7 most effective habits that the world must adopt from Kerala households

The novel Coronavirus has definitely brought a lot of changes in  our lifestyle and mostly for good. Be it maintaining proper  hygiene, taking care of our eating habits, cutting down on  unnecessary expenses, or simply showing gratitude and living in  the present moment, this pandemic has made us feel born again  to a different kind of world .There is no denying to the fact that  many of us find it really hard to accept the “new normal” as we call it today because we had probably never even imagined that  a pandemic would make us consider living a much more  sustainable and fruitful life. But here is a State that needed no  pandemic to remind its people that life is much more enjoyed  amidst nature and in a clean, hygiene environment. God’s own  Country as it is popularly known, Kerala has been following this  “new normal” routine since past many decades!

Before I begin  to enlist some of the most effective habits that are found in  Kerala households, I would like to mention that I am born,  brought up and have lived good 29 years of my life in Delhi. It  is only until last year that I shifted to Kerala and therefore my perspective of this place comes from my experience of staying  here. Coming from a totally different city and culture, there were  certain aspects about living in Kerala that really took me to  surprise but now when I reflect on those, I do feel the  importance and a great need to imbibe these into our daily lives  no matter which part of the world we belong to. 

1) Washing feet before entering the house 

The first thing that I noticed while entering any house in  Kerala is the footwear lying outside the premises and  people walking barefoot inside. What was really surprising  to me was that not only the residential buildings but also  the banks, doctor’s clinics, and some garment stores too  follow the same practice. I guess this is the reason why the  floors here look absolutely spic and span. 

The habit of removing footwear outside ensures we keep our homes clean

Considering the present situation we are going through, it is  very important to keep germs and dirt at bay. This  particular habit of taking off our shoes outside before  entering the house can ensure that the dirt does not enter  along with us. Another traditional habit to be imbibed is the habit of washing feet with a dispenser called kindi. In olden days every household had a kindi placed in the front of their house so that people entering the house can clean their feet and wash off the germs.

2) Nurturing your own garden 

It is really very hard to imagine any household in Kerala  without a garden. The plants and the humans literally  coexist in the same place and garden is one of the most  important spots of any house in Kerala. The home grown  fruits and vegetables , the tall coconut trees, the famous  chakka (jackfruit) trees and over a hundred varieties of  plants add more beauty to the already beautifully built  houses here. No wonder it is named God’s own Country  because god truly resides here in the lap of nature and  greenery all around. Not only do the plants and trees  provide a scenic beauty to the area but they also give purely  organic veggies and fruits that help boost one’s immunity  and thereby maintain good health. 

A garden is a essential part of Kerala houses

3) Using disposable yet environmentally friendly plates

Now what is the most obvious thing that comes to your  mind when you think of Kerala? Banana chips? Yes, and  not to forget banana leaf. Yes, the very eco friendly, no cost  substitute for any plate here is banana leaf which is  available all over this place. The most popular Onasadya  (the grand Onam feast) is incomplete if it is not served on a  banana leaf .

Eating on a banana leaf enhances taste and retains food nutrients

This leaf not only adds to the health benefit of  eating food on the most naturally accessible source by  retaining the food nutrients but it also helps save a lot of  time doing the dishes. Now that’s quite a bonus! 

4) Maximum use of steel utensils 

Given the variety of food being cooked here (yes, it’s not  limited to dosas and idlis !), every food item has a specially  designed utensil specifically made to prepare that dish. We  get puttu maker, appam pan and loads of other big, small  utensils but mostly made of high quality stainless steel.  People here believe in the power of Steel. The fancy  looking colorful yet chemically coated non stick pots and  pans have never been able to replace the traditional and  healthy way of cooking food in Kerala.  

Kerala cooking makes use of a lot of steel and copper vessels

5) Eating freshly cooked meals 

As mentioned above, there are a plenty of food options  available here and therefore, one does not have to rely on  packaged food to serve their hunger pangs. Think of  breakfast alone and there you go with options such as 

kadala putt, potato stew with appams, upma, dosas, idlis,  and so on. Now who would like to eat breakfast cereals,  breads and other processed food when freshly prepared  piping hot food is right on the table? Yes, it takes time to  prepare these elaborate food items and definitely requires  some amount of planning in advance but it is worth every  effort when compared to eating food that is so high on  preservatives.  

6) Relying on ayurveda 

The word Ayurveda is used synonymously with Kerala.  Being one of the most sought after places for Ayurvedic  treatment, Kerala has made an incredible impact on  preserving and utilizing the most ancient science of  medicine in India. In almost every household, one gets to  witness some or the other Ayurvedic medicine for treating  common forms of illness and not to forget the extraordinary  power of spices that alone help in relieving so many  problems. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that people here take  the famous quote “Food thy medicine” extremely seriously. 

Ayurvedic medicines are a part of every household

7) Living in a clutter free home 

The houses in Kerala are undoubtedly spacious but what  really adds to the space here is the culture of going  minimalist when it comes to buying furniture and other  home accessories. We all know the amount of stress clutter  adds to our lives and so the option of saving some amount  of space in the house can really bring some peace into our  lives.  

I really hope that the points mentioned above help some of  us introspect a bit about how we could alter our lifestyle by  adopting certain habits that our Southern State has been  following since a very long time and thereby make some  positive amendments in our lives which would help change  the World for good. 

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