Yes you can eat delicious gourmet meals AND be a vegetarian!
I was looking for a cook for the upcoming Retreats starting April , when Nour from England contacted me through workaway.com a International volunteer web site, which I think is a really great way to travel nowadays! When I was in my 20's it was either being an "opere" and watching over someone's children or, well, not much after that. Now you can literally travel the world and volunteer as a receptionist in a hotel, be a bar tender in a beach resort, horse rider, gardener, animal rescue center, sail the seas on a boat, its never ending the possibilities and while you don't get paid in cash bills you do get paid with meals, lodging, enjoying and discovering the area. Its not just for young people, women and men are doing it in the 40's and 50's too. It's really a great thing and I have met so many different and wonderful people from all over the world who have come to stay with us as volunteers either for the horses, as a cook or receptionist at the hotel desk, a gardener and even a cowboy handy man.
But back to Nour, this beautiful talented young chef of only 20 years old. Hard to believe as her culinary skills are pretty awesome. Everyday, each meal, we go on an adventure of colours and flavours, a mouth watering palette of fresh, organic produce.
Nour's outlook in life; to create healthy nourishing meals that are flavourful, delicious and nutritious.
We are vegetarian and Nour's outlook on this is similar to ours. Vegetarian because we care about the planet, we care about life, but we also care about ourselves and we want to eat healthy, be full of energy, give our body what it needs, so paying attention to what we eat and how we combine ingredients is very important. Getting enough protein, enough calcium as a vegetarian is very easy, contrary to what many people think, but you have to know your ingredients! Being a vegetarian doesn't have to be boring, it can be a rich and full experience for the palette.
Nour knows her ingredients well, combining just the right amount of protein, calcium and vitamins in each dish she makes, throwing it together in a tantalizing array of colours and flavours. Spices & herbs are added not only for taste but for healing the body and creating harmony.
I was a chef for many years on sailing boats and then I owned my own restaurant for 10 years. Living in different countries I discovered and learnt how they used different herbs and spices not only for flavour but also for healing.
In the garden there are many different medicinal herbs & plants for cooking or making teas. Tumeric, ginger, basil, mint, lavendar, sage, rosemary, Neem Tree, cinnamon, vanilla, aloe, plus all the local plants that grow naturally in the region such as Jackass Bitters, Cowfoot, Bitter Melon, Broom, coconut, cacao and more. You can actually find a healing propriety for each plant you lay your eyes upon. Nature's gift to heal us, if only we look!
So adding some hibiscus flowers to your salad for an extra Vitamin C boost or a few oregano leaves for digestion, are amongst the many ways to add healing to your food. We are what we eat!
Here's just a little list of the wonderful herbs and spices you can use that will add flavour and healing to your meals.
Digestion: Oregano, mint, cumin, ginger, fennel, dill, aloe leaf, black pepper (yes, this one too!)
Inflammation: Turmeric, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, sage, oregano, cayenne, ginger, rosemary
Maybe one day you will come visit us for one of our Retreats to nourish your body with Nour's delicious meals,calm your mind through meditation and horse treks and heal your soul with the Caribbean sea and jungle! In Costa Rica you say "Bueno Provecho" before your begin your meal, "buen" means good and provecho to benefit, so "benefit from your food in a good way".
For those interested to know more about tasty, healthy & nutritious meals, take a look at Nours Blog NaturallyNourishedNour