|Lucy slices open a coconut fresh from the tree.
Passionate foodie and chef, Lucy Mejia is an inspiration for living a simple life in a beautiful environment filled with healthy eating and joyful pursuits. Her morning starts in the oceanfront jungle palapa she calls home with her partner Jose, cracking open a coconut for refreshment and spending the daylight hours surfing, being active and making tasty food.
We met Lucy in her current home in Nayarit, Mexico while shooting the 2014 lookbook and were in awe of her love story. After getting married in Lucy’s native Australia, the couple came to Mexico to have a second wedding in Jose’s birth country. They traveled through Argentina, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador on the way and once they hit Mexico, needed a beach vacation before the second wedding ceremony.
“Before the wedding my mother arrived from Australia and I wanted to go somewhere on the beach near San Miguel de Allende. The only criteria were waves and proximity. So Sayulita was a place. I just saw it on the map!” she says.
They arrived at Playa Escondido, surfed themselves silly along the coast, then stumbled upon a space for rent in town they imagined was perfect for a café. It was serendipity. “Discovering this small surfing village, with an abundant local, organic farmers market and more than six surf breaks within a 20-minute drive, we were sold! Being from Byron Bay, Australia, one of the most beautiful places in the world to me, I never thought I would find another place to call home. I am so grateful,” she says. Just like that, Café Esperanza was born.
The local healthy food restaurant Café Esperanza shares Lucy’s alternative eating philosophy, based on her passion for nourishing foods. As an educated acupuncturist and traditional Chinese medicine practitioner Lucy is our new go-to expert for wellness advice and easy and delicious recipes that are full of fresh ingredients.
Lucy shared with us an easy and healthy recipe using locally grown superfoods to give you long-lasting energy and hydration for however your day unfolds.
|Every morning starts with fresh coconut water.
Why did you open Café Esperanza?
I love living whole delicious super foods that are prepared with love and intention. I care about how food makes me feel and I really care for the health and potential of our community. With pleasure we serve this food to our friends.
I believe that food is medicine. I take in my environment, the nature around me, the natural flora and fauna. What lives here? What thrives here? What’s local, seasonal and sustainable?
Our little café, La Esperanza is founded upon these questions. As a collective of dedicated, planet-loving, life-appreciating souls we ask you to join us in the celebration of eating consciously! The English translation of Esperanza is hope. Hope for the future generations and hope for humanity.
We believe that we are all born in perfect harmony and balance with nature. The choices we make throughout our lifetime affect this balance. Our vision, intentions and ultimately our food is developed with you in mind and is based on our desire to assist, inspire and nurture you into making the healthiest choices in life, enabling you to explore your full potential.
|Welcome to Cafe Esperanza.
|Fresh fruit stand. Photo by Nick LaVecchia.
What are some of the superfoods that you regularly eat and why?
In Mexico we are blessed with an abundance of readily available superfoods. Superfoods by definition are calorie sparse and nutrient dense, meaning they pack a lot of punch for their weight as far as goodness goes. They are superior sources of anti-oxidants and essential nutrients.
Five of my favourite local superfoods are:
Coconut: High in electrolytes for hydration. Drinking the juice from a young coconut is like giving your body an instant blood transfusion.
Mesquite: Mesquite contains a high vitamin and mineral content, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc. It is a fantastic sweetener alternative.
Chia: A wonderful source of protein to help build beautiful hair, skin, nails and vitally important muscles and red blood cells. Amino acids and fiber that help promote healthy heart and circulation.
Cocoa: One of the world's most concentrated sources of antioxidants found in any food.
Spirulina: This cultivated micro-algae has been consumed for thousands of years by the indigenous peoples in Mexico and Africa. It is one of the highest known protein sources on Earth and contains 70% complete protein.
The most readily available of these superfoods are coconuts. Coconuts are central to my life here in the jungle! My mornings ceremoniously include opening a fresh coconut with my machete as I check the swell. If I’m super keen to get in the water I’ll just drink the water and save the flesh for later. If feel that I’m needing more energy I’ll use the water and the flesh in a smoothie.
|Smoothies packed with energy and flavor.
Lucy's Sayulita Superfood Smoothie
Flesh and water of one coconut
2 tablespoons of mesquite powder
2 tablespoons of maca
1 tablespoon chia seeds
½ teaspoon of vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Agave or raw honey to your desired sweetness
1 ripe bananna
1 cup of ice
1 cup of water
This is my favorite breakfast smoothie because it has all my essential nutritional needs to start the day and it’s all local, organic and sustainable. The recipe is flexible depending on what ingredients are available. For more nutritional potency I sometimes add kale, cocoa, blueberries, almonds, bee pollen and spirulina (vital mineral greens by Health Force Nutritionals is a reputable product). I may also add additional superfoods if available: 1 tablespoon of hemp seeds and 2 tablespoons of maca powder.
An easy way to impress your friends with breakfast after the surf is to take the left over smoothie and make a quinoa breakfast in a clear tall glass. Layer pre-cooked red and white quinoa with layers of smoothie and fresh fruit. My preference is bananna and mango and berries when they are available. You can also use apple and pear if this is local for you. Top it off with diced dates and figs, hemp seeds and bee pollen. Que rico! If you are trying to stay off dairy you wont even notice it missing in this creamy deliciousness. Enjoy!!
|Lovely couple Jose and Lucy, owners of Cafe Esperanza.