HEALTHY BREAKFAST

Healthy Breakfast is Key to Longevity

As the gist of the adage regarding health goes, it is said that to maintain good proper healthy living conditions, one should eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and supper like a pauper. A whole night’s sleep changes the body as many cells die and new ones are born. At the cellular level each morning as an individual wakes up to a new body, it is very important that the right kind of nutrients are given to the body to break the fast and help it prepare for the hectic day ahead.

Hence breakfast as the first meal of the day is very, very important. Breakfasts are eaten early in the morning before the chores of the day begin. Any meal taken early in the morning can be called a breakfast. But, it is very important to understand that there are traditional ingredients and dishes that are considered typical breakfast food, according to the region that one lives in. For people of the European and American continents, milk beverages, non-milk beverages, bread, butter, eggs, porridge, cereals, pancakes, sausages, fruit and fruit juices are typical breakfast food. For other parts of the world, it is different. Indians eat derivatives of rice, wheat, millet and so on.

Health is defined as the capacity of the individual to bring to the optimum all capabilities. Hence, it is very important that the first meal of the day should be as healthy as possible. Scientists are still debating as to what exactly constitutes a healthy breakfast. By definition a breakfast to be healthy should comprise of very healthy food items, that is, rich in nutrients. Healthy food should be one that provides nutrients needed for the body and should not contain empty calories and nutrient-less food. Food should be rich in protein as proteins are building blocks of life and also a healthy quantity of good fats. Food which are time-tested and traditional in nature and which contain natural ingredients and which are traditionally slow-cooked and prepared are considered healthy and necessary. Also, organic, pesticide/insecticide/additive and flavouring agent free and complete wholesome food are considered healthy. The bottomline is that food in its natural form is healthier than processed food. Traditionally cooked food items without chemical intervention are healthier. Natural fruits, vegetables are supposed to aid healing in the body and help it detoxify. One can summarise to say that a healthy breakfast is a nutrient rich and complete balanced food eating session.

HUMBLE IDLI ASPIRES TO BE WORLD'S SOUL BREAKFAST

As everyone knows, the white rice dumpling known as Idli is the traditional breakfast originating from the humble kitchens of southern part of the Indian sub-continent. Idli is a fermented delicacy and comes in shape of cake/dumpling. It is the most popular dish of south India, Sri Lanka and many parts of eastern India and cosmopolitan centres of the sub-continent. In more recent times, because of the Indian diaspora spreading all across the world Idli is now available almost everywhere. The recipe is very simple as soaked dehusked black lentils and rice are made into a batter and fermented. The batter is steamed in moulds and served to an accompaniment of a coconut chutney and a thick spicy gravy made of split pigeon peas (tur dal). Idlis are suitable for all ages and though eaten fresh and hot for breakfast can be had any time of the day. Idlis are soft and very simple to digest as it is easily metabolized by the body. In Goa, Gujarat, Odisha and Bengal there are local variations. There are many kinds of Idlis now, with modern chefs experimenting with the humble Idli.

The basic idli is plain in taste though it is full-bodied and sumptuous. A condiment is considered essential to go with it. Though the sambar and chutney come as nice dips, it is the condiment that gives that special feel and tang. This dry chutney powder is very convenient while travelling. With the addition of oil, ghee or curds the chutney powder can be turned into a wet chutney dip for the idli.

As mentioned earlier, there are many variations to the idli. Semolina, wheat and millet idlis have become common. Yogurt is being used as part of the fermenting process. There are now instant idlis keeping in mind the time constraints of the modern family. Idlis are becoming the basic ingredient for many fusion food. Its health benefits are being researched. Modern electric idli steamers are becoming fashionable. The world has woken up to the pleasurable delights of the idli, sambar, dry and wet chutney. It is a great day for Indian people that the United Nations has declared March 30 as the ‘World Idli Day’.