Sustainable Food Choices-aka-Go Traditional


We like it when traditional foods, clothes and lifestyle choices trend on our social media feeds but rarely do we actually put them into action even though we are aware of the benefits it will bring to our lives. 

Traditional Marathi Thali Miniature 

In today's article I will be discussing Traditional Food Habits which have helped me attain a better, happier and healthier version of myself. No, I am not discussing weight loss tips and tricks though most of concepts coupled with a regular exercise regimen may also aid weight loss of course it will solely depend on individual preference and body adaptability.
We will be discussing traditional food habits which our forefathers religiously practised and they still hold true in today’s frantic age where we are in dire need of sustainable options to survive. We have been ignoring these concepts because of modern day fads and corporate marketing strategies. If we want a healthy generation, who are invariably always looking up to social media and google for #lifegoals #fashiongoals #relationshipgoals #foodgoals, we consciously need to provide them with data that empowers them with logic and teaches them to choose climate resilience over convenience, as aptly penned down by Rujuta Divekar.
Yes, most of the traditional food habits mentioned in this article are an inspirational fallout of her book, Indian SuperFoods and my mother's repeated nagging over my unhealthy food habits.


I understand your apprehension about traditional food habits as they tend to be more time consuming and require a lot of prep but trust me it is better to slowly and steadily incorporate these changes as a part of our lifestyle for a healthier future.

And to have a good future one must build their present while learning constantly from our past- Himshree Writes
Let's begin.

Diet Profiles:

We, as Indians, have since ancient times customized our diet profiles as per the geographical location and cultural conditioning. As a kid I have relished a nutrition -rich Konkani- Marathi diet comprising of vegetables loaded with freshly grated coconut and a tri-weekly consumption of protein which included Eggs, Chicken Meat and Fish with Rice (Yes in dinner as well!). Oh! How I loved my mom’s perfectly spiced Fish Curry Rice!
Few years’ ago I had switched over to an exclusive vegetarian diet with the hope that it will help me lose weight but it backfired and instead I only gained and it skyrocketed as this was also the time I conceived. The weight gain was only on an increasing trend thereafter! After the birth of my tiny tot, I continued being a vegetarian and although I diligently worked out, my fitness levels were at an all-time low; day to day work became a daunting task and exhaustion levels were at peak. This resulted in me being a frustrated-cranked-up mother, which no child deserves. After having done my research on nutrition and food articles, I realized that it was probably the lack of protein intake that was root cause and decided tackle it right there by reverting to my roots- adopting the non-vegetarian diet.
Disclaimer: These were the changes my body underwent after changing my diet profile to vegetarian. Those who have turned vegan or vegetarian and if your bodies have adapted beautifully, giving the kind of result you wished for..then…Hey! That’s great news. But just in case your body is not giving you the desired result after a change in your diet profile then probably you need to analyze and get back to your roots.

Now, this diet change lead to visible changes overtime which included:
  • Leaner body- After delivering my son getting back to shape was obviously a challenge. Well, I haven't yet lost my postpartum weight totally but at least I have managed to visibly tone down.
  • Metabolism - Protein intake has boosted my metabolism tremendously. Also, while I did enjoy being a vegetarian my metabolism had slowed down drastically which lead to frequent burst of overeating which in turn escalated my weight. Proteins keep you fuller for longer durations.
  • Muscle Strength: I can now combat the activities of my hyperactive toddler and make the most of his play time because I do not exhaust myself like I did before and I think a major contributor to this has been my altered protein intake which has also impacted my muscle strength. Needless to say this has to be accompanied by a dedicated exercise regimen which can be anything from basic cardio (Surya Namaskar, squats, jumping jacks, walks, climbing stairs) to advanced weight training exercises.
Gavran Chicken Thali


Water from Copper Vessel (Kalshi)/ Bottle:

Flashback: Getting up in the morning, before even sipping on my tea, my mother would yell, “kalshitla pani pyali ka?” (Did you drink water from the copper kalshi?). Her question was met with inadvertent frowns but I would invariably drink it because Hey, Subhe subhe Maa ki Gali Khane ka Koi Shauk Nahi tha...
I was never the One to bell the cat so without any verbal questioning and subsequent arguing, her demands were peacefully met and this stayed with me even after I got married. That's wasn't all! I was also asked by my husband to combine the Copper Kalshi water with his regular routine of consuming warm water at dawn; I wondered why and decided to educate myself...
Let me list them now for everyone
  • Water stored in copper vessel/ kalshi/ bottle for few hours absorbs the essential minerals and purifies the same.
  • When we drink this water first thing in the morning it provides a boost to our metabolism and aids in easy bowel movements.
  • Since our body can’t produce copper on its own, this way we give our body the minerals it needs to produce Red Blood Corpuscles and also assists in quick healing. This is extremely beneficial to people fighting ailments.
  • Also known to have anti-inflammatory properties which makes it an apt potion to ward off any climate change related health issues.

Fast Forward Today: Today Copper bottles are trending in almost all leading supermarket aisles with expensive price tags.

Dairy and Dairy Products:

 When I had the kitchen all to myself, I preferred buying Tetra packed milk for reasons, I felt were totally justified... The unnecessary hassle of boiling milk, the trouble of placing the utensil in fridge, the separation of cream, churning out the ghee and let's be honest... Who wants to get up to the bell of the dudhwala every morning!

