Thursday, April 21, 2011

Of eyes and wheat...

Of eyes and wheat…

Last summer my husband and I went to Marakalla, a small town in Kerala to meet an old school mate who is also an Iridologist…someone who looks at the iris in your eye and is able to diagnose your health issues. Go to if you’d like to know more about him and iridology. It is amazing how the iris in our eyes represents different parts of our body!

His place is on the banks of river Pemba, which originates from Sabrimalai. As you sit on the swing in his garden and watch the river gently roll past, with the coconut trees swaying by the banks, the sunlight twinkling in the water, the breeze giving it a life like quality and the kingfishers flitting in and out of it… it is like meditating with your eyes open.

But I am digressing. This is not why I started writing this piece. Manik told us that we were both allergic to dairy and gluten. And we should give this up for at least a year. Giving up dairy is easy to understand though tough to do. But giving up gluten was difficult to even comprehend. As we queried him he said it was simple, it meant we give up all food that had wheat in it. Try and imagine the scenario…no rotis, no bread, biscuits, upma, pasta, pizza…you name it, we couldn’t eat it! Thus started our search for what gluten is and which foods are gluten free. Rice is. Gluten free that is.

We started reading food labels for everything we bought and discovered a whole new world of foods…a world barely heard of and forgotten, a world from the past….cereals that reminded me of my grandmother such as jowar, bajra, saboodana, sattu, amaranth (raam dana). I remember these names being mentioned and eating stuff when we were small children. These were also eaten regularly and maybe still are in Maharashtra, Gujarat and many other parts of India that are not “wheat eaters”. Wheat we learnt is inflammatory and in today’s world of hybrid seeds, genetic modification and chemical fertilizers, it is increasingly considered a food to be avoided.

Coincidentally this morning’s newspaper carried an article on Navratras and the food people eat during this period. Navratras are meant as a period of prayer and fasting. It is a time to purify ones body and soul. Non vegetarian food is not eaten and interestingly the one other thing which is not consumed is wheat. Instead pooris etc are made from…kuttu, singhara, raagi flour. So probably wheat was not seen as satvik even in our scriptures?

What has been the upside for us in this whole journey? My husband has lost 7kgs in six months by giving up dairy and gluten, while he gorges and eats more than he did earlier on all the new wonderful options we have discovered. My knee pain is 80% less in just one month of giving up wheat.

Try to give up wheat just for one month…really…do give it a shot and write back and tell me how you feel J

1 comment:

  1. Hi Neerja,

    I just happened to look at your blog today after a lo.....oog time and read about the wheat article and Meenu. I am glad to hear that that your knee pain is much less. I am not much of a wheat eater so I should do it. The only wheat food I eat is a slice of bread in the morning. And by the way, you can make upma from rice rave - idli rava, actually. It tastes good - I prefer the rice upma.