A toast to family health

To stay healthy is everyone's wish, and tips for a healthy living are far too many on the social media!  But how far should healthy eating stretch?  

A close relative of mine had some rigid ideas about eating certain types of food and believed that he had made the best choice, which became a habit over a period of time. After he got married, his wife cooked according to his taste and requirement and all went well until one day he complained of mouth ulcers.

That day, lunch came with a special kind of greens to treat mouth ulcers, along with a detailed account of the hea ­lth benefits of the herb. Notwithstanding the unpleasant taste, he had to devour it to achieve the expected results! That was the beginning of his health capsule.

Health problems of various degrees are common in every household, and he or the children would occasionally complain of stomach upset, sore throat, cold, etc. The lady of the house, keen on restoring the family's health, started her research on home remedies. She came up with a list of vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices that were "good for health" and helped relieve many problems. She made the healthy eating strategy a routine, whether or not there was any issue!

Bittergourd was cooked to check blood sugar. Banana stem, considered good for kidney stones, was used, while fried plantain and potato curry that were starchy and lead to gastric problems were avoided. As detoxifying agents, salads became a must. Since oily and fatty food raised bad cholesterol, steamed and boiled food was regularised. To maintain a stable BP and heart condition, a low-salt diet and use of garlic was introduced. Buttermilk/curd (Lacto bacilli) was compulsory after every meal to avoid stomach infections.  

To augment weight loss, vegetables with more water content like, cucumber, ash gourd and chow-chow made silent entry into the kitchen. Many other unfamiliar "healthy vegetables" became more familiar! Now, health mattered most than the taste! If someone had an
attack of cold, the entire family was served pepper-jeera rasam!

Oats pongal, millets idli and ragi dosa, occasional rice idli/dosa and cereals with low-fat milk were in the breakfast menu. A generous use of herbs and spices in every dish was incorporated for their special properties like healing, alleviating gastric problem, nausea, allergies and to serve as antacid.

Evening snacks comprised a bowl of mixed fruits and nuts. Green tea was a forced favourite drink of the family. The entire range of "healthy foods" was stocked for the whole year. This revolution happened amid the initial, timid resentment from the rest of the family!

During one of our visits to their house, we were baffled seeing him eat something which he had condemned as "cattle feed" long ago. Then he exclaimed, "Every meal in this house is a medicine. I eat this for digestion and weight control. In this house we seldom eat 'tasty'... sorry 'unhealthy' food"!

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