There is no doubt that tetra packs are safe for consumption especially while on the go but then it is not a very sustainable model, economically. Last year we pledged to be more aware of local ecology and economy out of which the main challenge was going back to the trusted dudhwala.
There will be ifs and buts on milk and milk sellers in terms of hygiene and adulteration but let’s be a tad bit optimistic and believe that not all vendors do so. In fact it's time we show some support as it’s a win-win situation, economically, ecologically and nutritionally. Not just that, the tasty byproducts also come with a lot of goodness. The homemade golden nectar, Ghee, which is a better substitute to the vegetable/olive oil and Curd, full of probiotics which can give yakult a run for money!
In fact, let’s get into the details.
Ghee:
Out of all the byproducts of the milk, Ghee is the main super-food which comes straight from ancient Indian food history. Anything and everything our grandma made had ghee in it and there was a good reason for the same which has now also been scientifically proven. Vegetarian delicacies or Non vegetarian bonne bouche, everything was smeared with ghee because it reduces the glycemic index of foods making it easy for digestion. Then many 'trendy' diets came along, and the loyal ghee was long forgotten! Of late, I have started using ghee liberally in my cooking. The first observation I noticed was the texture of my skin improved and secondly it boosted my immunity. In this entire year I have not been down by any climate-change related ailments. I did get a sore throat once but that was because I consumed a really cold and really artificial -sweetened mango drink which advertises itself as 'fresh and juicy'. A point to note, it was the loyal Ghee, Jaggery and Turmeric made ladoos that came to rescue and soothed my infected throat. Thus going back to old school Ghee making process turned out to be super-duper beneficial.

Ghee, is all you need to be fit. 


Cooking Oils:
Rotating oil every two-three months is advisable but instead of that I keep an array of oils in my pantry and use them on recipe basis. Having different kind of oils gives a balanced nourishment and each oil has their anti-fungal properties ensuring a nourished wellbeing.



Don't shy away from the tadka aka oil.


Going back to Glass containers and steel vessels:

This is a no brainer. Plastic usage is criminal and it is creating more waste on our planet. BPA free or not, I don’t trust plastic anymore! Having said that, have I been able to completely eradicate plastic from my life? No. And practically it might not be possible also but in a conscious effort I don’t by plastic any more. Yes, Food grade plastic is available and it is convenient but I'm making friends with my age old steel dabbas and glass jars who are slowly occupying their rightful place in my fridge and pantry.

Steel Dabba


Sherbets:

Carbonated drinks and packaged juices have lost place in my kitchen. Kokam Sharbat was always the hero in the CFOT_ Kitchen but after banning fruit juices I wanted more variety. Though many of the store bought syrups are not totally preservative free but the few concentrates like ginger lemon or khus khus work wonders on our system and cause less harm as compared to carbonated drinks. Again I am no saint and obviously have my cheat days where just plain soda (non sweetened) does chill in my fridge occasionally, if you know what I mean ;)



A post shared by 👪Crazy Foodies On Toes🍴 (@crazyfoodiesontoes) on

Snacks

 Most of our health issues arise when we munch on that mouth watering chaat or those oh-so- inviting potato chips. Curbing that urge to dig our teeth into wada pavs or chaats everyday becomes the biggest ordeal. Alternatively shifting our focus to old steel dabba snacks is the ideal to way to fitness and it is easily doable. Here are some easy snacking options for that 5 pm hunger strike keeping you satiated till dinner.
  • · Dry fruit Ladoos
  • · Bananas
  • · Dry Fruits
  • · Murmuras (puffed rice)
  • · Makhanas (lotus seeds)


Buying Fresh and Local Produce:

 Buying fresh produce every day is an ideal way to cut down on all health troubles but it might not be feasible given our hectic urban schedules. However, weekly bulk shopping can be done for greens and fruits, as a more convenient alternative, thus making their way into our diets. When there were no refrigerators, there was less food going stale and lesser food being wasted. In today’s day and age, that’s the biggest saving we can do for our future generations. Plus buying fresh produce frequently also gets you the free- kadippata (Curry Leaves)! Also buying your local produce directly from farmers (APMC markets/ local Farmers Market) instead of the grocery store will ensure money going into deserving hands, authentic produce and also reduce the world food print!


Fresh Leafy Vegetable: Superfoods

Bringing back the Thali:

The key to being fit is to have a balanced diet and what optimum way to get back to our Indian Thali which had everything portioned in the right amounts. More so, it gave us that time to actually sit down for a meal as a family and relish it with love and peace. If you are worried the thali will make you overeat, then keep the portions small and do not ask for a refill.



These are my traditional food habits which can easily be incorporated in our uber lifestyles to attain better nutrition goals, inspired by our rich Indian heritage.  We would like to know what traditional food habits you follow in your household. You may belong to any community or any part of India, doesn't matter. Comment below your feedbacks, queries and rest you know where to follow us for your daily dose of foodgasm. 


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Until, next time chao!👋
PS:Thankyou for proofreading this one tanny. 😊🙏🙏

Comments

  1. Yay! Amazing content! So true.. we need to get back to our roots . Health is like the best gift you can give your children!

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