Health Bits

786014_11682793The festival season is just round the corner with the navratras leading it on.The divine smell of fried potatoes, kheer, kuttu poories and pakoras is truly irresistable.However on the contrary the amount you eat during these nine days stays on the weighing scale for quite some time.Well i have a suggestion , why not eat everything without putting on kilos. The simple art of substitution is all that is called for here. You just need to do a bit of swapping and play around with food. Here’s how

  1. Limit your potato intake to about twice a week. Avoid deep frying the potatoes instead boil or bake them when making vegetables.
  2. Substitute ghee with refined or olive oil.
  3. Substitute whole milk with skimmed milk.
  4. Substitute sugar with a low calorie sweetener .
  5. Drink up ! water, coconut water, lemonade …as much as you can.It works as a great detox.
  6. Eat green veggies like pumpkin and ghia to keep your nutrition on a boost.
  7. Use rajgira atta to make rotis instead of using kuttu ka atta.It’s lighter and refreshing.
  8. Look out for innovative navratra recipes such as kadhi, theplas, cheelas. These can be made with very minimal oil and are delicious to eat too.
  9. Go fruity this navrata.Eat fresh fruits in the form of salads, smoothies, raitas and puddings to keep your daily dose of vitamins coming up.
  10. Keep your guilt trips to moderate.Portion control is the key to stay in the safety circle, eat but keep a limit to it.

Navratra is a time to feast…well i would say it healthy feast.Eating is a pleasure and no one should be denied of it so why not eat smartly and that too everything.

My firm belief in the benefits of food and the body’s ability to talk to oneself got me into reading Deepak Chopra’s Perfect Health.I came across this very interesting ideology practiced in Ayurveda called as BITS.Abbreviated for Body Intelligence Tips,BITS refers to how our body reacts to the surroundings, sounds and thoughts while we eat food.Ayurveda proposes that in order to attain perfect health it is also important to focus on how you eat food and not only on what you eat. let me put it this way,you are having dinner with colleagues and the tiff you had with your boss comes up in the conversation.Do you still enjoy eating as you did when you started the meal, or now does the focus comes on to the situation you were in at work? The body is really smart you see, every word you say is literally heard by your body.The brain sends out signals interpreting your thoughts and actions to your stomach and to other organs in the body.This leads to chemical upsurges and falls in the body comprehending the way the food is digested.In the literal sense the phrase” gut feeling” actually stands true when it comes to food.Deepak Chopra recommends 16 BITS which can take your body’s ability to digest food and benefit from it to  a new level.

  1. Eat in a settled atmosphere.
  2. Never eat when you are upset.
  3. Always sit down to eat.
  4. Eat only when you feel hungry.
  5. Avoid ice-cold drink or food.
  6. Don’t talk while chewing food.
  7. Eat at a moderate pace, niether too fast nor too slow.
  8. Wait until one meal is digested before eating the next.
  9. Sip warm water with your meals.
  10. Eat freshly cooked meals whenever possible.
  11. Eat well cooked meals- they are easier to digest.
  12. Do not cook with honey- heated honey is known to create toxins in the body.
  13. Drink milk separately from meals either alone or with sweet foods
  14. Experience all six tastes in a meal( sweet, sour, salt, pungent,astringent and bitter).
  15. Leave 1/3rd to 1/4th of your stomach empty to aid digestion.
  16. Sit down quietly after a meal.

By following these tips you will notice how comfortable you feel with your body.You can say goodbye to all those glow creams and lotions, as the best glow you can get is when your body is nourished and appreciated. The best way to do this by providing it with well cooked and wholesome food.
If you have been struggling with your weight, then BITS are of great help too.You will be surprised but many a times you may be eating healthy food but in an unhealthy environment which may be the root cause of your weight gain.Running around while eating your greens, tensed while eating food; result is feeling bloated, heavy and fat. You need to understand every human body has been bestowed with this amazing intelligence which tells you when to stop and when to start doing something…even eating.Most of the overweight people indulge in mindless eating where the feeling of being full is overshadowed with gluttony.The power of conscious eating is the one that can take your body to perfect health.That glorious self confidence, glow and that head turning attitude is all in your hands.Just follow your body, you’ll be well directed.

The love and hate relationship between sugar and weight is the one that most of us are familiar with.Lets talk about a different view of sugar with wrinkles.Yes, sugar intake is directly proportional to wrinkles and ageing skin. So if the weight issue hasn’t lead to dump those cookies, the beauty issue surely will. Here’s what happens when we eat sugar.

