Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Food We Eat

The other day I was talking to a senior doctor friend about the growing incidents of cancer among people of all age groups.  He mentioned that the food that we eat today is one of the major causes for the devastating spread of the ‘crab’ disease.  Not just the junk food that both young and old consume but also the common vegetables that we eat as a part of our daily food habit.  It seems the chemical pesticides used for the healthy growth of plants become the deadly poison we consume every day, even if it is in small doses.

The junk food culture that we have inherited from the Western world is spreading like wild fire among the younger  generation.  The office going couple  who do not have time to cook have no qualms about buying  ready to eat foods from restaurants and malls for their three meals a day.  Since both the husband and wife are working, money is no problem.  Convenience  is the key consideration. And that is what most of the marketers of instant foods advertise.

Recently,I was having a conversation with my son around dinner time.  Talking about his visit to a newly opened Italian vegetarian restaurant near our house, he said, “the restaurant is very good and very reasonable, appa.  It cost only Rs.650/- per head for the two of us.  Good value for money!” I was aghast!  Rs.650/- per meal per head is considered reasonable by a representative of the upwardly mobile mid-level executive of a company. Is it a sign of extravagance or prosperity?  My middle class mindset refused to accept it as a reasonable price.

Both my son and daughter-in-law love to have a ‘chatdinner’ ( bhelpuris & paanipuris etc.)  at least once a week.  Another friend has the habit of having just ice creams for dinner, once a month. In many homes with growing kids it is not unusual to order for Pizzas  or snacks for dinner from well-known outlets nearer  home.  And when a family visits a restaurant, the number of short eats they order as starters is mind boggling.  Starters, most of them deep fried items, are not only filling but also could be the cause of all kinds of stomach and other ailments, early in life.

The NRIs living in the West  have found an interesting solution to the problem of eating out which not not only saves on costs but is also safer. They cook meals at home consisting of some vegetables, dhal, rice etc. for the whole  week during  the weekends and pack them in foil packs, mark them day-wise and store them in deep freezers.  Every evening, when they return from office, the item earmarked for dinner that day (eg.) Monday-Dhal and some vegetable,  will be taken out and heated in the micro oven and served.  This idea will not work out in our country as the concept of big deep freezers  at homes is non existent.

But what is the solution to the problem created by eating poisonous cancer causing vegetables even if it  is home  cooked. Apart from washing the vegetables thoroughly before use or alternatively going for organic vegetables I don’t see any other option except to pray God and hope that you and your family will be spared by the deadly crab or any other species of bacterias!

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