Mexico’s Healthy Paradise

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At the end of my time in the United States earlier this month, I had the opportunity to experience Rancho La Puerta. I’d heard amazing things about this health spa retreat, but to live it myself was beyond what I could have expected. It’s a true gem, and it’s easy to see why Travel and Leisure and Conde Naste Traveler have given it accolades.

The location:

Not far from San Diego, California, the Ranch itself is just across the American border in a little town called Tecate, Mexico.

Rancho La Puerta’s 3,000 acres include 32 acres of gardens, hiking trails, an organic farm, several pools, extensive spa and fitness facilities, a salon, individual casitas for guests, a large dining hall, gift shop, and an intimate library. Incredible!

A typical day (so many options):

Plan each day to be your personal symphony of activity and relaxation: hourly fitness classes balance with spa treatments and meals…or a swing in one of the many hammocks. I loved these! My room was beautiful too, and filled with such colourful art.

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Wake up with a 6am hike around the gorgeous grounds. They offer gentle, medium or hard options. The more gentle option starts at 7am, and it was a must do for me. Such a good workout and start to the day.

Come back and enjoy a wholesome breakfast at around 8-8:30am.


Begin the activities of the day – every 45 minutes there is a different and amazing option to choose from. Mornings sessions are between 9am-12pm.

I would usually do the meditation option at 9am, yoga at 10 and then Pilates or a core class. You spend the morning being super active so you can then relax in the afternoon.

I really loved the hip-hop dance class, yoga, barre classes and meditation – it was great to try some new things combined with some familiar things I enjoy too.

There are many activities to choose from to suit your individual needs, interests and passions– that’s what really stood out to me.

The food:

Philosophy at the ranch: Organic, plant based diet with a little fish and eggs.

No animal protein (i.e. chicken or meat.)

buffetNote: you can tell the Ranch about any special dietary requirements and they will cater to your needs – of course!

Breakfast: A typical breakfast is oatmeal with their amazing homemade granola and fresh papaya or mango – so yum. You can have eggs too, which I often did!

soupLunch: This is served buffet-style with loads of delicious fresh salads with fish or boiled eggs and the best variety of roasted veggies – my fav! There was also different, freshly prepared soup every day for lunch.


Dinner: Dinner is served to you – which is great to help connect with portion control. To start, there is a healthy soup and a fresh salad. Mains were either a vegetarian option (usually Mexican style, so unique!) or grilled fish and veg. I usually asked for an extra side of veg – typical nutritionist!

What I learned:

Something that became very apparent? I have a “doing addiction.” Especially after wrapping up meetings and so much planning while I was in New York and LA, it was very challenging for me to switch over into a calm environment. I was so used to the go go go!

One of the things that helped with this was eating in silence and in a calm environment. It reaffirmed that this act is life changing and so good for your digestion.

Eating a plant based diet is an incredible change of pace for your digestion, too. Eliminating animal protein for a period of time is a simple and healthy way to detox.

Being in nature is, I think, what finally helped me reconnect with myself and slow down again. Hiking is so good for the body and soul, and I loved taking the time to do that every day.

The other thing that I was gently reminded of is the importance of taking time to rest. Remember the JSHealth Switchoff? It was in full force. Giving yourself the opportunity to rest for a bit, especially in the afternoon, will really uplift your health – and your spirit.


There were so many wonderful and truly inspiring aspects of my time at Rancho La Puerta, but these are the things that would keep me coming back – and what I know you’ll experience when you visit!

  • The hikes every morning – try the breakfast garden hike in particular
  • The food – so fresh and tasty
  • The people you meet – everyone is kind, helpful and very peaceful
  • The time to really relax in the afternoon – every day I would read by the pool and simply commit to doing nothing. This is the best thing you can do at a health retreat. It’s what recharging is all about!





