This post is a HUGE departure from the normal Subramoney posts. For starters it is not a post by me. It is not a post about money. It is a post by C K Aparna -some of you may know her from fb /other sources…She has a little kid who stays away from sugar. Actually when I chatted up with her I did not know that I had a 17 year old niece who does not have soda, cake, junk food….etc. and therefore does not celebrate her birthday..or another kid in the house who goes to parties but does not eat….The article is entirely hers, but I have edited it to reduce the sheer size.

A disclaimer: I am an Engineer by profession. I have passion towards music, personal finance and fitness.

Many of my practices are based on my beliefs and cannot be substantiated with sufficient data. I believe more in principles of Ayurveda and some from homeopathy for long lasting health. I do not believe in allopathic method of treatment, except for situations where surgery or immediate relief is required to bring critical life threatening condition to control.

According toSanatana dharma, sanskar starts at the womb. “We are what we eat.” The moment my pregnancy got confirmed, I quit my (only) cup of morning tea.Avoiding tea/coffee also implied, not taking sugar directly, because that’s the only spoon of sugar consumed daily.I did not take in any other caffeine items (coffee, chocolate, soft drinks) throughout my pregnancy and restarted that one cup tea when the kid was about 3 month old. Extremities are not sustainable in the long run and that is why I rewarded myself with tea for one year of ‘abstinence’.

  1. Quitting caffeine was just a start. Apart from that I did the following to keep fitness during pregnancy:
  2. Drank 750ml to 1litre milk every day, If I did not consume milk, I used to have a lot of body ache (due to calcium deficiency setting in almost in 3-4 days). (PLEASE REMEMBER THESE ARE NOT RECOMMENDATIONS, JUST WHAT SHE DID)
  3. Said strict no to ice-creams, otherwise occasionally taken junk food, panipuri, hotel food. I was a bit liberal on good restaurant food. After I crossed 5th month, three to four times in my entire pregnancy I have eaten out on special occasions.
  4. I used to eat a lot of greens and fresh fruits, sprouts, dal and of course, daily dose of dry fruits. No refrigerated items, except for yogurt once in a while.
  5. Often I used to chat with my baby after 5th month like this: “Do you know how good you will feel, to be out? You can do a lot of interesting stuff. I will make you nice things to eat, like chapatti, palak paneer, pulao, friend rice….”-a list of all my favorite food 😛
  6. I used to cook with a lot of attention during pregnancy and enjoy the aroma.

Why I am writing all these? Because I see no other reason why my Saraswatee chooses to eat healthy food. We would never be able to prove that the same kid would have been of the same nature without all these, right? The fact is, she is 2 year old now, hardly falls sick now. Between one to two year, she was relatively less healthy, due to factors like weaning from mother’s milk, getting adjusted to various food. She enjoys all vegetables, fresh fruits, dry fruits, sprouts, curd,  plain milk, raagi , freshly cooked food (I have sometimes experienced refusal to eat if not fresh). She does not know the taste of sugar,kheer with sugar, ice cream, cake, sweets from shops, or chocolates. We have often gone to birthday parties, but she never demands cake or sweets. (Very  rarely I give her a pinch of it).

As long as I was feeding her, I took care of my food, more or less like in pregnancy time, though I   must say, not so strictly.  As Saraswatee has grown up to be old enough to understand, we-me, husband and my mother-do not eat any unwanted stuff in her presence (you might call it hypocrisy to eat in her absence; my reply is, it is still better than eating in her presence). We keep only healthy eatables at home. If we get potato chips and such items for guests, she does not demand them normally, as she is not used to eating them and she does not see us eating. If she asks, we distract her with her favorite food “daakchi”—meaning draakshi (grape, referring to dry grape). Earlier I used to give her danone yogurt at times, and she always liked it. Now I have stopped it and she has forgotten about it. We use jaggery instead of sugar wherever we want to add sweet to her food.

Coming to the key food item of south India, the rice: We all eat organic red rice now, mainly influenced by recommendations in this highly diversified blog. It is not as crispy as white rice, does not go well with certain side dishes but it tastes awesome. We noticed that she likes it better than white rice. Kids like variety. Wecater to it by giving chapattis, or daliya cooked like khichdi. More importantly, right from the beginning we never forced her when she wants to stop. Instead we give in small quantities once in every 2-3 hours. Literally shoving food down their throat makes a kid hate food and then when hungry, they will start searching for junk food; if not now, when they grow up. I think talking to them about vegetables, fruits, taking them to the shop also helps. I/my mom often tell her while cooking, “You are a nice girl, I am cooking something nice for you, as I promised”, and the anticipation thus created helps in making her eat happily.

