My most fond childhood memories are of the time I spent with amma. Be it making shakarpara and matthi during winter break or picking shehtoot (mulberry) and amb (mangoes) from the giant trees in our lawn and eating the flavorful fruits to our heart’s content, during summer vacation. Amma was my father’s bua. She was my first guru and my idol. Among many other things, she, unknowingly but very convincingly, taught me the discipline of eating right.
Today, on Gurupurnima, as a tribute to her and with a heart filled with love, I wish to share with you three food habits for good health and happiness that I learnt from her.
Maintaining a food diary – This is the most underrated habit but one that goes a long way. By noting down everything you eat in real time, you will be astonished to see what you consume on a daily basis. This awareness makes us more cautious of what we are feeding our body. In retrospect it also helps us understand the “the cause and effect” relationship between food and our body’s response.
Having a fruit everyday and having it whole – When we churn a fruit in a juicer we are essentially robbing them off their fibre, vitamins and minerals. Adding the fibre back to the juice is only an eye-wash as we have already destroyed its structure. More the surface of fruit is exposed to air greater is the oxidation of its nutrients. Antioxidants which are abundant in fruits should get oxidized inside the body and not outside.
Using kachi ghani oils for cooking – Kachi ghani or cold pressed oil involves a process where the seeds from which oil is extracted is subjected to lower temperatures than refined oils. This means less damage to fat soluble vitamins – A, D, E, K and lesser damage to fatty acid structure in the seed. This implies more heart protecting properties. You will have noticed that kachi ghani oils (mustard, coconut, sesame) are always more fragrant and have a deeper colour as compared to refined oils which have no smell and are transparent with no colour.
These are easy practices that all of us can follow. Once part of the lifestyle, these simple habits make a big difference to our health. I was lucky to learn these as a child and even luckier to have understood the science and reasoning behind it as a Food Sc. and Nutrition student. Today I feel happy sharing it with you all as a health professional.
Dr. Sudershan Mahindra
Former Professor and
Head of the Deptt., E.N.T.,
Lady Hardinge Hospital
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