sharan1sharan2sharan3

 

 

 

 

The talk lasted for almost 2 hours and could easily continue on!….extremely interesting it was an eye opener  and consisted of arguments that got each of us thinking and pondering seriously over what we are presently doing regarding our lifestyles and how life is going to be if we change our current ways.

1.    What goes bad is GOOD for you.  What does not go bad is NOT GOOD for you. 

An extremely meaningful statement made here – imagine the freshest fruits, vegetables, salads, and homemade food in its purest form. Leaving it out even for more than a day and we see a change in it – texture and smell, and are weary and hesitant about eating it again. Now consider leaving a bag of potatoes chips, fries, even drinks like colas, sweetened ‘fruit’ candies outside on your table/cabinets. It remains as it was, the very taste and flavour unchanged for days! Give it a thought and you will realize what is actually happening – chemicals, preservatives, loads of sugar and artificial flavouring are doing their work and doing it well in firstly getting us attracted to eating the processed food and secondly in keeping it looking and tasting the very same.

There was an experiment done where a McDonald’s burger along with fries (yes the delicious and tempting snack!) was left out for 4 years!! At the end of the 4year period, it was looked at and what was amazing was that not a single sign of mildew was formed on it! Yes, it lost its texture, looked dried up, but marvellously not really very different!!  Imagine the food did not decompose totally even after leaving it outside to rot for years, so think about what happens when it goes into your system – unable to be broken down. Hearing this made me feel like throwing up!

2.    Nature, Nurture, Animals and US!!

This formed a chunk of the talk and it really was about going back to the basics – being natural, living, eating and breathing natural. Walking in a wild open orchid with trees laden with fruits and vegetables growing all around – what is your first natural instinct? Your first thought? Without doubt to go ahead pluck and eat J  this is what nature had intended to do and did by providing everything required to make us live and eat healthy…..only the choice was left to us.  Dr Nandini went on, to emphasize the importance of being natural to the extent that no medications were deemed necessary for diseases like Diabetes, which she treats in abundance. As part of her treatment, her patients get access to meals/buffets which include fresh fruits including mangoes in abundance. Most of the patients according to Dr Nandita had not eaten mangoes for years due to their condition of high blood sugar and were pleasantly surprised at being able to do so now! At the end of the treatment and eating fruits that supposedly had ‘sugar ‘ , the patients reported much better health results and blood sugar levels.

We do not necessarily need to satisfy our sweet cravings with sugar laden candies, cakes and the likes! If you think about it, the bright colour packaging and candies that boast of containing ‘fruit’ is a mere gimmick of getting us to believe that we are actually eating the same colourful vibrant fruits that is grown and available in nature. Companies are able to getting us to identify the vibrant colours of fresh fruits with those of their sugary and unhealthy colourful products!

Animals eat just enough and what is required for them to survive – A tiger kills and eats its prey and then goes without food for days. The digestive system, nature and the entire composition of the animal go in sync which each other resulting in the animal to survive healthy and naturally. Even the make of its teeth is such that enables the tiger to be a pure carnivorous.  Human beings eat several meals in a day – Our digestive system, ranging from stomach size, large/small intestines and overall body requirements also go in sync together to make us thrive healthy and naturally. Compared with that of carnivorous animals are system is definitely much smaller and daintier.  Now we can well imagine the effect of eating heavy food and over feeding ourselves (in other words eating like a tiger) throughout the day!  One of the leading causes for most of the diseases today….

3.    Doodh Doodh Doodh Doodh, wonderful Doodh? Not anymore!!

Coming to the controversial, surprising and the most questionable part of the talk that had everyone twist and turn in their seats, wondering whether to accept, reject or question this statement was that about Milk – yes the very term that we all have known, heard and had since our births! Its been with us through generations, and passed on as a given. But this very product is said to be one of the leading causes of diseases today such as breast cancer, other forms of cancer and more….we know this fact that in India adulterated milk is a given now a days,  adulterated with water, chemicals, hormones which are deadly for our bodies.  As mothers we know how true the saying is that when our babies are born, our bodies produce exactly the quantity of milk that is required for our little ones with exactly the amount of nutrients needed. Same is the case with cows. Now imagine the million gallons of milk produced and sold every day….quantities that should make you ask the question how and from where? The answer is simple, the result scary and deadly. Cows are being inseminated/made to have calves and artificially made to produce milk by injecting them.  This terribly inhuman practice on our very sacred animal causes destruction to our bodies. High hormone levels of the cows are passed on in their milk and into us.  Not only milk, but Dr Nandita also went on to elaborate that milk products also are harmful and unnecessary in our diets – yes we are talking about no more cheese, yoghurt etc!

So where is our calcium? According to Dr Nandita, contrary to popular belief, milk does not contain as much calcium as we think it does. The maximum amount of calcium is present in green leafy vegetables and grains such as Sesame seeds!

