Delight your Senses!
We may think of the experience of eating as one of sitting down to a meal, consuming the food before us, and allowing the digestive process to take over. At the Paradise Valley Healing Center near Vancouver BC, we bring our full attention and awareness to the wisdom of our five senses when meal time approaches, creating opportunities to fully experience and appreciate the process by which we nourish our bodies.
Approaching nutrition and eating habits as a way to nurture ourselves and support overall recovery can be a fresh concept for some, but it is truly the core around which we begin to introduce healthy new daily rhythms and develop a deeper awareness around essential self-care.
The enticing aromas of the Center’s kitchen, the warm and comforting surroundings in which we choose to eat, along with the visual appeal of the dishes before us, all serve to stimulate the appetite and enhance the enjoyment of our daily meals.
Guests of our Center are here to contend with many types of addictions, addictive behaviours, various levels of anxiety, depression, along with PTSD, eating disorders and various substance abuse issues.
Initially, people may arrive here with apprehension around the dietary shift that may be required in coming to a residential treatment centre that offers a vegetarian approach. Our guests quickly find that the extensively trained chefs provide balanced, nutritious meals in the most appetizing combinations, fully satisfying our senses with the six tasty flavors the body craves. All five of our sensory organs are awakened by the diverse selection of foods with sweet, sour, salty, bitter pungent and astringent qualities, creating a fully rounded meal time experience that excites our senses from start to finish.
Fresh herbs contribute to the enjoyment of our meals as well – the sweet leafy green scent of basil and fresh sprigs of curly leaved parsley is instantly mouth watering and a perfect way to begin any eating experience. Even a thoughtful arrangement of container herbs nearby throughout the colder seasons brings a naturally inspiring element to each meal time.
The bright vivid colours of quality ingredients combine to create delectable culinary delights and serve to stimulate our Agni- or digestive fire – prior to eating. The artful arrangement of whole, unprocessed foods on dishware that is pleasing to the eye and appropriate to what is being offered also adds warmth and a personal touch to meal presentation, creating unique appeal and a gratifying, tactile enjoyment of each course.
When selecting each ingredient for a dish, the texture, size and shape are all carefully considered. By utilizing the full range of all six tantalizing flavors and the entire spectrum of colour along with interesting texture combinations, we expand the experience of what it means to be nourished. Contrasting food shapes -cleverly configured – bring balance and striking visual interest to the plate, while the selection of ingredients, whether they be firm or smooth, soft or crunchy, add the interest of a diverse textural palate.
Both sound and light also play roles in creating an ideal environment in which to enjoy a great meal and encourage healthy digestion. The relaxing quality of softened lighting, subtle colours and simple furnishings used in the dining area allow for the inward focus necessary to experience the true essence of a meal, accompanied only by the gentle sounds of soft conversation.
Part of the healing process undertaken here is to learn acceptance of the loving care and attention as offered by the nutritious and comforting foods from our kitchen. Through attendance at regular cooking demonstrations, sessions on holistic nutrition and market tours, guests may choose to adopt this nurturing approach to self-care when they eventually depart.
By actively bringing conscious awareness to each of the five senses during the process of selection, preparation, presentation and consumption of the savory, satisfying meals here at the Center, we open ourselves to this full sense of true nourishment and to a profound appreciation for that which sustains us.
“Your food is amazing and the meals here make every day great! Your individual styles and creativity make every meal exciting. You three are an All Star Team of Chefs! Thank you all so much!” Max –USA