I have tried to keep the story as short as possible but pardon us if it takes too long and too much of your precious time.
Born and raised in the old city of Lahore, I was brought up just like another average teen. Playing cricket, football and other sports in the streets of Lahore, I always felt energetic, strong and confident. I completed my high school from Forman Christian College and went to the UK in 2006 for my higher education. Immediately after living int he UK for some time, I realized the low quality of food and the declining sports/physical fitness culture back in Lahore.
The quality of the basic value food products in the UK felt so much better even when compared even to the high end food items in Pakistan. Similarly, I witnessed the importance of focus on health and fitness in their society. Time past and I came back to Pakistan. Between 2011 and 2015, I stayed in Lahore, got married, was blessed with two beautiful children and always struggled to find good quality food products in Lahore.
From milk and butter to chicken and eggs, I had to spend considerable amount of time and money jut to be able to find a supplier of healthy and naturally grown food products. On the other hand, I saw children in my famaily and elsewhere struggling to make friends as the modern life style turned them into loners. It is now an established fact that increased use of games consoles, mobile phones, the internet and MP3 players has harmed children’s and adults’ ability to interact with their peers (Telegraph, 2007).
Food & Fitness In Japan
In 2016 I went to Japan to become part of a prestigious halal food group and quickly discovered that Japan had the most strict laws concerning the quality of food products. According to a German backpacker Mike Dawson (2015) Japan food has a traditionally high value. The country’s indigenous religion Shinto elevates purity to the status of an essential principle. Thus, food of exquisite quality is presented in a scrupulously clean way. Even the items exported from Pakistan to Europe and the USA could not be imported to Japan because the Japanese quality standards meant that many of the Pakistan based manufacturers and exporters had to further improve their quality control processes which they could not do so.
From my experience, I can guarantee that the quality of food in Japan is well above the rest of the world and this explains their highest life expectancy. Japan government considers fitness and well being of population of the utmost importance and it recommends every citizen should walk at least 10,000 steps on a daily basis. While I worked in Japan for two years, I always kept thinking of how in Pakistan average families like mine could have access to quality yet basic foods such as milk, eggs, chicken, oil and more; and also how as a society we ca begin to appreciate the importance of healthy and active life style. Meanwhile, the quality of basic food items and the culture of physical fitness in Pakistan continued to decline further.
The Birth of Nashonuma
In 2019, I returned to Pakistan with the sole aim of making sure that every family in my city will have access to quality and naturally grown food products without having to spend a fortune just to be able to find the suppliers; and to spread awareness among the society about the importance of active life style – and the project NASHONUMA was born. Nashonuma is just like my third child and I will do everything I can to make sure that I am able to ensure provision of best quality and natural food products which you and your family can eat with confidence. I will do everything I can to make sure that our children switch from playing games on their smart phones to going out to parks and streets to participate in physical sports. The balance between indoor and outdoor activities is important and parents are responsible to help their children strike the right balance.
At the moment, I and my team at Nashonuma are determined to work out the logistics to deliver high quality, natural and pure food products including but not limited to pure and unprocessed milk, pure cheese, organic (desi) eggs, free range (desi) chicken, broiler chicken (that meets European API standards), homemade processed chicken/meat products, fruits, vegetables and nuts – all at affordable prices. On the other hand, we have taken up the challenge of providing the tools for parents to bring about a change in their children’s and their own life style. I see Nashonuma growing into something really big; an agent of change towards healthy and active life style in Pakistan.
This is what UNICEF says about the nutrition challenges facing Pakistani children, “The right nutrition at the right time is essential for child survival, health and development. Well-nourished children are much more equipped to grow and learn, act as productive members of society, and respond well in combatting disease, disasters and other global crises.”
“Poor nutrition, by the same logic, impacts on health, education and wellbeing through generations. The situation is quite dire in Pakistan, with stunting and wasting heavily prevalent in the country. Stunting does not only mean that a child is not having enough to eat. It is about the quantity and quality of diet besides other factors. Inadequate nutrition among mothers during pregnancy is one of the main reasons of malnutrition among children leading to stunting.”
What I have realized in these years is that it is our children who are the biggest losers taking into the consideration the current food market situation in Pakistan an the dependence on gadgets, games and computers. I found children in Japan to be stronger, healthier, fitter, more energetic and more intelligent. Could the low performance of our children be linked to the low quality food that they are being given? Are we giving our children the quality food that they deserve? Is there an alternate diet to fast food and snacks? What does your child take to school in lunch – vegetables, fruits, nuts, nice, cereal or processed/packed food products? What can we do to help our children make shift towards physical sports rather than staying locked in their room 24 hours a day? When will we realise the physical activities of our children are directly linked to reduced risk of obesity, increased cardiovascular fitness, healthy growth of bones, ligaments, muscles and tendons; and improved coordination and balance. These are the questions we as parents should be asking ourselves. After all, as parents, the two key ingredients of nourishment of our children that we are responsible for are healthy food and arranging for their physical development. Having said that, natural uncontaminated food is equally important for us adults as well.
Did you know that, “Pakistan is one of the ten countries in the world where more than half of the under-five year old population suffers from either stunting or wasting, or both. Malnutrition in its different types and forms is a critical issue for the Islamic Republic, which has demonstrated in recent years increased commitment to social development (IRIS, 2017).
To realize the importance and benefits of natural foods and healthier lifestyle is where we as a nation have been lacking in the last decade or so primarily because of the fancy high ticket products and tech gadgets we keep on being influenced by. It is a cultural change that we are talking about here. I know it will take much of my life time to bring about that change but I am prepared for the challenge. I never tell my audience to completely stop consuming processed food products but simply cut down on the frequency of their use. Having that cheesy pizza or a fat beef burger late at night or playing games on your smart phone for an hour or two is all OK as long as you don’t make it a routine habit. The focus as a family has to be on eating natural and pure food products so we can compete with other nations intellectually and physically. Only by bringing about substantial changes in our diet regimen and lifestyle, we can expect to have an improved life expectancy in Pakistan – just like I saw in Japan.
“For every meal, please chew very well (in order to liquify the food you need at least 25 chews for bite, because the enzyme of your saliva kicks off the process of digestion).”
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