What You Eat is Determined by Where You Stay !


Shashwat,  Alisha, Sania, and Daniel were elated because their annual wait for the grand feast was getting over. Madame Kalpana, food lover and the fantastic master chef herself had arranged it really well. This is how she has been celebrating her birthday with the kids from soil of different states.

Kids were on deep discussion on ‘why my Mom cooks different than your mom’. Madame Kalpana walked in with glittering bowls of pudding for all and joined the discussion. She explianed the significant role of Geography and climate in making our food preferences, how and why the staple food of various states is different.

Influence of Climate on Crops :

Horizontally or vertically climate supports our agricultural products. Only because of the favorable temperature of grains, we get our staple grains. Like in North India, wheat is dominant. All the cuisines have wheat as a base right from chapatti to tandoori naan. On going down, we will see Rice as a base in all the cuisines. Climate for rice is also favorable in north east states. If you look up to dry states (in terms of rainfall) like Rajasthan, you’ll see abundance of coarse cereals, Bajra and sorghum. The soils here are more saline or can say, low in pH that supports these millets to grow. Millets are good source of fibre, Vitamin E and B vitamins.  Another millet Ragi, is the rural crop of Karnataka. Various cuisines are now available widely because of its amazing result in controlling unwanted cravings. Ragi is rich in dietary fibre, iron, calcium and amino acids.

Food habits to help our body adapt in different climates :

Apart from the principle crop of various states, we have adopted a different eating pattern too. People of western regions- Rajasthan & Gujarat mostly drink a glass of buttermilk post meal. Buttermilk as a variant of yoghurt helps to hydrate in such hot areas. Buttermilk acts as a digestive drink as well. Similarly, states like Goa, Maharashtra, Assam & Bengal enjoy downing kokum drink during parched summer months. To the extreme, people from valleys of North in Jammu and Kashmir, Kawah is consumed to get thermogenic relief.

Madame Kalpana continued ahead on food pattern of various states. India is known for its spiciness and you must have noticed, region with hot climates often eats more spicy foods. Why? This is because such foods raise the body temperature and cause one to perspire which eventually has a result on overall effect of cooling the body.  And then, the extreme temperatures become more bearable.

The kids sitting quietly were really grabbing the food pattern talk seriously. Alisha who was sitting little far, suddenly stood up with a poster that she sketched during the discussion which briefs whatever Madam Kalpana told them. Madame was also surprised and appreciated her work. Everyone was clapping loud and asked her to share on their school Food & Nutrition column board.

You Should know :
  • Our food pattern also depends on the climate & geographical features.
  • Every state of India has a different cereal/pseudo cereal as their principle crop with unique nutritional benefits.
  • Cooking practices (sautéing, boiling, grilling, simmering, fermenting etc) vary all over in India. Every technique has its own benefits.
  • People in urban areas eat more processed food than the people of rural areas and so, rural people are getting more nutritional benefits.
  • Climate change can alter food habits. Leave the food hegemony and be flexible in your food choices.

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