HERBALIFE REVOLUTION: Much loved products from a global multinational company which has fine-tuned the importance of balanced nutrition for good health. Many swear by their formulae-based rich protein soybean milk shakes in chocolate, mango and orange flavours

Eating is Fun / Eating is Yuck! – A variety food column

By Tara Narayan

THE blessed monsoon rain has arrived and it’s always a joyous occasion for me for I never blame the rain for anything! We are always blessed if the rain arrives sooner or later to restore some sense of assurance in life and these days I’m humming the song of old in Hindi cinema which goes, “Dekh tere sansaar ki haalat kya ho gayee Bhagwan/ Kitaana badaal gayaa insaan,?Suraaj na badalaa,Chandana badalaa,/Na badaala yeh asmaan…” (a Pradeep and C Ramachandran song from film Nastik, 1954, if you remember).

Funny, the first pitter-patter of rain and I get into a sing-song mood no matter how difficult the times we’re living in when it looks like everyone is in the business of looting and pocketing enough for their next seven janam or so to speak. Like if we’re evil in this lifetime we’ll return to the world anew to work out our karmic evil anew (some fine justice here I’m sure). Can’t help thinking this monsoon that first we chatur baniya human beings corrupt the government and then the government corrupts us,  the people, and so on it goes in a grinding vicious cycle with more and more falling in the pits of corruption. Ill-health invariably follows in its wake! There are a few exceptions, of course, but that’s the general rule.

No? Look around you and see the truth of my words! I dare say most of us at in any given time are in the process of quitting this, that or the other and I always say so okay, some AYZ has quit smoking, boozing, drugs, overeating (me, me!) or some such irrational self-inflicted punishment for sins committed or not committed….hey, I quit! But after that what?  There’s infrastructure to help someone quit a self-destructive habit like drugs, but where is the supportive infrastructure to help you live through in the wake of quitting a bad habit or turning over a new leaf?

Vis-à-vis my vicious “foodaholic” temptations my usual wishful thinking is why isn’t there a place where I could go and get served the kind of health-conscious breakfast/lunch/dinner I want? I’m willing to pay within reason! Life gets more and more difficult when it comes to drinking and eating (few of us are content just drinking pure aqua or water)….when I can’t find what I want I just give in and indulge in some industrialized junk food of our times (so bad for body beautiful)…usually fryums like a packet of potato wafers, or a white bread sandwich slathered with one of the hydro fake butters and measly tomato-cucumber slices, or Maggi noodles which for some reason so many see as instant salvation food…all purchased).

HAVE you noticed there’s nothing like eating from scratch anymore? The older I grow with my foodie dilemmas the more I’m convinced that if we seek health we must go back to square one and grow our own food, that is veggies, herbs, grains, etc, and that too organically. Also fix our own meals. It bugs me that even when I’m cooking at home I’m using so many industrial ingredients! For example, when did you last taste fresh honest cow’s milk? I buy pasteurized Goa Diary milk for `42 litre daily, boil it, then make tea and curd with it.

But recently I tasted some of the milk leftover in a cup and went yuk! It tasted like urea, ammonia, or some other nitrogenous crap. Nowadays, so called fresh milk in plastic bags neither tastes, nor smells like what fresh milk used to taste and smell like once upon a time. Whatever packaged milk we buy it’s no longer real fresh grass-fed cow’s milk. Much of it now goes into ULT heated, double and treble toned milk tetrapacks (yes, this is industrial milk, not fresh cow’s milk with original nutrient values at all). There are so many examples!

If you’re asking me a food industry unwilling to make the change for the better is doing us more harm than good. I was listening to my newly-made Herbalife friend, Shreya, telling me how the other day she got a fat kid in her “nutrition club”, whose parents admitted their son drinks half-a-dozen cold aerated sugary bottled drinks a day. So much so it’s raised his blood sugar levels and he’s only ten years old or so!

Can anything be done? Of course, improve his drinking and eating habits. But parents have ample amounts of money to give their children, and no time to cook them meals from scratch at home! Do mothers teach their children how to drink, eat, live…or fathers for that matter?

Never before have children been so much at the mercy of the commercial food industry and this is reflected in the myriad health problems they suffer from. Believe it or not, this boy now drinks a protein-rich Herbalife milk shake every morning in lieu of a breakfast loaded with refined carbs -—  bread toast-butter-jam-cheese or some sweetened cereal.

