A Vegan Retreat Review by a Meat Eater

vegan retreat

I needed to kick start 2019 with a fresh approach and energy, so I decided to visit Robins Realm for a secluded vegan retreat in the Welsh valleys.

A totally meat free venue, (only vegetarian or vegan diets are allowed in either the main farmhouse, or the idyllic thatched cottage – both set in beautiful countryside) I chose a week of vegan lifestyle coaching, full board, with all meals cooked by the host, Robin.  Being a hardened meat eater myself – with previous failed attempts at different meat-free diets, I approached this time-out positively, but without any expectations.   My objective being to return home feeling fully refreshed and energised, and with the knowledge to filter more homemade plant-based meals confidently into my diet.

What I received was a quality week of relaxation, mixed up with some classic Welsh hard labour (at my request – chill out all week if you wish), exceptional vegan food, local pubs, intriguing conversation and an overall awareness into how wasteful we can be as human beings!

vegan retreat

Robin is an excellent chef, and the food provided, combined with the effortless presentation when served, was outstanding.   The retreat was centered around much more than just being served good healthy food – there was an ongoing education into how easy it is to remove meat from your diet and continue to be healthy and strong, and how much waste is consumed by the average person or household.  The educational side was subtle yet impactful – only 24 hours from stepping off the train, on a group food shop for the week, and I was already analysing the lady next to us in the queue with her basket of meat and processed food…!  More noticeable was the extremely cheap price for the food we bought (I can spend more than that on a takeaway in one night), and the awareness we hadn’t had to visit an over priced organic speciality food store to be vegan – we had gone to Lidls!  I learnt more in that 40 mins shop than reading any vegan cook book, many which I have dusting on my kitchen shelf.

Constantly fulfilled after meals, I found myself lacking any craving in between eating, and I actually felt physically stronger in my body than I had done for a long while.  A clear mindfulness set in, and sleeping patterns improved.  I’ve been known in my family for leaving more food on my plate than when I start eating, and every single dish put in front of me I wiped clean.  Obviously the delicious food being served was the main factor, but so was a continuous consciousness to not waste anything, something Robin is so passionate about it is impossible to detach yourself from that mindset whilst around him.  From re-using un-served food in new dishes, to understanding recycling systems – I found myself taking photos of the inside of the fridge and cupboards, and of all the different ways to separate out rubbish so that recycling is truly efficient, something I learned my one generic recycling box at home is not.  My flatmates are going to either love me or hate me once I return home with my army of knowledge!

vegan retreat

The hosts ease of company and ability to be around when required, yet awareness of your own space and needs, is the magical talent that makes Robins Realm the full package.  Some guests used the retreat to take time out from a stressful life, resting fully with long sleeps, rarely leaving their room in between meals.  I spent my afternoons on the moors chopping and collecting logs, something I used to do with my late father but whose memories had faded against a year of hospital visits and sadness, – and which Robin picked up on early in the week, and made sure I kept those childhood memories active by getting me out there again.  Memories, tears, fresh air, and chainsaws  – however Robin did it, it definitely worked.

I’ve returned home with a noticeable energy that within hours my friends had all commented on and still are days later.  I’ve ordered more recycling bins and a compost bin for my kitchen, and I’m off to my local Aldi tomorrow to stock up on boxes of vegetables and vegan goodies.  Has my objective been fulfilled? Definitely!

I wish Robin the best of luck with all his plans (he has many and I’m confident he will realise them all), the majority of which are focused on helping others. Well he definitely helped me and I fully recommend you book yourself in for a visit!

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Article by Sarah Monument

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