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Good eating

By Liz Hancock

Good eating
We take a look at the ethos behind Queenstown wellness retreat Aro Ha's menu and some of their delicious raw recipes.

The stunning new Aro Ha wellness retreat in Queenstown, New Zealand takes a delicious and nutritious approach to food, to match its emphasis on health from within. The food helps you to get healthier, more glowing skin, while maintaining consistent energy levels throughout the day.

The menu for Aro Ha was devised by Californian-based food consultant Suzie Bohannon, a healthy food expert who says she nevertheless has a non-puritanical approach to eating. “There is a real emotional place around food and sharing and the comfort of food.”

For the retreat’s meals, Suzie created dishes made with 40-50% leafy greens such as kale, and which are high in protein and healthy oils, free from gluten, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and largely raw and vegan. “The trick for Aro Ha was how to get more greens into the menu, but for it all to be appetizing and inventive with lots of different textures.”

We may know about the idea of boosting your intake of fresh greens and vegetables, but it’s often hard to incorporate the more unusual vegetables in our meals at home. “When you start eating more greens, in salads or as juices, you start craving them. I like serving tender, fresh, mild greens such as salad leaves, combined with spicy greens like arugula and watercress, and finely minced dark greens like kale, chard, and lambs quarters. Then you add a dressing that makes you want to lick the bowl. The philosophy of smoothies in the morning is also important, as that’s an easy way to get the greens in your diet, even by adding fruits like blueberries, and herbs and spices [for taste].”

Bohannon explains the nutritional importance of the approach. “On earth, our closest genetic relative is the pygmy chimpanzee, and they’ve exhibited a resistance to things like aids and tuberculosis. That has been attributed to their diet, which is 45-55% leafy greens. Consuming an abundance of leafy green vegetables is the easiest and quickest way of boosting your metabolism, because our gut is designed for the long and slow fermentation of these greens,” explains Bohannon.

“Human’s ideal ph is more alkaline than acid, and greens such as kale have a very compelling amino acid profile that’s almost the same as red meat, but it’s not bound up with complex protein chains that your body has to become very acid to break down in order to digest. Eating roughage like leafy greens and vegetables also triggers the body’s own natural replenishment of its bile, as insoluble fibres absorb the body’s used bile after it has collected toxins, and eliminate it through waste. Otherwise the toxin-containing bile gets reabsorbed and recirculated back into your body.”



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