Women's Health Retreat Highlights!

Wow! What a day we had for the Women's Health Retreat this past Saturday! Held at Headlands Center for the Arts in the Marin Headlands, we had gorgeous weather, terrific speakers, great exercise and a terrific group of women. Despite being the facilitator and running around a good portion of the day making sure everything was running smoothly, even I walked away from the day feeling inspired and relaxed!

I first want to thank our lovely participants for taking the time out of their busy lives to gather and to talk about a not-so-easy transition in life. You were all inspiring in your own ways, so open to discuss and so full of good spirit. Truly appreciated! 

Secondly, thank you to our speaker Marnie Reasor, CCH of Resplendent Healing! Coming all the way from Tennessee, we were all fortunate to listen to two informative lectures giving us her gathered knowledge from over fifteen years experience working on natural healing of female-specific health issues. You can see a partial list of the tips she distributed at the end of this post. She covered a lot more, so I would highly recommend contacting her for a consult!

We ALL raved about the food! Katie Powers, exclusive caterer for Headlands Center for the Arts is a passionate advocate of sourcing local and organic foods for most of her cooking. She went to her local farmer's market the day before our event to shop for the incredibly fresh ingredients she used for our two meals. I heard more than one person say they felt like they were eating freshly picked lettuce right out of the garden. She also took great care in presenting everything so beautifully for us AND took the time to talk to us about what we were eating and where it came from. Truly another highlight of the day!

Jessica Prentice of Three Stone Hearth was another highlight and dang does this woman know her stuff about whole foods and ancestral cooking! She talked to us about the nutritional benefits of bone broth (I make my own, but seriously - consider ordering some from TSH - theirs is incredibly gelatinous (read: NUTRIENT FULL) and eating whole foods all-the-while showing us how to make a chock-full of nutritional goodness spring nettle soup. I'm now kicking myself for not have the energy to go to the Farmer's Market the next morning to get nettles from Happy Boy Farms. I have lots of leftover containers of Three Stone Hearth bone broth in my fridge and would have loved making the soup this week! Asking a group of women to quietly sip our soup sample in silence so we could appreciate the flavor was not easy to do, but I think most of us were stunned into silence at the incredible flavor and obvious nutrient-dense soup. Then we instantly started talking again because we couldn't help raving about the soup! 

Topped off by a bit of light exercise, between the hike and Dr. Alicia Thomsen's restorative yoga session, I think I can speak for us all saying we walked away from the day feeling stretched, relaxed, informed and having truly enjoyed the peace and gorgeousness of Headlands Center for the Arts and the Marin Headlands. We all probably would have loved to spend a little more time on Rodeo Beach, but there was some more learning to do!

Here are some tips from Marnie and the nettle soup recipe to leave you with. What a great day!

For hot flashes

Know your triggers like:

  • Spicy foods
  • Hot drinks
  • Alcohol and caffeine
  • Heavy Exercise, saunas and hot tubs
  • Toxins in food and personal care products 
  • Minimize wheat, sugar and dairy
  • Large meals

What you can do:

  • Exercise moderately 
  • Stay hydrated!
  • Dress in layers
  • Keep a fan in the bedroom

Sounder sleep tips

  • Blackout curtains, earplugs, eye shades
  • Sleep between 10:00PM and 5:00AM
  • Natural Calm powder
  • Remove any blue light from bedroom (computer, phone, no wifi router)
  • Epsom salts bath or foot bath before bed
  • Alternate nostril breathing


  • Marnie's consult!
  • The Wisdom of Menopause: Creating Physical and Emotional Health During the Change by Christine Northrup, M.D.
  • The Natural Center for Homeopathy: Homeopathy Center.org
  • Environmental Working Group Guides

NETTLE SOUP RECIPE by Jessica Prentice as published in her book Full Moon Feast

SPRING TONIC NETTLE SOUP - Copied from Edible East Bay's Online Published Version February 16, 2015 in Soup

This recipe is adapted from Jessica Prentice’s Full Moon Feast (March 2006) and is printed with permission from Chelsea Green Publishing.

