I took a couple of months off blogging. Partly intentionally to spend more time with my family and partly because I've been flat chat with holding a couple of lacto-fermentaion workshops in September and more significantly the Blue Mountains retreat in October which I hold annually with my business partner Lisa Wood.
I'll give an update on lacto-fermentaion in another post. I wanted to share with you in this post the awesome experience myself and a group of 7 clients had in the mountains on the retreat.
I started holding these retreats because I (selfishly) wanted to go on a retreat myself in a tranquil setting away from the buzz and jolt of Sydney and be assured of being served up real food ie traditional nutrient-dense fare that your ancestors would have just called "food". No toxins, no grains, no sugar, no industrialised oils, just hearty delicious meals. I explained to the clients over the course of the weekend how dead-easy it is to prepare food in this way and showcased how to make a casserole in a matter of minutes plus a mini-workshop on making goats curd which we then used to make labne dip. Over the 3 days I held a couple of info / Q&A sessions on the Fundamentals of Good Nutrition where we blew the doors off some commonly held myths and opened our minds to a way of eating that is designed to promote robust health and longevity (and not the hip pockets of big business). Largely due to my 2 super efficient helpers, this year I actually got to take part in most of Lisa's movement classes, the bush walk, the nature walk through the rhododendron gardens and the inspirational doco film Finding Joe (which I thoroughly recommend).
I wanted to thank each client for taking the time to invest in their health and being open to new ideas about nutrition and movement. Thank you to the 2 most awesome helpers ever - Kate Callaghan and Erika Parisi - the retreat would not have been possible without your tireless help in the kitchen! Thank you to GRUB butchers who supplied the grass-fed lamb shoulders and pastured chickens. And to Egganics for the amazing eggs and to Pete from Suveran for the fresh produce.
This is what a couple of the clients who went on the retreat had to say:
"Hi Soulla, Lisa and crew,
To say a few words about your retreat, it was inspiring, nourishing, challenging and peaceful at the same time.
To Soulla - You have inspired in me a novel approach to nutrition and this is something I'm still very excited about. I now understand why you called it a nourishing retreat, the food was delicious and aplenty. Claire and I learned how to nourish ourselves properly with the right nutrients!
To Lisa - Your movement classes were a harmonious balance between challenge and peace. Thank you for teaching us how to stretch and about body movement.
Can I say that I believe the success of the retreat can be attributed at least in part to the wonderful small group of participants and coordinators. Thanks to everyone... you really made our weekend special!
I'm looking forward to staying in touch with the fantastic work you do and see you next year!
"This retreat was a spa for the senses. The first morning my eyes delighted in the beauty of purple, blue & white tiny bush flowers as the early morning sunlight shyly appeared round the paperbark gums, making a beautiful backdrop to our outdoor breakfast table. Soulla's whole-food dishes were a taste sensation, each meal toasted with a shot of apple cider vinegar. My ears listened to volumes of new information about why whole foods and organic produce make sense. Since the retreat I've switched to cooking with coconut oil & butter and tomorrow I am giving my first organic dinner party, the menu is entirely made up of dishes I learnt on the retreat although I'm cheating with the pate appetizer ....I'm picking that up from Soulla's place at 4 tomorrow....ssshh! For smell, just walking past the kitchen as Erica and Kate worked hard dishing up Soulla's creations was a pleasure all of it's own. For touch we followed Lisa's instruction and stretched our bodies in yoga & gyrokinesis and on the Saturday we went on a bush walk in the beautiful Blue Mountains. All in all the retreat was an experience I will never forget and it has certainly made me rethink the way I feed my family. Thanks Lisa & Soulla for everything. Nicky "
Stay tuned for more blogs over the coming weeks as I share loads of new recipes, new products, and cooking classes for early 2013! Enjoy the 2012 Retreat photo gallery below.....