By Veronica Inveen
May 13, 2020
Staying in used to mean getting some much-needed R&R from a hectic schedule. Nowadays, with more and more people working and studying from home, that frenetic pace has crept into what used to be our safe haven. Take a day off for a little self-care. Give yourself the time to reset and center yourself with a selection of DIY spa treatments, healthy recipes and wellness tips from the experts of luxury resorts around the world.
Start the day like a warrior
The Spa and Wellness Director of 137 Pillars House in Chiang Mai, Roger Moore, recommends the regular practice of the Warrior Pose which he believes is helpful for physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
“Warrior I is amazing for strengthening the feet, hamstrings, quadriceps, and gluteus. It is also good for building core power and for facilitating the internal rotation of the leg which can be quite challenging for many as well as opening the chest if you perform the posture with an energetic lift of the upper body. It is also awesome for teaching body awareness and increasing the body-mind connection. The internal rotation of the back foot, combined with the squaring of the hips and full plant of the back foot, requires that one have a great perception of where their body is in space. This mental challenge develops coordination and an overall sense of connection with your physical self. Lastly, Warrior I is great for opening the heart and developing courage. This pose has you standing really strong: one leg back, one leg forward, hips facing forward, and your chest lifted. The powerful stance can help you gain inner strength and courage, letting you open up to yourself and others.”
Boost your immune system
For more than a thousand years, the Javanese have been brewing special concoctions called jamu made with a variety of herbs and spices meant to treat specific ailments or simply to improve your overall wellbeing. Amandari wellness specialists Pak Sofyan and Ibu Onet share with us their jamu recipe. Kunyit Asem is a traditional Javanese jamu that combines tamarind, turmeric, pandan and palm sugar in an invigorating bright-orange blend that is believed to support the immune system thanks to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of its ingredients. Note that this is based on ingredients that are readily available in Bali—some creative substitutions may be called for.
125g – Palm sugar or can be substituted by 5 tablespoons maple syrup
125g – Chopped and crushed turmeric root or 4 heaping teaspoons of turmeric powder
30g – Ginger
100g – Seedless tamarind or 5 tablespoons tamarinds paste mixed with some warm water or the juice of two limes if tamarind is not available
1 pandan leaf or 4 kaffir lime leaves
Combine everything in a pan with 600 ml of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, leave to cool, and strain through a muslin. Decant into a bottle and refrigerate. Enjoy a small glass in the morning.
Get the blood circulating with a revitalizing scrub
An at-home spa day just isn’t complete without a luxurious body scrub. Aside from helping keep your skin soft, smooth and hydrated, body scrubs also aid in stimulating blood circulation and improve the overall tone and health of your skin. Capella Singapore divulges the recipe to their Himalayan Salt Scrub with ingredients such as grapefruit essential oil that will help to stimulate the lymphatic system and eliminate excess water. It also helps to boost circulation and diminish the appearance of cellulite.
Capella Singapore’s Himalayan Salt Scrub Recipe
1 cup – Himalayan Salt
½ cup – Coconut Oil
1-2 tbsp – Olive Oil
5 drops – Grapefruit Essential Oil
1 Container or Jar
Combine salt, coconut oil and olive oil in a bowl. Add in drops of grapefruit essential oil to your preference. Transfer mixture into a container (we like to use mason jars). Use the scrub in the bath or shower and apply to your body in circular motions. Focus on elbows, knees, feet, etc. as needed. Rinse with lukewarm water.
Have a nutritious lunch
One&Only Desaru Coast shares a recipe for healthy spelt crepes by their Executive Sous Chef Kelvin Lee. The recipe is featured in their signature Biolight Diet from the resort’s Chenot Spa, a bespoke nutrition plan designed for guests to achieve their health goals without compromising on taste and encouraging the development of good nutritional habits.
Baked Spelt Crepes with Spinach, Tofu and Tomato Sauce
For the spelt crepes:
50 g – Spelt flour
50 g – Wholemeal flour
250 ml – Soy milk
1 pinch – Ground nutmeg
3/4 tbsp – Olive oil
For the stuffing:
100 g – Spinach
½ Red onion, chopped
50 g – Tofu, extra firm
1 tbsp – Olive oil
1 g – Seaweed strips
250 g – Canned tomato sauce
For the batter, combine both flours, soy milk, ground nutmeg and olive oil in a bowl until formed into a smooth paste. Heat a heavy-duty non-stick pan over medium heat. Lightly grease with oil and use a paper towel to wipe out the excess.
To cook the crepes, pour in 3-to-4 tablespoons of batter into the pan, swirling and tilting to spread it into a thin, even layer. Cook until the top looks dry, about 20 seconds. Using a spatula, lift one edge of the crepe and flip it. Cook the second side for 10 seconds, then transfer to a plate. Set it aside and prepare the filling.
Add olive oil and onions to a pan over low-medium heat. Leave them for 5 minutes with the lid on to allow them to sweat. Take the lid off and stir. Repeat this until onions are soft and translucent but not browning. Add the spinach and cook for another 3- to- 5 minutes. Transfer the spinach into a mixing bowl combine with tofu and seaweed.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Spread the spinach-tofu puree onto the crepes. Roll them up and cut the log into 4 cm pieces. Place them onto a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes. Serve with warm tomato sauce and additional seaweed strips.
