Pete Evans and Nicola Robinson’s mind expanding honeymoon

At $20,000 a pop, the quest for cognitive growth doesn't come cheap.
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They were married in a barefoot ceremony at their home in April 2016, and now My Kitchen Rules host Pete Evans and his Kiwi wife Nicola Robinson-Evans have just returned from a belated honeymoon in Washington and Tahiti.

Not shy about their quest to expand their minds and spiritual understanding, they began their holiday in an unorthodox way, attending a brain training program at the 40 Years of Zen Training Center near Seattle, Washington.

Pete Evans poses outside the 40 Years of Zen Training Center in Washington.

Founded by New York Times bestselling author Dave Asprey, the centre teaches ‘biohacking’ through ‘neurofeedback’.

Asprey describes himself as “a Silicon Valley investor and technology entrepreneur who spent two decades and over $1 Million to hack his own biology.”

Biohacking, according to followers of the movement, is the practice of ‘hacking’ ones biology to change thought patterns and harness the brain’s full capacity. The intense five day course employs neuroscientists, neurofeedback counsellors and meditation experts to help unlock “extra mental potential.”

It professes to “target” and “train” the “brain’s deep control sites, increasing overall brain coherence, resulting in optimum brain functioning, providing incredible benefits in both personal and professional lives.”

The 40 Years of Zen Training Center in Kent, Washington.

According to the company’s website, participants will learn to put their brains “in the same state as an advanced Zen meditator.”

“It normally takes between 20 and 40 years of daily practice to achieve this state,” the website says. “Along with this state comes an increase in focus and intelligence, as well as an increase in creativity that lasts.”

It uses “custom brain mapping and monitoring equipment to provide instant and constant feedback” about what the user’s brain is doing. Participants receive a “brain map” so they can better understand their brain patterns.

An account by a previous attendee reveals that students spend hours per day in a meditation chamber while hooked up to the brain mapping technology.

The training doesn’t come cheap, with places costing USD $15,000 (over NZD $20,000) per person. All participants are vetted before being accepted into the course.

40 Years of Zen founder Dave Asprey with his custom brain mapping equipment.

‘Paleo Pete’ and his wife were well looked after in the food department during their stay, with the centre boasting a personal chef on hand to keep their attendees alert and well nourished.

Marketing material states that each morning guests “will be welcomed with a fresh, hot cup of Decaf Bulletproof Coffee, blended with grass-fed butter, and Brain Octane. Specially designed Bulletproof menus, incorporating the most nutrient dense food targeted at optimal brain function and energy are served for lunch and dinner.”

Brain Octane it is a food supplement designed by Asprey to raise “fat-burning, brain-fueling molecules in your body.” His Bulletproof Coffee is another important part of his Bulletproof Diet, the subject of his bestselling book.

Some of the Bulletproof range of items available in supermarkets.

Asprey says that followers of the diet can expect to reach “the state of high performance where you take control of and improve your biochemistry, your body, and your mind so they work in unison, helping you execute at levels far beyond what you’d expect, without burning out, getting sick, or allowing stress to control your decisions.”

He has turned his range of supplements into a multimillion-dollar empire. David Beckham and Ed Sheeran are said to be fans of his coffee. But health experts have hit back at Asprey’s claims that the diet led to him losing 100 pounds (45kg) with minimal exercise, curing the “symptoms of a half dozen chronic diseases” and increasing his IQ.

At the conclusion of his stay, Evans thanked Aprey and the 40 Years of Zen team for “an extremely transformative week” and “for creating such a unique and invigorating experience.”

“To my amazing wife…thank you as well for igniting the passion for the two of us to explore this fascinating journey together,” he said.

After their stay in Washington the couple travelled to Bora Bora for the second part of their honeymoon. Mind expanding was still on the agenda, however, with Pete posting an image to social media of his holiday reading material, including ‘How Shamans Cultivate Spiritual Consciousness’ and ‘Conversations with leading Psychedelic Thinkers, Explorers and Researchers.’

They took time out from their learning to dive with manta rays, a long-held dream of Pete’s. Clearly in awe of his stunning former model wife, he shared an image of her sunbathing in a revealing swimsuit.

In a post to Instagram, Nicola said that she felt “endlessly blessed” to have taken the trip.

“It took my sweet husband some convincing (he really had to work hard to persuade me), but I’m so happy that I surrendered to his vision, packed my lil bag & left the farms front gate for an adventure like no other!”

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