Rajkumari Sharma Tankha
Nutritionist and certified diabetes educator Madhavi Karmokar Sharma recently launched Parampara – Honouring Traditional Food, an annual planner to ensure we don’t lose touch with what our ancestors have weaved in our native oral tradition of food wisdom. The calendar unearths the deeper connection between seasons, festive rituals, food choices and health reiterating the science and common-sense approach towards food.
The planner design is simple. Each month begins with details of the season and weather in that month, and the corresponding impact on the body. Along with that Sharma has also explained food wisdom to help you align your body to that weather
What’s more, a particular section titled “Let’s decode the Rituals” helps unravel the ‘science’ that our ancestors beautifully weaved into a story / fable for the larger purpose of health and vitality.
“The planner can be with you year-long and orient you to the foods of the season, the changes in season and its impact on your body. It’s not a book that you read and keep away. It is a daily organiser that you use every single day of the year for a simple approach to healthy eating,” says Sharma.
Excerpts from an interview:
How did you come up with the idea of a nutrition calendar? And why?
As a professional dietitian, my philosophy on eating right is based on eating local, seasonal and traditional foods. In my practice of nearly 20 years, I have realised that people are oblivious to seasonal food, which makes it all the more important to be aware of seasonal fruits and vegetables and include them in your diet.
To simplify this element of food education and reach out to a larger audience, I came up with the idea of nutrition calendar/ planner. In the planner, I have created a month-wise list of seasonal, regional foods that would help the user to select therefrom.
Planner, unlike a book, is used on a daily basis and helps keep these nutritional concepts handy for the user.
How long did it take you to prepare the full calendar?
The planner is a culmination of my learning and knowledge as a dietitian. However, officially, I began working on this around mid 2021. This included research work and interviews with my clients from diverse regional backgrounds. The design element took shape as my content refined. It has been a great learning journey for me.
What all does the calendar entail?
It helps you gain insights into connection between seasons, festive rituals, food choices and health. It’s easy to refer to and gives a common sense approach towards a sustainable diet for life. The design is simple.
Each month begins with details of the season and weather in that month, and the corresponding impact on the body. Food wisdom helps you align your body to that weather. There is a mention of the traditional festivals and rituals falling in the month. A section titled “Let’s decode the Rituals” helps unravel the ‘science’ that our ancestors beautifully weaved into a story or fable for the larger purpose of health and vitality. Festive delicacies and seasonal foods for the month are also highlighted.
Can it be used by people on their own or does one have to consult a nutritionist before beginning with it?
The planner is a month-wise guide to Indian nutritional wisdom and seasonal foods. It at no point claims to be a diet or meal suggestion towards specific medical conditions. A person with medical history or prescription is advised to consult and discuss with their healthcare provider if certain foods can fit in their dietary recommendations.
Are there any age-related or gender-related specifications?
No — Such specifications are beyond the scope of this planner design.
Is it available free or are there any charges associated with it?
It can be purchased from the website.
Why do you think are most people not mindful of what they consume?
People are not mindful about what they eat sometimes out of ignorance and lack of food education. In addition to this, the stress in modern day life and easy availability of convenience food is the perfect recipe to blame.
As a nutritionist, how do you educate people on the importance of consuming healthy balanced food?
I advocate eating local, seasonal and traditional food. A balanced diet is the one that has all 5 nutrients- carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals in the right amount for a person. A balanced diet is a sustainable diet unlike diet trends.
Has Covid19 helped raise awareness towards healthy eating habits? If yes, to what extent?
Yes, Covid has definitely raised awareness towards healthy eating. It has helped people take charge of their health and diet is an important element of a healthy lifestyle. Covid helped people shift focus from weight loss to immunity and holistic health. But, human memory is short lived; I again see the weight loss trend catching up!