Saturday, June 27, 2009

What did Indians Eat before Rice and Wheat ?

So what do you think our forefathers used to eat centuries ago ? How old are rice and wheat?

There have been some surveys that millets are much older than rice and wheat

As Rice and Wheat have become staple diet across the Indian subcontinent then why is that now, rice has been looked down as a strict no-no at later years of our lifestyle. Well the reason is simple, "polished rice". As a lifestyle change in recent decades we are all now used to polished rice which is devoid of all essential fiber and nutrients. This is where rice began to loose out to wheat. Otherwise calorie (energy) wise both are same. The generation before the 1980's was more involved with physical work as part of their regular work and lifestyle, so the rice that was consumed was well accounted for. But as we moved into this century our lifestyle and work became more sedentary and this misfit is gaining notoriety for rice.

So when did we start eating rice ?

I'm not sure but rice and wheat became our stable diet but the polished rice concept came into being around the time of Britishers and was considered to be rich man's rice. Unpolished rice is still associated with the poor but ironically that is what is more beneficial to our health.

Green Revolution

We all know how the green revolution helped us in achieving self reliance on our food security but what it also did was to promote food grains like wheat and rice to a greater extent and healthier options like millets reduced in area of cultivation.

Millets can grow in regions where there is water scarcity and that is why in many dry region millets are the staple diet [Rajasthan(Bajra), Telangana and Raylseema Region in AP, south Maharashta and North Karnataka (Jonna - Jowar), South Karnataka (Ragi) etc].

Learn more about agriculture in India here:

Just my two cents and I may be incorrect in certain conclusions. Please do correct me if I'm wrong and do share your views.

Try millets !

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