The Forest Monk program has four major elements – Primal Fitness, Wilderness Skills, Martial Arts, and Meditation. Three of those elements – the Primal Fitness, Wilderness Skills, and Martial Arts, include enormous caloric expenditure – much more than most people realize. With increased exercise and the addition of thermoregulation, which is a daily part of life in the program, you can expect to burn 3,000-4,000 calories on an average day. Because Primal Fitness is a core element, we want students to leave the program with increased muscle mass, and thus you will need to be on a diet that includes a caloric surplus.
ReWildU staff purchases food for all students. We attempt to make most if not all of our purchase from organic sources, and local sources when possible. We have an account with UNFI (which supplies Whole Foods), which allows us to purchase food more affordably.
We ask that students eat a healthful, vitalizing diet while here, and avoid processed foods such as chips or crackers, sugared foods such as ice cream, and processed grains such as white flour. Depending on the season of your program, you will also have access to different foraging and fishing options. This is a great way to add nourishment to your diet! Students have access to three types of food. One is “bulk” food – food items that we supply on basically an unlimited basis. These foods include:
Vegetables and Root Vegetables
Lentils and Beans
Herbs and Spices
Apple Cider Vinegar
Sunflower, Chia, and Flax Seeds
Dandelion Root Tea
Whole-grain bread-making grains
The second type of foods are “limited supply foods”. Each student gets a limited supply of these foods each month, and can eat them if and when they like, understanding that they only receive their monthly ration. Students are also free to trade foods. These foods include:
Apples and Other Fruit
Tofu, Tempeh, or Seitan
Yogurt or Kefir
Bean and Lentil Pasta
The third type of food is “personal food”. This food is NOT paid for with your tuition. This food is personally purchased by each student with their own money during a once-per-month town visit. This type of food is optional, but allows students to include other foods, such as meats, cheese, additional fruits or berries, or other foods in their diet. These foods include:
Meats (unprocessed and without preservatives or additives)
Cheeses (real, cultured cheese)
Any additional vegetables or root vegetables, including potatoes
Herbal teas or green tea (no black tea or coffee)
Sauces that do not include sugar in their ingredients
During the Forest Monk program, we encourage students to cook and eat together. We have found that students use a lot of time and energy cooking, and by making it a communal event, duties can be shared and cook-time can become a time for discussion, storytelling, etc.
Each student group can make their own arrangements for cooking and eating, but our suggestion for communal cooking is that students make “base meals” that each student can personalize. For instance, one evening the base meal might be a bed of quinoa upon which steamed vegetables are placed. Then each student can “dress” this meal as they like. One student might cook up pieces of chicken to add to his or her meal. Another might smother the vegetables and quinoa in olive oil and herbs. Yet another might eat the meal just as it is, and another might add a mashed berry sauce and a fish they caught that afternoon. This accomplishes a communal eating situation but also allows for individual creativity, tastes, and dietary preferences.
Financially, students should plan on bringing sufficient funds to supplement their diet with any personal foods they desire, and with additional limited supply foods, especially if you are a “big eater”. While it is possible to subsist on the foods provided for you, most students find that they enjoy food more when they supplement their diets, and students can spend between $100 and $300 a month to do so. The choice is yours, but we recommend having funds available so that you have the choice.