Food (as thy) Medicine

At Soltara, we believe healing even takes place in the kitchen. We take on the mantra by the Greek physician, Hippocrates: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” His wisdom has stood the test of time, and studies now show there is science to back him up.  A growing body of research is confirming the link between gut health and mental health, incorporating the vital systems of the immune, nervous, and the important endocrine system that regulates mood, hormones, and mental health. Studies have shown that what we eat directly affects the microbiomes in our guts. This can influence our energy, mood, and behavior positively or negatively – for example, excess sugars can lead to addictive patterns that manifest in our mental health. Understanding the interconnectedness of what we eat and our state of mind can help us make the choices that lead from “I should eat healthier” to “I enjoy this food which makes me feel good.”

Shifting the focus from external to internal metrics of healthy is the purpose of Soltara’s conscious kitchen. By focusing less on a system of good food vs. bad food, and more on the connection and direct experience of nourishing your body and mind and feeling the benefits, food can truly be medicine, and understanding our relationship with it can help us understand our relationship to ourselves.

In many ways, our food habits are ingrained in us from a young age. We are heavily influenced by our culture, our parents, and our communities when it comes to our relationship with food. Whether we celebrate mealtime for its social and familial aspects, struggle with balance from too much or not enough when we were young, or turn to it as an escape, stress-reliever, or reward, understanding what comes up for us when we approach food can reveal subconscious patterns and the values and belief systems they reflect. Once we get to the root of these patterns, we can work from a place of awareness and decide whether or not the underlying values and beliefs serve our highest good.

At Soltara, we honor the role of food in our lives and expand it beyond its primary purpose of bodily nourishment – food can be an avenue to dig deeper into ourselves, consciously looking at our patterns and mindsets surrounding not just what we eat, but how and why we eat what we do. Our eating habits don’t just affect our mental health, they also reflect it.

Connecting to the self through food

By emphasizing the feeling and experience (both during and after) of eating well, we can use it as a tool to connect rather than escape. Eating healthily becomes a byproduct of self-love and connection, rather than the main focus. When we tune into what our eating patterns are telling us, we can start to do the deeper work of healing the relationship to the self, and when we redefine this relationship, what we put into ourselves naturally follows suit.

At Soltara, we aim to help you jumpstart this process of connection through conscious cooking on all levels. Diet is an important part of the healing process, both on its own and also to help prepare the mind and body for plant medicine work. We work closely with our shamans to prepare wholesome, delicious meals that adhere to the traditional dietary guidelines of working with ayahuasca. All of our meals are freshly prepared in-house by our loving kitchen staff. Bringing the rich local flavor of Costa Rican cuisine, we offer a chance to experience a connection to the land and culture while nourishing the body, mind, and spirit.

Whether on its own or in conjunction with plant medicine work, food can be a lifetime part of the path to healing and wholeness, and a valuable tool to better understanding and experiencing the self.

Connecting the self with the whole

We also know that just as one’s individual food choices reflect one’s relationship to themselves, how we source the food reflects our relationship to the Earth. We strive for conscious choices in all aspects of the process, and that’s why we looked towards the Costa Rican “Pura Vida” way for inspiration. Not surprisingly, we didn’t have to look very far!

Local, organic farming and permaculture

A quick drive from Soltara to a neighboring village brought us to a small farm collective. Run by a local family, this collective employs low income women to live and work on the farm, and shares the profits evenly. Their organic, pesticide-free produce blew us away – we had never imagined cucumbers could be so delicious (and if you add a little salt, it makes for a perfect afternoon snack!). We are honored to partner with and support their efforts, cut out excess plastic packaging and waste, and adhere to our principle of food as part of the healing process.

Sustainable, local fishing

We are lucky to live along the coast of the largest ocean in the world, and our fisherman neighbors agree! We are happy to support their small and sustainable fishing business, and as such, enjoy fresh fish, shrimp, and other seafood delivered to our doorstep and without excess packaging. The local ecosystem of the Nicoya Peninsula is one of the healthiest and most thriving in the world, thanks to the sustainable fishing and environmental practices of the locals, and we are pleased to report that this conscious living reflects in the taste as well! Complemented by the excellent (and ayahuasca-friendly) preparation of our talented kitchen staff, we aim to set the stage for you to begin or continue your process of connection to yourself and the larger ecosystem.

What to expect during your stay

See below for our approach to your sustenance! We are happy to accommodate any allergies or dietary restrictions you may have – simply let us know when you register.

Fresh juices and smoothies:

Wake up every morning to freshly prepared juices and smoothies from a variety of local and exotic jungle fruits.

A green focus:

We emphasize vegetarian-based choices, with organic, locally sourced, pesticide-free produce incorporated into every meal. Greens for your body and green for the Earth!

Lean protein:

Adhering to our shamans’ dietary guidelines, we incorporate lean protein such as beans, eggs, and for those who eat meat, organic chicken and freshly caught fish. We avoid using red meat or pork.

Hydration:

Our high-quality filtered water and organic teas are available in your room 24/7 to ensure your comfort and hydration throughout your stay.