Food for retreat

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colorsoftheworld
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Food for retreat

Post by colorsoftheworld » Tue Mar 28, 2017 3:00 am

Hello
1st post here (someone ring a bell) I am planning on going into long term retreat in 6 months or so and am tentatively beginning to think about the logistics of life in retreat :juggling: . I will probably be getting food delivered once a month and will have a refrigerator/ range. I am curious to ask people who have been on retreat about what their diet was like. I am looking for a nice balance between wild nettles and Whole Foods. Nutritious yet cheap. So if you have done a solitary retreat I would be curious to hear about what your diet was like and how it treated you?

thanks much :twothumbsup:

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Re: Food for retreat

Post by Josef » Tue Mar 28, 2017 5:50 am

where do you live?
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Re: Food for retreat

Post by Karma_Yeshe » Tue Mar 28, 2017 6:55 am

Your diet should correspond with your needs. It needs to be good for your body, not mine. So I do not see much point in following others people diet. Also my teacher gave some advise about what to eat at special daytimes. I say this because your diet should fit to the practice you want to do.

All the best for your retreat!
KY

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Vasana
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Re: Food for retreat

Post by Vasana » Tue Mar 28, 2017 8:43 am

Can't go wrong with whole foods. Eat according to your actual needs. What foods make you feel energized,awake and clear? what foods make you feel heavy and lethargic? Are there times when both are useful? How much sugar do you need in your diet?

We're not like Milarepa up in mountain caves in the Winter. The less extravagant and luxurious the better but don't forget to eat meals with balanced macronutrients to cover your basic health requirements. Bring a selection of medicines too, ideally those that correspond with your Tibetan/Indian ayurvedic constitution. Especially if you are prone to rlung fluctuations/ disorders of the wind element.
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Fa Dao
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Re: Food for retreat

Post by Fa Dao » Wed Mar 29, 2017 10:19 pm

If for whatever reason your stove/refrigerator goes out these are good to have around so you dont have to leave retreat. Also good for those who are backpacking to remote spots for retreat. They will technically keep you alive for 3 days but you can do just fine on them over a two day period.
https://www.quakekare.com/3600-calorie- ... d-bar-p-19
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colorsoftheworld
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Re: Food for retreat

Post by colorsoftheworld » Thu Mar 30, 2017 1:52 am

Karma_Yeshe wrote:Your diet should correspond with your needs. It needs to be good for your body, not mine. So I do not see much point in following others people diet.
Your point is taken, but i figure that as humans we all share pretty similar necessities in regards to basic nutrition, allergies and illnesses withstanding. I'm not looking to copy someone else's diet, just trying to get a feel for what a retreat diet might look like.

thanks for everyone's input, some good tips. :coffee:

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Re: Food for retreat

Post by tingdzin » Fri Mar 31, 2017 6:04 pm

Usually, I keep a diet that varies between only two choices for each meal, as I find that helps in keeping the mind on the matter at hand. Breakfast is usually cold cereal and dried fruit. Lunch maybe a boil-in-a-bag Indian meal (which are available without additives) and a couple of tortillas, and a light dinner of soba or spinach noodles. I recommend light food, easy to prepare. I also recommend not relying too much on caffeine to keep awake.

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Re: Food for retreat

Post by Fa Dao » Fri Mar 31, 2017 7:34 pm

tingdzin wrote:Usually, I keep a diet that varies between only two choices for each meal, as I find that helps in keeping the mind on the matter at hand. Breakfast is usually cold cereal and dried fruit. Lunch maybe a boil-in-a-bag Indian meal (which are available without additives) and a couple of tortillas, and a light dinner of soba or spinach noodles. I recommend light food, easy to prepare. I also recommend not relying too much on caffeine to keep awake.
Agreed..keeping it as simple as possible is the best choice...however, retreat without COFFEE?!? Blasphemy! Blasphemy I say!!
"But if you know how to observe yourself, you will discover your real nature, the primordial state, the state of Guruyoga, and then all will become clear because you will have discovered everything"-Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche

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Re: Food for retreat

Post by Grigoris » Fri Mar 31, 2017 7:46 pm

Don't forget the meat and alcohol for the tsok!
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Re: Food for retreat

Post by Karma_Yeshe » Sat Apr 01, 2017 11:36 am

colorsoftheworld wrote: Your point is taken, but i figure that as humans we all share pretty similar necessities in regards to basic nutrition, allergies and illnesses withstanding.
No, actually we don't. According to all traditional eastern medical systems there are various types of people with completly different needs regarding nutrion. It also depends on the balance of your personal elements and so on.
Then you have different kind of practices which may also require different kinds of food or where different kinds of food are helpful. So it is really better to try to get to know yourself (maybe with the help of a doctor of traditional tibetan or chinese medicin, or Ayurveda) a bit than asking random people who don't know your body at all on the internet.

