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Balanced Diet

A balanced diet must contain carbohydrate, protein, fat, vitamins, mineral salts and fibre. It must contain these things in the correct proportions.

Index

  1. Carbohydrates: these provide a source of energy.

  2. Proteins: these provide a source of materials for growth and repair.

  3. Fats: these provide a source of energy and contain fat soluble vitamins.

  4. Vitamins: these are required in very small quantities to keep you healthy.

  5. Mineral Salts: these are required for healthy teeth, bones, muscles etc..

  6. Fibre: this is required to help your intestines function correctly; it is not digested.


Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the most important source of energy. They contain the elements Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen. The first part of the name “carbo-” means that they contain Carbon. The second part of the name “-hydr-” means that they contain Hydrogen. The third part of the name “-ate-” means that they contain Oxygen. In all carbohydrates the ratio of Hydrogen atoms to Oxygen atoms is 2:1 just like water.

We obtain most of our carbohydrate in the form of starch. This is found in potato, rice, spaghetti, yams, bread and cereals. Our digestive system turns all this starch into another carbohydrate called glucose. Glucose is carried around the body in the blood and is used by our tissues as a source of energy.

 Proteins

Proteins are required for growth and repair. Proteins contain Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen and sometimes Sulphur. Proteins are very large molecules, so they cannot get directly into our blood; they must be turned into amino-acids by the digestive system. There are over 20 different amino-acids. Our bodies can turn the amino-acids back into protein. When our cells do this they have to put the amino-acids together in the correct order. There are many millions of possible combinations or sequences of amino-acids; it is our DNA which contains the information about how to make proteins. Our cells get their amino-acids from the blood.

Fats

Like carbohydrates, fats contain the elements Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen. Fats are used as a source of energy: they are also stored beneath the skin helping to insulate us against the cold. Do not think that by avoiding fat in your diet you will stay thin and elegant! If you eat too much carbohydrate and protein, you will convert some of it into fat, so you will put on weight. You must balance the amount of energy containing foods with the amount of energy that you use when you take exercise.

You must have some fat in your diet because it contains fat soluble vitamins.

Vitamins

Vitamins are only required in very small quantities. There is no chemical similarity between these chemicals; the similarity between them is entirely biological.

Vitamin A: good for your eyes.

Vitamin B: about 12 different chemicals.

Vitamin C: needed for your body to repair itself.

Vitamin D: can be made in your skin, needed for absorption of Calcium.

Vitamin E: the nice one – reproduction?

 Mineral Salts

These are also needed in small quantities, but we need more of these than we need of vitamins.

Iron: required to make haemoglobin.

Calcium: required for healthy teeth, bones and muscles.

Sodium: all cells need this, especially nerve cells.

Iodine: used to make a hormone called thyroxin.

Fibre

We  can not digest cellulose. This is a carbohydrate used by plants to make their cell walls. It is also called roughage. If you do not eat foods materials which contain fibre you might end up with problems of the colon and rectum. The muscles of you digestive system mix food with the digestive juices and push food along the intestines by peristalsis; if there is no fibre in your diet these movements cannot work properly.

A Balanced Diet

You must have carbohydrate, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals salts and fibre in the correct proportions. If there is not enough protein, you will not be able to grow properly and you will not be able to repair yourself i.e. wounds will not heal properly. If you do not have enough energy containing foods you will feel very tired, you will not have enough energy. If you have too much energy containing foods you will become overweight.

Why street food is harmful?

Everyone loves to eat out occasionally, and that includes eating street food from the street vendors, Here are a few reasons why they pose a threat and why is it best to avoid them.

Colors and chemicals

Ever wondered what makes mango juice and ice golas so bright orange and peas look green and fresh? Its metanil yellow and malachite green, the textile dyes, which despite being banned, are used as food colouring agents. They are carcinogenic (can cause cancer) and mutagenic (can change genetic information of the embryo) and are responsible for liver damage and tumors.

Huge amount of cooked soda used for easy cooking of chole and rice produces lot of carbon dioxide in the body, resulting in uneasiness and stomach upset.

