Welcome to the Nutrition Week 2020!
Nutrition is Everything
Happy Nutrition Week Folks!
Whenever there is a discussion on food, Nutrition remains an indispensable part of it? Two sides of the same coin, it is impossible to imagine one without the other. For us, food is the primary source of nutrition, which has played a significant role in human evolution. The growth of the human mind and body is impossible without nutrition. Nutrition even impacts our genetic makeup. As the human species evolved, food habits also evolved. From hunter-gatherers (the invention of agriculture) to grain growers, we have come a long way. Today, food is more than a survival requirement for us. Besides being the primary source of energy, it’s a tradition, celebration, and habit. While our ancestors shared a healthy relationship with food and saw it as a source of life, we see food from a place of pleasure as well as a problem.
Today, the relationship of humans with food is greatly impacted by fad diets and food trends. The multi-million dollar food industry has not only commercialized the way we eat but also turn food into a demon. As a result, nutrition suffered and faded into oblivion. Today, the scenario is such that when the food is served we think more about calories than nutrition. In the search of a perfect weight and waist size, we have completely ignored the fact that the primary purpose of food is to provide energy and nutrition.
The NUTRITION WEEK is an apt reminder of this. This year, however, our fight against the pandemic has forced us to change the way we look at our meals and rethink our food habits. From lockdown to work-from-home, we started looking at food vis-à-vis the planet. Moreover, as a community, we found both strength and hope in food. The pandemic came as an eye-opener of sorts. Once again, Nutrition became a priority to rev up the immune system as well as build mental strength to fight this pandemic. We indulged and reclaimed old food traditions and rediscovered the magic and comfort of home-cooked delicacies. Nutrition and Good Health joined at the hip. Investing in nutrition automatically takes you a step closer to good health. Whether you are sweating it out in the gym or on the yoga mat, nutrition doubles the benefits that you reap from a good workout. From sleep to mood, it puts everything in sync. Nutrition helps restore the hormonal balance and enhances your quality of life.
This Nutrition Week we look at the New LESSONS learnt this year. We are sure that these will help you achieve and maintain the mind-body-soul balance that outshines the temporary trends of diets, body shapes, and food trends.
Immunity trumps big muscles or size zero
From garlic and ginger to mushrooms and moringa powder, the world experienced a tsunami of information on immunity-boosting foods and home remedies this year. This pandemic made us realize that immunity is everything. Neglecting immunity for weight loss or puffed up muscles is going to cost you hard. Sleep deprivation, stress, and overdoing the OTC supplements, which act as a hindrance in the absorption of micronutrients – these all affect immunity. To build a strong immune system, one needs to look protein and focus on a healthy balance of nutrients such as vitamin D, zinc, magnesium, selenium, calcium, iron-rich foods and others. This healthy balance can easily be attained by focusing on a good variety of foods in your daily diet.
Tip – Immunity is our defense mechanism for life. It cannot be built or strengthened in a day. So avoid quick fixes for it.
Focus on Nutrition, not calories
From physical to mental and emotional strength, your body and mind need nutrition for every function. So, instead of counting calories, it is wiser to look at the nutritional benefits of a particular food. It helps you build a mindful relationship with food. It cannot be achieved in a single day. The process takes time and in the food you can find both strength and resilience. Following fad diets or unsustainable diets and skipping on cereals is not a solution. The right way is to have a balanced meal at the right time. Wholesome food combinations are the best combinations to achieve satiety as well as nutrition.
How does a plate full of nutrition look like? It’s basic, simple and tasteful: One Katori sabji (to get the anti-oxidants) + one Katori dal (protein punch) + rice/chapati (to get energy). You can never go wrong with the Cereal and pulse combination. It’s a complete meal in itself where one completes the other. Pulses lack an essential amino acid i.e methionine and cereals lack the other essential amino acid i.e. lysine, however together the essential amino acids get completed.
Tip – Food is not about calories. A calorie is only one of the aspects of food and not the complete picture. Don’t be scared of calories, as these are just a measure of energy. Learn to use them wisely. Food provides way more value than calories.
Home-cooked food is the tastiest
From Dalgona coffee to desi biryani and the sweet treats, the kitchen became the epicenter of all the action. Channelizing our inner chef and baker, we rediscovered forgotten food traditions and recipes as we bonded over food. As our Facebook and Instagram feed got flooded with sumptuous images of food, we happily bonded over home-cooked meals. Fresh and preservatives-free, home-cooked meals are low on sodium and sugar, hygienic and high on quality and love. How cooking your meals at home help your body and mind? It adds years to your life and slows down the process of aging. How? This happens because food cooked at home is nutritious, better quality, fresh and free of additives, artificial sugar, or refined flours. When you order food from outside, it lacks fresh and quality ingredients. The sub-standard substitutes that are added in place of the original do more harm than any good. For example, in the name of butter, margarine is used, which is not at all good for health. At home, you can make desi ghee nutty ladoos or moong dal halwa using jaggery for the sweetness instead of powdered sugar. It helps you connect with what you eat, brings more healthy options on the table, and fills the heart with gratitude.
Tip – The energy with which you cook the food is as important as the nutrients that are present in it.
Good Health starts in the Kitchen
It is impossible to imagine Indian homes without a thriving Indian Kitchen. It does not just churn out food, it binds us together with warmth and love of food. The kitchen stands for Indian culture, tradition, and history – all rolled into one. The spice box is the prized possession in the kitchen. Symbolic of taste and health, Indian spices are known around the world for various health benefits. Turmeric protects us from infections, coriander powder aids in digestion, garam masala offers a boost of anti-oxidants and maintain blood sugar levels, pink salt maintains electrolyte balance in the cells, red pepper is anti-inflammatory, amchur powder helps combat acidity and asafoetida promotes digestion. Each spice has a role to play in our diet. Nuts, seeds, veggies, different types of cereals (amaranth, barley, ragi jowar, poha, rice, semolina), ghee, and fruits – these all make the Indian kitchen truly unique just like our food. The kitchen is sync with seasons and our body’s seasonal needs. Example: Thandai in march (summer season) from sesame seeds nutty laddoo (winter season). By following these simple and ancient kitchen traditions, we can lead a healthy life.
Tip - Healthy food is a sustainable one. It has to resonate with what’s familiar. Our body has a food memory, so stay in tune with it.
Being active is a way of life
The benefits of exercising go beyond just weight loss. Whether you go for a 30-minute walk or stretch out on the mat, any form of physical activity is good for the body and mind. Clearly, the benefits of exercising are uncountable and how it gives a kick to your day and self-confidence. From head to toe, as you move your body, you are able to understand your body a little better. From skipping, running, weight lifting to dance, Pilates, and yoga, any form of exercise is important and has its own benefit for the health.
Tip - Our bodies are not meant to be sedentary. Physical activity is as important as eating right.
I will be doing a lot of LIVES everyday with a lot of exciting contests with fabulous giveaways on my instagram handle Stay tuned for more info on this and keep watching my stories on Instagram for all updates.