  • When you eat sugar, it attaches to proteins in the bloodstream leading to formation of Advanced Glycation Endproducts, or AGEs. These AGEs further damage the neighbouring protein molecules. So where does the skin come into the picture? Does elastin and collagen ring a bell, the protein in the skin which is responsible to keep the skin taut and firm. Collagen is the most common protein that the body makes thus making it most vulnerable during such chemical reactions.
  • The skin is made up of three types of collagen’s  types I, II, and III.Out of these the type III is the most stable one. A high sugar diet leads to conversion of type III collagen into type I collagen which is the most delicate and fragile one. This leaves the skin looking sagged and dull.
  • AGEs deactivate the body’s antioxidant enzymes, leaving the skin susceptible to sun damage.

Prevention Through Diet

Here’s what you can do in your diet.

  1. Though eliminating sugar completely from the diet is not possible as your grains, vegetables are all carbs which get converted into sugar in the body. However you can cut down the sugar in the form of table sugar, cakes, cookies, ice creams, colas etc.
  2. Include more vegetables and fruits in your diet which are rich in antioxidants.
  3. Eating protein rich high fibre foods like nuts is also a good option.
  4. Since the body is made up of 70 percent water, it is extremely important to drink at least 8-10 glasses of water everyday to flush out the toxins and to keep the skin supple and soft.
  5. Include foods rich in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids like fish and nuts in your diet.

Ageing is a natural process and avoiding it is inevitable.However being aware about what you are doing with your body is also important.A minor indulgence such as sugar can add that extra wrinkle on your face..so think before you grab that chocolate.

So the weekend has arrived and you want to eat out, but the condition is it should be light and healthy. The best option you feel is of course the favourite South Indian..or is it? Well lets have a look at how much are you eating in that one evening meal.

FOOD                  CALORIES

1Masala Dosa            350

2 Idlis                        97

2 Vadas                    175

1 bowl Sambhar        200

Nariyal Chutney(30 ml) 75

Total calories -897

Surprised! Well your South Indian meal is no less in calories. However you can be smart and cut down the calories. Here’s how

  • Eat plain dosa instead of masala dosa.(Calories saved: 130)
  • Avoid vadas, eat idlis instead since they are steamed they are much lighter.(Calories saved: 150)
  • It is better to avoid the coconut chutney, instead eat the green chutney.(Calories saved:53)

Total calories saved: 333
As i said earlier losing weight is all about being smart around food. Don’t let it get the better of you,take control of what you eat.

Confused about what diet is best for you, here’s a review on the famous “Blood Type” diet.Devised by Dr Peter D’Adamo and his father, this diet changed the way the world ate.According to Dr Peter, there is a connection between our blood type and the food we eat.The chemical reactions between the blood and the foods you eat affect your body constitution,energy levels and weight.So if your weight loss program is a bit slow, try revving it up with the foods compatible with your blood type. Here’s an overview of the diet.
Blood Type A: A high carb low fat vegan diet is ideally suited for this blood type.Include fruits, veggies and avoid dairy and animal fats to get the maximum benefit from this diet.Due to low stomach acid , you tend to have trouble digesting meat.Instead load up on legumes, beans and tofu to keep those protein levels high.Light exercises with mediation is recommended for this blood group.
Blood Type B: With this group you can have a variety of foods.Include fruits, vegetables, dairy, fish and grains in your diet to keep your diet balanced.Chicken, corn, buckwheat,sesame seeds and lentils should be avoided as they make you feel bloated and heavy.Tomatoes should also be avoided as they irritate your stomach lining. A moderate exercise like walking or swimming is recommended.
Blood Type AB: You are lucky as you can have most of the foods from the A and B group.Chicken and corn should be avoided due to your low stomach acid levels.It is very important to detoxify your system, so have a glass of lemon water on an empty stomach to keep your system fresh. Relaxation and calming exercises such as yoga is recommended.
Blood Type O: A high protein low cab diet with a good intake of fruits and vegetables is recommended for you.Wheat,other grains, dairy and nuts should be avoided to lose weight.High intensity vigorous exercise is recommended .
Blood group diet is a scientifically proven diet management system. However it may get a bit difficult to follow in the long run. So if you are up to it, then keep the monotony and the strictness in mind.

Alcohol is considered one bad apple when it comes to weight loss.Well let’s have a few facts marked and the association between fat and alcohol more sorted out.I’ll get a bit technical here, however will try to keep it as laymanny as possible.

