranate, cranberries, grapes, persimmons, figs, and pears, amongst many others. The alcohol you use, if you use it, should be something that complements your other ingredients. But you know my philosophy:  Make it yours! It’s about using the flavors you love to create a cozy inviting drink to warm up your family and friends!

Beyond the usual cookie baking, ponche making, and general meal prepping, this time of year I like to make another family favorite, candied orange peels dipped in chocolate.  So simple and easy, and because oranges are plentiful and inexpensive this time of year, it’s natural for someone like me. And they are delicious!

It usually takes a couple of days for us to eat enough oranges for a batch of candy, so I save the rinds in the fridge in a mason jar filled with purified water.  If we’re not eating the oranges quickly enough, I slice a few extras and use the pulp to make a glaze for a spice cake.

When the jar is nice and full, pour the contents into a heavy-bottomed saucepan, adding a little more water if needed, but just barely to cover. Bring to a low, slow boil over medium heat and cook for an hour or so to soften the rinds.  Scoop out the rinds from the pan, retaining two cups of the water.  Using a knife with a flexible blade, remove the pith, leaving only the rind. This is easiest to do while they are warm by laying them flat and sliding the blade along the rind.

Return the rinds to the water, and add a cup of sugar and a half teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil again, and cook until the syrup has thickened and the texture of the rind is kind of like a gummy bear. I test them every five to ten minutes after the syrup starts to thicken. Go ahead, take a bite!

When they are ready, scoop them onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and separate them so they don’t stick together while cooling.  

Meanwhile, melt a cup of chocolate chips. American style chocolate chips are sometimes hard to find in Mexico unless you have access to Sam’s Club or Costco. I buy dark chocolate melting chispas at the bakery supply store here and add a tablespoon of coconut oil, but if you can’t find those either, you can substitute Hershey’s kisses or chocolate bars, but skip the oil.  

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Neva Online

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I usually melt the chocolate in 15 second increments in the microwave, stirring in between. And I use a coffee mug because I find the dipping process works well for me in a mug.  Dip each of the cooled rind strips into the warm chocolate, shake it a bit to remove the excess (if you think there is such a thing), and lay on waxed paper or parchment paper until set.  Delicious, inexpensive, and wonderful for a Christmas treat!

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Filed under Guest Blogger Adventures, Southern Comfort Food Mexican Style