15 January 2013

Health Consciousness


This article was originally written for Life's On-Beat, a newsletter published by Manipal Hospitals Quarterly News Magazine. I have republished this here for the benefit of my readers.

Eat right to live right


7 December 2012


Holistic nutrition is the practice of integrating body, mind, and spirit through the field of nutrition. Creating a holistic diet plan – the foundation of holistic nutrition – involves balancing various foods in a way that best serves the individual’s nutrition needs. Age, gender, activity level, lifestyle, and weight all affect the requirements of a holistic diet plan. The diet plan should also take into consideration the various food types and local produce, and flavors. Organic foods and local foods are often chosen because they have not been genetically altered or sprayed with pesticides. This helps to keep unhealthy chemicals and hormones, which can cause an imbalance, out of the body. A variety of whole grains, colorful vegetables, lean protein sources and dairy products should be eaten every day when following a holistic diet plan.

A holistic diet should include whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, wheat and millet, and vegetables based on a rainbow of colors, giving importance to dark green, orange, yellow, and red. New flavor combinations can be explored when cooking meals to highlight fresh produce, whole grains, and lean proteins. Beans, nuts, and seeds should account for part of the overall protein while red meat should be kept to a minimum.

When it comes to a healthy diet, balance is the key to getting it right. This means, eating a wide variety of foods in the right proportions and consuming the right amount of food and drink to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight. A diet based on starchy foods such as rice and pasta, with plenty of fruit and vegetables, some protein-rich foods such as meat, fish and lentils, some milk and dairy foods, and not too much fat, salt or sugar, will give you all the nutrients you need.

Most adults are either overweight or obese. That means many of us are eating more than we need. And it’s not just food; some drinks can also be high in calories. In order to lose weight, we need to eat and drink fewer calories, even if we are following a balanced diet. There is a tendency to eat and drink too many calories, consume too much fat, sugar, and salt and not enough fruit, vegetables, and fibre. While it is important to have some fat in the diet, foods that are high in fat and/or sugar have no place in a healthy diet.

Food groups

Food can be divided into five groups. Try to choose a variety of different foods from the first four groups.

Fruits and vegetables

These are a vital source of vitamins and minerals. It’s advised that we eat five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetable a day. People who eat at least five portions of this group a day are at lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer.
Just one apple, banana, pear or similar-sized fruit counts as one portion. With pineapple or melon, a single slice is considered one portion – taking into account the sugar content and nutrition value. Three heaped tablespoons of vegetables is another portion. Having a sliced banana with your morning cereal is a quick way to get one portion. Add a side salad to your lunch, a portion of vegetables to dinner, and snack on dried fruit in the evening to reach your five a day.

Starchy foods

Foods such as bread, cereals, potatoes, pasta, maize, and cornbread are an important part of a healthy diet as they provide a range of nutrients. Starchy foods are a good source of energy and act as a fuel for the body.
Ideally, starchy foods should make up around one-third of everything we eat. This means we should base our meals on these foods.
Try and choose wholegrain or whole wheat varieties, such as brown rice, whole wheat pasta and brown whole meal bread. They contain more fibre (often referred to as ‘roughage’), and usually more vitamins and minerals than the white (refined) varieties. Fibre is also found in beans, lentils, and peas.

Meat, fish, eggs, nuts, and beans

These foods are all good sources of protein which is essential for growth and repair of the body. They are also good sources of a range of vitamins and minerals.
Meat is a good source of protein. It also contains vitamins, and minerals such as iron, zinc, and vitamin B12. Try to eat lean cuts of meat and skinless poultry whenever possible to cut down on fat. Always cook meat thoroughly.

Fish is another important source of protein, and contains many vitamins and minerals. Oily fish such as tuna, mackerel and sardines, are particularly rich in omega-3 fatty acids that play a crucial role in brain function, as well as normal growth and development. Linseeds (flax) and their oils are also sources of these essential fatty acids. While these are essential for a healthy body, they cannot be produced by the human body and need to be obtained from external sources.

Aim for at least two portions of fish a week, including one portion of oily fish. Eggs and pulses (including beans, nuts, and seeds) are also great sources of protein. Nuts, such as cashew nuts  hazelnuts, etc. , are high in fibre and are a good alternative to snacks high in saturated fat. However, they do still contain high levels of fat, so they should be eaten in moderation. Other seeds and nuts, such as sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts, also contain important ‘good mood’ nutrients.

Milk and dairy foods

Milk and dairy foods such as cheese and yoghurt are good sources of protein. They also contain calcium, which keeps the bones healthy. To enjoy the health benefits of dairy without eating too much fat, use semi-skimmed milk, skimmed milk or 1% fat milk, low-fat hard cheeses or cottage cheese, and low-fat yoghurt.

Fat and sugar

Most people eat too much fat and too much sugar. Fats and sugar are both sources of energy for the body, but when we eat too much of them we consume more energy than we burn, and this leads to weight gain. Obesity increases our risk of type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, heart disease and stroke. There are different types of fat, namely: Saturated fat – found in foods such as cheese, sausages, butter, cakes, biscuits and pies – can raise the level of blood cholesterol and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.
There are different types of fat, namely

  • Saturated fat – found in foods such as cheese, sausages, butter, cakes, biscuits and pies – can raise the level of blood cholesterol and increase the risk of heart disease.
  • Unsaturated fats, on the other hand, can help lower cholesterol and also provide the essential fatty acids needed to help us stay healthy. Oily fish, nuts and seeds, avocados, olive oils, and vegetable oils are sources of unsaturated fat.

Try to cut down on foods that are high in saturated fat and have small amounts of foods that are rich in unsaturated fat instead. For instance, use just a small amount of vegetable oil or reduced fat spread instead of butter, lard, or ghee. When having meat, choose lean cuts over red meat and cut off any visible fat.

Sugar occurs naturally in foods such as fruit and milk, but we don’t need to cut down on these types of sugar. Unlike natural sugar, a refined variety is added to lots of foods and drinks such as sugary fizzy drinks, cakes, biscuits, chocolate, pastries, ice cream, and jam. Sugar is also present in some ready-made savoury foods such as pasta sauces and baked beans. Most of us need to cut down on foods with added sugar.
The most vital substance for a healthy mind and body is water. It’s easy to overlook drinking the recommended six to eight glasses per day, which is a low-cost, convenient, self-help measure that can quickly change how we feel, mentally as well as physically.

