Although the great pilgrimage for Black Rock City has already begun (and it’s a journey for which I will, sadly, be missing this year), I thought it would be fun and useful to write about my most favorite foods to take on that worthwhile journey to the playa.
In case you have no idea what referring to, I am speaking of The Burn... the Black Rock City Art and Wine Festival... the land of limitless creativity and possibility pressed right up against your face (along with frequent high winds)… Yes, that’s right. I’m talking about Burning Man.
Number one. Do not leave home for Burning Man without the basics one needs when “surviving” a week in the desert – shade, shelter, water, a warm coat, a bicycle and a kick-ass pair of boots (OK… the boots and the bicycle aren’t absolutely necessary, but they really do make the trip more fun). Water is no joke.
Number two. Do not leave home for Burning Man without hydrating foods. You’ll get the most out of your burn if you actually feel good while you’re out there. So what are some of the best and healthiest foods to take? Here’s a list of my favorite things to eat and drink on the playa…
Ripe avocadoes with Celtic Sea Salt – a meal unto itself when you’ve just gotten back from an exhausting afternoon of roller skating to Beyonce songs and meeting tons of cool people. I buy several “gradations” of ripe to unripe avocadoes so that I always have one ready for the day I crave it. Water follows salt so a generous pinch of healthy, mineral-rich salt (like “Real Salt”, Celtic Sea Salt, Lima Salt and/or Himalayan Salt) really makes a difference for your body in the harsh, dry climate of Black Rock City, Nevada.
Coconut Juice with Vitamineral GreenTM – last year I held a “green superfood party” at my Burning Man camp and had over 100 people arrive with plastic cups in hand, ready to be recharged! Almost nothing is as instantly refreshing, energizing and thirst-quenching as coconut juice mixed with greens. I’d say it is THE hangover cure, but feel free to be the judge on that for yourself.
*A note on this one… coconut juice is the same thing as coconut water. They are both the clear, sweet liquid that comes from young coconuts - their names are used interchangeably. Vitamineral GreenTM is a green superfood powder made from green grasses, seaweeds, spirulina, chlorella, digestive enzymes, probiotics and other incredible goodness. Healthforce Nutritionals makes it.
Jicama – my favorite light, crunchy, hydrating vegetable. Its high fiber content makes frequent trips to the port-a-potties a lot more pleasant (if you catch my drift). Plus, thick slabs of it taste great in the numerous tubs of Trader Joe’s Hummus you are bound to come across in friends' coolers.
Raw Cheese and Apples – here’s what to take with you to Grilled Cheese Camp. You can sit contentedly, knowing you are receiving the most delicious form of protein and fat in the universe… unlike those eating pasteurized cheese on processed wheat bread. Sorry, Grilled Cheese Camp! I mean no offense. Who doesn’t love a camp that devotes their whole burn to providing others with a childhood comfort food? You guys rock!
Celery with Raw Almond Butter – another crunchy, hydrating, salt-carrying vegetable paired with, perhaps, the greatest condiment on earth. It’s a quick pick-me-up for when your friend comes by with a plan for the next great adventure that you just can’t pass up.
Seaweed Water – if you don’t like the taste of seaweed, take this one off of your list. But if you don’t mind (or even adore) the taste of nutrient-dense sea vegetables, a few strips of this in your water will keep you cool and full of moist minerals from the ocean. Seaweed is the perfect balance to hot, dry, desert environments.
Mango – fresh is best, of course. Who doesn’t want sweet juicy mango pulp steaming down their face while having the most awesome adventure in the world? But reconstituted dried mango (the really raw, unsulfured kind) can satisfy most sweet cravings and keep you feeling a little more hydrated as well. It’s also nice to keep some dried mango in your pack for when a sudden wind storm picks up and you find yourself hungry and in need of making some new friends. Remember - it’s good feng shui to have ample snacks on your person.
Ghee (Clarified Butter) – Perhaps my favorite Ayurvedic remedy on the playa. My fellow Vata (i.e. friend with a dry/cold constitution like mine) and I have often dreamed of having a “Vata Help Desk” at Burning Man. At our "art installation", we would slather dry, dehydrated people with ghee both inside and out. One Tablespoon on your food each day (like in a bowl of soup or stirred into oatmeal) really does lubricate you from the inside out, in a way that water cannot. Aside from coconut juice, ghee is the other thing I never leave for Burning Man without.
For my fellow Burners… xo.