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Eternal sunshine of the satvik mind

Okay, so your colon took a serious beating because you had one too many malai pedhas, motichoor laddoos or kaju katlis.

india Updated: Oct 24, 2009 01:07 IST
Lalita Iyer

Okay, so your colon took a serious beating because you had one too many malai pedhas, motichoor laddoos or kaju katlis. And when you lost miserably at teenpatti, you also downed one too many rum-and-cokes to drown your misery. Now it’s back to a seriously working week and your body is still reeling under the shock of the indulgences. Here’s an idea: go satvik this weekend.

Before you think you have to turn all sagely and sit meditating on a hillock or allow an anthill to grow over you, ala Valmiki, relax. It’s a lot simpler. You just have to find your way to the Ayushakti resort in Malad and head straight for its Swad Shakti restaurant. The rest is easy. Follow your gut. Pun intended.

The Ayushakti Resort, in a tiny lane off the manic SV Road in Malad, close to Milap theatre of single screen fame, is perhaps the city’s only Ayurvedic health resort with a residency program. Everything here is neat, clean, functional and aesthetic. The white iron gate to the resort opens into a tiny lawn which, with its large copper water dispensers on a patch of green is a welcome sign and indicative of the laidback, rustic charm of Ayushakti.

The Swad Shakti restaurant is at the ground level, warm and friendly with straw curtains all around, a combination of stone benches and wooden chairs for seating, offset with earthy maroon cushions and rustic wooden tables. The treatment and consultation rooms form the two upper levels. The last level houses the residency rooms where you can check in (they have six rooms to rent) for a relaxed weekend or to have easy access to the therapies if you are visiting the city.

Swad Shakti, as the name suggests (swad=taste, shakti=strength) serves up a menu of energy-giving satvik food that is also high on taste. Satvik means a perfect balance of body and mind, so this is food that nourishes the body while calming the mind and enabling it to function at its maximum potential. Vegetables with high water content, (pumpkin, various gourds, leafy vegetables) whole spices, moong dal, kolam rice and cereals are the mainstays of satvik food. Wheat, curd, tomato, tamarind, lime, fermented foods and meats are non-satvik foods, and hence not used in any preparation.

You can come to Ayushakti for food, consultation, therapy or a combination thereof. There is a whole menu of Ayurvedic treatments available, of which the 40-program, Panchakarma, is the most sought after. It is a natural, holistic series of therapeutic treatments that cleanse the body of toxins, returning life-enhancing energy to the body and also calming the mind.

That’s a mouthful. Precisely why you need to satiate yourself with several mouthfuls after it. Swad Shakti offers a Panchakarma Thali (Rs 125) that comprises rice, two sabzis with high water content (I got a tendli and a red pumpkin combination) cooked with subtle spices, a mildly flavoured moong dal and a rice kheer. You could also opt for a Satvik Khichdi (Rs 50) which is a soothing rice and moong dal concoction. A roasted Moong Papad garnished with sprouted moong and grated carrot (Rs 30) is a perfect accompaniment. A wholesome organic pomegranate juice (Rs 75), Papaya Juice (Rs 50) or Kokum Sherbet (Rs 30) adds the right appetiser touch to the meal.

Should you decide to start the day on a satvik note, you can come here for a pancake breakfast, of which they have quite a spread. There are apple, spinach and papaya pancakes (Rs 75) with a spread of soups and kadhis.

On a table next to mine is a mother-daughter duo. The daughter is Saraswathi Balgam, director of an animation company, Rhythm & Hues, that won an Oscar last year for the film, Golden Compass. She lives at Madh Island and is a regular at Ayushakti for her neck problems and her mother’s osteo-arthritis and is immensely satisfied with the results. The pomegranate juice is her tip.

If you need to detox after a debauched night, try the Energy Kadhi (Rs 50, made with a moong dal and white pumpkin base, as curd is avoided in satvik diets) or better still, Oorjha (an energy booster of dates and almonds, Rs 60) or just a simple Green Moong Soup (Rs 50).

Post my Pomegranate Juice-Masala Moong Papad- Panchakarma Thali-Kokum Sherbet meal, I don’t feel particularly sagely, but the sense of lethargy after a regular meal is missing, and I set out to do some shopping at their health super market, where I pick up a Khajoor Pak (Rs 80) and a flavoured Herbal Syrup (Rs 40). Yes, there is a bounce in my step, and I am ready for the mania of SV Road and the world at large, again.