Tips for optimum nutrition

By Lisa Brant | 11th May 2014

We believe that the health of your body, and mind, is connected with the food that you eat. Indeed, we operate from the belief that the body possesses all the systems it needs for regeneration, rejuvenation and rebuilding itself. For example, our immune system, when fully functional, is capable of fending off the most damaging invaders. Food, and nutrition, plays an important role in supporting our bodies to do this.

Here at La Crisalida Retreats we serve a plant-based, whole-food menu (in addition to our juicing menu). This means an abundance of fruit and vegetables, along with grains and legumes, like rice, buckwheat, millet, pinto beans and lentils. Our menus are designed to deliver optimum nutrition.

The food we serve is clean: no salt, minimal use of vinegars and oils, no refined sugar, no processed foods. We also do not serve dairy, meat or caffeine (except the trace caffeine found in green tea!). By putting clean food into our body, it allows our body to divert some the energy it previously used in digestion and direct it to other parts of the body, healing and cleansing. This releases toxins meaning our body can cleanse itself from the inside. This cleanse can leave you feeling lighter inside, and with more energy.

Lunches at the retreat are served buffet style, so you can help yourself. We serve a variety of different dishes each day; a typical lunch might include five dishes, plus a dip and salad dressing. For example one lunch this week included: chickpea croquettes, roasted red pepper and tomato dip, beetroot and fennel salad, salad leaves (rocket, lambs leaf and romaine) with cherry tomatoes, carrot and radish salad, served with a salad dressing and millet tabbouleh. Colourful, tasty and highly nutritious!  The recipe for the chickpea croquettes can be found on the blog page, under recipes.

We also offer a cookery demonstration each week, where we show you how we prepare some of the dishes that we serve, answer questions you have about a plant-based diet and give you some recipes. You can also try the food at the end!

We know it can be challenging at home to continue eating healthily so here are some tips for optimum nutrition:

• Think colour on your plate: an easy way to include all the nutrients that you need is to include vegetables or fruit in a variety of colours; the more colour on your plate the better!
• Dry fry or use water, instead of oil, if you need to cook vegetables like onions or leeks. Steam vegetables rather than boiling.
• Make dishes in bulk and put into the freezer so you can defrost and create a tasty and nutritious meal another time, when you are in a rush. To retain the maximum nutritional value, freeze as soon as possible after making or cooking. Consider freezing in single portions. Remember to add the date to the outside of the container and a brief description of the contents, and keep frozen for no more than six months.
• Buy seasonal products – it is better for our bodies to eat the fruit and vegetables that are produced in the local area at the current time of year. And, it is usually cheaper! Again, consider buying berries when they are in season and freezing them.
• Source a local supplier for your fruit and vegetables, not just the supermarket. Maybe there is a local fruit and vegetable market close to you?
• Organic and local is best, however buy the best you can for your budget. Some vegetables are better than none! ‘Natural’ vegetables (produced with no or minimal pesticides) are often odd in shape and not uniform.
• Club together. If your friends or family are interested in changing eating habits, consider ordering food together and splitting it between the group. One great practice in Spain is for friends or neighbours to group together to buy products, like grains (millet, quinoa etc) in bulk, to reduce the cost: 25kg of millet is cheaper per kilogram than buying 1kg!

Let us know if you have any other tips for optimum nutrition. Enjoy!

Headshot of Lisa Brant - Founder of La Crisalida Retreats
Lisa Brant

Lisa has been working in the field of health for over twenty years, first as an epidemiologist and now following a more alternative route! She is a therapeutic hatha and yin yoga teacher and also teaches mindfulness meditation. Lisa is a nutritionist so designs all our menus, as well as running the retreats. She is also qualified in NLP and hypnosis. Over the years Lisa has overcome her own health challenges with severe endometriosis and is happy to share her story.

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