My parents-in-law often come and stay with us, even they are sensitive to my passion towards right food. Hence they check with me if they are in doubt about a particular item to feed her. My father in law sometimes feels that we are denying her of some pleasures; the good thing is he is not at all of dominating type. I keep explaining to them often why we do it and they have been very co-operative. My sisters in law and co-sister are also fitness conscious, hence no problem at all from the extended family side. Otherwise is it easy to follow this regimen in such a big family?

We do go out to restaurants (less frequent than once a month), and these days we are a lot more choosy. We do not order items that we would not like her to eat. Usually she is satiated with assorted veg salad and one phulka and once she is full, she does not eat.  Kids in general do not over eat, our duty is to make sure that they do not start it slowly. Advising them is possible only if we ourselves follow certain eating principles, every parent surely knows kids learn by watching their parents than listening to them. Making them eat right when they have exposure to junk food, especially when they go to school and see what other kids eat is a real challenge. As a parent, the responsibility does not stop at making them prefer their home food. I would make sure that my kid would not preach other kids about food (yes, it is very common for kids to do that because they tend to imitate their parents’ actions/speech outside), because then I should be willing to accept if other kids preach mine.

Here is a summary of what we feed her (Subra, this section is optional, just in case it adds value):

Breakfast

All kinds of dosas with chutney/honey/curd,akkir/raagirotti (not roti, south indianrotti) with chutney, idli, vegetable/onion upma, pongal, raagi cooked like halwa with milk and jiggery

Lunch/Dinner

Main: Rice, chapatti, paratha,daliya (broken wheat). Often in khichdi form, rice baath forms also

Side dish: Traditional rasam, saagu, huLi (also called sambar), majjigehuLi, north indian dal fry, subzis. Slightly cooked vegetables, curd

Snacks: Raw vegetables-tomato/carrot, dry fruits-raisins/dates/almonds/valnuts/anjeer/cherry/blueberry/cranberry, fresh fruits-Seasonal fruits which are very sweet only-Mangoes/Watermelon/Sweet lemon/Orange/Apple/Pomogranate.

Sweets: Poppy seeds payasam,Recently added beetroot recipe suggested by Subra.

Drinks: Plain boiled and cooled thick milk without sugar/boost/Horlicks, Lemon juice in summer. No fruit juice, as the fruit loses most of its nutrients while making juice.

A final note of caution: I have a colleague who eats only home food. If he has stomach upset, he takes one week to recover. Another colleague’s theory on that is, it happens because his body is not used to even slightest poison. Perhaps true. Hence before doing anything in the extreme manner, we should think twice, thus it is ok to deviate from regular diet once in a while. It also helps in quenching kid’s curiosity.

Acknowledgments: 1. My beliefs and passion towards fitness are due to good practices initiated by my late grandfather who was a homeopathic and ayurvedic doctor, sustained by my mother and late uncle. 2. In mid 2011, I read RujutaDiwekar’s book “Don’t lose your mind, lose your weight”, and got highly influenced. By following it I saw a lot of benefits, I personally feel title should have been simply “Eat right and be healthy”. I would recommend it to all those who want to be fit.

 

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  1. Dear Aparna, I salute you. A lot of stuff is there to learn from you. You already gave a glimpse of it in this article.

    Thanks

    Ashal

  2. Beetroot recipe suggested by subra is this: Grate beet root (and carrot too) add jaggery, honey, and soft dry fruits – apricot, fig, kismis (cut fine). Those who like coconut can add cut coconut also.

    Leave it for about 30 minutes, preferably in the fridge. Very good esp for women/ men with low iron. Tastes yummy.

    Not recommeded for diabetics..

  3. Wow! Incredible self-discipline and child-care. I’ve seen folks gorge on things that were forbidden while they were kids – soda, alcohol, sweets, beef,…. – That’s when it struck me how important it is to have right balance and also inculcate the same in your kids w/o making it too over-bearing and militarizing…kudos to you…

  4. one man’s food is another man’s poison – socrates

    as long as the child is not pampered spoiled obese and brand ambassador for MNC FMCG food products, things should be ok.

  5. many of the food habbits in the society will devolep bad culture on the children the childhood is wasted by modern food habbits

  6. “I believe more in principles of Ayurveda and some from homeopathy for long lasting health. I do not believe in allopathic method of treatment, except for situations where surgery or immediate relief is required to bring critical life threatening condition to control.”

    Homeopathy has been proved as a pseudo science long back (Refer Wikipedia). And Ayurveda, even though the power of many medicinal plats are proved true by Science, still it is not a dependable treatment method for many diseases. Why do you want to go to treatment method which can cure only 10% of diseases?