Having a minimum of five portions daily of fresh fruit and vegetables (organically grown, if possible) provides the nutrients needed to nourish the mind and body (one portion equals about a handful). It’s also important to eat some sources of protein, such as meat, fish, beans, eggs, cheese, nuts or seeds, every day. It’s best not to skip breakfast, to keep regular meal times, and to choose high-fibre foods that release energy slowly, such as oats and unrefined whole grains. As well as providing nutrients, these eating strategies help smooth the negative effects of fluctuating blood sugar levels, which include irritability, poor concentration, fatigue and depression, and food cravings.

Changing what you eat takes effort and time and is probably easier to do when done one step at a time. Trying out new and different foods may mean you need to shop in new places. Hopefully, you will enjoy making these changes and find the experience and effects positive. Smaller changes, introduced one at a time, are easier to manage and maintain should you find them beneficial. Some changes may even be unnecessary, although you won’t know until you try.

Sometimes, a change in diet produces some unpleasant side effects initially. If people suddenly stop drinking coffee, for instance, they may get withdrawal symptoms, such as headaches, which then begin to clear up after a few days. There are, necessarily, some costs associated with making changes to what you eat, but these are often rewarded by significant benefits to mental and physical health.
After all, holistic nutrition is based on the belief that we can physically and emotionally benefit from a properly balanced diet and build the foundation for a healthy future.

The author is a dietitian at KMC Hospitals, Mangalore. She can be reached at arunamallya@gmail.com.
This post was originally written and published on Teacher's Plus magazine and is being republished here for the benefit of my readers.

30 December 2012


Healthy Tips for Heart, Skin, Bones, weight loss and Brain

For Heart:
  • Use less oil in cooking.
  • Consume more of vegetables, whole grains, green leafy vegetables
  • Eat good amount of lean proteins from skim milk, egg whites, white fish and skin trimmed chicken.
  • Opt for red wine.
  • Eat more salads and nuts.

For Skin:
  • Drink more water.
  • Reduce the amount of beverages like coffee and tea in a day.
  • Sip green tea.
  • Eat more good quality protein foods.
  • Eat fruits, vegetables and green leafy vegetables regularly.

For Bones:
  • Drink skim milk instead of whole milk.
  • Maintain healthy weight.
  • Soymilk fortified with calcium.

For Weight Loss:
  • Eat small frequent meals
  • Take more of fiber
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Avoid rice in the night.
  • Use less of sweets and sugar in the diet.
  • Use less oil in cooking

For Brain:
  • Eat apple every day.
  • Take a regular dose of omega-3
  • Include flaxseed and walnut.
  • Do not skip breakfast.

What to eat to live longer?

1. Have everyday a dose of omega-3s:
Eat regularly the required amount of omega-3 to lower your cholesterol, help in cell functioning and reducing the risk of heart attack, cancer and stroke. The best sources are walnut, flaxseed, green leafy vegetables like spinach and sea foods.

2. Eat foods rich in antioxidants:
Antioxidants slow ageing process and protects from harmful free radicals. Usually these remain in our body for 4-6 hours so you need to eat these at regular intervals. Rich coloured vegetables and fruits are rich in antioxidants.

3. Double the amount of fibre you consume:
It protect against cancer and keeping the blood sugar under control. It also helps in lowering the LDL (bad Cholesterol) and thereby reducing the rate of heart disease. Take at least 25-35 g of fibre daily. Eat more of lentils, chickpeas, apples and barley. Increase the intake of salads, vegetables and green leafy vegetables.

4. Do not overload your stomach:
Eat only until you are 75% full. If you are not hungry do stop and do not stuff yourself. Chew the food properly and eat slowly so that you consume lesser calories than those who ate more quickly.

5. 25% of calories should come from fats:
Eat good quality of oils like mono unsaturated fatty acid which lowers the bad cholesterol and try including dry fruits like walnuts, pistachios, olive oil and avocado.

6. Do not forget to include protein in each meal:
These are the building blocks which help in repairing of the cells and tissues on regular basis so try to make 30% of daily calories from proteins. Good sources are white fish, chicken, fat free milk, egg whites, beans, dhal and pulses.

Adapt these small changes and make your life a healthy one.

4 August 2011

Mushrooms- Health Benefits

The nutritional value of mushrooms is greater than anyone may think. It is one of the healthier foods that you can eat at any time. Most of the vegetarians consider mushroom as a non-vegetarian but i strongly feel it is a misconception. Even vegeterians can enjoy mushrooms without any hesitation and get all the nutrition from it.
Check out some of the health benefits of eating mushrooms:
  1. Mushrooms are low in calories, high in fiber, and contain many important vitamins and minerals.
  2. It also strengthens the immune system.
  3. Most mushrooms have high protein content, usually around 20-30%. This can be useful for vegetarians or anyone looking to increase the protein content in their diet.
  4. It helps to lower cholesterol and is important for the digestive system.
  5. It contains Niacin and other B Vitamins so it is another good supplement for vegetarians.
  6. Contains Vitamin D and helps in the absorption of calcium.
  7. Helps the body to absorb oxygen and create Red blood cells.
  8. It contains antioxidants and reduces the risk of cancer.
  9. It contains Potassium and helps in the regulation of blood pressure.
  10. It has Phosphorus, Zinc and Magnesium.
  11. It is low in fat, calories and sodium.
  12. No Cholesterol.
Not all types of mushrooms have the same levels of vitamins, minerals, and medicinal properties.
So now that you know that mushroom is nutritious go ahead, prepare good recipes out of them and enjoy it!

30 June 2011

Metabolism Booster

If you’re over 40 and struggling with your weight, I don’t have to tell you that your metabolism is slowing down. Our metabolism is at its highest until we reach 20, and then gradually slows as we age.

The main reason for the slowdown is simpler than you think. We lose muscle and we decrease our level of physical activity. I don’t know about you, but I crave carbs and sugar when I am tired. Too many carbs and less activity turn into a slow metabolism and excess body fat.

