I’m so pleased to have been invited to do a guest blog post at Cascad (a collective of world-class thought leaders), on what brought me into nutrition, why there is such a focus on this issue now, and how what we eat has such a fundamental effect on our health.
“It was only about 10 years ago when I decided on a fairly dramatic change of direction but I think interest in food and nutrition has always been there like a golden thread from early on. The roots of it lie in the shock of my first exposure to English food, coming to the UK as child in the 1960s from India, where I was used to my grandmother’s beautiful spicy, flavourful south Indian curries, and as dessert guavas and mangoes straight from the tree. Suddenly, I was faced with school dinners of grey mince, lumpy mashed potatoes and – the worst thing – stewed gooseberries with custard!
“Until then I hadn’t really thought about food. I just took it for granted that it was delicious and nourishing. Being confronted with a very different food culture was an early lesson in how not all food is the same and is not always a pleasure. Since then, several sparks were blown together to create the passion which I now have for all things food and nutrition.
“These, like my childhood experiences, enriched my understanding on how food is so interwoven with culture. And I knew that in the great and ancient civilisations of India, China and Greece, food was medicine and medicine was food, while here in the West, when we fell ill, we reached for a pill. That started to feel very wrong to me. Another trigger was my own ill health which I now know was mostly caused by diet but unfortunately for me it took decades to find out!”