A few small changes here and there and this kid is doing good, or so crows my Herbalife distributor friend, “His parents are so grateful he likes the Herbalife nutri shakes!” They are milk shakes, she confesses, and at their centre they use ULT-heated toned milk in tetrapacks. The nutri shake is a combo of water, cold milk, Herbalife’s protein powder and three/four scoops of Formula I soybean milk powder.

INTERESTINGLY, these Herbalife nutri shakes come in several flavours like the most popular Dutch chocolate, mango, vanilla, and an orange flavoured one I rather like. I like? Yes, I’ve been trying these milk shakes although Shreya admonishes me, “Don’t call them milk shakes! They are nutri shakes and a meal replacement.” Instead of stuffing myself on starchy, fat-laden, Indian or Continental breakfasts, I should drink these nutri shakes and give or take just a few days I’ll see the results for myself. “You will feel so much better with more energy flowing through you…” Not to mention weight loss which is dragging me down!

IT’S not as easy as it sounds of course but don’t knock Herbalife. Shreya says I may talk to any of the folk who come to her nutrition club in the morning hours down town Panjim from 8 am to 10 am, and they’ll enlighten me up about how much Herbalife nutri shakes have changed their life for the better, “they’re better than vada-pav for breakfast!” It’s all about balanced nutrition, she says. Usually, degenerative ill-health is not about how much or how little we eat but what we eat day in and day out and the imbalances/deficiencies caused in our body chemistry. These deficiencies differ from person to person (depending on gene pool, constitution, culture, habits, etc)…sounds garbled?

It’s still early days for me with Herbalife but I’m in agreement with Shreya, for although she time and again stresses, “We are not doctors,” she is certainly educated on the ABC of nutrition. I’ve read enough on the subject myself and the secret to what kind of health we enjoy or suffer lies in the quality of nutrients in whatever we put in our mouth. Yes, carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, enzymes…what we eat in excess and how, what we eat less of and how. All the fascinating nitty, gritty, bitty fine points add up and they’re the kind we don’t generally think of confessing to anyone and not even to ourselves!

IT’S being asked often enough these days, are we as a civilization living to live or to exist, suffer and die? Malnutrition is the most visible disease of them all killing us. Most of us are suffering from malnutrition in urban and rural life and times. Even the rich suffer malnutrition and consequently the diseases which plague us young or not-so-young. Nutrition is something our doctors never talk to us about quite simply because they don’t want to or they never studied its primary role in preventive and curative healthcare in medical school. Doctors today  know everything about a slew of pharmaceutical drugs and not about how “food is medicine!”

For quite some time now if you’re up-to-date with viewpoints coming from far more clued up countries in the Western world, you would know the importance of nutrition in the meals we eat. Many of these views are from their mainstream doctors concerned about where our industry-food based drinking and eating lifestyles are taking us…they’ve done extensive work/research and the conclusions are oftentimes eye-opening and mind-blowing.  

So those amongst us who are clued up with reason seek local, organic, minimally processed food today — that whole meal sourdough bread made with a starter, that milk which is not pasteurized/homogenized/double toned…or that rice which is naturally black, brown or yellow, anything but pure refined white; that sweetener which is black, brown or yellow, anything but unnaturally pure refined white; that grain which is not genetically modified but organically cultivated, stone-milled/hand-milled….that oil which is cold-pressed…that salt which is not refined and iodised! It’s because everything links up with the kind of health we enjoy or suffer from and consequently inflict on the good earth, Mother Earth (our primary, life-giving benefactor).

ALL this and more for another time. The bottom-line is I’m taking a renewed interest in the Herbalife products. Actually, you’d be shocked by the kind of runaway success they’re enjoying, so many folk are swearing by their efficacy — and I feel the change in myself whenever I do replace breakfast or dinner with a Herbalife nutri shake. But I’m not swearing by it yet! Just want to check it out by being the change I want to see in myself or something like that, who doesn’t want to feel like life is worth living anew in our depressing times?

Needless to say Herbalife products are expensive and call for disciplining of a personal kind, but I guess it’s worth walking the talk to find out the truth (also the truth about myself  good, bad, ugly). I dare not tell the hubby about Herbalife yet!  Keep watching this space for further updates if you wish. And, celebrate the arrival of the monsoon rain. Remember that traditionally in India the monsoon season is the time to take stock of  mind and body, heart and soul, and do external/internal cleansing.

Which reminds me to remind you that the third edition of International Yoga Day is coming up June 21, learn how to do the Surya Namaskar if you can, I have it on good account that it cheers up both the hardware and software of body beautiful!

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