Updated: Sep 10, 2019
On this wonderful occasion of Mother’s day, I as a mother of two young kids thought of bringing light on this important and significant topic of ‘food wellness’. What is food wellness?
Food wellness is the healthy food program designed and aimed to build a healthy mind and body, keeping in mind the nutritional value, the good health factor and the proper food quotient. A mother’s task is not just to bring a child into this world but to groom a person into a healthy mind and soul. That can be done only with a healthy lifestyle with right eating habits followed by a right dietary regimen.
Every mother loves to cook food for her children and while cooking her only endeavor is to provide the best to her children. Children these days are besotted with junk food. They are so smitten by the TV advertisements and other social media endorsements on food that they either want to eat only the food available outside or they yearn for the same food at home.
‘Domino’s’, ‘Pizza Hut’, ‘KFC’, ‘Burger King’ are the new food heavens and the Ghar Ka Khaana is boring. We cannot blame the children, we adults are primarily responsible for it. Because of the changed lifestyles, mad rush, unending rat race, we love to pamper our children with all these food delicacies. The so-called social status takes a beating when we don’t discuss latest restaurants, their new-defined recipes, their new age Menus and the exorbitant bills. But the universal truth is everybody of us love our Maa ke Haath ka Khaana and misses it the most when we are away from her. How much old she gets, that taste is the most eternal and when we get a chance to have it, we devour on it like devils. I still remember me and my brother fighting over the sumptuous food which our mother used to cook for us and we still fight when we gather again. That is the beauty of ‘Maa ke Haath Ka Khanna’.
Today’s mother is faced with new food challenges and has to meet new food parameters every day. It’s no longer a mother’s job just to cook only delicious and finger licking food for her family, but it is her sacred duty as an educated woman now to provide nutritious meals, educating adults and children to adopt healthy lifestyles, advocating for better food policies, and expanding this holistic model across communities. Wholesome lifestyles are essential to achieve academic and social success because they support the healthy physical and intellectual development of children and adults.
Food poisoning and foodborne diseases caused by harmful pathogens are becoming the gross reality of the day and great source of worry for each and every mother. Increasing food choices, rising tendency to eat food outside, and growing pattern of eating ready to eat food have all together made a mother’s task more uphill. Unhealthy dietary patterns, with an alarming increase in junk food consumption, physical inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle in general, use of drugs and medication, and stress all are on the rise. Irresponsible media propagation of packaged food high in sugar and sodium and containing preservatives and trans fat and a general view of “tasty food” being different from “healthy food” has a marked influence on the diets of children. Many diseases and health related issues can be cured with a simple, nutritious and wholesome diet.
Practically applying the principle “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” on preparing and and storing food is the only Food Mantra. Preventing the growth of dangerous microorganisms in food is the key to reducing the millions of illnesses and thousands of deaths each year. Here are some Key steps which each mother must follow to ensure the ‘Food Wellness’ essential for the well being for her family:
Checking your steps for food safety by following four basic rules — clean, separate, cook and chill.
Educating & guiding children about the importance of eating healthy food, rich in vitamins and minerals.
Helping them and educating them about the right food choices, starting the day with a hearty breakfast and ending it with a light, early dinner ensures that most of the damage has been controlled.
Aiming to create a long lasting impact with working towards understanding how food works in your body and mind and also on transforming and redefining your relationship with food and well being.
Preparing homemade food may be less risky than purchasing them from a retailer.
Enjoying pasteurized dairy and juices which can be safer alternatives to those that are unpasteurized.
Selecting right kind of cooking oil, making a healthier choice of monounsaturated fats over saturated fatty acids in terms of keeping cholesterol levels in control.
Reducing the intake of refined carbs like refined flour, white sugar, etc. and include more complex carbs like whole grains in your diet that take longer to digest, releasing slow but continuous energy for a long duration.
Advocating enough physical exercise in a day, either in the form of walking or running for a short while or playing a sport or a recreational activity involving physical movement.
Keeping stress completely out of life and imbibing children with the value of stress-free life.
This little effort from each mother will definitely help in nurturing and nourishing a healthy family, with a healthy body and mentally sound mind. And incorporating this theory of food wellness in our life, one can definitely usher a new food era aimed at providing complete health and mind wellness.
The most important healthy food dimension, I want to offer in this write-up is ‘Mindful Eating’. There is a growing field of People who are adopting the approach and also practicing it. Mindful Eating is learning to pay attention. Instead of eating mindlessly, putting food into your mouth almost unconsciously, not really tasting the food you are eating, You learn to pay attention to
Why you feel like eating and what emotions or needs might be triggering the eating
What you are eating, and whether it is healthy or not.
The look, smell, taste, feel of the food you are eating.
How it make you feel as you taste it, as you digest it and throughout the day.
How full or satiated, you are before, during and after eating.
Your emotions during and after the eating.
Where the food came from, who might have grown it, whether it was grown organically, how much it was processed, how much it was fried or overcooked, etc.
This is a skill, a form of meditation, that needs to be practiced through Mindfulness. The benefits of Eating Mindfully are amazing, and it is important to know these benefits:
You learn to eat when you are hungry, and stop when you are satiated
You learn to really taste food, and to enjoy the taste of healthy food.
You slowly start to realize that unhealthy food isn’t as tasty as thought, nor does it make you feel good.
As a result, you will often lose weight if you are overweight.
You begin to sort through the emotional issues you have around food and eating.
You can eat mindfully while socializing, with practice, and not overeat.
You begin to enjoy the eating experience more, and as a result enjoy life more, when you are more present.
It can become a mindful ritual, you look forward to.
You learn how food affects your mind and energy throughout the day.
You learn what food best fuels your exercise and work and play.
We, Indians are bestowed with this knowledge since ages (more than 5,000 years) the Ayurveda which was practiced to promote wellness in India. From the sanskrit words ayurs (life) and veda (knowledge), Ayurveda branches from hindu scriptures called the vedas, and has influenced buddhist philosophy, eastern and western health care — & it is beginning to find a place in diet trends. Its practitioners consider Ayurveda to be a sacred system that unites natural elements, spirituality and diet.The time has come to go back to basics and incorporate the same in our culture now.
In short, nourishment of the body is tethered to nourishment of the mind and soul.
Ayurveda has an expansive definition of nourishment that goes beyond food, to think in terms of all the things that fuel our life force, including relationships and doing the things we love. With regard to nutrition, it goes beyond:
‘You are What You Eat’ to ‘You are What, When, How and Why You Eat.’
About Dr. Gazal Goyal Bansal
Founder and CEO, Life Coach and Speaker, Dr. Gazal Bansal is a
Doctorate in Political Science, UGC (JRF), a Gold Medalist, Certified ISO 22000 Lead Auditor, a Licensed Practitioner of NLP from The Society of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (TM) & a Pranic Healer.
As a spiritual evangelist and a practical thinker, she is a radical enthusiast and a firm believer in the philosophy of conceptual pragmatism, logical reasoning, and the spiritual energy matrix. She is a staunch believer of the fact that before you speak, your energy speaks.