Last weekend I got to attend Mood Food Wellness’s Winter Wellness Retreat held in the coastal town of Scituate, Massachusetts, and I am still basking in my newfound wellness knowledge and sense of community.
The retreat was led by Melissa Peralta, the founder of Mood Food Wellness, with the help of Rachel Brodeur, yoga teacher & Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist. Melissa’s mission with Mood Food Wellness is to help create positive associations with healthy habits. A healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to look like restriction or discomfort. Instead it should be fun, welcoming, nourishing, & satisfying! Melissa is extremely knowledgeable about all things holistic health, and her top-notch meals are all gluten-free, dairy-free, & refined sugar free.
The 4-day retreat was centered around clean eating with Melissa and yoga with Rachel, with an overall theme of bringing us into closer alignment with our authentic selves & the Ayurvedic philosophy. Additionally, each day had activities that correlated with Mood Food’s core values: Gather, Nourish, Educate, & Inspire.
Although amazing wellness services, healthy meals, & workshops were plentiful, my favorite part of the weekend was being able to gather as a community of like-minded women from all walks of live who were willing & eager to learn from each and grow together. Unfortunately this feeling of community is uncommon nowadays, especially in the last two years, but a sense of community in and of itself is one of the most important pillars of overall health.
The good news is: If you missed out on this retreat, they will be doing it all again in the spring! Find information on the upcoming Spring Awakening Retreat here, and sign up soon to take advantage of the early bird cost savings!
Day 1: Gather
On the first day of the retreat, we gathered as a group for the first time at our retreat house in Scituate. We were greeted with Mood Food Welcome Bags filled with mindfully selected wellness items, including a blanket, journal, eye mask, local goodies, and more. The guests that were staying overnight were shown to their rooms, and we all took some time to settle into the space and unwind.
It was great to meet and get to know each other while enjoying the constant flow of healthy snacks, teas, & refreshments available to us in the common space.
At dinner time, we gathered at the large dining room table and got our first glimpse of what our meals would look like for the rest of the weekend. There was an overwhelming sense of gratitude for Melissa’s delicious clean cooking. We enjoyed a meal together at the table while sharing stories and asking questions, a special experience that we would appreciate all weekend long.
After dinner we had our first yoga session of the weekend. Rachel led the group through relaxing yin postures that aligned with the winter season.
For the remainder of the weekend, there would be two yoga classes held in the common space each day at 8AM & 7PM. For the most part, morning classes were invigorating vinyasa style flows, and evening class were restorative yin postures & meditation.
Day 2: Nourish
The first full day of the retreat was meant to nourish our mind, body, & spirit with healthy meals, individual restorative wellness sessions, group acupuncture with sound healing, and of course, yoga.
After Rachel led a vinyasa yoga class, Melissa had a breakfast spread prepared in the kitchen that included a make-your-own breakfast bowl station with a plethora of healthy toppings to choose from, as well as a smoothie bar. This style of breakfast was a daily luxury.
Melissa taught us how she incorporates leftovers from previous meals so that to always have options available in the fridge to mix and match for a quick, healthy meal.
When we finished our breakfast, it was time for our elective individual treatments. These treatment options included massages, facials, reiki healing, Ayurveda consultations, & more. I personally elected to have a massage, and I’m still dreaming about it.
Tonight’s dinner was focused on eating in line with what the current season has to offer.
Day 3: Educate
The last full day of our retreat was meant to enable us to dive deeper into our wellness practice with educational workshops as well as incorporating alignment with the Ayurvedic philosophy. On this day, we learned actionable steps & tips to bring wellness practices home with us into our everyday lives.
After our morning yoga & breakfast, Rachel led an Ayurveda workshop geared towards helping us find our personal doshas, winter wellness in the Vata season, & the six tastes. We learned about how to identify dosha imbalances in the body, the Ayurveda clock, and every day lifestyle habits & routines that would help us stay warm & grounded in the winter months.
Because a pillar of this retreat was clean eating & nutrition, Melissa & Rachel collaborated to utilize all six tastes of Ayurveda in the remainder of our meals together. This surprisingly makes a meal noticeably more satisfying, and according to Ayurveda, plays a vital role in overall well-being.
If you are interested in learning more about Ayurveda and how to stay healthy & balanced for your specific body type, contact Rachel to schedule a private consultation.
The next workshop after we had some free time to eat lunch & connect as a group, was a cooking class with Melissa. We learned how to make six dishes, a few of which I have already tried at home this week! It was reassuring to see how easy these healthy recipes were to make, while not lacking flavor & taste!
You can find most of Melissa’s recipes on the Mood Food Wellness website.
We then got to enjoy the delicious meal that we just learned how to prepare. After dinner, our nightly yin yoga with Rachel incorporated specific postures geared towards the Ayurvedic time of day and winter Vata season.
Day 4: Inspire
The last day of the retreat was bittersweet. We all loved our time together so much, but were also excited to get back to our families and bring what we have learned into our lives at home.
Following our final yoga class with Rachel, we had free time to gather and create vision boards. We were provided with piles of magazines, poster board, scissors, & glue. We sipped on tea & non-alcoholic “champagne” infused with adaptogens while we found and discussed photos or phrases in magazines that we were drawn to. Together we cut and pasted our personal vision boards together, and it was fun to see and discuss what each of us came up with.
We took a break from vision boarding to enjoy our last meal together, a hearty brunch that was inspired by Ayurveda’s six tastes that we learned about the day before. It was great to be able to put what we learned into practice – and this might have been my favorite meal of the weekend (shoutout to braised beef hash & Ayurvedic spiced oat balls!).
After brunch, we held an extremely special closing circle, where we all shared what our favorites part of the weekend were. It was amazing to hear what everyone learned and was going to take away from this unique weekend together, and so much of that was focused on Melissa’s amazing way of preparing healthy food.
Overall, this was an unforgettable experience that we will all remember for a long time. And again, the best part is that Mood Food Wellness will be doing it again in the spring! Learn about and get your tickets to the Spring Awakening Retreat now, and save $300 at checkout with code “EARYLBIRD”! You will not regret it!
Aside from her bi-annual retreats, Mood Food Wellness also holds Seasonal Farm-to-Table Dinners – you can read about those here.
I hope to see you at a Mood Food Wellness event in the future!
At Home South Shore