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Rocket fuel to the rescue

November 29, 2023 - We were nurturing gut buddies long before everyone’s microbiome became a top dinner party topic, and the data and science caught up. Here are our top ways (and a recipe) to keep you powered up to face the extra demands of the festive season.

Ever felt sluggish after a big meal or hangry (hungry angry) if you go too long without fueling up? If yes, you probably already know that eating has a direct effect on how you feel.

The science points to a two-way effect: stressors can affect the gut, and the gut can influence how we deal with the stress. Making good food choices helps to take care of your gut bacteria or microbiota (gut buddies), keep your immunity balanced, and make you feel more positive.

Festive seasons are tricky times for your gut, but feasting and focusing on your wellness do not have to be mutually exclusive. If you’re staying with us, our Eat With Six Senses menus, wellness programs, and chefs will keep you on track. Even at home, our tips and recipes will help you manage your digestion over the holidays. As a gift, read on for our recipe for our house-made rocket fuel, which is strong enough to massage the hairs on your chest and the villi in your intestine!

Feed your gut good vibes

Our Eat With Six Senses philosophy means that the food on your plate is healthy for you and the world around you. You’ll see the fitness, detox or sleep symbols marked on the menus so you can make more supportive food choices. Better still, Six Senses Spa offers a wellness screening and consultation on a Wellness Program to suit your goals during your stay. Going on a structured program, whether you’re doing it through us or another personalized nutrition company, really opens your eyes to your food intake, addresses the habits formed over many years and their effect on your body, and helps to improve everything through positive choices every day.

As Farah Gina Condor, Director of Eat With Six Senses, explains, “I say eating fresh food is primary, but tasting and connecting with food is primal. Eating with less guilt and more enjoyment, especially over the festive season, is ever more difficult. Skewed advertising pictures of what is and isn’t healthy create confusion.

But it really is simple. Make better food choices so your body works well, stays strong, and supports the ever-increasing demands of life. Quit following the latest fads, often taken out of context from a research publication.

Eat With Six Senses is beautiful concept of fresh natural ingredients, local sustainable foods, community, human health, and eco-protection. It’s worlds away from trendy fads offering ‘healthy’ versions of favorite foods but leaving out key ingredients like good essential fats while enhancing tastes with synthetic versions of nature’s magic and at worst contributing to the destruction of nature all around us.”

She adds, “Eat With Six Senses keeps everyone happy and well. You’ll inevitably always leave feeling better than when you arrived because everything is made from scratch with local fresh ingredients, even the sauces, teas, ice cream scoops, smoothies, and juices! The principles run all the way through to the folks who take care of you during your stay as our Mission Wellness host program helps us to give you the best of ourselves every day.”

Here’s a handy little guide to get you thinking about what, where, and how to eat … along with who to eat with.

WHAT TO EAT

Eat the rainbow

A healthy gut has the right balance of beneficial bacteria. Eating the rainbow, including a mix of colorful plants high in polyphenols, promotes high microbiome diversity. Many of our fresh ingredients grow on the property or are sourced from our farmers next door.

Our sizeable organic garden at Six Senses Krabey Island in Cambodia, all 40,000 square feet (3,700 square meters), produces much of the mouth-watering garden-to-table meals that blend both traditional Khmer cooking and flavorful seasonal-driven Cambodian dishes inspired by recipes handed down through the generations.

Solar Fresh Cuts – our organic farm growing under a solar farm – at Six Senses Ninh Van Bay promotes human health and the health of our planet as it enables simultaneous power generation and agricultural production.

Living food and drinks

There is also evidence that living food and drinks – homemade probiotics and tonics created with fresh ingredients – increase diversity, aid digestion, dampen inflammation, balance the immune system, and build resistance to infection, so enjoy them and add them to your daily choices. From kefir, kimchi, and kombucha to sauerkraut and miso: all fermented foods are in full flow across our menus.

“Pickles, Yogurts and Sprouts” is a hands-on workshop at Six Senses Douro Valley where food and sustainability go hand in hand, and where you can take the yummy results back home with you.

At Six Senses Fiji, leftover pineapple skin is used to create tepache, which eats up sugar during the fermentation process to produce a delicious soda probiotic. Another reuse of a waste product is whey from making kefir, a type of yogurt. Through a lacto-fermentation process, a living lemonade can be made along with a seasonal mandarin moli-ade during the winter months. Shrubs (vinegars) are made with local fruit macerated with Fijian sugar and then balanced with house-made cider vinegars. These are then partially fermented to create delicious thirst quenchers.

The Wellness Kitchen also produces its own house-made tonic syrups. While readily available in Fiji, most commercially made tonic waters are made using synthetic quinine and high fructose corn syrup, an unnatural and high-sugar product. Using cinchona bark, local Fijian sugar, and natural local aromatics such as layalaya, a tonic syrup is created to be enjoyed alone or with a dash of gin at sunset.

Staying hydrated

We often feel thirsty only when we are already dehydrated, especially older adults. The impacts on the mind, energy levels, and sleep patterns make it difficult to achieve optimal life force. Heat and activity will deplete your body, so keep topped up on Six Senses water, which we produce and bottle at all of our resorts, eliminating over 1.6 million plastic bottles from the planet each year. Remember, your body is around 70 percent water, which needs to be topped up, especially when you are in the sun. Sip, sip all day long!

Festive treats

At Six Senses resorts, tempting ice-cream treats are handmade and full of local healthy ingredients and an abundance of natural flavors. The only thing missing? The bad stuff. We love coconuts and they grow naturally in many Six Senses properties. The medium-chain triglycerides in coconut oil have been shown to increase calories burned over 24 hours by as much as 5 percent, so enjoy them in moderation. More than 11,000 date palms dot the grounds of Six Senses Zighy Bay in Oman, and they are harvested for smoothies, snacks, and spa scrubs.

Dosha dining

India is a hub for food that has always been seen as an offering to the divine. At Six Senses Vana in the Himalayan foothills, nature and ecology are forever present in how the seasons and supply chain influence the menus, bringing together Indian-inspired recipes and Ayurvedic principles. Anayu’s menu is crafted to serve each of the three body types or doshas – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. The cuisine is a retreat highlight, and the tastes make your taste buds sing, even as you are shifting a surprising amount of weight.

WHERE TO EAT

If you fancy staying in or eating in a special location, our private chefs will create unique dining experiences, be it a stylish in-villa tasting menu, a picnic on a mountain hike, mezze served under Bedouin tents in the desert, or a fish (ethically) lured from the Laamu Atoll, wrapped in a banana leaf with a little lemongrass and ginger, and barbecued for lunch on a deserted sandbank with only a crab for company. All family-oriented and romantics at heart, Six Senses Executive Chefs love designing menus to create and reflect a moment you’ll remember forever.

HOW TO EAT

It seems so simple, but our busy lives make it a challenge.  When it comes to eating, take time to appreciate the food on your plate and savor the flavors. Not only will you enjoy your meal all the more by stopping to taste it, but you’ll absorb more nutrients if you chew it well and release those magical digestive enzymes that help you digest better.

“Don’t simply eat food, look at the goodness on your plate, draw in the scent, taste it, find joy in it, and feel the energy entering your body and mind,” says Farah. “That’s my mantra in life.”

Seven Tips for Mindful Eating

  • Plan ahead and make a quick food plan at the start of each week. Keep it in mind when shopping for your food. Batch cooking and freezing base sauces help busy bodies eat well.
  • Pause and reflect halfway through your meal and check in with your body. From one to 10, how full do you feel?
  • Sit down and focus away from other stimulus, concentrate on eating your food, even if it’s just a snack.
  • Consider using a handy reminder, whether it is a bracelet or ring, as a gentle nudge to eat mindfully.
  • Engage your senses when eating. Start with your eyes closed and notice the texture, the sound of the crunch, and every smell and flavor.
  • Be kind to yourself when you don’t have the time or energy to approach your meal mindfully, just keep trying.
  • Keep up the practice, as mindful eating is a skill that takes consistent dedication, like everything you want to be good at.

WHO TO EAT WITH

Eating together is more than just social bonding. It creates happiness and overall well-being within the community. The act of chatting, listening, and engaging also slows down eating, helping to improve digestion and increasing happy hormones.

As Farah explains, “Picture this. When friends sit together to enjoy food, their cells are receiving nutrients in a different way. Food is full of energy, giving your body the tools to repair itself. Getting involved with cooking and eating together also slows you down, and you eat in a calmer way. It opens your horizons to eating something you’ve never tried before, taking you on an adventure outside your comfort zone. The minute you’re connecting in this way, you’re absorbing everything a little better, and here’s the science: it’s because your body is releasing oxytocin, the love hormone. Reconnection with sharing dish choices at Six Senses is positively encouraged.”

Across Six Senses properties eating is a social occasion. Enjoy cooking classes, wine evenings, Chef’s Tables, and degustation dinners – just bring a smile.

ROCKET FUEL TO THE RESCUE

The moment you’ve been waiting for. A shot of this each morning will see you through to 2024 and beyond.

Makes about 500-750 ml

INGREDIENTS

  • 500-750 ml (2-3 cups) apple cider vinegar, preferably organic
  • 250 g (half of one) white or yellow onion, cut into wedges
  • 250 g (1 small) orange, cut into wedges
  • 120 g (1 small) lemon, cut into wedges – or two limes
  • 30 g (7.5 cm long) fresh ginger root, sliced
  • 30 g (1 generous bunch) herbs - e.g., thyme, rosemary, tarragon
  • 15 g (5 cm long) fresh turmeric root, sliced (or 1 Tbsp powder)
  • 15 g (2-3 cloves) garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 Tbsp whole black peppercorns
  • optional: 1-3 Tbsp raw honey (added after infusion, as desired)

DIRECTIONS

  1. BRUISE. Gently smash ginger, turmeric, and garlic with a base of your knife to release oils.
  2. LAYER. Place ingredients in alternate layers in a clean, glass container with a lid.
  3. FILL. Cover fully with vinegar and seal the container.
  4. INFUSE. Place a jar in a cool location, such as your kitchen counter, and let it infuse 4-6 weeks. If you need to dip in sooner – no problem – the longer you wait, the stronger the medicine.
  5. STRAIN. Pass liquid into a bowl or container. Gently press to release juices.
  6. BALANCE. If desired, add honey to taste (1 Tbsp at a time) OR squeeze some orange juice to cut the sharpness. Rocket Fuel is meant to be bold and not overly sweet. It should have some bite!
  7. STORE: Best consumed within 3 months for freshness. It will keep up to one year, refrigerated.

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