Here are my two last blogs for Wanderlust CA, the first on all the luscious treats I found and the second on how Squaw's exquisite setting affects the fest--and every single thing there. Enjoy!
Wanderlust CA Blog Three: Organic Foods
July 18, 2013
Where the Wild Tastes Are
By Linda Lenhoff
Okay, I love free samples. And if they’re organic, I’m going back for seconds. (It’s true that the calories don’t count if the food’s organic, right? Please don’t tell me otherwise).
While I’m really here at Wanderlust to grow and experience, challenge myself and conquer some fears, a little snacking never hurt anyone. Especially at the So Delicious booth, where you (I) can taste the variety of dairy-free milks (there’s chocolate, kids!), ice creams and yogurts. I tell each and every person I meet to go get a mocha almond fudge bar (dairy-free, and like me, gluten-free!). I say hi new person, then I direct them to So Delicious, then ask if they’re having a nice time. Everything else So Delicious makes is great, and all of the coconut is organic. Don’t miss the fudge bar, though. I haven’t missed one yet.
So yes, I’m gluten-free. And so is everything at the Earth Bound booth: It’s all non-GMO, an abbreviation I really don’t want in my diet. This group combines Glutino, Udi’s and Earth Balance, and if you’re like me and have been eating this way for a while, you know these companies. Udi’s bread is my friend. The booth has been serving Glutino g-f English muffins that really toast well, slathered with Earth Balance coconut peanut butter. You can’t talk at all with this in your mouth, but you won’t care. Also featured is Earth Balance’s Sweet Cinnamon spread, which I wish Mom used to make, and Herb-Roasted Garlic spread. Make your gluten-free friends happy, and start spreading. Earth Bound’s foods have been non-GMO verified, and as any Alicia Silverstone fan knows, Earth Balance is so vegan (and it’ll fool your kids).
Kudos to Novato-based Navitas for the best-tasting (albeit strangest looking) snacks I’ve ever tasted/seen. Also known as the SuperFood Company, all of their snack foods and powders are certified organic and really, really good for you (hence, the superfood nickname). After eating a few handfuls, I found I could go back and shop for hours! (Yoga classes were over by then.) Goldenberries, Goji berries, dragonfruit, oh my. One of the high-energy, high-nutrition snacks even has cacao in it. IMMD. Antioxidants, minerals, vitamins—there’s actual food in this food. Slip it to the kids as something you got out of the candy bin.
So get yourself a good lunch (and dinner) at Lydia’s Organics in the food court, whether you grab the really tasty veggie burger or the look-mom-it’s-gluten-free crepes, or anything else they’re cooking up. We Bay Area eaters know Lydia’s like we know our goji berries—we’re that cool. Fill up on your kale and avocado and other staples on Lydia’s menu, then go get the So Delicious bar. And a chocolate almond milk for after your last yoga class. We all have to eat, so many thanks to the companies devoted to going organic, vegan, gluten-free, and non-GMO. I’m toasting them with a fudge almond ice cream treat as we speak.
Wanderlust CA Blog Four: Squaw Valley: Wanderlust Gets Out of the Shadows
July 20, 2013
Squaw Valley: Wanderlust Gets Out of the Shadows
You know how beautiful it is here. The dogs jumping repeatedly in the pond near The Quiet Place tent know how beautiful it is here. And fortunately, so do Wanderlust’s planners. I was interested to see how nature plays a role in the courses here, as well as in every free moment you have. It’s Squaw everywhere you look, whether you’ve been meditating under the blue tent like I have for several days; listening to the large retrievers jump into the ponds, get the stick, jump out, repeat. I found this sound adds to my meditative state (ok, so I’m listening and breaking the mantra, but I love dogs, and there’s nothing like that great splashing sound, and I miss my pets). There’s water here, the skies are incredible, and the grass smells nice. That’s not a mantra, but it’s close.
I ran across Sam on Saturday, and maybe you did, too. Sam was the guy practicing slackline yoga on a large patch of green near the Lulu tent. Yes, next to Ben and Jerry’s. Sam was smiling profoundly as he did yoga moves I’ll never know the names of, and a few thoroughly enjoyed making up but that looked extremely difficult, all while standing on a tightrope a few feet off the ground, called the slackline, set up by YogaSlackers. Did I mention he was smiling? And talking to me? And often on one foot? Sam told me he’s fairly experienced at slacklining. “The more I practice, the easier it gets, and you start to feel really stable on it,” Sam said on his right foot. With these slacklines (there’s also a really low one for little kids, or someone like me) set up beneath the mountain on the soft grass (I never saw him fall, but someone might, albeit not far), Sam admitted Squaw’s setting only adds to the great feeling. “I love the sun and the wind, and unless it’s really windy, it doesn’t affect me—or it can feel like I’m flying.” I just thanked him and stepped away slowly from the slackline. He was in tree pose, and I didn’t want to make a sound.
My new friend Rob took a hike today, a meditative session Mother Nature gave her blessing to. The class dealt with “shadows,” you know, the stuff you carry around with you, times when something someone did caused you to put a label on it (that chick is so rude! That guy took my parking space!– And worse things, and you know what yours are). Led by Stefan Grafstein, the hikers chatted with a partner, asking themselves: Is it possible that person was being a mirror for me? Have I done that? Could that be why I felt that way? “For each shadow,” Rob said, “We picked up a rock while we were going uphill. A little rock for little things, bigger rocks for bigger things.” Rob compared the shadow to a backpack we keep on our back, filled with this stuff that weighs us down. When the group got to the waterfall (as if that wasn’t prize enough), they did another exercise, and threw a rock to remove each shadow from their lives. In Squaw Valley, yet, at the waterfall and pools. Could Mom Nature get more meaningful?
And I want to mention Alaina, who hopes to start a yoga business very soon, who tried SUP yoga (stand-up paddleboarding, yoga preferably while on top of the board, not so much falling in). Alaina said: Of course it was more challenging than regular yoga, and that she was “not just practicing yoga as usual, but in the water, so you’re instantly in a meditative state.” SUP “almost forces you to do yoga: You have to find your balance, have to face your fears.” Then she went out and bought SUP waterproof bracelets—for everyone she knew. Alaina’s advice to us all: “Just rent a board and go out.”
Ask anyone who’s been hula-hooping under the mountain or meditating in the breeze for a few days: Come for the yoga, but stay for the air, the splashing water, and that blue sky. Breathe in Squaw Valley, deeply.
Linda Lenhoff is a writer and editor who works and meditates in the Bay Area. She’s also the author of the novels Life a la Mode and Latte Lessons. Visit her blog at https://lindalattelessons.wordpress.com/.