What does a little bit of zest mean to you? For mountain biker and first-time author Rachelle Hynes, who explores creating a flavourful, balanced life, the answer takes shape in a book.

“Zesty means spirited, lively, enthusiastic,” Hynes said. “Everybody, whether you’re a business or an individual, has something to contribute to the world. That’s what I want to help people uncover with all the different exercises and the stories and the food.”

First Hynes, who works in branding and graphic design, started a blog as a passion project. It became a collection of thoughts on mountain biking and mindfulness, she said. She heard positive feedback, and one friend suggested she write a book.

Last November, she began putting that book together and now Hynes has the hardcover prototype — called “Recipes for a Zesty Life” — in hand.

While this book does include recipes for plant-based and vegan meals like Kale Yeah Chips and the Zesty Life Bowl (as seen on the cover), Hynes said it is not necessarily a cookbook. Readers will also find stories, cooking tips and tricks, and practices to help reduce stress. Photos of Squamish, of course, appear throughout.

“Being mindful in all of the things you do is going to allow you to be a more authentic person, enjoy life more, follow your passions in life,” she said. In the book, that can be found in sections on gratitude journaling, meditation, forest bathing and conscious breathing.

A balanced lifestyle seems to come naturally in the Sea to Sky Corridor. Hynes moved to Squamish three years ago, and started her blog shortly after.

“We live in such a bubble here in Squamish. We have such great access to the outdoors that we’re really lucky. I think it’s cool to bring this to other places too, not just Whistler and Squamish,” Hynes said. “You don’t have to be a biker or runner to enjoy the forest and get in tune with your mind.”

Hynes started eating plant-based two years ago, already not eating much dairy or meat. She was inspired by a friend,  a pro athlete, who is vegan.

“I felt amazing,” Hynes said, adding she noticed a difference in her skin and energy levels. “I think there’s a really healthy community around Whistler and Squamish. A lot more people are going plant-based, too. You don’t have to be plant-based to enjoy the recipes — they’re still tasty.”

Like many who live in Squamish, Hynes takes part in a variety of outdoor sports, including mountain biking, snowboarding and paddle boarding, so the recipes and exercises in “Zesty Life” lend themselves to a fast life on the go. Putting all her thoughts in a book, Hynes said, provides one source of inspiration that can be picked up and flipped through whenever there’s a spare minute.

“I did learn a lot about myself by doing this, just putting everything in writing and organizing,” she said.

Hynes’ book is getting closer to hitting the shelves, and she has a Kickstarter campaign to help get it there. She hopes to make it available in local stores. Find out more at zestylife.ca.

@ Copyright Squamish Chief