Spend time improving your mental health
Grace Zhu, the Life Coach at Sangha Retreat by the Octave Institute shares with us her strategies at keeping healthy and sane during difficult times with her ‘REM Strategy.’ “How you spend a day is how you spend your life, so don’t waste any time even amidst a pandemic. Ask yourself: when all of this is over and you look back, how do you want to have used this time? Our mental wellbeing is very important and vulnerable in this unprecedented situation,” she shares. “therefore we recommend a ‘REM’ strategy to keep healthy.”
‘R’ stands for regular: Our mind needs certainty, so we should try to maintain a regular daily schedule, sleeping and rising early. Strive to include some form of mindful practices in your day, for example, meditation, yoga, Taichi, etc.
‘E’ stands for entertainment: Our mind also needs variety, so we should make time in our life to check in with friends, watch movies, listen to music, or anything lighthearted and humorous. Even though we must stay at home, you can take some time every day to ‘Travel From Home’; find a comfortable position, close your eyes and visualize yourself in your favorite location. Try to recall all the sensory elements of that place and completely immerse yourself. Channel those feelings for a few minutes so that your mind and body can go back to the relaxed state it was in when you were present in that location.
‘M’ stands for meaningful: We tend to feel emptiness when we are at home for too long, so try to do something meaningful every day. It can be studying, cooking, reading a new book, acquiring a new skill, or organizing your sock drawer—anything, as long as it gives you a sense of achievement. It’s best to set a series of small goals for yourself.
Enjoy a healthy dinner inspired by nature
Eating light for dinner has often been touted to help improve sleep. Salads, however, don’t always induce that hearty comfort we all crave at the end of the day. Try this delicious recipe from Singita, whose menus are known for offering plenty of vegetarian and vegan dishes. To finish your day of wellness on a good note, savor a delicious Beetroot Tart from Singita’s Sweni Lodge in South Africa.
Singita’s Sweni Lodge Beetroot Tart Recipe
250 g – Cooked whole beetroot, boiled and peeled
50 ml – Red wine vinegar
2 tbsp – Treacle sugar
The juice of 1 orange
1 Sheet of puff pastry
1 Sprig of rosemary
1 Egg, whisked
Place the vinegar, orange juice, sugar and rosemary into a small pan and simmer over very low heat for roughly five minutes or until you have a syrupy consistency. Allow to cool.
Scoop out 8 “balls” of cooked beetroot using a melon baller and place them into the vinegar and orange juice mixture. Coat the beetroot evenly with the syrup.
Place your puff pastry on a floured work surface. Using a round template (e.g. a teacup, saucer or side plate) cut out a round piece of puff pastry. Remember the size of your template will determine the size of your tart!
Next, brush the round of puff pastry with the egg wash and place on a greased baking tray. Place your beetroot balls on top of the puff pastry, arranging them in a symmetrical pattern. Keep any leftover vinegar and orange mix for plating. Place the tray in a preheated oven at 180°C for 10- to- 12 minutes or until the puff pastry is golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
Calm your senses before bed with a cup of tea
Simon Lycett, a world-renowned floral expert and a Belmond Good Living Experience Maker, believes that beautiful blooms are more than just a feast for the eyes. He shares with us his favorite Rose Geranium Tea, which has antiseptic and calming properties.
“Try to source organic leaves from a rose-scented pelargonium plant, also known as Rose Geranium. My favorite varieties to grow and harvest are “Attar of Roses” and “Sweet Mimosa”. They have the bonus of growing very pretty flowers. I grow my own geraniums for their flowers and leaves, using them all throughout the summer. They serve as beautiful, decorative and fragrant foliage. This means that when harvesting a few handfuls of leaves, I tend to shake and blow them to remove any dust, rather than washing them. Washing can remove some of the flavorful and fragrant oils. However, if you aren’t as sure of the provenance of your leaves, give them a good swish through a bowl of cold water. Fill and boil a kettle and pour it into an empty teapot and leave it to warm. Refill your kettle with fresh water and bring it to the boil. Empty your now warmed teapot and place a generous handful of rose-scented geranium leaves inside. Pour on the boiling water and swirl the leaves gently with a spoon. Pop on the lid and wrap in a tea towel or swathe in a tea cozy. Leave to stand for four minutes. Find your favorite cup and saucer, tea-glass or mug and fill it with the pale green, fragrant liquid. Find a relaxing spot, settle back and enjoy.”
For more botanical tea recipes visit: www.belmond.com/ideas/articles/belmond-botanical-teas.
Stephanie Zubiri Crespi is an author as well as a food, lifestyle and travel journalist with an active online and social media presence. Her bestselling travel-inspired cookbook ”Feast With Me” won the Philippine National Book Awards for the Best Book in the Food Category (2018) and was also a finalist for the World Gourmand Book Awards (2017). She is currently the Editor-in-Chief for Tatler Homes Philippines and Food and Wine Editor for Tatler Dining Philippines. Stephanie’s regular column in the Philippine Star has been running now for more than nine years and she is a contributing writer to Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia as well as many other regional and international travel and inflight publications. Finally, Stephanie hosts two TV shows: Modern Living TV which is currently on its 10th season and is the longest continually running lifestyle show on Philippine television and a spinoff of her book “Feast With Me” is currently airing on Cignal One News as a segment in the show “Let’s Eat!!” www.stephaniezubiri.com; @stephaniezubiri