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Recipe for Retreat

Guest Contributor, Nes Chew

Have you ever wondered what to eat in retreat?

"Recipe for Retreat", one of Lama Christie McNally’s projects, contains vegetarian and vegan recipes to support contemplation and concentration for people undertaking spiritual retreats.

Over the course of our lives, we collect a lifetime of dietary habits. When we are not in retreat, eating can serve a range of functions, from entertaining ourselves to subduing our hunger. In retreat, it's possible to learn the art of listening to our bodies’ needs, which are often quite different from the habitual desires of the mind.

"Recipe for Retreat" contains many wheat-free recipes, with an emphasis on protein-rich ingredients. Because of the effect they can have on our minds, onions and garlic have been omitted - but fresh ginger and asafoetida
are excellent and tasty substitutes. In addition, due to the mood swings one can experience when blood-sugar levels fluctuate, refined sugar has not been included. However, honey, agave nectar and other natural sweeteners have been substituted.

These recipes are not just for retreat. They can be used to adjust one's diet in daily life to create a better way of eating and a healthier lifestyle. The recipes were contributed by many people with extensive experience in retreat.

All proceeds from "Recipe for Retreat" will help fund the Three-Year Retreat at Diamond Mountain, which commences December 30, 2010.

Here is a sample recipe:

3 tomatoes
1 cucumber with peel
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 avocado
3 stalks of fresh basil
Handful parsley
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 cup prepared bulgur wheat (or other whole grain)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pine nuts

Wash and dice the tomatoes, pepper, celery and cucumber. Peel and dice the avocado. Coarsely chop the basil and parsley. Place all ingredients in a bowl; add the lemon juice, olive oil, cumin, sunflower, pine nuts and mix. Cover and refrigerate several hours for flavors to mix. Serve cold.

"Recipe for Retreat" is available now for $10 + $5 for shipping. Just send an email to:


Nes Chew experienced her first retreats over 20 years ago when she worked as a Christian missionary in Germany and Pakistan. Subsequently, she completed a number of Vipassana retreat courses. Recently, Nes has undertaken a number of Mahayana retreats under the guidance of Geshe Michael Roach and Lama Christie McNally. In September she plans to do a 6 week retreat in Tasmania, Australia.