Saturday, May 28, 2011

Living alone- eat healthy

Whether its living in a hostel, staying as a paying guest or renting a pad of own; food is one of the major concern for people living alone. They often end up eating whatever they can lay their hands on.
Luckily, there are a lot of healthy foods that are widely available and can be stocked over a time period. Here are a few options:

a) Milk in tetra pack (which can be stored at room temperatures)- Its truly a full meal. With protein, carbohydrates and fats along with the required calcium.

b) Brown Bread/ whole wheat bread - They have carbs as well as fibre and are great to make those quick sandwiches. We can eat it with butter, cheese, achaar (pickle), jams, leftover veggies, boiled eggs etc.

c) Eggs - Universally known source of protein and fats. It can be prepared easily and quickly.

d) Mixed nuts (almonds, raisins, walnuts, hazelnuts)- Packed with fibers, good fats (omega 3 & 6)and various vitamins & minerals; this mix is ideal for break time munching and prevents hunger.

e) Roasted peanuts- Good source of folate, niacin, manganese, fats and energy, easily available and inexpensive. This makes for a good chow especially in winters.

f) Roasted chana, puffed rice and grounded jaggary- one of the favorite chabena (idle snacking item) of north India. Great mix with iron, proteins and energy.

g) Sherbats- Great for those summer afternoons. Anyday better than the soft drinks. Keep a bottle of Roohafza handy.

h) Skimmed Milk powder (to reconstitute milk)- Easy to store and use when milk is not available. Some versions are also fortified with iron and vitamin A.

i) Fruits - like amrood (guava), pear, santra(orange), apples and bananas can stay without refrigeration for a few days. They provide us with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

j) Curd - Rich in calcium, vitamin B12 & riboflavin and good for your gut. It can be consumed by people who are moderately lactose intolerant. Easily used to make buttermilk or lassi (sweetened buttermilk) on a hot day.

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Did you drink water today?

When was the last time you had a glass of water today? Somewhere near lunch, when you were feeling hot and thirsty. And then you can't recall....right?

Most of us forget this essential 'health food' on a daily basis.

What happens if you don’t drink enough water?
a) Dehydration :This can be a fatal condition especially in the hot weather.
b) Kidney stones: Lack of ample water/fluids might make you prone to kidney stones, and could increase the chances of recurrance if you already have a history.
c) Dryness and itching near urethera.
d) Urine changes color: It becomes dark and foul smelling because of the high concentration of wastes in it.

When to drink?
a) Whenever you feel thirsty.
b) Even if you are sitting in an A.C. keep a glass full nearby and sip it regularly.
c) Before going out in the summer sun.
d) Between your alcoholic drinks to prevent dehydration.

How much is enough?
It depends upon the amount utilized in the body, the climate and special needs(e.g. athletes). On an average, about 2.2 litres for women and 3.7 litres for men has been considered appropriate. There is no scientific evidence for drinking 8 glasses of 8 oz. everyday, but its easy to remember as eight 8 rule.

Is plain water enough?
Drinking plain water is good. But to replace essential minerals lost by the body, include a variety of fluids like soups, lemonade, thin dals (lentil soup), sherbats, juicy fruits (watermelons, muskmelons, cantaloupes, oranges etc), diluted buttermilk, diluted juices etc. everyday.

Can fluids dehydrate too?
Yes. Tea, coffee, colas and alcohol are some beverages which should be used in moderation, as they actually dehydrate the body.

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Road trip!

I've taken numerous trips with my parents from our city to my paternal town where most of our relatives lived. I used to look forward to them as it meant listening to good music, no homework and eating a lot of munchies.

Road trips often involve eating foods which we do not consume on a daily basis-candy bars ,toffees, packs of chips, bhujia(a salted savory snack), sodas & cold drinks. However, A few simple changes can make this trip a healthier one.

How to eat healthy on the road?

Plan ahead-stock up on eatables according to the mode of travel and the kind of food you might get on the way.
Here are a few healthy options you can carry along:
a) Whole (uncut) fruits like aam (mangoes), apples, amrood (guavas), litchis, narangi (oranges), bananas, nashpati(pear) etc. are easy to carry and consume.
b) A mix bag of nuts, roasted peanuts (unsalted) or roasted chana(whole gram).
c) Hard boiled eggs.
d) Packaged tomato juice and other fruit juices (without added sugar) are also a good option
e) If you have an option of ice-box then curd, buttermilk and vegetables like kakdi (cucumber), gajar (carrots), muli (radish) etc. can be carried along with the water bottles.

