It’s that time of the year when we all sit back to enjoy the winter chill and wait for the new year and also reflect on how we’ve spent this year. Through Vibrant Living’s various participation in different events, I've learnt so much this year. My team and I have met so many people and shared our knowledge of holistic eating, healthy habits, of course, organic foods and how eating the right superfood will help your mind, body, and soul feel better. If through that people become aware of organic products/produce then it makes me happy.
Another thing that makes me happy is the fact that I am not alone in this journey. Being present at the International Permaculture Convergence, hosted in Hyderabad in the last week of November, by Prof Jayashankar Telangana State Agriculture University and organized by Aranya Agriculture Alternatives has been such an enriching and enlightening experience. There were many speakers, leaders, educators and presentations which addressed the issues around sustainable living and sustainability as a life practice. And that is something which resonates with me not just personally but with my brand as well. It was an enriching experience where we exchanged ideas, issues and common concerns. I wish, India could contribute in a larger way towards gourmet and healthy foods. We have everything required. It's part of our as traditional culture.
In fact, being at the event reminded me of how my grandfather farmed his land. When I compare situations is exactly when I realize how huge the problem is and that if everyone could do their bit of protecting the planet, we can actually conserve our resources. Back in the day, farmers used to grow crops that were suitable to the environment and season. They resorted to crop rotation and had fewer problems while growing the crops. Invariably, the crop would be nourishing to the body as well as be healthy for the environment. So how they lived and what they ate, the principles and lifestyles they followed, the chicken and cattle they raised all makes sense now.
You know, while I was living abroad in communities, people grew heirloom varieties in the gardens or farms. They would seldom go to supermarkets for buying fresh vegetables. Instead, it was considered ethical and a better option when we bought directly from farmers who come to market for selling.
In order to achieve the common goal of attaining sustainable livelihoods for all, permaculturists work on three ethics – earth care, people care and fair share. They take initiatives by doing activities across the globe to secure basic human needs like clean water and food as well as adequate shelter and companionship without damaging natural resources. But as an evolved race, we need to do more for our society, environment and especially the future generations.
It’s taken over centuries for us humans to make this world a rich place thanks to cultural diversity and the various traditions but sadly, globalization has weakened the vernacular cultures. Local references are not always there to be seen or experienced.
Thus leading to standardized solutions and products becoming the norm. Permaculture bases its philosophy into ancient practices, revitalizes them with the fusion of modern, relevant techniques and innovations to revive the empirical know-how accumulated over many generations. Resulting in a fruitful and respectable connect between different cultures and times. It is through the permaculture principles that allows us easy reach to handle the different sources of water both responsibly and regeneratively.
Adding to the same cause in a broader sense is my brand. Vibrant Living encourages traditional agricultural methods. We follow slow food and traditional methods of cooking and we revive and keep the traditional recipes. Foods grown using traditional methods is more nourishing and tastier. The best part is it helps lower your carbon footprint and is a lesser load to the planet.
We, at Vibrant Living Foods, incorporate heirloom varieties of seeds, pulses and grains. These varieties of seeds are not easily available in the market as they are grown on a small scale. But we use it because we believe in the goodness and authenticity of the produce.
In fact, at Vibrant Living, we do 3 things that help in sustainable living.
- We procure millets from the remote areas of Telangana, legumes from Andhra. Our coco, palm jaggery, vanilla are from Karnataka; Amaranth, walnut, buckwheat from Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.
- We also empower women farmers/ workers from small mahila societies
- We process grains, beans using traditional methods. For example, we soak Ragi, sprout them, sundry them naturally and make it flour. We use cold pressed oil. We sundry in controlled environment, sift and flour ourselves. And, we grow varieties of microgreens such as sunflower, mustard, fenugreek; fruit trees such as bananas, papayas and cashews; herbs like thyme, basil and lemongrass, wheatgrass, roselle and leafy vegetables at our own garden.
While doing so, we face a lot of challenges when it comes to promoting sustainable living. For example, discovering and reaching farmers who are into Permaculture. The lack of awareness among people even among the so-called health and fitness conscious. What disturbs me is the fact that we’re not questioning what goes into our body and asking whether it is actually good or not for our mind, body and the planet.
That's where I’d like to think Vibrant Living contributes. Through our food, we are able to show many creative ways of utilizing what has been grown. We get to show the world that we grow some amazing sustainable food locally and can share amazing local recipes like millet idlis, foxtail millet upma, black rice kheer or pulav, buckwheat crepes and pancakes, flaxseed and sesame crackers… these are only a few examples. I've spent most of my life practicing this lifestyle and creating good healthy food. I through Vibrant Living foods promote healthy eating and sustainable living!
Here's an example of how Vibrant Living tries to avoid using regular ingredients in our food.
Organic Ingredients Vibrant Living Foods uses
- Almond Milk
- Dates and Palm Jaggery
used for sweetening, are low glycaemic, high in nutrients, Diabetic friendly
are soaked and dried at low temperature; are easily digested and observed, rich in good & healthy omega oils.
- Fruit and Vegetables
are natural and organic,
- no chemicals or pesticides are used.
Regular counter ingredients used in general
- Regular cow milk
used for sweetening, causes obesity, hormonal imbalances, excess calories and also considered as white poison.
Mostly fried or roasted the oils usually get rancid and become transfat
Mostly fried or roasted the oils usually get rancid and become transfat
- Fruit and Vegetables
contains dangerous and harmful pesticides.
Celebrities who live our life
Amala Akkineni – A vegan and an animal activist who has worked with various ngo’s in animal welfare, wildlife protection, child welfare, rural women’s empowerment, HIV awareness and protection of the environment. She has trained as a presenter with Al Gore and The Climate Project India on climate change issues too.
