The festive season in India is synonymous with heavy and rich foods leading to over-indulgence. Here’s help to detoxify your body!
By Lavanya Donthamshetty
When I was a little girl growing up in Chennai, ENO, the antacid powder, was my best friend. As my family put it, my eyes were bigger than my tum and I used to stuff myself silly whenever there was food of the festive variety on offer. Typically, my poor digestive system revolted and pretty soon, the white powder would be pressed into service.
Family weddings were especially trying affairs as I’d raid the pantry with cousins and feast on the yummy bakshanam with gusto. As the afternoon rolled on, I’d normally be found rolling on the floor in agony. In fact, my uncles used to joke that their first job on arriving at any marriage hall was to go on a recce and stock up on soda! Looking back, none of the wedding photos feature me during all the rituals – I would be missing during parts of the wedding or the reception and even missed one of my uncles’ Upanayanam.
Did I learn my lesson after a few incidents like this? Did I heck! I was the person for whom the term “glutton for punishment” was invented. I used to stick to the same POA during festivals too – and boy did we have lots of them or what? Diwali, Navrathri, Krishna Jayanti, you name it, there was food just begging to make a home in my rumbling tummy. And festivals were just an invitation to get stuffed. Indian festivals are constructed around oily and sweet foods, foods of the most addictive and least nutritionally valuable variety, irresistible foods. And resist them, I didn’t!
I know I am not the only one. In fact, the very fact that the Deepavali lehiyam, an Ayurvedic preparation consisting of many spices and medicinal herbs is the first item to be dished out on that festival morning by many Tamilian mums proves that there are many that can proudly wear the Gluttons R Us badge. The British diet and fitness industry, for one, thrives on it. The sheer volume of food that gets consumed during the Christmas holidays – and more, possibly, during the run-up to the Big Day – is simply staggering! Sticky toffee pudding, Christmas pudding, sponge pudding, treacle sponge, mince pieces – anything that is gooey, sticky and has enough sugar in it to sink a battleship lines the aisles of the supermarket from the start of autumn.
By the time Boxing Day comes to a close, you can see people laboriously plodding along the pavements, much like a pregnant mum of twins two days before the due date.
For those of us that embody the spirit of over indulgence … the traditional cure of ginger-lemon restorative, the Inji Sorasam, is a blessed concoction indeed.
Of course, once all the good things come to an end, the flagellation starts. The oh-my-god-I-ate-ten-jamuns-on-Diwali-and-now-they-have-set-up-home-on-my-butt moment hits. Zits! Cue screaming masses and the solemn swearing of “I shall never, ever eat anything but fresh greens and drink enough water to float a battleship.”Yeah well, been there, done that. And based on that experience, I’d say that it is time for a detox.
And yes, before anyone points it out, I will admit that most people are of the sensible variety and will not eat like food is going out of fashion come dawn. For those of us that embody the spirit of over indulgence and/or who possess a delicate digestive system, the traditional cure of ginger-lemon restorative, the Inji Sorasam, is a blessed concoction indeed. In fact, it was this that stopped the combined might of good food and bad nerves from showing me up at my own wedding!
So, all those who have enjoyed the Diwali spread a bit too heartily and will end up with more sweets by Christmas and New Year, here is my grandmother’s recipe for Inji (Ginger) Sorasam. Do feel free to tweak the sweetness and acidity to suit your palate.
Ginger – 100 gms
Lemon – ½
Sugar – as required
Peel the ginger and then grind it to a fine paste in your mixie. Add water to it and keep it on a low flame. Add about a spoonful of sugar to it and keep stirring.
When it comes to a rolling boil, turn off the flame. Add the lemon juice to it and stir to mix well.
That’s the perfect home-made digestive, ready in minutes! Sip it regularly and get your post-festival detox on the road!
Mother, writer, foodie, margarita lover, Lavanya is the exception to the rule that women are
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