How To Eat Sensibly through the festive season.

How To Eat Sensibly through the festive season.

They say that someone once asked Lord Buddha “What is POISON“? His answer was simple-“Every Thing EXCESS In Life Is Poison”!!! 
Words of wisdom which holds good even today. Excess of even the good things in life can bring with it,it’s own set of problems! This is true even with festive food these days. 
Sometime back I remember discussing our change in food habits and the increasing problem of obesity and other health problems that India (and Indians all over the world) are now facing, and a friends father’s put it nicely as “Hamare zamaane mein Diwali saal mein ek baar manayi jaati thi. Aaj kal tho log Diwali roz manate hein!! Translated into English, “In our time, Diwali (the main festival for Hindus) used to be celebrated once a year and we would indulge ourselves on sweets and other festive food. These days it’s like Diwali  is celebrated daily as people eat sweets and other high-calorie food on a regular basis”. 
With Indians being able to spend more on food, waiting for a festival to gorge on sweets doesn’t seem to be worth it anymore. No surprises that India is not only seeing an obesity epidemic but will also soon be crowned the “Diabetes capital of the World“!!
Most Indians find it difficult to eat sensibly right from October till January. Navarathri(which generally falls sometime in October) usually heralds the start of the festive binging, then comes Diwali in October/November, Christmas in December and then finally New Year!

For Indians living outside India,-there’s also Halloween and Thanksgiving around the same time to deal with. To top it all, the cold winter months brings on food cravings.With so much tempting reasons for festive food, how does one stay on track with healthy eating?

Here are some tips:
  1. Don’t skip out on your exercise during these months.
  2. Enjoy the festive food, but stick to portion sizes.
  3. Try to have a small snack, soup, sandwich, yogurt and fruits before leaving for a party-that way you won’t be very hungry when you arrive at the party.
  4. While planning a dinner/party during the festive season, try not to put all the festive food (read: pooris, mixtures/chivda/farsaan, parathas, pakodas, biryani’s,jelebis,gulab jamuns) on the menu at the same time. Choose two or three items and then balance it out with healthy food.
  5. Include salads/raitas and fresh fruits in the menu.
  6. Serve fresh juices instead of soda/aerated drinks.
  7. Instead of gifting your friends and relatives sweets or chocolates, think healthy and gift them with exotic fresh fruits, fruit bouquets, dry fruits and nuts, gourmet coffees/teas or even some herbal spa products or a spice/flowering plant.

   The idea of celebrating a festival should not be centered on overeating festive food but getting into the spirit of the festival. Eating smart or sensibly through these months will  ensure that you don’t end up with health problems in the New Year.
Here’s wishing a Happy, HEALTHY and Prosperous Diwali to all !!


Pickle Juice: 5 Health Benefits of drinking the juice

The pickle in the Western world is completely different to that what we have in India. It is basically small cucumbers or gerkins (or other vegetables like small onions) that are put in vinegar with some salt (and sometimes spices) and left to ferment for sometime. It is common to use these in sandwiches and burgers.

If you are among those who throws away the juice that remains after the pickle is over-then you need to STOP!! Pickle juice also has amazing health benefits.

Here are 5 Health benefits of drinking pickle juice:

  1. Avoiding cramps during/after workouts or intense training: Since pickle juice contains sodium it is considered to be better than plain water to relieve/prevent cramps during prolonged sporting activities or workouts.
  2. Simple cure for hangovers: Next time you have a bad hangover after a night out drinking, try drinking some pickle juice in the morning. It might not be what you’d like to drink the first thing in the morning-but trust me, it will cure your hangover and you can then drink that cup of tea!
  3. Cure for menstrual cramps, stomach pains and indigestion: Try taking a swig of pickle juice when you have any stomach related problems(menstrual pain or otherwise). Many people swear by it’s effectiveness.
  4. Headaches:  Whether it is a regular headache or migraine pain, try drinking some cold pickle juice.
  5. Slows the absorption of carbohydrates : Since pickle juice contains vinegar and vinegar has been known to slow down the absorption of the carbs from the meal, it may help both diabetics and those who are insulin resistant.

