Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Reminisces with Life, Food, and Growing up


When my mom was pregnant with me, her pregnancy was normal, and she gained only a little weight. When I was born, I was a full term baby. My mom chose to breast feed me for the first four months of my life, and bottle fed for the remaining eight months of my first year.When I was five months old, I started eating solid foods such as baby cereal, puree carrots, bananas, peaches, and pureed rice.

As a toddler, I remember running from my mother and hiding under the dining room table whenever I had to eat. According to her, I was an extremely picky eater and gave a difficult time eating foods. I know this is normal because a lot of toddlers are picky when it comes to their food choices. She also recalled that I was a very slow eater, so I was often forced to finish my meals quickly. Because I am Indian, and my parents were born and raised in India, a lot of my diet consisted of delicacies commonly made in India. I would have American foods mainly during my lunch time. Pasta and pizza was a common American dish at lunch time. During dinner time I would eat a lot of rice, vegetables, and Indian style tortilla. I was often fed bahth (rice) and dhayi (plain yogurt). I also remember my mom putting ghee (melted butter) on some of the Indian dishes. My mother did, and still does, all the cooking.

When I was a child, my family did not eat out frequently. In fact, it was a once in a blue moon event for us. All of our meals were home cooked. The only time we would eat out was for a special occasion. My family did not eat out for convenience. I greatly looked forward to eating out because it was something that rarely occurred. In addition to restricting how often our family ate out, my parents, especially my dad restricted how much pop my siblings and I drank. I remember I would frequently sneak coke up from our basement crawl space. The only time we were allowed to have pop was with pizza, and that was only once a week. In fact, there was a time my coke drinking got out of hand that he had to find a hiding place for it.

When I was the only child, my mother did not touch or cook meat. All of our dishes were vegetarian, with the exception of eggs. When I was in high school, and my brother and sister were a little older, my mother started cooking chicken curry and Tandoori Chicken. For religious and ethical reasons, my mom, sister, and brother are now vegetarians. My father and I are the only meat eaters in the family. Although we eat meat, we only eat white meat, and avoid red meat.

Besides the restriction of pop and meat, candy and sugared drinks were greatly restricted in our diets. Whenever my siblings and I went trick or treating our dad only let us have a few pieces of candy, and then hid the rest. I could only have one piece of candy two or three times a month at the most.

Although certain foods were restricted, whatever I was allowed to eat, I was always told not to waste it, and finish whatever food was on my plate. I hated peas and would often hide them in my napkin, and throw it away. If I wasted food, my parents would lecture me on kids in other countries who have nothing to eat.

As a child, I remember liking certain foods, but completely ignoring others. The foods that were limited to me were the ones I wanted the most. I wanted to eat cookies, cake, ice cream and foods with lots of sugar. My mother became very aware of what she cooked and the family’s eating habits when I was a senior in high school. My grandfather passed away unexpectedly in his sleep when I was 17. My mother discovered that he passed away because he was not taking good care of his health. After that unfortunate incident, she started putting less salt in our foods, stopped cooking with too much butter, and limiting our egg intake. In fact, whenever we cooked eggs, she would make us throw out half of the yolk.

My eating habits have completely changed since high school and my first three years of college. I went from someone who always desired American food, and got sick of Indian food, to someone who grew tired of bland American food and wanted the ethnic dishes my mother made while living at home. The first year of college, when I was in the dorm, I grew tired of the food they served, and that was when I realized how much I missed the food my mother cooked. Currently, I take very good care of myself, and this includes being aware of what I eat. I always look at the nutrition label of everything I eat, and I compare food choices to others in order to pick which is the healthiest. A few years ago I loved pop, but now, I only have it once in a while if I eat out. In addition to limiting my pop intake, I also limit my sugar and salt intake. I rarely use salt when I cook because I know that the foods I make already have their own sodium content. Instead of using sugar in my coffee or tea, I use natural honey instead. When I go shopping, I only aim for the healthy foods, such as whole grain, drinks with no high fructose corn syrup, soy milk, skim milk, organic foods, fruits, and vegetables. Since I am a college student it is hard to eat healthy all the time, and because of my busy schedule, there are some times convenience wins. For example, I’ll make a pizza, or eat out. However, I’ll try to pick the healthiest food choice if I do eat out. Most of the times, I try cooking my own foods. I started eating healthy because I wanted to loose the weight I gained in college. Eventually, the healthier I started eating, the better I felt mentally, emotionally, and physically. I now try to follow the French proverb, “Eat to live, don’t live to eat”

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Kavita (luvikavi)
I am a 25 year old loud mouth by my words yet soft spoken at heart. I have love affairs with new thoughts, ideas, controversies, movies, news,helping those in need and politics. If something tickles my fancy, I will blog profusely about it. The world is filled with nonsense, and writing helps me grasp the reality, whatever that may be.
I graduated from Northern with a Bachelors in Health and Human Sciences, with an emphasis in family and individual development. I hope to GOD my thousand and thousand dollars in loans has prepared me enough for Grad school which I will be venturing off into this Fall of '10. YIKES!
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