As refined and fast foods flood our markets, T.V screens and bodies, the natural, the raw and the fiber seem to have disappeared. So many parents come to me saying their children don't eat fruits and salads and even vegetables. The question is do we eat them ourselves, are they are part of our homes, our diets, our dining tables.
No, we are all rushing around and busy and what's convenient, fast and tasty is what is eaten. It's sure easier to eat a chocolate or ready desert after dinner than wash and cut an apple or fruit. At the end of a long working day, women are too tired to cut a salad. Rice or pasta or call for a pizza, is easier than slogging in a kitchen to make rotis.
I believe that God planned that man should eat both cooked food and raw food, whole fruits and salads, and natural foods like grains of wheat, ragi, jowar, bajra, corn, oats and whole beans like channa , rajma, moong, mote, lobia, etc. These raw fruits and vegetables and unrefined grains and beans are packed with vitamins and minerals which firstly help us to keep well and fit and fight off the many infections which want to attack our bodies. Adults and children regularly eating the above fall ill less often. Secondly extra vitamins and minerals help the body processes to function more efficiently and smoothly giving a feeling of wellness, high energy levels and fitness which no tonic or pill can supply.
Finally the above are the source of natural fiber which does some magic to protect your system against the greatest bug bear of the modern age - obesity and the connected problems like hypertension, diabetes, heart disease etc. And last but not least it relieves constipation and acidity which plague people of all ages today.
How does the fiber work? Fruits, salads, rotis, beans all help to fill us up or bulk up our meals so we eat less high calorie and fatty foods e.g. eat an apple at 11 am instead of a cookie. Have a fruit after dinner rather than a scoop of icecream. Eating a salad with both lunch and dinner helps to cut down on overeating rice or sabji at the meal. Two phulkas at a meal are more healthy and filling than 1 cup of polished rice.
The second factor about fiber is that every time you consume it your body has to work harder to digest it. E.g. If you take 2 slices of white bread and 2 slices of whole wheat bread or 2 idlis and 2 phulka, they are all about 50 plus 50 calories each. So what's the difference? The difference is that when you have to digest the whole wheat bread or the phulkas your body will have to work harder, so it will burn some stored fat, break down some cholesterol in your blood, or use up some extra glucose, lowering your blood sugar levels.
When you eat a salad with your meal, you will be chewing for half an hour and your stomach will be busy breaking down those raw veggies for the next 2 hours. If you extract a juice from an apple your body has hardly any work to do to digest it. But if you eat the apple you are chewing for 10 minutes and then the body has to cut through the skin, get into the pulp, pull out the juice and break down the sugar. Internal exercise and work is going on. You feel full, fresh and you get thinner, lighter and healthier in the bargain.