india Archives - Munmun Ganeriwal
+91 7678 027 556 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Monday to Saturday) Sign up for diet & exercise consultation.
+91 7678 027 556 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Monday to Saturday) Sign up for diet & exercise consultation.

Tag

india

The journey of ghee in India has very much been similar to that of yoga. From being thousand years old wisdom that originated in our land, to getting dismissed and disregarded by ‘modern day’ gurus and scientists only to be picked up by the West and reintroduced to us by a different name, both are India’s greatest export to the world.

Ghee or ‘clarified butter’ (as they call it in the West) has always been considered as the promotive of health, memory, intelligence, fertility, of vital essence and nourishment in Ayurveda. Food cooked in desi/ asli ghee used to be a status of prosperity and good health. Until, sometime in 1970s, nutritionists, doctors and pharma companies joined hands to poop that party. A low fat diet was pushed by U.S. Dietary Guidelines in 1977. “Saturated fat is bad for our heart, increases cholesterol and causes heart attacks”, they said. Back at home, we too listened to it and dropped our ghee. Ghee thus made an exit from our foods, our plates and our kitchens.

THE RE-EMERGENCE OF GHEE AS A SUPERFOOD

Now fast forward to today and here’s a new thought – what if research issued 40 years ago was not based on solid evidence? What if we were wrong about ghee?

In the latest review of studies that investigated the link between dietary fat and heart health, researchers say the guidelines in the 1970s got it all wrong. In fact, recommendations to reduce the amount of fat we eat every day should never have been made. In April 2015, USDA reviewed its guidelines and removed the dietary cholesterol upper limit declaring that fat/ cholesterol from food had little to do with the cholesterol circulating in the body. American supermarkets started stocking ‘Indian ghee’ and promoted it as ‘liquid gold’. In Nov 2015, Ghee made it to the list of “The 50 new healthiest foods of all time” by TIME magazine.

So amongst food companies, government policies and scientific bodies, a 5,000-year-old wisdom got erased to be reintroduced as the ‘new’ health food. But the question is –Will ladoos, halwas, parathas smothered with ghee regain its lost glory? Will we be able to overcome a fear that has lived with us for 40 years?

READ ALSO-

BENEFITS OF BUTTER– A day spent BETTER with BUTTER

Share this post

Crops for the FutureNeglected and underused crops are plant species with a long history of mainly local production and having strong links to the cultural heritage of their places of origin.

They have been used for centuries or even millennia for their food, therapeutic and medicinal properties, but have been reduced in importance over time and have been ‘neglected’ by agricultural researchers, food scientists and policymakers. They are ‘underutilized‘ with reference to their potential owing to unrecognized nutritional value, poor consumer awareness and reputation of “famine” food or “poor people’s food”. Infact, the severe genetic erosion of their genepools has resulted in them being termed as ‘lost’ or ‘orphaned’ crops.

One such NUC is the Kachri (other names are Chibad, Sane and Kaachar in various parts of North India) that grows wild in the vast deserts of Rajasthan and like a weed in Punjab. Traditionally used either as pickles, chutney or everyday subzi, it also served as a great nibble for kids plucking it right off the vine. The fact that readymade dips, ketchups and sauces in fancy packaging have replaced our native pickles and chutney is no less than a tragedy. Once an important part of North Indian meals, the present ‘modern’ and ‘fast moving generation’ remains oblivious to its existence, much less its benefits. The Kachri, like many other NUC is a wonderful resource of nutrients – high in protein, calcium and omega-3, also rich in antioxidants, flavonoids and saponins. It acts as a coolant for people living in the harsh arid areas of North-Western India, where it is hard to grow conventional vegetables.

cultivation of various NUCs & conventional vegetablesThe need of the hour is to encourage cultivation of various NUCs and get them back in our diets. The cross – sectoral benefits of doing so are –

  1. Nutrition – NUCs have known medicinal and therapeutic properties and have been used by the local people to cure various diseases. They have been used as curative foods in the traditional Indian Medicine and Ayurveda
  1. Economy – Improves income generation for small and medium- scale farmers
  1. Climate smart – They adapt to marginal soil and climate conditions. Owing to their potential for dietary diversification, they can contribute to UN Sustainable Development Goal, SDG15 (halt biodiversity loss)
  1.  Zero hunger – By reducing our dependency on only major crops for food, they can contribute to the second UN Sustainable Development Goal, SDG2 (end hunger, achieve food security)

