The idea for The Eating for Wellness Retreat came from my good friend and client, Kate Eakman, who sent me an email outlining a program she thought would be helpful to her in making the transition to a healthy, whole food lifestyle. Kate is my work in progress…the hard headed, soft hearted mastermind who suggested a place where people could come and see how to implement this healthy “Paleo” lifestyle. A real life working kitchen…not a book or a program but a place where you can touch and taste; ask questions and get real life answers from someone who lives the lifestyle. A place where people can talk about their experiences with and surrounding food in a supportive, caring and healing environment.
At this time, my family was going through a court battle with long time (40+ years) business partners of my grandparents over a piece of property. When I received Kate’s email, we were just ending the arbitration over the property and we were ordered to sell the property and split the proceeds. I was advised, I could defer capital gains taxes if I reinvested in an income earning property within 45 days of the sale of the old property. Now I had an idea and capital to invest.
Then came the phone call on my birthday from my childhood best friend, Susie Hinson. She was living in San Diego but had a house in Indio she bought as a “retirement” home. The housing market was buyer friendly at the time so she suggested I look in the desert. Coincidently, my grandparents had a condo in Desert Hot Springs (just 3 miles from the retreat). When I was growing up and we used to spend many weekends and vacations in the desert. They swore it was the mineral water and fresh air that kept them young and active. Susie introduced me to my real estate agent, Shari Gillette, who immediately saw my dream. We talked about losing my mother to colon cancer. How that set in motion my desire to help people make dietary changes. How her passing away 70 days after her diagnosis had catapulted me into a complete lifestyle change. Looking at houses with her further cemented my desire to make the Eating for Wellness Retreat a reality. I wanted to help other families. I wanted to offer a place where families could come heal and learn how to take care of each other.
At this time, I was also working on completing my course work and internship at Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts. My anticipated graduation date was October 1, 2012. I decided in 2009 to go back to school to get advanced certification in nutrition to supplement my degree in Clinical Psychology. I had started my career working with drug addicts and found the current state of food addictions to be very similar in nature. I wanted to help people change their lives through changing their diet. It is a concept that is just catching on but it’s something I’ve known for a long time.
The plan was set. As soon as we got a definite closing date on the old property, I would start putting bids on house. Shari and I looked at over 20 houses meeting the spec I was looking for: 4-5 bedroom, at least 3 bathroom, pool, jacuzzi, quiet neighborhood, tranquil setting, mountain view. We looked and planned and she kept me on track. I was getting nervous but she assured me we would find the right place. The funny thing…the first house I looked at was the one I bought. It was perfect when we walked in but she wanted me to look at everything so I was sure this was the right one! I’m so grateful to her for keeping me focused. This was the biggest decision I’ve ever made and I was making it on my own…no mother or grandparents to advise me. Luckily, I was on my way to the Weston A. Price Foundation Conference in Santa Clara and could talk to peers and colleagues about my idea. I was pleased it was so well received. The support of my community and especially the push from Mira Dessy, author of The Pantry Principle was all I needed. I told Shari to put in an offer…we countered back and forth but by November 19th we had settled on a price and agreed on a 10 day escrow. Everything went off without a hitch and on November 29, 2012 I was the owner of the Eating for Wellness Retreat
December – March 2013
This is when the fun and the work began! I hired my friend Tami Jones of Tami Jones Interior Design to come down from Seattle to help get the house decorated. I bought the house with most of the furniture, including a full size pool table. We spent 3 days shopping and decorating. She showed me it was okay to have my own style. Somehow, my kitchen took on a chicken theme!!! I bought a chest freezer and a huge BBQ. I was ready to procure large quantities of pastured pork, soy free chickens and Grassfed beef!!! The dream was becoming a reality…
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Now all I needed was people. I invited friends and family to come visit. My friends Bridgette, Leah and Leah’s daughter, Taylor were my first official guests. And they were the perfect guests as they wanted to know what the retreat was all about. They asked lots of questions and much to my surprise, I had the answers. Practical solutions to their everyday problems. We cooked grain free meals and snacks and had an amazing time. We drove to Joshua Tree for a 1/2 day of easy hiking. I had another similar weekend with my aunt and cousin! They each left with a renewed outlook on health, fitness and nutrition. It was all coming together.
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Next, came the really hard work… rebuilding the Eating For Wellness Website, revamping this Eating for Wellness Recipe Blog, creating printed materials and devising a plan to get the word out about what I was doing!!!
At that point, I decided to make The PaleoFX Ancestral Momentum – Theory to Practice Symposium my coming out party!!! I contacted Michelle Norris to find out what my options were. I opted for brochures in the swag bags because I wanted to reach all the participants not just the people who happened to wander by. It also gave me a tangible deadline to have my printed materials done. More about tangible goals in another post. I needed to have everything done by March 15th to be in Austin by March 20th. I reached out to Ana Perez to build my website, Kate Eakman to write the content and Noelle Minor for editing and creating my brochures. These ladies were incredible in helping put a pretty face on the retreat. By March 19th the brochures were on their way and so was I…
Still not sure this is the place for you? ? Look at all the things the Eating for Wellness Retreat offers:
100% gluten and grain free environment
All meat/eggs are humanely raised, pastured, grass fed and soy/GMO free.
All dairy is raw
All produce is locally sourced and purchased within days of harvest
No refined or processed foods
Healing foods such as bone broth and Kombucha made in house
GREAT FOR FAMILIES WITH FOOD ALLERGIES
4 day 3 night retreats led by Jackie Chatman, MA, NC
1/2 and Full day mini retreats led by Jackie Chatman, MA, NC
Individual, couples, family and group retreats
Individual, couples, family and group nutritional consulting
In home kitchen make overs
Educational shopping tours
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We also do FULL retreat rental to hold your own wellness, fitness, spiritual or family retreat.
HAVING A SPECIAL EVENT: Baby shower, bridal shower, anniversary getaway, birthday gift, girlfriends weekend. We plan the menu, I do the work, you and your guests enjoy the party!
LOOKING FOR A LOCATION FOR A WORKING RETREAT: Are you looking for someplace GLUTEN FREE to write your next book or cookbook, a kitchen/house for a photo shoot, someplace to film a fitness video? Need a relaxing setting to hold a masterminds meeting?
Desert Hot Springs, CA
12 Miles from Palm Springs Airport
120 miles from Los Angeles (2 hours)
20 Miles from Joshua Tree
Have an idea that I haven’t thought of…CONTACT JACKIE CHATMAN and we’ll make it happen!!!
And if all that isn’t attractive enough, I have roasted chicken in the oven…