An Afternoon About Sustainable Food; Tossing Ideas about how Sustainable Food can Bring About a Better Tomorrow- Food Hackathon 2021



Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp

In an attempt to raise awareness on adopting healthier eating habits and sustainable lifestyles among the youth and aspiring chefs of Pakistan, The Royal Embassy of Denmark in Pakistan, in collaboration with Community World Service Asia, organised a ‘Food Hackathon’ in Lahore.

Food Hackathon held today at Avari, Lahore featured key personalities, Casper Bogeskov – Head Chef from Denmark, three exceptional panelists, including Dr. Sahar Chawla, Saleem Raza, Jamil Arshad, who came together to talk about food and its correlation with health, and obesity in particular.

The show commenced with an extensive presentation on ‘Sustainable Food’ and its crucial role in mitigating climate change through a plant-based diet by Chef Mr. Casper Bogeskov. A well-balanced and informative presentation with a hint of humor never fails. The chef ensured to enlighten the audience about the need for changing their lifestyle at the earliest. Along with spreading awareness, he also offered nifty alternatives to all the food that we eat.  From his revelations about how meat is easily replaceable with plant-based food yet keeping the same taste, and from focusing on reducing meat and eating more plant-based diet, he kept the audience intrigued yet entertained.

The primary focus of the event was to raise awareness among people on staying healthy by increasing their plant-based diet. As the saying going, “you are what you eat”; you’re either eating healthy, or you’re eating unhealthily, and that, my friend is pretty self-explanatory.

Following the presentation, a panel discussion took place to discuss the role of food in the growing prevalence of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and obesity in Pakistan and how consuming sustainable food could be a viable solution.

Every time you eat or drink, you’re either feeding a disease or fighting it. With that being said, did you know that Pakistan is the 9th most obese country in the world? So, every 1 in 5 people have diabetes.

Each panelist shared a diverse point of view, yet they all agreed on the “lack of awareness” in Pakistan. “The unavailability of local research and baseline data being core issues leading to such factors,” said Saleem Raza.  However, to build a foundation, knowledge is the key to transformation. Moreover, he also addressed obesity as an epidemic with respect to its current condition and that maximum research must be carried out to have enough statistics to bring about a change.

While referring to what went wrong, one of the panelists, Mr. Jamil, explained the need to make our people mindful of how to eat, what to eat, and what not to eat. He also added that the national dietic guideline passed in 2018 is nowhere to be seen yet far beyond being implemented. He concluded by calling this a joint effort and that every person associated shall play their part.

The panelists also discussed ways to improve Pakistanis’ low quality of life and low life expectancy with poor eating habits cited as the main cause. They motivated Pakistanis to adopt a healthy diet and embrace healthier cooking habits to fight diabetes and obesity.

Dr. Sahar, a panelist, got down to the basics and talked about how we need to explore more cooking options, methods and ingredients. She also spoke about the overhaul of the sugar mafia and its adverse impacts. Eating food in its rawest form, without much treatment, is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. She concluded her presentation with a quote by Oscar Wilde “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”

All the participants, including aspiring chefs, nutritionists, students, housewives, and some influencers, then had a brainstorming session on how to hack the Pakistani problems of deep-frying and food toxicity. The session turned out to be a big hit since deep frying lies in the heart of every Pakistani. Who thought food could be toxic? But it is. So participants put their heads together to explore ways and dishes that would address food toxicity and promote a balanced nutrition.

The brainstorming was followed by an innovation session where participants put their ideas into practice in the kitchen in a given time limit with a given set of ingredients.

It is not wrong to say that healthy eating isn’t about dieting, cleansing, counting fat grams, or antioxidants. It’s about eating food just how nature gives it to us. It turns out plant-based diet can help eliminate a major proportion of food-related ailments and improve the life expectancy of people. It might take time, but slow and steady always win.

The activities of the hackathon emphasized how essential it is for everyone to eat nutritious food, exercise regularly and integrate a healthier lifestyle. Imagine your body smiling back at you and saying “Thank You” for all that you did for it! Oh, so wholesome.