Changes in food consumption and impact on lifestyle

During the first wave I was really unprepared. I didn’t know how to cook. Living away from home and managing a job as well as a weekend MBA program, I was really dependent on restaurant deliveries which increased my cost of living. And of course, while ordering food from outside, I would order junk food since I had always learnt that food should be ordered only on special occasions, so it should always be food that we cannot make at home. This also sent me on a guilt trip because not only was I spending so much money on food, I was ordering it from outside on a regular basis, and on top of that it was unhealthy food. Of course it stressed me out so much that I decided to cut down on the cost of living and to reduce the intake of junk food. I decided to cook on my own. Really bad idea. I ended up having about one and a half meals a day, of which the half meal consisted of milk and the one meal consisted of instant noodles or khichdi or just some rice based food. I didn’t have a fridge so when I bought vegetables they would go bad, so I stopped buying vegetables, or I would only buy a few types of vegetables that would last longer outside of a fridge. This really damaged my health and immunity.

The first wave taught me a lot of important lessons. Reflecting on the learnings, I started investing my money on the right things. It wasn’t exactly an option. Rather, it feels more of a necessity now. The world has changed and my primary needs have evolved beyond food, clothing and shelter to include electricity, fridge and AC, Wifi and as well as a lot of other things which require conscious decision making and money management. This realization helped me a lot during the second wave and I started making different choices.

During the second wave, I invested in a refrigerator so that I could store more quantity and variety of vegetables instead of having to purchase regularly. Additionally, my cooking pattern has changed. I pre cook and store meals in the fridge on the weekend so that I don’t end up spending too much time on cooking every single day, addressing my reluctance to cook. These pre-cooked meals last about 2-3 days in the fridge and so I do not have to stress out about cooking at least 2 meals a day for at least 3 days a week. Not only this, while ordering from outside, I order roti (flat Indian bread) and vegetables, or even something as easy as khichdi instead of junk food. Additionally, I also started having breakfast and sometimes even lunch at the company mess instead of skipping meals. This has made my food consumption healthy. Additionally, at least 2-3 times a week I make a conscious effort to manage time and walk for a minimum of 10-15 minutes so that I can stay fit. All of this has made my life easier and less stressful.

Nairuti Sanghavi
MBA Student (IIM Udaipur)

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