A foodie's handbook to healthy eating

As the title suggests, 'Ultimate Grandmother Hacks' is an ode to the age-old wisdom doled out by our grandparents, urging us to chomp on our greens, embrace the bitterness of bitter gourd, swallow raw garlic first thing in the morning and consume fruits and veggies along with their peels, among a host of other time-tested food ideas.

In the chapter 'Eat the Peel Too,' Kavita Devgan, the author, introduces us to a lip-smacking recipe of ghiya (bottle gourd) peels paired with sprouts. She admits that hers was the only household that would actually cook vegetable peels by combining them with potatoes and other ingredients to dish out 'spicy, tangy dry subzi.' "We were and still are a peel eating family through and through," she says in the book as the first person narrator.

Divided into three parts, the book guides the reader into 50 'healthy habits' which can help in weight loss and looks into a three-month calendar of adopting proven habits of healthy eating and living. It handholds the reader into making small changes in the diet, one day at a time, followed by one change for each week and eventually moving on to substantial monthly changes.

The book ends with a compilation of 30 sumptuous recipes that are healthy, uncommon and very easy to prepare—ragi porridge, amaranth pancake, litchi dessert, lentil hummus, sattu parantha, watermelon rind chutney, beetroot chaach, and more—spanning breakfast, snacks, lunch, chutneys and pickles, and delicious drinks.

Towards the end of the first part, the author focuses on how food influences and impacts our social and spiritual persona. As she puts it, “If we can tame the hormones, we can move our mind and life towards a conscious direction. It has been found that eating foods containing amino acid tryptophan can actually make one a more generous person and even more trusting”. Hidden between the 30-odd pages that make for the section on 'Mind,'—comprising five chapters—are secrets about holistic living, and if and how food can make one a better person, among other interesting topics.

'Ultimate Grandmother Hacks', which is Devgan's second book, (the first one being, Don't diet! 50 Habits of thin people, endorsed by Kalki Koechlin) is quite literally a handbook for everyday living that the reader can safely carry in her bag. She can use it to match notes on her daily diet to the meal plans suggested by the author. Written in a very simple and easy-to-understand language, the book is bound to be the favourite of foodies who are also into eating healthy as they can easily relate to 'daal bhaatey,' (Bengal) 'thandai,' (North India) 'poita bhat,' (Assam) and other such terms used generously throughout the book, sparking the quintessential 'gharwala connect.'

Book: Ultimate Grandmother Hacks

Author: Kavita Devgan

Pages: 218

Price: Rs 295