Gaining weight as you age is completely avoidable! There are lots of things you can do to turn your sleeping metabolism . Here are a few to get you started.

  1. Protein: Drink a whey protein shake everyday for breakfast and boost your metabolism by 25%. This is one of the best things anyone can do to give their metabolism a boost. It not only nourishes the body, but it also allows you to begin losing weight .
  2. Exercise: Walk and aim for 10,000 steps per day, every day. Lift weights 2-3 times a week, training your whole body each workout in a circuit style. Our bodies are losing muscle every day, so we need to counterbalance this by trying to build muscle. Ladies, don’t be afraid. You won’t end up looking like a bodybuilder; it’s almost impossible at this stage for you to become bulky. If you feel like you’re gaining weight, take a hard look at what you’re eating. That’s where the problem lies.
  3. Muscles: Muscle burns calories all day long and that is exactly what we need! Lifting weights will tighten and tone your body better than any exercise out there and keep your bones strong. These metabolic boosting workouts can be done at home and should only take you 30 minutes.
  4. Greens: Eat your greens!. Digesting green vegetables makes your body work harder and causes your metabolism to speed up. Not eating enough vegetables every day is one of biggest mistakes people make, causing us to crave the wrong foods and overeat.
  5. Lean Protein: Eat “lean” protein . The best sources of lean proteins for women are protein shakes, egg whites, all fish and seafood, turkey breast, nonfat cottage cheese, and high quality protein bars that have at least 15 grams of protein. These are among the very best sources to nourish our bodies, replace lost nutrients, and help us lean out. High-fat proteins will have the opposite effect and will cause our bodies to store fat. Your body will not burn stored fat if you continue to give it high-fat foods no matter how much you exercise!
  6. Supplement: Taking the right supplements along with a lean diet and regular daily exercise is what brings about the best results. For example a multivitamin tablet a day on the advise of your physician will help you.
  7. Fiber: You should be eating 25-30 grams of fiber every day. This is the key to staying full . Fiber will also keep your blood sugar in check. Always aim for veggies whenever you can.
  8. Water: Last but not the least do not forget to drink enough water it also helps to burn your fat by 3%. Drink at least 10 -12 glasses of water to keep you fresh and boost your metabolism.

So, start following these tips and start losing weight!

25 June 2011

Jackfruit- fruit of the season

All of us have heard of jackfruit. It is a large fruit and has sweet taste and powerful smell. It is a seasonal fruit which is extensively used in South Kanara. It is used either for curries or to make savories. Especially once it starts raining people over here do not eat in raw form, but they make nice delicious snacks like fritters, steamed cakes, dosa’s etc. It is one such fruit, that people do not waste any part of it except the outer thorny skin.

Jackfruit is rich in important nutrients like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Potassium, Calcium, Iron, Sodium and Zinc and is low in calories.

Health Benefits:

  • It helps to lower blood pressure.
  • Has high potassium content.
  • Aids in digestion and rules out constipation.
  • Helps in ulcer patients.
  • For people with asthma and skin infection it is proved as a natural cure.
  • Rich in phyto nutrients and protects against cancer.
  • Good source of Vitamin C so it helps in strengthening immune system.
  • Good for skin.
  • Does not help in fat deposition so it is beneficial for obese people.

So now knowing the healthy benefits of jackfruit why not use it?
For delicious recipes of jackfruit kindly email me to arunamallya@gmail.com.

3 June 2011

What Role does Dietician play in everyday life?

The main purpose of writing this blog is making people realise what is the role of dietician in everyday life. We watch Television everyday and lot of cookery programmes are being telecasted in every channel everyday. The person who demonstrates the recipe say that this recipe contains this vitamin, this much of vitamin and lots of other health benefits without even knowing the exact nutritional value of it. A layman who does not know anything about food simply believes and follows it blindly.
As a dietician practising in this field from past 8-9 years , i feel whenever you talk about something it is better you get proper knowledge of it and it is not right to misguide people by giving wrong information.
If ever you want to know what is good for you and what you should be eating it is always better you go to a clinical dietician or a nutritionist who will be able to guide you better. To become a nutritionist you should a three years degree and practical knowledge about each and every disease and what foods are to be avoided and used for that particular disease.
So, i hope you will know where to go next time when you want an advice instead of blindly following what is shown on Televisions and recipe shows.

Did you ever see a dragon fruit?

Few days back, we had gone to Goa for a family function , there i saw this fruit what they call it as a "Dragon Fruit". It is a pink coloured fruit which looks like dragon which all horn like leaves protruding out from the fruit. It is similar to Chow-Chow( regional name knolkhol) in appearance but instead of green colour it is pink in colour. It is quiet expensive even then my sister persisted that we buy and check out how it tastes.
After coming back, i started looking out for the nutritional value of is so called dragon fruit and was surprised it contains around 40kcal of energy, 5g of fiber and lots of antioxidants and Vitamin C.
It has a white soft flesh with small sesame like black seeds which is rich in fiber and the taste is same as isabagol (soluble fiber which is used to treat constipation). Nature has provided so many varieties of fruits and vegetables which perhaps we have not tasted much and i feel we need to explore more instead of looking out for supplements for each and everything.
So go ahead, buy this dragon fruit and enjoy the taste and flavour.
So go ahead, eat and taste the natural fruits available in the market

21 May 2011

What foods to give kids during their vacations?

This is the common question among all the parents. All mom's are worried what to feed them every day whenever they come asking for food. Even i used to face the same problem, but being a dietitian and having an experience of 7-8 years, i felt i should grow my kids in a healthy way , so i tried to use my theoretical knowledge into practice.

