Global Food, Health, and Society

A Colby Community Website for ST297, Fall 2018

Author: Yash Malliwal

Intermittent Fasting: Just Another Gimmick?

Diet fads are not new. Every so often, a group of scientists or fitness enthusiasts will release a new diet which they claim will help you lose weight and revitalize your health. These include the Atkins diet, Paleo diet, and plant-based diet, just to name a few. There is another fad, however, that has slowly crept into popular culture which claims to have more significant benefits than any other diet. There are many scientists, in fact, who tout it as a scientific breakthrough and should be practiced by all individuals. This new diet is called intermittent fasting. Researchers claim that a regulated regimen of periodic fasting and feeding can help increase metabolism, slow aging, and even help prevent cancer (Virgin). There are many skeptics who believe this is indeed another fad. I, however, along with many scientific researchers, believe that intermittent fasting is truly beneficial for human health and can be the key to preventing obesity and several diseases. Continue reading

The Modern Food Landscape and its Effect on Traditional International Foods

Food has evolved to become a major topic of controversy in the US. Meals have evolved to incorporate more processed foods, increased portion sizes, as well as increased sugar consumption (“Current Eating Patterns in the United States”). At the same time, cooking homemade meals has become a rarity as more families opt to eat out at restaurants (Smith et. al.). I set out to explore if this shift in food consumption had any effect on the food prepared and served at international restaurants as they serve food with greater heritage and tradition. After reading the third chapter from Food in Time and Place, written by Jayanta Sengupta about commercialized Indian food, I decided to eat at an Indian restaurant in order to prove that it alters its traditional dishes in accordance to the overall shift towards processed foods, increased portion sizes, and high sugar usage.

Layout of Raagini Indian Bistro in Andover, MA. Note the decor and overall aesthetic, which isn’t authentically Indian.

The restaurant I chose was Raagini Indian Bistro in Andover, MA. It is a very popular restaurant at the center of an affluent town, attracting customers from many surrounding towns as well. I decided to order the most popular dish for each of the three courses. The appetizer I ordered was called samosa. The dish hails from the state of Punjab in India. Punjabi food is the foundation of many dishes served in Indian restaurants as it incorporates many simple foods which do not contain relatively high levels of spice and rather place a slightly higher emphasis on texture of the food (Sengupta). As such, these foods are essentially already catered to please a wide range of customers, perfect for restaurants in the western world. Continue reading