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THE week that went by was pleasant with New Year celebrations taking centre-stage, among others.
The Tamil New Year fell on Friday while Vaisakhi and Vishu were on Saturday, each with a host of rituals and religious sacraments.
Amidst political gossips and election speculation, Malaysians were seen sending and exchanging New Year greetings and it was certainly a welcome interlude.
Lavish spread of food is what strikes me as most conspicuous during such festivities and eating starts and never ends, like there is not tomorrow.
It is usually a day-long of bingeing on traditional sweets and savories laden with all the ingredients which make for the perfect health hazard.
We Indians have a penchant for sweetmeat. Any good news, be it that of an elevation in office hierarchy, the firming up of a daughter's marriage or the examination result of a child - all this and more are invariably celebrated with sweets.
People may not want to be riddled with counting calories during festivities, that is ok if it an occasional affair. But in Malaysia, festivals never stop. We have a string of them and irrespective of race and religion, when it comes to food, people only need an excuse to binge.
The adage, "we are what we eat", should remind us that tucking in is the easiest to do but shedding is next to impossible for most people. But if we are able to resist the temptation, we can save the tedious process and pain of having to lose weight
Easily said than done! I packed extra kilos during my recent trip to Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. The fresh milk and the sweet lassi that comes laced with cream and fortified with extra sugar was my main staple for a whole week and the damage has been irreversible.
The best way to keep weight under control is moderate indulgence in food. This has to be a habit and habits are inculcated and formed over years. Parents should educate children on healthy eating habits right from young.
If children eat with awareness on what they are taking in they won't go wrong when they become adults. The thing is, being slim is often associated with looking good but it is also all about feeling good.
I must say that the older generation Indians have a peculiar penchant for rounded looks. Very rarely does one get congratulated for hard labour in the gym resulting in weight loss.
There are those who forcefully engage in dieting with wheatgrass, drinking aloe vera juice or maybe Noni, eating macrobiotic, or turning into a strict fruitarian.
The world is full of food fads. Every bookshop stocks at least a shelf full of diet books and popular women's magazines talk about little else.
Diets, in their innumerable permutations occupy our minds and thought processes to quite an unbelievable extend, yet we indulge. On the other extreme, in fact, in far too many places the world over - food is only thought of in connection with alleviating starvation.
Food fads, nutrition and world food security are enormous issues laden with complexities, but the road to healthy living is what we eat and how we eat. The choice is always ours to make.