Retreat Wish List

by | Apr 30, 2015 | Blog


Retreat Wish ListSpending a long weekend with the rest of the InDependent team was truly inspiring. We all have a passion for healthy living so we were able to learn a ton from each other in just a few days simply by observing each other’s habits. We all came away with a list of things we’d like to have to support our healthy lifestyles. Take a look and then let us know your favorites.

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Vitamix Blender – I wasn’t sure if we would ever splurge on a Vitamix. The price tag is steep and after all, it’s just a blender, right? I had been floating the idea with my husband for a little bit. Then we moved into historic housing at Fort Leavenworth and I spent a week scrubbing layers of dirt off of my kitchen floor. I think he felt sorry for me because he suggested we go ahead and make the purchase when he saw the Vitamix demonstrator set up at the PX. I use it every day and even took it with me on our retreat to make Glowing Green Smoothies for our breakfasts. Everybody enjoyed them and Michele bought a personal size Vitamix right after she got home. If price is an issue, check out the personal size, consider a certified reconditioned model, or check with the Exchange on your military installation to see when the Vitamix demonstrator will be there.

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Plantains – Emira picked up one lonely plantain when we did our grocery shopping before heading up to Mount Mitchell for our retreat. We were all surprised Leslie hadn’t tried one before. She’s now a convert. They taste almost like a dessert when browned in a little coconut oil. We passed the plantain around the table and were all sorry that we hadn’t picked up more.


Berkey Water Filter System – Leslie hosted us in her house at the beginning and end of the retreat and she had a great drink station set up with a Soda Stream, homemade kombucha, and a Berkey Water Filter system. It does take up counter space, but it’s really attractive and sure beats the clunky filter I have attached to my faucet. This is an investment piece, but they offer a military discount. Just contact them directly for more information. Leslie has her Berkey outfitted with the black and fluoride filters. She also installed a shower filter.

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The Forest Feast: Simple Vegetarian Recipes from My Cabin in the Woods – Leslie had books everywhere. And not just any books. She’s our creative director so she’s drawn to especially pretty books like The Forest Feast with amazing photography and watercolors. Erin Gleeson was a New York food photographer that moved to the California woods. It was fun to just sit at the coffee table and flip through books. It made me a little sad that I’ve stopped buying real books to minimize the amount of things we have to move. Books like this one make me want to reverse my e-books only policy.


CatStudio Geography Collection Dish Towels– Many military families find a way to acknowledge all of the places they’ve lived as a decorative display in their homes. I haven’t jumped on board yet, but have always wanted to. I really like Leslie’s collection of state/country tea towels printed with maps. If you love this idea too, just be sure to check out the countries and make sure yours is represented. Germany is there so I’m good.

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TRX Suspension Trainer – Emira was fresh out of a figure competition when we arrived at our retreat. She already has her sights set on the next one, so she’s working on continuing to build muscle. She brought along her TRX Suspension Trainer to get in some strength training while away from the gym and it was pretty amazing watching her muscles ripple as she worked through some exercises. The whole thing fits into a lunch bag so it’s perfect for travel. This would be a great addition to my home gym since I’m more likely to frequent a yoga studio than a gym.

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Eating Evolved Chocolate – “Chocolate: It’s Food, Not Candy.” No gluten dairy, soy, or refined sugar. Yes, yes, yes! And the 100% cacao bars are actually edible. They also offer lower cacao percentages lightly sweetened with maple sugar. Thanks Leslie, we’re sold! You can buy these online, but I’m going to keep my eyes open at local stores.

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Ceramic Compost Keeper – Leslie had this sitting on her countertop and I’ve already hit “Add to Cart.” We’ve recently started composting just using a bowl on the countertop and emptying it a couple of times a day. But, with weather warming up and pests coming out, that’s a deal breaker.

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Mediterranean Paleo Cooking – I wasn’t the only one smitten with Leslie’s cookbooks. Emira fell in love with this one and has already purchased it. This cookbook, written by a classically trained chef and a Certified Nutritionist who are also husband and wife, takes the classic flavors of the Mediterranean and cleans them up without gluten or dairy. There’s even a section using the lesser known portions of animals – also known as offal. It’s an interesting cookbook addition for anyone who was stationed overseas and misses the tastes of Southern Europe and North Africa.

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Kombucha Brewing – At the end of our retreat, Emira and Michele had super early morning flights and I think they just decided in the end to not really go to bed for the night. I hit the hay because I had an eight hour drive the next day, but Emira and Leslie used the time wisely to have a kombucha brewing lesson. Leslie sent Emira home with a scoby safely contained in a sealable container in her checked luggage. Now Emira’s already brewing her second batch. Stay tuned for a full recipe and tutorial from Leslie.

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Alo Felted Crewneck – I was wearing this sweatshirt when Leslie hugged me goodbye. She hugged me just a little bit longer so she could feel the soft coziness of it and immediately decided she needed one too… and everything else alo. We carry the brand in the studio where I work and I’m definitely a fan. They’re also really great to follow on Instagram for yoga inspiration.

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Six Pack Bags – When you’re training for an event, have food allergies, need to stay on a budget, or have really just cleaned up your eating, finding food on the go can be a challenge. Michele was immediately obsessed when Emira disembarked the plane with this meal management bag.

What healthy living product are you loving right now?

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