November 9, 2009 by ritadate
Chef Raman wanted a change. After 3 years at the Oberoi Trident and 18 years at sea on various cruise ships, Asura Raman has come back home to his home state of Chennai; this time with a mission to develop and introduce non-toxic food preparations .
Dune Eco Hotel in Pondicherry was the place of choice for Raman because of its philosophy of “hypo-toxic” eating. Hypo is the Greek word for absence of. Owner Dimitri Klein hired Raman to develop appetizing hypo-toxic dishes for the hotel guests. “This is a stark contrast to his previous industry, the cruise industry, where most food items are canned because of availability issues. Here at this hotel we use no canned goods. Everything is fresh,” says Dimitri
Toxic is defined as organic and without chemicals. The concept was originated by Jean Siegnalet, a French doctor and pioneer in the transplants, particularly renal transplants. An eminent physician, Dr. Siegnalet successfully carried out tests with his diet on hundreds of his patients. Patients that were on his diet plan became much healthier. Jean Seignalet sets his proposal of diet following a basic idea: some modern foods are modified from “ancestral” ones, whereas our digestive system has not modified. In short the philosophy of the diet involves eating non-modified foods, that are easily digested.
Chef Raman works closely with Dr. Henoc, the resident ayurvedic doctor, and Dimitri to formulate recipes that are non-toxic and at the same time delicious to the palate.
The menu at “Fun Restaurant” is expansive and although all food is prepared fresh there are 25% that are totally hypo-toxic. The millet biriyani is superb with all the right flavours and the millet gives a rich wholesome taste in your mouth. There are also many Thai dishes on the hypo-toxic menu as it is possible to make Thai food with less or no oil. A mixture of red or green Thai paste and coconut milk makes for excellent curry. The coconut milk is squeezed fresh from the Dune farm.
Indian food is more of a challenge to make hypo-toxic because of the amount of oil that is needed to make the curries and also the dairy involved in the marination. Chef Raman is in the process of making more of the Indian dishes hypotoxic by changing the tempering methods, experimenting with oils and avoiding dairy. A wonderful buckwheat pancake with coconut, bananas and jaggery is a popular desert on offer.
The Dune is a 30 acre property where farming, vermicomposting and recycling are part of the food cycle. The six cow dairy provides ample milk, curds and paneer for the hotel kitchen and many of the vegetables are grown in house or imported from a one-hundred acre organic farm in Kodaikanal, Dune’s sister property.
Running an organic farm whether it be large scale or a mid size operation as Dune is not easy task. “One cold spell and all the lettuce for the month is washed out or one bad bug gets into your crop and it is finished. But you have to keep persisting.” says Chef Raman.
A few other principle of hypo-toxic food are:
• Exclusion of cereals, with some exceptions.
• Exclusion of dairy and dairy products.
• Preferential consumption of raw products (more than 70% of the diet should be raw).
• Use of virgin oils, obtained by cold pressure.
• Priority to biologic products.
• Frequent consumption of probiotics.
EXPLANATION(taken from seignaletdiet.wordpress.com/diet-basis)
– Modern cereals are forbidden, as they are mutated because of agriculture selection. It is known that modern wheat has 21-23 cromosomes, whereas “ancestral” wheat had 7. This modification affects the protein structure, that can act as a toxin not being completely digested. These toxins act in the intestine as well, modifying the intestinal flora and creating a putrefaction flora that affects the intestinal wall and creates even more toxins.
– Wheat is dangerous, for the reasons above. – Corn is dangerous for the same reasons that wheat: the original plant measured half a meter, whereas the modern plant measures 3 meters high.
– Rice is accepted. It has remained in his wild prehistoric form, and the clinical experience proves that it´s rarely harmful, even cooked.
– Buckwheat is very well-tolerated by the patients and is allowed.
2.- Dairy and dairy products:
– Cow´s milk is a very nutritive food…for a growing calf. Humans just can digest milk from our species, and during the lactancy period. The main protein from milk, casein, is hard to digest completely by humans, creating the problems mentioned above.
– Dairy is forbidden (cow, sheep, goat…), and dairy products as well (butter, cheese, cream, yogurt…)
– This suppression doesn´t provoke a calcium deficiency, as the foods we eat are already rich in calcium, and the body will absorb calcium depending on its needs
– Soya milk and yogurt are good substitutes for classic dairy. Other vegetable milks are also available: almond, hazelnut, rice…
– It´s preferable to eat raw meat or just a bit done.
– As for meat and eggs, the less cooked, the better. However, cooked fish is less dangerous than cooked meat. It can be steamed or cooked at low temperature.
– Shellfish is allowed. And if eaten raw (oysters…) even recommended.
Better raw or poached, never hard-boiled.
6.- Greens and fruits:
– All greens and fruits are allowed (and recommended). They should be eaten in big quantities.
– Pulses or leguminous are allowed the same as greens, it´s admitted as an exception cooking in a pressure-cooker.
7.- Dry fruits:
-He advises to eat a lot of them: figs, dates, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, olives…But always raw, never toasted.
8.- Other foods:
– Seignalet advises eating honey and pollen. Also sprouted grains of leguminous (soya, lentils…).
– Chocolate has to be black, biologic and with brown sugar or other natural sweeteners (agave, maple syrup, honey).
– White sugar must be eliminated and replaced by brown sugar, much richer in minerals and vitamins.
– olive oil because it contains monoinsaturated fatty acids.
– walnut, soy and canola oil that bring alfa-linoleic acid.
-any oil is good whenever it´s virgin and extracted by first cold pressure.