Buy from the road groceries- eat the fresh farm produce available with roadside grocers. A few options are watermelon slices, papita (papaya) slices, coconut, cucumber slices and fruit chaat (made from local fresh fruits).

Stopping at midway inns
a) Opt for soups or juices instead of sugary colas.
b) For an easy and healthy meal go for steamed and baked options. Have idlis(a south Indian rice cake) , a plain dosa(south Indian rice crepes) or grilled sandwiches (without mayonnaise) instead of the pooris (deep fried Indian flatbread),bhatura(soft and fluffy deep fried bread) , vadas(doughnut or disc shaped, fritter like snack) or pakodas(savoury fritters).
c) Opt for whole grain/multigrain breads, lean meats and ample amount of veggies(include tomato, cucumber, lettuce etc.) in your sandwich.
d) If you find yourself in a pizza place, go for the option with less cheese and lean meats. Order a salad alongside.

Keep your self occupied : You tend to eat more when you are bored, so click pictures, read a book, talk to a fellow traveler, listen to music, play games like dumb charades or antakshari (song game popular in India) in your tour bus.

Have a nice trip!
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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Holiday !!

Vacation time is a break from everyday tensions and general annoyances of living. We can relax and have fun with family and friends. Whether its exploring new places or rediscovering the old ones, holidays bring with them new experiences.
For some of us, holidays are about partying hard. More often than not, we end up gaining the pounds which we lost so industriously. But its just not possible to stick to your diet ! Right?
Even though we might not be able to follow our diet, we can surely take a few easy steps to minimize the weight gain. Tips which can help are:
1. Eat before you leave the hotel : this way you'll enjoy your sight seeing more without looking our for snack bars or eateries near the monuments.
2. Carry water: its summers…need I say more.
3. Eat salads first: before the main course. You be a little full and this will help you regulate the portion size.
4. Ask for the sauces and gravies to be served on the side and then pour the required amounts.
5. Ask for healthier options: Even if they are not present in the menu. Most restaurants will be happy to oblige.
6. Keep holiday drinking in control: More alcohol leads us to eat more. Opt for iced teas, coconut water,lemonade and fresh juices . Also alternate a drink with a glass of water. This will keep you hydrated and you'll end up drinking less.
7. Have desserts: Order small portions and share it with friends. You can opt for fruit laden ones than creamier versions.
8. Go easy in buffet: Opt for ala carte options sometimes. A tempting layout of dishes makes us eat more.
9. Be active : Indulge in activities you enjoy. E.g

a) Jog, run or just walk on the beach/ hotel compound/nearby garden.
b) Swim in the hotel pool or check out the in-house gym.
c) Walk and shop in the local market. Perfect for making bargains and explore the city.

Happy holidays!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

More reasons for skipping meals

In the last post I wrote about how skipping meals has an adverse effect on health and how most people skip meals due to their busy schedule. However, that is not the only reason to miss meals. In today's context where size zero rules you are what you don’t eat. This post talks about some of these reasons and their adverse effects.

"I'm on a weight loss diet"
If you feel that by missing meal you will lose weight, then think again! If you skip meals and go hungry for a long time you'll eat more in the next meal to make up for it. Also, doing this on a regular basis, changes your food seeking behaviour. You'll be inclined to eat more sugary and fatty foods for quick satisfaction and in all probability, you might end up gaining weight instead of losing any!!

A better option to lose weight is by having small regular meals. Include low calorie foods in your diet like watery fruits (watermelon, muskmelon, papaya), vegetables (including cucumbers, capsicum, tomatoes, onions, carrots, lettuce etc.) and loads of fluids like thin buttermilk, lemonade and plain water.
Regular exercise is also a must. Remember, there are no short cuts to sustainable weight loss.  

"I have to go for a party tonight"
Saving up for a later feast is a sure way to sabotage your diet regime. It leads to overeating and you tend to store more fat because you seek high calorie foods for early satiation. Plus instead of enjoying and socializing in the party, you straight away head for the buffet table. Not polite.

Have your regular balanced meals. This way, you'll enjoy the conversation instead for being on the lookout for the starters tray.
"I can't eat"
If you are one of those people who avoid food like plague and are mortally terrified of gaining even an ounce of weight then you might be suffering from Anorexia nervosa . This is an eating disorder where the obsession of looking thin leads malnutrition. You need to see your doctor ASAP.

Sustainable weight loss cannot be acquired by skipping meals. So eat your meals on time and avoid binging on unhealthy foods.

As always, I'll be happy to answer any queries on the subject.
You can also mail me on:
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