As I strode into a small hotel near my office, the delicious aroma around me increased my appetite. I inhaled deeply and breathed in the sweet, sour and spicy ambience of the hotel. Without flipping through the menu, I ordered a simple poori-bhaji with some salad. As I sat on my table, waiting for the dish, a sudden raucous laughter fell in my ears and I turned around to see a group of teenagers sitting beside me, chatting loudly. I felt weird, not because of their talking but because of the bizarre combination of food they were having: Noodles, colorful packets of chips and cans of soft drinks!
I couldn’t help but wonder as to how, over the past few decades the junk foods have successfully infiltrated every nook and corner of the world. There has been a drastic food evolution since the advent of the junky eatables! Believe me it’s quite similar to an alien invasion over earth!
Junk food or fast food has almost zero-nutritional value and is known as “eatable enemy” for our health. Talking about junk foods instantly paints appetizing images in our mind: The gol-gappas, kachoris, samosas, vada-paos, paw-bhajis, aloo-tikis, hamburgers, rolls, chips, pakoras, momos and so many frizzed soft drinks. And yes, one cannot forget the three “P”s boasting itself in the top of every food list. Of course, I am talking about: Pizzas, Pastas, and Patties! They definitely sound like deadly missiles ready to explode out their toxics into our belly! Whether it be any occasion – birthdays, anniversaries, get-togethers or festivals – these junky dishes always stay in the limelight and are the favorites for junksters (oh sorry, youngsters!)
Gone are the days, when the above foods were considered only as starters or snacks, but now they have gradually managed to promote themselves into the main course! Have you ever considered the reason for them being so influentially famous in the food arena? Well, given the simplicity and ease of preparing them, given their saucy and spicy taste, and given today’s trend of glamour and glitz, they have certainly ruled over the other so called nutritious food stuffs.
Let me give you an example of a diet of today’s youngster:
Breakfast: Bread-butter-jam/Milk/eggs/pickle/sweet/bhujia (in home)
Kachori/Samosa/Sandwitch/one glass of juice/omelet (outside)
Lunch/Dinner: Roti/Rice/Potato dish/paneer dish/Dal/papad/salad (in home with less gravy)
Noodles/Pizza/Pasta (red sauce, white sauce)/Dosa/a much spicy potato dish/a much gravy paneer dish/Fried rice/Dosa (outside)
Now you are probably frowning. The diet which I have just written sounds a little healthy if not entirely junky. And obviously enjoying our meals once or twice in a week in hotels or restaurants is not a crime. Alright, I agree with you. But that’s not where I want to throw light. I just want to impress upon the fact that there is a crucially important ingredient which is missing and I have deliberately excluded it from the above diet! It’s the vegetables. (The veggies may have noticed).
Again, one may argue that vegetables are not entirely avoided by the youngsters and they form a necessary part of daily diet. And again I will agree. Coriander leaves (dhania patta), Mint leaves (pudina), cabbage (patta Gobi), and peas (matar), cauliflower (phul-gobi), spinach (palak) are some of the common vegetables liked by everyone of every age. They obviously make some of the delicious dishes like dhania chutney, pudina chutney, and the evergreen matar paneer! But what if I roll out the names of bitter gourd (karela), jack-fruit (katahal), Fenugreek leaves (methi patta), ridged gourd (torai), pointed gourd (parval), chulai patta (china spinach), Tlyme-leaved Graliola (brahmi) and so many others? Believe me most of today’s teens haven’t even heard the names! And speaking of karela and methi, the teens will undoubtedly wrinkle their noses in disgust if you ask them to eat these as if they have been given some sort of bitter punishment!
I am not entirely against the junk foods. We all love junk foods one way or other but we should definitely set a limit on its intake and focus more on the nutritious vegetables and fruits.
Youngistans are full to brim with energy, enthusiasm and have passionate desire to secure a respected position in today’s competitive world. But let me tell you that most of today’s youths, though well-informed in diverse areas, are woefully ignorant in a particular field. Oh yes, it may sound weird: a youth may be a genius minded fellow, having secured All-India-ranks in so many sophisticated degrees but if you ask this youth that what is the current market price of tenga-palak, pudina patta, brahmi saag or even the famous potatoes and onions in the local area, I’ll bet you will definitely expect a completely confused look on his face!
The increasing urbanization of society and the hustle-bustle of fast-moving city life have somehow made the youths uncaring and indifferent towards their diet. The easy availability of junk foods and the attractive advertisements done by the food vendors are the common influential factors. Obesity, High cholesterol, lung diseases, Gastric problems, increased levels of blood pressure and sugar, weak liver, poor concentration and even depression are the ill-effects. Of course, one may debate that today’s youths are gradually inclining towards the fitness centers, gyms and are getting health-conscious. Definitely a healthy trend among the youths, I agree. Still, the junk-food problem remains a pervasively serious issue.
Having said about the irresistible eatable enemies, I am planning to stomach a spicy-creamy, tasty (yet junky) red sauce pasta dish, tonight! Cannot resist! Can You?