Last night I ran another sell out cookery class teaching the art of healthy Gujrati Thali. I was really pleased to see such a wonderful group of people coming together to learn about how they can serve up some of their favourite dishes, in a healthier way and without losing the taste and flavours we all love so much.
We Gujrati's love our food, and we are also proud to create new recipes, or suggest variety when challenged! Though in recent years, we all know that the food we have been eating is not necessarily benefiting our health. The source of food and the way our food is over-cooked and highly spiced is killing the goodness found in mother natures creation.
The idea of eating flavoursome food is wonderful, but it's more important to understanding why we eat, what we eat, how its cooked and what good it does to our body besides satisfying hunger pains.
My mothers fight against serious illness kick started my passion for healthy cooking
I learnt the art of cooking oil free food when my mum was fighting her cancer battle over 28 yrs ago! As she fell ill, my instinct kicked in and I put her on a oil free, none processed and no sugar diet.
Her strong recovery was a miracle and an eye opener to my family as we travelled on a challenging journey; starting with no hope and a prognosis of - "just few weeks to live" - to one lasting a further three years. But this was not three more years with my mother merely clinging to life. Through food, we gave her a quality of life that we could not have imagined when the doctors were giving us their view on her condition and the time left she had. The miracle was how we achieved this without drugs and through her diet - and diet alone!
400 years Before Chris, the greek philosopher Hippocrates said:
"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food"
How true that was for my mother.
There were many aspects to the knowledge I gained in nutrition and diet as I created new and delicious ways to help my mother's body withstand this ferocious attack and for it to fight back. There were highs and there were lows and an exhausting amount of work, but the power and goodness of food kept us on track and my mum alive.
An Indians passion for cooking with oil
When I was young, helping in the kitchen and soaking up the knowledge around me, I learnt many different cooking techniques from my mum. However, I remember very clearly at this tender age, that many of the aunties around me were serving dishes that felt like a plate of oil with a few vegetables thrown in for good measure!! I exaggerate for dramatic effect, but you know what I mean.
Too much oil can lead to serious health conditions
I can go on-and-on about oils and its advantages and disadvantages, but if you ask most Gujrati's, they'll tell you more often than not, that it's swimming in oil. The bottom line here is that this way of consuming food is not at all healthy and is helping to shorten lives with conditions ranging from cancer to heart disease. Look around you - how many people over 40 do you know who is not carrying a lot of body fat? I bet that if they are measured properly they would be classed clinically obese. This is a reality and not written for dramatic effect!!
For me, I highly recommend you understand what you put your plate and the positive (or negative) effect it has on your body and mind. Whether you are cooking for your children, ageing parents or yourself, you have the opportunity and responsibility to make a difference to the long-term health and happiness of those you love the most.
The Art of Gujrati Thali - the Healthy Way - has proven to be a really popular class. The next one is on 15 March 2019 and I am looking forward to providing an entertaining, inspiring and hands-on class for my next group.
For more information on the Gujrati Thali class on 15 March, see my event page.