Rewind to Healthy Times
Imagine this: It is a Friday night. With the work week coming to an end, it’s time to set up the weekend agenda. Starting with what to do on Friday night. Go to the pub or the movies or just hang out at home and order in food? Come Saturday and Sunday – trips to the mall, weekend getaway plans, or just doing home chores and visiting family.
Sounds familiar? This routine sums up a typical weekend in the life of the urban 24 – 30 year old working professional in India. With few familial responsibilities to tie them down, these youngsters decide to make the best use of their weekends. They love the conveniences and pleasures of a modern day life, but fret over their expanding waistline. Getting gym-ready takes precedence over actually spending time exercising in the gym . They spend thousands of rupees on membership fees in high-end gyms and purchasing fitness accessories, but choose to ignore the required dietary recommendations.
Diet, fitness and emotional well-being are not new-age fads. They have been in existence for long and are relevant now, more than ever.
Going back to our roots
The generations before us too worked long and hard; however, if the national average life span figures released by the Indian union ministry of health and family welfare of 67.3 years and 69.6 years for males and females respectively in 2011-2015 are any indicator, hard work doesn’t kill people! A growing number of lifestyle diseases like diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure is what is ailing young people in our country today. A healthy lifestyle with adequate exercise and a focus on nutritious diet can boost immunity and help keep diseases at bay.
The growing role of nutrition in curbing infant and maternal mortality too is under focus. The United Nations introducing reduction targets in infant and maternal mortality rates as Good Health and Well-being actionable under Sustainable Development Goals 2030 is binding on all member states, including India.
A lot of the traditional food recipes cooked by our grandmothers is disappearing from our kitchens, thanks to the comfort and convenience of instant food/ microwave food/fast food or any other name you might want to call processed food. However, what you lose is not just the tastes and flavors of your childhood, but also the quick fix to making tasty, nutritious meals at home – an art perfected by our grandmothers. There never could be anything that could replace home-cooked meals completely.
Food you have grown up eating and what you still yearn to eat, at times. Now, even if you are inspired to cook, you might not be aware of where to begin. Thankfully, the internet comes to the rescue. Add to what is already known in your family culinary repository, there is a whole wide range of ingredients that are known to be high in taste and nutrition content that is being used by people in India.
Healthy food ingredients you can trust
Here we provide a list of ingredients that are highly nutritious, healthy and easy to source in a local market near you.
1. Black gram
Known to be protein rich, black gram is also easy to digest and given to girls who have attained puberty and also for pregnant women to strengthen bones and muscles. Can be used to make porridge and curries.
2. Ragi/ Sprouted Ragi
Ragi is a powerhouse of nutrition, packed with iron and calcium. It is a rich source of dietary fiber that also helps lower your cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Can be used to make dosa, porridge, ragi balls and roti.
3. Tender jackfruit
Jackfruit contains an enviable combination of dietary fiber, minerals and vitamins, making it popular choice of accompaniment in Indian meals. Can be used to make curries and stir fry dishes.
Rich in protein, fiber and minerals, bajra is still widely used as a staple in many parts of India. Can be used to make rice, porridge, roti and dosa.
Sesame seeds are an excellent source of copper, manganese and also contain a good amount of vitamins, minerals and fiber that makes them a popular choice for seasoning for rice and curries.
Millet is a no-gluten superfood, packed with vitamins, minerals and is easy to digest. It is a popular choice of a staple in many parts of India. Can be used to make upma, rice and also a health mix ladoo.
7. Horse gram
Horse gram is rich in protein, iron and antioxidants. It is also known to have natural properties that act as fat burners and help in weight loss. Can be used to make curries.
With its high antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, neem is a natural immunity booster and guarantees general good health.Can be used to make tea and added in curries.
Rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. Dried and fresh figs are used in a variety of desserts as well as curries.
Rich in magnesium, potassium, vitamins and antioxidants, corn is a versatile ingredient that can be used to make soup, stir fry and curries.
These food groups have been around for a long time now and generations before us have savored the taste, flavor and nutritional benefit they have to offer. Combined with the fact that it is easily available, you surely have no excuse to not include them in your diet henceforth.
Is Modernization creating an obstacle to good health?
While it is easy to fall prey to the glamour, comforts and conveniences of modern day world, a word of caution that might run in the mind is what we learnt in our early years in school – Health is wealth. Conveniences should not be at the cost of losing our health. The repercussions of ill health spread far and wide. With factors such as booming healthcare costs, loss of income arising from absence at work, emotional and mental stress associated with being a patient or a caregiver are significant enough to make anyone re look at their current lifestyle. Adding to the above factors, is the pre-existing risk of health conditions that run within the family, inherited from parents and grandparents that are likely to strike you anytime in life.
Checking your Body Mass Index (BMI) is a good start to get the basics right. Understanding your ideal weight, inspecting your existing diet as well as freeing up your daily schedule to make time for a fitness routine is the least that anyone can do to get back on track to good health.
Modernization can’t and shouldn’t be an excuse for laziness. While technology has been in the forefront in changing our food and entertainment choices, it also has led to greater awareness of health and fitness. Wearable technology devices, mobile apps that help you maintain health and fitness routines etc also promote the cause of good health.
The gift of good health is unparalleled
Pollution, anxiety and stress seem to be a regular part of day-to-day life. A sedentary workday may not be a choice, but is increasingly becoming a reality. Given these are limitations we need to live with, it requires a determined effort to recognize the need to stay healthy. Undeniably, prevention is better than cure. Re looking at our food habits, engaging in sports or any outdoor activities or any form of regular exercise not only help stay fit and healthy but also release endorphins that make you feel positive and charged up to tackle the challenges at work or at home. Let’s promise ourselves the gift of good health, wealth and happiness, starting today!
You may also like to read: By Grandma With love