The first and foremost memory that I have of food is the “Dahi Poli” which I used to have in my grandma’s mud house. The dahiwali used to bring dahi in mud pots from her village in the morning and Aaji used to make hot phulkas during the same time. I used to eat 1 fulka happily at the age of 2-3 years. I never knew what was mindful eating then, but as I understand the Dahi ( Yogurt) was locally sourced and fulka was made by Aaji. Some years before when I was obsessed with counting the macronutrients in the food. I still could find that the meal of Dahi Poli around 11 AM was the best that I could have as a child and also as an adult. It was valid then and is valid now. Then what was missing in between?

After my graduation, I started working and the timings were really bad. I was always in the obese category but now with odd timings and odd eating pattern, I started putting on the considerable amount of weight coupled with a lot of acidity. Then started the part called unlearning.

Unlearning: –

Rice has simple carbs, chapathi has complex carbs. Groundnut oil is bad for health. Sunflower oil or Karadi oil is good for health. Never touch a Mango, Banana, Chickoo, it will put on weight. Have more green leafy vegetables etc were some more health secrets that I started living by. I worked out sincerely and did not eat well as per today’s standards. I reduced my weight several times in my life and bounced back to more, those many times. I never thought about mindfulness while eating post my graduation. I worked in different cities, ate whatever was available and I cook. Post marriage, I again started working out pretty regularly and reduced around 20 kgs by not eating well as per today’s standards. I never touched Mango, Milk, Chickoo, Banana and my favorite Guava during those days. Unlearning the mindfulness which Aaji ( grandma ) and Aai ( mom ) passed on to me was a major drawback. I ended up having IBS ( Irritable Bowel Syndrome) which is a group of symptoms like diarrhea, constipation, stomach pain and vomiting. 3 years of acute IBS brought me back to rethink the overall food habits and there is where I started relearning.

Relearning:

Mindful eating needed to be incorporated back to my lifestyle. But before that I needed to fix some things. Groundnut oil made entry to the kitchen with sesame oil from Kachchi Ghani. Switched to cow’s milk and homemade curd. Incorporated grain shuffle like one grain each day . It included eating jowar, bajra, wheat, rice ( normal white rice), nachni on a specific day in a week. Started having pickles, papads and homemade jams. All desserts which are homemade were welcome. It included Puran Poli, Coconut Burfi, Laddoo, Semiya Kheer, Shakkarai Pongal, Modak . Bringing ghee back on varan bhat helped bloating and weight loss. I can not specify in words how happy I am to include all this back in my food. You can see me a couple of pounds here and there but that does not matter to me as I have food which makes me happy. Since last 3 years I am having Banana everyday in the morning which has immensely helped curing IBS. No cramps, no constipation and bye bye to diarrhea. Bringing grandma’s wisdom back in life brought me back to life. As I have a spoonful of shakkarai Pongal laden with ghee and sugar, I say that there is nothing better than believing in your natural palette and trusting your instincts while eating. This is as they say – Mindful Eating. I have found myself through mindful eating, have you?

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