KY

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Re: Food for retreat

Post by Grigoris » Sat Apr 01, 2017 2:34 pm

tingdzin wrote:Usually, I keep a diet that varies between only two choices for each meal, as I find that helps in keeping the mind on the matter at hand. Breakfast is usually cold cereal and dried fruit. Lunch maybe a boil-in-a-bag Indian meal (which are available without additives) and a couple of tortillas, and a light dinner of soba or spinach noodles. I recommend light food, easy to prepare. I also recommend not relying too much on caffeine to keep awake.
Boil-in-a-bag? Gross dude! You know how quick and easy it is to cook up a huge saucepan of curry to eat for days on end?

Even if you don't have a fridge, onions, potato, lettuce, garlic, apples, bananas and heaps of other fresh fruit and vegetables will keep for weeks anyway.

Pulses and grains also store and cook easy and are hideously inexpensive.

Nuts (sunflower seeds are dirt cheap and really nutritious) and cereals (especially oats and buckwheat which is high iin protein too) are high in energy, nutritious, cheap and keep forever.

Pesto in jars is another really easy option. Or crushed tomato in tetrapacks (and just add onion, garlic and any finely chopped veges at hand and boil).

Pasta. Especially the wholemeal variety.

Something really easy is to make a vege soup with plenty of herbs in it and add a handful or so of pasta. The first day it will be a soup. The next day (if you do not add water) it will be a pasta dish with a nice thick sauce.

Lot's of dried herbs and spices.

If you cannot have fresh bread delivered, you can just make savory "pancakes"/chapati from flour, oil, salt and water.

Tingdzin, you cannot eat what you are recommending, for 6 months! You'll end up with some sort of vitamin/mineral deficiency.

I agree with you on the coffee though. I would use black tea instead. The "high" is longer! :tongue:
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Food for retreat

Post by Indrajala » Sat Apr 01, 2017 4:41 pm

colorsoftheworld wrote:So if you have done a solitary retreat I would be curious to hear about what your diet was like and how it treated you?
I was in the Himalayas, so I craved rich foods.

High fat foods are best as they nourish the body and keep your brain optimally functioning. They also keep your appetite regulated.

I would recommend whole fat dairy (yogurt, milk and cheese). I don't know if you'll have refrigeration, so vacuum sealed or dried cheeses are maybe an option. Sesame seeds, peanut butter, olive oil and nuts are also good to have. Come to think of it, canned coconut cream might also be good to have on hand. Boil some vegetables and lentils in a pot of coconut cream/milk with some spices and you'll have a lovely curry. You could also bring ghee, which will go a long way.
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Re: Food for retreat

Post by tingdzin » Sat Apr 01, 2017 5:09 pm

Grigoris wrote:Boil-in-a-bag? Gross dude! You know how quick and easy it is to cook up a huge saucepan of curry to eat for days on end?
If you don't have a large refrigerator, or any refrigerator at all, this is not an option. Cooking new curries every day, or even every few days, would also take one's mind off the main point of the retreat.
Grigoris wrote:Boil-in-a-bag? Gross dude!


If you're doing four serious thuns a day,worrying about a lot of fine food is not really a good idea. I know a lot of yuppie Buddhists who eat only catered gourmet organics on their retreats -- good for them, but IMO something is lost with this approach.

Most fresh produce will not "keep for weeks" without refrigeration, especially if you have to keep it in your hut for fear of bears.
Grigoris wrote:Tingdzin, you cannot eat what you are recommending, for 6 months! You'll end up with some sort of vitamin/mineral deficiency.
Well, I did not make a full list. However, the most serious retreatant I ever met would go for months and months at a time eating only rice, fresh vegetables, nuts, and such, supplemented by vitamins. He had someone trek up to his cabin once or twice a month for a fresh supply of vegeatbles, leaving them a distance away. He was pretty thin, but did not suffer from deficiencies.

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Re: Food for retreat

Post by Grigoris » Sat Apr 01, 2017 5:38 pm

tingdzin wrote:If you're doing four serious thuns a day,worrying about a lot of fine food is not really a good idea. I know a lot of yuppie Buddhists who eat only catered gourmet organics on their retreats -- good for them, but IMO something is lost with this approach.
Who said anything about catered gourmet organics and fine food? Nothing is lost with eating some real food. It takes 30 minutes tops to prepare and cook a hearty vege curry. Mind you, I have worked as a professional cook. But even for somebody that is all thumbs 60 minutes to prepare 2-3 days worth of food is hardly a waste of time, nor does it detract from the retreat. I think you are just trying to cover up the fact that you don't know how to cook.

