Every animal species in the wild instinctively knows which foods to eat. A lion cub instinctively goes for meat and an elephant calf eats grasses, leaves and tree bark. We would never think of feeding leaves to a lion or meat to an elephant!
We humans have strong instinctual knowledge too, but when it comes to food, our social conditioning ends up battling with our instincts…and usually wins. One proof of this is that when we see ripe fruits and vegetables our mouth waters and we feel like eating them, often times even raw. On the other hand, if we see a chicken or a goat walk by, not only do we not salivate, but we certainly don’t pounce on them, tear them apart and eat them raw, like a dog or a tiger does. We may salivate…but only after the chicken or goat has been slaughtered, bled out, cut into pieces, cooked, seasoned and presented on a plate.
A zoonosis or zoonotic disease is a disease or infection which is caused by a pathogen (a virus, bacterium, fungus or parasite, for example) that originates in animals and when transmitted to a human can cause disease. Often, the disease does not make the animal himself sick but will sicken the human. Sometimes the disease is directly transmitted from animals to humans, and other times the disease is transmitted from one animal species to an animal of another species and then to humans.
Here’s a recipe: Gather 12 kg of bones, 33kg of muscles and 15 kg of fat. Mix in 20 kg of organs. Add lots of water. And there you have it: all the ingredients necessary to make a human body!
Laughter aside, we all know it’s not nearly as simple as just putting together organs, fat, muscles and bones. All of the intricacies and workings of such a complex system as the human body requires more than a do-it-yourself manual and a belief in the miracle of life.
When it comes to food, most of us would agree that there is hardly a country in the world that can match India with regards to diversity, flavour and quality of ingredients. Even our deeper understanding and connection to food is unique. From its use in Ayurveda to the synchronisation of our food with festivals that are themselves linked to specific times of the year or seasons, and reaching all the way back to our early agricultural practices which reflect a reverence to nature — are all distinctly Indian and embedded into our collective memory.