Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Did you fall?

Our body undergoes a lot of strain and stress in our lifetime. All the organs take the brunt. Bones are no exception. The incidence of falls and fractures keep on increasing as we age. Sometimes fractures occur without any real injury. Bending of bones and pain in joints are also commonly seen.

All these are not necessary evils of aging. They can be prevented or managed to have a healthy and active life. It is important for us to keep our bones healthy and strong. This is especially true for women as they are prone to osteoporosis after menopause (when the protective effect of hormones is gone).

To keep our bones healthy:

Maintain a healthy weight- excess weight puts a strain on the bones and joints and make them prone to spontaneous fractures. Being underweight means your bones are weak and can’t take everyday stress.

Exercise- aerobics, weight training, yoga, tai-chi are some of the ways which help to preserve the bones.

Include calcium rich foods - yogurt, milk, cheese, cooked green leafy vegetables (sarson saag/mustard leaves, muli-patta/Radish geens,), bhindi /Ladyfinger/okra, soybeans, soy milk etc.

Get enough sunshine - the early morning jog or a brisk walk is possibly one of the best ways to get exercise and vit. D which helps in calcium absorption.

Eat Magnesium rich (Beans, cashews, Almonds, chard, spinach/Palak, and lentils ) and phosphorus rich foods like cheese, mushrooms, cornmeal and wheat bran.

Get your eyesight tested - Good vision will prevent any fall situation.

Quit smoking and drinking- smoking affects bone density and alcohol prevents the absorption of nutrients from the gut.

Caffeine - Drink coffee/tea in moderation and avoid soft drinks (They have harmful acids which leaches our bones).

Take recommended supplements - certain medications may hamper calcium absorption like those for arthritis. Take the necessary supplements.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Kids lunch box- tips to make them eat

All the moms go through this dilemma of - what to pack in the lunch box of my child today?? Since majority of kids carry lunch box from home. The food has to be healthy and interesting enough for the kids to eat.

Packing lunch for kids

1. Pack in an easy to eat way: Roll the roti/chapati/paranthas/dosa/ cheela in a foil with the vegetable stuffed in between like a wrap/Frankie/kathi roll. Roll each one separately. This way the kids will just tear the foil and eat along the way. Also, cut the sandwiches in 'easy to handle' sizes.

Pic from Sailu's blog

2. Include more finger foods- easier to pick for kids and less interrupting in their activities. {Eg. Bite sized idlis with ketchup or chutney, Khamman dhokla, Cheese sandwich, paneer kofta with ketchup, dabeli , vada paav, sago or sabudana vada (cutlets made of sago), medu vada etc.}
Mini sandwich Pic from here

3. Make it colorful: make food more attractive for kids by using colorful vegetables. It’ll ensure better nutrient profile also.

Pic from Little food junction

4. Cut veggies in different ways: the seasonal availability of fruits and vegetables limits our choices. Use your creativity and cut them in various shapes and sizes. (eg.cookie cutters to shape slices of melons, carrots etc.)


5. Involve kids: Give them choices and let them be a part of decision making. Ask their preferences and work towards a common ground. Eg. If you pack chips then they have to eat the whole apple.

6. Improvise: Keeping the taste, health and convenience in mind, always improvise upon the recipes to suit your kids need.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Control what you eat- buy new crockery

Most of us want to eat healthy and remain healthy but what with all the stress at work and home, we barely can register what we have eaten!!

Here is a simple method for controlling what we eat: buy new plates.

Buy a smaller plate for regular food- Having small plates and bowls will be easier to fill up with less amount of food. The visual will send a signal to your brain that you have your share of full plate.

In the pic below, each person will see that his/her plate is full, even though the amount of food is actually different!


Desserts are the most calorie dense items on the buffet table. Here again having really small bowls and spoons would be a better choice. It won't make you feel deprived, as a you had a full bowl and still managed to eat less. A totally win-win situation. Avoid second helpings.

Use tall thin glasses for calorie dense drink like milkshakes, Lassi (Sweet yogurt drink), packed juices (they have a high sugar content) and broad glasses for light drinks like lemonade.

Here is an example of how different amounts of food look on our plates.


You can also visit this WebMD slideshow to know ways to eyeball for portion sizes.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Deep frying

In the last post we discussed all the de-merits of deep fried foods. Nonetheless, we can still enjoy these foods if only we take them moderately and have good physical activity levels to burn off the excess fat consumed.

Deep frying is a technique which has to be done properly to reduce fat absorption. Appropriate cooking temperatures are important here. Each time you deep-fry, oil's smoke point is lowered irreversibly. So choosing an oil appropriate for cooking requirements is the best option.

Some useful indicators of oil deterioration are:

1. Darkening, foaming, smoking, thickening, unpleasant smell on heating and a rancid taste.

2. Loose absorbent particles accumulate as sediment at the bottom of the storage container or are suspended in the oil. Use a small strainer or slotted spoon to remove as many crumbs as possible.

3. The viscosity of oil changes; it gets denser and it pours slowly.

Tips to utilize oil effectively

1. Select oil with high smoke point if you have to reuse the oil frequently.
2. Avoid pre- heating for long time.
3. Quickly add new batches of food if making more than one 1 batch.
4. Turn off the heat as soon as last batch of food is removed.
5. Store the oil in a tightly sealed container.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Say NO to deep-fried foods

Indian cooking is full of various fried dishes from Pakodas, samosas, kachoris, namkeen sev, bhujiya (usual savory snacks) etc. to poori and bhaturas (fluffed, deep fried flatbreads) to bhajiya & vadas(deeo fried dumplings); fried foods are everywhere.

Reasons to avoid Deep fried products

1. Full of fat- The amount of fat/oil exceeds far beyond the daily needs of an average person. Excess fat accumulates in the body over a period of time and leads to obesity. Such people are more prone to metabolic syndrome and heart diseases.

2. Deadly- Repeated frying (a common practice in India) makes the oils smoke and changes the properties of the oil. Overheating leads to production of deleterious compounds like acrylamide, acrolein, etc. which are extremely damaging to the body.

3. Salted- Salt is necessary in our diet but we are getting too much of it. This is evident by the increasing number of patients with high blood pressure. Most of the fried foods are salted. One can reduce salt in diet simply by saying goodbye to fried stuff.

Should we just give it up? That's next to impossible!!
No, as always moderation in eating and regular exercise is the key.
You may go ahead and eat some fried foods, but occasionally.

What oils are healthy? Which are best for frying? How to make best use of it??
We'll discuss all these in the upcoming post..so keep reading.
Any queries are welcome.