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
- in being tasty, flavorsome, fresh and capable of stimulating and satisfying
- in being produced without straining the earth resources, its ecosystems and
its environments and without harming human health and
- meaning fair reward for all concerned,
from production to distribution to consumption.
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
So how does this apply to the spa kitchen?
Slow food principles, purchasing seasonal
meal ingredients that are locally produced and the presentation of spa meals
that are flavorsome and stimulate the senses, promote and strengthen wellness,
harmony and positive energy.
A lot can also be said for the promotion of
the vegetarian spa menu. Nutritionally, vegetables, diary, 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.
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 en meat processing plants into our water
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.
Cultivate a sense of pride in food
preparation in the spa kitchen by encouraging staff to prepare meals in
comfortable clothing and to approach 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.)
Suggest to Spa guests to enjoy their meal in
silence, to eat slowly and attentively and to 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.
Charne le Roux