Hygine

Meats shelf life is 16 hours, after which it starts decaying to produce botulinum  toxin, one of the most poisonous naturally occurring substances in the world. If the meat is not processed properly, the intestine of the chicken, fish and crabs could contain allergens like e-coli and salmonella, which could cause urinary track infection, severe itching, swelling of hands and feet.

As the stalls are usually located by the roadside, food is continuously exposed to harmful vehicular emission. Next time you choose to eat out, colera and diarrheoa might just be lurking around the roadside shop.

Oil

Street food uses oil is reheated, making it oxidized. Also it loses essential fatty acids .

Quality

Ingredients like potato, besan quality may be either be stale or of inferior quality .

 

Three Gunas

Just as man is said to be made up of the three gunas or quality which are reflected in his appearance and his appetites, food too is divided into three kinds.

Satvic food is light, bland, usually vegetarian and white and gold in colour. The finest rice mixed with ghee(clarified butter), milk and the milk products, honey and fruits- fresh and sun-dried – are the foods for ascetics.

Rajasic food is gold and red in colour, consists of meat, fish, eggs, wines and beer and are supposed to arouse passion in kings and warriors.

Tasmasic food is red and black in colour, consists of flesh of small animals, pork and beef, scaleless fish and food cooked the day before.

The Brahmins at the apex of the socio-religious order are largely vegetarian and eat satvic foods. But the Bengali Brahmin found the flavour of Bengal’s sweet water fish irresistible and fell to temptation and called the fish as ‘fruit of the ocean’.

Chop & Cutlet

the colonial presence have resulted in an Anglo-Indian cuisine which remained confined by and large to the ruling race and the mixed breed of Anglo-Indians.

The one noticeable contribution this had made to the everyday Bengali food is the inclusion of two extra ordinary misnomers, chop and cutlet.the English words, which have now become Bengali, were probably adopted by the cooks who worked in British households to denote their crossbreed.

Cooking-Ghoti vs Bangal

To talk, to someone from West Bengal, a Ghoti, he is likely to tell, that the uncivilized Bangals, from East Bengal know nothing about cooking, and that they ruin the food by drowning it in oil and spices, that they eat half-cooked fish and even the best of fish can be ruined by their peculiar habit of adding bitter to vegetables.

For, there part the East Bengali or the Bangal would decline, that the Ghotis are the greatest philistines on earth, who can cook nothing, without making it cloyingly sweet, or render all their dishes bland and colourless, and that they are hardly true Bengalis, for they prefer to eat wheat – flour chapaties instead of rice, especially at dinner.

Fish and Rice-the heart of Bengali Cruisine

There are two kinds of rice depending on the method of dehusking the paddy – atap or sun-dried and siddha or parboiled rice. Each kind has many varieties known by different names and used for different occasions. Among the sun-dried varieties grown mainly in the adjoining district of Burdwan, are the small-grained scented Kamini, the fragrant Gopalbhog and Gobindabhog. Gopal and Gobindabhog are affectionate appellations of the god Krishna. Most people here are familiar with the famous basamati rice which is best used in pulao.

The noticeable thing about fish was that most of them sweet-water or brackish-water fish, not any marine varieties – and the preference still remains.

Bengali Women and the Culinary Art

A woman’s culinary activity makes her a participant in the sacrificial aspect in which cooking is closely connected to religion. Preparation of a meal is also linked to Karma (desire). A young woman must study the rules of culinary erotica and develop them into an art to win over husband’s attention- a universal feminine strategy.

The best role model for a Bengali woman is Draupadi as it is believed that she used to keep all her five husbands happy and none used to return from her kitchen hungry.

The rules of do’s and don’ts governing personal cleanliness and when to eat was effectively reinforced by religious sanctions and celestial occurrences. Bathing and changing into clean clothes dried in the wind were perquisites for the daily puja. Women did not enter the kitchen at all times and before doing so head bath was mandatory. Before a solar or a lunar eclipse, the hearth is not lit. Food, cooked or uncooked is not eaten. After an eclipse, the kitchen is washed before it resumes its normal operations. The reasons given are that the absence of the main illuminating body – the sun and the moon- it is believed that contamination by insects and other harmful bodies may go unnoticed.