Food & Travel

Annamaya: Eating Healthy, Living Healthy

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Our bodies are just like machines, it has a system and if there are glitches in the system, we suffer. However, having a busy schedule, we think of taking care of ourselves as a secondary chore, and striving for greatness or maybe just getting through the day is our main focus. But guess what? As cheesy as it sounds ‘Health is Wealth.’ And it is about time we speak up on the eating habits we have.

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Eating too much when we are hungry and eating just a morsel when we are not needs to stop. More importantly, what we eat is the main issue here. To give us some insight on that we went to Annamaya, a little roof top cafe in the same building as Pranamaya yoga studio in Jhamsikhel. It was inspired by the yogic idea to nourish and bring balance to our physical system. We had a talk with Nirakar Yakthumba and Anna Karuna Egan to know more about this healthy delight.

How did you come up with the idea of Annamaya?

AKE: Basically, this idea came from my stay here in Nepal. Nepal is a beautiful place but the pollution here diminishes the standard of living. The food and the air that are the most important aspect of healthy living are compromised. Since, I am an advocate for health I also have a yoga studio called Pranamaya. After realizing that I am super sensitive to the environment here and hence got sick frequently, we started to talk about what we can do about it.

NY: Anna said she wanted to do something like this and she wanted a space like this. When I heard the idea I thought it was amazing. Whatever I do, I always like to look at two things: I should be proud of the project, and it should help other people. This sounded like an amazing thing I wanted to be involved in. It is not just about a restaurant here, it goes beyond that. So, that attracted me and that’s how we started Annamaya.

What about the name?

AKE: I have Pranamaya, a yoga studio, where the word ‘Prana’ means the soul and the body, and ‘Maya’ means love. So, it is a Sanskrit word which means loving the body and the soul. That’s the concept behind the Yoga studio. The concept of Annamaya is similar.

‘Anna’ means food and ‘Maya’ means love. So, Annamaya is the love for food.

We live in the world where our immunity system needs to be strong. So we need to nourish our body with probiotic food and healthy fresh juices. Hence our main aim is to provide such nourishment to make the body and the mind stronger.

People often think that food is just for the physical satisfaction; however, our mental well-being is also highly influenced by the food we eat. That extra boost the system needs is available in the super foods that we provide. It is not extreme as we serve vegetarian food, but not vegan food as that would be too restricting. So, we do include organic milk and eggs and other dairy products but only the best quality ones. We have found the perfect balance between healthy and tasty.

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‘Anna’ means food and ‘Maya’ means love. So, Annamaya is the love for food.

Did you go through any obstacles during the operation of Annamaya? 

AKE: Obviously. There ought to be problems for any business. For us, it was the lack of general awareness in the public. People still think that it is not that crucial to healthy so they’d rather opt for food that is mixed with a lot of chemicals. So I think a little shift is required to bring about awareness in people.

Knowing that you need to take your health into your own hands, I don’t think that this is for everybody. However, we can try it in our own ways to change a few habits in our daily lives to live a healthier life. But I take it as a good obstacle for there is room to improve. It’s just that it needs time. But the earlier, the better.

Do you have any plans on how to aware the people here about healthy living?

AKE: I think it will take time to get the people to invest their time to appreciate their body and mind. It will happen for sure, so to contribute to it, we’re doing workshops on meditation, yoga and healthy eating to educate the people. We have also trained our staff here at Annamaya about what goes in our food and drinks so they can let the customers know what goes into their order.

How has the response been?

NY: We are both pleasantly surprised by the turnouts here. When we first started we were imagining that we would be up here alone drinking green smoothies all day. But, we have had a good response. One can get a lot of options here so many come for the healthy food and also drinks.

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Words : Shreeya Sangroula | Photos:  Gaurav Xhompate Sunuwar

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