Sure looks awesome... but is it really that awesome?
Most of you probably know that India is the most vegetarian country in the world and that it houses more vegetarians than the rest of the world combined. Considering we Indians don’t eat meat and we have multiple reasons, ranging from moral to religious to health, to stay the hell away from meat, one would assume that we eat a very nutritious diet comprising mostly of vegetables and fruit. I mean, if meat is out of the plate and whole dairy is to be consumed in moderation, one would imagine that our plates be filled with vegetables! After all we are proud “vegetarians” aren’t we?
But is this really the case?
I was born and brought up in South India and from my experience, a typical south Indian diet contains…
- Molaga podi (Chili powder, vegetable/sesame oil)
- Vada (Lentils deep fried in vegetable/sesame oil)
- Poori (Wheat deep fried in vegetable/sesame oil)
- Sambar (Lentils, tamarind, vegetable/sesame oil, negligible vegetables)
- Rasam (Tomato, tamarind, spices, water)
- Vegetable poriyal (Vegetables, vegetable/sesame oil)
- Vegetable kootu (Vegetables, vegetable/sesame oil, coconut)
- Avial (Starchy vegetables, coconut, coconut oil)
- Coffee (Coffee, milk, sugar)
- Biscuits (Wheat, sugar and other junk)
- Muruku, thattai, cheedai (Flour or lentils deep fried in vegetable/sesame oil)
- Lemon Rice (White rice, lemon juice, vegetable/sesame oil)
- Tamarind Rice (White rice, vegetable/sesame oil, tamarind extract)
- Potato subzi (Potato, onions, vegetable/sesame oil)
- Papad (Lentils deep fried in vegetable/sesame oil)
- Pickle (Vegetable/fruit pickled in vegetable/sesame oil)
- Pongal (Rice, lentils, ghee)
Ummm… maybe its just me, but I didn’t see too many “vegetables” in the “vegetarian” diet! I’m sure I’ve missed out of a bunch of other things south Indian people normally eat and I know I haven’t listed what vegetarians from other parts of India eat. But what is obvious here?
- Clearly 90% of one’s calories come from grains, vegetable/sesame oil, lentils and potatoes!
- A negligible amount of calories come from vegetables and fruit.
- Though junk food consumption is less, little to no nutrition exists in the entire cuisine.
- The majority of one’s calories come from carbohydrates and that too from grains and lentils.
- Most of the fat consumed is from vegetable and sesame oil which are both super high in the very easily oxidizable polyunsaturated fatty acids.
- Protein is almost non-existent
Why is this wrong with this?
Honestly… tooooooo many things! While I don’t have the time to get into great detail, here is what you need to know in a nutshell.
If this is wrong, then what is right?
- Control the carb intake and include more good fats.
I guarantee you that making just these four changes will cause a very significant improvement to your health and quality of life. Try it for a month! Seriously, whats there to lose? Worst case, you’ll end up not eating your favorite foods for 4 weeks. But best case, you could better you health and possibly cure everything from asthma to diabetes to eczema or chronic fatigue to high blood pressure to high cholesterol to joint aches to sleep issues!
In the next few weeks, I will write about how to modify the current traditional Indian diet to make it more nutritious while still keeping its very own unique flavors and taste. While I do that, why don’t you folks spread the good word around? Sharing buttons below!
Image credit – http://www.tamilspider.com