We have all heard the age-old maxim ‘Change is the only constant’. Is it true? And if it is, are we changing for good or for bad? For me, I believe change is constant and this can be both good and bad.
All around us, there is change happening – more so than ever before. As I write this column, our diets and our habits are changing, our dependency on homecooked food is changing, our lifestyle is changing; and this, in turn, is causing problems in the body.
These problems stem from our dependency on fast and processed food brought about by the unhealthy lifestyles of a modern world. Whenever we go to a social gathering, be it a wedding or a birthday party, we tend to make a straight b-line for the food. And the food that is served, while tasty, is usually highly processed and lack nutrients. Food items at such ceremonies include vada pavs, samosas, pizzas, burgers, panipuri, fried foods and items loaded with sugar and oil; all of which are neither healthy nor nutritious.
And while we are aware of this; we still indulge in this unhealthy fare – and why? Simply because we associate these functions with food above everything else. And so, when we attend a function, we make sure we relish all the greasy and unhealthy grub we can get our hands-on. If only, we took such functions as a chance to meet family, relatives and friends; our focus would change from food towards chit-chatting, spending quality time with loved ones and enjoying life to the fullest.
Fast food and processed foods have high amounts of fat, sodium and sugar to improve the taste and shelf life of the product. Packaged foods and energy drinks contain artificial colour, preservatives, Ajinomoto, pesticides and additives; all of these are our kids’ favourite, however, when given to them can cause nutrient imbalance and an increase in weight.
The sugar in processed and packaged food affects the brain and then induces hunger pangs as a side-effect. This is because fast foods are specifically designed to be addictive with too much of salt, sugars and oil that increase your craving for them; your brain craves them even when you are not hungry.
Soft drinks or aerated drinks does no good as they too are gently attached to junk food. These drinks cause ulcers and make the body acidic if taken daily. They also tend to filter out calcium from our bones causing bone pain and other issues.
These are all things which are not good for the body but can be consumed once in a while in moderation which is completely fine. Try to balance your routine with healthy food, home-cooked if possible or choose wisely when eating out. You can choose lemon water over aerated drinks to keep yourself hydrated and quench that thirst. Packaged food can be replaced with food which can be easily made at home within a few minutes (not two-minutes noodles please). I’m talking about mixed grain pancakes, rice and pulse-based khichdi, millets khichdi, mixed vegetable tikki and so on.
There are many options but we tend to get lazy and grab the nearest packaged, ready-to-eat junk. What we eat should be a balanced, nutritious diet; but treating yourself with such food items once in a while is completely fine. Most importantly, be the change and choose to be a healthy you.
Treat your body right