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Trying out new places and cuisines is always exciting. Personally, I enjoy visiting different places, and comparing the quality of milkshakes, the crispiness of fries, and even the size of the paratha. Occasionally, one restaurant pops up that offers an out-of-the-box menu, like idly chaat, paneer ravioli, or parathazza, which is a pizza made on paratha. As exciting as this sounds, the only thing it really does is throw your digestion off-balance, and slowly alters the size of your waist.
Over the years, the internet has created many trends like the ketogenic diet, intermittent fasting, fruits-only diet, vegan diet, and so on, which earnestly promise to reduce the burden of carrying all that extra weight. Alternatively, there are exercise regimes, endless kinds of stretches and jumping techniques to melt the stubborn fat, and ultimately achieve the most desired, fit body. Instead of counting the calories that are so delicately plated, and so elegantly served, which hinder the experience of enjoying a satisfying dining experience, the practice of cooking one's own meal, from scratch, is far more rewarding, even to the point of controlling how it tastes, how many calories it contains, and the workout that follows.
Instead counting the calories that are delicately plated, elegantly served, hinder the experience of enjoying a satisfying dining experience. wikimedia
The practice begins with cutting or mincing vegetables, drizzling the pan with oil or butter, sauteeing the veggies, adding sauces, salt, core ingredients, and coming up with a suitable accompaniment to eat it with. For instance, the act of baking bread involves manually kneading dough, adding yeast, waiting for it rise at least twice between the intervals where the dough is pressed and rolled. It is then made to rise in the pan and baked slowly for an hour. It then cooled, and cut. While waiting for the dough to rise, one can schedule tasks outside the kitchen; while rolling the dough, one gets their exercise, and finally, after a rather tedious process, one gets to eat the bread for at least a couple of meals. It is healthier than the store-bought packet of bread, and the ready-made accompaniments whose ingredients are named in serialized numbers and codes.
Owing to globalization, and the swift influx of merging cultures across the world, the trend of eating pasta, noodles, dumplings, pizza, crème brule, sourdough, and so on, has seeped into the minds of people as living a little more than their culture permits them. Restaurants these days offer cuisines from the Mediterranean, China, Thailand, and the Western countries more than they do the native cuisines, at least in many parts of urban India. It is considered a thing of high class to know the names and to have tasted these cuisines at least once. These days, social media increasingly promotes food culture, and appetizing plates of food are the posts that attract more likes and followers to individual accounts, irrespective of the taste and nutrition value of these dishes.
While waiting for the dough to rise, one can schedule tasks outside the kitchen; while rolling the dough, one gets their exercise, and finally, after a rather tedious process, one gets to eat the bread for at least a couple of meals Image source: wikimedia
A study published in the Biomed Pharma Journal suggests that the leading cause of disturbed digestive metabolism is from eating foods that have nutrition values unsuited to our native cultures. For instance, the Indian population, being largely agricultural, and situated in the tropical region, metabolizes pulses and cereals well. Wheat, ragi, millets, and rice, along with certain vegetables suit the metabolic capacities of the Indian constitution. Western influence has recently introduced foods like pasta, pizza, noodles, and fried chicken into our diet, which although considered junk food by older Indians, is actually the staple diet of Italian and American populations.
Working in a spacious kitchen, walking up and down to retrieve pots and pans, using hand-eye coordination to cut, stir, and mix; Image source: wikimediawikimedia
The use of excessive cheese, spices not native to us, and the use of different tastemakers interfere with our bodies' ability to absorb the nutrition we require according to our climactic and occupational needs. This leads to increased weight gain, and other health hazards.
The practice of assimilating western food can be made easier by cooking these meals in our native kitchens. Perhaps the motions of working the dough in the required way stimulates the body's ability to process these foods. Perhaps the aromas that emanate during the process of cooking or baking these cuisines will better stimulate the brain to instruct digestion. Or perhaps, the long hours of preparing dishes like pasta, lasagna, and noodles, act as the needed workout to prevent the accumulation of fat in places that make it difficult to carry.
Working in a spacious kitchen, walking up and down to retrieve pots and pans, using hand-eye coordination to cut, stir, and mix; using energy to knead, roll, shape, and to exercise patience while everything slowly cooks through, breathing in the aroma of freshly seasoned vegetables, or sizzling meat, catalyze the process of breaking down the food, as soon as it is eaten. Regulating the amount of spice, cheese, fat, and even sweetness into the dishes begin the tedious process of going on a "diet".
Keywords: Cooking, Health, Diet, Home-cooked meal
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Art Installation at Cubbon Park Image source: wikimedia commons
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