Health on a platter: Taking the wellness route | The Financial Express

Health on a platter: Taking the wellness route

Leela Hotels’ signature wellness programme focuses on 2 ‘R’s—restore and renew

Health on a platter: Taking the wellness route
“Also, the menu will change as per the season,” he adds, highlighting the health benefits of eating seasonal foods.

By Shubhangi Shah

At a time when many people were experimenting with Ayurvedic decoctions, herbs and spices to ward off the Covid-19 pandemic, chefs Rishabh Anand and Simran Singh Thapar of the Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts, along with food consultant Ankita Jalori, were working to curate a menu that promotes health along with wellness. The result— Aujasya, a signature wellness programme that focuses on 2 ‘R’s—‘restore’ (food) and ‘renew’ (mindfulness).

“Food is a small section of the Aujasya programme, which will eventually include other aspects such as yoga and meditation,” describes Anand.

It may be small, but the food part seems to be an elaborate one. From a mix of salads and soups to a quinoa biryani and from desi jackfruit curry to the Italian risotto, made not with rice but millets, it is a beautiful blend of healthy eating and gastronomical experience. Drinks also offer a good and refreshing mix of fruits, vegetables, and other ingredients, giving you that punch of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants without compromising on the taste or experience.

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“With our menu, we have also tried to revive some forgotten seeds and cereals. Not just that, all our dishes are calorie counted so that you can indulge absolutely guilt-free,” explains Anand, adding: “Portion control is a crucial aspect of this programme as the body just needs a certain amount of fuel to function and stay healthy.”

“Also, the menu will change as per the season,” he adds, highlighting the health benefits of eating seasonal foods.

It is an inclusive menu, too. For example, the desserts are made not with refined sugar but monk fruit extract. Hence, diabetics can have them too. Similarly, there are gluten-free options for those allergic to this protein. “There is nothing on the menu that you cannot try,” says Anand, adding: “All the products used are organic too.”

Although there was a focus on health and well-being in the hotel business earlier too, the pandemic was a major push to bring it forward. And we will see more such programmes in the future, according to Anand.

However, curating this one was not easy as it took a year and a half of researching, curating, and coming up with dishes that were both healthy and tasty. The calorie count of individual dishes was also a crucial aspect. The process involved “10-14 rituals for each dish to make it balanced and tasty”, Anand explains.

And the team appears to have successfully struck that balance. It is not just a good and healthy dining experience but a mindful one that makes you conscious of what is on your plate.

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