If you are tired of the cucumber pickles that are hugely popular and want to try your hand at pickling try out this quick and easy Carrot Pickle here: Pickle Carrots (Western Style)

Sweta Uchil-Purohit

Best Indian Dietitian

 


10 Ways to sneak in more vegetables in your diet

The benefits of eating a diet rich in vegetables are many-from lowering cholesterol, controlling sugar levels, aiding weight loss, fighting cancer to relieving constipation. However, most dietitians still feel that the common man is not eating enough vegetables to get the full benefits.
The question in most people’s mind: How much vegetable should one consume in day? 
The answer is around 5-9 servings of vegetables and fruits/day. That would mean around 4-5 cups of fruits and vegetables, which is a lot. Most of us tend to eat not more than 1-2 cups/day. So how does one achieve eating the recommended amounts?

I always advocate eating foods in a form that is as close to how it’s found in nature as this requires the body to break it down which takes time. The longer it takes for the body to digest food, the longer it stays in your stomach thus keeping you fuller for a longer period of time. So it’s best to eat your vegetables as salads or sabzi’s (don’t overcook them as that would kill all the nutrients). In addition to eating them as salads or sabzi’s,
Here are some tips to sneak in more vegetables into your diet:
1. Add vegetables to dishes which you would normally not do so -instead of plain upma, kichidi, poha, noodles, pasta, dal, add some mixed veggies into these dishes and you make them more nutritious and a filling dish.
2. Add grated veggies to any dish-you can add grated carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, beetroot, etc to roti’s, chutney’s, chaats, dosa, idli and even salads. Try sprinkling some grated vegetables like carrots on top of dishes as a garnish-it makes the dish more colourful and inviting.
3. Add a salad with every meal-these need not be limited to just cucumber and tomatoes. A lot more vegetables like beetroot, radish, methi leaves, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, knol-khol/kohlrabi, turnips, and capsicum/bell pepper can be eaten raw. Pulses and legumes and even some grains can be sprouted and added to the salads (like wheat, methi seeds, moong/mung, channa,etc). To avoid boredom, try out 3 different salads every week. You could even mix fruits and vegetables together to make some exotic combinations.
4. Add vegetable purees-to soups, curries, chapathi dough, dosa batter.
5. Add chopped/sliced veggies to sandwiches, wraps, bhel puri, fruit chaats.
6. Make dips with vegetables/fruits-avocado, cucumber, mint, cilantro/coriander leaves, pumpkin, apple, strawberries, figs, etc can all be made into tasty dips. These can be also used as spreads on whole wheat breads and phulkas to make healthy snacks.
7. Eat raw vegetables for snacks– carrots, celery, parsnips can be paired with the fruit/vegetable dips to get double the vegetables!
8. Add veggies to meat/poultry/fish curries. Even scrambled eggs taste better when you add some sautéed veggies like tomatoes, onions, mushrooms and capsicum/bell pepper!
9. Make chutney’s with vegetables/fruits-you don’t have to limit chutneys to just coriander/cilantro or mint. Try making chutneys from brinjal/eggplant, tomatoes, onions, apples, carrots, etc .Eat them with your meals or add them to your salads, breads, yogurts to create a unique dish!
10. Make your own veg+fruit smoothies– mix and match veggies with some sweet fruits to make your own smoothies/juices.  The pulp contains the fiber-so do not to strain it out.

Sweta Uchil

Indian Dietitian

 


How To Detox after a Major Festival Or Vacation??

HOW TO DETOX AFTER A FESTIVAL  OR HOLIDAY ???

Did you manage to eat your whole years’ quota of laddoos, kheer, pedas, puri’s and biryani over the festival season? Feeling guilty about it ?

