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What to Eat?
Dr. KS Raghavan Bookmark and Share

Some time back, I made a post to the Blogs on “Positive Attitude and Positive Outlook”. See the link below:


One of the points referred to was brown rice vs. white rice. Brown rice is more nutritious. But it is incorrect to think that white rice is harmful. It is also true that brown rice is more difficult to consume. This post is concerned with food aspect of my earlier post.

The food content of any person is dependent on four considerations. They are

1.       Customs, Principles and Religious practices.
2.       Hygiene
3.       Health and nutrition
4.       Taste

The first two aspects generally govern “what not to eat” rather than “what to eat”. These are personal traits and also are largely dependent on family background. For instance vegetarians don’t touch meat, Vegans don’t consume any animal product (milk etc.)  and orthodox Jains don’t eat onions.  Hygienic considerations are also to an extent personal.  Some are very fastidious whereas some others care less. For example, I avoid eating paani puri only because of hygienic considerations as I am averse to excessive involvement of hands and fingers.
Once the “not-to-be-eaten” stuffs are eliminated, there is still a very wide range of eatables to choose from. The question is whether taste or health considerations take precedence.  I whole-heartedly say that it is the former. This is based on many considerations.

The first consideration is the fact that no food is, per se, harmful or detrimental to health. That includes fried food, sweets, ice cream, Maida preparations, fat-rich items like butter and ghee. In fact it is my considered view that the body needs everything. These are typically the food items which the present day health-conscious people detest. The belief is that by avoiding such food items one’s health will improve. In my view, however, it is a false notion. These are the items which have been consumed by our forefathers and ancestors over generations.
At the same time it is also true that any food item can also do harm to the body. It is all the question of moderation in consumption. Whatever be the extent of harm a food item can do to our bodies, it is essential that we have adequate immunity against the adverse effects. Immunity comes only through acclimatization.  The true yardstick of one’s health is immunity and body resistance or in other word toughness.

A third consideration is that relishing what we eat is very important. There is plenty to choose from and it is hardly difficult to pick delicious items which are healthy and nutritious at the same time. For example, it is believed that Bitter Gourd (Karela) has beneficial health effects (of course harmful effects too when consumed in excess). But many people (me included) don’t relish its taste. It won’t be difficult to identify food items which are palatable and also have similar benefits. The same is true with regard to garlic.

It is also desirable one pampers himself now and then by eating spicy food, fried stuff, fatty items and also by overeating on occasions. What is life for after all?

My last word is “Don’t sacrifice taste for health. Continue to eat whatever you have eaten over years and have relished”. Stick to the order of preference Custom – Hygiene – Taste – Health.

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