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Fitness Regime with healthy food ingredients: A sustainable approach
Thursday, 14 October, 2021, 16 : 00 PM [IST]
Dr Rekha Maitra
Necessity is the mother of invention and it initiates day-to-day innovations. India is a huge country and ranked 2nd most populated country in the world; hence the necessity of the masses curates the need for a diverse range of food products. Indians have different societal norms, different religions; Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, Christianity, Buddhism, Jainism, Judaism and the Bahai faith. People of different religions have their accustom; avoiding non-veg foods.  Vegetarians have religious apprehension; therefore, innovative foods products are evolving continuously.

The general populace is dependent on various food products i.e., Innovative food ingredients which influence the food habits of Indians as a healthy alternative to non-vegetarian food are Pseudo meat, GMO’s and Soya foods.

1. Pseudo meat: In the Indian catering industry, meat is the preferred dish of guests as well as the host. The meat industry is massive, so do the societal, religious and health concerns of people. Therefore, meat substitutes are curated with plant-based products. The lab meat created with this technique is healthy and nutritious. For meeting the requirements of meat per capita, lab-grown meats turn out to be a healthy substitute for vegans and vegetarians.

2. GMOs (Genetically modified organisms) have been yielding various assistances for the general populace with increased crop yields, reduced costs for food production, reduced need for pesticides, enhanced nutrient composition, better food quality, resistance to pests and disease, greater food security, and medical benefits to the world's growing population.
In GMOs, the DNA of an animal, plant, or microbe is altered using genetic production and breeding techniques to modify organisms. Animals are produced genetically for laboratory research.  GMO is a trending food with a wide range of  Soy, Corn, Canola, Cotton, Zucchini, Sugar, Milk, Aspartame, Yellow Squash, Papaya, Alfalfa, Potato, Sugar beet etc.

3. Soya Foods: They are a rich source of protein for vegetarians. Soya is available in a wide range i.e., tofu, soy milk, Edamame, Meat Alternatives, Soymilk, Soy nuts, Tempeh, Textured soy protein, Whole soybeans etc.
  • Tofu is rich in high-quality protein, B vitamins, and low in sodium, has two types i.e., Water-packed tofu, which is dense and solid and Silken tofu is a soft and reduced-fat variety.
  • Soymilk is an excellent source of high-quality protein and B vitamins; an excellent milk substitute for people who are lactose intolerant.
  • Edamame is high in protein and fiber and contains no cholesterol.
  • Meat alternatives/ Tofu are used as sausage, bacon as well as stuffing of burgers and hot dogs. They are cholesterol-free and excellent sources of protein, iron and B vitamins.
  • Soy nuts are high in protein and isoflavones, similar in texture and flavour to peanuts.
  • Tempeh is a chunky, tender soybean product, developed by fermentation of soybeans. it can be sliced, marinated and grilled, and added to soups, veg casseroles or chilli. tempeh is rich in probiotics (feeds the beneficial bacteria) and protein. Its firm texture makes it suitable for use in a variety of dishes. It has the property of an anti-inflammatory effect.
  • soy flour is used as a meat extender. It consists of 70 percent protein and contains the bean's dietary fiber. Textured soy flour is dried and available in granular and chunk style. When mixed with water, it forms a chewy texture.
  • Whole soybeans:  They are an excellent source of protein and dietary fiber,  can be      cooked and used in sauces, stews, and soups
4. Use of multi-grains for the healthy regime: The Health regime has altered the lifestyle and food habits of Indians. This focussed approach puts more onus on the use of healthy ingredients i.e Multi grains products, which are the staple food of people around the globe. These products are gluten-free, have less calorie content with high satiety value. It consists of nutritious grains i.e Corn, Amaranth, Bengal gram, Jowar, Rice etc. It is rich in proteins and dietary fibers.  Whole grains products consist of Whole Oats, Whole Wheat, Whole grain rye, buckwheat, bulgur(cracked) wheat, millet, whole barley, spelt, quinoa, brown rice, corn, popcorn, whole-grain bread and Whole-Wheat Pasta etc.
Wholewheat/multigrain pasta is enriched with lentils, chickpeas, oats, spelt, barley, egg whites, ground flaxseed and wheat or oat fiber whole wheat etc. It has fewer carbohydrates with more satiety value to give a feeling of fullness. It contains a grain and legume flour blend, along with semolina. Chefs are also producing pasta in different colours and flavours i.e. spinach puree, beetroot to make it nutritious and healthy. These are available in different colours and flavours, it includes dietary fibers, flax seeds, chia seeds and other healthy ingredients for diet and health-conscious people.
5. Traditional Indian Staples:  Diverse Pulses and grains are used in Indian cuisine.  Every Indian household usually stores traditional ingredients as per their culture i.e Split red lentils/ Masoor Daal, Chickpeas/ Chana, Mung beans/green gram, black gram or urad beans, split yellow pigeon peas, known as Arhar dal, Basmati Rice, Cottage Cheese/Paneer, Yogurt/ Dahi. Different types of Indian bread Naan, Roti, Dosa, Puri, Indian accompaniments are pickles, chutneys. Most of the food items are cooked in Ghee, Mustard oil and Coconut Oil.

6. Traditional Indian Condiments/ Spices: Life is more interesting when it includes different flavours. Indian spices add aroma, enhance the flavour and taste of food. Indian cuisine includes sweet, spicy, tangy flavours to satisfy taste buds.

Indian spices are used as whole spices and ground spices. It consists of Big and Small Cardamom. Garam masala, Turmeric (Haldi), Corriander(dhania) seeds, fenugreek seeds(methi), carom (Ajwain) seeds, cumin seeds (Jeera), fennel seeds (Saunf), different leaves i.e curry leaves, bay leaves, fenugreek leaves. Indian cuisine is also tempered with asafoetida, dried chillies, star anise. Chaat Masala is generally added as a taste enhancer.

Natural sour ingredients used in Indian cuisine are Tamarind/ Imli / Puli, Kokum, Yogurt / Dahi / Thayir, Tomatoes, Raw Mango Powder/Amchur, Dry Pomegranate Seeds/Anardhana, Lemons/ Nimbu.

The above-mentioned innovative food ingredients have brought a positive change in the health and lifestyle of Indians.

(The author is doctor of philosophy in tourism and hospitality)
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