In Conversation with Ms. Manju Bhargava, Senior Faculty – Art of Living
A specialist in Ayurvedic cooking, Ms. Bhargava has conducted classes, in India and abroad. In accordance with her motto “Health through Food”, she promotes oil free healthy cooking and the importance of a balanced lifestyle.
Here is an excerpt of our conversation with her -
1. What are some food habits that are an absolute must for people to follow/ avoid?
• Avoiding fast or instant foods like maggi noodles, ready to make deep fried snacks, chips, kurkure etc.
• Use iron, brass, steel or earthen ware to cook food.
• Instead of pressure cookers, where the high temperature kills most of the nutrients in food, try and use healthier methods like steaming and stir frying.
• Avoid processed foods like tomato sauce, bread, white sugar; and health hazards like azinomoto.
2. Nowadays, we get all sorts of fruits and vegetables all year around. How important is to eat regional and seasonal fruits and vegetables?
Consuming regional and seasonal food is very important. In summers, eating vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage, peas and carrots will not be healthy, whereas ‘watery’ vegetables like bottle gourd, tinda, parwal etc. is best as they have the right amount of water our bodies require in summer.
3. How should we inculcate healthy food habits in our children?
Kids emulate their parents and it is our duty as parents to eat healthy for our sake; as well for our kids’ well being.
☺ Very right Manju ji, we couldn’t agree more!
4. Can you distinguish organic and conventional foods?
The taste of organic food is definitely better, somehow reminding us of how food used to taste in our childhood. Conventional food, which in most cases is grown and ripened using chemicals, tastes less flavourful and rather bland. Organic is definitely tastier, easy to cook and looks fresh.
Besides answering our queries, she also shared a secret recipe with us, ready to be surprised??
Garbage Enzyme – useful for composting, and for washing fruits and vegetables
Take 1 liter of water, 100 gm of jaggery and 300 gms of kitchen waste (peels of fruits and vegetables etc.). You can increase/ decrease the ingredients proportionally, as required. Put these in a large airtight container ensuring that 20% of the space is empty.
Open this container for a few minutes every day, it releases ozone which is very good for environment. Repeat this everyday for 1 month and then keep the container closed for 2 months.
At this point, two separate layers are formed – an upper solid layer and a lower liquid layer. The upper solid can be used as compost and the liquid is a magic garbage enzyme that has multiple uses:
1. Mix 1 part liquid concentrate with 100 parts water to soak raw vegetables to reduce the effect of pesticides.
2. Mixing it in bathing water improves skin.
3. Cleaning floors and basins, carpets, shoes, sinks tec.
4. Spraying inside of cars for disinfecting
5. Mixing with water for plants to provide nutrition.