While there isn’t any way that you can magically erase all the effects of the high calorie foods, you could think about giving your digestive system a rest after the overload it has had to take. Here are a few steps to follow:

1.Drink plenty of water. Chances are that might be feeling bloated or noticing some water retention. This could possibly be due to the fact that you haven’t been hydrating yourself enough. Make it a point to drink at least 2 litres of water. You can also drink some infused water (here is a recipe for Apple-cinnamon infused water), herbal teas, beetroot juice, carrot juice, simple soups or coconut water.

2.Avoid sugar, refined flour(foods made with maida)and highly processed foods like cakes, biscuits, crackers. Instead include whole grains like unpolished rice(or brown / par boiled rice), broken wheat, barley in your diet.

3.Eat plenty of green leafy vegs, fruits and vegetables. They contain a host of antioxidants , vitamins, minerals and fibre that your body didn’t get.

4. Include protein rich foods like sprouts, dals, pulses, eggs.

5. Keep your food simple, avoid rich gravies, greasy or very spicy (masaledar foods).

6. If possible give your digestive system a rest by not eating till dinner. A short fast which would mean just eating one meal (simple dinner) and having plenty of  fluids (water, herb teas, black tea,etc) will give your liver time to push out the extra stored glycogen and toxins out.

7. Include curd (yogurt) and buttermilk (chaas) to help balance the bacteria in your gut.

8.Include foods that will help cleanse the liver like garlic, beetroot, carrots (here is the recipe for beetroot & carrot juice), green tea, avocados , green leafy vegetables grapefruit and apples.

9. Exercise. Even if you aren’t into heavy exercise, start going for long walks and try to soak in as much sunlight(vitamin D) as you can.

For those interested in a Personal Diet Consultation by Sweta Uchil-Purohit (Indian Dietitian) check out our Online Diet Consultation packages & prices here- Online Diet Consultation by Indian Dietitian

 

 

 

 


Care During Pregnancy and Lactation

Although good nutrition throughout one’s life is important, for a woman it becomes a cause for more concern when she is pregnant and later when she is lactating. The body undergoes several changes during these two phases of life and thus the nutritional requirements also increase during these periods.

Tips for healthy pregnancy and successful lactation period thereafter:
  • If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, visit your doctor. Your doctor may prescribe a few prenatal vitamins (like folic acid) and minerals (like iron and calcium). Do not miss your prenatal appointments.
  • For women who suffer from nausea and vomiting during the first few months of pregnancy-eating small frequent meals, avoiding fluids along with meals, and eating dry toast or ginger based biscuits first thing in the morning may help. Take special care of your diet during pregnancy.
  • Avoid smoking, alcohol and too much caffeine (not more than two cups of coffee/day).
  • Do not take any over the counter or herbal medications without asking your doctor.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet which includes whole grains, pulses/legumes, fresh fruits and vegetables, milk and milk products, nuts and plenty of water.
  • Avoid binging on junk food, sweets and fried foods-these provide little else than calories and could lead to excessive weight gain during/after pregnancy. Remember, what you eat and drink can affect both you and your baby. Lactating mother’s diet directly impacts the mother as well as the baby.
  • Moderate exercise* (like walking, yoga) during and after pregnancy can help you sleep better, reduce stress and keep you in better shape during and after delivery.
  • Get plenty of rest and enjoy these phases in your life.

*Speak to your doctor before starting on any exercise regimen.

Sweta Uchil-Purohit

Online Indian Dietitian


How to motivate yourself to Exercise?

