Prata with Planta? Ghee pleaseJanuary 26, 2007
I just had trans fats for breakfast. Argh! Sometimes, I, too, get careless and forget.
I had ordered a roti prata and a dosai and was happily about to eat them when, for some reason, the prata man decided to chat with me and explain the different types of curry sauces that he had served.
Then I remembered and I asked whether he made the prata and dosai with ghee or margarine.
“Planta (margarine),” he proudly said.
“Margarine tak baik (no good), ghee lebeh baik (better)” I told him.
He was puzzled. “Ghee cholesterol lah,” he explained.
Alamak! I was thinking to myself, how do I explain to the prata man about trans fats? Then an idea came…
“Margarine New York ban! Denmark pun (also) ban,” I told him.
He looked stunned. “Apa pasal? (What’s the problem?)
“Heart disease, cancer, diabetes… banyak banyak pasal (many, many problems).”
He looked even more stunned. I asked if he read the newspapers, or if his children have Internet access. He told me he reads the Tamil Murasu.
Ah! I must write a Letter to the Editor of Tamil Murasu then. If it gets published, I can then boast that my articles get translated into Tamil, ha ha!
But more seriously, I would encourage you to ask about ghee and margarine the next time you eat roti prata, dosai and other Indian foods.
For those who seek scientific evidence, here’s some from my website article about the causes of coronary heart disease:
In India, a 1968 study found North Indians, who ate more meat and used mainly ghee (clarified butter) for cooking, had 17 times more saturated fats in their diets than South Indians, who were more vegetarians. However, North Indians had seven times less heart disease than Indians in the South.
This was because, by the late 60s, South Indians had started the switch from coconut oil, which contains about 90 percent saturated fats, to margarine and other polyunsaturated vegetable oils.
More recent studies show that North Indians are finally begin to catch up with the South in heart disease rates – because North Indians have started to use less ghee and more margarine and vegetable oils.
Any Indian readers out there who can help me translate a short message about trans fats into Tamil – and other Indian languages?
Then we can distribute them to our favourite prata sellers.