In an era where lifestyle diseases cut short our lifespan, it is important that we relook at the maxim, ‘Our food should be our medicine, and medicine should not become our food’.
The cancers and migraines, caused by the spin-off technology and chemicals have now migrated to the Third World. From DDT and BHC to organo-phosphorus insecticides, we have willingly poisoned ourselves without realising it. It is time now that we begin growing as much vegetables as we can at home and encourage others to grow by buying local produce through systems of community-supported agriculture or CSA that has now become popular from Japan to America.
Pulses provide the proteins to build our body without the danger of the steroids pumped into animals and poultry raised for meat in ‘battery farms’. The turmeric in our curry is an antiseptic while the garlic helps to keep the blood pressure down. The kokum sol’kaddi is helpful against obesity while cinnamon helps to keep cholesterol in check. Vegetables and fruits supply us with vitamins and minerals while cereals, pulses and oilseeds provide the proteins, fats and carbohydrates that build our body and provide us with energy to work and play.
The unbridled use of insecticides and herbicides in our crops together with the rampant use of hormones and antibiotics in our poultry, dairy and meat industry puts our lives at risk. To add to our woes, the fish is now preserved in formalin. We need to be aware and take steps to protect ourselves and our future generations.
Poison-free vegetables are an important consideration when thinking of healthy food for oneself or one’s family, specially the children whom we have unknowingly poisoned all these years. Growing food can begin very simply. It is as simple as stripping the leaves from the mint or pudina stem cuttings, making your mojito, chutney or whatever dish and then planting the bare stick in a little coco-peat and compost. Hey, presto! You have fresh mint growing in a pot on your kitchen window.
Coriander pods from the market can be rubbed to split into two seeds, soaked overnight in water and sown on soil to get green coriander for flavouring the food.
You can dry the seeds of tomato or brinjal on a newspaper in a shady place and sow them later to get the vegetables at home. Just take out the seeds from red chilies and sow them directly to get seedlings. You can also grow them in pots.