Ed note: Veteran RFT Correspondent and Ski Editor Yvette Cardozo went on a spa trip to bring back information about the best spas in Mexico’s Riviera Maya. She also came back with this delicious recipe for Chaya Juice, a refreshing wonderful drink popular in the Yucatan Peninsula.
Recipe Courtesy Fairmont Mayakoba Resorts, www.fairmont.com/Mayakoba
Chaya is a bush-type plant native to the Yucatan that has edible leaves much like spinach and is used widely by Maya natives in Mexico. It has a list of reported healthful properties — everything from weight loss and improving digestion to relieving coughing. In one report, the nutritional analysis shows that chaya is high in protein, richer in iron than spinach, and a powerful source of potassium and calcium.
Reportedly chaya also contains cyanide-like compounds (not unlike almonds) that can be a problem for some people when chaya is eaten in large quantities. And there is a variety with stinging hairs, though what we had in Mexico did not have them.
Chaya can be difficult to find unless you’re in Mexico. One possible substitute is chard leaves. All that being said, chaya makes a refreshing and delicious drink, especially in the tropical heat.
1 C Spinach Leaves
1 C Chaya Leaves
1/2 C Parsley
1 C Pineapple Juice
4 C Orange Juice
1/4 C Lemon Juice
Wash all the green leaves thoroughly and put in blender with juices. Blend until it reaches a smooth consistency, then pass through a fine colander to remove pulp and fiber. Chill and serve.
Check out the Fairmont Mayakoba’s recipe for Cucumber Chili Margarita.
Also, read about Yvette Cardozo’s spa experiences in the Riviera Maya.