(This is Narayan Nair, the head chef here at Kalari Rasayana. He’s been healing people with his food for over 35 years.)
Feb 25 (Day 23)
WORDS OF WISDOM:
“We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are.” — Adelle Davis
You cannot discuss Ayurveda without talking extensively about the food. The entire Ayurvedic philosophy of healing embraces “food as medicine.” Food is, after all, the easiest and most profound way to alter your health. It can not only nourish your body but poison it. Ayurveda is very focused on only putting into your body what it needs to thrive. Therefore, taste is secondary to the various healing properties of the meal.
Anyone who has read the articles on GracefulParis.com or AGracefulWorld.com, knows how much my husband and I love food. So, please believe me when I tell you that this food here at Kalari Rasayana is outstanding. Every recipe is created and prepared by an excellent chef named Narayanan Nair. Narayanan manages to make beautiful meals despite the fact that Ayurvedic food must be prepared without any salt, sugar, butter, animal protein, yogurt, preservatives, dairy, or spices and very little oil. The chef here at Kalari Rasayana is as utterly devoted to your healing as the doctors are.
Chef Narayanan’s commitment to Ayurveda is deeply personal. He used to be a successful chef on a boat, but then he got sick…very sick from an ulcer. The doctors all told him that he would need surgery to repair it, but Narayan refused. He started doing research to see if there was a natural way to allow his body to heal itself, and he found Ayurveda. He started preparing everything he ate the Ayurvedic way. Miracle of miracles…It worked! As a result, he decided to devote his life to healing others with his Ayurvedic recipes.
There is no refrigerator here at Kalari Rasayana, despite the fact that Chef Narayan prepares hundreds of meals a day. Let me repeat that…NO REFRIGERATOR in a kitchen that feeds everyone at this resort. (I can’t even wrap my brain around that!)
Everything that comes out of the chef’s kitchen is made within about 30 minutes of its being set on your plate. He abhors white sugar and flour almost as much as he does artificial coloring and preservatives. He won’t even prepare oatmeal here as he cannot get the oats to this part of Kerala without preservatives. Trust me when I say that this is a man with a mission.
His soups are without a doubt my favorite part of the meals here. They are all amazing — the perfect start to a dinner. They calm the stomach, soothe the mind and focus your attention on the meal to come. And they are all delicious. Chef Narayan has promised me the recipes, and I am going to start making his soups when I get home: pumpkin, white pumpkin, ash gourd, chick pea, beet root, mixed vegetable, barely, Lemon-lentil, spinach. I have absolutely fallen in love with soups again, and it’s all due to this place — and Chef Narayan Nair.
I did the “punching treatment” again this morning. This afternoon, I had the mud-paste scrub and the one where they pour milk on your head. The best part about today’s treatments is that I got to wash my hair within an hour of my treatment, so clean hair for the whole afternoon! Yippee! (The three showers a day thing is getting seriously old though. I’ll be glad when that’s over.)
Dr. Sankar said that from this point on, we are going to try to focus our attention of laying the groundwork for my return to Mumbai. We will need to document what foods I will be allowed to eat when, what foods give me trouble, which medicines I will need to take with me. (Fortunately, they are all covered in the cost of my stay here.) All of these things will be fine-tuned over the remaining five days, and then I’ll be given a goodie bag full of Ayurvedic medicines to take home.
The photo of Chef Narayanan is courtesy of Rosenda Arcioni Meer, the wife of my sweet friend, Jan. (Thank you, Jan!) Rosenda is an accomplished writer. Here is the link to Rosenda’s blog on the Kamalan website too, in case you’d like to read more about travel. http://www.kamalan.travel/blog/