Since I moved to Southall I have tried to improve my lifestyle in a number of ways. My first priority was more discipline in my time of going to bed and getting up. Secondly I am now eating less and more healthily and I am avoiding unnecessary spending on lunches and drinks when I am travelling.
The result is that I sleep better, have no more stomach problems and save money. It helps me to be a more effective Sikh activist. I have been dealing with a number of challenging (voluntary & paid) work situations in September which will go on till mid-October, and so far am on target.
A regular life and eating simple & healthy food also makes it easier to remain in spiritual balance. My diet is a mix between Panjabi and European food. I always have porridge (which I make with 50/50 water and milk), whole-wheat bread, rye-bread and multi-grain crackers in store.
All of these are high in fibres and contribute to your protein needs. By using oats (porridge), wheat and rye I have a varied intake of grains. In the morning and early evening I make Panjabi style tea (not too much sugar, not too strong). I eat about half of the bread with cheese.
When I have langar I will have one roti, avoid kír and if there is a ‘feast’ on offer I will include dehie (natural yoghurt) and dal and avoid sarson and palak da saag because these are usually cooked with too much butter.
At home I cook brown rice or whole-wheat pasta (the long skinny ones) with a modest amount of sabzi and a little olive oil. I also eat at least one orange a day, and when in meetings or in the langar fruit is on offer I’ll have it.
I am not saying that all should eat like I do. No two human beings are the same, what suits my stomach might make you feel very uncomfortable. But general principles like low on fat, low on sugar, some dairy products but not too many, will agree to most. Eat modest portions and reduce car travel, walk more, even if it is just to the bus stop or the rail station, sell your TV and do not sit in front of your computer for hours without a break.
If you are living on your own or if you are a couple without live-in children you do not need a big house or a big car. If you live in an urban area you do not need a car at all. Big houses mean big heating bills, high council tax and loads of cleaning, big cars are awkward to manoeuvre in city traffic, difficult to park, guzzle petrol and cost more in road tax and insurance. I am not even mentioning global warming.
And for God’s sake, if you use drugs, including alcohol and nicotine, please stop it now ! Finally, I am happy that the Rehat Maryada does not forbid the eating of meat, but my body feels healthier on a strict vegetarian diet.