Organic Garden Cafe aka Rawbert’s in Beverly, MA

I am not necessarily a big fan of vegan raw food. I think of it as something that goes a little far at times for my abilities and most folks abilities in a cold weather climate. If I lived in Costa Rica it may seem more feasible however. When I heard that a spot near my seaside home was picked as a Best of Boston North Shore (BONS) for brunch and it was vegan I was pretty excited. The write up was positive and discussed lots of good quality food. So I took a look at their website. It said that not only are they a cafe but they also do a volunteer program where you volunteer 5 times every 2 months for 3 hours at a time and you can learn a little about the raw food movement. This was very interesting to me. They had internships and other things but volunteering is my second love so I grabbed my mother, aunt, and cousin and headed over for a lunch time treat. If it was decent I vowed I would ask for the volunteering paperwork. I can always learn something more about vegan food and heck maybe raw is better than I think!

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When we got their we realized the space itself is a bit tiny and a little cramped but very healthy-food-centric. They had plants and painted murals of veggies. Very hipster cool. It is wedged into main street with its own parking lot and next to a comic book store and around other healthy/hippie venues. It fits. The staff was nice and friendly. We were seated quickly. The food was brought out timely and we had a good meal. I loved the crackers and cheese plate we got, the quesadillas were awesome, and the the kale chips were the same flavor as Rhythm Foods Nacho flavor. My mom and aunt got soup. My aunt loved hers as it was a carrot ginger flavor and my mom thought hers was too grainy for a corn chowder. The omelette sandwich filled me up but was a bit mushy since it was some sort of Brazil nut base and reminded me of the soft cheese on the cheese plate. I was surprised at the bagel though, it was excellent. I grabbed some chocolates to go (none of us liked those, they are not sweet and actually very strong in odor like a glass of red wine). I then decided I would ask for an application for the volunteer program.

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Unfortunately, I was met with some surprise on this portion.  Rawbert himself came out and seemed happy to chat. However he thought I was asking about the internship (which as a full time executive I do not have time for nor the need for). I stated no I was looking at the volunteer program. He said they didn’t do that anymore because it was too hard to get volunteers up to speed and they aren’t trained and they get in the way in an already overstaffed busy kitchen. So why then do they allow interns? Wouldn’t that be the same? It seems that interns pay for their spot. That is strange and I am not sure I like that. I grabbed a green juice and headed out. I am not sure I will go back. I have mixed feelings about the whole ordeal after that chat. If I had not chatted, I may have gone back but after seeing that the business is more than about the food and the joy and it is really about money. I felt uncomfortable. Veganism is just one of those subcultures where you feel like you are more about the food, the health, the morals and less about the business of it all. However, I guess that isn’t always the case. Plus isn’t free labor still free labor? Rawbert told me he would update his page and he has, however I am still bummed out. If you want to intern or take classes though for a fee I say go for it! I just can’t fit that into my life as a full time executive.

 

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Food is Love.

The Hippie Gypsy.

Rant: Why Vegans and Really Anyone Should Go on a Retreat

Going to Ananda Ashram

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This weekend I will be going away to Ananda Ashram in Monroe, NY instead of to New York City with my husband who is working at a conference there. This was not intentional as I am in love with NYC entirely but it is already teaching me why I decided to add this item to my proverbial “Bucket List”. Going to a retreat, a real retreat not a spa weekend, is about going into yourself and pulling out the poisons. Selfishness is one of those poisons. However, I like to think I am replacing the selfishness that is bad with a different kind of selfishness. One that is more focused on taking care of myself and taking that time to care for myself when I otherwise may do something to appease others and support others and allow myself to fall apart. I truly think we all do this at least some of the time. if you are a parent, I am sure you do it more than anyone knows.

So I am looking forward to this because for the first time in my life I will be entirely alone on purpose with no hope to meet a friend or converse heavily or party around the town. I will be volunteering and eating a clean vegan diet as the Ashram is Vegan and Vegetarian, no caffeine, no alcohol, no junk. I love this. I love that I will be somewhere where my already developing “self” is not strange but instead the rule and not the exception. I think this will be a good change of pace. I will also be working 3 hours a day to volunteer. The duties will be at the mercy of the Ashram although I am sure they won’t have me roofing or anything! I just think the reminder of selfless and focus on self is an interesting dynamic. It seems like they are opposites but in truth they are like a yin and yang that are totally in harmony with one’s body & minds & needs.

I think this will be worth the $35 a day it costs with all food included and I hope to find it worth even more in what I take away. There are meditation clinics, chanting, sanskrit classes, and yoga. Although I am not good at any I hope to be. I need a way to wipe out the noise in my head and get back to basics the way I am sure everybody does sometimes. The work – eat – sleep regimen gets old and tiresome. The anxiety overwhelming. If I learned anything from the other night it is that even things that we think we brush up will sneak into our heads at night and if we do not know how to clear them out we will be a mess in the morning.

So I encourage everyone to do this. Take a day or a weekend and go to a retreat. Clean out your body, the noise in your mind, and the stress on your soul. I will report back how it goes on my end. I am sure I will be struggling but it will be worth it.

 

buddah

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Food is Love.

The Hippie Gypsy