Top 5 ways to beat workout shyness

 Are you one of those who keep putting off exercising to ‘tomorrow’? Do you start your New Year’s resolutions with ‘Start exercising daily’ but never seem to be able to ‘start’ or if you do start never are able to do it for more than a couple of weeks? We all know that we should exercise, but some days it’s tough to get moving: not enough time, too tired, no energy. Here are some tips to beat workout shyness:
1. The ‘Buddy’ system: get a friend/ relative/spouse/ neighbor to workout with you. Having a partner makes it more difficult to miss the gym when a spell of laziness hits you, and you are likely to work out harder once you are there. The best part of having a workout buddy is that after you complete, you’ll have somebody to cut loose and celebrate with! You’ll also have somebody to continue working out with in order to keep yourself in your best shape possible.
2. Buy a whole year’s package: basically pay up. Money is the ultimate motivator. A whole year’s gym package would probably cost you a bomb and you’ll find yourself being regular just to get your money’s worth (if not anything else).
3. Set a goal: To start with, set small attainable goals like exercising for five days a week for at least 45 minutes each time. Once you attain this, then you could go one step further by either increasing the intensity of training or by increasing the time for exercising, etc.
4. Find a workout that is fun: Exercise need not be limited to working out in a gym. You could find some fun activities like dancing, jazz exercising, aerobics, playing a sport that you love (like tennis, basketball, squash, etc). Sometimes the fun element in these can make you look forward to it rather than detesting the thought of it!
5. Reward yourself: Every time you achieve a goal, reward yourself-it could be going for a movie, meeting up with friends, a facial, a new dress, getting a new hair cut or buying yourself a gift certificate to a spa (go ahead and pamper yourself, you’ve earned it!)

President Obama makes time for exercise whenever he can-so what is YOUR excuse??

Along with these tips, don’t forget the health benefits of exercising:
• Helps manage your weight,
• Combats diseases like osteoporosis, heart diseases, certain types of cancers and diabetes,
• Improves your mood,
• Promotes better sleep and
• Boosts your energy levels.

So pack a bottle of water, wear a snazzy exercise outfit and hit the gym (or the dance floor/ tennis court, etc) and watch those extra layers of fat melt away. You may even surprise yourself by fitting into the pair of jeans from your college days!


How To Stay Fit While on Vacation/Work Travel

‘The World is a book, and those who don’t travel read only one page’

To travel is to live-so whether you travel for work or for a vacation, enjoy every minute of it. Everyone deserves to take a break and come back refreshed. But weight watchers rarely are able to enjoy a vacation for the fear of putting on some extra ‘holiday/travel pounds’! Here are some tips for those who want to stay in shape even while on a vacation:
Diet: While it is very difficult (sometimes impossible) to stick to a rigid diet plan while on a holiday, weight watchers can still enjoy a variety by ‘eating smart’:
Avoid tucking into unnecessary fried foods like chips, fries, namkeens-these not only add on unwanted calories, but also make you feel sluggish and lethargic (the last thing you want while on vacation)
Eat a wholesome breakfast-anything from cereals and milk, oats, idli, sandwiches along with fresh fruits. Keep the Belgium waffles, chocolate doughnuts and muffins for the occasional indulgence. Eating a hearty breakfast and then stepping out to explore the place will keep you going till lunchtime.
Be adventurous-try out the local cuisine. You don’t have to stick to the tried and tested menus. Holidays are all about exploring and what could be better than exploring the local cuisine. Besides they can be a lot healthier than the fast-food joints that you would otherwise end up at.
Stick to portion sizes– You just need to know when to stop. Don’t eat till you feel stuffed and not able to move. Avoid eating at the buffets on a daily basis.
Keep yourself hydrated-with natures ‘zero-calorie’ drink, WATER! Avoid the sodas/aereated drinks and ice-cream sodas. Choose fresh fruit juices or tender coconut water instead.
Check out the local markets-If you don’t want to shell out exorbitant rates for fruits and salads at the hotels/restaurants, then check out the local markets for seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Exercise: Most hotels are equipped with a gym so make sure to pack your exercise shoes and some workout clothes. If working out in a gym is not your idea of a holiday, then you can still burn the extra calories by:
Walking/jogging– explore the nearby areas by going on a walk/jog in the morning or late evening.
Swimming: Cool off by taking a splash in the pool/lake or ocean.
Try out adventure sports-like rock-climbing, snorkeling, deep sea diving, water skiing, surfing, white water rafting. These are not only fun, but will also make sure that you are keeping yourself active.
Cycle/hike– instead of taking a tour bus or renting a car on all days, chalk out places that are close to where you stay and you can rent a cycle or go on a hike and get a feel of the place.
Dance: Check out the local hot night spots and have a ball dancing the night away.
Don’t stress out too much if you aren’t able to follow any of the tips-after all the whole idea of the vacation is to unwind, as Cliff Richards’ classic oldie ‘Summer Holiday’ goes:
“We’re all going on a summer holiday,
no more working for a week or two.
Fun and laughter on our summer holiday,
no more worries for me or you,

