Retreat Like a Boss!

Things have been a whirlwind this summer, but all exciting stuff! I was living and working in Costa Rica for most of the summer and while I was there I was working out the details for a magical retreat that is in the works for 2015. If you want a preview, check out Nourish Play Serve for more details.

In the meantime, I love connecting with like-minded souls who are fearlessly living their purpose especially when it has to do with spreading the word of health and nutrition. We each have our gifts and I am so grateful to the teachers and leaders that I have had along the way, especially for those that have helped me navigate areas that do not come naturally to me. Creating retreats is something that I LOVE and is second nature and if I can ever be of service to help navigate the waters for anyone who may be unfamiliar with this area please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

I’m flattered to be featured in this month’s Hippocrates Health Institute’s blog. You can read it here read it here and I’ve included it below. :)

5 Ways to Transform From Retreat Junkie To Retreat Planner

If you’re reading this, I know you must LOVE a good retreat. Retreats are a wonderful way to unplug from the craziness of everyday life and plug back into you.

That said, if you are anything like me (a self-proclaimed health retreat junkie with a hunger to always keep learning and a need to explore), then you know that retreats in paradise can be addicting and oh so beneficial! That’s one of many reasons I decided to start hosting them on my own.

If you feel called to share your knowledge and facilitate your own retreat, here are 5 tips to put you on the path to perfect planning:

Think Business. If you want to transition from being an attendee to host then you have to tweak your mindset accordingly. Put on your business hat! That means you need to set budgets, create timelines, and map out a business plan. If this is your first go around, it is best to start small, test the waters, and build from there. Throw a local one-day event before you run off to Bali with a group teaching yoga. It will save you money and a ton of work in the long run.

Be Specific. Who is your ideal attendee? What do you ultimately want this person to walk away with? Picking your target market is a process that requires constant refining as you go. The more you refine, the easier it will be to build a client base of people you WANT to retreat with.

Be Authentic. The end goal of a retreat is to create an UNFORGETTABLE experience for your guests. The best way you can do that and attract the people that you want there is to be YOURSELF. If you are going to be the one running it, then it should breathe who you are. If you are someone that sees yourself on stage talking to a big audience, then start setting that stage. The feeling of your retreat should be represented in everything pertaining to it: from the marketing materials to location to the agenda and schedule. For me, I’m a let-your-hair-down, bonfire on the beach, intimate group learning and connecting kinda gal, so you know that the vibe of my personal retreats is going to reflect that. What doesn’t work is when you are creating something you *think* people want, but ultimately you don’t enjoy. That leads to you being stressed out and uncomfortable and your guests will feel it.

Do Your Homework. A lot of research goes into this stuff. You need to plan site visits and get to know the geographic area you have in mind. You may even want to poll your audience to pick your next destination. I advise you to check out possible dates ahead of time to make sure they do not conflict with your audience. Use your connections and align every resource that you can to enrich the experience and make it memorable for your guests. Who do you have around you that you can tap into to help you pull off a successful retreat?

Pick a Date and Just Do It. That can be the scariest part. Put the wheels in motion, watch amazing things unfold, and see what you are capable of!

Want to join me on an upcoming retreat? I’m adventuring in places like the jungle of Costa Rica, to the beaches of Maui, to the forests of the Rocky Mountains. Sign up at here for more info and to be the first to know as details are announced!

Are you free on September 17-20th? Then don’t miss our International Plant-Based Nutrition Healthcare Conference in San Diego. We have an incredible line-up (think powerhouse Dr.’s like: Clement, Esselstyn, Campbell, Greger, Klaper and Stoll to name a few) that will present the latest research in nutrition. Anyone is welcome, but it is geared towards physicians and practitioners. Please spread the word as it takes an army to help create a health conscious shift within our medical communities. For more info visit:

Stay Healthy and Happy Adventures!!!

Malissa Schwartz, CHHC, AADP, is the founder of Nourish & Balance, the creator of Nourish Play Serve, and the Director of Events for Total Health Immersions. With over a decade of experience in hospitality and hosting events in New York City, she now organizes and leads wellness retreats across the country and beyond. A green juice drinker and travel & nutrition junkie, Malissa is passionate about helping others learn how nutrition plays a crucial role in how we feel, think, move, and live. She supports people in their journey towards reconnecting with their most vibrant self. Malissa believes that life should be full of playfulness, laughter, and love, which are the cornerstones of all her retreats.

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    klaper retreat pic

    Spring Renewal Cleanse in Maui!

    Spring Renewal Cleanse Retreat at Lumeria Maui!

    March 30 – April 6, 2014

    Who’s coming to Maui?! One full week of rest and restoration and I’m excited to be a part of it.  We’re shaping out the details and it is going to be an AMAZING week!!  Registration closes Feb. 20th. And as a reader of my blog, use code “AlohaMaui” for the awesome friends and family rate.

    Enjoy 7 days of cleansing and renewal at Lumeria Maui’s retreat Sanctuary, with sweeping ocean and island views.

    This is a medically-supervised retreat with options for juice fasting or light cuisine in a luxurious environment with daily yoga, meditation, lectures, food preparation classes and more, all included!

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      Vegan, oil free, chocolate cupcakes:

      Have Your Cake and Eat it Too!

      As the holiday season descends upon us…treats galore start showing up.  Delicious little bites that reel us in and before we know it, we wake up in a sugar coma.  Ever happen to you?

      Well, this season I am thankful for friends out there that have taken some of our favorite treats and put a healthier spin on them.  For example, has some delicious, vegan, low-fat, less-sugar, oil-free favorites that you would never know are 150 calories or less.  SWEET!! (yes, pun intended). Chocolate cupcake recipe below, but also check out her site for an amazing looking blueberry pie recipe.

      Also, be sure to check out the oh so divine pumpkin cake below from  It’s sure to be a hit at your holiday gathering!

      Last Thanksgiving I made the super simple chocolate avocado mousse pie from Kristen Stoll and it was a total success.  Topped it with some berries and everyone thought they were having a decadent chocolate dessert.  Little did they know…

      So, my point is, there are options out there to get your sweet fix this holiday season without completely derailing your healthy lifestyle.  I hope you enjoy the recipes below and feel free to share your own favorite healthy alternatives or favorite resources!

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        Kale Salad: great way to up the nutrients at any meal

        Healthy Holiday Recipes

        Healthy Holidays

        From the colors, the temperature change and especially the abundant availability in seasonal produce. The fall time is so nostalgic.  Those sweaters have come out, the AC has shifted over to putting on the heat in the mornings, the hot soups are back into the weekly menus, and all the heirloom hard squashes and pumpkins are spilling out of every food store outdoor display. Autumn is here with the holidays right around the corner and its time to celebrate in the kitchen with healthy sides!

        Whether making your holiday feast at home, or bringing dishes to a gathering, side dishes are excellent ways to make your holiday meal a healthy one.

        Here are some simple recipes that I love around the holidays. Simple and delicious!

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          Start Your Day with a Green Smoothie!

          Easy Green Smoothie Recipes


          1/2 cup of frozen strawberries

          1/2 cup of frozen peaches

          1/2 cup of frozen blueberries

          1/2 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk

          1 cup of pomegranate juice

          1 banana

          lots of baby spinach

          Blend on high and serve.

          This makes about 32 oz..

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