Nature’s advocate

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An intelligent home-maker, a caring therapist and a good human being. For those who know her, it is no surprise how Seethananda Vaidyam took up the cause of organic food for wholesome living.

“I want people especially parents to understand that food is of crucial importance and adequate efforts should be made to provide the right food at the right time”, she says.

The question that then arises is what is healthy and what is not. And the answer actually lies within us. Seethananda Vaidyam always believed in holistic therapies and knew that apart from the exercises she gave to children who went to her with learning or behavior difficulties, there was a major need to modify their lifestyle – timings of meals and bedtime and content of their diet.

“Certain types of foods make you excited while others have a calming effect. Therefore hyperactive or agitated children should avoid foods that excite them”, she explains. Attractively packaged foods which are processed, embellished with chemicals and artificially flavored attract children and parents alike even though they are harmful.

It took refusing to take things at face value, several calls to experts, conferences and meetings and careful perusal of books about health and learning difficulties that told her that most of what we buy, rather most of what is available, is not good for us. It was time to go back to basics.

“What I read reminded me of traditional age-old practices carried by my grandmother and mother. So it led me to look into indigenous methods of cooking.”

Everyone claims they are genuine, how did she know the knowledge imparted to her was unequivocal?

“I was fortunate that the conferences where I was called to present papers, were held in organic farms which I know were authentic.” Hence, first-hand contacts were established with organic experts. “One source led to another and now I know at least six farms scattered in the south.”

This knowledge she knew had to be shared with as many people, especially parents as she truly believes a healthy diet from childhood can prevent illness of most sorts. So she began to conduct workshops with teachers and parents and is open to invitations from institutions in any corner of the country. Shuffling roles between student and teacher, she recalls “in one of the workshops for parents, a mother asked me what I would recommend – packet milk or unpasteurized milk. She was willing to change to whatever I recommended from the next day. I realized how I need to be sure of what I spoke, so I began to read with greater responsibility!”

As organic products are expensive and are not available easily, she decided to make them available at affordable prices. She brings a limited amount from farms in the state. “I don’t make a profit, the margin just about covers the cost of transport since I supply to a very small group. I am also trying to get school kitchens to switch over to organic food. That would be a dream come true!”

She hopes to see the day when organic food will be easily accessible and affordable, and there will be no other food available. “Why should anyone have harmful pesticide ridden food at all?”

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