As a new mum and determined to make a healthy change to the foods we eat, I have jumped on to the “as less processed as possible” bandwagon since the last couple of years. There are still miles ahead of me when it comes to being healthy, however I feel grateful that at least I have taken the first step towards a long and ever going journey. Choosing natural and healthy foods didn’t come naturally to me ! It was, and still is a very conscious effort to make small and steady steps.
“I am trying to eat little to no processed foods. However, I grew up on these foods. I am learning about whole foods and raw foods. What is something you would keep on hand if you were cooking from scratch and what would be the most common use you would have for it be?” – Kat Evans
Just recently, my swapping partner Kat Evans put up this question to me which lead me to formalize and articulate my thoughts this subject.
Let me tell you – Transitioning from Processed to Whole, Fried to Baked, Refined to Raw is REALLY a big deal. For many it’s not even a choice – considering how fast paced their lives are and how little or no time they get for thinking and planning and executing their meals. Even if everything works for you, temptation mostly wins. I truly believe whatever measures we take must be really simple and practical so that they can be imbibed in our daily routine without much ado.
As a vegetarian , and also a big fan of dining out, staying on the nutritious track often becomes a challenge. Yet, if I were to answer Kat’s question above along with adding some of the simple changes I made as the first step towards embarking on making better food choices, then here are a few things that come to my mind :
Adding different grains to my diet. We usually just keep eating different forms of wheat and rice, whereas there is a plethora of grains that are available since mankind started agriculture. What makes me laugh these is that those grains are packaged these days and being sold as “ancient grains”. I mean these grains were always there and probably they are as ancient as wheat and rice ! So adding different kinds of millets , in addition to oats and quinoa has made a difference in my diet. There is a lot of added fiber and of course texture and taste !
Another thing I would keep at hand when cooking from scratch would be spice blends because they really benefit our metabolic activity and assist in maintaining loads of bodily functions. Usage of spices comes naturally to Indians. Not all spices are hot though. Here is an article on Healthiest Herbs And Spices And How They Improve Your Health
Water. Dehydration really slows down body’s ability to function well. It also diffuses false hunger alarms and hunger pangs. I have to pull up my socks on the water department. I really don’t drink as much water as I should.
Nuts is something my mother keeps reminding me, however here too I’d like to include more than just the sunflower seeds that I have started. I do eat raisins and soaked almonds once in while but I must definitely get more regular in this department. One thing to note here is the portions – they are really very small. Overeating nuts (like my mum) is very common and it just boomerangs back on you.
Pulses and lentils is also very essential and is a fixed part of my cooking. This is one of the largest vegan source of protein. Although I am not a vegan, but limiting dairy is recommended by an increasing number of doctors and nutritionists each day. Eating better quality of food and choosing good ingredients also largely contributes towards a better health.
Having said that, I wanted to let you know that I still eat fried food, cheat at least once a week, do not exercise (I have 80% valid excuses for not exercising ) and do not sleep on time. My mind naturally gravitates towards cheese pizza’s… haha ! Nonetheless, I try. Keep trying. On the whole, improving and maintaining health is an ongoing process. I hope that I try and stick to the tiny moves that I have started if not more !