Why is it good to follow your Grandmother’s Diet?
Kriti Aggarwal Mar 22, 2018
"Her wisdom is an art,
She shared so generously.
Her words are golden threads,
That binds our family.
We’re covered by a quilt of love,
It warms us like no other...
God used the hands of one so dear,
The one we call grandmother."
The advancement in technology has made a huge impact on humans all over the globe. We all are progressing with technology and it has changed the way we spend our lives. Without realizing the side effects, We have been used to abundance. We eat more, exercise less and have found many shortcuts to make life easier like relying more on processed and canned food instead of fresh food.
Also, there is a proliferation of artificially sweetened products like yoghurt, ice cream, soda etc. amongst kids increasing the overall consumption of sugar. Today kids’ health is being compromised every day which eventually results in health issues like gastrointestinal problems, weak eyesight, early age diabetes, anaemia, low BMI etc. We really need to introspect what we are giving to our little ones. For this, we don’t need dietitians but our own grandparents who can guide us better and guide us on the right path.
Eat like your grandmother! Is it surprising to hear this?
No, it’s not, believe me. Our grandparents had healthy food habits and that is the reason why they lived healthily. If you still have your grandparents around, you are extremely lucky as you have direct access to their time-tested knowledge and wisdom which is a rarity in our tech-savvy world. Adding their healthy tips about wholesome eating can fortify and make our meals and snacks superfood with minimal effort.
Every demography has its unique traits and health issues which have been passed down as heredity. we know that certain deficiencies or health problems get passed on from one generation to next. Over the period of time, our ancestors including our grandparents knowingly or unknowingly have adopted their diet to counter those hereditary deficiencies and problems. You surely would not want to spend the rest of your life-solving something that has already been solved by your grandparents.
So let’s rediscover 5 Superfoods that my Grandmother ate:
Ghee is The most misleading power food in today’s time. Ghee has an abundance of health and cooking benefits. It not only helps in healing wounds like burns, rashes, and works as a wonderful moisturizer for the skin but is also good for mind and spirit. Over the last two decades, FMCG companies have earned crores by portraying ghee as a villain. They showed it as the main reason for weight gain and many other health-related problems like heart attacks, obesity, cholesterol, diabetes etc.
Ghee is very beneficial for your kids when taken in the right amount. It contains:
- Saturated fatty acid along with Omega-3 and Omega-9 essential fatty acid(monounsaturated fat).
- Rich source of vital oil-soluble vitamins A, D, and E which is easily absorbed by the liver and burned as energy.
- Ghee from milk (sourced from grass-fed cows) also contains vitamin K2 and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). These two nutrients have antioxidant with anti-viral properties that help protect the cardiovascular system, promote kids bone strength, helps healthy digestive tract by supporting proper metabolism, and have anti-carcinogenic properties.
- Ghee also promotes a strong immune system by producing butyric acid which supports the production of killer T cells in the gut.
- Ghee also helps in having a good memory and boosts learning abilities of kids.
Don't you think with so many benefits it's high time we start changing our misconception about ghee? I feel it’s an absolute necessity!
Tips from the Expert
My grandma told me to use ghee for all kinds of cooking right from curries, stir-fries to pastries. She also told me to give more ghee to kids by adding few drops of ghee in kids semi-solid food like dal, khichdi, Dalia and chapati with ghee. During winters you can make ladoos for kids with ghee to protect them against cold weather. Athletic kids should take more ghee as it acts as a consistent source of energy for their challenging days.
Another superfood ate by my grandparents and then my parents are Nuts. They are the powerhouse of all the essential nutrients required by our body.
- Nuts contain heart-healthy essential fats, protein, fibre, disease-fighting vitamins and minerals.
- Nuts help to reduce the risk of many diseases. They balance cholesterol levels, reduce blood pressure, boost heart health,and immune system, aid in weight loss, manage type 2 diabetes, improve digestive function, optimize the body’s metabolism, improve skin health, prevent cancer, increase cognitive function, protect against viral and fungal infections and provide relief from symptoms of anaemia.
