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Start Having that Kitchen Conversation

Do you know how difficult it is to get someone to first accept and then follow simple tips that are absolutely wonderful for them? You would think that telling someone to choose a healthier option in their daily diet would be an easy sell. They will be grateful for your suggestion. Well, not so fast. There is the monster called ‘habit’ and it eats up all good sense sometimes. I should know because I know how hard it was for me to have this conversation with my own mother.

Knowing her ‘habits’ I didn’t dare push my healthy eating message on her, while I was
evangelizing natural living to everyone else! A bit hypocritical I agree. But you know how mothers can be. Then she started having some health issues herself. And I knew that a window had opened for me to broach the subject. And I did. And I got what is expected from a traditional Indian mom who has lived her life on her own terms, and more importantly, has been the absolute ruler of her own kitchen.

I didn’t give up. I kept at it. Little by little, or morsel by morsel, I started making headway. Remember, switching to a healthier atta (flour), like the MP Sharbati variety, to make those hot hot rotis, is not going to be a big departure from norm at all. It tastes as good if not better.

My mother is, I am happy to report, more open to the idea that food is not as wholesome as it was during her childhood decades ago. And that there are better and healthier ways to satisfy one’s hunger by opting for the more natural foods. That’s one person that I am so happy to have on my side, besides of course, my ‘boss’. If you have been reading these messages, then you know who that is!

I don’t just stop my campaign with my near and dear ones. I am quite aggressive with my quest to persuade people to seeing the merit in avoiding the toxic, industrially produced foods, as much as possible. Many listen to me patiently and say, ‘thank you’. Some are quick to evade the issue. One of the excuses I get often is that “O, we are taking care, we don’t eat out.’ While it is true that eating out or buying prepared food from stores is not the best thing you can do for your health, you must also ask the question, what’s in my kitchen? Cooking at home is a healthier and cheaper option that we recommend. But wouldn’t it be a hundred times better if you started buying more wholesome Organic ingredients, to your shopping list?

Did you know, for example, that health experts have begun expressing their reservations about seed oils and most vegetable oils, except a few like olive and avocado. A typical South Asian kitchen consumes cooking oil as if it is going out of fashion. This is neither necessary (to add taste) nor desirable for family health.

These overprocessed, ‘industrial toxic cooking oils’ based on corn, cottonseed, soy, sunflower and others form the bulk of our cooking medium. And that means, litres or gallons of it find their way into our system each year. All these oils are high in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) that can cause inflammation and toxin accumulation in the body. 

You have two clear options to get out of this trap that is playing havoc with your system. If you must stay with these oils, try and reduce the quantity of oil that you use in cooking to the minimum. You will realize that this doesn’t really take away from the taste in most cases. You will also save more than a few bucks. And then there is the most preferred option – switch to healthier alternatives. In the long run, it is a much cheaper option.

Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in the body, if it is only 2%, is considered normal. But today most studies show that we have about 20-30% of PUFAs in our body fat. This means that there is a subsequent increase in the level of toxins too. Maybe, it is time to go back to the future, to the days of pure ghee. Watch this space for a special on the goodness of ghee that scientists are discovering of late. Bloom has a surprise for you.

It may not be possible for everyone to switch suddenly to healthier oils for personal as well as economic reasons. This is where we recommend a step-by-step approach. Make changes slowly by bringing home the better and natural alternatives. When you start introducing them gradually, everything becomes palatable. Sometimes, even your biggest critic doesn’t even catch on that he/she has been ‘fooled’.

Taste is acquired, but even more so, it is also a belief system. We do not budge from long-held convictions. That is a pity. Because today we have the necessary information at our fingertips. And yet, a sizable percentage of even the most educated adopt a non-serious attitude toward embracing the healthy alternatives when it comes to our diet. Every health practitioner and expert will tell you that the sooner you turn away from a diet rich in chemicals (thanks to the ‘wonders’ of industrial farming and overprocessed of foods), the better your chances of avoiding complications later in life. According to one estimate, by the time someone lands up in hospital or is detected with a serious illness, they have been living ‘dangerously’ for the previous twenty years!

There is no time to lose. Start having that conversation with yourself as well as those who you love and cherish! Take a bite at a time, and bite by bite, it will become a wholesome meal. And before you know you are beginning to feel new. Believe me, I have been there! 


Sunil Kalra
CEO, Bloom Organic Bazaar
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