My sister and I recently attended The Conscious Gourmet Cooking Retreat in Sedona, a five day program advertised as a 'Culinary Retreat for the body, mind, and soul.'
It's designed to provide you with a foundation in health-supportive cooking and theory, based on The Natural Gourmet Institute's Core Program which was historically offered only in New York City.
Each cooking class was mostly hands-on and included an overview of the entire menu, recipes, and the healthy supportive aspects of all ingredients and cooking techniques.
Additional lectures and workshops explored various whole foods models, like expansive/contractive, alkaline/acidic, the five elements, and how to use food to support your health and wellness.
One particularly lively topic explored how to use healthy foods to curb sugar cravings, something we could all relate to.
The food we prepared together under Diane's careful guidance with not only healthy but delicious and beautiful, full of interesting colors, flavors and textures.
Who knew just how scrumptious whole food cooking could be?
Most of the recipes we prepared were predominantly vegetarian free of wheat, dairy, and refined sugar, like curried split pea soup, sauteed greens with mushrooms, berry almond torte cookies, white bean and roasted garlic dip, quinoa pilaf, tempeh scallopini, berry hill muffins, spinach mushroom tofu quiche and chocolate cake. One lunch included beautiful fresh halibut roasted with tomatoes and black olives.
I'm beginning to salivate just thinking about all the yummy food! It was fun to cook with ingredients I'd never tried before like amasake, a cultured rice beverage, alternative flours including spelt and barley, alternative sweeteners such as maple sugar and brown rice syrup, and kombu (a sea vegetable).
We also had generous amounts of free time for exploring the wonders of Sedona, sampling local restaurants, shopping and indulging in pampering massages.
My sister and I, who try to take a vacation together every year or so, agreed that this retreat exceeded our expectations. We were able to rest, exercise, have fun in the kitchen, and develop skills and knowledge to support us at home.
If you're looking for an enjoyable way to increase your understanding of whole foods eating and cooking in a beautiful retreat setting, check out The Conscious Gourmet. Founder and Director, Diane Carlson, leads several cooking retreats across the US each year.
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