Ayurvedic Food at India’s SwaSwara Retreat

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Guest Blogger Mira Advani Honeycutt just returned from an Ayurvedic retreat in India:

SwaSwara's chef Joy Matthews with a tray of fresh herbal drinks, left to right:  Ragi Neeru (millet, coconut and jaggery);  Brahmi (brahmi leaf and honey); Kokam (kokam pulp, honey and ginger); Garden Green (ash gourd, cucumber, ginger and curry leaf).
SwaSwara's chef Joy Matthews with a tray of fresh herbal drinks, left to right: Ragi Neeru (millet, coconut and jaggery); Brahmi (brahmi leaf and honey); Kokam (kokam pulp, honey and ginger); Garden Green (ash gourd, cucumber, ginger and curry leaf).

From California Coast I have traveled to India’s Konkan Coast stretching along the Arabian Sea. I am here to experience five days of Ayurvedic rejuvenation and relaxation treatment at SwaSwara. This hillside retreat is 3 1/2 hour drive south of Goa, in a small seaside town of Gokarna revered for its Shiva temple.  Ayurveda is the age-old Indian philosophy that defines that the totality of life (Ayu) is coordination of mind, body and soul.

At this eco-friendly resort that focuses on yoga (nine sessions offered daily) and Ayurvedic massage therapy treatments, you won’t find any plastic-ware. Everything is recycled – shower water recycled into sprinklers for the garden, food scraps form the compost and newspapers transformed into carry bags.

However, it’s the food here that is healthy and delicious. The menu is designed following the Ayurvedic food concept – to select foods for your constitution or Dosha. There are three types of Doshas – Kapha, Pitta and Vata. Upon determining your Dosha the doctor then creates a list of foods that will balance your digestive system. Contrary to belief, Ayurveda practice does allow non-vegetarian foods (meat, chicken and seafood) and alcohol, according to Dr. Shobha, SwaSwara’s medical practitioner. She offers some useful tips;

  • Always eat fresh and seasonal.
  • Light foods and more liquids in summer, spicier and heavy foods in winter.
  • Start your day with a cup of warm water as it helps digestion.
  • Don’t over cook your food and don’t eat leftovers.
  • Do not heat honey or add to hot liquids – honey should be consumed at room temperature.

Delicious healthy food, two massages and three yoga sessions a day and walks on the cow-inhabited Om beach, simply paradise!