One of the comments I had for my previous blog entry on the poor state of the Rural Diet was about what it is that they should or could eat.
My diet bourne out of a lifetime in the West, is to say the least, very poor in quality. It is still difficult for me to eat healthily despite the healthy food I grow around me.Sadly it is out of what one is used to, and it is difficult to change in mid life. If one is interested I will let on, but even I am embarrased that beggers in Sri Lanka eat a more healthy and balanced diet. My diet was bourne out of English boarding school food of baked beans, fried bread, oily chips, mashed potatos out of powdered smash tins, and rhubarb crumble. Then as a poor starving student it was just soup and rice,which has made hodi and bath my favorite food even now!! So it is what you get used to that one likes irrespective of how healthy it is.
In the village context, "rata kama" or foreign seems to be gaining popularity, because some years ago, when I gave a Dansala in Hingurakgoda, and asked what they wanted, they said they wanted noodles!! I was more appalled the other day when my man in Polonnaruwa said there was nothing to eat. That meant that he had not chosen to grow anything in the home garden despite numerous requests. Home grown food to him is not food! There are enough leguminous crops that grow easily in Sri Lanka, and I grow, Bathala, Manioc and Hingurala that can substitute for rice if the latter is not available.
I digress, but to make the point, I would like to note that as I sell my produce to my customers in Colombo on Mondays, and every household asks for red rice be it samba or the long grain rathu kekulu. This red rice is rarely sold in the Kade in Godagama not 30Km from Colombo, as they demand white rice. In addition to the various yams I mentioned in the earlier paragraph I sell Kehel Muwa and the following list of greens, freshly plucked on the morning of delivery.
Namely: Gotukola, Mukunuwenna, Kohila, Kankun,Kola Guva, Kathurumurunga,Salad Leaves, Nivithi, Gus Nivithi, and Kanda Kola like Penela, Athavariya, Pol Pala and Monara Kudumbi. I also sell a Kalawampala which consists of Manioc leaves, Passion Leaves, Pumpkin Leaves, Japan Batu Kola and a few others.
There is a great demand in Colombo for such as there is little availability and what there is, the source is suspect due to hygenic reasons. In conclusion I have noticed the need of the urban dweller to eat more healthy food while the rural dweller shuns what is freely available around him. I guess it is human nature to want what you don't have so I rest my observation and let you the reader be the judge.
I firmly believe that as we are creatures of habit, that it is very important to impart healthy eating habits on our children, as they could then eat well without effort. Both the parents and schools have a duty to promote healty eating and part of the school curriculum should include the education in this area of utmost importance.