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If you thought the road to anti-ageing and lifelong health leads all the way to the Austrian Alps, you are wrong.

On the shores of Austria’s picturesque Lake Worth stands a medical detox spa and weight loss clinic—VIVAMAYR. From Rani Mukerji to Deepika Padukone and Karlie Kloss and Suki Waterhouse, VIVAMAYR boasts of a worldwide clientele who swear by their health makeovers. Set in an idyllic setting, VIVAMAYR is not just any health and wellness haven that offers some much-needed TLC and rejuvenation, but rides on the philosophy of Mayr Cure, based on the work of 19th-century physician Franz Mayr, who established intestinal cleansing as the gateway to good health. An indulgent retreat, entwined with sophisticated diagnostics and effective holistic treatments, VIVAMAYR medical centres adopt methods including functional Myodiagnostics/applied Kinesiology to effectively diagnose patients during the Mayr Cure.

With customised therapy programs based on individual and healthy form of nutrition set based on individual preferences, taste and social environment, VIVAMAYR has two resorts in Austria, and two day clinics in Vienna and in London. Come March, VIVAMAYR’s doctors will offer consultations at Mumbai’s new holistic clinic The Vedary.

Ahead of the launch, we spoke to VIVAMAYR’S Founder and Medical Director, Dr Harald Stossier, at The Vedary who was in India to give a glimpse of his new book Nutrition: What Really Counts that was launched at the Tasting India Symposium, a global food advocacy initiative that took place in December.

Read on to know more about his secrets to a happier, healthier life and his collaboration with The Vedary.

What brings VIVAMAYR to India?
The philosophy of VIVAMAYR is to become the lifelong companion of our guests. In this quest, we visit the countries where our guests come from to understand the kind of environment they come from and their lifestyle. This helps us understand their problems better and serve them right. In the last couple of years, we have seen a growing number of guests coming from India and hence, we decided to enter India. We were looking to partner with someone to help us do so. And, in The Vedary, we found the right partner.   

What will VIVAMAYR offer Indian clients at The Vedary?
For people who have already been to our centre in Austria, The Vedary will work as an after-care space. VIVAMAYR’s doctors will fly to Mumbai every few months to offer consultations at The Vedary. During their visit, the doctors will examine the existing clients to check if there is an improvement or if there is a need to change their treatment. First timers can expect a physical examination, which includes Applied Kinesiology (a muscle test that reveals patients’ weak points), intestine and hormone system test, and more. These tests will help the experts to get a clear diagnosis and prescribe the correct line of treatment and diet changes. Apart from that, at The Vedary, one can get some of our signature Ayurvedic massages and diet supplements, which are essential to consume in daily life. In short, The Vedary will offer check-ups and consultation, but for the entire therapy, you will have to visit VIVAMAYR in [Austria].

What, according to you, is the biggest health issue among Indians?
We’ve had many Indian guests with severe medical problems such as diabetes and high metabolic rate. Honestly, these problems are no different to those of guests from other countries. But what we’ve noticed is, Indians are more health-conscious and are open to tweak their lifestyles to stay healthy. Making lifestyle changes such as incorporating better eating habits as well as healthy cooking habits is the way to achieve lifelong health. With health as their top priority, we have observed that Indians have realised they need to take a break once a year to stay fit and sane and indulge in a health and wellness holiday at destinations such as VIVAMAYR.

Does VIVAVMAYR share the same principles as Ayurveda?
At VIVAMAYR, we recommend fresh, local food, seasonal ingredients, and homemade food, just like in Ayurveda. India has a diverse mix of vegetarian food options and am impressed with the Indian dietary options. The country has a high number of vegetarians, much more than in other countries, and it’s amazing how the vegetarians maintain their protein intake by consuming different kinds of vegetables and pulses to get their daily dose of proteins. However, pulses are not easily digestible. They need to figure out better ways to prepare this category of foods, consume controlled portions, and avoid eating it during the evenings, so the stomach can digest it better. Another thing, which I absolutely love about Indian cuisine, is the use of spices. Turmeric and curry powders are good for the liver and the bitter spices (mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, and coriander) improve digestion.

How can one incorporate the VIVAMAYR philosophy in Indian diet?
Incorporating the VIVAMAYR philosophy in Indian diet and cuisine can be simple. Mainly because VIVAMAYR introduces eating habits such as chew well, eat slow, and choose foods that are easily digestible. We suggest our clients to chew around 30-50 times in their daily routine. No matter where you are, if you follow these guidelines, you will be able to digest your food better. Which, in turn, will help you absorb the food’s nutrients properly.

What is your take on the trending diets—keto, paleo, and vegan?
Most of these diets were created to treat certain diseases, indications, and therapy. So, it will be wrong to recommend it as a general healthy diet. Even the VIVAMAYR diet is not for general nutrition, it is to treat people in a certain amount of time. What is most important for general nutrition are eating habits, moderation in terms of carbs, proteins, and fatty acids. Plus, loads of minerals and vitamins. This is a general nutrition advice.

If you are talking about the vegan diet, which includes taking in only plant-based proteins, why not! However, it is not my philosophy, I’d like to eat some fish or meat in between or figure out the alternative way of getting proteins required by the body. If you look at the evolution, humans have always been eating fish and meat. But again, if it is a decision, you can surely go about it.

Tell us about your new book, Nutrition: What Really Counts?
The book has the basics of nutrition and eating habits. There are chapters on the importance of carbohydrates, fatty acids, and proteins and how we can use them for our benefit. It also has a chapter on the importance of the digestive tract because if we go wrong with that, it will create toxins that may lead to several diseases. It’s time people realise that most diseases start in our intestine or the gut.

Three things one must do to take charge of their life and health?
Treat your intestine well, pay attention to your eating habits (chew well, eat slow, and consume moderate portions), and most importantly, once in a year, take a break to rest, regenerate, and detoxify.

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