Wednesday, Aug 17, 2022

Sense and Sensibility over Superfoods

Eating mindfully and adopting the food habits of our ancestors leads to a better relationship with healthy eating, says Nandita Iyer in her new book

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We are in the age where we have a glut of information on health and food. Never before in human history have the many aspects food been discussed, dissed, documented and debated in such detail.

Nutrition, healing, wellness, sustainable eating, farming practices, diets, recipes are all topics that matter for those who see food as the primary source of good health. Even foodies crawling out of the Instagram woodwork showcase food in many forms - as social achievements, healthy choices, heritage cuisine, chasing trendy dishes and more. Forging a synthesis between human consumption of food and mindful use of the Earth’s resources is an equally important aspect for followers of good food.

Ideas operate on building industries. Ergo, in a third world country like India, concerned people across metros, who want to follow mindfulness in food as a part of global trend, today comb supermarket shelves for organic produce. They slip into a network of those who shop from organic farmers off their city limits; invest in terrace gardens and grow herbs in their kitchens.

They dig into the attics of their grandparents for cast iron kadhais, dosa pans and copper water jugs and earthenware pitchers. After all, Nora Ephron bid goodbye to her Teflon coated cancerous pots and pans for cast iron griddles and glazed pots, didn’t she? 

Don’t forget the current madness over millets! Millets and rice with husk that some of our mothers eschewed for new varieties of rice and the joy of their new kitchen apparatuses like a pressure cooker have come right back into their daughters’ kitchens to the echoes of many maternal, ‘I told you so’s. Country vegetables and greens that are full of nutrients are back alongside locally heritage varieties of rice and super grains.

The debate is louder to bring back stoneware grinders and cookware made of natural materials over modern cookware. Food processors, wet grinders and the dangerous microwave are being set aside for traditional cooking practices and machinery.

If you still don’t get it new age food wisdom will pour in through Instagram. Whoever knew Indian food could be presented visually in such a delectable way? So many cookbook authors and writers have been birthed on the Instagram highway.

Odd, that the Third World will go back to its roots when the First World decides not to deplete its resources over farming. They will seek superfoods from other regions and lands that cultivate it for them. They will try turmeric lattes, buy quinoa from south America, coconut tablets and oil from the Caribbean and Asia. Theirs is probably by design; ours is the glee of seeing our traditions become global trends.

That’s why Dr Nandita Iyer’s refrain about mindful eating habits and following your grandmother’s food and eating culture in new book Everyday Superfoods strikes a lot of sense.

Sometimes you also need a voice to tell you what you might have known and not paid heed to more emphatically. That’s what Iyer’s book does. It’s written in an easy style and in a very can-do manner with practical advice on building a healthy relationship to food and cooking.

She runs past all the current conversations through food, warns against trends and terms and prods you to be mindful and make healthy choices with eating. As a doctor and nutritionist, she only knows too well the global health issues related to food like diabetes, obesity, pressure consume more lives daily than a raging global pandemic. As she says the key to good food, especially superfoods are their nutritive values.

Enjoy this book as a quick read with loads of sensible and easy to follow instructions with regard to superfoods that range from grains to vegetables and fruits. Iyer does not recommend diets but sensible choices of foods for mealtimes, prep ideas and 60 recipes that can be tried out.

Form healthy food habits and make informed food choices to ‘live healthier, improve mood and boost your immunity,’ says Iyer. Couldn’t agree more.

(The author is a journalist based out of Gurgaon. You can find her on