Sunday, July 31, 2016










Program Coordinator

Plant Biotechnology

Dept. Biological & Environmental Sciences



For years, I have wondered about what we eat and found that it varies from family to family and individual to individual. Based on such variations, the world population may be divided into two major categories – vegetarians and non-vegetarians. Vegetarians are those who eat only foods from plant origin whereas non-vegetarians eat foods of animal origin. Plant foods are generally cereals (rice, wheat, sorghum, millets etc.), pulses (beans, peas, chickpea, pigeon pea, lentil etc.), and fruits and vegetables. They do consume milk and milk products which come from animals like cows, buffalos, goats and camels. Still there are variations among vegetarians. In general, vegetarians from West Bengal consider fish and egg as vegetarian foods. Thus vegetarian foods vary depending on the people who consume them.

Non-vegetarians eat purely food from animal source such as mutton, chicken, beef, pork, etc. They also consume eggs and fishes. Along with all these dishes non-vegetarians eat cereals, pulses, dairy products and fruits too. So non-vegetarians are vegetarians too. Thus it is difficult to distinguish the two categories. There are full time non-vegetarians as we find in Western countries, whereas in India only a small proportion of people belong to this category. Majority of non-vegetarians are only partials. They do eat vegetarian foods too, but the reverse is not practiced. Most of the vegetarians are strict and do not eat non-vegetarian foods. They do not enter a non-vegetarian restaurant even though it serves vegetarian food also. However, some of the vegetarians taste the non-vegetarian foods also nowadays. Thus differences in food habit are prevailing all over the world!

‘Eating non-vegetarian food is injurious to health’ – a concept propagated by some medical doctors has led some non-vegetarians (mostly elders) to leave non-vegetarian foods and go for strict vegetarian foods. Fish protein is easily digestible as compared to plant and animal proteins. So fish eating has attracted the attention of many men and women everywhere and thus the cost of fish is skyrocketing!

Whether we eat vegetarian or non-vegetarian food, what we need is nutritious food. The science of human nutrition well advanced in medical field. Foods have been chemically analysed and the nutrient contents are tabulated. People can decide which food they need to improve their health. Notorious food is important for everyone – children, adults and elders. Therefore it would be better to choose and consume either vegetarian or non-vegetarian food.

People who go to temple to pray Gods do not eat non-vegetarian food on the particular day. In general, no non-vegetarian food is served in Hindu temples. In Hindu marriages, only vegetarian food is served on the day of marriage. But in Christian and Muslim marriages non-vegetarian food such as biriyani is served immediately after marriage. People have different believes and habits. The Lakshman reka (line) between the two categories is slowly becoming thinner and thinner to disappear over time. I expect that soon we will not pay much attention to these two categories because most of our children who are the future citizens eat both vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods except a small traditional minority.


Stoicism, is a series of mental techniques and ways of life that allow you to decrease and then virtually eliminate all negative emotions such as anger, fear, anxiety, and dissatisfaction, while simultaneously building up a tide of pure Joy inside you that eventually starts to make you jump around and boogie at unexpected moments, and occasionally shout out "AHH YEAH!!" as discreetly as possible to yourself when the Joy overflows.


v  Taboos, speaking roughly, simply indicate something that is ‘not done.’ The reason why it is not done may be, and often is, unknown to those who observe the taboo. So that all sorts of reasons – often very unreasonable reasons –are invented to explain the taboo. But below the surface there always are reasons for taboos. – Havelock Ellis

v  The more you over think the less you will understand. – Habeeb Akande

v  The test of progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. – Franklin Roosevelt


The core of the philosophy seems to be this: To have a good and meaningful life, you need to overcome your insatiability. Most people, at best, spend their lives in a long pursuit of happiness. So today's successful person writes out a list of desires, then starts chasing them down and satisfying the desires. The problem is that each desire, when satisfied, tends to be replaced by a new desire. So the person continues to chase. Yet after a lifetime of pursuit, the person ends up no more satisfied than he was at the beginning. Thus, he may end up wasting his life.

The solution, the Stoics realized, is to learn to want the things you already have, rather than wanting other things. The most interesting technique that will help you achieve this is Negative Visualization.

For example, suppose that you currently have a good working set of eyes. Imagine carefully what it would be like to live your life as a blind person. You would have to work very hard to rearrange your life to remain functional — learn braille, take special precautions when walking around town and when cooking eggs at home, etc. — but in the end, you could surely survive and even become happy again if you were blind. But now open your eyes. SURPRISE!! YOU HAVE THIS BONUS OF SIGHT!!!. Wow, you were already doing just fine in your blind life, but now you have working eyes too? What an incredible life – you are truly blessed with more than you even need.

It turns out that if you practice negative visualization on a regular basis, you learn to both appreciate your current life much more, and to be mentally prepared in the event of any changes in your life as well – loss of health, fortune, a loved one, etc. You have replaced negative emotions with satisfaction and even joy.


Exercise is as essential to the body as it is to the brain. Studies have shown that physical activities can significantly improve brain health. Proper physical exercise (i.e., aerobics, walking, jogging, martial arts, yoga) is great for increasing oxygen to the brain and thus improving your brain’s ability to store information. In addition, it can reduce the risk of certain brain disorders that can lead to memory loss. Avoid over exercising because it can disrupt the chemical balance in your body, causing it to release too many free radicals.

Studies have suggested that participation in any type of physical activity can delay the onset of and reduce the risk for Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s disease. Interventions studies have demonstrated that people suffering from Alzheimer’s who exercise daily have shown improvement in memory function.

Aerobic exercises and cardiovascular training along with simple weight training or targeted movement therapy are recommended memory improvement exercises. If you do not feel like being active, playing memory improvement games indoor is a great way to increase your brain’s ability to store data.

What you eat can also affect how your brain will function. The best foods to eat for brain health are organic and whole foods that are rich in antioxidants, proteins, and essential fatty acids. Fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants are:  blueberries, cranberries, and red beans. As for proteins and essential fatty acids, nuts and seeds are some of the best sources.

The main reason why you want to eat organic foods high in antioxidants is because antioxidants are essential for preventing free radicals from destroying your brain cells and harming your DNA.


At the height of a political corruption trial, the prosecuting attorney attacked a witness. "Isn't it true," he bellowed, "that you accepted five thousand dollars to compromise this case?"

The witness stared out the window, as though he hadn't heard the question.

"Isn't it true that you accepted five thousand dollars to compromise this case?" the lawyer repeated.

The witness still did not respond.

Finally, the judge leaned over and said, "Sir, please answer the question."

"Oh," the startled witness said, "I thought he was talking to you."


Ø  Nothing is more conducive to peace of mind than not having any opinion at all.

Ø  Nothing is normal because nobody is perfect.

Ø  Nothing is permanent including you and me.

Ø  Nothing stays the same forever and thus change is inevitable.

Ø  Nothing works like success to increase our confidence.

Ø  Nothing is impossible so long as you don’t have to do it yourself.

Spend time with people!

Meet you next month – September, 2016


Professor A. Narayanan, Ph. D., FISPP

Ph : 0422 4393017 Mobile : 098422 42301