Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Socio-Cultural Aspect Of Food Habit In The Garhwal Region

Socio-Cultural Aspect Of Food Habit In The Garhwal Region Of
Uttaranchal – With Special Reference To Pregnant Women
*Dr. Alok Chantia, Lecturer, Dept. of Anthropology, Sri J.N.P.G. College, Lucknow
**Pramod Bihari Shukla .JRF, Dept. of Anthropology, Lucknow University, Lucknow
Food has an important aspect to one's life but it also has varying ideologies present in
every society, culture or ethnic zone. Food ideology has been defined as "attitude,
believes, customs and taboos affecting diet and nutrition". It is a practice associated with
food consumption.
The concept of food ideology includes people's thinking about each of the different items,
the effect of eating various foods on their health and well being and suitability for
individuals and categories of people (i.e., old, infants, sick pregnant and lactating
mothers) and also the suitability of food in certain conditions.
Garhwali population is agricultural community-practicing terrace cultivation on the
mountain terrain, which are difficult to cultivate, have low fertility, and low productivity,
which is some times affected by adverse climatic condition and lack of irrigation. Thus
we find a culture specific pattern of food intake among the people of Garhwal region.
This pattern is reflected homogeneously in the people's access to food methods of
preparation and distribution of cooked food with in the families. This has an overall
bearing on the nutritional status of the people common perception about the nature and
quality of food, gender nutritive quality of food, inequalities in food sharing and
distribution, economic status and seasonal variation of foods have been studied and are
found to have important application for the health of the women.
The most important aspect of folk dietetics is the humeral quality attributed to foods.
Social scientists have analyzed and attempted to explain food behavior patterns of people
and their influence upon the health of the women during pregnancy and lactation. Some
anthropologist like R. Pool (1987), R.L. Currier (1966), G.E. Ferro Lugi (1980), M.H.
Logan (1973), Nichter and Nichter (1983) etc., have discussed the physiological states of
the human body, the fetus, the constitution of the pregnant women and disease in the
humeral perspective of the hot/cold theory.
The purpose of this paper is to describe the food habits of Garhwali people specifically it
attempts to describe the food habits of women during pregnancy including foods
consumed or avoided during pregnancy.

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