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Bali Detox, Healing, Herbal Bali, Uncategorized

Ultimate Bali detox recipe

bok-choy

Detox Day 7

So far, so good. I am one week into my detox and have to say I am feeling great. The first couple of days left me feeling a little light headed and plagued by  headaches, but by day three I was starting to feel like my system had been kick started and everything was working better. I have really enjoyed making the time to source organic vegetables and fruit and to prepare healthy and nutritious meals that I am eating mindfully. I have been eating spinach and bok choy almost every day, and this is one of my favourite recipes.

Wilted greens with garlic and sesame

  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced 1 large bunch spinach , stemmed
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp. sesame seeds for garnish

Warm oil in large fry pan  over medium-high heat. Add garlic and stir until lightly browned, about 45 seconds. Add greens (do in two batches if necessary) and toss until just wilted, 2 to 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Health benefits of bok choy

Dark leafy greens are a nutritional powerhouse, rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients like beta-carotene and lutein. Chlorophyll helps eliminate environmental toxins from heavy metals and pesticides  and helps to protect the liver. Some people find the bitterness of greens a little overbearing, however tossing greens with garlic, salt and pepper takes the edge off the bitterness, and sprinkling with sesame seeds adds some crunch.

Bali Detox, Healing, Herbal Bali, Uncategorized

Bali Detox: Hummus and Tahini

2013-08-26 12.33.00 I have always loved hummus but for some reason it had never occurred to me to make it myself, but as my endeavour this week is to get creative in the kitchen and avoid buying anything processed the time has come to make my own hummus, and its actually way simpler than I thought. While I love sesame seeds I am  not a huge fan of tahini, so I made my first batch without any. It tasted great, but the next day I experimented with making my own tahini as well and adding a little to the hummus –  it tasted good as well, so its  just a matter of personal preference I guess.

When it comes to preparing the chick peas its always best to buy them dry, soak overnight and then boil until tender (about 1hour – 1 half hours) they hold their taste and form far better when prepared this way – whereas chick peas out of a can tend to be a little mushier.

Hummus Ingredients

  • 2 cups chick peas (soaked overnight and boiled till tender)

  • 1 clove garlic, crushed

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • sprig of parsley (finely chopped)

  • 2 teaspoons tahini (optional)

Method: Place the chick peas in a blender and mix until smooth. Add olive oil, crushed garlic, salt, cumin and tahini (optional). Lightly blend, serve sprinkled with parsley

Tahini recipe

  • 5 cups sesame seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups olive oil or vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350. Toast sesame seeds for 5-10 minutes, tossing the seeds frequently with a spatula. Do not allow to brown. Cool for 20 minutes.

Pour sesame seeds into food processor and add oil. Blend for 2 minutes. Check for consistency. The goal is a thick, yet pourable texture. Add more oil and blend until desired consistency.

Bali Detox, Healing, Herbal Bali, Uncategorized

Bali Detox: Chick Pea salad

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Chick peas or garbanzo beans are a great source of protein and fibre and make a fabulous edition to a vegetarian diet, and will also help sustain you while detoxing.  They  have a low glycemic index and keep you feeling full – a powerful combination in helping control weight as you consume fewer calories. They are also highly versatile – and taste great sprinkled through a salad, mushed into falafel, or burgers, or crushed into humus.

  • 2 cups peeled diced cucumber, (cut lengthwise and scoop out seeds), diced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely minced
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, pressed
  • 2 cups garbanzo beans (soaked and cooked)
  • 3 TBS fresh lemon juice
  • 2-1/2 TBS chopped fresh mint
  • 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 medium head romaine lettuce, use tender whole leaves for bed

Combine all the vegetables and herbs then toss with lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper for a heart fresh salad.

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Bali Detox, Healing, Herbal Bali, island life

Detoxing in Bali

As I am going to be spending the next three weeks detoxing I have been doing some research into ingredients here in Bali that are perfect for purifying the body, and it seems that the island is bountiful in this regard.

Coconuts

The first rule of detoxing is to drink plenty of water, better yet, take advantage of the abundance of fresh green coconuts on the island – the ultimate drink for the tropics. Known as the tree of life, coconut is one of the nature’s healthiest gifts; amidst a myriad of health benefits, it is packed full of minerals and electrolytes, which helps keep the body nourished, hydrated and sustained. Drink straight from the shell with a little lime and ice.

