Kavita Devgan Emphasize The Fact That Our Grandma Knows The Best!
Book Review: Ultimate Grandmother Hacks by Kavita Devgan
(Published by Rupa Publications; Price: Rs 295; Pages: 218)
The human body is made up of three sheaths, three components that comprise the body and its holistic health. The physical, spiritual and emotional development of a person is dependent on the quality and quantity of food consumed. Well-known nutritionist and columnist, Kavita Devgan takes us back to the wisdom of our ancestors, who lived healthy and simple life, eating and being content with whatever was provided by Mother Nature. In her brilliant book, Kavita has held forth on the maxim, “Old Is Gold”. The foundation of healthy living, even for generations to come will not exist without looking back on the body of knowledge that is tradition and culture. The author has explained, with ample examples, and logic, how wellness is a holistic concept. Not just food, but the author has also tried to lay emphasis on the way we eat, the utensils we use, and even regular exercise so that the nutrients in his food can be optimally utilized by the body.
The contents of the book are divided into three major portions – food, lifestyle, and mind. Each of these segments has chapters to reinforce the importance of that particular theme.
The first part is about ‘Food’. This portion of the book covers fifty eating habits that are most common and popular. It is not only the importance of a balanced diet that has been emphasized, but an equal emphasis has also been laid on balancing flavors and tastes as well. A detailed explanation has been given about the six major flavors as mentioned in the ancient Ayurvedic texts. Kavita Devgan makes the significant observation of how our traditional thalis (food platters) always had food items consisting of balanced flavors. Besides this, she has also listed the nutritional values of fruits and vegetables, and also the proper time to relish them – so that they can have the maximum good effect for our body. It was heartening to read the explanation about the importance of different flavors – bitter included – in a regular diet. Also helpful was the reason why different flavors are needed.
The best thing is that most of these aspects and knowledge about food and nutrition can be found in the comfort of our kitchen. These ideas have been popular with our mothers and grandmothers – but we often dismissed them as unimportant. The author has reinforced the value of basic ingredients found in an Indian kitchen – whether a rich man’s or a poor one’s – lemon, garlic, haldi, sattu, onions, green chilies and so on. I was pleasantly surprised how a plain glass or milk, or a paan can help alleviate fatigue if consumed at the right time of the day. Incidentally, both these ingredients were believed to be stimulants for the nervous system according to ancient systems of Indian medicine. In addition to visiting wisdom from the grandmothers, Kavita Devgan has also suggested recipes and cooking methods of various dishes and foods.
The best part of this book is how it integrates ancient wisdom with modern science and thereby seeks to inspire the current generation to incorporate those tips into the hectic lifestyle of today. Even the basics, like posture while eating, a manner of eating (eat slowly and chew well), the time gap between meals, not lying down right after a meal etc are all time-tested and scientifically proven habits.
This book is a must-have, and a definite read for people of the current generation. After all, grandmothers always did know the best!