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 January 2007 

"I am my own experiment. I am my own work of art." Madonna


Eating for balance
Honour your Mother and Father
Recipe: Walnut stuffed gem squash
Ayurveda Massage Retreats - come home to your Self

         Eating for balance

Imagine yourself walking into a restaurant: the chef asks you, "And what is bothering you physically or emotionally today Sir/Madam?"

According to what you answer, s/he prepares your meal with just what is needed to balance you, and you leave feeling relieved of your condition, to some degree.

At this time of the year in hot South Africa, most of us need to use as many cooling foods as possible in our diet. These can help to counteract anger, frustration, irritation, hayfever, allergies, ulcers, headaches, diarrhea or any kind of redness or burning sensation created by too much heat. 

Bitter, sweet, and astringent tastes will help to keep you cool.

Eliminate or reduce your intake of alcohol, heavy meats, and fried, oily, salty, spicy, and sour foods. 

Instead of salt, garlic or onions, use fennel seeds, coriander, fenugreek, tamarind and fresh lime juice for seasoning. 

Other cooling foods: 


barley, wheat, white basmati rice, oats, corn, amaranth



aduki beans, black-eyed peas, red lentils, mung beans, pinto beans, soya beans, tofu



unsalted butter, buttermilk, cow's milk, egg whites, ghee, ice cream, yoghurt, goat's milk



asparagus, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cucumber, leafy greens, okra, white potatoes, sweet peppers, baby marrow, summer squash, broccoli, cabbage, celery, green beans, lettuce, peas, sprouts, pumpkin, fennel, olives



apples, bananas, grapes, melons, raisins, avocado, figs, pears, berries, limes, litchis, papayas, pomegranate, melons, dates


Spices and herbs in small amounts

cardamom, coriander seeds and leaves, fennel seeds and leaves, saffron, cumin, dill, mint, turmeric, parsley, tarragon

Nuts & seeds

almonds (peeled and soaked), coconut, psyllium, safflower, sunflower


Animal foods

buffalo, rabbit, turkey, venison


For more tips on 'Caring for yourself in the summertime', click here for a previous newsletter.

        Honour your Mother and Father 

Our health as human beings is intrinsically connected to the health of our planet, to Mother Earth and Father Sun. Have you made a new year's commitment to reduce negative impact on Mother Earth? Ever wondered how much "nature" your lifestyle requires? You can take an Ecological Footprint Quiz to estimate your impact and find out how to reduce it. After answering 15 easy questions you'll be able to compare your Ecological Footprint to what other people use and to what is available on this planet. Go to 

One of the things we at Nalanda have done this month is to replace harmful cleaning products in our centre with people, animal and earth-friendly products. Let's all take one step at a time towards a healthier, happier planet and people. Share your progress with friends and family and remind each other, whenever you meet.

         Recipe: Walnut stuffed gem squash 

6 gem squashes, halved with seeds removed

Boil in minimal water, or steam for 5 min. While they are cooking, heat

1-2 tsp ghee


tsp fennel seeds


tsp fenugreek seeds

Fry until fragrant, then add

1 bunch spinach or kale,  finely chopped

Fry briefly. Remove from heat and stir in

50g walnuts, finely chopped

Divide spinach mixture between the 12 squash halves, then bake for 15 min. Garnish with

Fresh coriander


All ingredients are cooling except for the walnuts which are heating, as are all nuts. But they are just so yummy, and turn something as ordinary as gem squash into a feast for a king!

          Ayurveda Massage Retreats - come home to your Self 

Spend quality time with the most important person in your life.

Why retreat?              
In the busy-ness of our lives, so many things seem urgent that we neglect important aspects of ourselves. Balance is a creative and dynamic juggling of work, prayer/contemplation/reflection and recreation/play.

A retreat is an opportunity to regain that balance and remember how good it feels and how necessary it is for your health and wellbeing. Taking time out of your usual routine and environment, while receiving nurturing touch, gives you the chance to experience deep rest and healing, to gain a new perspective.

On retreat, you consciously remove yourself from your everyday life - people, activities, noise, superfluous talking & work-related activities - in order to give time and space to the non-physical, non-material neglected aspects of your life. This physical withdrawal helps you to become more aware of your thoughts and emotions, and thus more able to release old patterns of thinking which no longer serve you.

By the end of the retreat you can expect to feel more alive in your body, have a quieter and clearer mind, and an increased sense of emotional balance. You will leave renewed, refreshed and revitalised.

Where can I retreat?
At Nalanda Ayurvedic Centre in Hout Bay, we can support you by providing a gentle, sympathetic space in which you can just be, without expectations, without judgments, without any specific goal.

Enjoy our tranquil garden with natural saltwater pool, plenty of sun and shade. Attached to our centre, we are blessed to have a beautiful riverside area, through which you can walk comfortably and relax. Be uplifted with magnificent views of the mountains and greenery surrounding Hout Bay.  You will be in close proximity to several beautiful beaches and mountain walks.

When can I retreat?
At Nalanda Ayurvedic Centre, you can book yourself in for an individual retreat any length of time whenever it is convenient for you. Or join us for a group retreat on one of the dates below.

A retreat is particularly beneficial during periods of transition, whether it is a change of season, a change in your personal life eg. marriage, divorce, a change in your professional life or a transition into a new phase of your life.

Self-retreats are a time to get in touch with yourself and your life, to nourish and heal your body and mind, to rest, read, reflect and go for long walks on the beach or at the river.

What to eat on retreat?
ur food is strictly vegetarian and freshly prepared according to ayurvedic principles. By being involved in preparation and clearing away of meals, you will also learn to prepare appropriate meals to heal and balance yourself after your retreat. Herbal teas and hot water therapy are provided throughout the day.
To deepen your healing, our centre is a meat, fish, alcohol, caffeine, drug and smoke free place. Please speak to us about how we can support you to manage without those substances during your stay.
For vegan or other dietary needs, please discuss with us.

What about group retreats?

On special for Feb & Mar: Weekend Group retreats from Friday 6 pm to Sun 4pm: Fri 16th - Sun 18th Feb, Fri 30th March - Sun 1 April for only
R1080, shared accommodation, shared bathroom

We also offer Ayurveda Wellness Days. These are One Day silent Retreats which happen on set days at the very affordable price of R450 per person. Join us on 8th and/or 25th Feb and watch our website for more information and future dates.
Alternatively, you can choose your own dates for any length of time if you bring a group of 6 or more friends or colleagues.

Testimonials from previous Wellness Days:
"A wonderful experience which exceeded expectations. A real treat for mind, body & spirit. Rejuvenating, healing, fabulous service, excellent value."
"Absolutely fabulous. Cape Town's best kept secret!! Best birthday gift ever."
"Thoroughly enjoyed the massages as well as the peace and quiet of the place and the people"
"A very good day. I feel a tremendous difference for the treatments. The staff have been very polite and kind"

  • Specials
    Weekend Group retreats from Friday 6 pm to Sun 4pm: Fri 16th - Sun 18th Feb, Fri 30th March - Sun 1 April for only R1080, shared accommodation, shared bathroom

Our wish for you:

May you fall in love with yourself again and again every morning as you wake up.

With love from

The team at Nalanda Ayurvedic Centre

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