HomeEnvironmentEating Sabut Dal? It’s Great For The Climate Too

Eating Sabut Dal? It’s Great For The Climate Too

Eating Sabut Dal? It's Great For The Climate Too

Eating Sabut Dal? It’s Great For The Climate Too

NEW DELHI, (IANS) – Paul Newnham’s mission is to make the second of the United Nations’ Sustainable Goals — Zero Hunger — a global reality in our lifetime.

The Australian champion of sustainable food is promoting the cause of beans — the umbrella term that includes one of the staples of the Indian diet: dals.

Newnham pointed out that millets and beans are a part of the same food continuum — these are the traditional building blocks of a well-rounded diet, and the world needs to get back to them.

For the United Nations, this is the Year of the Camel, but a plant-friendly diet is on top of the agenda of change advocates around the world such as Newnham.

Beans are up against multiple challenges. In the West, they are viewed as poor substitutes for meats and are at best offered as sides or embellishments of meat dishes. In Africa, which does not produce adequate quantities of beans, these humble legumes are too expensive in the market.

Indians, especially those who are upwardly mobile and time deficient, are moving away from whole dals — such as the ‘sabut’ (whole) urad dal that forms the base of the famous ‘mah ki dal’ — and opting for packaged, polished pulses, which are quicker and easier to cook.

And then, many traditional dals are losing their sheen in popular imagination — dals such as ‘gahat’ (horse gram), Uttarakhand’s traditional staple.

Newnham has his work cut out on two fronts — policy advocacy and behavior change.

Dals are not only fiber- and folate-rich, which makes them good for our well-being, but also beneficial for the global agrarian economy because they are nature’s nitrogen fixers and are not water guzzlers, which makes them climate resilient.

So, have dal more often and have it whole — and remember why your mother’s ‘mah ki dal’ always had ‘sabut urad dal’.

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