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Conscious Food #2 : the shopping practice

Updated: Jan 11, 2022

I don't think there is one method that is better than another, but I share with you here the way I proceed after 5 years of trial and error and I hope that it will inspire you and help you to nourish the practice in fluidity and joy.

I specify that what is bought here is thought for retreats within the traditional framework of the Shojin ryori. Nevertheless tradition does not mean prohibition and it is in the practice of the situation that each tenzo will make this proposal live. This applies mainly to the subject of lilies (garlic, onions, shallots) not used in periods of concentration and used in moments of fatigue, or simply in the spirit of alternation after the more intense retreats.

The general framework :

- the choice of ingredients: no animal products ( including dairy) , no lilliaceous ( leeks are not traditionally used but cooked are ok in my opinion as frankly it does not affect the taste as much as onions or garlic).

- the distribution of the ingredients: in 3 dishes composed of

- cereals (bowl 1),

- a complete dish or soup (bowl 2)

- a raw vegetables (bowl 3)

+ breakfasts, cookies and desserts

To compose a menu please go to the dedicated post:

The main idea is not to think about the menus in advance and to avoid the stress of having to imagine what a situation will be in advance, but to have something to improvise according to the energy of the community, the time of day, the celebrations (funeral or new year...), what we feel we need to activate, all in the tone of the flavours, colours and textures of the season

So, concretely:

1/Reference measurement per person and per bowl:


- Western breakfast :

Bowl 1: 20 g of rice or chia starch or pre-cooked cereals + 150 ml milk

Bowl 2: 130 g of fresh frist (if stewed 1/3 more)

Bowl 3: 45 g nuts and dried fruit

- traditional shôjin:

Bowl 1: 20 g of round white rice + 8 X volume of water

Bowl 2 : 30 g of raw vegetables with vinegar or lacto fermented

Bowl 3: 20 g of sesame seeds with salt (shiogoma)

Lunches and dinners: (according to tradition it is better to serve a simple soup of leftovers in the evening as a medicinal meal, but again this depends on the situation)

Bowl 1 - Cereal: 40 g or 70 for rice and couscous

Bowl 2 - Main course: vegetables: 180g + Soy protein: 20g or legumes: 60g or tofu: 35g

Bowl 3 - Raw vegetables: 130g

+ at lunchtime: cream dessert

Soy milk 120 ml / 1/5th tablespoon of oilseed puree of your choice / sugar at your discretion / 12 g of cornstarch (10 per cent of the liquid).


+ cookies for coffee/tea ( my retreat recipe in link )

(recipes of desserts or cookies to be found via the category #oryoki5 )

2/ we X the dry ingredients by the number of people X days in between shopping days . which makes our shopping list.

3/ The market: fresh veggies

We take care to calculate the vegetables to be cooked and those to be eaten raw ( which could be the same like carottes, beat roots, celery ). We chose a minimum of 4 varieties of veggies , ones to be cooked and ones to be eaten raw to alternate almost every day .Not to forget the herbs, the ginger, the lemons and the fruits. If you are staying for more than a week, simply calculate what is needed between two markets to be done twice a week if there are more than 6 people.

4/ The shop: dry ingredients

In general , for each variety ( oil, cereals, nuts,beans..) you take at least 3 varieties of each that you adjust with the kitchen stock if there is already one otherwise, according to your way of cooking you prepare one with an exhaustive list (mine is more for a fix kitchen to adapt again according to the situation). For a class outside my kitchen , rather than buying everything from scratch , I send this list to people and ask what they can bring and I compose the menu from that adding some veggies and proteins if necessary.

To accompany this post you can also read all those of the category #principles which resume the general principles of the shôjin ryôri.

Good practice for shopping to all and do not hesitate to contact me to exchange!


Valerie D.H

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