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Hamburg studio offers food for the body, spirit


Jill Chiacchia, founder and director of beHealthy Institute in the Village of Hamburg, makes vegetables a major part of her family's diet. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)


By Scott Scanlon – Refresh Editor

Jill Chiacchia, subject of today's "What are you eating?" column in WNY Refresh, takes a holistic approach to wellness at the beHealthy Institute in the Village of Hamburg, which she opened at 40 Main St. in March 2011.

“I always like to start with food first – to clean up somebody’s diet,” she says, “but life is so much more than just food.”

That’s why Chiacchia offers an eclectic mix of services designed to nuture relationships, career, spirituality, even promote better sleep.

For some of her clients, one thing she does roles several of those goals into one: Ayurvedic cooking.

“It puts together the ideas of yoga and meditation with different foods, spices and temperature of foods,” she explains.

There are six essential tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent.

The first four food tastes are pretty easy to distinguish, Chiacchia says. Pungent foods include onions and garlic; astringent foods include many raw fruits, cabbage and brocolli.

Some foods have more than one quality. An orange, for instance, can be sweet and sour.

The trick is to eat a proper blend of foods to bring about the proper balance within the body and the mind. That can vary by personality type.

Chiacchia, 46, relies on a team of teachers and students – she calls them her “tribe” – to share knowledge in a classroom setting, which includes a kitchen, in her Hamburg studio.

Yoga instructor Julia Kress will teach a class Oct. 16 in Ayurvedic cooking and similar classes are planned in the future.

Tai chi, running groups and Feng Shui also are part of beHealthy’s repertoire.

“These all do a lot to help people really believe in themselves,” Chiacchia says.

To learn more about the beHealthy Institute, visit or call 648-3400.

Contributing writer Catherine Yeh Henry helped with this blog


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