Here's How This Retreat Is Offering Holistic Wellness With Gastronomic Indulgence
Image Credit: Holistic Wellness With Gastronomic Indulgence

Vana, a Wellness Retreat in Dehradun, is blessed to be in India, where wellness, wisdom, cuisine and nutrition is recognised interdependently. Its wellness offering, therefore, is based on Yoga, Sowa Rigpa and Ayurveda. Ayurveda exists confidently and authentically at Vana. Wellness, learning, seva and wisdom, are the four dependences of its philosophy and Vana attempts to build a sensible balance between them. Raised on a land of 21 acres, Vana offers a sense of warmth and comfort. The Retreat believes that we can live life wholesomely by achieving our best spiritual, emotional, physical, and intellectual self. 

Here's my journey to wellness and self-discovery, Vana 

A short drive from the Jolly Grant (Dehradun) airport, I reached Vana for a holistic offering of healing, treatment and mindful eating. Vana engages all the senses with elements that are inspired by Buddhism, Japanese and ancient Indian enlightenment. Designed to be as important as the sessions and treatments, Vana's daily-changing retreat activities include sessions like Gom meditation, yoga, aqua moves, Raag therapy, mindful tea and cuisine lessons. In addition, the Vana cuisine team practices to make the food nutritious and healthy by enhancing mindful eating. Guests are encouraged to wear the organic kurta-pyjama (loose-fitted) throughout their time at Vana. But, of course, photography and electronic devices are strictly forbidden. 

Are you expecting to starve at Vana? Stop presuming, as food is their highlight. The mini desserts are hard to resist; dal, paneer, vegetable, and meat curries are tempting. Breakfast is a feast with saffron-pistachio milk, yoghurt, omelettes and homemade kombucha. Do not deprive yourself and tune into your body demands. For your healing process at Vana, the culinary experience is a must as it inspires guests to view food creatively yet relishing, sustaining and healing. Here, the chefs understand the fragile balance between flavours, ingredients, palettes, and seasons to produce exciting food that accommodates retreat aspirations and every visitor's body type. The Vana calendar marks the seasons and the moon's phases, auspicious dates, essential days of prayer, and festivals. 

Nutritious Meals

Diet and Ayurveda are inseparably connected and are the foundations of strength and fitness. For this purpose, Vana requires you to consume healthily and accurately what your body may want. Salana and Anayu restaurants serve nutritious meals made from local, fresh, organic, and seasonal harvest. Of course, refined cereals, oils and sugars may lack. Still, thanks to the chefs, there is a spectacle of flavours – such as baked fish and potato, homemade jams, accompanied by caramelised onion, melon, pumpkin seeds, topped with ice cream and apple tart. All brews here are organic, and milk is the care of calves fed on the Himalayas. Isn’t this uplifting? Also, total fasting is optional here, and the time with the doctor was the retreat's massive highlight. In addition, measuring my hydration levels, fat percentage, and BMI instructed me to avoid and eat more specific things. 

Artificial sugar versus natural sugar 

They use the freshest fruits from their garden as natural sweeteners. Like mango ice cream, plum sherbet are some of the natural sweeteners. So, they prepare all that they have in the garden using fresh basil, lemon balm, rosemary, and curry leaves. Also, instead of tea, they use natural Vana blends, or we can say those homemade natural remedies based on ancient times. So you'll see Aloe vera shots on the menu, which is very good for skin cleansing and an excellent digestive. The same goes for turmeric, black pepper, so if you have a cold and cough, they generally give black pepper- ginger and honey paste, so we are trying to reviving back those traditions which were there, but somehow we forgot it, so that's how we work into it.

The Sustainable Kitchen

Prohibiting plastic, taking measures towards food safety, recycling the trash as fertiliser and giving leftovers to animal houses makes Vana's kitchen sustainable. They offer international cuisines and learn from simple techniques. However, no one can see that effort on the plate which is placed into producing vegetables. Pressure cooking and tadka are popular in Indian homes; instead, at Vana, the practice of slow cooking is used to retain flavours along with all parts of vegetable stew. In the Ayurvedic restaurant, various platters/thalis are given as per your energies. These are created by keeping the oil and spices used while preparing in mind. The menus are divided into weekly and daily menus that get changed each season. Do you know that over 1000 recipes are made in Vana's kitchen? 

Takeaways: Be careful of what you are having and start reading for ingredients in the grocery shops. Make a strategy while looking at long-term wellness. Look for healthy options for millets, dairy and sugar.