Vacations is the time when kids play wholeheartedly without any hazzles of homework, exams etc. Or else, they sit and watch cartoons or play on mobiles and computers , which makes them more get bored after sometime and they mistake their boredom with hunger. As a parent you should be knowing what to give them and at what time. I am here to guide you with this:
  • Give them complex carbohydrates like whole wheat pasta's, wheat noodles, whole wheat bread toast or chicken sandwich or paneer sandwich for breakfast . These complex carbohydrates take long time to digest which keeps them full for at least 2-3 hours.A healthy breakfast keeps your kid active throughout the day.Children are usually fuzzy about eating a fruit for breakfast so try to include a fruit drink which is rich in vitamin C like orange juice or kiwi juice or else a glass of milk.
  • At about 11'0'clock, you can give a handful of dry fruits or fruit salad. A dry fruit chiki ( a slab of dry fruit which is added to melted jaggery) is as good as a handful of nuts in fact chiki has jaggery which is rich in iron and also gives 4kcal of energy.Or else you can also try to give them dry fruit milk shake.
  • For lunch, you can make different types of rice items preferably with brown rice and vegetables .Add pulses or fish or chicken so that they get enough proteins. If your kid likes roti 's then you can also prepare stuffed paratha's with spinach or dhal, or kasori methi or paneer.
  • By about 3pm you can give them few pieces of watermelon or papaya .
  • For evening you can prepare a good chaat by adding puffed rice, sprouts, grated carrots, groundnuts, tomato, coriander leaves and onions. Add a few drops of lemon juice to give the extra flavor and taste with the seasonings. Add a fruit juice to quench their thirst or else if you have a coconut yard give them fresh tender coconut water which is very rich in potassium which prevents them from getting muscle pain.
  • Prepare a whole wheat pizza with their choice of toppings or wheat noodles with added vegetables or roasted chicken.
  • Last but not the least do not forget to give them enough of fluids especially water. At least 8-10 glasses of water is must in the day otherwise there are chances of dehydration.
You see i have tried to include carbohydrates, proteins, fiber in the form of vegetables and fruits, minerals and vitamins from fruits, vegetables, cereals and nuts. All you need is balance their diet giving preference to their likes and dislikes and you will be a good mother to your kids.

I know preparing all these takes a lot of time but at last whatever you do it is for your kids because they deserve the best in the world. As you start doing it you will find it easier through experience.

As the saying goes experience makes a man. So also, you be a good mother and your kids will imbibe the same quality from you and pass on to the next generation.

23 March 2011

How to Shed Weight and Stay Fit and Healthy

Our modern lifestyle has contributed two things mainly obesity and unhealthy lifestyle which is the major reason for all health problems these days.
To solve these problem people go in for crash diets, starvation or fasting, slimming tablets, fad machines which promise weight loss etc without knowing the adverse effects on health. There are healthy ways of losing weight by just modifying your diet and doing some physical activity everyday.
Here are some tips:
  1. Regulate your life in a planned way taking care that you balance properly between work, diet and rest.
  2. Go out for a morning brisk walk in open air. After dinner, walk at least a mile. Do not sleep immediately after lunch or dinner give a gap of at least 2 hours.
  3. Your breakfast should include cereals in any form, fruits, milk or milk products. Breakfast should always be like a king. Do not skip breakfast as it keeps you active and healthy and also helps in losing weight.
  4. Midmorning is just to fill in the gap between breakfast and lunch. Add some walnuts, almonds or prunes a lime juice or a tender coconut.
  5. Lunch should comprise of whole wheat cereal or a cereal like rice, fresh vegetables in the form of salads, milk products, and proteins in the form of dhal, fish, egg white or white meat.
  6. In the Evening, have some light snack like whole wheat biscuits and a beverage or a green tea.
  7. Have dinner before 8pm preferably a soup without corn flour, salads, fruits and a chapatti or a whole wheat bread.
  8. Before retiring to bed , a glass of skim milk may be taken.

This is the diet regimen for normal person. If your BMI is above 24.9 and you are aiming to lose some weight or have any medical problem then avoid the following foods.
  1. Red Meat and organ meat
  2. Crystal sugar, honey and high carbohydrate food above normal limit.
  3. Wines, whisky, rum, Champaign or beer.
  4. Fried items and Chinese items.
  5. Any oil which is hard at room temperature like butter, ghee, palm oil etc.
  6. Refined flours like Maida.

But includes these items in plenty:
  1. Fresh and green leafy vegetables.
  2. Skim milk
  3. Low Carbohydrate and high protein diet.
  4. Water
  5. Fiber in plenty.
  6. Sprouts and whole grain flours and whole cereals.
  7. Above all exercise at least 30-45 minutes everyday.
So, a combination of diet, exercise and adequate rest will surely help you to lose weight and look healthy, stay fit live longer and makes you feel younger and energetic.

Ideal Body Weight

It is mainly based on the height and age we can calculate the Ideal Body Weight of a person.
IBW for Men is Height -100 cms
IBW for Women is Height-105 cms
Suppose a person’s height is 165 cms then
165-100= 65kgs is ideal. But if he is above 35 years it can be plus or minus 5kgs then his ideal body weight.
For a woman whose height is 165cms then
165-105= 60kgs is ideal. But again if she is above 35 years then it is plus or minus 5kgs then her ideal body weight.
So now you know where you stand in terms of Ideal Body Weight and BMI so calculate your BMR and start losing or gaining weight and maintain a healthy BMI and extend your life span. For planning a healthy diet for yourself please contact your dietitian.

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and Body Mass Index (BMI)

BMR is Basal Metabolic Rate. It depends mainly on the amount of calories a person consumes in a day. It is calculated based on the food intake taken from morning to night.
These days we have Body Composition Analyzer (BCA) machine at various slimming centers and hospitals wherein if you enter the height and weight the BCA machine automatically calculates the BMR, BMI (Body Mass Index), fat% etc. It also suggests how many Kilograms of weight a person should lose to reach his or her Ideal Body Weight.
Here are the formulas wherein you can calculate your own BMI, BMR and Ideal Body weight without the BCA machine just by feeding in your height and weight.

For Men: 66+ (13.7* weight in Kgs) + (5* height in cms)-(6.8*age in years)
Eg. Weight of a person is 77kgs and his height is 165cms and age is 32 years.
66+ (13.7*77) +(5*165)-(6.8*32)
66+1054.9+825-217.6
1728.3 calories.