Should I hazard a guess and say that you live on prepared food even outside of retreat? :smile:
Most fresh produce will not "keep for weeks" without refrigeration, especially if you have to keep it in your hut for fear of bears.
You quite obviously have no idea. You would be surprised at how few foods actually need refrigeration. Take something like butter milk/ayran for example. It is made by curdling milk with specific cultures so that other bacteria that would make it inedible actually cannot ruin it. It keeps for days without refrigeration and is REALLY good for you. It was stumbled across as a method to keep milk edible, during the warmer spring season, when there is an abundance of milk and nowhere to effectively store it.
Well, I did not make a full list. However, the most serious retreatant I ever met would go for months and months at a time eating only rice, fresh vegetables, nuts, and such, supplemented by vitamins. He had someone trek up to his cabin once or twice a month for a fresh supply of vegetables, leaving them a distance away. He was pretty thin, but did not suffer from deficiencies.
You argue against your own point in your post.

One retreat I went on, we would take it in turns to cook for the rest of the retreatants. Of course this would not work for a solo retreat... :tongue:
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Food for retreat

Post by Josef » Sat Apr 01, 2017 6:09 pm

What kind of environment is it?
What are the seasons like?
Do you have any experience growing food?

Limited knowledge of local food systems will be a huge obstacle.
Kye ma!
The river of continuity is marked by impermanence.
Ceaseless flowing of appearance.
Beautiful and repulsive.
The dance of life and death is a display of the vast expanse.
With gratitude the watcher and the watched pass through the barrier of duality.

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Re: Food for retreat

Post by tingdzin » Sun Apr 02, 2017 12:58 am

Grigoris wrote:Should I hazard a guess and say that you live on prepared food even outside of retreat?
As a matter of fact, out of retreat I live most of the year on fresh-bought market vegetables and fruit, and rice my own family grows in our own fields. How arrogant of you to assume otherwise.
Grigoris wrote:You quite obviously have no idea.
As a matter of fact, I have a very good idea about what will and what will not keep in the climates I do retreat in, having worked it out through trial and error over many years. Again, you are being EXTREMELY arrogant in assuming I don't.

Anyway, my suggestions to the OP were just that -- not dogma to be attacked as if it were a religious heresy. Ease off.

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Re: Food for retreat

Post by Grigoris » Sun Apr 02, 2017 7:47 am

tingdzin wrote:As a matter of fact, out of retreat I live most of the year on fresh-bought market vegetables and fruit, and rice my own family grows in our own fields. How arrogant of you to assume otherwise.
Don't get your knickers in a twist dude. I didn't accuse you of being a serial rapist or anything. Did you notice the smiley? It was a humorous jibe. Talk about taking things way too seriously!
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Food for retreat

Post by Miroku » Sun Apr 02, 2017 10:59 am

I would recommend you cooking your own food and preferably bit on the heavier side to avoid any lung disbalance, if you are practicing vajrayana in your retreat. But hey whatever floats your boat. :)

On the one weekend retreat I have attended we ate huge amount of eintopf with bread and were pretty happy. Although the eintopf was spoiled a bit at the end of the retreat and it caused well let's just say it was liquid... but it was okay. :)

So the lesson is, make your own food and take good care of it! You want to sit on your cushion not on the toilet seat.
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Re: Food for retreat

Post by rory » Wed Apr 05, 2017 8:36 pm

I'd get a bottle of multi-vitamins with minerals, make sure it has plenty of B-12 if you're not in the sunshine.

I'm with Grigoris, I've travelled and it easy to cook lentils, brown or red, 1 cup yields a pot and just throw in root vegetables (which keep and keep), over brown rice you have a nourishing stew. If you cook it vegan it will easily last for a week or two. If you don't like curry powder throw in a bay leaf and dried herbs + canned tomatoes. Easy. If you need the fat have cheese and yogurt on the side. Just add more stuff as the week goes on if it needs it. This really takes no time.

Soy, Nut milks keep unrefrigerated until opened so that's easy too.
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Re: Food for retreat

Post by Meido » Wed Apr 05, 2017 11:13 pm

FWIW, not a Nyingma guy, but the three pillars for me in terms of things easy to bring that pack a punch: raw almonds, dried dulse, coconut or olive oil.

With brown rice or oatmeal, beans/lentils, root vegetables, and foraged fresh things (e.g. pine needles, greens depending on time of year), pretty much good to go.

The fourth pillar might be dark chocolate, though.
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