Santa Teresa is one of those iconic Costa Rica tourism spots. Paradise found for so many international and Costa Rican tourists who “discovered” Santa Teresa’s pristine beaches, world-class surf breaks and lushly forested coastline. The laid-back beach town sits near the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast. The area incorporates the beach communities of Mal Pais, Playa Carmen, Santa Teresa and Playa Hermosa. Once a surfers’ and backpackers’ secret hideaway, the popular beaches now are filled with eco-lodges, beach bungalows, upscale luxury boutique hotels, yoga retreats, and multi-national restaurants serving healthy cuisine. This is what attracted me to this area and the desire to visit. In a search for a sliver of paradise and a health conscious community. In my search, I came across The Healing Cuisine, a whole organic food company that specializes in gourmet allergen and gluten free super foods. Their aim is to teach personal growth, vibrant health, and clarity of the mind, body and spirit.
A Gastronomical Experience
During my recent stay in Santa Teresa, I was fortunate to participate in a two-hour cooking workshop led by Chef Barbara Dewhurs, the owner of Chop It Holy Cow Burger, and hosted by Joanne Gerrard Young, a Master Raw Food Chef and the brains behind The Healing Cuisine. These entrepreneurial women are honestly two of the most inspiring people I’ve met this past year since I entered the mostly raw health jungle. They are examples of individuals following and living their art and passion with an energy that's contagious.
The workshop was centered around an Indian theme to 'Heal Your Gut & Kick Candida's Butt,' an informative cooking workshop on "leaky gut," a condition in which cells in the gut react to foods, chemicals and toxins in such a way that cause the bonds in our intestinal lining to break apart. When this happens, particles of food slide into your bloodstream, triggering an immune response, causing food sensitivities and inflammation.
The menu included: Fresh Almond Golden Milk, Pureed Garbanzo Soup with Sea Bacon, Fresh Coconut milk Curried Veggies with Almond Flour Naan Bread, Sprouted Lentil Dahl with Cumin Roasted Cauliflower & Creamy Limon Creamsicle Dessert Smoothie.
One can easily tell that Barb and Joanne had carefully planned and crafted each meal. The workshop began with creating Fresh Almond Golden Milk - a warm, slightly spicy, bold, and earthy flavor and when mixed with a hint of sweetness. We were explained that Turmeric is especially known for its benefits to digestion, immune function, liver health and even possible protection from cancer.
Next up was the Pureed Garbanzo Soup with Sea Bacon followed by Fresh Coconut Milk Curried Veggies with Almond Flour Naan Bread. The Naan was amazing. The flavour was to of this world and so simple to make.
The workshop continued with preparing Sprouted Lentil Dahl with Cumin Roasted Cauliflower, which Joanne had sprouted four days prior. This recipe was full of flavor, just like all the other dishes. The cumin roasted cauliflower added a nice touch to the Dahl.
Concluding out Indian culinary adventure, Joanne created a Creamy Limon Creamsicle Dessert Smoothie - coconut meat blended to creamy perfection with limon and, a perfect ending for our palates.
After class, I got a chance to sit down with Joanne and chat with her about her story on how she got started. She is one of the most genuine individuals I’ve ever met. Originally from Ontario, Canada, Joanne has been working in the Culinary Arts and Holistic Nutrition fields since 1991 when she moved to Whistler, British Columbia to pursue her passion for food. In Whistler, Joanne had the great pleasure of working with some of the top chef’s in the area and was first inspired by the healing properties of organic living foods and super-foods as the head chef of Vitality 4 U Juice and Salad Bar.
Aside from providing hands-on workshops and cooking classes once a week, Joanne is known for her Cleanse Programs, Juice Cleanses and Personal Chef services. Her clients range from Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen to the visitor like you and I looking to for better health and well-being.
This workshop was very informative and the foods prepared was beyond delicious. What is most impressive is the method of teaching and how easy the preparation is. Both Joanne and Barb made it simple for all to understand the concepts behind eating and preparing all of your foods. I also very much enjoyed their gentle approach to eating healthy.
I walked away with a greater understanding of food as a whole. Eating healthy is one thing, but when you're eating with the right intentions and of foods made with love it makes a world of difference. Joanne and Barb show this first hand in the food they prepare. The food was outrageous - so fresh, vibrant and full of flavour. Joanne is so knowledgeable and passionate about clean, healthy living. I know that I'll have to return to Santa Teresa before I depart in April, and participate in one of Joanne’s retreats. My time here was a very special one.
A special thank you to Joanne, Barb, and Glenda and all at The Healing Cuisine for hosting us. As always, all opinions are my own.