Modern medicines’ power for cure is considered to be a laudable achievement. At least there is scope for managing cardio vascular diseases, cancer, diabetes,kidney failure and such other severe illnesses. Even though Geeta Athreya admits this, she is of the notion that many of these medical conditions could’ve been
prevented. But, how?, is the million dollar question.
The answer by Geeta is 5 ‘YES’ and 5 ’NO’s. Mindful eating grabs the top position in the Yes lineup. Fresh Food, Regular Exercise, Meditation and Helping each other, follows. Of course Smoking is the No.1 in the “NO” list, followed by alcoholic abuse, processed and packaged foods, white flour and excess quantity of sugar and salt.
Geeta Athreya, a management development consultant based in New Delhi, is an ambassador of mindful eating and healthy living. She is also a well known Yoga instructor who preaches and advocates healthy living in different parts of the world. Recently she was in Toronto, Canada, for attending the Healthcare Summit
hosted by the Canada India Foundation (CIF) in association with Toronto Rehab Foundation and the Indo Canada Business Chamber (ICBC).
What message are you trying to promote?
“Eat it mindfully. Try to eat fresh and seasonal foods. Avoid processed and packaged foods. When we say no to non-vegetarian foods, it doesn’t mean you are not supposed to take any non-vegetarian dishes, especially when a lot of studies are happening on red meat, fish and all. What we mean is not to eat steak everyday. Instead of that you can have it once or twice a month.”
“Try to control the intake of 3 whites- Sugar, Salt and White Flour.It is seen that people in North America don’t use sugar in milk and coffee, which is absolutely healthy. But a lot of sugar content is there in other foods, which is quite harmful.”
“What ever the form is, exercise regularly. It can be walking, jogging, running,cycling… I would recommend Yoga too. Even though it won’t give the same ‘kick’ as going to the gymnasium, it is truly beneficial. There is a misconception that Yoga is for men. No, not at all. It is equally beneficial for ladies. Yoga is
good for the present day youth, who leads a stressful life at work and home. Try to do in group, then you will find it interesting.”
“Studies shows that being with family and with the community makes a lot of difference. I know many persons who complain that it is difficult to find time for exercise and meditation. Do it with family or a group of friends, then you will enjoy it. Companionship always helps. If you have friends and if you are social, it even improves your life span.”
What difference you see in Indians and people abroad?
“I always admire the life style of North Americans and Europeans. Most of them have a disciplined life. They have great value for time. We, the people from India are very friendly, affectionate and very helpful. We take a lot of difficulties in our stride. There is a social harmony between the rich and the poor.
Regarding healthy life style and food habits, people here know how to eat lightly, like soup or salad. In India, we don’t treat soup or salad as food. We need rice and dal. Here people are happy with a biscuit or tea for snack, while we need Samoosas, Pakora and all.
Immigrant children should try to eat sensibly. They should go back to their traditional food. But make sure that this should not become add-on dishes. In India you cannot find ‘beefy looking’ kids in poor family, but in rich families. In most of the cases, food is the villain. That’s why we try to promote the
message of mindful eating.”
Geeta Athreya is actively associating with GoodWeave International and Pardada Pardadi Educational Society as a trustee. GoodWeave, formerly known as Rugmark, is a network of non-profit organizations dedicated to ending of illegal child labour in the rug making industry, founded by children’s rights activist and
Nobel laureate Kailash Sathyarthi.
Pardada Pardadi Educational Society is a non- profit organization dedicated to the academic, economic and social empowerment of girls and women. Though her name is spelled as Geeta, it is high time to change it to ‘GHEE’ta. That much pure and divine is her passion for social activities and concern for the health of