Read full article by Kavita Sardana@CSRBox PhotoCredit: CSR Box
There can’t be an occasion better than the Poshan Maah to revitalise and revive our most traditional food grains, also called the miracle grains of the ancestors – millets or the nutri-cereals, pseudo cereals. Fortune SuPoshan, a nutrition intervention project by Adani Wilmar Ltd., implemented by Adani Foundation, marked this month’s celebration towards creating awareness and inclusion of millets in daily diet. In pursuit of this initiative and to mark another step towards bringing about SuPoshan in people’s life, Adani Foundation’s SuPoshan Sanginis (community volunteers) were trained to understand the concept behind bringing millets back to our food plate.
The Miracles of Millets
The term ‘millet’ is widely used to refer to a group of highly variable small-seeded grasses, widely grown around the world as cereal crops or grains for fodder and human food. These grains are popular for their culinary uses as well as health-promoting qualities. The health and nutritive benefits associated with millets are crucial to tackle problems like anaemia, diabetes and several other degenerative diseases, apart from malnutrition.
Some of the Major Millets include – Sorghum (Jowar), Pearl Millet (Bajra), Finger Millet (Ragi); Minor Millets include – Foxtail Millet (Kangani/Kakum), Proso Millet (Chena), Kodo Millet (Kodo), Barnyard Millet (Sawa/Sanwa), Little Millet (Kutki); and two Pseudo Millets are Buck-wheat (Kuttu) and Amaranth (Rajgira/Chola).
Millets are a group of gluten-free grains that are highly nutritious and rich in protein, minerals, vitamins and fibre as compared to corn, rice and wheat. Millets hold great potential in contributing substantially to food and nutritional security of the country and thus they are not only a powerhouse of nutrients, but also climate resilient crops. They are less prone to spoilage and have a longer shelf life.
Millets contain a host of micronutrients such as iron, calcium and phosphorus. Also, they take time to digest, which don’t cause the blood sugar spike associated with easily digestible food. Introducing millet into your diet can help you control diabetes for the same reason. Millets are not only good for us but the environment too, as they are largely rain-fed crops and do not put pressure on our already diminishing water resources. Additionally, these grain crops do not attract pests and so, can grow perfectly well without the use of pesticides.
Millet benefits our bodies by strengthening our immunity, keeping diseases in check. It is being hailed as a super food, even called as a miraculous food product. Unlike other cereals, millets take longer to break down in the body and so, keep us satiated for longer. Enriched with the goodness of nature, millets are a rich source of minerals like magnesium, zinc and potassium. Each type of millet carries its own health benefits but largely, all millet types promote good health and wellness as they are anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-hypertensive.
Culinary Benefits of Millets
Acknowledging the above facts, as part of September 2020 ‘Poshan Maah’ celebrations, millets are being promoted across all sites of Adani Foundation. The teams were directed to collect information about the availability and accessibility of millets in their respective sites along with their cost. Since there was a gap in the consumption despite their easy availability, efforts were taken up to promote the incorporation of these super grains in the daily diet. Awareness drives were carried out through SuPoshan Sanginis to re-introduce these grains, which have been neglected over the years.
Millets are not only healthy but possess a unique taste, which can accentuate the taste quotient of any meal. With various culinary innovations, millets like ragi, jowar, bajra, along with barnyard, foxtail & little millet are used to prepare several snacks and dishes.
The concept of POSHTIK THALI comprising of millet dishes along with vegetables, pulses, fruits, dairy products was creatively carried out by SuPoshan Sanginis within their community ensuring that each household is involved in order to improve their nutritional status. Since there were restrictions due to COVID, SuPoshan Sanginis prepared colourful charts; posters as well as planned recipes with locally available millets and shared them with the beneficiaries at their village level. Fortune SuPoshan project trained the SuPoshan Sanginis to ensure that pregnant and lactating women along with SAM children were consuming millets in the right form and quantity. Since millets are a power house of nutrients and help control malnutrition, recipes such as ragi sheera, sama khichdi, ragi coconut ladoo, Jowari Rotla, bajra vadi, methi thalipeeth, bajra vegetable uttapa, little millet upma, jowari popcorn, multi millet paranthas, ragi dosa, chilla and many more were shared with the families by the SuPoshan Sanginis. SuPoshan Sanginis were also advised to prepare millets in the form of porridge for growing kids.
Through knowledge sharing and informative events, an effort has been made to encourage daily intake of millets to get the benefits in terms of their high protein, fibre and mineral content. All cooked dishes were shared within the community families. The prime focus was to encourage cooking of millets in various ways and make it apt for children, adolescent girls as well as the whole family