for a week or two”
You can always get back to your diet and fitness routine once you get back home!


Foods that can stain your teeth

So you’ve tried every teeth whitening product and still don’t have those pearly white teeth? Don’t blame the product-it may be time to watch what you are eating!
Yes, that’s right; your diet can both help and wreak havoc on your teeth. Here’s a list of foods (and drinks) that you should try and avoid for your teeth, especially after you’ve tried a teeth whitening product:
Tea: Your daily cups of hot chai could be staining your teeth. This is due to the presence of tannins in tea.
Wine: Both red and white wines can stain the teeth due to its high acid content and also due to the tannins present in them.
Energy drinks, sports drinks, colas/aerated drinks: the acid content in these tend to erode the teeth enamel while the color added to the drinks stain teeth.
Dark colored fruits, berries: the natural color pigments in these fruits can latch on to the teeth enamel thus staining them.
Tomato based curries/sauces, soy sauce: again the natural color pigments present in these are strong enough to stain teeth.
Spices like turmeric, saffron and other masalas.
An easy rule of thumb to remember which foods can stain the teeth is that if the food can stain your clothes then they are more than likely to stain your teeth too!
Since completely avoiding all these foods is impossible, here are some tips to reduce the staining effect of these foods:
1. Eat these foods with other foods especially crunchy foods like carrots, celery, apples, and cucumbers. These tend to scrub the teeth while being chewed.
2. Sip drinks from a straw-thus minimizing contact with teeth.
3. Rinse your mouth after each snack, meal and drink. Brushing teeth after a meal if possible is a much better option.
4. Floss your teeth at least once a day to remove all food particles stuck in between teeth.
Take care of your teeth, after all like the saying goes, “Every tooth in a man’s head is more valuable than a diamond”!!


Healthy snack ideas for kids

Kids are picky eaters and not eating enough at meal times is a common complaint. That’s why snacks play an important role in providing the extra nutrition that they tend to miss out. Most parents tend to focus more on providing a nutritious meal and overlook the importance of giving healthy snacks. Chips, cookies, cheese puffs, cupcakes are convenient snacks but not the healthiest choices. Here are some healthy snack ideas for kids:

  • Sandwiches (with 100% whole wheat breads)-you can use cheese, tofu, nut/peanut butter, guacamole, paneer, egg, vegetables or even fruit and cream cheese as the filling.
  • Seasonal fresh fruits-cut them up in fun shapes/ sizes(use a melon scooper/cookie cutter), mix them in low-fat yogurt, make smoothies or plain fruit salads.Fruit and cheese kebabs are also a fancy way of serving fruits that kids will love.
  • Fresh vegetables: cut them into strips and serve with dips like guacamole, hummus, peanut/almond butter.
  • Boiled/Grilled corn: makes a tasty snack when served hot.
  • Smoothie popsicles: You can pour their favourite smoothie into popsicle moulds and give that as a treat on a hot day.
  • Baked fries: cut up some carrots, sweet potatoes, parsnips, beetroot into sticks or wedges. Toss them in a little oil, salt and seasoning and bake them to make a tasty snack. Here’s the recipe for Baked Sweet Potato Fries
  • Steamed snacks: like idli’s/vegetable stuffed idlis, dhoklas, khandvi’s can be cut/decorated into fun shapes.
  • Mini- rolls/burritos: whole wheat chapathis/rotis can be used to make rolls with egg/paneer/tofu burji(scrambled), rajma/ channa, mung(pulses/lentils) curry/usal or cheese spread.
  • Tikkis/cutlets can be made with paneer/chicken/egg/lentils, mixed vegetables, and shallow fried or baked . These can also be served inside a pita bread or sandwich.
  • Mini/triangle/cone dosas/uttapams: these fun size/baby dosas can be more interesting for kids than the regular adult size ones. Serve them with chutney/ketchup/peanut butter (you can even draw a smiley face on the dosa with it)!
  •  Nuts and dry-fruits: older children can be given a handful of mixed nuts and dry fruits.

