Road to a Nutritious plate: Eating right should not be a rocket science

These days I am enjoying looking at last 15 years of my life on digital photo frame on my kitchen counter. This frame connects to our network with all the pictures we have taken since our first digital camera.

I enjoy watching it while cooking and doing dishes. I love looking at the pictures of my girls in cute outfits in some funny poses at thier soccer, ballet, homecoming, prom, graduation, They have grown up now; are in college and in high school. It brings good memories of those days when they were growing up. It gives me happiness and makes me sad at the same time.Looking at myself in those pictures, One consistent theme stands out; I look  dazed, sleep deprived, tired and lost. These are my pictures in my early thirties; something didn’t seem right. I don’t seem to be usual self the way I am today at the age of 50; full of energy and vibrance. Today, I have sparkle in my eyes and I  am hopeful for tomorrow. I wonder what was wrong with me then?

One consistent reason pops up.The Food; yes, the food I was eating; I was not eating right; food choices I made, genetically modified, over processed, frozen with preservative and pesticides. During the process of settling down in US, I adopted lots of quick life style, thinking that it’s part of survival and it’s part of lifestyle. I was starting my new career, my job was very hectic,kids were young, the day was full of thier day care issues, school pickups drop-offs, thier extra curricular activities and other needs.It was part of my transition to a new lifestyle!!!! I ate whatever seemed easily available in the grocery stores and could be put together in a meal with least efforts including tons of fast food. I rarely worked out. As a result, I had very poor metabolism and rarely had sound sleep.

Coming from a country that does not have refrigerators or microwaves as necessities, I always ate fresh food and I also  ate with great enthusiasm with least rush and multitasking and also ate with lots of social interaction. Things changed as I moved to a new country  and adopted its new culture with a new lifestyle.

It had been a long journey; about 10 years,  to understand myself and what’s wrong with me and my health. Food had been a culprit. Realization of what’s wrong with the food in the grocery stores, understanding the food and agriculture landscape, political and social aspect of food had been an expedition. It had been a constant quest to know what is the right food to eat, how to eat and what is the best strategy to keep my optimum weight. Becoming aware of my surroundings and my own inner self and learning  about my true nature has been really helpful in reclaiming my health and happiness.

My search has unveiled lots of social, economical and cultural issues that stands between a common man and his eating choices of a nutritious meal on his our plate.

I have a mission to accomplish to make common man aware of this. Eating right shoulds not require a college degree. A common man should be able to eat right with no effort. It’s basics of life. All these learning has influenced  and is incorporated in Mindful Living Club philosophy. I have wasted best years of my life suffering due to poor eating choices and an unhealthy lifestyle. People don’t have to go through this journey at the expense of thier family life and personal time. As true in every capitalist world, There is no-one governing and watching those grocery store aisle or restaurants for the benefit of common people. People have to realize that they have to take charge of thier own health by becoming more savvy and aware of thier surroundings and by making necessary lifestyle changes.

It would be my great pleasure to be your guide in this journey. Come, join Mindful living club and let me create pathways of health for you.

 

 

Michael Pollan -One of the Pillars in Food Movement

Any time there will be a mention of food movement, people will remember  Michael Pollan as a key influencer. Michael is food journalist and he is professor at UC Berkeley . I found him during my desperate search for answers to my basic questions in relation to what  and how should I eat. He turned out to be the Messiah. His books,lectures and movies  gave me inspiration to take this initiative . From him, I learnt about food movement, I learnt about US Food and agriculture industry related fact sand how  in  mid 60s a local farm that was feeding 50 houses in a most healthy fashion wiped out and got replaced by mega industrial farms.These farms changed the landscape of how food reached our plates. It was very shocking and eye opening discovery  and av ery unfortunately truth. If you would like to learn more about these events, you may check out Edible 101 course by UC Berkeley recording…..Edible 101

Michael also has interesting perspective on cooking and its history in US and how fast food industry took over America’s kitchen. In his Netflix series Netflix “Cooked” “Cooked” he highlights how cooking food at home as opposed to factory processing makes it more nutritious. Cooking food and using traditional techniques of fermenting, stone grounding, sprouting, etc add a colony of microbes to the food that are essential for good digestion and providing the nutrition to the body. Modern food industry practices are processing food such a way that it is depriving food of nutrients and adding unnecessary calories.

The tradition of cooking almost disappeared from America’s kitchen in mid nineteenth century with the onset of women liberation. The women decided to go to work  to fulfill their aspirations, dreams and to prove themselves. Unfortunately,  least they realized that they were leaving behind a very decent important job of cooking fresh and healthy meals for the family (I know it may sound very anti feminist) but in fact the job was not paid and least appreciated and people didn’t think it requires any talent. And it was by no mean a wrong decision but it had impact on what we put in our plates for dinner and how it gets there.

When women went to work, a conflict arose between men and women on  the issue of cooking. Smart, educated and working women refused to take single handed ownership of cooking at home. This increasing conflict open the door for the fast food industry that came with the promise to share the burden of cooking for the household  and also to resolve this fight between men and women. And as a result 60 years after this change, we see the epidemic of chronic illness and obesity on a rise here.

Cooked series invite America’s public to go back to their kitchens and re engage into small and basic cooking practices that adds nutrition and flavor to their food. He also specifies that we all need to rise above gender or age clashes when it comes to cooking. A family should come together and cook  as a fun activity and not as chores without any gender bias. Practice of cooking is an art and it is satisfying. What the home cooked food offers to the body is far more satisfying and healthy.

Mindful Living club’s philosophy is greatly impacted by Michael Pollan’s ideas and have guidelines on how to identify what is a real food, where to find it and how to eat it. Eating food is not just a physical activity. People need to get connected with the food they put in their month more at spiritual and mental level. This approach nourishes the body completely.