Harald Stossier believes that eating habit, more than the food itself, defines the way we can get the best nutrition. At his Vivamayr centres, people are trained to eat slowly, chew well, enjoy their meals, and to stop when it’s enough. This also decides how people are able to digest their food, he added.

In Mumbai recently as part of their collaboration with Indian brand Vedary, the founder and medical director of Vivamayr, a centre for complimentary medicine in Austria, Stossier has a liberal view of what one can eat based on their preferences as long as they eat the right way. His brand of healing and detoxification is a customized therapy focused on the performance capacity of the digestive tract.

“Of course, you need healthy food," he said, “but food is prepared in so many ways in so many places that you will have poisonous stuff and radiation in it. If you go to McDonald’s, for example, and eat a Big Mac slowly and chew it well, you may get the last little bit of nutrition from it—if there was any. On the other hand, if you go to a place that has the best organic food but you are not aware of your eating habit, you will still have a problem in the intestine."

He said people in India are already aware of how to pay attention to the eating process—they have a more evolved eating culture than in other countries. People just need to be reminded what they have learnt from their parents and grandparents.

“During your hectic life," he said, “if you have half an hour for your meal without a computer, telephone and any disturbance, without anything around you, and you focus on your food, it would be a success. When I walk around this city (Mumbai), I see so many people having their meals in the middle of a hectic day."

Stossier’s philosophy is simple: Don’t eat raw food (read salads) in the evening, maintain a balance between acidic and alkaline food and don’t drink water immediately before, during or after a meal. He also believes in the concept of intermittent fasting. “We all produce a lot of waste (in our body)—we do that every second of our life. Our efficiency in producing energy is not 100%. With every breath you inhale energy but exhale the waste.

“Hopefully, once a day, you go to the toilet and eliminate what you could not metabolize. This is a lifelong process. Now, depending on the capacity of deposits (left in the body), once a year, it would be important to cleanse the deposits. Every society and religion has some form of cleansing built in it."

Vivamayr, which has centres in Austria, Vienna and London among other places uses fasting and detoxification also to treat diseases at its centres. “For example, if diabetic people fast once a year, they can reduce their problems and long-term side effects."

Invariably, eating “the right way" and detoxifying optimizes a person’s weight—in many cases leading to a loss of weight. “Many people with normal weight gain some because they improve their intestines and can digest better. Otherwise, weight loss is the best side effect of the treatment but it’s not our main interest," added Stossier.

He says a lot of it would be easier for Indians because many tend to be vegan or vegetarian. “From a health point of view, it would be easier to have some grilled fish than legumes. I like dal but it’s not the easiest food to digest. If you are vegan, you may look for supplements, because you don’t get enough B12 and Vitamin D," said Stossier.

No food is bad on its own, he stated. If a person is having digestive issues, it could be that he was not able to metabolise something or has eaten too much. “It’s nature that brought food to us," he said. “Nutrition is to pay respect to nature and most importantly, to pay respect to yourself."

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