It is the body’s nature to extract energy out of everything that we eat or drink.When you eat food it is converted to glucose which is the primary source of energy in the body. However when you drink alcohol it is converted into acetate and not glucose in the body.Now since it the body’s behaviour to fuel itself, it uses the acetate to get energy.Here’s the look at the energy provided by the different macro nutrients and alcohol.

1gm carbohydrate- 4 kcal

1 gm protein-4kcal

1 gm fat- 9 kcal

1gm alcohol- 7 kcal

Nutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals can be stored in the body to be used later unlike alcohol. So when you consume alcohol it is given preference over other nutrients to be used as energy.For example if you have 3 large pegs of vodka with sprite(630 calories)+ a handful of french fries(200 calories)+ 3 teaspoons peanuts(147 calories)+ salad(60 calories), the body will use acetate from the alcohol for energy and not breakdown the carbs and fat from the french fries,peanuts and salad. The carbs and fat get stored in the body as fat which further slows down the metabolism. Though the body is getting it’s quota of energy, the effects are not so energising though.Alcohol provides the body with empty calories which leave you tired, irritable and fatigued at the end. Further more acetate is an appetite stimulant and is the major cause why people tend to overeat while drinking….another reason for weight gain.

Apart from alcohol, the overall calories make all the difference when it comes to weight loss.Though alcohol definitely plays a major part in slowing down the weight loss process, but it may not be the only reason contributing to your weight gain. Have a review of how much are you eating with your drinks, you’ll get a much clearer picture. Though alcohol has got a pretty bad rep, it’s not as bad they call it. Alcoholic beverages like wine and beers have proven to have health benefits.Your occasional drink may actually be good for your body, so enjoy it but in moderation, it’ll keep your weight under check and heart healthy.

Here is another post about calories, however don’t think iam a calorie freak i would rather call myself a health junkie.A lot many people have been asking me about extremely low calorie snacks.Though there are many to be frank for example,1 chocolate cookie is about 30 calories, but iam not going to put that down, as that doesn’t comply to what i believe as low calorie. I think any snack or food should give you something healthy . So here i have a list of snacks under 30 calories which add to your health. Try them out.

  • 1 glass nimboo pani( salted)-15 calories
  • 1 glass lassi(2teaspoon low fat curd)-21 calories
  • 1/4 cup strawberries with half cup low fat yogurt- 27 calories
  • 1/2 cup papaya pieces-26 calories
  • 1/2 cup of green beans(falliyan)-25 calories
  • 3 tablespoon mung sprouts- 20 calories
  • 1 cucumber-10 calories
  • 1 medium torai(zucchini)-24 calories
  • 2 cups raw spinach-14 calories
  • 1 cup lettuce-9 calories
  • 1 medium tomato-25 calories
  • 1 cup mushrooms(raw)-12 calories
  • 3 spring onions-26 calories
  • 1 cup methi(raw)-12 calories
  • 1 cup mint leaves-13 calories
  • 1 cup bhindi(ladyfinger)raw-26 calories
  • 1 cup lauki-23 calories
  • 1/4 cup skimmed fat paneer-28 calories
  • 1/2 cup popcorn(plain salted)- 22 calories

Try including these healthy under 30 calorie foods in your daily diet, whether your aim is to lose weight or to increase your energy levels they work both ways.

Picture this; you pay 2000 rupees for your gym membership and are super enthusiastic about losing weight for the first couple of days. Thereon the excuse story starts, you just can’t get yourself to stick to that routine. If you fit the frame then try reviewing what you wear during your workout session. Studies show that your clothes have a direct effect on your attitude towards events and occurrences. Wearing clothes like salwar kameez or loose flowing garments to hide your flab makes you feel out of place apart from hampering the techniques of your workout. Instead wearing proper fitness gear not only peps up your mood but also allows proper hand and leg movements. If you are serious about your weight loss then try these clothey tips for a super weight loss workout.

  • Buy proper fitted track pants and tops for your workout. This not only helps the trainer to judge your exercise techniques but also sets you in the mood for a great exercise session.
  • Treat your exercise outfit as you would do for an expensive outfit. Looking forward to wearing certain clothes makes the event more interesting.
  • Apart from garments try getting some cool workout accessories like bands, bottles or a pedometer. Indulging a little to lose weight is not a bad idea.

