Eating Healthier the Canyon Ranch Spa Way


If you’re eager to begin a new artificial sweeteners.

Go for the natural sweetness of fresh fruits, vegetables, and nuts. If you must sweeten, go natural with small amounts of maple syrup, honey, brown rice syrup, or unrefined sugar. Choose fruit for dessert. Try , vanilla, and freshly grated nutmeg as a substitute for sugar when you can. Artificial sweeteners can boost sweet cravings.

Be sensible about salt.

Use salt moderately, and try substituting with other herbs and spices.

Drink plenty of water every day

Eight large glasses a day is a good rule. To make it more tempting, use a beautiful tumbler, and add ice and a slice of lemon or lime.

The Canyon Ranch guidelines are probably not very different from common sense, good-health rules you’ve heard before. The key is to slowly incorporate these practices into your day-to-day life.

To get a clearer picture of how to do that, WebMD asked Uehlein to describe exactly how he puts the Canyon Ranch philosophy into action, meal by meal.

The Canyon Ranch Way: Meal by Meal


“If you like eggs, then use two egg whites and one whole egg to make an omelette,” Uhelein said. This cuts down on egg yolks, which contain a lot of fat. Be sure to use canola oil — not butter — for frying.

If you don’t like eggs, choose whole grains and fruits at breakfast time. In Uehlein’s home, which he shares with his wife and three daughters, the flour jar contains a mixture of half all-purpose flour and half whole wheat flour. Uehlein uses that flour for all bread products, including pancakes. For a quick breakfast, go with yogurt and a piece of fruit. If you like crunchy textures, you can add some low-fat, all-natural granola to the yogurt.


Lunch can be “the most dangerous meal” of the day, Uhelein warns. The temptation is to grab fast food or, in the spirit of healthiness, go to a salad bar. “A salad bar can kill you,” Uhelein says. “You can load up on calories before you know it and those fat-free dressings are loaded with gums and all kinds of stuff.”

If you want to make a good healthy-eating resolution, Uhelein suggests you take your lunch at least three times a week, instead of going to a restaurant. You can make it quick and simple; for example, you can wrap sliced turkey breast in a whole wheat tortilla and pair with a veggie and some fruit. Go for balance. “If you can pack it, pack it,” Uhelein urges. “You will gain so much more control that way and you’ll see a huge impact.”

Snacks and Beverages

If you have to wait a long time between lunch and dinner, you will likely need a snack. Nuts and fresh fruit are the best options, according to Uehlein, but have no more than one ounce of nuts. (Uehlein himself prefers almonds because they “give you a full sensation.”) Avoid visits to the vending machine for sugary soft drinks and highly-processed snacks. “I won’t tell you to never drink a soda. That’s a diet,” Uhelein said. “But drink fewer of them.”


At dinnertime, try to eat at home as often as possible, recommends Uhelein. Cook well-balanced meals that fall within the Canyon Ranch guidelines. Uhelein acknowledges that most folks can’t eat like they are at Canyon Ranch every day. “We are much more about fine dining; that’s why we are a utopia,” he observes.

But that doesn’t mean that home cooking can’t reflect the Canyon Ranch approach to flavor. “When I’m developing a recipe, I always incorporate sweet, sour, bitter and salty,” Uhelein said. “There will be a little bit of fat, for mouth feel, but the focus is on flavor.”

Uhelein says home cooks need to concentrate on dishes that satisfy with flavor and meet their family’s individual likes and dislikes. “If you like crunchy, then add some crunch. If you don’t like tofu today, then don’t cook tofu.”

Cooking ahead can help. “If we cook brown rice on Sunday, we’ll have some to use for the next few days. If we roast some vegetables, then we can toss some on a frozen pizza later in the week,” he said.

And with three daughters, ages 2, 11, and 13, Uhelein knows from experience that sometimes there simply isn’t time to cook dinner. But even on busy nights, the chef tries to eat at home, relying on carefully chosen convenience foods. He keeps pizzas with whole-grain crusts in the freezer along with a selection of healthy frozen entrees. (Uhelein is a big fan of Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods markets for both fresh and convenience items.)

Canyon Ranch Recipes

Roasted Butternut Squash, Apple, and Pecan Salad

Delicious, dense-textured, vitamin-packed butternut squash is the tastiest of all the winter squash. To peel, use a sharp cleaver or large knife and hack off the stem and then cut the long part off the bulbous base before you start peeling. It’s easier to attack the two shapes separately.

2 pounds peeled butternut squash, deseeded and cubed

2 teaspoons canola oil

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice mix

3/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 cup maple syrup

5 Granny Smith apples, cored and cubed

1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix squash with oil in a bowl. Sprinkle in the spice mix and toss to coat. Spread squash on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, or until golden.

In a small bowl, combine vinegar and maple syrup, pour over squash and bake for 5 more minutes. Place apples and pecans in a large bowl and add hot squash mixture. Toss lightly and allow to cool before serving.

Makes 10 servings. Each 1/2 cup serving contains approximately: 115 calories, 17 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 1 gram protein, 4 grams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Beef Tenderloin with Adobado Paste

You can make the adobado paste in quantity and store it, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. It’s also terrific with chicken and fish.

For the Adobado paste

1 tablespoon packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 clove fresh garlic, minced

2 teaspoons olive oil

3 tablespoons chili powder

1 pound lean beef tenderloin, cut into 4-ounce fillets

Preheat grill or broiler. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, lime juice, garlic, olive oil, and chili powder. Mix to a smooth paste. Spread 1 teaspoon paste on each side of beef tenderloin fillet. Grill or broil to desired doneness, about 3 to 5 minutes on each side.

Makes 4 servings. Each serving contains approximately: 215 calories, 7 grams carbohydrates, 10 grams fat, 72 milligrams cholesterol, 25 grams protein, 112 milligrams sodium, trace fiber.