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Pumpkin Seeds

The rich volcanic slopes of Bali produce tasty, nutrient rich pumpkins (known as ‘Emperor of the Sun’ in China) which are an excellent source of vitamins A, B and E, as well as powerful antioxidants, like carotene.  Even better, their seeds are rich in protein, amino acids, zinc, magnesium, and omega 3 fatty acids – all essential to the detox system. Pumpkin seeds have also proved highly effective in the removal of intestinal parasites which wreak havoc on the digestive system and contribute to the build up of toxins.  Seeds are best eaten raw or sprouted, or you can create pumpkin seed milk.  Take a quarter cup of pumpkin seeds, a quarter cup of pitted dates, a pinch of sea salt, one quarter teaspoon of vanilla extract and two and a half cups of water and purify in a blender for a tasty and effective way to cleanse the intestines.

Fruit

Bali abounds with lush tropical fruits that taste amazing and are brimming with vitamins, minerals and fibre. Papaya is packed full of enzymes that promote a healthy digestive system and contains one of the highest Vitamin C contents of all fruits. It is also high in Vitamin A and flavonoids like b-carotene and lutein which have strong anti oxidant properties. Mango, known as ‘The King of Fruits’ is similarly enzyme rich and high in Vitamin A  as well as potassium, magnesium, iron and copper. Dice fruit to make a fruit salad, or toss in the blender with a little water and ice for a luscious tropical juice. Try mixing banana and pineapple, or watermelon and papaya.

Kalamansi limes

The small limes that grow here in Bali have a slightly sweeter and milder taste than their larger lemony cousins. Packed with vitamin C, limes helps convert toxins into a water soluble form that can be easily excreted from the body.  Highly alkaline, they will restore the bodies PH balance, stimulate the digestive system, and hydrate the lymphatic system.  The best way to start your day is with a glass of warm water mixed with the juice of one squeezed lime.

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Beetroot
A valuable source of vitamins, iron, magnesium, zinc and calcium – all  necessary to promote  detoxification and elimination. Beets support good gallbladder and liver health – organs that are paramount for breaking down and removing toxins. The high amount of fibre in beetroot improves digestion and helps eliminate bodily waste. Luscious beets combined with carrots and ginger make a great cleansing juice.

Kankung (water spinach)

Slightly less bitter than other forms of spinach, Kangkung is a staple part of a Balinese village diet. As with all dark leafy greens, it is a nutritional powerhouse, rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients like beta-carotene and lutein. Chlorophyll helps eliminate environmental toxins from heavy metals and pesticides, and helps to protect the liver. Take a bunch of spinach and wilt in a covered saucepan with a little water for a few minutes, then lightly stir fry with garlic, or simmer for a few minutes with some coconut milk for a healthy ‘creamed spinach.’

Garlic

Local garlic is not as strongly flavoured as European varieties, but has all the same benefits, such as promoting heart health, activating liver enzymes and enhancing the body’s immune cell activity. The component Allicin is a natural antibiotic and helps the body to halt the growth and reproduction of germs. To enhance the benefits of garlic, slice or press then leave for five minutes before cooking, or better yet, add raw to salad dressings.

Tumeric

Turmeric cleanses the liver gently and naturally. Often used in Ayurvedic medicine it is an antioxidant that boosts the creation and production of bile – necessary for breaking down fats and toxins. The compound substance Curcumin aids in treating gallstones. Turmeric blends well with lime and honey to form the basis of Jamu kunyit – a popular health tonic on the islands.

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Seaweed

The beaches of Nusa Dua, the Bukit and Lembongan are still farmed for seaweed, a traditional Balinese industry. The algin in seaweeds absorb toxins from the digestive tract and offers the broadest range of minerals of any food, containing virtually all the minerals found in the ocean. Seaweed is also a very powerful antioxidant that helps to alkalize the blood and strengthen the digestive tract. Mix with greens, and toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds to make a great salad.

