My learnings with wellness result from my meandering through life. I married early, but unfortunately that didn’t last. It was during the process of moving out of my marriage that I learnt what it is like to have a real panic attack. It wasn’t until I had my share of anxiety attacks and ER visits that I realised I needed to trust my gut, and set out in pursuit of wellness. In my case, my pain gave me purpose, and sharing my journey with others enabled the healing process.
Speaking of the gut, I know a lot of us are preoccupied with what we put into our bodies. The two most commonly known eating disorders are Anorexia and Bulimia, but researchers are now observing the rise of a new disorder, Orthorexia. Ortho is the Greek word for ‘right’ and orexia means ‘appetite’. So, orthorexia is a preoccupation with eating clean. I have to admit that there was a time in my life, not very long ago, when I was eating too clean. I would obsess over portion sizes and examine food labels, and not touch anything that I didn’t consider healthy. I would eat before I entered parties and never skip a workout. Sure, this made me seem very diligent and disciplined, but I didn’t realise until much later that this fixation with eating right was taking over my life. (Read more about it here.)
In the last few years, I have tried my very best to find a balance. Wellness shouldn’t be synonymous with a punishing workout regimen, a life devoid of wine, or an occasional cheat day, but with the little things that bring joy. Balance means being able to do yoga in the morning and enjoy a glass of wine in the evening.
You may have heard of Blue Zones like Ikaria in Greece or Okinawa in Japan, where people live exceptionally long and healthy lives. They exemplify balance by working hard and indulging in pleasurable activities like drinking, dancing, and love-making well into their ‘80s. According to author and explorer Dan Buettner, people who live in the blue zones do things differently. They drink red wine regularly, have plant-based diets, and get enough sunlight.
Talking of living the life, and a long one, my quest for wellness constantly leads me to exploring food movements which enhance the journey of mind, body, and soul. Here I share the three food trends of this year that will tickle your taste buds and keep you healthy at the same time.
- What made me try it: Adaptogens are deeply steeped in Ayurveda, and practitioners believe these spices and herbs help rid the body of stress and prevent inflammation caused by free radical damage. People swear by Ashwagandha, it’s said to be the best antidote to stress.
- My perception before & after: I’ve used ginger for vertigo and nausea, and Tulsi for relaxed sleep in the past. But I was under the impression that adaptogens are consumed as medicine and would not find their way into food. I now use them liberally in my food. It’s a healthier way to reap all the benefits without having to pop a pill. I already feel better, knowing that I consume so many adaptogens.
- What made me stay: After consuming ashwagandha for six weeks, my sleep cycle has fixed itself, my blood sugar is stable, and I no longer get jittery with coffee. I also feel like my body adapts itself to stressful situations better.
- How I inculcated it into my routine: I love putting ashwagandha in my vegan protein powder morning shake and my night time tea. Tulsi, too, makes its way into a lot of recipes, and I obsess over turmeric and ginger, so use it a lot to cook and bake. Moringa and mushrooms make their way into my salads and stir fry as well.
Insect protein / Cricket flour
- What made me try it: Heston Blumenthal waxes eloquently on the benefits of cooking and eating bugs and I just had to give it a shot.
- My perception before & after: I’m petrified of bugs and wouldn’t come close to them. I also thought that crickets would be inedible. My sister’s boyfriend brought home some cricket flour cookies by BITTY from the U.S. I popped a ginger cookie into my mouth and squealed with delight. It was the right ratio of chewy and soft, and every bit as delicious.
- What made me stay: Insect eating, called entomophagy, is really popular now and a very sustainable way of eating. I learned later that cricket flour is also a very rich source of protein and vital nutrients.
- How I inculcated it into my routine: I coax my friends who’re travelling to get me cricket flour so we can make pancakes, waffles, and cookies back home. Though I have to admit I haven’t been very regular with this.
- What made me try it: Everyone was raving about black bean and quinoa pasta, and considering I have practised being gluten free since 2006, so I thought, what the heck, let’s try this out.
- My perception before & after: I thought that alternative pasta made from legumes and other gluten free grains would taste strange and have a weird texture. I also thought that one wouldn’t be able to mask the taste of black bean even after making a delicious pasta sauce. I was in Dubai last month and walked into a health food cafe that was serving and selling all kinds of pasta. I tried the black bean pasta and have to admit, I was quite surprised. I made my way through a whole bowl and it wasn’t a struggle. The pasta wasn’t overpowering and if you chop some garlic and tomatoes into the mix – you’re good to go.
- What made me stay: When I learnt that this was available in India too, I quickly ordered some buckwheat fusilli and started whipping it up for lunch. Trust me, if you haven’t eaten pasta in a decade, these babies taste oh so good.
- How I inculcated it into my routine: I try and buy it online every couple of weeks so I can eat it at least once a week. I can experiment with different gluten free grains and pulses like quinoa, buckwheat, black bean and it’s a really nice change from cauliflower rice, so no complaints here.
Wellness is not a life of deprivation and punishment. Wellness doesn’t have to taste bad. Wellness doesn’t have to cost the earth. Wellness is fun. It’s learning how to celebrate and treat your body better, one day at a time.
Happy Eating! Stay Healthy.
Jia Singh is a Delhi based travel and lifestyle writer and wellness consultant. When she’s not going crazy with deadlines, she prefers to be resting either on a yoga mat or at a beachy locale far, far away. You can check out her instagram www.instagram.com/jiasingh or her blog at www.wanderingforwellness.com.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this feature are those of the Guest Writer and do not necessarily reflect those of DSSC & its affiliates.
Feature Image Courtesy: Rommy Kurniawan