Glossy pictures of fruits and vegetables always fascinated me as a young girl. Reading books of some world-renowned authors and understanding the mechanism of food and body always brought my interest.
Now, that I have grown and practised as a dietitian, I have had an inclination towards our tradition kitchen. I realise, traditionally our kitchens were less busy with what they are now. We stock cereal, milk, grains, spices and have most of the modern equipment's in our kitchen and so our hospitals like an emergency, OPD and OPD theatres.
Here are the top 10 traditional nutrition hacks from our kitchen:
1. A traditional kitchen comprises a stone mortar, a flat and slightly concave stone grinder with a smaller hand-held stone, several baskets, cloth bags, airtight wooden or stone barrels for storing food staples, a sifting basket for separating hulls, stems, and stones from grains, sieves, tea strainers, food steamers, all made from bamboo, unlike modern kitchen where we use dough mixers, grinders, juicers etc. Let me tell you when we pass electrical energy through the food it damages the quantum energy of food and reduces the absorption of nutrients.
Even the use of most modern gadget like a microwave can be harmful. Electric blenders, food processors, dough kneading machines have removed the most important aspect of food practices from our lives. Today these linings have been replaced with aluminium and Teflon coating. To make it simple, use cast iron and stainless steel for cooking.
Using a gas burning stove is far better than an electric stove which provides directs flame. Use glass bottles, copper and bronze for having meals and store food in glass jars instead of plastic.
2. To drink water, use silverware or copper to reduce the body fire. Silver helps in reducing digestive fire. You can also drink from copper bottles. Swap all plastic bottles with glass bottles. The best containers to drink water from are copper, earthenware and glass.
3. Discard all old spices, frozen and canned foods. Keep cooking space clean and uncluttered and gradually eliminate most electrical appliances and move towards hand-operated utensil.
4. Swap all vegetable oils with ghee, mustard oil, peanut oil, coconut oil and store them in a glass bottle. Swap your refined processed flours with bran or mixed grain flour. If you can find a miller nearby who can process them through a milling machine, nothing like it and change your spices and hand-ground spices in a mortar pestle. Cumin powder, coriander powder, chilli powder, methi powder, garam masalas, all can be swapped with the fresh ones.
5. Change your aluminium foils and use more banana, mustard leaves to wrap your food or butter paper and avoid cooking in aluminium.
6. Use as many fresh and organically grown vegetables and herbs as you can. Make use of small space in the kitchen garden or your balcony and grow herbs like coriander, mint, curry leaves, oregano, wheatgrass, barley grass, ajwain leaves, lemongrass. Swap juicers with manual juicers.
7. Sitting on a chatai or a mat in lotus posture assists in the feeling of satiety and aids digestion. It prevents excess consumption of food.
8. Use "Anjali" the volume of your two hands – this indicates the quantity of food required to eat by that individual in the day- one Anjali for each child and 2 Anjali's for an Adult is the quantity of food required in the day. "Swap measurement cups with the Anjali of your hands".
9. Kneading of the dough with your hands instead of dough machines transcends the energy into the food. Closer you are to nature, the more connected your food will be with the energy of the cosmos.
10. Create an organic way to dispose of your kitchen waste. Participate in small efforts in creating an organic kitchen garden.
Above strategies, if adapted will assist in changing your lifestyle in many ways. Idea is to swap it and do not stop it.
About the author: This is a guest article by Swati Bathwal, an accredited practising Dietitian Nutritionist and Public Health Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator, an accredited Anthropometrist and a registered Yoga Teacher.