This is our journey to a fantastic, informative morning by the ECU Students on nutrition. We were fortunate to participate in a community engagement activity with the young enthusiastic ECU students ready to give us all the information we needed when we handle and provide food, including the sandwich seva and weekly stir fry vegetable service for the less fortunate children, young adults and adult homeless that many Sai members in Perth assist with.

Our Sai brothers, sisters and aunties were excited and charged with energy to listen. Swami as usually always has his plan for us.

We started with our three Aums. The students found this very relaxing and commented on how it calmed them to start. The tone was set to listen and learn.

We first introduced ourselves with our name and favourite vegetables. The air was charged with love and enthusiasm to learn more on how we can help to better or improve our nutritional knowledge on cooking food and serving food.

We continued the session with a few hands on lessons for us. We first grouped foods into different categories according to the Australian Guide to Healthy eating. The food groups they belonged to example the dairy, protein, grain, fruit, vegetables and sometimes food. The sometimes food were eg. our chocolate, ice cream, chips etc. We also discussed the portion sizes needed for each age group and gender. We were all looked surprised and we had a good laugh on how much we had especially rice.

The first team of students got us to look at salt, sugar and fats in our morning breakfast cereals. Nutri-grain was the worst. I was glad weet-bix came out ok but cooked oats with added fruits were the best. We then moved on to grains and fillings and what we all had for lunch. Some said salads, sandwiches and many said leftovers from the night before. I was glad to hear that because I usually make a sandwich with leftovers from the night before.

We then moved on to the sandwich making. There were a variety of breads and fillings to choose from. This was very exciting and by then I was ready to have a snack. The food was simple, delicious and nutritious. We had a choice of spreads, salad fillings tomato, cucumber, spinach, red onion and cheeses sliced. The fruits sliced were pears and apples. I was intrigued by this when added to my sandwich it was delicious and added a hint of sweetness to the sandwich. I loved it because I have a sweet tooth and I loved the mixture of sweet and salty. The spreads were easily made with a can of chickpeas added to each vegetable. They was beetroot, pumpkin and chickpeas. They were all blended to make different spreads. It tasted like salt and pepper were added to make it taste delicious. They demonstrated to us that we can make yummy sandwiches with simple ingredients which are nutritious to nourish our bodies and souls. We were all excited and ready to eat our delicious sandwiches.

The students then demonstrated to us how to make a delicious stir fry. This was quick, easy and nutritious. It had all the colour foods a stir should have and it was delicious. The protein added to this stir fry was canned chickpeas. The students told us that before using chickpeas from the can it must be washed out thoroughly. We also spoke about storage and how long after cooking we should refrigerate food especially rice which grows bacteria very quickly. We ended that session by tasting the stir fry. All the meals we had were delicious, nutritious and vegetarian. For vegetarians adding the vegetarian protein is very important. This keeps you fuller and makes the meal more balanced.

We finished with filled tummies and knowledgeable minds about making our nutritious food with love and mindfulness. This was made so easy to understand since the ECU students did a magnificent job helping us learn about all foods and nutrition. They gave us booklets to take home with recipes to share with our family and friends. These booklets were the LIVELIGHTER booklets. We all thanked them. I said to the students that we are so proud of them and thanked them for there sharing of knowledge and time with us.

Thank you Swami for giving us this opportunity to serve you.

With Divine Love and Blessings

Danashni Naidu