Cinnamon

The exotic flavour of cinnamon makes it popular in cooking, while Chinese medicine and Ayurveda have long revered cinnamon as a superpower used to treat things such as colds, indigestion and cramps, and to improve energy, vitality and circulation. Cinnamon heats the digestive fire – thus promoting healthy digestive system. It also has a natural cleansing action that stops the growth of microbes and kills bacteria and fungi. Cinnamon combines particularly well with honey to make a restorative tea.  

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Bali Detox, Healing, Herbal Bali, island life, Uncategorized

Bali Detox

So, its been a while that I haven’t been feeling so fabulous – low energy, sniffly , poor digestion. It finally got to the point where I knew I had to take some positive steps and made an appointment with Bali Natural Healing Centre in Canggu http://www.balihealing.org/index.html I had heard really good things about Peggy Marienfeld – a naturopath from Germany who who been in Bali for several years.   She has a really sensible and balanced approach to healing and holistic well being and I warmed to her immediately.

I have always believe in a holistic approach to health but am sensible enough to know that sometimes the western path of medicine is the only way to go holistic v western but at other times – like now, the last thing I want to do is burden my overloaded system with harsh  synthetic drugs. It seems like my stomach needs some TLC not a chemical blitz, and so I am embarking on a detox/cleanse.  Peggy gave me a tincture of cloves, ginger, wormwood and black walnut to help clean out the parasites and my online research confirms that these are all commonly used herbs for parasites. I have to take this for three weeks, and have also stocked up on chlorophyll and probiotics. You see, my aim is removal and regeneration. I want to remove the toxins and parasites, but simultaneously restore the balance to my system. I have also stocked up my fridge with organic greens and am removing all sugar, wheat  and refined/processed food from my diet for the next couple of weeks. detox ingredients in Bali

Quite often I will just eat a salad for lunch and steamed vegetables and rice for dinner, however I know that I will quickly get very bored if this is all I eat for two weeks so I have vowed to be adventurous and to make cooking healthy, tasty and nutritious food  my mission. I started today with bok choy. Yes, I know its good for you – and I try to add it to my diet as often as possible – but really, its not my favourite food, yet there is a big bunch of it in my fridge (alongside some Sri Lankan spinach and some very dark green Kale.) I started thinking about a dish I used to love when I lived in Fiji –  palusani – water spinach cooked in coconut cream and this became the inspiration for my lunch.  At the risk of not sounding at all humble, I have to say it turned out to be divine. And went perfectly with my rice steamed with star anise, cardamom and cinnamon (who says rice is boring?)

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Ingredients: Spinach in coconut milk

  • 2 large bok choy, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded
  • 1/2 head broccoli
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4 cup light coconut milk
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • organic salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Steam the vegetables until wilted, then lightly sautee in olive oil.
  2. Add all other ingredients and stir until well combined and then simmer about ten minutes
Great things to do in Bali, island life, Uncategorized

Temples in Bali

You find them clinging to steep volcanic slopes, perched on craggy cliffs, or nestled in the branches of towering banyan trees.  Some seem to float on serene lakes, while others are tucked away amidst the frangipani in family compounds. Known as Pura, Bali’s temples are the meeting points of humans and gods and here, on the island of the gods, a temple is never far from view.

More than 10,000 temples are scattered across the island and commemorate virtually every aspect of life: harvest, rain, prosperity, life, death and protection. Generally, the greater gods are worshipped in larger public temples while lesser gods and deities are worshipped in smaller local temples. The most important are known as the nine directional temples or Kahyangan jagat and occupy auspicious locations, like mountains, cliffs and lakes.  Unlike smaller regional temples, these are considered to be relevant to all of Bali and protect the island and its inhabitants from evil spirits.  From these, six are classed as sad-kahyangan, supreme holy temples and are considered the pillars of the island.  These generally include Pura Besakih, Pura Uluwatu, Pura Goa Lawah, Pura Lempuyang Luhur, Pura Batukaru, Pura Pusering Jagat.

