"Lockdown has made us fall in love with home-cooked food again. Don’t let that go"
Words of wisdom from celebrity nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar
The pandemic changed our lives. Yes, the one you’re sick of reading about. We went back to the basics: ghar ka khana, Ayurvedic remedies for our ailments and immunity-boosting kadhas. Sports science and nutrition expert Rujuta Diwekar helped us along the way — even sharing 5 simple moves to tone our bodies while we worked from home.
The wellness coach behind the likes of Karisma Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor Khan noticed a stark change in our consumption patterns — in a bid to eat well, and stay strong, khicdhi was trumping smoothies. We were rediscovering our intimate relationship with food. In an exclusive extract from her new book, Eating In The Age of Dieting, she reminds us of why we should hold on to these old ways even as we step into a ‘new normal’ world.
An excerpt from Eating In The Age of Dieting
“The current crisis has forced us to relook at many aspects of our life — be it work, travel or relationships. And it seems to have driven home one point: let’s get back to basics. In a sense, it has brought out the romantic in us. People are posting and raving about the blue skies, the sighting and chirping of birds and — this almost brings a lump to my throat — the goodness of dal-rice. It’s like people have realised that the most intimate relationship we share is with food, and it remains central to our lives, especially to our quarantine life.
In a sense, it took a pandemic for people to see that food is much more than a sum of carbs, fat and protein. And the macros that matter are safety, survival and sustenance. The panic shopping, even at the risk of getting infected, is a testament to just that. For the first time in the twenty years of my career, I am being asked questions about immunity-boosting foods. Till now it was only about what can I do to accelerate fat-burning. I am enjoying this interest, celebrating it.
It’s wonderful to see people return to basics, to discover that when you are short on time and other resources but still need to eat to stay strong and secure, it is the khichdi that comes through, not the smoothie. The question, though, is whether the learnings of the lockdown will stay with us. Will the love for home-cooked food and virtuosity of jhadu-pocha transition into our real lives once things are back to normal?
Well, I am a sceptic. In the early 1990s, when Cuba faced food and fuel shortages due to the US embargo, Cubans took to small-scale gardening and cycling, and as a population lost weight and rates of heart disease and diabetes dropped. But when the economy picked up in the new millennium, those habits didn’t stick, and weight and related diseases rose. Long story short, disasters or emergencies may throw up a few good things, but they don’t make for a life-long learning. Not when it’s forced.
So, once life is back to normal, actively re-initiate your love for home-cooked food. What you are doing right now is a one-night stand, but it’s worthy of a long-term relationship. Pursue it once the lockdown is over.”
Eating In The Age of Dieting by Rujuta Diwekar is available at your local bookstore and online here.
Three recipes from Diwekar’s treasure trove
Haldi kesar milk
“A night cap of calm to relieve restless leg syndrome, insulin resistance, and insomnia.”
- A pinch of haldi
- 2 strands of kesar
- 2 cashews and an almond crushed in pestle
- 1 1/2 cup of milk
- Sugar to taste
- Boil the mix.
- Pour into the cup from above so it froths.
- Drink hot, warm or after it cools.
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“These small papads made from sabudana, a delicacy in Maharashtra, remind me of my grandmother, and ensure that no matter what emergency strikes, there need not be a compromise on taste or goodness.”
- 200gm sabudana
- 5 cups of water
- ¼tsp cumin seeds
- Salt to taste
- Wash the sabudana and leave it to soak overnight.
- In the morning, heat up five cups of water. When the water starts boiling, add the sabudana and stir continuously till the mixture is cooked properly, put 1tsp of it on a plate – the mixture should not spread.
- Add salt and cumin seeds.
- Take a clean butter paper and place out teaspoons of the mixture on it, evenly spaced.
- Keep the paper in the hot sun.
- In the evening, remove from the paper, transfer to a thali and dry again for a couple of days.
- Fry in oil whenever you want to eat it.
(The papads remain fresh for a year)
“This 5-step recipe helps in relieving PCOD symptoms and can be made even by kitchen noobs.”
- ½ bowl moong
- 1tsp ghee
- 1 bowl yoghurt
- A pinch of salt
- 4 green chillies, chopped
- 4 sprigs of dhania
- Sprout moong.
- Place in a steel pot, add some water and the ghee.
- Cook in a pressure cooker.
- Once cooked, add the yoghurt, salt and chillies.
- Mix, add dhania, and serve.