I have recently been booked in to cater for a few new retreats and as these retreats will have people attending who have never met me or eaten my food I want to offer some information about vegan catered retreats.

First time on a vegan retreat

Over the last five years I have catered for many retreats and of course all of them have been vegetarian. At times a few new retreat participants have come along with some apprehension about what food they are going to be served and if they are going to enjoy it or even get enough to eat. Those participants will come to the first meal and the apprehension is obvious, however, by the time they have finished eating they soon realise they had nothing to fear.

For yoga schools like Power Living, Yoga NRG and In Touch Yoga where I have catered time and time again the word has spread about the food and everyone comes along just expecting the very best which is what they always get.

What to expect from food served by
Veet’s Vegan Cooking School and Catering

~wholesome, nutritious meals where the very best local and organic produce has been used,

~food that is filling yet doesn’t weigh heavily on the digestive system.

~food  free of artificial preservatives, colours etc

~ plenty of variety

~large servings and an opportunity to go back for seconds.

Vegan Protein

In each and every meal there will be vegan protein, which is combined well to ensure that you obtain complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids. If you eat every component of every meal you will be sure to receive your required daily amount of protein for your weight, size and activity level.

The complete protein we use is hemp seeds, buckwheat, quinoa, pepitas and a combination of nuts, seeds, grains, legumes and beans   In some meals there will be split lentils and small legumes which I will have followed strict methods of rinsing, soaking, and discarding of the cooking water.  I use the split lentils and smaller beans as they are much easier to digest.  There is a huge variety each day..

Special dietary requirements

If you do have specific dietary requirements you will be well taken care of and you will still find adequate complete protein in your meals. All food is gluten and preservative free.  At breakfast there is local organic Byron Bay wood fired sour dough bread for those who aren’t on a gluten free or coeliac diet. However gluten free bread is available for those who are coeliac or intolerant to gluten.

Preparing for a vegan retreat

I am hoping by now any apprehension you may have had is dissipating and you will feel reassured that you will be well fed, that you will get to enjoy food locally grown in the Byron Bay shire and that you will enjoy the food on retreat and possibly even rave about it afterwards.

If you are still not convinced you can always bring a back up of nuts or organic protein powder (I reckon you won’t need it but if it makes you feel safer I’ll let you into a secret, I never go anywhere without a packet of activated nuts and seeds in my handbag for those just in case moments).

Now to a more personal point there is one thing that I have always wanted to talk to people about prior to their retreat and as I have a blog now I can do just that.  It is about as my five year old nephew would say ' letting the gas out' or in adult terms 'flatulence.'  A few people who are normally meat eaters will suffer from excess gas when on retreat and they often think it is the beans that is causing this.

However, unless you have an allergy or intolerance to beans the methods I follow of using small beans and soaking will not cause flatulence. The reason for excess flatulence on a vegan retreat is that a plant based diet contains much more fibre than a meat eating diet. So when you stop eating meat suddenly and eat all plant based food your digestive system has not had enough time to get used to so much fibre which will sometimes result in embarrassment or more often than not great peels of laughter or having to rush out of the yoga hall 'to let the gas out'.

There is a brilliant solution to this problem. If you are a meat eater and have booked into your retreat early enough you can start preparing your digestive system for more fibre by adding more fruits, vegetables and small beans and legumes into your diet a month prior to the retreat and cutting down on the intake of meat . You may even want to cut out meat altogether a week before the retreat (being sure to replace with other plant based protein).

In addition you may want to take probiotics during your retreat, which may aid your digestive system.  If you have booked into the retreat last minute and not had time to increase your fibre intake then bring probiotics along with you and take according to your herbalists or health specialist’s advice. I also provide a Tulsi Tummy tea which will aid digestion during the retreat.

If you are unclear on what vegan protein is, do a Google search or I have a comprehensive guide in my cook book Veet’s Cuisine that you can consult.

I look forward to cooking for you at the retreat you are booked into and hope that you enjoy the food as much as so many other retreat participants have over the last five years.  Many participants make comment that a week of eating Veet's Cuisine on retreats makes them feel better than they have felt in a long time.  That always makes me smile from ear to ear.

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