Looking good has a direct relation to feeling good, whether it’s at a party or a gym. So try changing the way you dress for a gym, you’ll see the difference, not only in your attitude but around you also.

If you are starting a weight loss program and are unsure about how to eat or rather how much to eat, then here is some help. As I have mentioned earlier in my posts, losing weight is a bit of science and a lot of smartness. The normal recommended calorie intake for Indians is approx 2000-2200 calories for women and about 2400-2700 for men. However if we look at it we never tend to eat that much in our regular days except for when we indulge in outside food. So a healthy eating pattern does not govern this recommended calorie intake. If you are the one who eats a healthy 2000 calorie diet and is fit and slim then kudos to you, as it is best thing that you can do to your body. Such a diet keeps the energy levels up and mind alert.

Let’s talk about losing weight,if you are on a weight loss diet then it is best to maintain a calorie intake of 1200 calories for women and 1400 for men. Keep this as a benchmark for weight loss diets. Maintain your diet up to this level to lose weight. In case you still do not see any results then reduce the calorie intake by about 100 or 200 calories. However if your existing diet is already at this level then you need to be smart with food. Increase on to your low calorie foods slowly along with an exercise routine. Then slowly decrease the amount you eat, to give the weight loss a push. It is important not to go too low with the calories, as that may be harmful for your health. Keep it light but keep it healthy, that is the perfect weight loss mantra.

Digestion is one of the most important functions in our body and strangely we do not quite acknowledge it. Responsible for filtering nutrients from toxins in the body, this system is quite undermined actually. Waking up groggy eyed, mood swings, slow weight loss, feeling tired, bloated and constipated are a few symptoms of an irregular digestion. It is all about give and take as they say….a problem in your digestion can show up some place else. Take a look at the intricate linking system.

  •  Poor digestion leads to low iron absorption which makes you feel tired and fatigued.
  • A lowered metabolism is also linked to a poor digestion.
  • Since the body does not get it’s stock of nutrients, it loses it’s full ability to fight diseases and virus.
  • Irregular or poor digestion leads to toxin retention in the body. Your pimples and dull dry skin could be related to that.
  • Water retention is another link to poor digestion.

 Try these tips to rev up your digestion

  1.  Drink up- To function effectively, your digestive system needs water. If you don’t drink enough water, your intestine walls will get weakened. This in turn will affect your digestive functions. You should drink at least 8-12 glasses of water everyday. Go low on caffeine like coffee and tea. Instead have low calorie, non caffeinated beverages like soups, lassi etc.
  2. Eat small- Eating frequent small meals is recommended in case of a poor digestion. Here’s why; when you are hungry, the brain sends a signal to the stomach informing the same. If you don’t eat at that time and eat a big meal later you tend to feel bloated and gassy. Eating small meals keeps you full day long and keeps to light and active.
  3. Say yes to breakfast- Acknowledge the first meal of the day to the fullest. Start your day with a healthy and wholesome breakfast. Include whole wheat, fruits and milk in your breakfast to keep those energy levels going for the day.
  4.  Munch on fruits and veggies- Include fruits and vegetables of different colours in your diet. They are rich in anti-oxidants which help fighting infection and increase immunity.
  5. Go whole-. Whole grains like wheat are a great source of fibre. Include whole cereals in your diet instead of refined ones to avoid constipation.
  6. Keep spices low- Spicy food triggers acidity. So it is best to eat mildly spiced food.
  7. Go low on fats- Eat less amount of foods laden with ghee and butter like pakodas, poories etc. Since these foods are high in fat, they take a longer time to get digested and make you feel heavy and lethargic.
  8. Check the temperature- Experts suggest eating foods a bit warmer than room temperature for good digestion. Too hot or too cold foods affect the digestive capability.
  9. Chew up- “Eat slowly and chew your food” that’s what our granny’s used to tell us. Well they were right, eating too fast leads to gas and acidity.
  10. Move a little- A little bit of walking is good after a meal. It aids in digestion.
  11. Sleep well- Getting a good night’s sleep is important for a healthy digestion.
  12. Manage stress- Stress directs the blood flow from the stomach to the organs which can hamper effective digestion.
  13. Watch out for antibiotics- Having too many antibiotics kills the good bacteria which sit in your intestines. This leads to poor digestion.

 Recipes for healthy digestion

  •  Try munching carom seeds ( ajwain) or fennel seeds( saunf) after a meal for digestion.
  • Curd is a wonderful antacid and is known to curb acidity. Include curd in your meals for a soothing effect.
  • Add lemon juice to your dals and veggies for a active digestion

Go to the very core of your body for a few answers. All your problems like fatigue, skin problems etc, are related to digestion. By simply making a few changes can see a meltdown to a fresher and healthier you.