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Nutrition 101 - A step by step nutrition guide to optimal health


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The Clean Life - An Expert Guide To Health From The Inside Out


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Hi Jessica, I believe in synchronicity so when I was guided to you .on FB I was intrigued and inspired. I turned 46 last week and my husband bought me your book. I wanted to thank you for sharing your wisdom in such a beautifully presented way. My  copy is now filled with tabs and post it notes with actual notes throughout. I am dairy intolerant since having my gallbladder removed 15+ years ago, I don't eat meat, very minimal gluten and was told 12 months ago my gut was not digesting my food properly so I wasn't receiving sufficient nutrients and taking supplements would be a waste of time.  My weight fluctuates tending to gain rather than lose but now I believe I have a tool to help me bring my body back into balance that I need for my health and longevity of life - so again thank you. The first few steps to creating a stronger path forward for my health has found its foundation in your beautiful book, The Healthy Life.

With kindest regards Samantha

I'm writing this email because I wanted to tell you how much I love your blog and how you really helped me in my health journey. Thank you for sharing all your advices and experiences.

When I started my studies, I was drinking lots of coffee and I was eaten the wrong foods, and feel bad about it, I wasn't at my best. So I had done some research on the net but at first I didn't found advices that are for me, and then I found your blog. It was exactly what I was looking for, good advices and healthy recipes. Now I'm following your advices on rest more, and snacks between meals and prep the meals and take time for myself to reconnect with my body and let go my anxiety, etc, and I have a more balanced life and have a new relationship with food thanks to you.

I bought your book and it's honestly the best book I have ever bought. I suffer from IBS and anxiety. I have paid so much money seeing naturopaths however after reading your book and all of your tips I'm noticing so much of a difference, so simple and easy to follow. And symptoms have dramatically decreased. Also you have helped me to relax. Currently drinking the protein health smoothie! Thankyou your amazing.


Hey Jessica!
I haven’t yet brought ‘The Healthy Life’, but I do have the clean life and your slim down plan! I would like to thank you so much for the knowledge your share and the message you put across about health and wellness. I’m studying Nutritional Medicine in Melbourne and absolutely love the philosophy that you share with your JSHealth community. The work you’ve done to show people that leading a healthy lifestyle isn’t boring, tasteless, difficult or depriving is amazing and hope to share the message myself one day. You’ve inspired me to start my own blog , to share the message and have taught me so many things about my own health! You should be proud of your achievements! Thank you again

- Jacinta

I searched for help and tips through the Internet and found Jessica Sepel. This is seriously not exaggerated, but she was the reason why I have dared myself to eat again, to have snacks in between, to nourish my body. I could slowly improve my negative thoughts about my body image and my stupid anxiety of gaining weight. Besides, The Cleanest Gut was awesome too! A huge thank you! Especially from my mum. Seriously, without you I wouldn’t be where I am now!


Congratulations on your new book! It looks absolutely gorgeous. I’ve been following you on Instagram for a few years and you’ve inspired me to slowly but surely eat healthier without giving myself a hard time when I don’t. It made me so happy (and weirdly proud) to see the Daily Mail article on The Healthy Life. I remember trying out your recipes before you even had your eBook out! I can’t wait to get my hands on the book. Keep up the great work.

– Sophie

Cooking in this way truly brought out the foodie in me and has instilled a huge passion for health and wellness! Life throws you hard and frustrating things sometimes but I truly believe that this is where we learn more about ourselves and what our passions in life are! Thank you for inspiring me on my journey to health and wellness!


I am a yoga teacher in Johannesburg and am thrilled to have bought your book today. I love making healthy, nutritious food for my family, friends and fellow yogis! Thank you for this book and your inspiration (had to share a pic of my book on my recipe stand in the kitchen).

– Helene

I bought your beautiful book during the week and told my bestie to go out and buy it also! I love love love it. It is the book I would give to my younger self if I could (I am 41 years old). Everything is just so sensible and informative and is definitely a book all teenagers should have. This should be a text book for girls becoming teens. I will love going back and re-reading it many many times and can't wait to make more of the recipes. Thank you Jess - you are an incredibly inspiring woman and you should feel so proud

Michelle Curtis

My fiancé bought your book and we have cooked some of your meals. Amazing! I love your outlook on a healthy lifestyle and your hints and tips with preparing tasty meals are fantastic. Thanks for reviving us to live a healthier lifestyle and get our bodies wedding ready.