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Muscles by Millet

Wise Mama Says it’s Time to go Lean and Green

At long last ‘World Health Day’ is here. My gym plans an annual series of killer competitions as part of a week-long challenge – longest plank, maximum burpees, Leg-ups, type games. The idea being to make workouts fun. I don’t know about the fun part, but it did bring out the competitive edge in me, and I’m about ready to blow the competition.

Since last year, when we flubbed the contest, my gym buddies and I have been absolutely killing ourselves to make the cut for 2022. Not least because last year the contest was won by a bunch of smug, slinky, smiling singletons in their late 20s, which to us, a group of fit and fab women in their 30s was as good as waving a red flag to a bull.

I mean the only reason we lost was because of covid and the resultant enforced break through 2020. Anyways, we channeled our energies into retaking the title in 2022.

In preparation, we went the whole nine yards. We did an hour on the track in the morning and then one in the gym in the evening, loaded up on proteins, avoided fats and sugars, and balanced out the carbs, for three months, and Voila! No change at all. To say we were frustrated would be an understatement.

The trainer was sweet and said it was just a matter of time, but something wasn’t sitting right with us. That’s when we met our ‘guru’ who set us straight.

Meeting the Ayurveda Expert

My friend met him on a Yoga retreat, and upon being told that he’s well known in the Ayurveda circles, happened to mention the group’s workout/weight woes to him.

According to her, when he heard about our “uber-healthy diet,” he immediately started shaking his head. As it turns out packing on the muscles and getting fit isn’t just about breaking down food into the sum of its parts, or living in the gym.

All the shakes in the world are of no use if you don’t balance them out with the appropriate quantity of carbs. And cutting down fat and cholesterol (the good kind) is about as dangerous as it can get. The best part about it is that the ‘where of it’ is as important as the amount of it.

Everyone knows that dairy, soy, and meat are the best sources of protein, right?

Turns out the answer is both yes and no. The whole session with him comes down to the following:

Eat Your History

Every geographical region of the world evolved different dietary practices due to reasons such as weather, terrain, food source, and culture. As a result, people from different parts of the world, today, absorb nutrients from the same foods at different rates. Logical, yes?

Indians live in the Tropics and Subtropics with the Himalayan range protecting us from the cold northern winds. So, what is ‘perfect’ for a native of rural Mongolia may only be ‘good’ for an Indian native. With me so far, yes?

(He literally took us through it just like this, ensuring we understood the first part before moving on).

Consume Holistically

Nature is harmoniously balanced to provide the right nutrients in the right mix. You don’t have to extract particular nutrients and consume them separately.

A few years ago, everyone was going crazy about ‘Beta Carotene.’ Companies were extracting it from carrots and marketing it as a health supplement (which it is). Then some researchers somewhere discovered that once removed from carrots, the carotene starts losing its potency rapidly. The why of it is still being debated.

Today, we have a similar situation with proteins, vitamins, fats, and carbs. Companies offer to extract the nutrients and then we are told to consume x amount of this or that based on body weight.

It’s far better to try and maintain a balanced diet that provides for a harmonious balance of choice nutrients, instead of disturbing the balance of your ‘self’ by overindulging on one particular element at the cost of others.

Muscle by Millet

In India, especially in the tropics, if you want to have a nice balanced diet that is high on protein, then millets are your friend.

Millets like Jowar, Bajra, Proso, and foxtail are high in protein. They are light on the stomach and come well balanced with fats, vitamins and carbs, and other trace elements. Millets are grown locally, and over 5000 years of evolution have conditioned the Indian stomach to extract the maximum out of every grain.

Millets have been around in India since Vedic times (c. 1500 – c. 500 B.C.E.). They even find mention in the annals of Ayurveda for their health benefits, and before Norman Borlaug and the green revolution upset the balance, were a staple in Indian kitchens.

Mix it Up

The next question was which millet is the best. Jowar and Bajra are high on protein, so of course, they should take pride of place, right?

Again, he shook his head. “you’re falling back into your old habits,” he said, “have a nice mix of it, after all, there are so many recipes.”

Then came the question of where do we go looking for Millets, especially the ready to eat variety. It had to be organic, affordable, environmentally-friendly (i.e. locally sourced), and preferably not from a faceless giant corporate.

Enter Wise Mama

That’s when he introduced us to Wise Mama. A company dedicated to marketing millets to millennials in ready-to-cook packets, just as we like it.

We got to meet “Wise Mama”, a feisty hyper-energetic mompreneur and self-confessed foodie and travel enthusiast, who is besotted with her Lab and Cocker Spaniel.

She took us through her range of offerings, each more delicious than the other, and all equally healthy. Wise Mama offers seven different types of millet porridges, organically and locally sourced, in plate-sized portions which are perfect for both, the quick “I’m in a rush” breakfast or the “I don’t have the energy to cook” dinner.

Lean and Green

The best part of millets consumed in such a fashion?

They are lean and green. It helped me tone up, helped one of my gym buddies lose weight, and another gain lean muscle mass.

Millets in a mix are also probably the best-balanced diet for the summer when our appetites take a hit. Especially for kids playing outdoors all day long.

As for the competition, World Health Day is on April 07, 2022. And my gym buddies and I are fit, fab, and full of josh. The competition doesn't know what’s coming, we’ll “mill them into fine-grain”.😊

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*The World Health Organization was founded on April 7, 1948, which is why April 07 is designated World Health Day.

Image: Photo by Jared Rice on Unsplash

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