What about the cause of Osteoporosis that most women get in their lifetime? Calcium has become almost synonymous with the term ‘milk’ and the absence of it is widely believed to cause Osteoporosis. Once again Dr Nandita refuted this thinking by highlighting an interesting point – women with osteoporosis, atleast most of them have been drinking milk all their life but still have it?!

What about probiotics that we hear and know is important for health and is found in yoghurts? According to Dr Nandita, Our body has bacteria that are in exact amounts and types required for healthy functioning. We do not need to add on more – infact sometimes the bacteria balance in our bodies is disrupted by us consuming probiotics which result in us getting sick.

A common sight in most households is us running behind our kids and forcing them to drink milk (sometimes adding sugar to it!) So we are not only getting them to drink unhealthy but doing worse for their health by adding even more unhealthy stuff in it just to make them drink it! Another point highlighted here by Dr Nandita was the fact that all species living on this planet and kids as small as babies are born with their respective natural instincts. Babies and their bodies give us signals as to what they do not want and require. We can all agree it is mostly during the second half of a baby’s birth (after the initial breast feeding phase) that they refuse milk (cow’s milk) – just the time they are not requiring it.

Going back to the heading of this topic – Dr Nandita highlights how the advertisement on milk and a very long one interestingly does not highlight any specific brand : To watch the video click on the link (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgcubZXdfnc).  The more a product is advertised, the more it is not required! A logical and economical statement made I thought. If you think about it, how often have you seen advertisements of fruits and vegetables that are available in abundance all around you?

Dr Nandita put forth a recommendation that I personally was tempted to follow but on the same hand feel its going to be the toughest thing to do – In order to test your child’s immunity, to make it stronger, to prevent him/her from catching colds/coughs stop giving milk for one month! According to her Initially your child might develop fever and get a bout of cough/cold but gradually almost like a cleansing process, you will find and see the difference in health. She said this with so much confidence that I almost gave in to trying or atleast thinking to try it out J

So where do we go from here??

Eat live and breathe Organic as much as you can. Eating fruits without removing the skins is the healthiest thing you can do to your body but along with the skin these days, goes in the pesticides/harmful chemicals that cause the deadly diseases.  Pesticide free food, organic is the way to go today…the only way actually. Someone in the audience rightfully asked a very valid point about what if somebody cannot afford the organic way? I loved the logic in Dr Nandita’s answer when she replied about how at the end of the day it is concerning our lives and instead of paying for the medications that we will end up taking to cure the disease its better to invest in the solution.  Another striking example that remained on my mind was this – eating unpolished whole rice we all know is filling and it takes few bites of the healthy wholesome food to get us filled up. It makes so much sense again to invest in such products and make it a part of our diet instead of the cheaper but unhealthier options which we end up spending the same amount on as it is consumed in larger quantities and hence finishes faster.

Healthy living/eating and lifestyles begins with you – loading our fridge with as much natural raw and fresh food will encourage our kids to eat the same and make it a habbit. One quick simple and healthy recipe shared by Dr Nandita, to be given to our kids instead of milk first thing in the morning is : soak almonds overnight. Put them in a blender along with dates, raisins,  sesame seeds, a fruit (could be any)and water. A tasty rich and nutritious drink! She mentioned this would not be very filling and another snack might have to be given after this drink.

Try using minimal amounts of plastic – begin at home by storing food in steel containers as much as you can. Avoid using plastic in microwaves – i have been receiving an email which states how harmful plastic bottles are for you especially those that are left in the car under direct sunlight – a huge cause for cancer due to the chemical reactions.

My Take away

Even if I have not practiced religiously I believe strongly in the power of maintaining a balance “eating everything in moderation” so you get the nutrition from varied sources and don’t crave for anything! I think a balanced diet as we know goes a long way in a healthy living but what I immensely admired about Dr Nandita’s talk at Fortis that day was the logic in each and every of the arguments that she made for even the most controversial statements. In addition, we read hear and see it for ourselves everyday – young people with kids, a family a future and in a second their life is over….along with the tension and stress that today’s lifestyle is dictated by, the widespread number of diseases… diet and lifestyles are the leading causes. We are blessed to be alive literally, to be given a chance to grow, nurture and earn our future, so definitely it is worth sitting up, giving it a thought and giving it a shot at making the most by starting healthy.

Along with somebody in the audience, I too felt that there is alot of work needed to educate the society about making these recommended changes – our families who have followed one way of eating/living for decades as passed down from generations, Institutions such as schools etc will need to embrace this thought and lastly most importantly US! 

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Mansi Verman

Orginally from Calcutta, Mansi has lived and worked in the UK, US and Singapore. A HR professional she loves swimming, reading and travelling. In 2011 she made the move back to India and is settled in Gurgaon. She is enjoying her time home with her 2 year old girl and meeting and making new friends in the community.