Want to make sustainable and healthy food choices? Read on and find out how.
Each one of us is born with a natural compass that guides us to make the right choices. It’s only when we lose touch with this internal compass, we seek answers outside. As much as I appreciate the awareness around fitness, I am also appalled by the misinformation that’s generated. It’s disheartening to see so many of us fear food that sustains life and traps us into an endless cycle of excesses and guilt.
Though we are exposed to several healthy options, it can get tough to make a choice that suits us the best. My personal fitness journey has been about the great switch from unsustainable quick fixes to sustainable choices. I look at eating healthy and on time, getting my workouts, sleeping adequately, taking time off and several other fitness practices as an enabler for growth and not as a short cut to abs.
Through this article, I urge you to turn inward and ask yourself the following questions while making a healthy meal choice:
What emotion drives this meal?
Does this meal drive positive emotions of contentment, happiness and gratitude or does it drive draining emotions of guilt, discontent and desperation? Well-planned and timed meals often drive positive emotions while meals hogged on-the-go without any thought drive the latter. A chocolate cake or that chaat you planned for a Sunday evening and ate without feeling guilty is healthier than that no oil only lettuce salad you forced yourself to eat after a heavy workout. It’s unhealthy on several levels and it’s advisable to choose your meals and take responsibility of your choices rather than letting situations get better of you.
No meal is unhealthy if it drives the right emotions and is timed well.
How far has it travelled to get to your plate?
As someone working in the sustainability space, this is the first question that pops up in my head when I think of a healthy meal. A healthy meal has to be holistic, it has to be something that’s not the result of unsustainable farming or procurement practices. I have nothing against exotic fruits and vegetables and I love them all equally. However, if I have to choose between an apple and a fig in Pune in winters, I would choose a fig. For a simple reason that fig is local, seasonal and unlike apple that has travelled all the way from Shimla and sold out of a cold storage, a fig is fresh.
What’s not good for the environment will never be good for a human being in the long run.
What are the ‘captivation’ words used?
An unsuspecting consumer is at the mercy of the food industry. Mega minds work on designing and creating a brand out of something that may not even remotely be associated with health. We frequently come across cereals, biscuits and several other food products that claim to be fat free, sugar free, added fibre, fortified calcium etc. Our naivety as consumers holds us back from probing further to understand what the exact replacements are and how they are actually impacting us. A healthy meal is not necessarily something that burns a hole in your pocket or has fancy names. It is usually something that doesn’t get marketed as much, such as a simple homemade meal.
Goodness is in the simple things we often overlook.
How is it packaged?
As an individual with the power to choose, we carry a huge responsibility of making the right choice. Right from the decision of carrying your own cloth bag when you shop for those fresh veggies from the farmers market to packing your meals in steel tiffin boxes over plastic cases make a huge difference to the environment and also to your health. Plastic is suspected to replicate the hormone Estrogen in the human body thus leading to several hormonal imbalances. This also means choosing your local sabji wala (thus promoting local economy) who sells fresh produce because he cannot afford cold storage over the multi-million dollar industry.
Your choices often have multiple interrelated effects, so make these choices wisely.