Similarly for women: 655 + (9.6*weight in kgs) + (1.8*height in cms)-(4.7* age in years)
Eg. Weight of a woman is 84kgs and her height is 152cms and age is 27years
655 + (9.6*84) + (1.8*152) - (4.7*27)
655+806.4+273.6-126.9
1608 calories


For a person to lose weight a reduction of 500 calories per day is essential. Out of 500 calories 300 calories can be lost by diet and 200 calories are to burnt by doing regular exercise and over a period of time a person can lose up to 3kgs that is 100 gms per day. If there are any medical reasons like hypothyroid, diabetes or any hormone imbalance then a person can lose up to 2 kgs in a month’s period.

BMI: Body Mass Index:

This is the main criteria which shows where a person stands in regard to his weight. It clearly shows whether he is maintaining a healthy body weight or he has to lose some kgs to reach his ideal body weight.

A healthy BMI is 19-23.9
24-24.9- is considered overweight
25- 29.9- is grade I obesity
30-40 – is grade II obesity
Above 40 is grade III obesity.
Below 19 is underweight.
BMI can be calculated manually using this formula:

BMI= weight (n Kgs) /height*height (in inches)
Suppose a person’s height is 164 cms and weight is 66kgs then
66/ 1.64*1.64
24.5 is the BMI.

So like this you can calculate your BMI.

19 March 2011

Sleep and weight loss

We all have had evenings where we went to bed too late and got up too early right? A key point is that the following day, we usually eat more than usual. Have you ever asked yourself why this occurs?
Research shows that metabolic changes that occur due to loss of productive sleep may alter your sense of hunger, thus making you want to eat more. Now a new study has linked sleep duration with fat to muscle ratio loss in dieters. The study paired individuals into 2 groups, one experiencing healthy sleep duration while the other was made to become sleep deprived over several weeks. Both groups were put on a calorie restricted diet. The findings showed that the individuals that enjoyed normal sleeping patterns lost more fat than muscle while the sleep deprived group lost more muscle mass. Muscle weighs more than fat and burns more calories at rest. That means the more muscle you have, the more fat and calorie burning you're doing sitting around just twiddling your thumbs! If you thought just burning calories was all that was needed to lose weight, think again.
Truly being able to lose weight and keep it off involves dietary changes as well as behavior management, exercise and yes ... even a good night’s sleep.

16 February 2011

Eat more fiber and reap bigger rewards

Adding 5 or more grams of fiber to your daily diet can cut your risk of high blood pressure, high cholestrol and obesity by upto 30%. Ultimately you should aim for 25-30gms per day.
Start your day with oatmeal topped with banana and walnuts around 12 gms or have a whole wheat sandwich, for lunch have 6gms of dhal and handful of peas, cauliflower and leafy vegetables and have whole wheat noodles or sphagetti around 16 gms for dinner. This will give you the total dosage of required fiber in a day.
Do remember, overdosage of fiber can lead to bloating or cramps.

is drinking too much tea harmful?

Only if you drink it 24*7. Sure, tea protects against cancer, lowers cholestrol, prevents heart disease but it has tannins and phytates, which bind to iron present in fortified cereals, meat and multivitamins in your stomach and reduce the amount you absorb from food by 70%.Because of which drinking too many tea 's could be dangerous for women of childbearing age or anyone who has anemia.
As long as you drink more than four 200ml cups a day there is no reason to worry. If you are a vegetarina, however, you may better avoid it in between meals because iron from vegetables is poorly absorbed to begin with. Eat vitamin C rich foods like green leafy vegetables and citrus fruit as often as you can, the nutrient blocks tea's binding substance

25 January 2011

Useful guidelines for HYPOTHYROIDISM

Hypothyroidism is one ailment where there is under secretion of thyroxine which results in weight gain. Controlling weight becomes a big hassle for those who have hypothyroidism. I have seen lot of them plus i am one of them who is facing the same problem.

I know there are so many people like me who wants to know how to lose weight with hypothyroidism. I cannot do anything and nothing happens as a miracle but we can still keep on trying to lose few pounds or at least maintain the same weight and stop gaining more.

I am here today giving you some tips on what to eat and what you should be avoiding.

  1. Try to include tyrosine rich foods like fish, chicken and low fat or skim milk in your daily diet.
  2. Include Selenium rich foods such as whole unrefined grain, garlic, tuna, chicken etc.
  3. Consume vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, mustard leaves, turnip after cooking.
  4. Use only iodized salt and let the use of it be minimum.
  5. In case you find water retention or edema then drink lots of lime water, jeer a water, cucumber juice, bottle gourd juice which acts as diuretics and helps in reducing edema.
  6. Anemia and Calcium deficiency is seen more in hypothyroidism , so try to include skim milk,dairy products, green leafy vegetables, rice flakes, millets like bajra and ragi.
  7. Avoid drinking alcohol and chewing tobacco.
  8. Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
So, try to keep these points in mind and i hope you will surely benefit from this.

19 January 2011

Super fruit- MELON

Melons come from the same family as cucumbers and squash but they are considered as a fruit because of their sweetness. Nowadays they are available almost any time of the year. Cool, crisp, juicy and light they are packed with potassium and other nutrients.

Cantaloupe is high in Vitamin A and Vitamin C and beta carotene. It is rich, juicy, sweet and fragrant. A quarter gives you the full dose of Vitamin A and almost 70% of daily Vitamin C and 50 Calories and no fat.

Honeydew is high in potassium and fol ate and has fewer nutrients when compared with other melons. It is crisp, fleshy and bright flavored like sweet cucumber.

Watermelon has highest lycopene content than any other fruit or vegetable. It is juicy and refreshing, less sweet than the cantaloupe or the honey dew.

Melons can be used in salads or pureed and be used as a drink or can be had as a fruit.

4 January 2011

Underground Roots

Root vegetables are versatile, filling, economical and are usually low in calories compared to other snacks.
First, let me tell you how many calories each of these roots contain:
  • Hundred grams of raddish gives 9 kcals, and colacasia-60 kcal in half cup, beets gives around 35 kcals in half cup but contains more sugar compared to other roots but tapioca and potatoes are calorie-dense and has same calories as grains .
Let me also tell you what all it contains other than calories:
  • Beets are very good source of phytochemicals and some iron. Carrot is one of the best source of beta carotene.Parsnips are fair sources of vitamin C, folate and pottassium. Raddishes have some Vitamin C, phytochemicals and make a good low calorie snack. Tapioca contains Vitamin C, pottassium, calcium and iron.Potatoes are good sources of carbohydrates and Vitamin C whereas sweet potatoes are also good sources of carbohydrates and good amount of fiber.
So, before planning a menu for the day, see for the nutritional contents of these roots and then use it as per your wish .

