Change The Game




In this crazy world where we attempt to eat healthily, we often end up eating otherwise. Here are a few tips to change this health buzz game:


Keep it Fresh

We all hear it, nutritionists, dietitians, doctors, fitness instructors, everyone hammer these words into our brains like a mantra. Even a famous sandwich chain uses it as their tagline. But what does it truly mean?

As simple as maintaining 70% purchases from the produce section, 20% grocery sections, and 10% frozen/ pre-made section. Frequent visits to the farmers' market (when possible) helps improve the quality of our meals. What it also means is do not pre-make meals 5 days ahead. Cooked food starts to deteriorate past three days (even if refrigerated or frozen. Cultured food like yogurt, kimchi, kefir, or dosa batter can hold a little longer though.

Chef's secret: Restaurants and food courts that claim to be healthy and fresh, need not always be healthy. BE SMART! Something as simple as a chicken breast on a salad can play various wicked roles like being compressed & pre-cooked, to being daubed with oil and butter to get that perfect crispy skin on supreme. Salad dressings usually are loaded with tons of sugar and canola oil. Vegan desserts may contain margarine as a butter substitute. Working in the industry opened my eyes to a lot of poor practices which otherwise are restaurants' best-kept-secrets.

Having said that, I also have worked for some talented, passionate chefs and owners who truly respect food and their customers. These enthusiastic people helped me learn more about local food, their suppliers, the difference in flavors, growing seasons, and how to be a better cook.


DIY

Not just a hashtag friends. And definitely not because it's 'trendy'. Cook (most of) the meals at home. When we make it for ourselves and our family, we tend to load it with love and care. An unknown cook would probably not care for our food as much as we do. For him/her, it is just a job. A happy state of mind is as important to make food taste better, as is adding the right amount of seasoning. Though our tongue cannot taste the love, our system will decode it anyway. So always keep a smile on our face and a healthy, sound mind as the food is being prepared. Other considerations like using clean spoons, utensils, etc matter as well, for hygiene reasons. Cant always guarantee what happens behind the closed kitchen doors. Therefore, Do-It-Yourself.

Seasonal

Like our closet, we must keep our kitchen seasonal! The very reason that certain things grow at certain times of the year, is nothing but nature's way of telling us what to eat. It is the most beautiful way that this universe tries to support life on this planet.

As Ayurveda famously mentions, we are all constituted of 5 elements- Air, Ether, Water, Earth, and Fire. And so is everything else around us- living or non-living. There is a way to establish excellent chemistry with nature and that it through feeding our bodies what they need and at the right time.

Summertime is Pitta time. We need a lot more cooling foods, so we eat refreshing salads, fruits, lemonade, stir-fries, etc. While winter/ fall time (high Vata) - we crave the warmth of squash soups, roots and tubers, healthy fats from seeds and nuts, and of course decadent baked goods accented with warming spices.

The system is already designed and ready for us to be used. As long as we follow the rules, there is an easy path to (re)gain health and prosperity.

Avoid processed or packaged items

Depending on where we live, we may not have access to fresh ingredients all year round. However, some local families and farmers preserve fruits and vegetables in cans and jars- without preservatives- in the form of jams, pickles, sauces, etc. The art of preservation is worth learning especially when we face a harsh climate for half the year. And then, as Ayurveda says, everything in moderation is the key. So if we get a bag of chips once a while, hopefully, fried in a good quality oil, it should not be the end of our world.

Stay connected: with your food and body


There are two ways to connect with our food and body.

a. While we cook:-

Peeling the onions and garlic cloves, chopping carrots and celery with our own hands is a very primitive way to connect with our food. In Sanskrit, we use the term 'Sadhana'. 'Sadhana' is a diligent practice. In our case, it is a practice to process our food- it could be making homemade chapatis, homemade jams, or harvesting crops. All these actions that we perform before the food is made consumable are Sadhanas. When we peel the onion, we hold it in our palms, feel its shape, our nose can smell it, our eyes witness the hues of purple through its layers. All of our senses are involved in prepping that onion. This is when the energies and vibrations are exchanged and we charge the onion with our vibrations. Similarly, when we stir a pot of soup, we smell the aroma, we can see the vibrant colors, we feel its consistency. As we mindfully stir, we transfer our vibrations into the soup. When grandma makes us her special stew, it makes us feel so happy after eating it. We feel her love. All thanks to her Sadhanas.

b. While we eat:-

Make it a point to turn off all the devices- TV, cell phone, iPod, iPad, laptops, computers when you eat. This is the time our stomach is interacting with the food with the help of our five sensory organs. As we watch TV or talk over the phone while eating, our minds and our senses are now bifurcated. Emotions like anxiety, fear, anger arise easily. And as our stomach processes the food, it also processes these emotions with it. The result can be indigestion, acid reflux, feeling bloated/ constipated, etc. Therefore, involving all our senses 100% while eating ensures complete pleasure and enjoyment. Yoga preaches Sukhasana- crossed leg sitting pose, to be the most suitable posture while eating. The sukhasana pose puts gentle pressure on our stomach and intestines and aids digestion.

Stick to the genes

In simple terms, relish the food of our ancestors. Thanks to globalization, we all can now taste different cuisines very easily and affordably. It helps us widen our perspective towards other cultures and also refines our palate. However, it is important not to forget our roots. Staying connected with our traditional food and recipes helps future generations experience cultures the way we do. Besides, genetically, it is easier for our body to assimilate the nutrients that come from a traditional diet.





Exercise, stay happy

Exercising releases the feel-good chemicals in our brain- serotonin and dopamine. They help us fight anxiety, depression, fear, jealousy, etc., Exercising ensures a restful mind, a good night's sleep, better posture, better health.. the benefits of exercising are endless. There are various classes available online. A lot of gyms or studios will offer free passes. The choice is ours, whatever works the best- Pilates, Zumba, spinning, weight training, yoga.. the list is endless.

Move. Breathe. Eat. Stay happy!

0 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All