Goji, goji berry, or wolfberry, are popular as super fruit for dieting celebrities. Like many other fruits which are considered as super, claims by sellers are surrounded in controversies.
It has become popular since 2000. It was mainly produced in China and exported to the other countries. It is native to Asia and have been long used in traditional Asian cuisine.
To add as a proof of its magical properties is the story of a chinese man named Li Qing Yuen, who was said to have consumed wolfberries daily, lived to the age of 256 years (1677–1933) some say 190 years.
This claim apparently originated in a 2003 booklet by Earl Mindell, who claimed also that goji had anti-cancer properties. The booklet contained false and unverified claims.
Goji berries are a good source of vitamins and minerals. They contain vitamin C, fibre, iron, Vitamin A, Zinc and antioxidants. These berries are part of cuisine in Asia.
Coconut is a miraculous fruit. The water loaded with minerals and micronutrients is so refreshing. It is a life saver as it hydrates the dehydrated body. It gives nourishment without side effects.
This magical water is enclosed inside the shell, which is so tough to open, if one doesn’t have the proper tools can frustrate you. Here you have the food but still it is so far away. It teaches that one has to toil in order to achieve the success.
As the fruit matures a layer of fat begins depositing on the inner wall of the shell. Quantity of the water reduces but its sweetness increases.
Coconut grows in abundance in the coastal areas of India. It loves salty water. In fact coconut holds a place of prime importance. It’s oil is used in cooking, rubbed in the hair for shine, its outer fibre is called coir which is used in mattress making. Dry empty shells are burnt for fire in hearth.
In addition to being a food, coconut is present in so many religious ceremonies in India.
The three ‘eyes’ of the coconut represent the three eyes of the great Lord Shiva. An earthen pot or pitcher, called a Purnakumbha is filled with water and mango leaves and a coconut is placed on top. This Purnakumbha is used in the ritual of worship and adoration of the gods, called puja. It is placed as a substitute for the deity or by the side of the deity. The Purnakumbha literally means a ‘full pot’ in Sanskrit. It represents Mother Earth, the water the giver of life, the leaves life itself, and the coconut divine consciousness.
They are called Nature’s scavengers. They eat putrid flesh and thus prevent many diseases. But the carcasses they used to clean had done them in since a few years back. The cattles were given declofenac , a medicine for fever and even if a fraction was retained in the flesh of animal, its flesh was like a poison for the vultures. So their number began dwindling, so much so that they became endangered species.
In India, i remember of my childhood village days, there was a place outside every village where dead cattle were thrown. Vultures would descend on it and eat the flesh. They made peculiar sounds. They are so big that even dogs wont dare go near. Only crows are allowed the liberty.
All this is gone now. But a few days back, i happen to spot vultures outside a village where a carcass was thrown by some villager. After so many years saw and heard the voices.
There were Himalayan Griffon and Cinereous vultures…
Rice is the staple diet of majority of world’s population. Asian people mostly eat rice with vegetables and lentils. Annapurna is the Hindu god of rice. Her name comes from the Sanskrit word for rice, “anna”. She is often depicted with a rice spoon in her hand.
What is the rice? It’s white part is the carbohydrates: precursor of sugar of the energy. The colour of rice comes from its outer shell or ‘bran’ which holds much of its nutritional value. It’s the bran or the coating which contains minerals and other micronutrients.
When rice is processed (milled) much of the nutritional value is lost when the bran is removed. The result is pure white rice which is high in energy(starch) and low in micronutrients. Polished rice are not good for the diabetic people.
Because milled rice has lots of energy but few vitamins and minerals, it must be eaten with other foods to get a proper people balanced diet.
Asparagus is very popular in Europe as a vegetable. People in some countries prefer white variety which is not different but lacks chlorophyll as it is grown in areas of very low light.
Asparagus contains a non-toxic acid called Asparagusic acid. This acid contains sulphur element. When it is eaten, the acid in the stomach breaks down the Asparagusic acid into volatile sulphur compounds like mercaptan.
When a person who has consumed asparagus goes to urinate, the sulphur compounds evaporate very fast and get separated from urine and reach the nose giving rotten eggs or rotten cabbage like smell. Studies indicate that effect can be felt within 20 minutes after consumption of asparagus.
A River not only create conditions for settlement of the people on its banks, it sustains the people living near it. It provides them with all the things of human requirements. Water for washing, irrigation, fish. It had been held in great esteem by many civilizations. Rivers are revered because they nourished the life. Many saints and great men loved to live on its banks.
Rivers are held in great esteem in Sikh religion. The region where the religion flourished is aptly called the land of five Rivers.
First Guru Nanak is said to have experienced enlightenment after a dip in holy river. Legend is that when he emerged out of river Kali Bein which merges into the confluence of Beas and Satluj rivers at a place called Harike in Punjab after three days, he was glowing and a completely transformed. He recited the “mool mantra” .
It seems that Guru Gobind ji, the tenth and last Guru had a great affinity for rivers. His Life revolved along the different riverbanks of India.
