At my feet laps the mighty Ayung River grounding my cosmic self and pacifying the psychological Disneyland that is having the ride of its life in my upstairs brain. Downstairs in second brain HQ my digestive fire has gone to lunch – and nowhere remotely flash either! I am a girl who is used to feeling her chakras spinning but sadly there’s not even a shimmy. Something had to be done – and fortunately for me I rekindled my spirit and reawakened my calling, thanks to a wonderful adventure in paradise at Fivelements Bali.
A few months prior to my visit I had returned home from another trip to Bali feeling very worse for wear emotionally, spiritually and physically. I had attended the wonderful Ubud Writers & Readers Festival however was in no shape to party or fully savour the literary feast being dished up. The offering was truly awesome, but I just wasn’t feeling it. Ubud was jam packed with tourists, overwhelmingly hot and bursting at the seams with two concurrent festivals.
As I departed Ngurah Rai airport after the festival I wondered if I would ever return to Bali. I certainly had no intention of revisiting in 2014 until an enticing email landed in my inbox. It read, “Do you have any plans to travel to Bali in the near future? If you do, we would love to offer you a stay at Fivelements to experience their offerings and the sacred atmosphere of the retreat?”
Now I had barely been home for a fortnight and therefore had no real desire to do an about-face and fly back to Bali – especially when the two-hour long wait in the immigration queue to was enough to return yourself to sender. Yet something niggled inside me. It had been a tough year and the prospect of visiting Fivelements and immersing myself in a dedicated spiritual wellness retreat complete with world-class living cuisine was too good to refuse. I needed healing and I needed it now – and no amount of Byron Bay pseudo-spiritual babble was going to get me through to the other side.
Prior to arrival at Fivelements I chose not to research the property any further – as is my M.O. with many of the resorts and retreats I visit and/or review. It makes for a bounty of surprise and takes out any potential ‘brochure envy’. I was whisked away from my friends at The Westin Nusa Dua – where I had enjoyed a brief stopover – and catapulted into the sacred space that is Fivelements. After a quick retreat debrief at reception I was into the Wellness Centre for the signature Elixir Super Food Facial. Now being an ol’ superfoods chef from way back I thought this might be a touch of tokenism – oh how wrong could I be! This was the bees’ knees of skin therapy as far as I am concerned.
Firstly, my face was scrubbed clean and sparkling with virgin coconut oil, cleansed with coconut milk, toned with Bali flower water, scrubbed with neem – a pressed oil from the fruits and seeds of the evergreen tree Azadirachta indica – then steamed with local herbs and flowers. The tingling enzyme peel was a pop of pure pineapple, followed by a cooling serum of aloe vera. All this goodness was sealed with an ice-cold crystal, eradicating those pesky lines and sealing in a new vibration to prepare my skin for a mask of Spirulina and cucumber, completed with a final serum leaving my skin dewy, tighter and as bright as a button!
Award winning Cuisine for Life™
One of the first destinations with raw vegan cuisine to have ever been awarded “Spa Cuisine of the Year”, Fivelements luxury healing resort in Bali has been pioneering the raw food movement in Asia from the start. Its concept Cuisine For Life™ promotes living foods as a key rejuvenating tool and it plays a central part in all Fivelements’ healing programmes.
Fresh faced and hungry for change I was swiftly transferred from spa to kitchen – two places I feel very at home in. I was taken through a signature private Cuisine For Life™ un-cooking class where we discussed various recipes and tasted an assortment of menu staples. With much to compare and share it was more like a workshop and meeting of the minds.
Later I would meet Chef Made Runatha, a true kindred spirit and devotee of living cuisine for many years. A colourful chef with a rich tapestry of life experience – we could have talked about food and life all day if time permitted. Chef Made and his team elevated my understanding of raw food to a dizzy new height I never thought possible. After four days of Cuisine For Life™ I was mentally calm, spiritually richer and my skin glowed from top to toe. Previously I was not convinced that a diet of raw food alone would be of service to my constitution, however my experience at Fivelements has completely altered my perception – and intention – for the better. The menu is rich in choice and punctuated with a selection of very good, lightly cooked dishes including the sublime breakfast dish of sweet potato roesti with sautéed mushrooms, macadamia Parmesan and cashew cream below.
Other standout dishes from the vast Sakti Dining Room menu offering included stuffed zucchini blossoms, Balinese Lumpia – crunchy raw vegetable spring roll with sweet chili tamarind sauce, and a zucchini pappardele Alfredo tossed lightly with creamy cashew Alfredo sauce, kalamata olives, capers, macadamia Parmesan and truffle oil. The live lasagna comprised of layers of cashew cheese, tomato marinara, basil pesto, baby spinach, marinated Shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced zucchini with a raw Bechamel herb sauce.
Chef Made and his team thrive in their passion for wholefoods and integrating conventional European concepts and Asian favourites cleverly into a mosaic of energizing, wholesome and creative food that cleverly disguises the fact that approximately eighty-five percent of the menu is based on raw food techniques. A stand out dish was the mushroom farinata – coconut crepes filled with caramelized onion, marinated Shitake, shredded spinach sun-dried tomatoes, on green garlic aioli, romaine and asparagus. The simplicity of the roasted medallions of purple sweet potatoes, buttered cilantro, Portobello mushrooms, with aged balsamic (below) would please any vegetarian sceptic.
This is living cuisine at its finest and I am honoured to have been a part of what is set to become the global leader in raw food and the healing cuisines. Good enough for raw food guru Matthew Kenney who was also visiting at the time.
The philosophy behind Sakti Dining Room is to provide the most regenerative cuisine possible. Far more than simply fuel, vegan and raw living foods actively support each guests’ healing journey to greater wellness, by raising energy levels and mental clarity, encouraging a positive outlook and giving every opportunity for each person to reach their highest potential. The innovative wellness restaurant concept is highly acclaimed for its creative chef’s specialty tastings, available in 3, 5 and 7-course menus, sure to surprise and delight all diners, from confirmed carnivores to raw living foods cuisine enthusiasts.
About Fivelements – An exclusive opportunity
Fivelements is a company co-creating holistic healing destinations. Heartquartered at Fivelements, Puri Ahimsa healing centre in Bali, Indonesia, the parent company intends to create an alliance of healing centres around the globe that will bridge the wisdom of traditional healing cultures and promote peace among nations through the growth of these mystic economies. I was a guest of my inspiring new friends Chicco and Lahra and I am overwhelmingly grateful for the opportunity. Why don’t you join us in 2015 for a living cuisine retreat? Dates to be confirmed so please email me and register your interest here
+62 361 469 260
Puri Ahimsa Banjar Baturning,
Mambal, Bali, Indonesia 80352