Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The simplicity of weight loss rests in the complexity of your food

Craving is a natural urge. Man's desire has no limits. Food's relation with man is beyond nutrition. It has a psychological, sociological and economic affair with people. Thus, the never ending debates on  meat / beef ban prosper by time. Anthropologists will tell you how humans have evolved their eating habits to suit their ecology, resource availability and belief pattern. Food has never been limited to proteins, fats and carbohydrates - as a nutritionist would think of. Food is biryani on Eid, sweets and namkeen on Diwali. There is a massive illiteracy about what food is good and what food is perhaps unhealthy. As a matter of fact foods that are unhealthy are so unhealthy for such reasons, which remain contested. Mumbai's Vada Pav is one such food, which is cheap and promoted as a healthy food to help provide employment by putting up Vada Pav stalls. Now if we cut through this Indian burger, we realise that it's starch dipped in fats. At a nutritional level, it'd not rank as one of the healthiest food but it certainly provides energy to your body that's light on your pocket. To understand whether a food is healthy for you, there are several factors one needs to keep in the hindsight. Tamil Nadu has several stalls that provide cheap food and claim to be healthy. Brainchild of the heavenly mother and goddess of all times who is also an incumbent CM out of humility, these stalls serve Idlis. Simple carbohydrates are known to have high glycemic index. They increase blood sugar level instantly and are responsible for weight gain as the surplus glucose attaches itself to fat cells. The north of India is bathed in desi ghee. Its richness is believed to be a cure-all for all ailments.

Gujarat has a surplus of simple carbohydrates bathed in saturated fats. People from this state are now naturally portrayed as overly large in cinema or elsewhere - perhaps it's typical to have a big stomach if you hail from Gujarat. Complexity of food vis-a-vis culture changes from one geography to another.
So what's a healthy food? The proximity with a metro city gives me the opportunity to detach food from its social relations and look at it through a science of nutrition. I can't outdo my natural preferences. You can't win over your psychology unless you train yourself really hard to do so. I'm born and raised in a family that relishes meat and sea food, however I don't recollect the last time I had any thing except chicken. I'd not like to repeat the online ubiquitous list of healthy foods such as walnuts, lean protein, fibre and complex carbohydrates. There are several diets and there are several foods and then there is a long standing history on the relationship of foods with human civilisation. People were healthy even when we didn't know about the science of nutrition. With the knowledge on how our body reacts to what we eat, we're able to deal with a lot of uneasiness related to obesity and malnourishment. Having said that, your grand parents didn't go to McD, Subway or KFC. They didn't feed on processed simple carbohydrates. There is no healthy replacement for what's natural and wholesome. What has remained an unchanged truth even after several respectable addition to the literature on nutrition -- build your diet on the pillars of your work or physical exertion routine.
Coming back to economics, having a healthy diet is indeed expensive. Pulses of all sorts are good source of protein, if you mix them; each fills the gap of amino acids for others. Contrary to popular belief, an inexpensive diet is always unhealthy. Because an inexpensive diet is a result of uninformed nutritional knowledge. This doesn't mean an expensive diet is healthy and nutritious. The richest are the most obese. There is a lot of ground work needed to educate people on good food habits. For this we need to break the social convention about certain foods. Protein, being the most important part of a healthy diet, today is the most expensive. Paneer, Dal, Milk are though rich sources of protein but too expensive on a poor man's pocket. I'd support the idea of a cheap and healthy food that is required for a balanced diet and stands the test of nutritional science; and such consumption is ought to be a natural right. Sadly, a huge population with its amazing variety in eating habits has not received the kind of nutritional programmes, which would counter poor nourishment, create opportunities to break food taboos, and to replace expensive sources of certain foods with its naturally cheaper available options. India desperately needs a robust mechanism to revive its nutritional programmes. I'm not even talking about hygiene, adulteration and food handling; this is an altogether gigantic and pressing issue. We've problems at the basics - the fundamental aspect of food - its nutrition.


Jeff Jones said...

I never realized how easy losing weight actually is until I tried using a sugar free diet plan... the first few weeks were hard because quitting sugar is basically like quitting heroin but after you get through that it's pretty much smooth sailing!

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Faraz Salat

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