GO LOCAL, GO SEASONAL!
"Bhaiya ek broccoli, zucchini and Chinese cabbage dena", (Brother, give me a broccoli, zucchini and Chinese cabbage) said Seema Aunty while shopping in one of the posh areas in Delhi. She had recently consulted a “Nutrition influencer” referred to her by one of her friends (Anupama) from a kitty party she had attended a few days ago. Anupama had been following a very strict, calorie deficit diet since the past few months and had been consuming only “Exotic foods” like red cabbage, parsley, celery, kale, etc and had lost a lot of weight but ended up getting extreme acidity and bloating which according to her is manageable by taking antacids, as far as her weight is off and she looks good (as per her) in what she wears.
She refers all her friends to this influencer and they also follow similar diets. Now, there is nothing wrong with these foods, not at all. But have you ever heard of the diverse culture India has? The foods we Indians have to offer and that there is almost always a solution to your acidity and bloating and no it’s not the anta acids. Its ajwain and jeere ka pani (cumin plus carom seed water). Here is a list of some Indian foods equivalent to your western ones (Approximations): (Western-Indian) Lettuce - Spinach Prunes - Dried figs (Anjeer) Cous cous - Broken wheat Zucchini - Bottle gourd Broccoli - Cauliflower Acai beeries - Amla Japanese Matcha - Indian Moringa Quinoa - Amaranth Olive oil - Local, regional oils Chinese Ginseng - Ashwagandha Kale - Beet greens Indian foods are so diverse, from idly in the south to parathas in the north.
Each and every food we eat is so well thought out by our ancesters and it makes a lot of sense if you think about it. In fact, the normal dal chawal or sambhar rice itself makes a complete protein. It’s magical when you eat a wholly Indian based diet. Your body will never suffer from having a glass of ‘chanch’ (Buttermilk) but a glass of ‘celery juice’ might not do any justice to your hunger or your gut.
The beauty about nature is that there are fruits and vegetables as per the season. There are different foods used in different ways as per the region you live in. For example, the pickles you ferment are different in different regions. Gajar ka achar (carrot pickle) is generally found in the north and gongura pickle is enjoyed as a delicacy in Andhra Pradesh. Also, you will find people eating dill leaves or shepu in the south for lactation whereas its gondh or edible gum in the north. There are so many foods like these, the list is endless.
Here are some seasonal fruits and vegetables: Spring: Jackfruit, straw berries, musk melon, coriander, spinach, etc Winter: Dates, pear, bottle gourd, pumpkin, drumsticks, etc Autumn: Guava, Pomegranate, radish, cauliflower, etc Summer: Peach, plum, figs, litchi, beetroot, peas, etc All season: Banana, Papaya, Apple, Pineapple, Cabbage, carrot, tomato, lemon, etc.
As per Ayurveda, your body digests food based on the season. Try eating an off season fruit like mango during winters and you will see the way your body reacts to it might not be very pleasant. So make sure, you eat as per the season. Also, it is of great importance to have food as per the region you live in. People in Bangalore will not be able to digest the amount of ghee and butter people in Amritsar can digest. Similarly, those in Amritsar will not be full with a plate of dosa or idly.
The way your body metabolises food is largely based on the environment around you, the place you live in. Hence, going local is the best gift you can give your body. Eat that cauliflower, cucumber or banana instead of eating zucchini or broccoli. Use oils like coconut, sunflower, etc instead of using olive oil or canola oil. Trust me, you do not need those “Exotic foods” to “Go on a diet”. Eat what’s around you; eat as per your environment and GO LOCAL! You will indeed be doing a huge favour to your body. I hope Seema aunty and Anupama read this too ;)