NURTURE Spa, Tagaytay’s most popular spa destination, is expanding its offerings to include farm-to-table experiences.
On Oct. 14, Nurture Farm will open an organic farm and a wellness institute that will offer cooking lessons targeted for healthy eating and yoga classes.
“It’s the most natural thing after Nurture Spa,” says founder and wellness advocate Cathy Brillantes-Turvill. “I started the spa as stress relief. Over time, I realized that food is the basis of wellness. To educate people, we transformed the garden into a farm tourism site with a wellness angle. Since my background is education, the farm serves as a classroom. ”
The farm consists of several garden plots that take the shape of the basic body systems. Each patch is planted with vegetables, fruits and herbs that revitalize each system.
The signage explains the functions of the organs, their corresponding ailments and how specific plant foods can improve their performance.
The Immune System plot consists of pechay, arugula, avocado, gabi, guyabano, calamansi, ginger, papaya, pineapple and chico. The Respiratory System patch includes pineapples, radish and kale while the Heart includes tomatoes and dahon ng sili, which regulates blood pressure. The Digestive System is planted with turmeric and ginger that combat acidity; celery which decreases the risk of ulcer; and bitter gourd that addresses liver problems.
In the Reproductive System patch, arugula is an anti-cancer superfood, while squash is vital to cellular reproduction. Ginseng, which improves cognitive function, and peanuts that protect age-related degeneration, sprout from the Brain plot.
Nurture Farm also takes pride in its herbal garden of medicinal plants and its bounty of passion fruit, dubbed the super fruit rich in antioxidants, vitamin C and minerals. The farm’s varieties of mushrooms can aid in cancer prevention, immunity boosting, lowering cholesterol and fiber health.
“When visitors finish their journey, they realize the importance of eating the right foods,” says Turvill. “Instead of learning about plants in the classroom, the students can see them in the farm. Agriculture students can learn about organic farming methods, while medical students discover Philippine medicinal plants and the role of nutrition in healing.”
The farm also arranges other activities such as Filipino games and interacting with Maria Clara, the mascot carabao.
“There’s the wellness aspect and the return to our roots. Facilitators organize games, while farmers show how to prepare traditional concoctions with turmeric or salves for wounds. City people are just happy to see the plants,” says Turvill.
The Nurture Institute complements the farm activities with special cooking classes using plants recommended by Turvill’s health bible, “How Not to Die.” Author Dr. Michael Greger shows how a plant-based diet and lifestyle change can override pharmaceutical medicine in curing diseases.
Nurture Spa’s detox coordinator Rimwell Cosino and chefs Christopher Caraingan and Rommel Juvida prepare wholesome meals and recipes based on their medicinal benefits.
During this interview Nurture Farm planned a meal for hypertensive patients, utilizing available ingredients from the farm. The meal started with mushroom gambas. Regular consumption of mushrooms prevents hormone-dependent cancers.
Instead of relying on convenience foods that are low in nutrition, Turvill recommends substituting mushrooms for fried chicken or chicharon bulaklak.
For crudités, the hummus’ main ingredient, chickpea, regulates blood sugar. Turvill adds that soaking garbanzos overnight and cooking them for 20 minutes is not only tastier but also healthier.
“Canned garbanzos contain sodium,” she says.
Passion fruit dressing
The taco salad is a medley of kale, bell pepper, tomatoes, cucumber and cashews with passion fruit dressing. The olive oil in the dressing lowers the total blood cholesterol.
The tuna fillet, another anticancer recipe, complements the pasta with ingredients for heart health. Tuna reduces the fatty acids in the arteries and is high in antioxidants. The pasta is topped with fiber-rich mushrooms, vitamin C-rich tomatoes, nutrition-packed kale and chili to reduce inflammation.
The dessert is a medley of banana with kesong puti, honey, yogurt and nuts. Banana reduces kidney stones, cleanses the liver and treats low potassium.
There will also be classes on healthy cooking for busy mothers. Turvill says cooking time can be saved by making large batches of sauces and dressings and serving them with meat, fish and vegetables.
From her experience, she says that one can’t achieve optimum health without eating the right foods. Her family has been developing healthier habits. For so long her husband Mike Turvill, a British businessman, had lived on greasy fast food. His breakfast was typically English—bangers (sausages) and fried bread. Today, he eats oatmeal and fruits.
Her daughter Jo eats more salads, and her son Anton eats lots of kale and weighs his portions and measures nutritional content. Drinking organic juices has become a daily ritual for them.
Turvill observes people have been bamboozled into eating commercial foods that tempt the tongue but contain empty calories.
“People are unwittingly led to their death by wrong information,” she says. She hopes that the farm and institute can inspire people to take the healthier alternative.
Call Nurture Farm Tagaytay at 0918-8888772, 0917-6873873