Sep 6, 2012 - By Emily Etheredge, Staff WriterDelicious aromas from the Wind River Mercantile kitchen mean Amanda Bebout is cooking up new offerings for the tea room's menu.
Bebout, 25, has studied Ayurveda, a Hindu system of traditional medicine native to India that focuses on the mind, body and spirit.
"The focus of Ayurveda is really about living in harmony with nature," Bebout said. "The Ayurveda diet is all about balancing what you eat with the different seasons."
Bebout began working at the Wind River Mercantile store in August 2011 and has been trying to incorporate Ayurveda into the store's tea room menu.
She began studying the technique two years ago through a program available online with California College of Ayurveda.
"I meet once a month online via a webcam," Bebout said. "Once I receive my degree, I will be able to see clients for treatment."
Bebout said Ayurveda meals focus on natural foods that do not contain preservatives, and Ayurveda cooks balance foods to complement the seasons. For example, Bebout said those who live in cooler climates will gravitate to warm comfort foods, while summertime has cool, soothing foods.
"When it is hot and sticky outside you don't want to eat something that will make you warm," Bebout said. "You want to have something that will be light and airy, as well as refreshing. The Ayurveda diet is all about utilizing the vegetables in season as well as fruits, nuts and grains."
Bebout said she thinks many are initially intimidated by healthy food because they think it may not taste good.
"I have heard some people say healthy foods taste like cardboard," Bebout said. "Once they actually try something that has been cooked with all natural products they are amazed to find out it doesn't taste like cardboard and actually tastes really good."
Bebout said the style of cooking is the first of its kind in Riverton, and she said it is slowly creeping toward the West.
"This type of living is not a quick fix but can truly change your life," Bebout said. "It makes you feel better about yourself to eat this particular way, and it is so nice utilizing the natural ingredients we have provided to us throughout the seasons."
Bebout said she hopes to offer cooking classes at Wind River Mercantile in the near future to educate people on the benefits of eating healthy. In the meantime, she said she is happy to provide healthier options to customers dining in the tea room.
"Introducing good food to people that is also healthy for them is something I really enjoy," Bebout said. "It is good to see people enjoy what they eat."
The tea room serves lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m daily at the Wind River Mercantile store, 221 E. Main St.
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