How many times have i picked up a diet coke over a regular one or sugar free biscuits over cream ones? The answer is innumerable times. And how much of these low fat products have i actually consumed?The answer is i have wasted most of them. The fact is that the” low fat” phrase attracts most of us and we do not think beyond it. In the lure of eating more of our favourite foods we look for various low calorie options, only to fool ourselves.The outcome is worse in fact, we end up eating more of the “low calorie” foods which makes the calorie consumption even higher than its normal counterpart. Your intake of 1 cream biscuit triples to 3 sugar free biscuits over tea. A very common example being using nutrilite butter in full swing as compared to normal butter. The only difference being that nutrilite butter is low in cholesterol, there is no difference in calories if we see the two. A sensible way to have your cake and eat it too, is to consume everything but in moderation. Eat your gulab jamun the real one no sugar free versions, but the trick is to know when to stop. After having one piece of cake, stop and think ” do i actually want to eat the second piece?”,believe me that small decision of yours will make you so proud of yourself. Trust your instincts to tell you when, what and how much to eat.

If you are a late riser try waking an hour earlier, you will have your breakfast at leisure. If you are a binge bird, maybe you do not eat your meals well or probably stress beats you down everytime.Maintaining a diet log also helps as you will know the pattern in which you fall.Some are too busy to eat in the mornings so they overeat in the evenings and some do everything correct till lunch and then comes the tea and samosa break. You will be surprised to find out the simple patterns we get stuck in and then stress about gaining weight. Once you find out your eating cycle you will be more relaxed and sorted when it comes to eating .Management is the key to a fit life. Plan your meals in advance, make a weekly menu. this will ensure you eat foods that are healthy and nutritious. Also your taste buds will be jerked to eat right. A bonus,you can also include your favourite food or a glass of wine over the weekend. So plan right , eat right and stay healthy.

I love navratras it’s a total feast,however the calories is what bothers me the most.So here is a simple, low calorie recipe to try which doesn’t take much of your time and is great to eat.

Ingredients

vrat chawal flour(1 cup)

mustard seeds(1tsp)

1 tablespoon oil

water to make batter

salt as per taste

Method

  1. Mix vrat rice flour with water to make a smooth batter.The batter should neither be too thin or too thick.
  2. Add salt as per taste.
  3. Make a tadka or tempering of mustard seeds with kadi patta and add it to the batter.Mix well
  4. Pour a ladle full of the batter on a non- stick tawa and spread it in circular motion like a dosa.Sprinkle one or two drops of oil over the dosa.Flip over when cooked from one side.
  5. Serve hot with mint chutney.

That’s my version of the dosa, you can also add potatoes as a filling if you just cannot do without them.But be sure to count the calories then.

Serves 5-6

Total calories per servings- 75

 There comes a time in a year when you let go of the raging hungry bull and eat all to your heart’s desire, shutting that every intuitive nerve in your body that says” don’t eat that”.Well what should i call you, i think seasonal foodies. Yes, the amount you eat and what you eat partly depends on the time of the year also. Though most people go overboard in winters, there are some who gorge on their favourite ice-cream in summers.The outcome of this is actually not a very enthralling experience though.Then begins a cycle of gain-depression-eating-gain-depression.Most of the obese people are stuck in this cyclic ritual, looking out for help.The answer is “simple”, yes simple eating.Here’s how

  • Keep your high calorie food intake to moderate.
  • Try eating as simple as possible.
  • Don’t deprive yourself of your favourite foods but do justice to your body also.
  • Exercise to burn off that extra flab.

Try these tips if you feel a weather or a season affects you, the effect will amaze you.

Iam a sweet freak,i just simply love desserts.Of all the desserts, homemade cakes are my all time favourite, that too just out of the oven.I bet you know the basic ingredients of a cake are maida, sugar and butter/oil. However we can keep this low calorie too and ofcourse add a lot of nutrition to it. I came across this recipe of an eggless date cake which works great as per health is concerned.The basic recipe says maida as an ingredient but i used atta instead and it turned out great. Try it out, the recipe also gives out an oil free version.
Calories per serving(with oil)-190

Calories per serving(no oil)-120

View recipe here
http://www.aayisrecipes.com/2006/05/27/date-cake-eggless/

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