F ive things we can change in 2016 when it comes to food (and these are valid for everyone, including diabetics, the obese and heart patients).
- Don’t buy food items that are not in season. This also implies getting more in touch with agricultural practices so that we know what grows when.
- Patronise NUS foods. NUS is ‘Neglected and underutilised species’ and is a UNFAO term for healthy/ therapeutic local foods which have fallen out of favour because they have an image of being ‘poor man’s food’—jackfruit, jamun, bor etc. Buying them will give poor farmers a reason to grow them before they go extinct.
- Chose the right oils: Coconut/ groundnut/ mustard are the original cooking oils of India. Just because they are not marketed as ‘heart healthy’ or ‘a certain nutrient rich’ doesn’t mean they are not. In fact, they are excellent for health and blend well with our cooking style. Of course, the gold standard when it comes to a cooking medium is ghee—as all true desis know.
- Put rice on your plate: Eat rice, especially for dinner. Easy on your stomach, rice promotes the growth of gut-friendly bacteria, has fat-burning and anti-anxiety properties and also allows for better assimilation of Vitamin D. And remember, we need ‘optimum fibre’, not ‘high fibre’, so choose hand-pounded or single-polished white rice over brown rice.
- Consume plant protein: According to nutrition scientists, future food that will help the world ease the double burden of malnourishment (the obese rich and malnourished poor) is plant protein. These are foods which combine legumes and grains. In simpler words, foods like our very own dal-khichdi. When eaten with a serving of ghee, it makes for a complete meal.