I’m winning a small victory here. Let me tell you the story. Since when I was a kid, it was a habit that I’d have 2 biscuits with my milk. Not any fancy cream biscuits, mind you. Just the 2 Glucose or Marie. On a rare occasion, it would be Nice biscuits. I don’t know how this habit started, because living with my grandparents, I mostly grew up on 99% home cooked food, all made from scratch. The biscuits were probably the only indulgence in our daily diet.
This habit stuck to me all my life. When I lived in the US for a bit, the first thing to do was to hit the local Indian store and stock up on Parle G and Marie biscuits. How desi of me, right? If there ever were to be a hurricane, I was sorted for at least a month.
As I grew older, I would even sneak a couple of Bourbons or home made (totally butter rich) cookies with my morning AND afternoon tea. I even dread to calculate how many calories I could have saved but for my biscuit addiction.
My son picked up this habit early on. While he NEVER sat with a whole pack of biscuits, he needed those 2 biscuits with his morning milk and would always reach for a 1-2 biscuits anytime he wanted snack. This would always nag me at the back of my mind, that I’ve passed on a bad eating habit to my child.
The last couple of weeks of December, I spent in Bombay and after I came back home on 29th, I simply did not order biscuits. Not for me, not for my son. It’s been 12 days and neither of us have had a biscuit. I give my kid one slice of whole wheat toast with peanut butter along with his milk in the morning instead of biscuits, in case he’s feeling a little hungry before school and I feel happy that we’ve moved on a relatively healthier choice. It’s a long standing addiction broken for me (and for my son) and I’m patting myself on the back.
Now, on to the next
hurdle meal- breakfast. I’m usually home alone for breakfast and that leaves me wondering what interesting thing can I cook and eat today. In other words, how do I impress people on Instagram today . The perils of being a food blogger, I tell you! If I don’t keep cooking interesting new things, what am I going to share with my readers, right? 🙂
The problem with eating a different dish for breakfast each day is that every time it is tough to zero in on a healthy dish, that will fulfil my fibre, protein and calcium requirement. Sometimes, I can’t think of what to make, and then I just tell myself, ‘Forget it, I’ll have another tea with some snack,’ which I know is a bad decision. With my focus on mindfulness and minimalism, I feel like I need some kind of ritual, at least for 5 days of the week – an oath for health. Something I can stick to easily, no time wasted on decision making, and something that appeals to my healthy eating routine. A small digression here…I’m feeling the same about clothes. A few clothes in whites, off whites, greys, blacks and just pair them with anything and wear them anywhere – I hope to slowly adopt a Konmari way of life in 2017.
I’ve seen my parents, grandparents and even my in-laws have the same mixed grain kanji without fail every single day, at around 9am, so it fills them up just enough, and then they have an early lunch around 11.30 am or 12 noon. Only after oats became very popular in India, did my parents even have a variation on the kanji with oats.
I have seen my brother-in-law, Dilip, who has a busy job in the finance sector and is getting totally fitness conscious – he happily eats the same bowl of oats every single morning. I would wonder earlier, how does he not get bored? But then, the answer lies in the discipline and comfort of sticking to that one healthy dish that you know you can get ready in 3 minutes, especially if you have a very hectic life.
Even I zeroed in on oats as my weekday breakfast, that I can reach out for without thinking. The good thing is you can make slight variations everyday, without much of a hassle, and still stick to the nutritious breakfast routine. Porridge with cinnamon-powdered jaggery-milk, savoury porridge with a handful of frozen peas thrown in, sambar or curry powder and salt, an instant pancake or in the form of a chila or just the same porridge everyday if you have the discipline of my parents or Dilip.
It’s not like I have quit biscuits for life or I am never going to enjoy my favourite South Indian breakfasts at New Krishna Bhavan, but sticking to a healthy routine for most days of the week, makes it okay to indulge on 1-2 days of the week 🙂 And that’s what my 5-days-a-week Oats breakfast is going to do for me.
In case you want a break from the oats porridge routine, I’m leaving you with this recipe for a delicious Oatmeal Buttermilk Banana Pancakes that are quite a favourite of my kid and me. No added sugar or refined flour in this pancake recipe!