10 healthy choices I learnt to make from my Amma!

I believe that parents need to make nutrition education a priority in their home environment. It's crucial for good health and longevity to instill in your children sound eating habits from an early age.
- Cat Cora

Parents have an unimaginably huge impact on their children’s lives and all the choices that they make. Children are like sponges and they model everything their parents do and incorporate what they see into their own lives, that’s why it is immensely important that parents set the right examples for their children. Research on attitudes indicates that parental warmth together with reasonable levels of control combine to produce positive outcomes on children’s development.

But when it comes to our mothers, their impact is even greater. What they say, do and ask us to do becomes somewhat our personal manual to live life. There are so many habits that they instill in us, some knowingly and some unknowingly. These habits shape our personality and make us see things with a slightly different perspective.

When it comes to my Amma, there are tons of things she has taught me and tons of things that I have picked up from her. As they say, we all turn into our mothers one day. Now at the age of 30, I can finally see how similar I’m to her.

But there are few things that she was really insistent upon when I was younger, few of them made sense to me but few looked like a punishment or a hassle. I took my time in realizing how healthy these choices were and they were for my own benefit.

·         Choose homemade meals.

Amma has always been a great cook but more than that, she is 100% against eating out and a great advocate of making every type food at home. She and my dadi taught me to cook in my early teen years and according to them, it’s the most basic life skill that everyone must have.

·         Choose natural sugar over refined sugar.

Be it fruits or homemade treats, she made sure that we stay away from store-bought snacks and refined sugar. I remember her replacing sugar with either honey or jiggery even in desserts and the practice is still on in our family.

·         Choose safe drinking water.

She still asks us to take our own water bottles to school and work. Because of her constant instructions, we all have learnt to not to drink water if we are not sure that it’s safe. It’s important and a really good habit to pick on.

·         Spend time with your family.

What we see today is that a lot of people spend their time online and not with their families. At our home, it’s almost impossible to do. Dinner is a family meal, so we all get to sit together at least once every day and no phones are allowed on the table, so yeah, talk about rules!

·         Be smart with your money.

It took me years to understand why it is really important to watch my spending habits and to not to buy things compulsively. I have always seen her being very cautious with money and she believes in investing head on when it comes to education or skilling up. I think that’s the best invest anyone can ever make!

·         Never give up.
It's International Women's Day today and I'm seeing so many tributes on social media. It got me thinking about the woman who made me who I am today. She is my Amma who made sure that I stay on track, that I don't lose my focus, and that I keep stretching myself to do more. There are so many stories to tell but today when I was asked to talk about Women in STEM, I remember the story my nani told me. My amma wanted to pursue mathematics but her family didn't let her because her ambition looked absurd to them. She was forced into pre-med, she couldn't study well and left her education. It was a very heartbreaking time for her but she managed to survive it. Fast forward two decades, it came my time to choose between Biology and Computer Science, all our extended family sort of warned me to not to get into anything but Biology, she stepped in. She told me to do whatever I liked, be whatever I wanted to be. I took up CS and after few years graduated from NED University. I remember how happy she was and she said to my nani, at least my daughter got to live her dream. I have fallen so many times in life but she made sure that I got up every time. It wasn't easy for her, raising a daughter with dyslexia and math disability (the irony!) but she was never afraid of taking up any challenge. So yeah, I couldn't be more proud to be her daughter! #internationalwomensday #womensday #mom #mymom #proudtobemymum P.S. This picture is from 4th grade, result day.
A post shared by Faiza Yousuf (@faizayousuf) on

As a dyslexic, life has been a little hard on me but she made sure that I don’t lose hope. I have had tough times with my studies but I never gave up due to her support and encouragement.

·         Choose happiness, always.

She taught us to be content with our lives and to make sure that we stay grateful for both the good times and the bad. Amma displayed this virtue regardless of external factors and I am learning to do that too.

She always sought to include others into our plans and lives. She would invite people over for dinner and for outings. I am an introvert and a little socially awkward too and I guess all the things that I have learnt when it comes to meeting people were because of her outgoing personality.

·         Discipline is a virtue.

Self-discipline ought not to be feared, but nurtured. She is a person of habit and loves following a routine. Be it meals or cleaning or sleeping, she made sure that we live a disciplined life (I am still struggling but hey, who isn’t?).

·         Be quick to help other.

She recites the following verses to us every now and then!

Apnay liyey to sab hi jeetay hain iss jahan mein
Hay zindagi ka maqsad auron kay kaam aana
Aaye jo koi mushkil himmat say kaam ley na
Girnay lagay jo koi tum barh ke thaam ley na
Insan wohi bara hay jis nay yeh raaz jaana
Hay zindagi ka maqsad auron kay kaam aana!

So I make sure that I spend some of my time in volunteering!

This post is inspired by nestle Pakistan's campaign #ProudToBeMyMum (see their video here). Few of my favorite posts from this campaigns are:

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