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Updated: June 28, 2012 20:51 IST

Rice to roll the dice

Vishnupriya Bhandaram
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A good meal: Lunch just doesn't feel right without the rice. Photo: Nagara Gopal
The Hindu
A good meal: Lunch just doesn't feel right without the rice. Photo: Nagara Gopal

Glorifying rice comes in our genes. But owing to simple carbohydrates, it doesn’t do well in keeping the paunch out of the way. We find out if Hyderabadis can live without rice

In Depok, Indonesia, a ‘One day no rice programme’ was recently implemented. Reports suggest that the programme is to help diversify food in Indonesia and to better the diet of the citizens. If that system were to be implemented here, what would it be like to not eat rice one day every week. Seems like quite a challenge.We know that the right way to enjoy lunch is to take a generous helping of rice, pour some ghee and add dollops of tamata pappu (tomato dal). Festivals are incomplete without pulihora (tamarind rice), daddojanam (curd rice) and kobbariannam (coconut rice). You haven’t been to a wedding if you don’t eat shahi pulao. We can hardly argue with Aravind Iyer, management graduate when he says that every day should end with rice. “I feel like my day is incomplete without eating rice. In the land of Biryani, it doesn’t make sense to live without rice,” he adds.

In a rice-hungry and rice-loving region of ours, such a policy would surely suck the colour of out of the city. Geetha Gummadivalli says, “I am a hardcore rice eater. Even when I am dieting, I have to include rice in it, come what may! You could call me addicted to rice, because I get withdrawal symptoms even if I skip one meal. When it comes to rice, I don’t I’ll ever be able to settle for a substitute or alternates. It has to be white grains with my choice of curry and dal.” According to the Grain and Feed Annual report by USDA Foreign Agricultural service, rice is the major staple food for about 65 per cent of our country’s population. More than 4000 varieties of rice are grown in India. The report suggests that rice consumption is likely to increase in the coming years.

Keshav Purushot, junior copyrighter at Oglivy says, “I have rice in the noon mostly and even if I were not to have rice for a day it wouldn’t make a difference as I don’t crave for it.” Srithajan Chunduru, chartered accountant agrees and says that if it is for an environmental or a matter of food security, he wouldn’t mind taking the hit. Nutritionist Esther Sathiaraj laughs at the proposition of losing out on rice for a day, “In Indonesia, you don’t get wheat products. Here in India, we can always substitute it with wheat products. So one-day in a week shouldn’t be a problem at all. A matter of concern is that with increasing intake of rice. Rice is becoming the equivalent to maida (refined wheat), it has no benefits. Quantity is perhaps what we should look into,” she says.

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