My first trip to India was a beautiful experience. Even in larger cities, the culture, the sights, the sounds were all fantastic. Truth be told, I had a bout of anxiety and fear before I went, which is a natural feeling for going anywhere unknown. However, once I arrived, I quickly realized my fears were unnecessary and that India, especially Kerala, also known as “God’s Country,” was breathtaking and unforgettable.
I learned a ton about healthy living and how to live in the moment with a mindful peace-of-mind from my many experiences with the people, culture, and foods from my time around the world, especially India and Indian cuisine.
People in Kerala were so kind and friendly, I forgot all about my anxiety and fears in no time. Due to the large amounts of ambient water and humidity, life for people in Kerala is at a much slower pace and things happen at a much more peaceful speed then elsewhere in India.
The main thing, as I said, is that life slowed down, and I learned that not everything in life has to happen at the rate of “right now.” By learning to move at a slower speed, we can be mindful and enjoy ourselves so much more.
Food As A Way Of Better Living
We know that what we eat has a big effect on our health, but nowhere is this as prevalent as with Indian cuisine. I have learned through all my travels to look at the local cuisine for hints on better living.
There are a huge variety of spices in Indian cuisine, and all offer additional benefits than just making the food as delicious as it is. I want to discuss some of the more significant spices and their health benefits of the key spices.
Turmeric: Turmeric is a ground spice that offers pepper flavor notes and offers antioxidants that provide anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric can be found in everything from rice to curry to tea and stir-fry.
Cumin: It is typically ground and offers a robust earthy flavor to dishes. It is is one of the most common spices in Indian cuisine and offers digestive help and anti-cancer properties. As it aids with digestion, cumin also is a great weight-loss spice.
Black Mustard Seeds: From chutneys to pickling and, of course, curries, black mustard seeds have a robust and nutty flavor. Additionally, black mustard seeds can act as a diuretic to aid with urination and have been known to alleviate the common cold symptoms.
Coriander: Coriander has a citrusy flavor that is ground and added to most dishes to offer brightness to the plate. It’s highly popular as a spice and is known to benefit heart and brain health, as well as lower blood sugars.
Other Foods And Spices To Consider
- Ginger: is known to assist with digestion and is one of the more common spices in Indian cuisine. When you have an upset stomach, a little trick takes a little slice of ginger and put it in a cup of tea or hot water to ease the symptoms.
- Indian Gooseberry: this fruit is known to have over 10x the amount of vitamin C than an orange. Indian Gooseberry, also as Amla, can be eating as fruit or taken in a supplement form. Amla has been shown to reduce inflammation, blood sugar levels, and additional health benefits.
- Cardamom: Cardamom is a naturally growing spice made from seeds of wild plants indigenous to India. Much like ginger, cardamom aids in digestion and can help alleviate stomach issues and constipation.
The main benefit of Indian cuisine is a reliance on curds, beans, and vegetables as staples. Traditional meals offer healthy fats, good sources of lean protein, essential amino acids, and lower calories than the western diet. Even in crowded cities that are literally choking on pollution, the food itself can be amazingly beneficial to your health.
But once you get away from the cities and get out into the countryside, you really can take in all the beauty of the people and gain insights into healthier living.
From traveling through the wonderful chaos that is part of city life in India to the more majestic countryside, you are constantly surrounded by wildlife and nature, which is what makes India such a wonderful place to discover.
Whether exploring the wetlands of Kerala or the more comfortable temperatures of Madhya Pradesh, to the history of Delhi and other cities, there’s something for everyone to learn, grow, and love about Indian Cuisine.