image A Starstruck Road to Health

We have all heard about how a healthy mind is a sign of sound mind. But a mind can be healthy only as long as the body is being taken care of. Slogging 5 years to become a part of medical community, not only I have read about the status of nutrition in our beloved country, but I had firsthand experience in witnessing some of the most extreme cases during my work. So the subject of nutrition and diet stands very close to my heart. Obesity, food fads and malnutrition has changed the axis of health today. 

World Food Programme estimates a rough number of 795 million people in the world who do not have access to enough food to lead a healthy and active lifestyle, that many of us take for granted. That’s amounts to about 1 in 9 people on earth. The vast majority of this number belong to the developing countries. Malnutrition has been one of the enduring enigmas of contemporary India. Despite years of rapid economic growth, the statistics hasn’t changed. 

The number of Indians undergoing operations to lose weight has risen from just 150 cases in 2006 to 3500 cases by the end of Nov 2010. If you think people die because of undernutrition, then you haven’t seen it all. As per the various health surveys, at least 2.6 million people die each year in India as aresult of being iverweight or obese. While there are people in the world who do not get enough to eat, there are people who blindly follow a fad because it is a means of gaining social notoriety. Crash diets and various other modalities have come into existence that has proven to be more harmful than the extent to which it benefits your figure. 

 At the end of the day, it’s what you eat and how you eat which makes all the difference. People do not understand that Food isn’t just something that satisfies a biological need. It serves a purpose that is far greater than what it can be estimated. Vikas Khanna, the poster boy for Indian cuisine understands this very need and has been working towards bridging the gap between delicacy and health. Before I explaing and exaggerate about the drool-worthy moment of meeting the most remarkable man, let me take this grand opportunity to thank the Indiblogger community for organising an event of healthy food and healthy eating habits called as #QuakerBowl in collaboration with Pepsico. The main focus of the event was to enumerate the numerous benefits of oats. While oats have been present throughout centuries, Quaker Oats has been in existence since 1870 according to the label. Well since diet has become the new fad, oats has come back as the new blip in the radar which helps in weight loss without compromising the nutritious value of the meal. 

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So what makes oats so special for a celebrity chef? Oats reflects the ingenuity and simplicty which Vikas Khanna personifies in himself and his cooking style. The Michelin-starred chef of New York’s modern Indian restaurant Junoon has a personality that is gregarious and charming. For a man with stars at his grasp, it was heartening to see his humility and his pride in humble upbringing and his nation. It is really difficult to pay attention when youare drooling  over someone who is smiles with his heart and eyes and has the cutest blush ever. 

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While I always considered oats as something that is tasteless and is a sign of desperation for grocery haul, but Vikas Khanna’s passion for food and healthy meal showed through his impassionate anecdote about how his day starts with a simple of bowl of oats and milk/ water and some fruit garnish. While most of the cooking shows talk about addition of corn flower to thicken up any sauce, Vikas Khanna shared the most brilliant way of including oats in an Indian cuisine; add oats to your gravy and there you have a healthy and thick sauce to dip and lick. He emphasised on the medical benefit of using oats for individuals who suffer with celiac disease and are gluten intolerant. The soup shots, provided as a source of entertainment as well to make an example, comprised of oats as a primary ingredient. That fact itself stumped me completely. 

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The other than getting a frame-worthy shot, we had an opportunity to participate in a oat-inspired cookout. I kind of lost track of time and the whole cookingg moment since my eyes were busy tracking the movements of our celebrity chef, but I must say the number and type of dishes that came out of the portable kitchen was truly commendable. 

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Since we both are Manipal alumnus, and since I was informed by persistent and inquisitive  friends that he recently was in Manipal, I just had to take a mandatory Manipal selfie and my nostalgic self wanted to know the story behind its visit. I was surprised to say the least when I learned that he is planning to open a cooking-inspired museum that is solely based on his inspiration and passion. What I loved the most about is the simple way in which he described his success; “My food is good as far as the next critique” and “more than the outsiders, I judge and challenge myself the most”

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Before the commencement of buffet lunch, he imparted the perfect takehome message: “Stay healthy. Eat healthy.” One thing I can vouch for; during the entirety of 2-hour event, I could see that not many people were aware of the multi-dimensional benefits of oats. The lack of awareness reflects the need if the hour that is prevalent in our country. Despite the numerous promotions and initatives, there is a growing lack of awareness amongst people that needs to be addressed. Indian government has implemented numerous healthy food policies and programmes to combat the growing the need to attain health. However, the statistics reflects numerous failures in identifying the relationship between food and its manifold identity. The main oversight lies  in the simple fact that the government and its health programmes has failed to take into account multi-dimensional role of food and the extent to which culture influences our habits and behaviours. A three Michelin chef prepared something nutritious and delicious while maintaing the integrity and simplicity of Indian cuisine. He motivated me towards the road to be healthy. Hopefully I can pass that very message along through my blog.  

 

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3 comments

  1. Interesting article. I haven’t heard of oats as a thickening agent. People in the U.S. are obsessed with eating Paleo, which doesn’t include oats. Also do you have the GMOs , chemicals and additives in your food in India like we do in the U.S.? I think that is a big part of the obesity problem in the U.S.

    Liked by 1 person

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