30 December 2010

Colours of Health- Anti-oxidants

The secret of youthful skin, sharp memory and disease prevention is from Anti-oxidants in your diet. These compounds reduce cellular damage and prevent hardening of arteries that can lead to heart disease, stroke and even memory loss. Every coloured vegetable or fruit signifies a different class of nutrients and each of them have a unique benefit.
  • Sweet Potatoes, carrots, pumpkins, mangoes, corn and melon contains carotenoids that reduces the risk of developing cancer.
  • Vegetables like spinach, broccoli, lettucce, parsley, coriander leaves and mustard leaves contain lutein, that keeps your vision sharp and clear.
  • Black grapes, jamuns, brinjal, red spinach and beetroot have anthocyanins that prevent tumour from forming and suppress their growth.
  • Tomatoes and watermelon have lycopene that prevents against cancer and heart disease.
  • Cauliflower has cancer fighting property while potatoes have good amount of vitamin C. Usage of Garlic and onion in diet prevents from colon and stomach cancer.
  • Drink Green Tea atleast twice a day and you can prevent ovarian and uterus cancer.

So, mix and match all these colours to get variety in your everyday meals. Try new receipes and try to get maximum antioxidants to be healthy and to make your skin youthful .

22 December 2010

Increase in Weight- Endocrinal Disorder

I have seen people who eat a well balanced diet, exercise regularly even then they gain weight for some unknown reasons. When i take a diet recall, i dont find anything missing or anything which i could say them to stop eating. Then i advice them to get a thyroid harmone test. The answer is their TSH level is high , so BMR is less and deposition of fat is more in the body.
I guide them to a good physician, along with medicine i prescribe a high protein diet.With this problem, i do suggest that they may not gain more weight but losing weight is rather tough.After certain period of time, the TSH levels may get normal with medicine dosage but following a perfect diet is very essential.
I can explain this better because i am facing the same ailment from past three months. Although my TSH level has come down to normal, i am unable to lose weight eventhough i walk for 45 minutes to 1 hour a day. I have cut down on all snacks, i eat less compared to before but i am not losing even a few grams. But only thing i would advice is be motivated, continue the same diet and exercise as before with the hope to lose few kiograms within a year or so. Being healthy is more important than losing weight and having a perfect figure.

21 December 2010

How much fat do you need?

Being conscious of your dietary fat intake definetely a good thing especially when you're trying to lose weight or lower the risk of heart disease and cholestrol levels.
A 20-35% of daily calories should come from fat. Regularly consuming less than 20% of your daily recommended intake of fat can lead to various health problems like poor vitamin absorption, depression, constipation, increased cancer risk, high cholestrol, heart disease, imbalance of nutrients, overeating etc.
So start eating healthy fats, foods like avacado, canola, olive oil, almond, tuna, salmon, flaxseed which are considered excellent sources. Limit on red meat and dairy products, transfat and saturated fats.
Enjoy a moderate amount of fat daily and protect your heart, brain and your body with every bite.

11 December 2010

B M R

Generally we all talk about taking right food for increasing the B. M. R. is very important. So what is this BMR ? lot of people ask me the same question, so i thought i will today write about this.
B M R is nothing but basal metabolic rate.It is related to body size, age, sex, body composition, climate, sleep, under nutrition and starvation, fever, physical avtivity, fear and tension, thyroid, adrenaline and pituitary harmones.
Each person have different B. M. R. than the other. But with little diet modification, exercise etc one can surely increase his basal metabolic rate. Increasing the B M R is very important to keep yourself healthy and active and look fit and fine.
Let me tell you few steps to increase this:
1. Eat on time.
2.Try to eat 3 bigger meals and two smaller meals. Atleast 5 meals a day.
3. Exercise regularly atleast 30-45 minutes everyday or atleast 5 times a week.
4. Drink 10-12 glasses of water everyday.
5. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables.
6. Use sprouts, salads and delicious soups ( without cornflour).
7. Keep changing the diet atleast once in 15 days so that you do not get bored eating the samething.
8. Bring variety in diet by including a new dish everyday.
9. Don't lose interest be motivated, nothing happens in a day or two.
Follow these , i am sure you will be happy to see your B M R going up steadily and you look much more healthier than before.

1 December 2010

Eat for Wellness: Better Skin Diet

What we put on our plate is even more important than what we put on our skin. To look good and feel great, we have to invest in long-term benefits of food that really makes the difference from top to toe. Skin requires variety of nutrients to keep it healthy, glowing and youthful. Essential nutrients for skin include protein, essential fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, the B vitamins especially B12, zinc and water.
Protein: A defeciency of proteins is indicated by the skin becoming slack and loose. Adequate protein is neccessary for healthy hair, skin, nails and for firm skin tissues.
Essential Fatty Acids: Found in oily fish help to nourish skin , add luster and softness to complexion. So eat sea food at least thrice a week. Vegans can take a tab of codliver oil everyday.
The best known EFA are Omega3 and Omega6 must be included in balanced food for good health. Fish, Walnut and Flax seed and oil are among the best sources.
Vitamin A: It is very essential for beautiful skin. A lack of this vitamin can result in rough, dry skin. Include plenty of carrots, oranges, papaya, mango, broccoli, green leafy vegetables and low fat yoghurt.
Vitamin C: It helps to fight wrinkles and plays an important role in healing. Citrus fruit, strawberries, black currants, guavas, kiwi, peppers are all good sources.
Vitamin E: Include nuts and seeds rich in Vitamin E such as walnut, almonds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds as snacks to prevent sagging of skin, age spots and it also provides skin lubrication.
Vitamin B: Is vital for clear, luminous skin, youthful looks. Whole grains, pulses, lean meat aids in new skin cell formation and get rid of that washed out looks.
Zinc: Found in shellfish, pulses, pumpkin seeds and whole grain cereals helps your skin to heal quickly and prevent skin infections.
Antioxidants: Foods that are rich in anti oxidants are plums, strawberries, citrus fruits, orange, red, yellow fruits and vegetables, wheat germs, nuts, green tea etc helps in counteracting free radical damage and help to reduce ageing effect of smoke and pollution and helps in prevention of cancer.
Water: Is essential for skin dehydration to keep skin soft, moist,supple and clear and helps to remove toxins from the body. Drink atleast 8 glasses of water per day. Eat watery fruits and drink vegetable juices.
Iron: Is essential for healthy nails, skin colour and hair growth.
So now, that you know what you need to keep your skin and hair healthy , try to include all these vitamins, oils, water etc in your everyday diet and look gorgeous.

