Amidst this bounty I decided to do some experimentation on myself. Inspired by fellow bloggers who found certain dietary changes beneficial, I decided to tweek my diet.
Very honestly I have never gone on a starvation diet. Thanks to my parents, who encouraged good eating habits early on, my diet has always been very balanced. When I was younger and lived with my parents, we generally ate plenty of vegetables, rice, ragi, plenty of fresh fruits, plenty of dairy, 2-3 eggs a week. Home made cakes and sweets in tiny quantity (A Starbucks chocolate chip cookie would feed my entire family twice !!!) and deep fried food would be once in a blue moon. This diet was much like what my grandparents ate (except for the egg, cake part). I never had any health related issue during that phase of life. My problem started once I left home for University. The hostel food was very alien to me. Chapati and potatoes were the staple. Yogurt was served just once a day for lunch..No yogurt at dinner? I was heart broken. We had to wait for the winters to see any trace of vegetables. The first six months were ok, the damage started to show up during the next six months.
* First sign of problem was my hair fall.
*Second sign was weight loss. I lost about 3-4 Kgs. Which was very unlike me. I have always maintained my weight.
*Third sign was breakouts. Wow, I never had them in my teen years...
*Then aunt-flow messed up my calender, again very unlikely.
After a while I realized that it was partly due to academic stress and of course the diet. Diet I could not help as long as I was there except supplement the hostel food with some fruits and dairy. That was not enough however. Then after the university days, I was on my own and the recovery process started. Shortly afterward I moved to the US to be with by husband. Here again, some more problems started.
Aunt-flow was screwing me big time now. Boy o boy... what was going on?? It ought to be either the weather or the food. Weather cannot be controlled, food can. Growing up in sleepy towns in India, we were always used to wholesome foods, be it produce, be it dairy, be it legumes and grains. Lot of the legumes and grains were from the family farm as well. But here everything were done factory style. God knows what ever was in that creepy looking contains of dairy,produce everything got from the supermarket indeed. Then switched over to organic dairy, organic fruits and organic produce when ever possible. That seemed to have solved the problem, aunt-flow is now benign. Breakouts gone, hair fall back to normal. My weight is normal. Yeah! I was never quite able to shed the last 2-3 Kgs after giving birth to my son. But it does not bother me as long as I am able to fit into my jeans. I find it amusing when people pick a certain health issue and try to isolate it for treatment. Breakouts? oh! must be the oily foods, so go zero fat! How logical can it be?Should it not always be a wholistic view? Breakouts can be a part of larger problem. Somethings are just not right.
Now to experiment part. Eating real foods. The adjustment was not much. me and Honey together consumed over 1 Kg of vegetables each day. We also ate around a cup of rice per head per meal (lunch and dinner). We ate 3 eggs each week (of course when I say eggs, I mean everything inside the shell, never thought of separating the while and yellow except for the souffle!!! I laugh when people say 'whole eggs'.. eggs are supposed to be whole, aren't they!). My sweet tooth always meant a stash of dark chocolates, an occasional chocochip cookie and dry fruits. But Honey is already sugar-free, so we have indeed reduced out sweet intake. Eliminating vegetable oil was not a problem because I already use Ghee in most of my cooking for my own reasons (1. that is what my great grandparents ate and lived a healthy life 2. Ayurveda recommends consumption of ghee in moderate quantities 3. Nothing can beat the taste of home made organic ghee)
To stick to the experiment, I had to reduce consumption of rice, eliminate sweets and increase the quantity of vegetables and protein consumed. Protein was easy. I just had a gulp down a mug full of milk or fill my plate with the home made organic yogurt which I love. I did it religiously for about two weeks.
The results were hmm surprising- I started to crave for sweets and cool foods like Salads. Most of the time, our bodies know better. Any imbalance in the Vatta-Pitta-Kapha, your dietary preference will change. Craving for sweets meant Pitta dosha. So this experiment screwed up my Dosha-balance... Looks like it is not for me! I am good with the traditional Kannadiga meals. Give me my rice, and I am a happy lark. So for now, it is back to our original diet even as I think of some warm Jelebis...
Carrots chopped 2 cups
Expeller pressed peanut oil 2 tsp
Mustard seeds 1/4 tsp
Jeera 1/2 tsp
Hing a dash
Channa dal split 1 tsp
Urad dal split 1 tsp
Dry red chillies (Byadagi) 3
Salt and black pepper to taste
Lemon juice to taste
- Heat oil in a wok. Throw in the mustard, jeera, hing, channa dal, urad dal and the chillies in quick succession.
- Once the spices are fragrant, throw in the chopped carrots. Sprinkle a little water about 3 tbsp, add salt to taste and cover. Cook till the carrots are crisp tender.
- Throw in the coconut, stir, throw in the black pepper and the lemon juice and remove from fire. Serve as a part of a South-Indian meal.