Food: Setting the right priorities

It is no wonder they have become a generation of couch potatoes and victims of their victuals.

The dangers of indulging in a gourmand way of life are looming large. Children need to pick up the habit of healthy eating for a hale and hearty adult life. Food habits are imbibed by children in their formative years. However, we find a lot of anomaly in the world around us.

Every parent strives hard to give his or her child a better standard of living than what they themselves had enjoyed as kids. But in most cases, it is unfortunate that their hard work is invested in economic or academic upgradation rather than anything else. Many parents are unaware that they are unwittingly sending the wrong messages to the children with the best of intentions in their hearts.

If you look around in and around your homes, you are likely to find many young mothers and sometimes grandmothers trying to feed a six or eight month old infant in front of the television. Characteristically, children feel claustrophobic at home and would like to be taken out in the open under the wide blue skies. Initially all children undergo a sense of revolt when they are initiated into a sedentary life. Soon they get accustomed to what they are trained with and reach a stage of addiction when they simply cannot eat without the television running in front of them. These children can be likened to the famous experiment conducted by the psychologist Pavlov where a dog which was trained to eat its food when a bell rang at a particular time, would salivate in anticipation of food whenever the bell rang.

Crankiness

As these tiny tots grow up they start getting attracted to the short films which are mostly advertisements. They start recognising these products when taken out for shopping and invariably tend to throw a tantrum when their parents do not procure the same for them. Their crankiness, if evaluated in the right spirit, can be justified to some extent in very young children. How are these little angels supposed to know that it is all right for them to watch the products on their tellies but not all together right to buy them for themselves?

Sooner or later the parents, kith and kin and indulgent neighbours inadvertently initiate these toddlers into some fad junk food. They simply do not have any idea that they have actually instilled a passion for detrimental junk food which will go a long way in upsetting their healthy eating habits for a lifetime.

Even after they grow up, these children find that their old habits die hard. They are unable to rustle up an appetite and enjoy a nutritious and balanced diet. Consuming a healthy meal translates into a mundane mechanical exercise with their hands doing the to and fro rounds between the plate [cup?] and the lips.

As they grow up their gastronomic inclinations get influenced by peer groups at educational institutions and workplace. Somewhere along the line junkets of junk food take economic, regional, social and even international dimensions leaving the individual little food for the soul. As the world has shrunk to a global village food fad has led to newfound foolishness, snobbery and pomposity throwing caution to wind.

The gourmet has given way to the glutton.

The cuisine we consume plays a chief role in developing the individual persona at the physical, mental and spiritual levels. Ayurveda classifies food into three categories ‘satvic’, ‘rajas’ and ‘tamas’ food which respectively lend ideal, mediocre and lowly character to the individual who consumes it. It is high time parents and extended families herd their kids back to the dining table and spend some quality time with them all the while overseeing their intake of food. For, there is really no point in bolting the stables after the horses have fled. Besides a family that eats together stays together!

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