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Friday, May 31, 2024

Exploring the gifts of Ayurveda

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“Food does bring people together” was my thought bubble after getting a bite of the piping hot dosa at the Ayurveda Home Cooking Workshop last Saturday. A dosa is a thin and savory pancake in India made from simple ingredients and can be eaten for breakfast, snack time, or any time of the day.

One of the workshop participants was so kind to slice her freshly cooked soft and tasty dosa into small pieces and share it with others.

Anyone passionate about food, wellness, and culture will surely be thrilled to grace an event with live cooking sessions and informative lectures. It was fun to see Ambassador Shambhu Kumaran of the Embassy of India in the Philippines donning an apron and demonstrating how to cook the perfect dosa. He was happily assisted by no less than Sona Roy, founder of Shanti Ayurveda Clinic and Shanti Institute of Ayurveda, and Clara Day Herrera, president and founder of CDH Wellness Corporation and Pillow Bread PH.

Celebrity wellness expert Herrera dedicated years of studying Ayurveda right in its home base, India. Ayurveda is an ancient natural system of medicine dating back over 3,000 years. The word “Ayurveda” is a combination of two Sanskrit terms: “ayur,” which means life, and “veda,” signifying science or knowledge.

From left: Shanti Ayurveda Clinic Founder Sona Roy, Embassy of India in the Philippines Ambassador Shambhu Kumara, and CDH Wellness Corporation President Clara Day Herrera

Ayurveda blurs the line between good and bad food. Instead, it offers a systematic approach to creating balanced diets that optimize nutrition. This is achieved by formulating food groups that harmonize with one another, promote proper digestion, and enhance the absorption of vital nutrients.

Herrera’s path to becoming a wellness expert was set in motion when she experienced burnout from work a few years ago. Today, she owns a thriving wellness brand while passionately sharing her knowledge of yoga as an instructor. In an exciting collaboration, she teamed up with Ayurveda lifestyle expert Roy to introduce the benefits of Ayurvedic food in the Philippines.

“In Ayurveda, it is more of ‘You are what you digest,’” Herrera shared at the successful event in Makati Garden Club. “My company’s mission (CDH Wellness Corp) is to make wellness achievable for everyone, while Shanti Institute Ayurveda aims to promote health and happiness through the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda.”

Aside from Ambassador of India Shambhu Kumaran, other attendees were Agri Exim Global Philippines representatives, 22 Holistic Wellness Founder Joana Alberto, DOH Undersecretary Maria Francia Laxamana, Dr. Gibsy Sanjeevi Goerge, DFA ASPAC Director Rona Goce, and DFA Assistant Secretary Aileen Mendiola.

Some Ayurvedic dishes brought to the table were chicken curry with coconut milk, crispy fried fish, millet roti, millet dosa, monggo khichuri, carrot beans thoran, and finger millet upma. All these recipes contain healthy ingredients. In celebration of the Year of the Millet, some food items showcased in the event used highly nutritious grains as part of their recipes.

Herrera shared, “Ayurveda taught me that health care is self-care and that good digestion is the root of good health. The Ayurvedic kitchen pharmacy has become my sanctuary, where I have discovered the immense healing potential of incorporating local, seasonal, and traditional ingredients into my meals.”

She added, “Ayurveda recognizes that food is not just fuel, but a form of medicine. It treats the kitchen as a pharmacy where home-cooked meals are prepared to nourish both the body and mind.”

The benefits of embracing Ayurvedic principles were highlighted during the event. Following an ayurvedic diet improves digestion and energy levels, promotes better sleep, and reduces stress.

“By bringing Ayurvedic food heritage into the home, everyday ingredients can be transformed into delicious dishes that balance the body, mind, and consciousness,” Herrera assured.

The event was a subtle reminder to be more mindful of the long-term effects that processed food can have on our health and well-being. As American TV personality, author, and entrepreneur Bethenny Frankel was once quoted, “Your diet is a bank account. Good food choices are good investments.”

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