Pura kahyangan jagad: mountain temples

Bali’s majestic mountains and volcanoes are thought to be the abode of the gods, and these temples command impressive settings with panoramic backdrops. They are places  of pilgrimage – especially during full moon ceremonies and odalan (temple anniversaries.) Pura Besakih – the  mother temple is the most important of all and occupies an enormous complex 1000 m high on the slopes of Mount Agung – Bali’s holiest mountain. Believed to be the spiritual and religious centre of the universe,  Brahma, Wisnuand Siwa are worshipped here, as well as  a host of other deities. The  tropical rainforest of Mount Batakaru is home to another important – if less visited –temple, Pura Luhur Batukaru, which is dedicated to the god of plants and growing. While over in the north east, Pura Lempuyang  (the dragon temple) perches on a lonely, windy mountain ridge and is dedicated to the god Iswara, ‘keeper of the peace,’ and is reached by way of 1,700 steep steps cut into the mountainside.

Pura segara: ocean temples

These mighty Balinese sea temples were designed to appease the wild and unruly gods of the ocean, and have particular significance during the Melasti purification rituals that precede Nyepi (the Balinese new year.) During this time sacred objects and effigies are carried in long and colourful processions to the ocean where people bathe with the deities, in a symbolic cleansing of body and soul. With its dramatic setting on the cliffs of southern Bali, Pura Luhur Uluwatu is one of the island’s most famous sea temples and is dedicated to Rudra, the god of storms and wind. While Pura Goa Lawah hugs the coast of Kusamba and is associated with the after life. Commonly known as the Bat Cave (there are hundreds of them – but they are not  objects of worship,) it is said to be linked to Pura Besakih by a 30km tunnel which, according to mythology, is inhabited by a giant dragon-like snake that feeds off bats.

Pura tirta: water temples

Unlike other temples which serve purely religious purposes, the picturesque water temples also have a practical role to play in the management of subak (rice irrigation system), with temple priests managing the water allocation among  the surrounding rice paddies. Some of these temples have sacred springs and bathing pools making them a popular destination for cleansing rituals, the most well known being Pura Tirta Empul.  Believed to have been created by Indra, the ruler of heaven, and god of thunder and rainfall, the holy waters of Tirta Empul are said to have strong curative properties.Other water temples are built within lakes, such as the stunning Pura Ulun Danu Bratan which appears to float on the water and is dedicated to the worship of the goddess of lakes and rivers.

Khayangan Tiga: territorial temples

Each village іs required by adat  (traditional law) to have аt least three temples. These include the pura puseh (temple оf origin) dedicated the village founders and located аt the kaja (pure) side оf the village. In the center of the village, the pura desa (village temple) is for the spirits that protect and bless the village, while the pura dalem (temple оf the dead) is situated аt the kelod (unclean) end and also acts as a graveyard.  There are also functional temples belonging to different professions and their relevant deities. For instance Dewi sri, the rice goddess, is worshipped at rice temples, while farmers and merchants have temples located next to Bali’s markets  which are dedicated to Dewi Melanting, the goddess of seeds, gardens and markets. Family temples are the smallest and the most numerous and can be found in every Balinese Hindu compound. Ancestors are worshipped at these hereditary shrines which are honoured with daily offerings .

 

Great things to do in Bali, Yoga and Meditation

Free Diving Amed


“The one who controls his breath is the ruler over his mind and body”

Swami Satyananda Saraswati.”

Photographs courtesy of Cdelacy / www.apneista.com  

More on Amed

Learning to free dive

 

Amed with its rugged mountain scenery and vibrant coral reefs is increasingly known as a centre for free-diving in Bali, and is home to Apneista, the island’s first free-diving school.  With a beachside yoga shala, cafe and juice bar on the picturesque bay of Jemuluk, Apneista  offers a range of courses that combine the essentials of free-diving with yoga, stretching, pranayama and advanced breath work – all  components of going ‘down the line’ into the big blue.   “Yoga breath is the bridge between mind and body, the conscious and the unconscious  says Matt, founder of  Apneista. “Rather than yoga being simply part of our free-diving training, we see free-diving as the oceanic part of our yoga practice.”

