Statistics show that dominant diets and food production are not nutritionally optimal. At least 820 million people are hungry worldwide, and close to 2 billion people are overweight or obese because they eat the wrong food. Indian food that is largely plant-based can show the world how a nutritious and sustainable diet can be provided to the world’s projected population of 10 billion people by 2050 without environmental degradation.

South Asia, including India, is an exception to meat consumption, with the majority eating half of the recommended amount, while countries in the North America, by comparison, eat almost 6.5 times the recommended amount of red meat.

Vegetarian and plant-based diets are associated with a reduced risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer as well as increased longevity. Vegetarian diets are typically lower in fat, particularly saturated fat, and higher in dietary fiber. They are also likely to include more whole grains, legumes, nuts, and soy protein, and together with the absence of red meat, this type of eating plan may provide many benefits for the prevention and treatment of obesity and chronic health problems, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Our ancient rituals and traditions have given us a way out of the conundrum of diet problems. They advocate the principles of ‘variety’ and ‘moderation’ i.e. eat a variety of food and eat in moderation. They also recommend including all seven colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue/purple, white) and six tastes (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent) for a balanced diet.

The brain gets a signal that a person has eaten only after 20 minutes. Thus, it is important to chew every bite at least 15 times. It not only provides enough hormones for enzymes but also sends signals to the brain. Therefore, the time spent per meal should be 20 minutes.

Some tips for healthy eating

  • Eat less and enjoy your food by eating slowly. Fill half your plate with fruit and vegetables.
  • Avoid oversized portions which can cause weight gain. At least half of your grains should be whole grains.
  • Limit consumption of food high in trans fats and sugar. Choose healthy fats. Use fat–free or low-fat milk and/or dairy products.
  • Drink plenty of water. Avoid sugary drinks.
  • Avoid foods that have high sodium levels such as snacks, processed foods.
  • Above all, balance your food choices with your activity level.