Cooking plant based food

While there are many different opinions on what constitutes a healthy diet, it is accepted that we should all eat more vegetables. A major theme of Lorraine‘s book, ‘Why the Chinese Don’t Count Calories‘ is that in China the word ‘cai’ means both a dish of food and a vegetable. In China ‘the vegetables are the dishes’. This is central to our ethos at Valley View.  We offer vegan, vegetarian and Ayurvedic cooking. And we use Chinese, Indian – and our own home grown – herbs and spices. We look at how to balance flavours to nourish the whole body at different times of year. Our Wellness sessions include recommendations on how to combine foods to aid digestion. Moreover we can help you understand what to eat for different ‘dosha’ or body mind types.

The dishes we make and teach are not time consuming , although some of the ingredients may be unfamiliar. Introducing ingredients and helping to source them, or suitable substitutes, is a key part of what we do.

Home grown

We serve home grown and plant-based food at all our retreats and events.  The vegetable gardens at Valley View are extensive.  Our ethos is vegetarian and we are big supporters of Compassion in World Farming. The Go Vegan movement is terrific as it has brought a new awareness to environmental and animal welfare issues.  Most of our cuisine is vegan. However we do currently use a few carefully sourced dairy products in some dishes. And we only use eggs from our very happy ducks and chickens.

Vegan nutrition

If you are a vegan who worries about getting enough nutrients, our ‘Yogandspice’ cooking lessons and Ayurvedic wellness workshops can help you.  Or if you are considering a vegan lifestyle then we can teach you tasty and nutritious plant based dishes.  Moreover,  if you are neither vegan nor vegetarian we hope we can inspire you to include more vegetables in your diet.  We will show you how to present them in tasty and interesting ways.

Gut health

For optimum gut health,  there are strong arguments for plant-based diets, and in particular, eating locally grown food in season.  There is a strong Chinese or Asian influence in our cuisine and we create balance and harmony in each meal with different flavours, textures and colours to help nourish the whole body without overloading the gut.  Ayurvedic recipes use spices to help you absorb vitamins and minerals and often combine rice and pulses to make a complete protein.  For these reasons they are ideal for vegans.

Another key aspect of good gut health is avoiding incompatible food combinations, as these can often cause digestive and chronic health complaints along with food sensitivities.

The food we grow at Valley View is truly fresh – usually picked the same day.  Once you have tasted it you may well be tempted to grow your own too.  Mark offers advice and runs workshops on growing herbs, fruits and vegetables at home. He has lots of foraging knowledge and experience too.  Mark can also help you manage your own garden in a way that encourages wildlife and minimises environmental impact.

Diet and lifestyle advice

The ancient art of Ayurveda has always taught that illness starts in the digestive tract. In modern times we have become increasingly aware of the link between diet and physical and mental health.  Our Ayurvedic wellness programme can help you to discover your unique mind body type and to find where imbalances may be affecting your health. Recommendations include foods, herbs and spices to bring you back into balance. Our programme can help with chronic digestive and food sensitivities, skin and other health issues as well as weight management, conception and infertility, stress and insomnia.

‘Grow your own’ and wildlife cultivation

At Valley View we grow  enough organic vegetables to feed ourselves and our guests all year round.  At the same time we foster the amazing array of wildlife in our protected site.  Mark is passionate about these subjects. He can give informal tours or more structured workshops. You can combine these with a seasonal cooking lesson or learn about the benefits of different herbs in teas or foo

Eating for health

Our  Total Wellness Retreat 30 September – 2 October and Women’s wellness week-ends all include food and cooking workshops with emphasis in eating for health. And if you want to learn how to eat in line with your mind body type, individual recommendations are part of a  Wellness consultation.