Vandana Shiva – Environment activist who built an organic agriculture movement through Navdanya Trust, an organization she founded and directs. She has given talks on the connection between sustainable agriculture, poverty alleviation and climate change.
Bijoy Jain – Won the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture from the Institut Grancais d’Architecture in 2009 and the BSI Swiss Architectural Award in 2012. As an architect, his designs show a concern for the relationship man and nature have, especially his office -Studio Mumbai. His designs are not just about the quality but about being attentive to the inhabitants, the materials and more importantly the environment. Bijoy’s instillation ‘Work Place’ at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2010 gained worldwide recognition.
Dr Rajendra Singh – Known as the Waterman of India, Dr Rajendra is a global water conservationist who uses traditional method of rainwater harvesting, especially in areas like Alwar, Rajastan.
Ben Affleck – Started the Eastern Congo Initiative in 2010 that is focused on investing in creating a sustainable and successful society.
Gwyneth Paltrow – The actress thrives on sustainable and eco-chic living. She’s introduced an organic beauty line as well.
Leonardo De Caprio – Apart from being an actor, Leonardo has a foundation that is dedicated to the health and wellbeing of the Earth’s inhabitants. They focus on wildlands and ocean conservation, climate control and indigenous rights.
Stella McCartney – Designs clothes that don’t damage the environment.
Cameron Diaz – Hollywood actress with a pressing concern about the dying oceans, processed-food industry, the toxins
Natalie Portman – Opted to live a sustainable lifestyle after learning the health risks and environmental effects caused by mass production of animals. She is a vegan and vegan activist as well as the producer of a documentary called Eating Animals, based on Jonathan Safran Foer’s book of the same title.
Read your news paper if you like but, DON’T EAT THEM!
I see that a lot of people have a habit of storing their vegetables, especially their greens, in newspaper. This is not a great idea, the ink used in newsprint is highly toxic and once it gets on your greens, it is impossible to wash it off.
The best way to store greens is to wrap them in a kitchen towel or a paper towel and then put them is a box or plastic bag before putting them in the refrigerator. The same thing goes for your herbs like coriander, mint and basil.
I love way one of my suppliers sends me the greens – wrapped in leaves, instead of newspaper!
The secret to a tasty dish
More than culinary techniques or recipe, what really makes or breaks a dish is the freshness of the ingredients. When working with fresh, high-quality ingredients, you need to do very little to make them shine and taste great. Continue reading Don’t judge those FATS too soon!
Monday 1st July
Satisfying lobia and crispy vegetable salad with antioxidant-rich pomegranate dressing. Made with lobia (black-eyed peas) which contain a good amount of protein, fiber and vitamin B9 (folate). Also contains potassium, which is so important for the proper functioning of every cell in our bodies and is critical for the proper functioning of our heart and other muscles. A good source of other minerals such as manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and iron. Soaking black-eyed peas for many hours makes them a lot more bioavailable and increases their nutritional content.
Tuesday 2nd July
Zuppa di verdure – One of my most favorite dishes in Italian cuisine. Since it requires so many varieties of vegetables it is always hard to make in small quantities, happy that it is not an issue now. It is the most popular item in Italian menus around the world, along with pasta. Minestrone, meaning soup! Serving with a “creamy” double bean sage side and ragi crisps.
Wednesday 3rd July
Indian Jewel Salad. Tomatoes, cucumbers, pomegranate, semi-ripe mango and coconut together with yummy sprouts: Mung bean, moth beans, chenna, micro greens of sunflower and coriander. Sprouts are considered superfoods because of their high nutritional qualities. Loaded with protein, fiber, iron, calcium and other nutrients, sprouts are also high in bone-friendly and heart-healthy vitamin K. I am hoping you will feel the symphony of flavors while you chew on this salad. Enjoy! As always, please chew well..
Thursday 4th July
Stuffed and baked green bell pepper with masoor dal, red rice, greens in a tangy tomato sauce. Served on the side with a crispy salad and a simple dressing made of olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Inspired by the Hungarian stuffed peppers made by my land lady from former Yugoslavia 20yrs ago! It is tasty served warm or at room temperature.
Friday 5th July
Goa-inspired salad made with green papaya, carrots, semi-ripe kobbari mango, red and yellow bell peppers and sprouts of mung and sunflower in a “creamy”, sweet and spicy coconut, kokum and coconut vinegar dressing. It is so satisfying both for its intense flavors and from the richness of the spicy cashews (made in house!). Served with seaweed “kismur” and raw food crackers
Juices each evening are
made with various combinations of organic carrots, beets, green mangoes, amla,
pomegranate, cucumbers, dosakais, spinach, sunflower sprouts, dark leaf
lettuce, sorrel, moringa leaves, lemon, ginger etc.
Morning smoothies are
all made with difficult-to-obtain organic superfood berries, protein-rich and
heart-healthy chia seeds, bananas and mangoes to give the sweetness as well
as the potassium from banana that your body needs to balance out the sodium
you eat through salt and other sodium rich foods.
Juices and smoothies are
freshly-made and delivered on Saturdays also.
- High in unhealthy saturated fats which can lead to heart disease, diabetes and weight gain.
- High in calories (empty calories with little or no nutrition).
- Frequently fried and containing the dreaded trans fats. Formed when vegetable oils are fried with. Here’s more facts about trans fats: Continue reading A slice of summer
- Gives you the nutrients you need to prevent and even reverse many diseases, including chronic ones
- Live a longer and much healthier life. So not just adding “years to your life” but adding many more happy, productive and disease-free years! Continue reading Mango mania and more