Some important notes about nettles: If you’re picking wild nettles for eating, don’t touch them with your bare hands, and harvest only the top 4 inches of the plant. In the kitchen use tongs or a large fork to pick them up. You may want to remove the thick stems from the nettle tops before cooking.

Serves 3–4

2 leeks, cut into rounds
3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
¼ pound stinging nettle tops
1 bouquet garni
1 quart chicken broth, filtered water, or other light chicken stock made without vegetables or herbs
(A strong stock will overwhelm the flavor of the nettles: The broth from Three Stone Hearth would be perfect for this recipe.)
2 egg yolks
½ cup crème fraîche
Salt and pepper to taste
Nutmeg to taste

Sauté the leeks in the butter or olive oil. Add the stock or water and bring to a boil. Add the nettles (being careful not to touch them with your bare hands!), bouquet garni, and stock or water. Cover, bring to a boil, and simmer until the nettles are very soft.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and crème fraîche.

Remove the bouquet garni from the soup, turn the heat to low, and purée using an immersion blender, adding a generous pinch of salt and a grind of pepper.

Take a ladleful of soup and stir it into the egg mixture. Return the egg-nettle mixture to the soup and stir gently over very low heat (do not let it boil again).

Grate some fresh nutmeg into the soup, taste, and add more salt as necessary to make it savory and delicious

Variation: Add a handful of sorrel leaves to the soup for a lemony flavor. ✦




Women's Health Retreat - A Natural Approach to Menopause: PRICE REDUCED!

I loved this article written by Sharon Mesmer and published in the opinion section of this week's Sunday New York Times and it inspired me to reduce the price for the Women's Health retreat I'm hosting at Headlands Center for the Arts on February 27th.

Perhaps people are waiting to see what other plans come up for the weekend of the 27th, but since I have space for almost forty women, I would like to encourage more women to sign up for this very worthwhile retreat and therefore am reducing the price of the retreat to $125.00! 

I (like Sharon) am not one of the lucky ones. I do (like Sharon) have a friend who told me last year that one month she simply didn't get her period and poof it was just gone forever. No hot flashes. No emotional roller coaster. No panic attacks. Who boy, do I wish I were her. But I'm not and from what I've heard from many of my friends, neither are they! 

This is why I was so inspired to put together this retreat. To listen to a speaker who has specialized in the natural treatment of menopause symptoms, participate in a Q&A, eat healthy locally sourced meals, attend a cooking demo AND end the day with a relaxing yoga class aimed at women our age, I think this will be such a valuable learning experience and encourage more women to sign up!

Join us at the unique and gorgeous, Headlands Center for the Arts on February 27th at 8:45AM and participate in the following:

  • Hear two talks by Marnie Reasor or Resplendent Healing as she discusses tried and true natural approaches to menopause. With her 15 years of specialization, she will surely have a lot to tell us and will be more than happy to answer our questions along the way!
  • Cooking Demo by Jessica Prentice of Three Stone Hearth and Author of "Full Moon Feast"
  • Light breakfast and full lunch by Katie Powers - Marin resident and exclusive Caterer for Headlands Center for the Arts
  • All-Level 1 1/2 hour yoga session with Dr. Alicia Thomsen, liscenced chiropractor and yoga instructor at Yogaworks

Three Reasons I can't WAIT for the Women's Health Retreat on February 27th

  1. I was up in the middle of the night AGAIN.
  2. I made stock last night and decided to make a healthy soup with it today
  3. I can't wait to eat Katie Power's incredible food at The Headlands Center for the Arts in gorgeous west Marin
  4. Oh yes. There's a fourth. A FULL yoga session!

1 - Seriously. One of the reasons I was so inspired to facilitate a women's health/menopause retreat is because I am going into my THIRD year of peri-menopause. Geez. Full-on menopause hasn't even set in and I'm three years into hot flashes, mood swings, weight gain, etc, etc. Not fun and I feel because of my healthy diet and regular exercise I have pretty mild symptoms! I was up AGAIN in the middle of the night last night. This time with night sweats. I thought I moved from night sweats to hot flashes three years ago, but here it was again. Made me look forward to asking an expert what I can do about it and made me look forward to this retreat even more!

