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Traditional Indian diet, heavy in improperly prepared grains!

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  • Traditional Indian diet, heavy in improperly prepared grains!

    Hi all,

    I am an Indian(from India, not Native American). I have been following the Primal Blueprint forums for quite a while now, but this is my first post here. I agree with most things I read here, including the elimination of grains. Problem is, my family does not approve of my new-found grain-hatred because our diet is grain-based and they think I'm losing "something" by not eating them. I get told that we have been eating grains in the form of roti/chapati/flatbread for thousands of years. Initially I thought I might find evidence to the contrary, but no! Wherever I look in old Indian texts, I find mentions of grains(rice, millet, barley, corn, wheat) being stone-ground, mixed with water and baked on a griddle(with a liberal amount of ghee). In Ayurveda, the traditional Indian medicine, they are considered Sattvic, i.e. very good for the body, right up there with fruits and leafy greens. Although there exist traditional recipes which call for fermentation of the flour, it seems that the unsoaked, unfermented preparation is much more mainstream.

    I would really like some views on this.

  • #2
    India has high levels of diabetes and heart disease, too. I have read that millet is even more atherogenic than wheat.


    • #3
      Can you just stick to rice?

      My bf is of Indian descent, and heart disease and diabetes run rampant in his family. Sometimes when I'm at his family events, the only things I can eat are rice and salad so that's what I eat.

      My journal


      • #4
        Hey buddy,

        First of all, i'd like to congratulate you for trying something new because the old wasn't working. I'm of indian descent as well, and face the same problems as you. Plus my family are pure vegetarians who are grossed out by meat. This makes it really hard when I go to visit them. They are understandably concerned by my 'radical' lifestyle chocies but have come to support my choices nonetheless. Diabetes, heart disease and obesity run rampant in my family too. The only person who I can think of in my family that is not overweight had a thyroid condition. I do not want to go down that path.

        I suggest you be persistent in your quest for health. They should see your good intentions and eventually come to support you. I suggest that you not, however, try to insistently rope the people around you into your lifestyle because this I've found to embitter people and consequently, they will not support you as much.

        The good thing about being indian, however, is that our diet not remotely as unhealthy as the western diet. We still tend to use natural ingredients for most part, and if you actually live in india, you have abundant and cheap supply to things like raw milk and yoghurt. I've been trying trace back to what our grandparents used to eat, as I believe that their diet was far superior to modern day india. One major change I've found is the shift from using coconut oil as cooking oil to using hydrogenated veggie oil. If you could convince your family to move back to using coconut oil or butter, that would be a great improvement in itself. This should be fairly easy because you can justify that our recent ancestors ate that way.

        Another important shift I've found, is the fear of saturated fats. Us Madrasis have become extremely fat-phobic. While we'll happily chomp down on laddus, everyone these days seems to be avoiding ghee on their rice.

        Good luck on your quest, brother/sister! I would love to follow your progress on your journey so keep us posted.
        Ones who try my curry are not ones to leave in a hurry


        • #5
          Grains are traditionally a part of most cultures. They survived the horrors just fine.

          But now we have many more options, and we can eat things that are much more nutritious. Forget what the traditional diet was: you're not required to subsist on that now.


          • #6
            The modern varieties of grains, especially wheat and corn, bear little semblance to the ancient varieties. And therin lies the problem, or at least part of the problem. The change in oils is another. Refined sugars is another. Fake fats and sugars is another, and the list goes on.
            "When the search for truth is confused with political advocacy, the pursuit of knowledge is reduced to the quest for power." - Alston Chase


            • #7
              Eat lots and lots of butter chicken.

              I know I do whenever it's around.




              • #8

                My father grew up in India and my father's family is what you'd call Anglo-Indian. We all LOVE Indian food. So when I started eating 'relatively' primal, it was a real source of worry.

                I guess what I'm trying to do, and it's still a work in progress, is to reduce the rice and bread portion. For chapati's etc, I guess there's no real middle ground - you eat 'em or you don't. So I sub them out for veggies. My Dad looks at me funny, and he often offers to 'just make something else' but I reassure him I'm happy with the protein part, just not all that bread.

                As for rice, I'm now trying to sub things out. So I'm having a third of the portion of rice I had previously, and fill the other two thirds with veggies. Like tonight - Dad's making fried fish with some pretty epic (and very primal!) Indian spices. I have some leftover veggies from yesterday and so I'm all set. Papadums are made with lentil flour, so they're a nono. I'm very sad about that! But I'm sure I'll live. :P

                Anyway, that's just what I've tried to do. Dunno if it will help, but if it does I'm glad!

                - Lauren


                • #9
                  Originally posted by eKatherine View Post
                  India has high levels of diabetes and heart disease, too. I have read that millet is even more atherogenic than wheat.
                  Wheat and millet are athrogenic?


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Forgotmylastusername View Post
                    Wheat and millet are athrogenic?
                    Sorry, don't feel like writing a dissertation here so I'm just gonna give one link and let you follow it from there.

                    Wheat's Cardiotoxicity: As Serious As A Heart Attack


                    • #11
                      A couple years ago I was trying to learn more about the paleo diet and came upon someone's blog. The guy was from India and wanted to reconcile paleo with Indian cuisine. What he concluded was that if he looked at what his grandparents and great grandparents ate, there wasn't quite as much naan and roti as the current diet contains. He realized the diet of his grandparents was far healthier than today's diet. More rich buttery gravies, more vegetables, less wheat (might have been none at all, I don't remember) and certainly no candy, pastries or other processed foods. He figured if his family just went back in time that far with their diet they'd be ahead of the game. I don't remember if he was a vegetarian or not, I know he wasn't a pure vegetarian, but you are neither so you may find this easier than you think if you just look at it differently.
                      Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.