24 November 2010

Eating Habits which leads to Obesity

Certain type of eating habits leads to obesity in addition to lack of exercise, heredity and various other harmonal imbalance.
  • Nibbling between meals.
  • Eating fast without chewing the food properly.
  • Psychological reasons like boredom, loneliness.
  • Housewives who are fond of cooking variety of foods.
  • Business executives who attend frequent meetings, dinners and parties.
  • People who eat out everyday.
  • Person who eats more of junk food.
  • Non-inclusion of fruits and vegetables.
  • Person who eats only non-vegetarian food.
  • Alcohol consumption.
  • People who like processed, concentrated and high fat food.
  • High calorie consumption and no physical activity.
  • Person who have sweet tooth, who get tempted towards sweets, chocolates, desserts, icecreams etc.

So , now that you know the causes for obesity, i hope you will think twice before eating .

19 November 2010

Linseed also known as ' FLAXSEED'

Flaxseed has been used in cooking from many years but recently the healthy benefits of these seeds are understood by all. It contains soluble and insoluble fiber, heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids and lignans, which acts as an antioxidant when consumed. It has anticoagulant property too.
To get all the nutrients it is important to know how to use it. Grounded flaxseed powder can be sprinkled in curries, gravies, hot or cold cereals, fruit smoothies and chutney.
Here is a interesting receipe using flaxseed. Roast each of these ingredients seperately- a bunch of curry leaves, a handful of bengal gram dhal( channa dhal), red chillies, pinch of asafoetida,tamarind and flaxseeds .Roast each ingredient seperately without oil. Add salt to these roasted ingredients and powder it finely and you get a delicious, spicy and nutritious chutney powder! Try this and use it with all dosas, idli's andyour favourite items.

18 November 2010

Myth-Fruits should not be eaten with other foods

Some health myth never dies. These days internet and emails just amplify them. The idea that fruit unless eaten in wrong combinations will not disturb digestion. I can give you an example. Some of my clients eat orange just after drinking milk. This is not a good combination. The citrus may curdle the milk instead i advise them to eat an apple or i tell them to eat the orange after one hour after the consumption of milk. Never combine two odd tastes and flavours.
It is good to eat on an empty stomach.The fact is fruit can be eaten anytime of the day as a meal, or part of dessert or as a snack. Raw or cooked, it does not fement in your stomach. Our digestive system is so well created by god that it can handle all food combinations very efficiently. In the intestine there are bacteria which help in breakdown into various other components. They act upon some of the fruits and vegetables and give you gas, but it has nothing to do with what combinations of food you eat.
In fact, most vitamins and minerals are best absorbed and utilized when consumed as a part of a complex mixture of food. For example, Vitamin C in your fruit helps in absorption of iron in the grains you eat.

17 November 2010

Green Tea

Sip at least 3 cups of green tea every day. Catechins, the antioxidants found in high amounts in green tea, have been shown to be helpful in promoting weight loss, specifically belly fat. Researches have proved that participants who drank the equivalent of 3 cups of green tea a day lost twice as much weight as those not drinking tea. The tea-drinking group also lost significantly more belly fat than the non-tea drinkers.

If you like citrus, add lemon, lime, orange, or grapefruit, allows your body to use more of the tea’s catechins. You can drink your green tea freshly brewed for a warming hot drink, or chill it after brewing for a refreshing cold drink.

If you do not like to replace your morning cup of tea with skim milk, you can very well replace your mid morning and evening tea with green tea and just watch the miracles happening!

15 November 2010

Fenugreek Seeds- commonly known as Methi Seeds

Did you know this?
Fenugreek seeds are rich in fat, protein and fiber. It contains 20% mucilagenous fiber and 50% total fiber. It as same hypocholestrolemic effect as rice bran oil. Incorporation of this in your diet brings about reduction in serum cholestrol by preventing the absorption. It has diosgenin and tigogenin in the ration of 9:1 which have lipid lowering activity. It also increases the excretion of bile acid and depletes the cholestrol stores in liver.
Try to include it in all the receipes as far as possible. You can germinate it overnight and prepare chutney by grinding it with red chillies, tamarind, salt and a small piece of jaggery. Germinated fenugreek seeds can also be eaten raw and added to all curries. It is said to lower the blood glucose level in diabetic patients too.
When these seeds have so many good things why not use it everyday?

13 November 2010

Low Cost Balanced Diet

Diet can be planned in several ways depending on the quality of life a person leads. Not every person can buy all the things available in the market, but he can always use things available at home and make a delicious lunch or dinner.
Here are few tips:
1. Replace a single cereal with mixed cereal. Mix rice with ragi, jowar, bajra etc.
2. Include 50g of green leafy vegetables to improve intake of Vitamin A, Iron, Folic Acid. Grow greens in the kitchen garden like coriander leaves, fenugreek (methi) leaves, drumstick leaves curry leaves and use them everyday in your diet.
3. Inclusion of inexpensive yellow fruits like papaya and guava to increase Vitamin A and C.
4. Inclusion of atleast 150ml milk improves intakes of riboflavin, calcium besides improving protein quality of the diet. It can be in the form of coffee, tea, curds, buttermilk or plain milk.
5. Another extra 10g of oil increases energy and essential fatty acid intake.
6. Low priced snack like puffed rice, roasted chana can be used as evening snack.
7. Jaggery can be used instead of sugar which in turn is rich in iron and Vitamin K.
8. Pulses like horsegram can be used which is less economical to increase the protein intake.
9. Steamed foods are less expensive than the fried foods and try to have homemade food which is cheaper, nutritious and economical.
10. Use leaves of cauliflower, raddish, carrots, beet which are very nutritious. Most of them do not know the nutritious value of these and throw them, instead use them in curries,chutneys etc.
11. Use Germinated green gram, bengal gram, horse gram.

