Bidding Bye to the Black - from the Nature of Food to the Food of Nature

“And this is exactly how it should be! It is on our shoulders to provide for our children’s nourishment – not just feed them just for the sake of feeding them,” I said, convinced. The scene was rolling in my aunt’s living room. The light and city noise outside spelled a chilly Kolkata evening. Paying us company were lip-smacking plain potato chips, chanachur and smoking-hot cups of tea.

Hello guys, I am Alakananada, and today I am here to share with you all a piece of my adventure. It will start off with a bit of panic and upsetting lows, but it surely gets to the highs from there. Like an adventure, this too is a roller-coaster ride; so hold on tight!

So, back to my aunt’s living room now...

The heart of our conversation was a much-discussed, digitally-circulated interview from last week-the one with the prominent city pediatrician Dr. M.L. Mall. “We consume chemicals every day, in almost everything,” said my aunt, conversationally. I stopped mid-way from taking another mouthful of chanachur. However, the thoughts of the tangy taste and mouth-watering ‘colour’ were way too tempting. I mentally promised myself to cut down on junk food! Alas, only if I knew! The series of incidents that followed this evening and the next few days to come made me not only promise, but swear on the specific type of food I am going to eat, like ever!

The pain came back again! I sat up straight on my bed, clutching my belly. It was around midnight. Strong waves of nausea hit me from the core of my stomach. I gasped for fresh air, and without any warning, the taste of vomit filled my dry mouth. Cutting the long story short, I vomited seven times that night. The next day to my horror, my baby daughter fell prey to the same symptoms, and a day later, they came for my husband! My daughter, being very young and unaccustomed to the currently polluted environment, was the most affected of us all. We were worried beyond belief when she needed to be rushed to the hospital for immediate medical attention. She healed completely, but I got even more suspicious about the nature of the food that we eat.

One day while driving with my daughter, we had to wait at a red-light signal. Coal-black smoke from vehicles washed over food items, elaborately designed for sale by a street food vendor. The scene made me jump-start. ‘No more street foods’ – I made a quick mental note. I had to buy some groceries; so I dropped in at a departmental store. Out of curiosity, I checked the back label of a milk carton. I was overwhelmed by the list of ingredients- chemical jargons showered bullets on me! The same was true for the ketchup; the apparent ‘light’ diet-snacks were really not that light when I peeked at the back cover. The rice and cereals were so polished that they did not look natural to me anymore. I am generally a light-eater, not much in favour of having outside food. However now, I even questioned my simple homemade meals – vegetables and fruit have pesticides and packaged foods have preservatives! With a storm of thoughts in my head, I lined up at the checkout counter. Suddenly, something in the distance caught my eyes. It was a Eureka moment, and it went on to define how I see food today. From that moment on, there was no turning back!

The balcony of my apartment now houses an organic farming garden. With natural compost made of vegetable peels, the garden provides us with natural yields and ties my entire family in the single thread of healthy living. Better late than never – I realised that we have to return to the food of Nature! Now whenever I buy grocery, I ensure that it is minimally processed. The standalone ‘Organic’ section shines like a ray of sunshine among the dark clouds of polluted food. It smiles at me the same way it did on the day I decided to stop with the present and go back to Nature.

So guys, this was my time and take on all things food. They say, we are only as good as the food we eat – our diet ultimately reflects on our health and skin. Coming week, a friend will share her story on the series of funny hits and misses she has had with her skin.

Stay tuned for more!


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