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People have been free-diving for thousands of years, scraping the ocean floor for pearls, shell fish and sponges, but free diving as a sport was relatively unknown until the iconic film of the 80’s, The Big Blue.  The movie, loosely based on the real life rivalry between two champion free-divers, Jaques Mayol and Enzo Maiorca, captured the glory days as divers reached record depths and in so doing challenged the notions of human biology. It was discovered that humans, like sea mammals possess the mammalian dive reflex – when  the body is submerged in cold water all major systems slow down, minimising the need for oxygen. Known as the dolphin man,  French-born Mayol mastered his free-dive technique by swimming with dolphins –   in mimicking their behavior he learned how to integrate himself with the ocean. By adding the power of yoga and meditation, he revolutionised the sport, becoming the first free diver to reach 100 meters.  As yogis have always taught us, when we become aware of our breath, incredible things can happen.

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While adrenalin junkies still strive to go ever deeper, these days many are drawn to the more gentle, recreational aspects of free diving, and the opportunity to enjoy the peace and stillness of the underwater world unencumbered by a  tank. While scuba diving enables you to stay underwater for a longer time, passively observing the reefs and marine life; free-diving allows a full aquatic immersion as you float gently on the currents, completely at one with the ocean. There is an extraordinary sensation of weightlessness and silence, time seems to stand still – in fact it doesn’t seem to exist at all. The outer peace of the surrounding deep blue ocean creates an extraordinary sense of inner peace – or perhaps it’s the other way around… its hard to tell when the  body and mind are acting as one and flowing effortlessly, seamlessly into an intensely beautiful experience.

Asanas and free diving

Just as yoga asanas are often inspired by animals,  free-diving – sometimes referred to as ocean yoga – teaches us to move like a fish, gliding slowly and gracefully through the ocean. “Yoga teaches us alignment of the body, with practice the body becomes more fluid in nature as we develop flexibility and make space, but this is not a  thing only of ligaments and muscles, it is a thing of energy,” says Matt. “We don’t do this for the sake of sitting in ever-more complicated postures, we do this so the body’s subtle life juices can flow better. With free-diving our focus is precisely on this type of fluid movement, to move like water through water. We learn that rigid movement is wasteful movement the forgiving nature of water allows us a fluid realignment of the body.”

The benefits of Pranayama

“The list of benefits of yoga for the free diver are long – from teaching mental clarity and thoracic flexiblity to emotional well-being, but  the benefits of free-diving to the Yogi, when practiced in the right spirit, are equally profound,” says Matt. “ The most obvious  is the control and understanding of the breath, free-diving as a door into the science of pranayama.”   Those who practice pranayama regularly are naturally able to hold their breath longer and are accustomed to exploring the breath and the mind’s reactions to the body, perfect tools for free diving which requires  a range of breathing techniques, including a pre dive ‘breathe up’ and a ‘post dive’ recovery breath.”

 

Underwater Meditation

Yoga and meditation teach us to let go of tension, to be in the moment, as we learn to passively observe thoughts and physical sensations without putting energy into them. This is essential to free diving where the mind may initially rebel against the idea of going deep and being unable to breath – but it is only by confronting our fears that we are able to move beyond them. “This drawing together of mind and body into one focused moment is some of the essence of yoga,” says Matt. “In Bali the sea is considered a place of many dangerous spirits yet also a place of purification,” he adds. “In a romantic way we can see free-diving in the Balinese context as a ritualised confrontation with the our ‘low spirits’ of fear and needless anxiety. When we free-dive sometimes the mind turns against us becoming mischievous or fearful, we can become plagued by our own inner ‘demons of doubt’. But with the ritual of our weighted line and safety procedures  and our faith in physics we can see beyond the doubts to the deep blue face of mother nature. Then we free-dive mindfully, infused with calm and a sense of home coming.

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Amed

Photograph Cdelacy for www.apneista.com

Famed for its pristine reefs, Amed lures divers from around the world, but there is much more to this scenic coast line than ship wrecks and coral gardens.

Tucked into the north east corner of Bali, where rugged mountains tumble to a cerulean sea, Amed basks in glorious isolation. Peaceful fishing villages cling to the coast where black sand is lined with colourful jukungs (fishing boats) and tranquil bays teem with marine life. Often described as sleepy, the region is gently waking up and provides a quirky, unspoilt alternative to the buzzing south. Amidst the rustic home stays and charming boutique hotels traditional life continues much as it always has. Fishermen set sail before dawn, farmers tend to cassava and peanut crops, and the white crystals of the salt pans glisten in the sunlight.