When I discussed this retreat with Marnie Reasor (our speaker), I mentioned the fact that I only experience my peri-menopause symptoms in the springtime. Then sometime during the summer, I go somewhat back to normal. She had a few things to say about it and I realized it would be so very helpful to be able to sit down with someone to get some comprehensive one-to-one information. As I thought about the expense of one-on-one consultations (which if you can afford it I think would be hugely beneficial) I was even more inspired to put on this retreat. Imagine, for less than the cost of one private consult, we get to sit with an expert, listen to her years worth of research and advice on the topic, ask direct questions and also be inspired by what other women in the room share. I'm already lining up my questions but promise I'll let other people ask too! Then we get to add in healthy meals, a cooking demo and an all-level yoga session. It is my intention to offer affordable wellness retreats and I feel this one will really pack a punch for the $$!

2 - I make chicken stock all the time and use Chris Kresser's recipe for roasted chicken stock but have always been unsure if there's a difference between chicken stock and bone broth. I know I can go online and figure this out, but I have so many questions to ask about stock vs. bone broth. Do you really need to slow cook bone broth for days to get full benefits and well, how DO I cook bone broth for days without burning my house down? As I made my stock last night and then contemplated what to make with it (we enjoyed the roasted chicken last night with broccoli and green salad (and tater tots for hubby) and tonight will have homemade chicken enchiladas with organic corn tortillas and aged cheese and salad), I decided I was going to make a healthy soup this weekend. Could be beet soup or an old standby, cauliflower soup. It made me also think of the fact that we get to sit with Jessica Prentice of Three Stone Hearth and listen to her discuss the benefits of bone broth, ask her direct questions and then watch her make a healthy soup! I know I will be purchasing her book "Full Moon Feast" and lining up for her autograph!

3 - I've been on the preferred vendor list at Headlands Center for the Arts for years as a wedding photographer and am so looking forward to bringing a group in to experience this property! It's such a cool building and in such a gorgeous setting in west Marin county. I also have been lucky enough to try HCA's exclusive caterer Katie Power's food when I'm there too and every time, I'm blown away. Katie is a passionate Marin country resident and sources locally and organic for all her cooking. I'm so excited to be able to sit with the participants at this retreat and enjoy a menu specifically geared toward women our age in the very cool "Mess Hall".

4 - Last but not least, given I'm running a business AND starting this new business, my exercise routine has become the NYT seven minute workout, a series of stretches and as much outdoor activity as I can squeeze in. Not great for weight loss, but at least I feel fit and healthy! Alas, the downside is that I rarely have the luxury anymore to go to a full yoga class. That means I'm really excited to end our day with an hour and a half all-level session with Marin Yogaworks instructor and chiropractor, Alicia Thomsen. Boy do I need it!

All-in-all this is going to be one great day and if El Nino doesn't hit that day, we can enjoy a short hike in the now VERY green Marin Headlands right out the door of the facility! Can't wait and hope to see you there!





Jessica Prentice of Three Stone Hearth - Cooking Demo at the Women's Health Retreat!

I couldn't be more thrilled to have signed on Jessica Prentice, author of "Full Moon Feast" and co-founder of Three Stone Hearth in Berkeley to do a cooking demo and talk at our Women's Health retreat! Jessica will join Marnie Reasor, CCH of Resplendent Healing and The Healing Farm | Retreats at our one-day "A Natural Approach to Menopause" retreat which will be held February 27th at the gorgeous and unique Headlands Center for the Arts.

Given the amazing business that Jessica co-founded focussing on providing ready-made bone broths and nourishing meals to the dedicated far and wide and her devotion to whole foods cooking evident in her passionate book, I for one, will be more than interested in hearing Jessica talk about bone broth as an important addition to our daily diet! Also how, if at all, drinking bone broth and making nourishing soups with it can help our body's transition through menopause. She will then go on to demonstrate making a nourishing soup with Three Stone Hearth chicken broth. Plus there will be a bonus surprise in your goodie bag at the end of the day!

Don't miss this unique day of talks, cooking demo, meals, yoga and a bit of fresh air in the Marin Headlands (weather permitting). Sign up today for what will be a really special retreat!

The Healing Farm - Cultivating Practical Wellness