Indian Super Foods & The Bio Basics Approach

I don’t generally read books that recommend how to lose weight. Through my work and reading on sustainable agriculture and food, I have arrived that organic, local and seasonal combined with real physical work (in the garden, house and walking for errands) is what works best for me. A couple of years back, many of my friends in Mumbai began raving about this dietician-cum-nutritionist, Rujuta Diwekar. Of course, her fame stems from being the nutritionist of Kareena Kapoor, which put my hackles up and I decided not to read her books L . However, my dear friend PP told me that she recommends eating local, seasonal and sensibly, and does not recommend imported super foods or strange combination of foods and drastic exclusions.

I gingerly bought her book and found her dietary advice to be fairly grounded (even though the too casual bombaiya language is not my style), even though I may not agree with everything she says. She recommends eating all categories of food like healthy fats, natural sugars, nuts like coconut, healthy whole oils, rice, along with fruits, veggies. She says that replacing these natural elements of diet with artificial low-starch, low-sugar, low fat etc.  is counter-productive.

I also found her writing respectful of agro-biodiversity and slowly warmed up to her, a nutritionist who understands the link between biodiversity and human health is a good find. Maybe her appeal also lies in the fact that her diet is based on the konkan coastal style which appeals to the coastal being that I am J . In her latest book she recommends some Indian super foods  and suggests that we dont have to run behind imported food fads. Some of her recommendations are  traditional rices, coconuts, banana,  kokum, jackfruit, cashew nuts, ghee, cane sugar etc.

The Bio Basics Approach
Our breakfast on Sunday morning, steamed nendirans from Gowri’s farm, with a hot herbal drink.

Bio Basics mostly carries  items, organic, procured from farms visited by us, from farmers known to us and we strongly recommend having these wonderful food items.Our offering is based on the principle of local, seasonal, traceable from farms. Our philosophy is to offer products directly from organic farmers, farmer groups or farmer producer companies or women’s groups.

Each of these groups is personally known to us, some are friends, some colleagues and a couple of our own staff are also farmers. Many of our rices arrive directly from the farms and from farmer producer groups (of friends, colleagues and associates known to me through my work with Save Our Rice (http://indianricecampaign.org/).

A retired head master is one of the people supplying us our nattu thuvarai;  our raw cane sugar is from a  sugarcane farmer who grows and processes his own organic cane; the  coconut jaggery  from a friend’s farm where I was warmly taken around to see the simple processing facility and told the process.  Our oils come from the mill of one of our oldest friends, who like us has quit his corporate career to do this. Our range of pulses come from many framer groups in TN and Karnataka ( groups  working with organic farmers and taking tremendous efforts to master processing).Some of our millets come from a committed farmer producer group who take care to process it without polishing it. Similarly, the provenance of almost every product is known to us and this is important to what we do and how we do it.

We consciously avoid big organic brands where we can’t trace the item back to the farm where it came from; the source of the food is an important aspect of our commitment to safe food. We believe that losing this connection from farm to plate has been our undoing. Please continue supporting us in this journey as your engagement and understanding is an important component for these farmers to continue their endeavour. Have a wonderful, organic week! Be Organic, Buy Organic!

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