i ate white rice…

Submitted by Annapurna

…and i liked it. I loved it. In fact, I finger-licked a huge bowl of South Indian curd rice. Not a cereal bowl either, a medium-sized mixing bowl.  I didn’t realize how much I missed it.  It was like having dinner with an ex you thought you got over.

White rice. Jasmine rice. Basmati rice. Never has a food been so demonized that is a staple to most of the world’s population.  In response I say, eff-it and try these two great recipes from Deepa’s Kitchen and Edible Garden blogs.Yogurt rice 052

Curd Rice with Pomegranates

Curd Rice with Pomegranates

At some point the line between taking care of your body and being a slave to it gets crossed. I crossed it. Because concerning myself with real issues, like jobs and bills and real health issues, was not enough, I now fretted over  a body type I never had.  I worried I will never have the flat tummy I once had — ummm, never had it. Never be the dancer I once was — well, I was never a professional Ailey dancer.  Never be what I had never been. Hmm.  Logic is truly not the driving force of Man.

So when my hub went on the South Beach diet, I told myself I was joining him for marital support as well as laziness since I was not going to be cooking two separate meals.

That’s what I told myself.

The truth was, I’m often surrounded in my industry — hell, in the cities I live — by people my size who look half my size.  With no stretch marks or any marks of any sort.  I have no idea how they do it. I do actually.  They eat minimally and exercise maximally.  And they’re white.  Say what you will, genetics plays the biggest role in how we look and ethnicity is where we come from so…enough said. Anyone who’s been through a dance or any athletic summer session, will tell you that people from different ethnicites on the same diet, same exercise regiment will end up looking quite different.  I didn’t have many Indians to compare to but after much exercise and dieting, I grow more compact and in the cruel joke of life, my boobs shrink. The tummy is the last to go.

I already am veg, already am a rare species of a woman who has no sweet tooth. What else had to be given up?  I had to prove I could wear skinny jeans in comfort too! So, this South Beach was really driven by resentment.

It should come as no surprise then that I became the crankiest bitch ever. Esp the first phase when you can eat nothing except protein and dallops here and there of “good” fats. You’re supposed to eat lots of veggies, which as a veg I already did.

You see, I never did well with authority.  A “no” is an immediate challenge to me. No good can come of it when there are lots of “no”s and my guilt is overwhelming — you promised you’d do the first phase! This brings back nightmares of my mother, who for all her virtues, is master of the No and of Guilt. A cross between a Catholic nun and Jewish mother.

I am also hungry because I am vegetarian and yummy proteins are hard to come by. I have to forego rice which, for an Indian, is like giving up a gun to a Texan.  I have to cook all the time or go out of the way to out-of-the-way tofu or veg wraps in lettuce leaves. I turn mean. I have enough negative energy to power this whole energy-bankrupt state.

But it did work for what’s it worth. My tummy turned flat. I felt more energy. This could also be ’cause I upped my strength training. In fact, it IS also because of that. I learned lots about nutrition, a subject I find fascinating.  I have finally admitted to my allergy of sorts to alcohol that pummels me no matter how little I drink. Gave it up almost entirely. I became more creative in my cooking and will soon post the Desi South Beach.

Yet I was screaming inside!! Nooooo….we didn’t progress centuries to pass down Grandma’s wonderful recipes and enjoy social bonding through food (my favorite time-pass!), just to nix it all for a media image most of us will never have. Perhaps we do need to evolve so our cultures and our bodies can catch up, can adjust to the new lives we all lead where we don’t need those white rice and bread carbs to store food.

Till we do, I’m driven by the evolution that made bread our life line.  Let me eat. Intelligently.  After all, it’s not the food, unless you’re downing aloo parathas or ice-cream daily.  It’s the sucky industry of refined and processed, sugar-laden food that makes it so bad for us. I shop organic or through our local farmers’ markets. I’m going to make my own bread. I did cut the white bread for whole grain.  It’s all good.

So I will down a full plate of spiced curly fries now and then as my middle finger of sorts to my metabolism and genes and the media and Giselle.  I will be mindful but not hardcore.  I will try lemon or curd brown rice but will revert to white if the taste sucks. Brown to the core, I guess, except in my rice.

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