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Unit 2 Hemel & Aarde

Hermanus, 7201

071 536 1084

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Doctor Julienne Fenwick, Best of Both, health. creation
Doctor Julienne Fenwick, Best of Both, health

Dr Health Fanatic walks into a restaurant…

Being a health fanatic AND a foodie, I have made it my personal mission to find restaurants that support my dietary requirements. When I moved to Hermanus, there were very few places I could go to have an edible (let alone tasty) vegan and gluten-free meal. I started chatting to the chefs and restaurant owners who were open to hearing about my mission, and to my surprise, a handful of my favorite places started incorporating more and more health-based menu items.

There are few things as frustrating as asking a waitress if there are any gluten-free meals on the menu and hearing her reply: “Yes ma’am, we have got vegan options.” I realize this is not the server’s fault, but rather a reflection on the lack of knowledge of the restaurant owner and chef.

The epidemic of food allergies and gut health issues (IBS, leaky gut, fatty liver and high cholesterol for example) is far too prevalent for the food industry to stay ignorant. The list of the foods that most patients are encouraged to stop eating in order to boost their health includes gluten, dairy, sugar, red meat, coffee and alcohol in excess (and alcohol high in sulphites, i.e. most wine).

“#Best of Both Recommends” was created as a tool to benefit my patients who want to know where they can eat out locally (and what dishes on the menu are endorsed for gut and brain health).

My Food as Medicine career reached a high point recently when Carolyn Martin from Creation Winery (Top Winery in the World, Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Hermanus) asked me to consult on their  tasting menu.

Carolyn and I often discuss our shared passion for food and wellness, and how best to innovate and educate our respective fields, and link them in a synergistic way. Turning back to Nature as a source of inspiration (the theme for Creation’s decor and menu) is trending hugely at the moment, and many new studies are proving the benefit of living in tune with the natural rhythms and stepping out of our chronic state of fight and flight. Eating in a mindful manner has been shown to enhance absorption of nutrients and decrease indigestion (even if you eat a rich meal). Starting your meal with a shot of apple cider vinegar and a bite of greens can decrease your blood sugar spike by up to 70%. This translates to better hormonal regulation, mood and energy levels, as well as weight loss. These principles have been adapted from The Glucose Goddess, written by Jessica Inshaupe, a researcher who is changing the order in which we eat our meals. Creation’s menu starts with a hydrating welcome drink, a shot of green juice or green soup depending on the season. This lines the gut with a fibrous mesh that stabilizes blood sugar, leaving you feeling energized after enjoying your meal.

At Creation’s restaurant, you can now experience a 7 course tasting menu and wine paring, and leave the experience feeling light, inspired and full of information about healthy eating. All of their menu items are gluten and dairy free with no added refined sugar (see menu below). You can choose between vegan and free-range meat options, and can enjoy a tea paring if you’re not up to the wine. The meal is presented with key elements that encourage you to relax into the experience. This is to set your digestive system to a state of rest and digest, as opposed to fight or flight (sympathetic nervous system overdrive). My patients are absolutely thrilled that they can dine out and not feel deprived with so many delicious health-conscious options on the menu; and all so close to home.

The ancient culture of Ayurveda has been prescribing specific foods for ailments for over 5000 years. However, convincing patients to change their way of living in these modern times, and especially the way of preparing food, is a unique challenge. Food is deeply embedded in our  culture and elicits a very emotional response. However, using a Best of Both approach, my patients agree to change how they shop and cook, because we make it fun and delicious for the whole family. And so, a beautiful collaboration was born: Creation, in consultation with Best of Both Wellness now offers a unique dining experience where you can literally have your cake and eat it!

Inspired by the Ayurvedic philosophy, the tasting experience aims to indulge and stimulate the 8 senses (yes…you have 8 senses!). Sight is satisfied by the shapes and colors of your meal presentation, hearing is soothed by listening to a sea shell (“shell-phone”) and  smell and taste are intrigued by the food and wine pairing. Touch is enticed by the textures of the natural platters, and massaging some CBD oil into your stress-centre trigger-point on your hand. Proprioception is the movement of joints, the vestibular is your sense of balance while moving, and interception is the inside feeling of body awareness (fullness, temperature, gut movement). The lesser known senses are given attention in subtle ways that you can explore as you prefer. It’s a fun experience after all, and most people leave with a small seed of awareness around the link between their bodies and the food they eat.