De-Junkifying the Indian

Those were the days when evening snacks comprised of nothing more than the home-made yummy treats like Bhajjias, Pakodas, Channa. Cutlets used to be a bonanza. Well!all of this were good, healthy(Mind you!....All prepared at home by mom).I still remember the mouth-watering channa with Puris served piping hot when I returned from school. I know you will have lovely stories to add this.

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Fast forward.....Circa 2014 

Mom rushing out of her office, picking up her children dashing straight in to a Junk Food outlet namely Mc D's, Dominos ,KFCs and the likes. Or take the case of those funky college goers who are regulars to these joints and only need a very simple reason to do this......perhaps the spending power of these kids have leapt up so high; and it seems the parents also don't mind. The junk food culture is a kind of 'nothing else to eat syndrome' (though I know most of them don't have a choice) in the sprawling food courts for the corporate lot. This could be my stretched imagination but just thinking how many of us actually do eat junk foods on a regular basis. Eating out always existed in our social culture for over two decades now but the food we ate out was not JUNK!.

Young-woman-eating-fast-f-007

Let me clarify something before we start to know more on ‘Junking’. Fast foods most misinterpreted food under the sky. All junk foods are almost ‘Fast foods’ but all Fast foods are not junk! They are some readymade foods made in a ‘jiffy’. But when such foods are prepared in a jiffy they need to use some unhealthy ingredients to make it tasty.

How can we define junk food? Any food that contains empty calories with no nutrients and made up of highly processed foods, high Sodium contents and tastes great!!! The best thing is that the taste always makes you eat more than one!

In India Junk-eat outs have become the norm of the day today these so-called fast foods or junk foods are a part of imported western culture.

Let ‘s see how Indians became junkified:

1. Work meets eat junctions:

Enter IT revolution in India. The time period saw a beginning of all new lifestyle,eat@work in sprawling food courts with many MNC food brands with a few Indian ones luring to some great variety of food. Lest we knew this would kick off a slew of health hazards.

2. ‘Mall’ified culture:

We did have big complexes of shops in the nineties. They did have one or two eateries in them. People did shop-n-eat but had limited choices. But what mall culture did to an average Indian eating habit was way different. It threw up a variety offering a range of foods from world cuisines such as Chinese, Italian,Mexican and so on with our very Indian Cuisine favourites like Chaat,Tandoori etc and made it available at one place-one go! It changed the way people shopped. They shopped for food than for other things.

3. Working couples:

Down the years with evolving nuclear family system and the number of working women increasing eating out has become more of a necessity than luxury. The problem is most them left with unhealthy food choices. With little or no time to spare for cooking, a major chunk of Indian were Junkified this way.

4. More Spending power:

Well, that is a certainly news! Standard of living of an average Indian has increased by atleast 50% in last 2 decades. So have the life styles and food styles.Then this Junkified Indian is born. And then burger becomes most part of his meals and Colas become their staple drink.Lo!

5. The Western Hype:

When we great varieties of foods, especially snacks back home. But the hype created by the MNC eateries are being luring that people are flocking into them. Also if you see closely most of them have Indianised with a ‘Masala ‘twist to their menu.

How to get De-junkified?

1. Change to Indian snacks more

2. Try carry out snacks to office

3. Shift to more ‘real’ food like fruits and salads for munching time

4. Go more whole grained snacks.

5. Do away with cola drinks and replace them with healthier alternatives.

6. Teach kids about junk-eating, treat them with more Indian snacks

7. Have a budget for food, see to it you work within that range.

Indians are meant to have healthier generations ahead with rich culture and eating habits. The way things are moving we are heading towards creating a sub-standard generation. Choice is your, make a wise choice today!

Uma Raghavan

Has over 8 years of experience in the field of Clinical Nutrition, Corporate nutrition, Healthy Food service management and Dietary management in preventive health care. As a corporate dietitian in various IT companies has counseled more than 500 odd people on Lifestyle Disorders and specific medical conditions. Has devised personalized diet charts along with one on one diet-counselling to people suffering from LSDs such as Obesity, Diabetes & heart diseases and other medical conditions. As a Diabetic Educator with Apollo Hospitals has worked in close association with people in fighting Diabetes and arming with Diabetic Management tools helping them lead a quality life

Has conceived and executed Obesity and Diabetes campaigns that comprises of health screening to treatment complete with customised diet counselling of the target customers.

As a Head-Dietitian at Sanjeevanam, a holistice centre with 3 centres in Chennai and 1 in Bengaluru has effectively combined holistic healthcare concepts with Dietary management principles in treating diseases. Has been planning and executing healthy menu concepts and dishes imbibing Indian traditional medicine system, Ayurveda into contemporary food styles and eating habits. 

Has organised Seminars and presentations represented the company in various health forums and in many corporate units such as Orchid Pharma ,CSS corp, TCS, TAFE, Madras School of Social Work, 'Magalir mattuum 'forum for rural women, Income Tax office, Scope International

Has been a part of health forums such as AYUSH and had represented the company in international conference by ICCOA(Organic Agriculture)in Benguluru.

Recently handled a 4 day episode on diet and healthy recipes on RAINBOW FM, Chennai in a programme called ‘Sappadu Ready’. Also on the Expert panel for Mahindra Retail group-Mom and me as their nutrition expert for their Magazine and website called the Mom’s Lounge (South Zone)

Has recently started a page on Facebook which gives away daily tips for a healthy living to engage health enthusiasts from different walks of life.

Chips to Cherries - Your Nutrition Consultancy

Currently, a nutrition entrepreneur, has successfully started a nutrition consultancy- which aims to provide nutritional and dietary Services for Individuals, corporate and schools as summarized in the web-site-

CHIPS TO CHERRIES

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