Wknd read: How Covid has changed our eating habits

The pandemic has redefined the relationship

By Luke Coutinho

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Published: Thu 18 Feb 2021, 8:43 PM

Last updated: Fri 19 Feb 2021, 8:37 AM

2020 has been a difficult year but we can always learn through difficulties in life. Our perception matters in every aspect of our lives. For example, there are people who believe that Type 2 diabetes cannot be reversed and guess what, they will live with it throughout their life while it causes more complications. And then there is another group of people who perceive Type 2 diabetes differently. They make lifestyle changes knowing that it can be reversed. While the pandemic was hard for most of us, a silver lining from this is the fact that it has not only changed our eating habits but our entire approach and relationship with food.

Get your basics in place first: This vitamin was overlooked for so many years, while it has been medically and scientifically linked to our immunity, skin, bones, hormones and so much more. And now, when all the pharmaceutical drugs didn’t work, we hear about Vitamin D3 all over again, for the right reasons. People maintain their vitamin D levels at 30 or below 30, which is a clear gateway for every single disease because low levels of vitamin D mean low immunity, and immunity is the first and last line of defence.

Using common Indian spices to boost immunity: While immunity became the buzzword, it was always the foundation of health for kids, the elderly, and the seniors. We needed a pandemic to realise this. When no medication worked, we came back to this intelligent system and looked for ways to boost and strengthen it. And what did we come back to? Simple foods that were already lying in our kitchen — turmeric, garlic, onion, black pepper, fenugreek seeds, star anise, basil, cumin, ginger — turned out to be the most powerful immunity-boosting foods and they are scientifically and medically proven as well. A simple diet of diverse foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, legumes — forms the basic fundamental diet required for our health and immunity. Superfoods and powders flying in from abroad might be great to add in variety, but this should not take us away from the basics.

Less is more: We were spoilt for choice before the pandemic. With so many options to eat out, restaurant food, café food, variety, etc, we learned how to live simply and be happy and grateful for basics like rice, dal, khichdi, and seasonal vegetables. We learned how to be okay with eating home-cooked food, which is really the healthiest way of eating. Did anyone die of depression due to no availability of restaurant food? Absolutely not. In fact, so many of us embraced homecooked food and also learned to cook from scratch and not get dependant on ordering food. The truth is, not many restaurants care about the quality of ingredients (for example, oil) they added to dishes, but knowing that health is our responsibility we must cut down on the frequency of eating out. As a lifestyle change, 80 per cent of our meals should be home-cooked, leaving the 20 per cent for any indulgences, because living healthy doesn’t mean following extreme paths, but keeping things in balance. All of us like variety, but before the pandemic, we were overdoing it.

Food craving is not just about a lack of discipline: People often beat themselves up for indulging in late-night snacks, and self bully for not having self-discipline. During the lockdown, so many people got their eating schedules messed up, indulged in emotional eating, etc. Turns out, the cravings aren’t only about self-discipline. Just as eating healthy is necessary for good health, having a fixed timetable or schedule around it is as well. The later you are awake at night, the more you trick your body into thinking that it is awake and your body is going to ask for more food. So, Googling top fat-burning foods or supplements isn’t the answer to weight loss. Fixing your eating schedule and honouring the circadian rhythm surely is.


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