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’.
- Quitting caffeine was just a start. Apart from that I did the following to keep fitness during pregnancy:
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 😛
- 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):
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
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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