THE FOOD WE EAT! IS IT FOOD?

GET BACK TO FARMING! To heal Mother Earth and the world where we need to drink, eat and live like we want to live healthy and happy! Today atta or whole wheat flour is not organically cultivated wheat flour; milk is not milk; oil is not oil, rice is not rice, tomatoes are not tomatoes like my grandmother knew them…and so on and so forth. What we put in our mouth is genetically modified, refined, adulterated, injected with hormones, preserved in chemicals, refined, bleached, polished,  plumped up, homogenized, toned and double-toned and etcetera. There is no end to the industrialization of our food or rather non-food. No wonder we need a plethora of vaccines to hound our  weakening immune system back to life!

By Tara Narayan

YOU will sigh that this is yet another one of my the rubbish we eat as food preaching. Indulge me. Repeats have their value. In this era of videos I was sickly mesmerized last week by this guy taking a popular brand of atta (whole wheat flour) and after binding some chappati dough, he started washing the dough to death till viola… he had rubbery strands in his hands! I rubbed my eyes, is this for real? Hey, rubber in what is supposed to be my wholesome atta?
Microplastics in food and plastic rice from China we’ve heard of but this is brand new news. Plastic residues in atta or wheat grain! It’s a bit of a too much to believe but then see how hard it is to find wholegrain flours where the grains have not been adulterated or genetically modified or something done to them to increase their shelf life? I mean we want to genetically modify human life itself longer for shelf life!
We’re so obsessed with living forever that our scientists are engaged in colossal researching so that the rich may live forever while the rest of us poor mortals remain their moronic or robotic slaves till death do us part. Something like that. There’re these reports of nano chips being imbedded in vaccines which will soon be mandatory for everyone, or so the latest grapevine tells me in our race and chase for the perfect Covid-19 vaccine the world over.
Don’t know about you but I’d rather trust my own immune system and I don’t want to fix it or teach it a lesson for any reason whatsoever that our ultra smartarse mod con civilization may trump up to fix utopia for the top creamy layers of movers and shakers and dystopia for the sickly and poorly in the economy seats.
But to stay with my nano story of atta or whole wheat or whole grain atta, the very same day I’d seen the video of rubber in wheat flour I’d gone out and bought loose atta from this so called wholesale prices shop across the road where I now stay at Caranzalen…the patrao here has his own flour mill installed in his shop and the atta emerged hot and flowing, he insisted (he being Guju and I being Guju on Guju talking terms!) on parceling at the very least two kg atta for 100 in a plastic bag for me -- although to begin with I only wanted one kg for, if you’re asking me50 kg is not exactly wholesale price.
How expensive atta has become and much of it I dare say is adulterated with maida or refined flour. Actually, I was in two minds about buying such loose atta after a long time but argued that it has to be much fresher than the branded atta packs of Ashirwad, Chakki Fresh, Shakti Bhog, Pilsbury, Fortune, Patanjali, etc. Atta itself has gone from 20kg something to50 to 70kg over the last couple of years, depending on variety of wheat and whether commercially cultivated (chemical fertilizer farming in Punjab and Haryana, both these states desperately need to go organic to heal themselves majorly and also shun the government-organized corporate takeover staring them in the face currently). My problem is most branded bags or packs of atta today retail in five kg packs and more, but I need only one or two kg atta for my just two persons household. With only one of us preferring roti or phulka to rice! Personally I don’t like wheat products because of the gluten factor which I feel affects me adversely. In fact I don’t want to eat wheat anything anymore quite simply because of the manner in which wheat has ceased to be traditional, wholesome wheat offering nutrient values for health and wealth. Ditto for dairy milk (pasteurized, now also homogenized, toned, double toned, etc) and honey (a huge scandal with even the Patanjali honey reported to be adulterated with sugar syrup), refined oils we should just not cook anything in them anymore unless we want our arteries to turn to concrete with refined oil and all the refined salt we also consume nowadays in our plethora of junk industrial foods…is this food, is this food that we’re eating to be sick forever? ANYWAY, at home while cooking with my newly bought loose unbranded atta and binding some of it to make my Guju rotli, I found the dough stickier, stretchier and my rotli burned too quickly in the final open flame treatment to puff it up before smacking it lightly to apply a little desi ghee for softer feel. Fleetingly I wondered if there was rubber in my rotli (thanks to that video still playing in my mind). Thanks to that video now I’m imagining rubber in atta everywhere and am spooked enough to be searching for real atta these days -- made of non-genetically modified wheat berries as they are called, and organically cultivated. Most of the smaller stores do offer their own packs of unbranded atta but quality is anyone’s guess and cheating weight wise goes on here and there. My friend Rajashri Dikshit at Miramar beach who supplies vegetarian tiffin, flours and masala called to tell me she is doing “gavachi atta” of sarbati wheat, if I’m interested she will deliver some to me,70kg. Maybe I’ll try out her atta to see if I can get softer, tastier aata rotli with the old forgotten natural sweetness of original wheat!

