Yesterday, Mark and I hosted our second Mooove & Gobble Charity Retreat at Woodstock Farm Sanctuary in New York. It was an Earth Day for the books, to say the least! Not only did we reach our fundraising goal (and pass it!), we had the most amazing day. One participant even said it was the best day of her life, and I can't help but agree with her!
Mooove & Gobble Charity Retreats are modeled after a "do good, feel good," intention: to give back to yourself via a heart-pumping, super fun bootcamp workout, nourishing, vibrant plant-based food, time with the sweetest rescued animals, and time to rejuvenate and clear your mind in nature. Our events are not for profit, all proceeds after the cost of food go directly back to the sanctuaries that host our events. If that isn't what Earth Day is about, I don't know what is!
For each M&G Retreat, I plan a plant-based menu that is seasonal, delicious, and stretches the dollar as far as possible. I buy everything that I need at Whole Foods the day before so the produce will be the freshest and cleanest available. I pay attention to what is on sale, and I make swaps to save money when possible (like switching blackberries for blueberries). I know a lot of people think that you can't shop at Whole Foods without spending your "whole paycheck," but I beg to differ. I created an entire, nourishing meal (infused waters, soup, salad, hors d'oeuvres, main dish, and three different kinds of my protein-packed Power Balls) that I can be proud to serve for 28 people for less than $250. Not only that, but Whole Foods Wynnewood donated all of their culled produce (the stuff that passes the sell-by date) from the entire week to the animals! They filled my car with crates upon crates (see first photo, this is only some of it!) of fruits and vegetables for the animals of Woodstock. I can't imagine how much money this saved the sanctuary in feed/treats, so a HUGE thank-you goes out to Whole Foods Wynnewood again (this is their second time supporting our work in this way! THANK-YOU!).
We traveled to Woodstock the night before our event to prep the meal and to set-up the space. I have cooked professionally in the past, but my team has not, so I have to give another huge thank-you to my sous chefs Mark, Dom, and Katya for staying up until 3am prepping all of our food with me! You guys are the B E S T!
For the Mooove portion of our event, Mark led the group through an indoor/outdoor bootcamp-style workout while DJ.ADAM.LINK hit us with the latest and greatest tunes. My favorite part of the hour-long sweat sesh was when Mark added everyone's "least favorite workout moves" into his routine. It kept everyone guessing, laughing, conquering challenges, and having a blast until the final rest at the end of his workout. If you haven't taken his classes at Unite Fitness in Philadelphia, definitely check him out!
Post-workout, the group snacked on three of my protein-packed Power Balls (Raspberry Coconut, Dark Chocolate Orange, & Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter) before heading out on a tour of the sanctuary.
Post-sanctuary tour, we sat down to a vibrant family-style meal on the misty, rustic deck in the trees overlooking a winding river in the valley below. We chatted about our favorite animals, how sore we were from Mark's workout, and how refreshingly stunning Woodstock's sanctuary truly is. On the menu for this retreat:
- Spring Vegetable Crudité Platter with Homemade Beet Hummus (from Spring Shift), Treeline Artisanal Nut Cheeses (donated by Treeline, thank-you!), and a variety of fruits, vegetables, olives, and crackers.
- Creamy Cucumber Avocado Soup (from Sugar Shift)
- Spring Salad with Apple Cilantro Dressing
- Spicy Carrot & Tofu Sofritas with Kiwi & Roasted Tomatillo Salsa (both from Spring Shift)
This event couldn't have gone more perfectly. Thank-you so much to everyone who participated and donated, thank-you to Whole Foods & Treeline Cheese for your support, and thank-you to everyone at Woodstock for giving us the chance to make a difference in the most fun way possible!
For all of the photos, check out our Mooove & Gobble Retreats page!
From the bottom of our full hearts, THANK-YOU!