- There are many types of nuts which may differ from each other in terms of their nutritional value. The 10 most common types of nuts are almonds, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, peanuts, pine nuts, sesame seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds and muskmelon seeds.
Tips from the Expert
Since childhood, I am eating at least 5-10 almond with 1-2 walnuts every day. My mother used to soak them in a bowl of water overnight. Next morning she used to peel them and give to us (me and my siblings) with milk. If you have very small kids who cannot chew them properly then you can crush them completely in okhli-musal and put few drops of honey to add little sweet taste. This has become a ritual in my family as I do the same with my kids and it’s a must have every morning. On top of it if your kids really love nuts then you can add a variety of them in their salad as a topping. You can crush them into pieces, roast them and add as topping on their ice creams too. So try different ways to incorporate nuts into their meals so that they have a healthy diet every day to meet their daily nutritional requirement.
3. Whole grains
The most important superfood which is part of my grandparent's diet is whole grains. Whole grains can vary from seeds of grass-like plants called cereals e.g. wheat, corn, brown rice, oats, rye, millets, barley etc. to seeds of a non-grass plant called pseudocereals e.g. quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth etc.
Whole grains offer a plenty of health benefits over refined grains e.g. white rice or refined flours used in a variety of foods like bread, cookies, cakes etc. Following is why you should prefer whole grains over refined grains.
- Whole grains have all the three layers - bran, endosperm, and germ intact whereas refined grains have the nutritious germ and the bran removed.
- Whole grains contain all the essential fibres, proteins, vitamins B, including thiamin (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3) and folate (vitamin B9), minerals such as zinc, iron, magnesium and selenium and antioxidants including phytic acid, lignin, and sulfur compounds.
- Whole grains are slow to digest and thus make you feel fuller than refined grains for a longer period of time.
- Whole grains keep your blood glucose from spiking, which can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes.
- People who eat a lot of whole grains are less likely to gain weight over time than those who eat refined grains.
So, you should always try to use whole grains over the refined ones. If you eat whole grains then you are protecting yourself from various diseases like;
- Wheat grains help in lowering inflammation in the body and thus reduce the risk of some chronic diseases like asthma
- Whole grains help in the digestion process by keeping bowel movements regular as it contains lactic acid which promotes good bacteria in the large intestine.
- They also help in better absorption of nutrients and make our immune system strong.
- They control cholesterol by preventing absorption of bad cholesterol and lowering triglycerides, which are major contributors to heart disease.
- They also lower blood pressure, another important risk factor for heart disease.
- Whole grain consumption may lower the risk of certain cancers.
- Whole grains take longer to digest and have a more satiating effect.
- Whole grains can help you live better and longer.
Tips from the Expert
My grandma inculcates the habit of eating whole grains in me since childhood. Chapatis made with whole grain flour when given with rainbow coloured vegetables takes care of most of the nutritional requirements for kids. Wheat grain products also include bread, pasta, oatmeal, breakfast cereals, tortillas, and grits. While you're purchasing processed whole grain products, read the ingredients list to make sure they are made entirely from whole grains, not a mixture of whole and refined grains. Also keep an eye on the sugar content, especially in the case of breakfast cereals, which often contain large amounts of added sugar. Seeing whole grain on the packaging does not automatically mean that the product is healthy. If your kid has gluten intolerance then try incorporating amaranth, buckwheat, rice (brown, white, wild), millet or protein-packed quinoa or sorghum to get maximum benefits.
Do you still want to miss out on the health benefits of whole grains? If not, then include it in your daily diet plan. You will get fibre, a healthy plant-based protein, vitamins, minerals, and a variety of phytochemicals that will improve your health.
Jaggery or Gur as it is famously called is an unrefined sugar. It is obtained by boiling raw, concentrated sugarcane juice till it solidifies. It is then moulded into blocks and sold in the market.
Are you confused what to give to your child white sugar or jaggery?