Amed’s attractions are not limited to single sites, you need to take in the big picture by immersing yourself in the dramatic natural scenery as you explore the ocean and the land. The name Amed generally refers to a string of  fishing villages joined by a  narrow road that dips and winds between the mountains and the sea.  Each upward swerve reveals picturesque half moon bays that will have you constantly reaching for your camera. This is the driest region of Bali and the sloping, parched red earth is strewn with boulders, brambles, black lava rock and wild grasses baked to a crisp coppery gold. In striking contrast,  branches of bougainvillea, hibiscus and frangipani frame the deep blue sea with vibrant splashes of colour. Low lying villages are set amidst palm groves and mango trees, where women collect firewood, chickens streak across the road in wild abandon and cows loiter in the shade of the banana groves.

A scenic road leads inland to the village of Bangle and gives a glimpse into rural life,  with terraced hills strewn with cassava and corn plantations and houses made of stone and thatch.  The village nestles in an oasis of greenery, thanks to a series of holy springs – each with a different taste. For a small fee one of the villagers will act as a guide.

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pura lempuyang  (the dragon temple)

Past Bangle, the rough road steepens sharply and leads to one of the island’s most important temples, Pura Lempuyang, known as the abode of the God Iswara, ‘keeper of the peace.’ Isolated on a windy mountain ridge with stunning views over the valleys, this mysterious and beautiful temple is a place of pilgrimage and spiritual awakening, especially during elaborate full moon ceremonies. The temple is more easily and safely reached on the inland road from Culik, and with 1700 steps to climb is best visited early in the morning. 

The Salt Pans

The Lombok Straight brings clean cold fast moving water from the north which mixes with the warm Bali tropical water to create a unique artisan salt which is stocked in gourmet delicatessens around the world. While the industry is declining, salt pans are still scattered around the shores of Amed, where farmers use ancient techniques to craft 100% natural salt by sun and wind evaporation. The taste is unique – mild and slightly sweet – and salt can be bought direct from the farmers who will happily give you a tour and explain the production process.

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In total contrast to the inhospitable landscape, the calm sea is home to some of Bali’s most beautiful reefs – a  veritable underwater fantasy world inhabited by frolicking sea horses, giant trevally, schools of barracuda, clown frog fish, reef sharks, turtles and a diverse range of hard and soft coral. The thriving marine life is attributed to  low level tourism, and the phenomenon known as the Indonesian Through flow which links the Indian and Pacific oceans with streams of nutrient rich cold water that nourish the reefs of eastern Bali.

The Liberty ship wreck in nearby Tulamben is one of Bali’s most famous dive sites, but the bays around Amed have plenty to captivate novice and experienced divers. Best of all, many of the sites can be accessed directly from the beach and are equally enjoyed with a mask and snorkel.  Highlights include the sheltered bay at Jemeluk with a vibrant reef teeming with tropical fish just meters off shore, while a short swim or boat ride to the rocky point, known as the drop off, reveals slopes covered in giant gorgonian fans and red barrel sponge corals. Further east, the Japanese wreck at Banyuning nestles on a pretty coral garden; divers can explore the lower reaches, while snorkelers also enjoy great views of the wreck covered in sea fans and soft pastel corals swaying in the gentle current.

graham abbott-free diving amed images (7 of 9)www.apneista.com

www.dive4images.com

free-diving

There is a whole lot more to free-diving than just holding your breath. Once the bastion of pearl divers and extreme adrenalin junkies seeking to go ever deeper, these days people are more drawn by the opportunity to explore the silence and the beauty of the underwater world in complete freedom. Jemeluk Bay has become a centre for free-diving in Bali and is home to the island’s first free-dive school Apneista , www.apneista.com which offers  two day courses combining advanced breathing techniques with yoga and pranayama.  Sometimes described as ocean yoga or underwater meditation, the free-diver is unencumbered by a scuba tank and can glide through the water like a fish. Moving slowly and gracefully, without a trail of bubbles, allows a far more intimate and natural experience with marine life.