He was born in Patna and spent his early days on Ganga river.
Then he came to Anandpur sahib which has Satluj river close by. And during wars with hill royalties he stayed in Paonta sahib on the Yamuna river and wrote prolifically.
And then finally he moved to Maharashtra where he stayed on the banks of godavari river.
Alas , due to the unlimited greed of some people, these rivers are being contaminated by discharging the effluents from factories, city sewage and sand mining.
Hiuen Tsang, after being in India is going back. Time AD 627-643, on the fabled Silk Route. Apart from his knowledge of Buddhism, his rucksack contains an extraordinary fruit called Mango.
The name in hindi AAM is derived from Sanskrit word AMRA which seems to be the loan from Dravidian and is related to Tamil words for Mango like “mamaram”. Portuguese were responsible for transferring the name to the West. It is growing in India since 4000 years at least.
Moguls were great connoisseurs of the fruit. Akbar got 100000 mango trees in Lakhi Bagh near Darbhanga Bihar. Others who relished the fruit were Shahjahan and Noor Jehan, Aurangzeb, Sher Shah Suri. Raghunath Peshwa got large numbers all over Maharashtra.
Citric acid and related compounds are responsible for sour taste. Several terpenes have been found in unripe fruit..
Ripe mango contains volatile compounds like alpha terpineol, ocimene, limonene, 3-carene etc. Yellow colour is due to beta Carotene.
Mangoes are rich in potassium, about 8% carbohydrate with 1.6 % dietary fibre. Very rich in vitamin A , C, B-6, calcium, iron, and magnesium.
Some famous Indian Varieties:
1: Alphonso or Hapoos
King among the mangoes. Named after Portugal admiral D Afonso de Albuquerque. Deogad in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra has got the GI tag of genuineness.
It is birth place is Malihabad in Lucknow. Soft, succulent and mild.
3: Banarasi Langda
It was born in an orchard belonging to a Langda (lame) fellow and thus got this name.
Fibre less, creamy and full of pulp. Pride of Murshidabad in West Bengal.
Quite big in size, famous in Malda of West Bengal. Late maturing.
From Bihar. Full of Flavour. It is pressed into mouth and juice is sucked.
7: Gulab Khaas
Native of Jharkhand. It is graceful mango
Aromatic fruit of Junagadh Gujarat. Giving a tough fight to Hapoos. Plantations are on foothills of mount Girnar.
9: Bedmi: Taste depends upon the plucking time.
10. Totapuri: it is abundant in southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka.
11: Sindoori: it gets its name from the vermillion colour of the skin.
12: Banganapalli/ Bagan Phali/ Safeda
From Andhra’s small town Banganapalli. Sweet, yellow and fibre less.
13: Himam Pasand/ Humayun Pasand
A cross made from Banganapalli and Malgoa. It is very popular in Deccan.
14: Chandrakaran: it is delicacy from Kerala. Sweet and sour. Quite costly.
In order to increase the yield of rice to meet the needs of food in the country, high yield laboratory engineered rice varieties also called hybrid varieties have replaced the local varieties which yield less all over the country. Many areas like Punjab and Haryana in North India which were not rice growing areas have become the major rice growers. This though has helped the Green Evolution and commercialised the farming, has played havoc by excessive water drainage from the underground and contamination of water by heavy metals present in the fertilisers and insecticides which cause many diseases. But the white or polished rice that whole of our country people have become accustomed to have less beneficial nutrients and more starch which increases the risk of diseases like diabetes.
Some farmers in the rice growing West Bengal are trying to reverse this trend by resorting to grow the local varieties which despite being low yielding have nutritional value which more than compensate the low yield. One such farmer is Bhairav Saini who lives in Bankura, about 200 km from Kolkata.
For several years now, he and many farmers are engaged in this task in many districts of West Bengal. Growing the rice by traditional methods without use of fertilisers and insecticides, in fact this also lowers the cost of growing the crops.
Saini, and several others in Hooghly, Dinajpur and 24 South Parganas, in West Bengal, have been engaged in reviving lost, indigenous paddy varieties of Bengal, simply because they’re cognizant of the health benefits of grains grown the traditional way. Burdwan, the rice bowl of Bengal now grows organic Gobindobhog rice in over 30,000 hectares of land. Besides Gobindobhog, other old varieties of scented rice like Radhatilak, Kalonunia, Kalojeera, Tulsimukun etc are also gaining popularity slowly. These have a high mineral and vitamin content along with other health benefits.
Unlike his peers in North India, Saini is not driven by profit making but due to his concern for the health issues of the people. As the times are changing and organic products are a buzz word, the rice they are now growing have started fetching higher prices. Some of the local varieties they are reviving have names like Kala Bhaat, Bohurupee, Leelabati, Durga bhog, Oli, Radhunipagol, Kalo nunia, Katari bhog, Radha tilak, Kalash and so on. Setting up the seed banks is also an important endeavour.
Inputs from an article published in the Economics Times of India.