Let me tell you the main difference between them:
- White sugar is a simple carbohydrate (made with short chains of sucrose) that gets absorbed in the bloodstream instantly and gives instant energy whereas jaggery is a complex carbohydrate (made with long chains of sucrose) that gives energy to your body gradually and for a longer time.
- Gur is better than white sugar, as unlike sugar it does not add empty calories to your body.
- Gur also provides a number of health benefits to everyone as it contains various vitamins and minerals including a high amount of iron.
It was extensively consumed by our grandparents during winters to combat cold and the tradition continues.
The important benefits of jaggery include:
- Its ability to prevent constipation by activating digestive enzymes in your body thus stimulating the bowel movement.
- It’s a great cleansing agent. It flushes out harmful toxins and effectively cleanses your respiratory tract, lungs, liver, intestines, stomach, and food pipe.
- It helps boost your immunity and treats flu-like symptoms, cold and cough as it is loaded with antioxidants and minerals such as zinc and selenium, which in turn help prevent free-radical damage and also boost resistance against infections.
- Jaggery can help you increase the total count of haemoglobin in the blood, increasing iron and folate, preventing anaemia.
- It aids in easing menstrual pain and acts as a blood purifier.
- The high potassium content in jaggery can help you in weight reduction by preventing water retention in the body.
- It can help you in balancing electrolytes, building muscles and boosting metabolism.
- It can also prevent respiratory problems and relieve joint pains.
- Above all, it is a good source of energy and helps you prevent fatigue and weakness in your body.
Tips from the ExpertMost of you may not find jaggery an attractive food item because of the dark yellow colour and its amorphous and gooey look but it is highly recommended to kids in case of iron deficiency. All you need to do is to mix it with their warm milk to strengthen their bones, add to their oatmeal and even make ladoos with it. It can also be given in raw form after lunch or dinner. When given with sesame seeds it will prevent kids respiratory problems like asthma, bronchitis etc. So just add jaggery instead of sugar to your desserts to reap huge benefits along with good taste.
Bananas, the most basic fruit has been eaten by my grandmothers throughout their lives. Bananas are one of the cheapest and the most easily available fruits amongst all the fruits and vegetables. They contain several essential nutrients required by kids like;
- Bananas are rich in potassium and magnesium and also induce weight loss, reduce obesity, cure intestinal disorders, dysentery, anaemia, tuberculosis and relieve constipation.
- Bananas also contain pectin, which is water-soluble fibre. Pectin reduces the glycemic index (GI) value of banana by delaying the absorption of glucose by the body. Thus, protecting against the blood sugar spikes and slowing down kids digestion so that they stay fuller for long hours.
- Unripe or green bananas are also a good source of prebiotics necessary for keeping the good bacteria for the belly. They have high resistant starch content so kids suffering from Diabetes should eat unripe bananas as compared to yellow bananas where the starch gets converted to sugar.
Tips from the Expert
Give bananas as a mid-day snack to your kids to re-energize them for their tiring day. You can also try different healthy grandma’s recipes to make healthy and finger-licking raw banana dishes for your kids.
The modern eating habits of kids are wreaking havoc with their immune system, making them more susceptible to illness both emotionally and physically and giving rise to chronic conditions like heart disease, asthma, skin allergies etc. The key to achieving healthy living is by making gradual yet lasting lifestyle changes. You should try replacing the diet of your kids with these wholesome and nutritious superfoods. Once you are successful in doing this, you will surely see a lot of changes in them. They will remain heart healthy and energetic throughout the day and would slowly develop a strong immunity to fight against major diseases. Leading by example will make the whole process easier for your kids. Altering your diet and including the same superfoods will help you create a more wholesome diet plan for your family that will not be resisted by the kids. them.
My Grandma inculcated these healthy eating habits in me and my other family members. She had sown the seeds long time back and now its flourishing tree of healthy habits. With kids following my footsteps. I wanted to share my thoughts and feeling with you all. If you like this blog then please give your comments :-)
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Until then, Happy Parenting!