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Photograph Courtesty Cdelacy for   www.apneista.com  

Healthy pursuits

Just being in Amed induces a state of peace and well being. Early nights are for floating to sleep lulled by the gentle murmur of the ocean; mornings are for rolling out of bed and straight into the sea; lazy afternoons call for languid lunches, siestas,   relaxing beach massages, or a spa visit. Usher in the evening with a sunset yoga class at Apneista, overlooking the beach, or check for workshops in the hillside yogashala at Om Shanti www.omshanti.com  A full range of detox and healing programs are offered at the luxurious Golden Rock Detox Centre www.theretreatbali.com while   Aiona Garden of Health www.aionabali.com offers personalised ayurvedic programs, and sells herbal teas, kombucha, homemade jams and chutneys in a delightfully quirky setting.

day trips

Amed makes a great base for climbing Moung Agung – best attempted in the dry season, and for visiting Tirta Ganga, an evocative water palace set in a maze of tropical water gardens filled with statues and stone fountains. Cycling is a great way to explore the countryside, and East Bali Bike tours www.eastbalibike.com have a range of options including tours from the slopes of Mount Agung down to the sea.

Stay

Life in Amed

Lean, Bunutan, Abang T  0363 23152 www.lifebali.com

A tranquil beachside haven with cottages, beach houses and pools nestled in enchanted gardens flourishing with frangipani and bougainvillea. The atmospheric Perfumed Garden villa is highly recommended, with its wonderful antiques, ocean views and private salt water pool.gardens life in Amed

Perfumed garden

Blue Moon Villas

Selang Beach T 0363 21428 www.bluemoonvilla.com

With a fabulous garden setting on a headland overlooking Selang Bay these stylish suites and villas enjoy panoramic ocean views. Request one of the beautiful Blue Angel Oceanfront rooms and relax in the private infinity pool clinging to the cliff’s edge.

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Good Karma

Jalan Raya Selang.  T: 081 337 531 133

Set in the shade of towering banyan trees and vibrant flowers these bamboo beach shacks are basic but charming, and just meters from the sea.

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Hotel Uyah Amed & Spa resort  (Salt Lodge) Jl Ketut Natih, Pantai Timur T 036323462  www.hoteluyah.com

A rustic, eco friendly resort that is partly solar powered. The sprawling beachfront property aims to preserve salt production in the region and is built around salt pans.

 Eat

Local style warungs and home stays offer traditional food, while resorts and hotels have adjoining restaurants serving Indonesian and western cuisine. Top picks include Warung Enak a crowd favourite with tasty home style cooking made from fresh organic produce – the health juice with turmeric, lemon and honey is excellent. Komang John’s Cafe (Blue Moon Villas) has expansive ocean views and serves up authentic Balinese and international dishes, with a good selection of daily specials and tropical cocktails. Life in Amed offers fantastic salads, Indonesian and western food and the best chocolate cake in the area.

getting there

The drive from the airport takes about three hours. Follow the road to Candi Dasa  then turn inland to Amlapura passing tropical hinterland and verdant rice terraces. The small town of Culik in the shadow of Mount Agung marks the gateway to Amed. There is also a longer, more scenic coastal route from Amlapura, but the road is narrow and rough in places. Public transport is limited, and there is much to see, so it is best to rent a car or motor bike.

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Food for thought

Perhaps we are not so much what we eat, but what we feed on. All of us suffer times of hardship and depression, but also hopefully joy and playfulness and optimism.  There is a time for darkness and a time for light, what is essential is finding the balance between the two. At the heart of Balinese hinduism is this  concept of duality  – where by the darker forces are seen as equally necessary as the forces of light. When we learn to accept the shadows of our own personal selves, without giving to much energy to them we can make peace with ourselves as a balanced whole. If you are feeling a little out of balance, if the darkness is weighing a little heavy there are a myriad of ways to redress the balance here in Bali, from yoga to meditation to dance, to eco retreats and organic whole food cafes. When you feed your soul with that which is good and positive, when you give energy to that which lifts you higher you allow your light to shine. It’s your choice.