These snacks can be served with either a glass of milk/almond milk or some lassi/buttermilk.
Make sure to serve these snacks at least two hours before meal times, otherwise they may not be hungry enough for it.


8 Commonly Heard Myths about Exercising

There are a number of myths associated with exercising. Here are some of the commonly heard myths still doing the rounds in India:

Myth 1: I don’t want to start exercising as I’ve heard that I will put on more weight when I quit!!
This is obviously someone who is looking for reasons not to exercise! When you exercise you burn fat which brings about weight loss. Moreover people also tend to be more conscious of their diet since they are putting in so much effort to exercise. When you quit, you also tend to get back to your old eating habits. This increase in calorie intake and no means of burning those calories will ultimately make the weight creep back.
Solution:  Don’t Quit!! Exercise is not a short-term means to achieve your goal of weight-loss. Make it a daily routine and it’ll help in maintaining the weight you lost (along with a host of other health benefits).

Myth 2: Women should not train with weights otherwise they may end up looking like bodybuilders.
Both men and women can benefit with a little strength/weight training. Weight training has shown to help make your bones stronger and can also help in shedding weight faster by maintaining muscle mass and reducing the percentage of body fat. As for the fear many women have of becoming bulky-relax! Women don’t have enough testosterone (the hormone needed for building muscles) like men to end up looking like bodybuilders!
Solution: Work out with less weights at least once or twice a week.

Myth 3: Don’t drink water during your workouts.
This is a myth that I’ve heard ONLY in India. It probably originated in gyms where the trainers had to show instant weight loss after a workout! Water should be an essential part of your workout routine. You lose a lot of water from the body in the form of sweat and water helps in hydrating your body. Watch any sport and you’ll see players(cricketers, tennis players, basketball players, gymnasts and such) grabbing a bottle of water whenever they can to avoid cramps due to dehydration!
Solution: Try to sip a 1 liter bottle of water  during your workout.

Myth 4: Crunches will help get rid of belly fat.
Spot reduction is a myth. You need to reduce the overall fat in the body to see some difference in the belly fat. Crunches can help in tightening/toning the abdominal muscles, but it cannot convert the belly fat into muscle.
Solution: A balanced diet and a regular exercise routine will help you over a period of time.

Myth 5: Don’t workout during your periods.
Sounds more like an excuse to get 3-4 days off from exercising! Unless you have severe cramping/pain, working out during your menses can actually help in reducing the discomfort.
Solution: Try doing lower intensity workouts like walking or yoga on those days.

Myth 6: I’m not overweight,so I don’t need to exercise!
Exercise has many health benefits out of which weight-loss is just one of them. Lack of physical exercise can increase the risk of obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes, cancer, strokes later on in life.
Solution: Exercise should be as important to you as brushing your teeth. Even low intensity workouts like walking 2-3 times a week will help you in the long run.

Myth 7: You need to workout in a gym to see the desired results.
Any kind of exercise/physical activity whether done in a gym, in a park,on the beach or in your house is enough to see results.
Solution: Aim at exercising at least 4-5 times a week for 30mins-1 hour.

Myth 8: I don’t have time to exercise!
I don’t have time either-I make time!! Just remember someone busier than you is exercising right now!!
Solution: Take inspiration from the President of the United States who is known to exercise regularly!