Meet Panditji. Once a month he will make an appearance to tell you what you must eat and what you must avoid at all costs.

Hey Folks,

Wondering who this old man is? And why on earth should you pay heed to his tips on your food choices? Well, let me introduce you to Panditji, the friendly neighbourhood eco guru, who might look ancient (and he is that!), but loves to eat everything that happens to be your favourite fare too. Yes, I am talking about chips, pizzas, burgers, samosas etc etc.

Ah! Do I see a sparkle in those eyes? Then read on....

Panditji speaks:

Hmmm...this is going to be tough. My first encounter with you and I have to feed you stuff that would be difficult to digest. (Ha ha! Did you get the joke?) But I shall risk it anyway. Because this concerns your health, and what can be more important than that?

Nutrition?

Now here’s the bad news. Those mouth watering munchies listed above are actually junk (or rubbish or trash or garbage...), cleverly disguised as ‘fast’ or ‘fun’ food. Why? Because they are food items that get zero in nutrition value but full marks in empty calories — carrying an overdose of fats, salt, sugar, sodium — practically everything that is harmful for our body.

Confused? Ok, let me explain it this way. One packet of fried potato chips contains about 33 per cent fat. If you have eaten a standard-sized packet (65-75 gm) you have consumed half of your daily fat quota! Again, one average ‘happy’ meal served in a popular fast food chain meets more than 50 per cent of your calorie requirement for a day.

So, the fast food fills you up with junk really fast, leaving practically no space for REAL food, meaning food that actually nourishes you.

But we never really do that, do we? Live on one packet, or two packets of chips only, for an entire day. So we keep eating, and keep getting overdosed and keep getting fatter and fatter. And it is beginning to show.

In India, 14.8 per cent women and 12.1 per cent men are overweight or obese. The most vulnerable age group is that of the children.

But that’s another story. I will save that one for next time. Meanwhile, chew over this one.

Pandit Gobar Ganesh

If you want to chat with Panditji write to me at Sumita@cseindia.org, and I shall pass it on to him.

The writer is Editor, Gobar Times