Healing

Holistic v Western medicine

       

 While there are definite crossovers between western and holistic approaches to health – the two differ fundamentally in concept. To take a very generalised view, western medicine (known as allopathic) tends to focus on diagnosing and treating a specific illness once it occurs – it is designed to attack, and will often use pharmaceutical drugs to do so.  On the other hand, a holistic approach (derived from the Greek word halos for whole,) is not so much a system of  treating illness, but rather a way of preventing it in the first place, by promoting healthy living and integration of mind, body and spirit. It may (but not necessarily) favour alternative therapies or it may be used in conjunction with western treatment. Neither approach needs to be exclusive as each has its strength and weaknesses, so ideally they can be used to complement each other depending on given circumstances. Stay well and healthy and you will get sick less often, and thus have little need for western medicine, but when it comes to a sudden life or death scenario, it is the fast responding, western-trained A & E team who will probably save your life.

Holism

Although the term holism wasn’t coined until the 20th century, the practice dates back thousands of years. Chinese medicine and India’s ancient Ayurvedic traditions emphasised healthy living, while the ancient Greeks and Egyptians were herbalists, using  common plants and herbs for healing. In fact Hippocrates, (a physician in Greece in 400BC) who is  considered to be the father of modern medicine, had one foot in scientific reason and the other in the power of natural healing. He believed that the task of the physician was to help the healing process along rather than to take it over. A holistic approach to health fell out of favour with radical advances in allopathic medicine around the turn of the 20th century, but by the 1970’s it was making a resurgence . While some dismissed this practice as ‘new age,’  actually holism is about as ‘old age’ as it gets.

 

Prevention as a cure

There is, however, no denying the impact of advances in modern medicine, with developments such as antibiotics, neurosurgery, transplants, ultra sound, immunisations and so forth having a radical effect on the quality and quantity of human life. Until the 1800’s the average life expectancy was 30 – 40; in the ten generations since then it has doubled.  Obviously  increased sanitation, access to clean running water and better nutrition have a huge part to play in this shift – but there is no denying the crucial role  allopathic medicine has played.  Nevertheless, a valid argument is  that western medicine treats only the symptoms but not the underlying causes. Take recurring chronic sinusitis. You could take a course of antibiotics every time it occurs, or you could look at what is causing it – maybe a dust allergy, or perhaps too much dairy in your diet. Then by making some lifestyle changes you could prevent it.  Here in lies the difference. With western medicine, you go to the doctor to get healed, with a holistic approach the onus falls on YOU the individual. What about a wheat or dairy intolerance? There is no magic pharmaceutical pill to cure this, only you can heal yourself by changing your diet.

Again, when it comes to common colds and flu, many people will go rushing off to the doctor or pharmacist. But, there is no antibiotic that will attack a viral infection. Paracetemol and decongestants may give temporary relief, however your best bet is to rest, take Vitamin C and eat lots of garlic – which is proved to be anti viral, anti fungal and anti bacterial. In fact, regularly eating garlic in the cold season, or at the first sign of a cold will help prevent you getting ill, while a strong tea infused with ginger, garlic, lemon and honey will provide greater relief than over the counter medicine – and will also fight the virus and strengthen your immune system. Again, the onus is on the individual. If you pay attention to your body you will notice that you tend to get sick when you are run down, stressed or overworked and not eating properly. These are things that most of us can take some control over – should we choose to. We can redress the balance by joining a yoga class, eating well and doing things that make us feel happy.

The beauty of Holism is that it encourages awareness, and responsibility for our  own health, which makes total sense. But no matter how healthy we are, sooner or later we are all exposed to bacteria, succumb to genetic predispositions, or suffer from serious accidents and injuries, and at times there really is no disputing the power of western medicine. Managing chronic asthma is a good example of taking a combined holistic/western approach to well being. Avoiding triggers such as dust, smoking, dairy products and certain foods such as tomatoes can lessen the frequency of attacks, but when a really severe attack hits, the administration of hyrdrocortisone and oxygen in a hospital may be the only thing that prevents respiratory failure. And if your head is split open in a serious car accident – you are probably going to want the skilled neuro surgeon using advanced western techniques to be the one who treats you.

 

Reducing dependency on western medicine and synthetic drugs by  taking responsibility for your own health is a great thing, but  remember that sometimes taking responsibility for your own health means visiting the doctor. While it is well documented that many people successfully treat cancer holistically – your greatest chance of survival is to detect it early (while it is still isolated and treatable) through medical imaging or blood screening.

Perhaps the best way forward is not to debate holistic v western, but rather to embrace the notion of holistic & western.

 

 

Published in Kula Magazine July 2013