What can I say? David Wolfe is a man who walks his talk. And when that talk promotes enjoying “the best day ever” every single day while reinforcing that mantra with his own lifestyle, who would not want just a little part of what he has?
And when I have the opportunity to take a week out of my ordinary life to network with like-minded people and learn from a celebrated health guru at close quarters, I grasp it with both hands.
This David Wolfe retreat was based at Samudra, in Dunsborough, from 28 February to 4 March 2011, finishing with a raw cacao party on 5 March.
I want to live at Samudra. Featuring the Organic Kombi Cafe, two yoga rooms, a retail outlet and an extensive organic garden, it is widely recognised as one of the best facilities of its kind in Australia.
This retreat was jam-packed with astanga yoga (2 hrs every morning), incredible raw food, talks from David (on herbs, superfoods and wild foods) and cultural activities. I even learned how to surf! Well, kind of. I probably won’t be entering the Margaret River Pro/Masters anytime soon.
The days were so full that my only detailed notes relate to David’s talks. Hence, I give you my overview, which I hope will impart a general appreciation and an appetite for foods that are both raw and super. I am sure that more detail will follow here once I have had the opportunity to absorb and apply my learnings.
Day 1 began with a welcome from David and his entourage [yes, he has an entourage], a green smoothie, an opening talk (including welcome to country), and an incredible meal of raw falafel, pumpkin pappardelle and cacao truffles.
David’s first talk to us centred on the concepts of intent and consciousness — and conscious (mindful) eating, as many of you will be aware, is the premise behind A Foodly Affair. Needless to say, this was a very synchronistic session for me.
The flurry of activity on our first half day set the tone for Day 2, which would prove to be far more of a challenge.
Day 2 [aka “the day we broke David”] was a huge 16 hours — and here I was thinking I would be catching up on sleep! The day’s itinerary included:
- Yoga (2hrs);
- Surfing (2hrs);
- Talk from David at Samudra (1hr) – about wild foods, nuts & seeds, balancing acidity & alkalinity;
- Talk from David at Caves House (3hrs) – focus on bone- and blood-builders, nutrients we need from the animal world, how to grow medicinal mushrooms, sprouting, seaweed, probiotics, flowers, nutrient delivery mechanisms;
- Talk from David at Samudra (3hrs) – methylation, how to rid your body of bad oestrogens, natural hormone builders and helpers.
The Day 2 food was as impressive as Day 1, with a juice or smoothie before every meal and meal sizes so huge that even I struggled to finish. I was particularly impressed with dinner’s beetroot soup, which was prepared with hemp seeds and a whole lotta love.
Eager to learn, I was a saturated sponge by the end of the day. David didn’t escape unscathed — although he only stole a short kip between dinner and his final talk of the day, leaving me in absolute awe of his energy and stamina [and prompting me to ask the question: “So what are your thoughts on sleep?” To which he replied, “Sleep less; live more.” Did I mention just how much I like this guy?].
While Day 3 was a little easier on us, I was incredibly sore for my morning yoga. Others seemed to share my pain, yet we were all so excited and positive about the journey so far and what lay ahead.
As usual, yoga was followed by an awesome breakfast and the day’s activity was a bushwalk at the Wardan Centre, where we learned about local culture and bush medicine, including banksia tree “chewing gum”, knife making and tribal law.
Lunch was simply divine…
…and David’s comprehensive afternoon talk centred on raw cacao, a timely topic given the evening’s planned activity: a raw chocolate class. This was no ordinary chocolate. More than 20 herbs and superfoods were added to make this the best raw chocolate ever. I can not explain the zing pinging from the tiny little chocolate hearts we moulded.
Day 4. My body was limbering up and the aches and pains of the morning soon gave way to a seratonin-fuelled euphoria. I was getting used to my new routine, and my body loved it!
The day’s activity was caving, and the Riverbed Tour at Ngilgi Cave to be exact. My fears of claustrophobia were shortlived, as the awe of this natural wonder unfolded before me.
Our afternoon talk focused us on longevity, calcification, adaptogenic herbs and reconnecting with nature.
The day’s highlight, for me, was the night’s dessert; the spirulina-mint-choc chip icecream comprised a foodly epiphany for me and I will be attempting to make it myself very soon.
Speaking of foodly highlights, I was really excited to be able to spend some time over the week with Chef Brenden Vallejo, who generously talked me through his inspiration and showed me around Samudra. It meant so much to see and hear about the creation process from this talented and passionate professional.
By Day 5, everyone seemed to be detoxed and energised. Morning yoga was followed by a sharing session (closing circle) and a memorable breakfast, and then we meandered in our different directions, knowing that many of us would reconnect in the future. For me, it was time for home.
I didn’t make it to Saturday’s cacao party because of a living food talk I was giving on Saturday afternoon [and it went swimmingly, by the way!] — plus, I missed my son incredibly. Next time I will be totally up for it.
As well as some amazing scientific facts, key messages I took away from the retreat include:
- The way we can do this is already in us. We just need to embrace it.
- We truly are what we eat, think, do, so let’s consciously choose what is best for our mind, spirit and body.
- Sleep less; live more.
- Our bodies are micro-ecosystems.
- Alchemy exists!
- Science and our collective understanding are everchanging.
- Impossible healing can and does occur.
- Be connected to the source or you are not necessarily getting the best ever version of that thing you are chasing.
- Eat more wild food for higher nutrient value and higher natural medicines. Modern drugs have their basis in the plant world.
- Not all fats are created equal.
- Test each thought and action with: Is it really the best ever?
Final thank yous:
>David, you were fabulous — and, if you are reading this, note that I wrote this post by the light of a dear friend’s soy candles (set with intention!).
>Sheridan, Leisa, Lizzie, Brendan, Danielle, the awesome friends I met at the retreat, and all of the fabulous staff at Samudra — I am invigorated and inspired, with heartfelt thanks to every single one of you.
This truly was the best week ever.
PS. For those of you who are interested in more photos: