Monday, December 20, 2010


Resorts are claimed to provide ideal environment to restore mental and physical health of people needing some relief from their stressed out life style. According to modern definition a resort is a center for "relaxation and recreation". Resorts attract visitors for holidays or on vacation and depending on the quality and range of services provided, it can offer facilities like food, drink, lodging, sports, entertainment and even shopping experience. With tourism becoming a big money spinner, there are well promoted resort towns and on-line promotion brings people from all over the world. A recent example of a successful brand creation of tourism comes from Kerala, which was able to create the iconic slogan " God's own Country", though it is ruled by atheists not believing in any God at all! Here is a small instance of an individual promoting a resort in Karnataka on a "healthy" food platform

"But Ambika also clarifies that by making the modifications, they are not depriving themselves or their bodies of anything. "We've not become social misfits… we're not militant about it." They do use ghee and butter, but not as a cooking medium. "And we use our own cow's milk to make sure it's stress and hormone-free milk." They use sesame seeds in salads so there's enough calcium, dates are used to provide iron content. Coconut milk is used instead of dairy milk where necessary. "We make butter out of almonds, cashew and peanut and consume them fresh." Their aim at the resort is to keep it all fresh and organic, "from the farm to the pot," says Ambika. And as wholesome as possible — they have said no to refined white sugar, white rice and maida. Whole grains, pulses, red rice, and jaggery rule; even the staff at the resort eats the same food served to guests. Koftas are steamed instead of fried. Samosas are baked and they bake their own multigrain bread. The kitchen runs on strict time schedule "so that everyone eats their meals on time; when you eat is also as important as what you eat," says Ambika. And that one ingredient that always sets food apart is the love we put into the cooking, insists Ambika. So she always has a chat with the boys who cook at the resort before entering the kitchen; she makes sure they're happy and singing while cooking".

How far this is an "inspired" promotion based on the real time experience of the journalist is a matter of conjecture. May be the set up is a genuine health food center but absence of any national standards to evaluate the credentials of such food oriented resorts make it difficult to believe what ever is dished out by journalists with little knowledge of food, nutrition, health and safety. It is fair to claim that it is using organic foods raised in its own farm but to talk about radical innovations and deviations from accepted scientific norms needs expert confirmation. Of course the traditional foods as encrypted in ancient Vedic literature are used extensively by many modern day health restoring centers though how far they conform to original system is not verifiable. There are hundreds of "weight shedding centers", spread all over the country but invariably within a short period of leaving these facilities, customers tend to regain the weight because of indisciplined eating. To claim that love is an important component of the food served in any commercial establishment, it requires extraordinary bend of mind to even think of it, let alone practice. If this logic is extended, home cooked foods, prepared lovingly by one's mother or wife must be the best and eating out practice should have disappeared long ago. Well meaning people may be trustworthy but whether their system is credible requires careful assessment.

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