The quote from Shakespeare ran, “If music be the food of love, play on…” Taking a quiz, a sixteen-year-old disastrously messed it up as he swapped the words “food” and “music”, putting them in the wrong order. Coming from a foodie, it wasn’t that big of a surprise! For him, food was indeed the music of life!
Starting from childhood, we have been taught that the three basic needs of life are food (including water), clothing, and shelter. They constitute the very core of human existence. Now no pun intended, one of these fundamental necessities has indeed given me “food” for thought. In fact plenty of it, as I skip around random facts.
Variety is the spice of life, as the old saying goes. So why not add that new flavor or seasoning to our platter? Globalization is the order of the day, and the food industry has gone global too! We can afford to pamper our taste buds with exotic food from across the planet. Rather than being fixated with a baseless assumption that it’s our food alone that is the best, it’s a good idea to expand our culinary horizons and taste and experiment with cuisines from cultures and countries beyond our own.
Creativity can spread its wings all over and has flown into culinary arts as well! Vegan replacements for meat and dairy products have hit the supermarket shelves, and we see such newer products on a regular basis. At a party, served with nacho chips was a sauce made with potatoes, almond milk, cashews, and vegetable shortening. It was a completely vegan product that could have been mistaken for an actual cheese dipping.
Ishan, my son’s very close friend and an absolute darling, has turned vegan, and as I was browsing the net for recipes, a rather interesting news caught my eye. The company called Just has come up with a scrambled egg substitute, and believe it or not, it is made out of mung beans (green gram). Immensely popular in the Indian subcontinent, this bean is rich in nutrients and high in protein and dietary fiber. The protein found in eggs seems to be present in mung beans, and Just claims that this fake egg scramble is cholesterol free too! Well when the innovative mind is in action, the possibilities are limitless!
Have our food habits been redefined in present times? They certainly have. And there are two sides of the story, the good and the bad.
Let’s start with the good. There has been a growing awareness to eat food that is natural and organic. These days, people are more conscious with regard to checking nutritional information about foods they eat. Also, there’s a demand for transparency that food manufacturers have been facing. Consumers want to know about the sources and ingredients of the food products.
On the flip side, there is bad news too. We have an increasing number of people, especially young adults, who are addicted to fast food. Because of unhealthy eating habits, which is also backed up by a sedentary lifestyle in the case of many, obesity has become a public health problem in most nations. Home-cooked meals are on the decline. Last March, an article in Business Insider covered a feature: “11 things millennials do completely differently from their parents”, and one among them had to do with the food habits of the current generation. Millennials are giving a big boost to the food industry because unlike the older generations, they do not spend much time on meal preparation and instead eat more in restaurants, pick up prepared meals, or order delivery.
Curious to know which country did the most home cooking, I browsed the net and found some interesting statistics. In 2017, after surveying 27,000 respondents in the age range of 15 to 60-plus, across 22 countries, market research institute GfK came up with the results that the global average of hours per week spent in the kitchen is 6.5. Among the nations included in the sample, India topped the list with its weekly average of 13.2 hours, the United States fell in the twelfth position with its average of 5.9 hours, and South Korea was at the lowest end with its average of 3.7 hours.
What essentially is healthy food? Should we go low on fats or on carbs? Do proteins represent the magic food? These questions will only open a Pandora’s box. There is a vast body of research, and with so many studies contradicting each other, each seems as convincing as the others. A balanced diet is the key, and we need to understand that dietary requirements vary from one individual to another.
Also, at the end, it is nothing else but smart sense that needs to prevail. For example, salads indeed are the perfect food for weight loss. But it all depends on the combination of ingredients. Using fresh vegetables and dark leafy greens will undoubtedly aid in shedding off the pounds. But the very purpose of eating a salad is defeated if the healthy stuff is drowned in high calorie dressing. Determined to turn slim and hitting the gym regularly, someone once complained how salads were more of a hype because they were not helping her to lose any weight. Well, it never dawned on her that the extensive collection of rich salad dressings in her refrigerator was offsetting the balance!
So long for now, as I wind up on my random musings and call it a day to fix my plate the healthy and “tastylicious” way!