BY TARA NARAYAB
FUNNY or not funny! I’m so much in love with these little wild “gottam” mangoes of Goa which is are so reasonable to buy that I’ve being slipping them in a tur dal, masoor dal, and my guju buttermilk kadi to get this oh so ahhhhh mango flavour – mango sweetness is good when it is no so cloying, so just one or two gottam is fine and one may chew them up afterwards to arrive at a slim or fat stone! I suppose one may even slip a fat afoos or a pairi or kesar into dal or curry or magnificently in raita – as in ripe mango raita – but I haven’t done a mango raita yet. Must do it one of these days before the little and big mangoes disappear.
How much about life is about food and how ignorant we are about what makes the body fighting fit with an immune system so good that it may take one across the desired 100 years or so, that is of course if one is happy to be alive. Too much stress, anxiety and depression and the body gives way to all kinds of sick manifestations sad and unhappy; if there’s one wish I would grant anybody it is really love and along with it enough money to feel that they’re on the right side of life, and not the wrong side where most everyone abandons you because they think you’re in the queue where the next thing you can do is kick the bucket! I hate the kind of mercenary hypocrisy which only the human animal (pretending to be human) can mastermind and hone to perfection…but that’s all by food for thought this week.
OVER the week I was thinking of my favourite thirst-quenchers fresh coconut water, kokum soda, nimbu-soda. I’ve just re-discovered the charms of drinking soda drinks and have been buying bottles of Real Soda to fix something drinkable but fizzy with soda water at home. So soda water has been on my mind, most of us know it to be plain carbonated fizzy water. No party can be a party without soda water to fix all kinds of cocktails alcoholic and mocktails non-alcoholic.
Real Soda is an all-Goan brand of soda and one of the earliest to enter the carbonated waters market – the most basic is plain fizzy soda which kind of makes all related drinks jive up to entertain the palate. Good or bad to drink soda water? I hear it so often: Drinking soda helps clear a stomach be it constipated or just overloaded. Is there any merit in this that sodas can be even remotely healthy to imbibe?
After all what is one imbibing in one’s soda drink but carbon dioxide infused still water or spring water so that it acquires this fizzy sparkle…some think soda water is alkalinizing (that is good) while others think it is acidic (that is bad). Two conflicting views which deserve to be better traced, but more often than not at ground level I find many soda drinkers find it helps them clear their stomachs better and a friend of mine says, “I prefer to drink soda for it keeps me satiated and with a feeling of fullness, I don’t eat so much then!” Soda water pH is usually 3 to 4, that is slightly acidic.
You may call it soda water, club soda, seltzer water, effervescent water, sparkling water, it’s more or less the same thing. Best pH is 7 of course but that would be hard to find; nevertheless quite a few folk think drinking a soda a day keeps them hydrated and it is easier to drink than tap water one may not trust –whether it is potable or not, up to WHO standard or not!
Lately I’ve gotten into the habit of buying Sweppes Ginger Ale but this is sweetened carbonated water. Refined sugared drinks fancy or not so fancy usually have a high glycemic index and contribute to carbohydrate overload, best to avoid as a regular habit.
Anyway it’s often repeated that anything sugary we drink or eat doesn’t quench thirst or hunger (for some reason only sick patients crave for sugary fixes!). All this notwithstanding I must say here that I look forward to my one kokum-soda or nimbu-soda on the icy rocks daily these days — when I come in from the steamy hot, dusty streets of the yet unfinished road works going on in capital city Panaji!
IS COW’S MILK/GHEE BETTER?
APART from soda water (and the goodness of sodium bicarbonate, which is a different thing altogether) I was mesmerised by these bottles of A2 Gir cow milk ghee on show/sale as a side presentation to the G20 Goa Environmental Film Festival on in Panaji from May 3 to 5, 2023. Since for some time now I’ve been using cow’s milk (Warana) or one of the A2 Gir cow milk bottles one finds at Magsons or Delphinos supermarts in town (Rs130-Rs150 litre bottles, but Rs20 off on returned bottle)….surprisingly I find the GoVeda Desi Gir Cow Milk containing A2 B-Casein Protein (fresh unpasteurized milk) a much thinner milk than either the Warana cow milk in packets; oh yes, much thinner than more popular buffalo milk which offers malai or cream if you buy the whole fat milk (Goa Dairy or Amul or Aditya or other brands).
Fresh dairy milk is generally speaking no longer what it used to be in my childhood when in village Gujarat my paternal grandmother used to make me get milk in a container from the home dairy maintained by a neighbour woman down the lane…grandma gave me an anna or half anna to go get “sava ser dudh” or something like that. This was aromatic delicious milk out of which curd was made at home with a starter and ghee was made at home from the cream collected post-boiling operation…all dairy products including homemade white butter were guarded like treasure in a poor household and under lock and key, the key with sasumai! The men qualified for fresh boiled milk, curd, ghee, white butter … first, the women had to stint on these luxuries.
Mind you in a vegetarian Vaishnav household dairy products were the only non-vegetarian nutritional values. Is cow’s milk better to drink than buffalo milk? I mean this is country with a tradition of being hooked on buffalo and cow’s milk and dairy products by way of non-vegetarian products (some don’t see dairy milk and products as non-vegetarian, they are seen as pious Hindu products, this is how crazy we are, perception is all in the mind brainwashed or not)…
At the Dr Malik’s Farms & Gaushala stall at the GEFF as a side exhibition-cum-sale I asked Chaitanya Malik if his desi A2 milk is farm fresh healthiest milk? Of course, he said, Yes. His operation goes back to 2016 and his farm at Hasapur, Pernem takes pride in delivering farm fresh milk at doorstep – it’s clean, tasty, naturally sourced and hormone free. As for his ghee, it’s naturally best too, looks best too…I inhaled some of it to confirm! It had the aroma of the ghee my grandmother made in village Bhadran! The Dr Malik’s Farm ghee is priced at Rs1,250 per half kg.
There’s several dairy farmers marketing desi Gir cow milk and ghee in good clear bottles now in Goa, check at the better supermarkets and you’ll see them. Frightfully expensive, of course. If making tea I find I have to use more cow’s milk to give the tea a feel of being tea! To be honest I’d like to avoid milk and dairy products altogether for they’re indicted in respiratory problems and for causing too much residual phlegm in the lungs, something which invites infections. Time and time again I hear the experts say, drink more citrus juices for vitamin C, aonla, capsicum, coloured veggies and greens every day! Do you? Quite simply vitamin C is the vitamin which heals faster, check it out.
The flip side: there is actually a good brief for dairy milk! The general perception is buffalo milk is thicker, creamier because it has more saturated fat, but is richer in protein and mineral values; cow milk is lighter, easier to digest, less saturated fat – high in CLA or conjugated linoleic acid which helps lower blood cholesterol. So it’s good for the heart! There’s also calcium, phosphorus, riboflavin, vitamin B12, vitamin D for better bones and yes, cow’s milk is brain food by many evaluations, it improves cognitive powers.
In conclusion, I’d say drink a glass of organic desi Gir cow milk daily as a sedative before you go sleep, sweeten with the best honey in the world…New Zealand’s Manuka honey! Honey is another fabulous food to know about from the inside out. Remember you must boil the organic desi milk first for most of it comes unpasteurized. Ask Dr Chaitanya Malik of Dr Malik’s Farm if you like, he’s a computer engineer by education and agripreneur by profession! A real success story.