DIET – A Fresh Perspective

Today’s post goes in the Personalities section of our blog! These people and their stories inspire us – provoke us to think different.

We recently met one such personality from the Village Ghol (Base town of Kokan Diva Trek) who keeps it real simple when it comes to fitness and diet.

OnTheRun - Diet

Name: We will call him ‘Kaka’.

Age: 75

Occupation: Farmer

Level of activity: 30-40 Km of walking daily

Diet: Millet / Nachni rotla / bhakri, Ghee, Milk, Chicken once a week. Occasional intake of vegetables depending on availability.

How and Where We Met

On Christmas 25 Dec 2015, four of us decided to do a short trek that’s scenic, peaceful and not crowded. We picked Kokan Diva since it fit the criteria. Also, we wanted be back in Pune by 4 pm. See the trek details at the end of the post.

We started from Ghol, located about 65Km from Pune. It is a small village with a few hundred population. People living there do farming, though not a great deal. It’s not a fertile soil, its typical hard rock soil one would expect close to any fort. They grow rice, Finger Millet (nachani), common millet (varai), have cattle for milk and milk products. They definitely do have mobiles, but for making a call they need to climb a nearby hill! A typical villager has a family member who works in Mumbai or Konkan.

On our way we run into a woman (must be in her sixties). She insisted that we take her husband with us to show the way to Kokan Diva. Few hours of peaceful time for her I guess! So this gentleman (we will call him Kaka) took us up to Kokan Diva, weather was beautiful, views were spectacular and the climb was quite easy except for a few sections where there was loose soil, and we were scared that we might slip.

The Contrast – Kaka’s Simple Living and our Obsession with Fitness & Diet

Kaka was very comfortable in his chappals, trudging the rough route and here we were discussing if the shoes we are wearing have enough grip and enough cushion to protect us. Throughout the route he kept telling us about how he used to work in Mumbai mills and shifted to his village Ghol once the Mills closed. He was telling how they commute from Ghol to Mahad or to Velhe in a day. Mind you that’s a distance of at least 30 Km on foot – through mountains of course not by road. If he has work in Kokan he starts off in the morning (on foot!) takes 1 bus ride on the way and is back by 3:00pm for a cup of tea!

Just as we approached the slippery section, Kaka removed his chappals and said he would prefer to climb barefoot! He was amused at our careful climbs and even more amused at the speed we were descending. As such we are a bunch of fit people, who regularly trek and cycle, so it’s not that we were tired, but his speed was just awesome!  All of us being fitness freaks, we kept talking about health food, healthy diets, diet trends etc etc

We Couldn’t Help but Ask – What’s your Secret?!

On our way back we asked him his age and we were floored! Kaka is 75 years old!!! He was hardly tired, and he was obviously faster. I asked him what does he eat? He said “Nachani chi Bhakri, lasanichi chatani, Toop  and Dudh. Kombadi hote athavadyala!!” There were chickens and hens happily roaming in his backyard!

We asked him what about any vegetables, he said, “what vegetables? Nothing grows here, this is a mountain”. Sometimes we grow gourds (Doodhi bhopla, ghosavala etc on the roofs) once in a while we get Potato from market but that’s about it! We were shocked, here we have been talking about eating fruit and vegetable and not getting enough nutrition from the daily diets etc etc. and here was a man in his 75, perfectly fit, traveling on his feet on daily basis (something like 30 odd km!) and living on a diet of Nachani Bhakri and Milk.

Think Different!

This interaction challenged my overly analytical perspective, I am sure our body is smarter than we think it is. It is able to extract required nutrition, protein vitamins etc and most importantly it is highly adaptive. It does not mean that we eat junk. It just means we eat clean, whole food. Look at his diet, Nachani that he grows in his backyard, no artificial fertilizers, just cowdung. Milk that his cows & buffaloes produce, ghee that he makes from this milk! And most important clean air and physical activity round the clock! I am sure a city nutritionist would put him on to multivitamins and supplements! 😛

Trek Info
  • Location:  Kokan Diva: It’s a small hill rising above the Kavlya ghat, its on the edge of the ghats and one can see lights in the kokan, hence the name! Once can drive from panshet boat club towards Ghol, it can also be approached from Kavlya Village from Nizampur, that is Kokan side.
  • Distance: Pune to Ghol – Apprx 65 Km. From Ghol to Kokan Diva and back is apprx 10K which includes flat sections
  • Time it took: 2 hrs one way for the trek
  • Level: Moderate

OnTheRun - Konkan