At Gingerhill Farm Retreat, we practice Ayurveda Hawaii to provide an organic, farm-to-table experience for our community. A healthy diet is an important part of our holistic approach to physical and mental wellness. We believe that our gluten-free, Ayurveda Hawaii meals create the most healing, detoxifying, and energizing Gingerhill experience.
Why Ayurveda Hawaii?
The world of social media is full of diets and programs that boast drastic benefits. One day the key to health is avoiding gluten, the next it’s going paleo, the day after it’s going vegan, or juice cleansing. There is a lot of room for confusion between the many contradicting diets and programs. So why have we chosen Ayurveda, a 5,000-year-old Indian philosophy, to guide our nutritional choices? The term “Ayurveda” comes from the Sanskrit words ayurs for “life” and veda for “knowledge.” The ancients practicing in Ayurveda were on to the medicinal value of food long before Hippocrates. These Ayurvedic practitioners worked to improve individual health through diet and nutrition. Thus, Ayurvedic practices are similar to those of modern holistic nutritionists. In a world of processed food and alarming environmental toxicity, Ayurveda’s emphasis on healthy digestion and detoxification offers the most sensible and intuitive approach to eating.
Adopting an Ayurveda Hawaii approach means eating whole, organic, non-GMO food grown here on the islands. We eat Ayurveda Hawaii style to improve digestion, thereby preventing and treating disease. By harvesting our own organic Hawaiian produce, we are able to provide Ayurvedic meals that are local, seasonal, organic, and contain the essence of the islands. The goal is to strengthen the “digestive fire,” or agni, to reduce the production of ama, or bodily toxicity. In Western terms, Ayurvedic nutrition optimizes our metabolic functioning, supporting the body’s other means of detoxification–through the liver, kidneys, and lymphatic system. Ayurveda Hawaii means eating according to Ayurveda, harvesting from Hawaiian lands, and eating with aloha.
Ayurvedic Cooking: Preparation and Creativity
Early practitioners in Ayurveda understood that food is the best medicine. Preparing our foods Ayurveda Hawaii style helps to boost nutrient absorption, unlocking the medicinal properties of our food. A diet full of organic, non-GMO, and local Hawaiian plants can support the elimination of bad pathogens and toxins from the body. In turn, detoxification helps to prevent disease and inflammation, improving all aspects of individual health. We typically cook our vegetables instead of eating them raw, making nutrients more available to the body. Furthermore we garnish our meals with herbs and spices which contain detoxifying and anti-inflammatory properties. Finally, we incorporate healthy oils into our Ayurveda Hawaii meals, experimenting with creative stir-fries, sauces, and salad dressings. Cooking with the appropriate spices allows us to nourish our bodies, supporting detoxification and healing.
Ayurveda may be an Indian tradition, but we experiment with many types of cuisine at Gingerhill. The delicious Ayurveda Hawaii meals that we provide have included: Pad Thai made with rice noodles, eggs from our chickens, and herbs picked fresh from the farm; gluten-free pesto pasta made with our organic basil and arugula and vegetable curry made with our own ulu (breadfruit) and homemade Hawaiian coconut milk. Perhaps the greatest aspect of Ayurvedic cooking for us is its suitability to different diets and lifestyles. At Gingerhill, we host guests with many different dietary needs. When we cook Ayurveda Hawaii we are able to create vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free/dairy-free meals without compromising our nutritional philosophy.
Nutrition for Mind and Soul
The Ayurvedic focus on improving digestion is intended to improve overall wellbeing. Ayurvedic practitioners believed that poor digestion caused nutritional and hormonal imbalances. These imbalances, in turn, affect not only our bodies but also our minds. Ayurveda Hawaii means drawing from the healing power of the islands, eating Hawaiian food to address bodily imbalances. Doing so has a host of benefits for the mind as well as the body. Guests on our farm have experienced better energy, moods, confidence, and feelings of calmness and relaxation. Other benefits of Ayurveda Hawaii include healthy weight stabilization, longevity, and improved immune, circulatory, and nervous systems.
Our Ayurveda Hawaii meals are not just delicious; they are a key component of our pathya, or lifestyle—our patterns of eating, moving, and living. Our digestion is strongest during the middle of the day, and so we eat our largest meal at lunchtime. Ayurvedic meals promote mental and spiritual health. Thus, we eat lunch as a community and practice thanks at the beginning of each meal. In addition, we eat together in a comfortable outdoor space overlooking our gardens and the beautiful Hawaiian ocean. In so doing, we are able to enhance the nourishing effects of our food upon psyche and soul. Finally, Ayurveda Hawaii cooking improves not only the health of the body and mind but also the individual’s connection to nature. By harvesting from and eating on our farm, we foster greater intimacy with the natural world.