    Modern medicine is the root cause of many advantages we have now. Lower delivery deaths, bigger life span and eradicating many diseases like polio, smallpox. I don’t know why still people hate modern medicine and go to unscientific treatments. Thanklessness is in our blood, I think.

  7. So you are the Leader of Allopathy, Kishore? If there is somebody who wants to go with ayurveda or homeopathy what is YOUR problem? Stop acting like the Taliban. People choose what they want, and since you are quoting Wiki it is clear that you do not know how wikipedia is created / run. Modern medicine is the root cause of a lot of evil – of being addicted to medicines for BP, diabetes, etc. and the pharma and doctor industries have a vested interest in remaining so. McCaulay has done a great job on you.

  8. Thanks for responding, Pooja. Personally, i have seen many people going to unscientific treatments and suffering because of that. Some times they are simply suffering from delayed treatments. So I believe it is a crime if I keep silence when people are glorifying these unscientific treatments. Otherwise, i have no problem if some one going to alternate medicines.

    Let’s face it, BP, Diabetes and many diseases have effective treatment only in modern medicine. But people are saying like Allopathy invented these diseases :-).

    Yes, you have a point when you say about pharma and doctor industries’s vested interests. But that is a problem with people rather than a problem with modern medicine. Can we say that Ayurveda has no such intentions? See the advertisements of all the Ayurveda products.

    Thank you Subra for giving us a chance to discuss this. Hope I am not deviating from the main topic of the blog.

  9. “People choose what they want, and since you are quoting Wiki it is clear that you do not know how wikipedia is created / run.”

    Just because anyone can edit Wikipedia doesn’t make it an unreliable source. You’ll be surprised at the quality. Every statement requires a citation, which every article has listed on the bottom. You don’t have the take the word of the author(s), you can follow the citation, and read the source research/publication.

  10. Hi Aparna,
    I have a 6 years old daughter and 2 years old son.
    What you are doing is amazing and many few mothers may be able to follow such food plan diligently especially when they are working and kids have early exposure to many things through television.
    However (I do not want to scare or discourage you or do not want to prove you wrong), these things are easy to follow at this age when kid spends most of the time at home. I had given similar things to my daughter till she was 3. However once they grow up and aquire a voice of their own, things often change. When they mix with other kids in school, playground etc they get to eat many things, some of them considered as unhealthy, they may demand it. Thats not the age they can understand the concept of nutrition and healthy/junk food. And all I want to say is at that time you should not consider it your failure. Sometimes we just need to accept certain things, devise little strategies and see what we can do how they get all the nutrition they need even if each meal is not healthy.

    In my case I try to make them eat healthy food at home and when outside I am a little lenient about food.

    Also, another thing to keep in mind is even if raw vegetables and fruits are considered healthy, unless its a very good place, one may avoid those as there is greater chance of contamination as compared to cooked food.

  11. Hi
    Thanks to all for encouraging responses. I was a bit busy and hence the delay in responding.
    Last one first. Yes Aparna, I do understand what you say, I am going to start schooling soon for her and to my surprise I find that schools also donot provide junk food now. After I wrote this article several things have happened. When people offered her chocolates or biscuits, she refused to take. There are instances when she tasted biscuits and gave it to me, as she didn’t like it. She loves to eat sprouts and almonds mainly. So I think I am just turning out to be lucky. Let’s see how it goes in future. Also, as you say, we must be careful about where we buy vegetables from.
    Kishore,
    I am told by several people not to believe in homeopathy, but I have seen it working on myself, my mother and my daughter. At least do you agree that for a kid it cannot give psychological relief? For Ayurveda, one argument people say is it is outdated, no more research is done. Well, what I say is, how can you expect more research on a field which has been researched thousands of years ago..we don’t know how anscient is our own medicinal methods. But we believe in modern science, because new research is going on? Yes, it needs research precisely because it is not yet matured. Please do not confuse fake modern day’s Ayurvedic doctors with authentic doctors. My grandfather was a genuine one, although he died in 1991. I have seen him healing patients with his medicines. He never worked for making money.
    If you are conscious of your body and mind, you will never need any medicine, and that’s what I am trying to follow.
    Regards
    Aparna

  12. Aparna C K,

    If the Homeopathy works for your family it is fine. I humbly request you to administer all necessary vaccines to your kid. If not, it is not only harmful to your kid, but also for the society. I have seen the hard core believers of Homeopathy never like Allopathy vaccines. That’s why I mentioned it.

    It is a sad Ayurveda became matured before it invented surgery, inhalers, aware of germs and cure for most of the diseases. 🙂

    Thanks.

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