Are you looking to live a healthier life and not sure where to begin? Maybe a change in scenery will help! A land as green and full of natural resources as Costa Rica easily attracts the types of people who care about their health and wellbeing and that of their families. This friendly nation welcomes a wide-variety of healing traditions and alternative lifestyles inside its borders. Every theory on how best to live in this land of plenty has likely already been explored in this rich landscape. If you are ready to put down the cake and pick up the cacao nibs, you will easily find friends with which to skip along this colorful jungle path to better health.
Below is a list of some of the many daily practices that are abundantly adopted by Costa Rica locals and expats alike to help you find your way to a healthier today in good company in Costa Rica.
Growing your own food
It is often said that Costa Rica is a land where you can throw a toothpick on the ground and it will grow roots. As funny as it is, it’s very near to the truth. Novice gardeners need not worry: the warm climate and wet weather are very forgiving for many local species. Plant cuttings are easily cultivated oftentimes by just sticking them in the ground. And most vegetables are sold with roots still attached so if you want to continue growing them, potting them on your windowsill will likely yield happy results.
The many benefits of growing your own food include: having to shop for less meal ingredients, knowing what chemicals have (or hopefully have not) been used when growing your food, and having the pleasure of the de-stressing and harmonizing activities that surround food cultivation. It is a beautiful ritual to be able to dig your hands into the earth and to feel the pulse of our planet. Gardening is a meditation on the needs of the lifeforms that we have helped bring into existence.
Eating less meat
The ability to grow your own produce coupled with the abundance of farmer’s markets and road-side stalls means that fresh fruits and veggies are everywhere! This land is a vegetarian’s paradise and the meat-less expats who have moved here have brought with them all of the traditions and culinary delights that vegan and vegetarian eaters need to fill out their diets. You can find plant-based proteins like tofu, tempeh, beyond meat, nutritional yeast, and all kinds of locally grown varieties of beans. Superfoods like coconuts, bananas, guanabana, acai palms, cacao, moringa, avocados, cashews, almonds, and so much more are all naturally present and abundant for a well-balanced diet.
Eating more meat
For those on the paleo-kick, how great is the idea that you can buy meat from a butcher in your village who humanely raises farm animals on his organic, free-range pasture just down the road from where you live? Costa Rica is a bacon-lover’s dream come true, especially once you detoxify from the additives that you have come to know and crave in your meat back home.
Being more active
It’s natural to feel inspired by the dynamic landscapes of our coastal mountain region in the Southern Zone of Costa Rica. The dusty mountain trails that we traverse on our morning walks are filled with electric-blue Morpho butterflies and the beaches are varyingly caressed with gentle and strong waves that invite surf-lovers in to play. Even a casual stroll along the soft, golden sands of our 10+ beaches in the Costa Ballena can easily have you working up a sweat while detoxifying your body. Exercise in Costa Rica’s outdoors provides us with the longevity to enjoy this remarkable landscape for longer while feeling in better shape to do so.
There are a multitude of workout classes for all modalities of physical exercise: yoga, pilates, martial arts, surfing, acrobatics, hand gliding, kick boxing – the sky is the limit in our diverse South Pacific Costa Rica communities. And when the sky is as blue as it is here, you may begin to feel like there is no limit to your freedom to express your best self.
Skipping the stress
Kicking back in a hammock with a great book is a favorite way to relax in Costa Rica’s warm, sultry weather. As soon as we begin to feel the pressure building, all we have to do is look outside and see the bright colored flowers dotted amidst a sea of green to get lost in wonder, far, far away from the cycle of stress that was beginning to unfold.
Fresh breezes and flowing water are everywhere in this mountainous region where the hillsides meet the sea. If you can’t hear the din of the waves crashing along the coast, you can always hear the symphony of nature playing just outside your window. Birds singing, crickets humming, wind rustling the leaves and the sound of waterfalls in the many rivers soothes us into a deep relax. For anyone who is aware of the power of meditation, the sensory experience of listening to these sounds is an immensely helpful tool for de-stressing and focusing on the present moment.
Raising children in Costa Rica in a simpler way
Costa Rica is a place for more green time and less screen time. Studies have shown that digital screens affect a child’s brains in the exact way that cocaine does. This means that the “normal”, traditional North American children’s past time of playing Minecraft causes similar neural reactions to the effects of a psychoactive drug. The brain’s frontal cortex is affected, which is responsible for things like motor function, problem solving, memory and judgement, while also raising dopamine levels, which makes them feel good when using their screens. This becomes dangerous when the levels of usage are reaching upwards of 8 hours per day for 8-10 year olds and more for teens.
Children need social interaction and real-world play or healthy development. Smart technology prevents this ability in our children, who will prefer the easy hit of feel-good chemicals when given the choice. Even Steve Jobs kept his children away from smart-technology and many other tech-execs send their kids to no-tech Waldorf schools.
We may not have Waldorf schools all over Costa Rica, but we do have an excellent education system with one of the highest literacy rates in the world. There is hardly any of the new-tech of North American or European standards found in the classrooms around Costa Rica and this doesn’t seem to impede their standing on the global scale for post-secondary admissions.
Kids here spend their time playing outdoors, learning a new culture and language. Here, in a more natural environment, they have the opportunity to engage in plenty of green activities within our rapidly-growing young family expat communities. Sports teams, surf lessons, dance, yoga, martial arts, and simple outdoor play, perhaps swimming in a gently flowing river or climbing mango trees are at every parent’s disposal for their child’s engagement. Once the focus is taken off of addictive smart-tech and sugar, expat children revive their childish wonder and thrive. And many expats who moved here as children remain in Costa Rica, proving that there is not much to be missed outside of this natural wonderland.
There are many more ways to access your healthy place in the magic of the Costa Rican landscape. Find your path to freedom in becoming the you who you’ve always wanted by practicing healthy living in Costa Rica. Help us help you find your tribe in one of our South Pacific communities in Costa Ballena. Sign up for our weekly newsletter below and get in touch with one of our agents today.