04 August 2014 Society Mind your body

Eat Food, Leave Fish Alone

Marine life breeds during monsoon. Marine biologists recognise ‘over-exploitation’ as the top threat to marine ecology...
Illustration by Saahil

It’s Shravan, the month when many go vegetarian. Our culture didn’t require a vegetarianism movement to be sensible about eating habits. As much of these sensibilities were transmitted through daily living, like the tiger they are endangered by modern living.

One of the seriously endangered practices is not eating fish until Narali Poornima; this year it falls on August 10. This is the day when fishermen offer a coconut to the seas, thank the ocean for the many gifts it bestows on them and resume fishing.

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We read conflicting ‘health articles’ daily in the media, written by ‘experts’, all of whom articulate their views with conviction. Where does this leave us, the common people? Do we have no choice but to get confused or is there some wisdom in grandmom’s view of the world? Grandmoms, irrespective of their world-views, agreed on their views on food. This clarity, or common sense, cut across class, caste, creed and community. Common sense recognises that marine life breeds during monsoon. Marine biologists also recognise ‘over-exploitation’ as the top threat to marine ecology.

‘Fish for omega-3’—the kind of nutritionism where one nutrient with multiple benefits is tagged only out of a single source may be good for making a living but not for life itself. Omega-3 is like love, you find it when you don’t go looking—Mango, beans, nuts, indigenous berries, varieties of rice, home butter, ghee are good sources. Stop eating nutrients, start eating food, and keep it wholesome, not just for your stomach but also for the Earth. You have no other place to live, after all, right?

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