19 June 2012
To fully appreciate the process of nourishment requires a different perspective and broader philosophy. While eating a meal is a biological inevitability, the experience of eating really goes much further. It is also a process of physical, emotional and spiritual nourishment. The positive energy derived from the focus on eating, food, nourishment and contentment should not be underestimated in its contribution to holistic wellness. Seeing and appreciating a beautifully formed, colourful fruit, universally perfect yet simple in its appearance, tends to alter one's perception of food and nourishment. Food contains and radiates life force and when consumed, transfers it into the body.
The global increase in fast foods and fast eating habits has had the combined effect of individual tastes being standardized and thousands of foods and flavours gradually disappearing. Moreover, an appreciation of food was no longer part of the eating experience. The realisation of these truths gave rise to the creation of the Slow Food Movement in Italy in 1986.
The philosophy of the Slow Food Movement is that food should be
Good - in being tasty, flavorsome, fresh and capable of stimulating and satisfying the senses.
Clean - in being produced without straining the earth resources, its ecosystems and its environments and without harming human health and
Fair - meaning fair reward for all concerned, from production to distribution to consumption.
© Jacek Chabraszewski - Fotolia.com
The Slow Food Movement is committed to protecting traditional and sustainable quality foods and their primary ingredients and also in conserving their methods of cultivation. Subscribers to the slow food way of life, which in a broader sense means eating seasonal foods that are sourced locally and grown organically, quickly become aware of the health benefits associated with this philosophy. Fruits and vegetables produced in this way not only taste better and cost less than imported foods, but they are generally more nutritious.
So how does this apply to spa food?
Slow food principles, purchasing seasonal meal ingredients that are locally produced and the presentation of spa food that is flavoursome and stimulates the senses, promotes and strengthens wellness, harmony and positive energy.
A lot can also be said for the promotion of the vegetarian spa menu. Nutritionally, vegetables, dairy, eggs and the combination of rice and lentils (a favourite in Indian and Malay cultures) have sufficient complex proteins to replace meat. From an economics perspective, the amount of meat that may be derived from a single animal and the number of people that it can feed is much less compared to the large volume of grain and maize consumed by that animal, which could otherwise have provided a meal to many more people, at a much lower production price.
© Dmytro Sukharevskyy - Fotolia.com
Additionally, the production of meat products is very energy, water and resource intensive. One sometimes forgets that the process involves the production, manufacturing and processing of animal feeds and their transport to feedlots for consumption, the transportation of animals to abattoirs, and then the processing, packaging and transportation of the meat products to the consumer. Many of the processes described above also give rise to a significant amount of waste, particularly when compared with the production of fruit and vegetables, and also pollution, caused by the water run-off of slaughter houses in meat processing plants into our water courses.
Arguably, the quality of the meat that is produced for consumption is also becoming more questionable, purely because of rising demand and the struggle to keep up, which often force farmers to resort to unhealthy industrial farming processes and could include the use of hormones, antibiotics and unhealthy feeding practices for fattening purposes.
Spa food should be cultivated with a sense of pride by preparing meals in comfortable clothing and approaching the preparation process with goodness and respect. (Many cultures believe that the consciousness of the person preparing a meal, may result in that energy being reflected onto the person eating it.)
Ideally one should enjoy a meal in silence, eat slowly and attentively, and focus on the taste of each item of food. Sharing a meal is a gesture of gratitude and regulates self gratification. The concept of sharing extends to the free kitchen, where food is prepared and given to people who need it.
All these positive activities transform a simple act of nourishment into a holistic wellness experience.
© legaa - Fotolia.com
This article was provided by author and Green Spa owner, Charne le Roux. Charne has also published The Green Spa Guide, which takes a very specific look at the spa and wellness industry and provides step-by-step guidelines and a holistic pathway to a sustainable business using Green principles. The golden thread connecting each page is that personal wellness is inextricably linked to and in harmony with planetary wellness. The Green Spa Guide is available from www.greenspa.co.za and many of the larger book retail outlets.