Thu | Sep 16, 2021

Get back to basics: Stay healthy

Published:Wednesday | August 4, 2021 | 12:07 AM

Ah, the good old days. When children played outside in the dirt until they were called in for dinner, our vegetables came from the garden, and a tablet was something you took if you were sick. It is a common refrain that our grandparents were raised in simpler, more natural times, before processed foods and ubiquitous screens gave us all sorts of lifestyle diseases.

Every day, we hear about new diseases and more and more cases of previous ones coming back to the fore. Medical sciences have developed by leaps and bounds, so why are we falling ill in such large numbers?

Have you ever noticed how our generation is living an extremely monotonous life and we are just dragging ourselves around on a daily basis? There is no doubt that our grandparents’ generation had less tension, fewer health problems, and definitely more self-satisfaction, but could these be the reasons why they were healthier?

Perhaps our grandparents were happier and healthier because they led a simple life where there was no Internet. If they went out for a walk, it meant they were walking. How many times do you check your mails and WhatsApp while walking with your friend or partner? We cannot live without instant messaging and emails.

Even if this is convenient, this adds to our stress. Stress because we expect instant replies and also because we want to attend to it at the earliest. We think replying to that mail as soon as we get it is more important than playing with our children or, as I just said, complete our walk.

Our grandparents lived in a world of snail mail and they could reply to it at their convenience. This reduced stress levels and, more important, anxiety levels.

Have you noticed when your parents or grandparents play with your child, they are least interested in the mail or that new WhatsApp notification? They had the art to cut off and concentrate and enjoy the simple pleasures of life, where we all fail miserably.

HEALTHY FOOD HABITS

These days, we are so busy and connected by technology that it is easy to live on convenient meals and takeaways. That generation ate real food; food free from preservatives, artificial sweeteners and genetically modified food. These foods did not exist in those times and they ate what was seasonal and available in the area they lived in.

Food was seasonal and grown in the right way with fewer pesticides, making it healthy and more nutritious.

THEY DID NOT DIET

They did not focus on who ate what and how much as the idea was to focus on the quality of food. There was no cholesterol and fat problem unlike our generation, when there are more of luxury items.

They had regular food in the right proportions and were consistent about it. Also, they preferred to eat home-cooked food and this ensured that the right ingredients were used. We eat junk food and have no clue what goes into it, and once our health parameters or weight goes off track, we look for diets and dieticians.

THEY MOVED AND REMAINED ACTIVE

Our grandparents were not glued to computers, most work was manual and walking between places was common. They were active in doing their daily jobs. They had to look after the house and did not have a fleet of maids and servants doing their daily chores. They did not sit at a desk all day looking at a screen. They had no televisions and Netflix and Amazon Prime, and entertainment meant to go meet people.

They would most of the times walk to their friends and relatives and meet them, or maybe use public transportation or car. This made them physically and socially active. Many times, weeks pass when we do not meet friends and this does have an impact on our health. Our staying in touch is about social media and WhatsApp. This makes a huge difference, and more than often we do not realise it.

FEWER EXPECTATIONS

We are continuously working towards buying the latest phone in town or the next expensive car we can afford, or another luxury brand handbag. We are spoilt for choices and whether we like to hear it or not, we all live in a materialistic world.

Options were less in those times and so were expectations from life. Small things could give them happiness. They lived a tougher life than all of us can even imagine but they knew how to appreciate the simple pleasures of life and be positive and move on.

BETTER ENVIRONMENT

Our grandparents lived in a healthier environment which had less pollution. They led a more disciplined life. They ate on time and slept on time. Their immunity was better as they inhaled fresh air. They had fewer distractions and they focused on work and family.

We have a lot to learn from our grandparents, and the most important thing to do is to teach our children these simple things from the beginning.

Source: The Alternative Daily, True Food Organic, Off The Grid News