A compilation of few NUCs of India based on their origin-

North West South East
Kachri Jackfruit Jackfruit Jackfruit
Ker Ragi Ragi Madua
Sangri Kokum Kokum Jalpai
Bael Amla Tamarind Kamranga
Kuttu Jamun Mangosteen Chalta
Amla Ber Drumsticks Jamrul fruit
Share this post

The ‘Shakti’ is within – Strong is beautiful

Open letters are breaking the Internet these days. Farhan Akhtar recently wrote one to his daughter and Amitabh Bachchan to his granddaughters. Also in the very recent past, films such as Pink and Parched have done impeccably well in addressing women’s issues in both rural and urban settings in India. Today we are at the last day of Navratri, a festival dedicated to the feminine nature of the Divine. The feminine has always been worshipped in Indian culture in various forms. She is referred to as ‘Adi Shakti’, ‘Param Shakti’, ‘Maha Shakti’ or simply as ‘Shakti’. Today, most households in India will invite small Kanyas for prasad, worship them and give them gifts. The belief is to recognize in the girl child the power, energy and strength that is vested—the ‘Shakti’.

Yet, at the same time, ours is a culture which has also seen a terrible exploitation of the feminine. Though people’s awareness about women’s issues is gradually on the rise, what I believe needs to be done at the most basic level is to bring about some important changes in the way we bring up our girls.

1. Bring them up to be strong, independent women, not delicate “Daddy’s Princesses”

If we constantly keep our girls away from sports and athletics, and worry more about their complexion getting darker in the sun, we cannot be sure of giving them a safe and secure future. If we keep fretting over their bruises and repeat expressions in front of them such as ‘daag nahi gaya toh shaadi kaun karega’, we can be sure of raising a generation that will only continue to get exploited. Sports do a lot more than they appear to. In my career as a fitness professional, I have often come across girls who play sports but only until they are in the 8th or 9th standard. As parents and guardians, it is our responsibility to encourage them to keep pursuing sports even later or to weight train at the gym and/ or take up any traditional form of yoga practice. Lifting weights at the gym is not going to make them look less like girls—in fact, it will give them the strength and courage (both physical and mental) to stand up for themselves and never give up. Practising inversions (head stands, shoulder stands, etc.) at yoga classes empowers a girl to “choose” and not simply “comply”. She learns to rise against conventions and conditioning, without the fear of falling down.

Shakti’ is literally translated as ‘Strength’ and Strong is NOT the ‘new’ beautiful. Strong has always been the ONLY beautiful. The festival of Navratri is based on this fundamental insight.

2. Free them from the chains of shallow conditioning, the so called breed of ‘cultured’ girls

Violence at home is India’s ‘failing’—BBC, 2014.

What sets our country apart from the rest of the world is the culture of silence that surrounds it. Ironically, the more educated a girl is, the more silent she gets. The pressure to fit in with society’s expectations, to be a ‘cultured’ girl who is always smiling and enduring, is shouldered more by the so-called ‘acche ghar ki ladkiyan’. This, by the way, is the exact opposite of education, for education is supposed to remove your fears and set you free. The “beti bachao, beti padhao yojana” sounds a lot like a joke. The responsibility does not lie with schools but with each of us. It is our responsibility to stop raising “Good” girls. Instead, let us raise “Strong” girls.

3. Let’s change their bedtime stories with the changing times

Stories of Cinderella and the like mostly revolve around the sad plight of beautiful girls waiting to be rescued by their Prince Charming. When we live in a society where incidents of domestic violence are reported about once every five minutes (BBC, 2014), I really wonder if stories of “happily ever after” really make any sense. Instead, let’s tell them stories of bravery, grit, valour, and honour, of the invincible Durga from mythology, of Jhansi ki Raani from history, and of Yusra Mardini or Reshma Qureshi in our current times.

4. And lastly, stop body shaming, please!

We come from a culture where we apply ‘kaala tikka’ on the foreheads of our children with the belief that each child, whether dark or fair, tall or short, fat or thin, is beautiful. Today, it is in vogue for mothers to be constantly worried. In my work, I meet worried mothers on a regular basis. ‘Yeh dil maange more’ is the mantra: can she be a little thinner, a little taller, and of course, a little more fair than what she is? Interestingly, most of these mothers are themselves quite unfit to begin with. Get a life, mommies! Start with yourself first. After all, Mahatma Gandhi rightly said, “Be the change you want to see.”

Read about the journey of grit, courage and strength of these strong women who overcame hurdles to be healthier and happier-

1. TRANSFORMATION – STORY OF ANNAPURNA SHARMA

2. TRANSFORMATION – JOURNEY OF ADITI SARAF

3. TRANSFORMATION – STORY OF BAANI KAUR

Share this post