Special thanks to my brothers and sisters born on the mountain – I snagged some of your pics for this post.
Every time someone goes on vacation, they are asked a lot of questions upon their return. Invariably, “How was the food?” is one of the questions most often asked. Of course folks want to know about food – who doesn’t love food? It’s part of our heritage, our experience, our connection to the universe… it’s amazing. The food at White Lotus was incredible and worthy of it’s very own blog post.
I mentioned that I would be on a vegan diet for 16 days while at The Lotus, but as it turns out, it wasn’t all vegan. Yes, there were entire vegan meals and always vegan options, but there were also days when some meals had a little cheese on them, milk was served with almost every breakfast (of course, so was rice, soy, and almond milk,) butter was there for bread, and there were times when hard boiled eggs were available for breakfast. There was no meat, however, of any kind. So, vegan no, vegetarian absolutely.
Beautiful Bountiful Beatrix
Beatrix Rohlsen made 3 incredible meals for us each and every day. The food never ended. There was a huge serving area and it was filled with beautiful platters containing gorgeous foods for us to eat in abundance at each meal. We had fresh fruit, rice cakes, crackers, almond and peanut butters, and at least 4 different jams available for snacks through out the day. In the afternoons, we’d see Beatrix walk in, often with Skye, Nina, or Cricket (her assistants,) with her arms laden with fresh greens, vegetables, fruits, breads, and unbelievable other yumminess. Every meal became a mystery and we couldn’t wait to figure out what we would be eating next. Beatrix runs a tight ship – there is a right way to do everything and any variation on that way is mindblowingly wrong – and the rewards of such discipline were reaped each time we grabbed our plate and bowl and stood in line for an amazing meal. We each had to do 2 shifts of Kitchen Karma: helping set out the meal and cleaning up after. Each person washed his or her own dishes after each meal, drink, and snack. It was a community, but Beatrix was in charge.
As I have said before, the amazing staff at White Lotus knew exactly what we needed when we needed it. One day, we all seemed to be brain-dead. We had absorbed all we could absorb, given all we could give, and there just wasn’t much left. On that day, right before our afternoon session, a vision of beauty and inspiration appeared right before our eyes: HOME MADE CHOCOLATES. I would have taken a picture of them, but a) they didn’t stick around all that long, and b) I’m not sure the image could have been captured, kind of like the face of Jesus in a potato chip: you know it’s there, but you cannot really convince anyone else…
What I CAN show you is the tofu cheesecake. Now, let me just say that I’ve not ever been a fan of tofu. I have loved the tofu salad at Main Squeeze for as long as I could remember, but that’s about it. 16 days at White Lotus, however, changed my mind. Beatrix did things with tofu that made me wonder if I had been slipped some sort of drug – it was everywhere and nowhere at the same time! She used it in soups and entrees and desserts and most of the time you had no idea it was there. Case in point, look at this:
And yes, I ate every last little morsel. She made a berry and almond cream something or other with tofu that was like soup, but served off a plate and eaten with a spoon that made me weep with gratitude. TOFU, I’m saying…. who knew?
There was Seitan, lentils, tofu, Quinoa, beans, rice, tempeh, polenta, granola, and oatmeal, apples, bananas, grapes, oranges, grapefruits, papaya, pineapple, strawberries, and melons, salad and bread and muffins and soups soups soups and more soups. There was more food than I have ever seen … and it allllll got eaten. There was no waste – what didn’t get eaten the first time was repurposed and made into something else for another meal. There’s a lesson in that….
What was even more incredible than how the food looked and tasted, however, was how it made me feel. There was virtually no harm in any of that food. It was real, fresh, healthy, and harmless. I slept better, I had more energy, I felt happier, I felt whole. Food was fuel, not sludge. I felt balanced and pure and alive and awake and aware… and full. Very very full – and not just in my belly, either. My soul was full. My heart was full. My mind was full. And it still is.
I have been home nearly a week and I still haven’t eaten meat. I don’t know that I plan on it any time soon, although I’m not ruling it out. I do know this – I don’t think I will ever eat without truly thinking of the consequences again. We spent a good deal of time talking about the physical, social, socioeconomic, environmental, karmic, political, and economic impact of how we eat, and we watched a film or two about the impact. There are some things you cannot unsee or unlearn. There are choices to be made each and every time we feed ourselves. I am here to tell you that it can be done without hurting anyone or anything. If you choose to eat meat, you can make wise choices: eat organic, eat grass fed, eat lower on the food chain, eat sparingly, eat local, eat mindfully. It’s possible -and it’s not all that difficult, either.
It is not my place to judge anyone – NO ONE has that right – but you can make a difference in your life and making a difference in your life makes a difference in the world. We’re all on this planet together. The Butterfly Effect is real. What we do has an impact on everyone and everything. We matter. It’s not a scary thing, it’s a glorious thing. We are connected, for sure.
Beatrix has a cookbook out that contains many of her recipes. Check out her website above to order. ALSO, you can find many of her recipes on the White Lotus website.
So, pull up a cushion on the floor, cross your legs under the table, and join me for a meal. I promise, you’ll leave with a happy belly and a happy soul.