WHO KNOWS BETTER


Honestly, this constant search for honest ingredients to cook one’s daily meal is bogging me down – I mean is there anything available which is not invariably transformed for more devious shelf life, adulterated with color or fillers or something to falsely increase weight? What a hopeless civilization we’re becoming while our farmers at ground level are fighting for truth, freedom and health all around so they may decide what to grow, how to grow, to whom to sell and at what fair price? Agriculture in this country has been slipping into deeper and deeper troubled waters quite simple because we have a government obsessed by the business systems of the countries of the Western world!
ACCORDING to my friend Peter Singh who’s a farmer extraordinaire in Goa the three new controversial bills passed recently are very complex and may sound good superficially – but farmers know better what happens when all kinds of middle men take away most of the money which should come to them and them only. Peter knows the tragic consequences of farming policies which have led to scandalous suicide statistics and small farmers on their knees. For Peter has been there himself and is still a farmer at heart and mind, he says the people who make our farming policies know little about what’s happening to farming and agriculture at grassroots level although they may mean well.
Frankly, I’m no fan of the economic models of the countries of the Western world. Why do we have to copy them? Today the call going out strongly far and wide is to grow your own food, buy from local markets, from the small grocer down your own street – it’s a farm to table movement like no other and it is being practiced by most who are aware about how the industrial processed food revolution is killing us from the inside out, no? We are what we drink and eat and inputs must commensurate with outputs in a myriad ways to arrive in the pink of health or the grey of terminal health!
The goodness of the water we drink, the food we eat and the air we breathe, the hard work we engage in honestly and with due consideration of all things being equal…all have a bearing on the kind of health and happiness we enjoy. For even a certain kind of arrogant happiness can be so shallow rooted in vainglorious selfish concerns that it sees the trees for cutting down but not the forests and eco-systems which sustain us with water, food and air!
For example, these days I’m wondering how many thousands of trees the government of Goa going to cut down over time to destroy Goa as a state with still wonderful parameters of a decent good life (despite the limitations of mod con infrastructure)? How is the corporatization of agriculture or for that matter the country going to benefit the common people who are the major bank votes in every election?
REALLY, what is desperately needed is a bottoms-up review of the agricultural policies of this country before any arbitrary imposition of new and now controversial bills to change the face of agriculture in the country for the worse. For the worse, the farmers say. Listen to them. Without the food of the good earth we will be increasingly reduced to seeking health in medicines and vaccines to outlive our mala fide coronavirus times…why do we need vaccines?
But that’s another story to do with our ignorance and scant respect for our immune system which keeps us ticking and tolerating all the abuse we inflict on it with our botched up ideas of what defines the good life for the many and not the few. As my friend Prof Shiva Ayyadurai seeking a political career in the US of A would say, we need to look at life bottoms-up, bottoms-up always. We’re really living in trying, troublesome, traumatic, torturous times, so switch over to bottoms-up instead of from top to bottom please! Adjust your vision and perception to focus on what goes on down there at grassroots level and then how a sarkari raj tries to help but bungles big-time for want of common sense. Such are our life and times today when we need to review our stuck in the clouds ideas of the what defines the good life.

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