I feel these tips will surely help you before you plan your diet the next time.

12 November 2010

Cholestrol

Liver is the part in our body which synthesises cholestrol. Normally it synthesises around 2g per day.Cholestrol level in your diet should not exceed 300mg per day. So it is very important to maintain the balance of cholestrol in our body.
In my earlier blog i have already told you about the 'good' and 'bad' cholestrol. The amount of oil to be used everyday and also about the contents of different oil. Compared to a non-vegan, vegan diet is low in calories, fat and cholestrol and it has adequate fiber which helps in binding cholestrol and increase the excretion of cholestrol.
Mustard oil and soyabean oil are rich in n-3 linolenic acid. Safflower and corn oil are rich in n-6 linolenic acid. To prevent blocking of arteries one can use combination of oils. Using more than one source of oil gives an additional advantage of providing greater variety of minor components and which may also enhance their antioxidant properties.
Today, most of people prefer olive oil, canola oil and groundnut oil. These oils helps you to reduce the Lower Density Cholestrol (bad cholestrol) without lowering the High Density Cholestrol ( good Cholestrol). So next time when you to go to supermarkets before buying , please think over which is right brand for your heart !

10 November 2010

Oats- a breakfast cereal

Oats are cultivated in Europe, U. S. A, Canada and Australia and is been used there mainly as a breakfast cereal. Now recently it has come to Indian market too and is available in most of the groceries shops.
Oats are good sources of Vitamin B12 especially thiamine, pyridoxine and pantothenic acid. It is a good source of fiber. It helps in lowering the bad cholestrol, triglycerides and also helps in losing weight.
You can prepare oats in different ways.Various breakfast items can be prepared from oats. It can be used in upma instead of rava.It can also be used in soups, dosas etc. If you eager to reduce the calories cook it for three minutes in boiling water and have it plain without sugar or salt. If you want to have a delicious breakfast then you can cook it in small amount of water then add a cup of skim milk and add chopped fresh fruits of your choice or dry fruits like walnuts , almonds etc.
I would like to share with you this receipe of mine which has been liked by most of my clients. Cook 3-4 teaspoons of oats in boiling water, add 1/2 cup of skim milk and add cooked apple preferably microwaved apple, mash it in oats and then add a dash of cinnamon powder.
Go ahead cook and taste it yourself and please let me know how it tastes!

9 November 2010

Reducing Diet

Diet therapy plays an important role in reducing weight, obesity, reducing the triglyceride levels etc. Planning a diet for every individual is not an easy job. Generally a take a 24 hour diet recall to see what all they eat, their likes and dislikes, lifestyle etc.
Everyday I come across lot of youngsters who have gained weight in a short period of time mainly because of food habits, lifestyle and harmonal imbalance. They come up to me asking for help.They want to lose weight within a short duration for which they are ready to starve, take any weight losing pill and some of them are so depressed they end up in bulemia. Bulemia is a type of psychological disorder were a person eats large volume of food and throws up everything in the fear of gaining weight and gradually they are unable to eat anything inspite of being hungry.
Losing weight is a slow procedure and it requires lot of patience, maximum efforts and more than anything else is self control. A person should know when to stop eating and when to say 'no'.More than reducing on the calories it requires lot of behavioural modifications. Cutting down too many calories at once increases the risk of developing gallstones. Usually i suggest a maximum of 3-4kgs weight loss per month and for this a person has to cut down around 500-1000 calories lesser than the required dietary allowance per day.
Calorie restriction is the safest and most effective way of weight reduction.

30 October 2010

Is It neccessary to read the Food Labels?

These days you generally see food labels on all the food items available in the market, especially on ready to eat eatables. One of my client who has is own food industry came up time asking whether i can do the food labels for his new products? He said that now people have become more health conscious and they read the labels, expiry and manufacturing dates before buying any food item.He also told me that in this competitive world, if he does not display food labels on the packet nobody will buy his product and now the Food and Civil Supplies Department has made it compulsory that all his products should have the food label on it.

Before buying any processed foods, study the labels on the packaging and choose those with fewer and simpler ingredients (avoid hydrogenated oils, artificial flavors and colors, stabilizers, preservatives, excessive amounts of fat and sodium, and added refined sugar). You can make this assessment on every item by comparing the protein, fiber, minerals, and vitamins against fat, sodium, sugars, and chemical additives. Choose the well-known company who have been in the food market from years and whose products you have been using from before. See for the manufacture date, expiry date and see within how many days it can be used safely etc before buying all these ready to eat food stuffs.

Therapeutic Diets in Hospitals

Therapeutic diets have an important role in modern medicine. Many patients do not get adequate advice and instructions and as a result they fail to derive full benefit from other forms of treatment. As it requires close supervision by a dietitian it is best done in hospitals.A short period in hospital on a strict diet is often beneficial in that it teaches a patient what foods to avoid and how to judge the weight of a helping of food by eye. Thereafter it becomes easy to follow the same at home. This can be examplified in diets with diabetes. Depending on the severity of the disease diet is modified and given to every individual. People on oral drugs can have certain eatables rarely when compared to a patient who is on insulin infusion.
In case of diabetes and dyslipidemia, i have seen people are able to manage their serum values better when they follow the diet closely along with some exercise.This is were dietitians play an important role in the hospital. Educating the people about the does and donts is her or his main duty.She or he also sees to that they have a good diet, since this is an essential part of management of any disease.In a hospital we get to see people having different ailments, we have to frame diet based on their likes, dislikes, eating habits, activity pattern,lifestyle , plus the items which have to be avoided for that particular ailment. We have to see that eating a particular diet they do not end up with any defeciency or overloading of any vitamins or minerals, so balancing the diet is also important. So planning a proper therapuetic diet for every individual is essential in the management of any disease.

Role of Diet in Kidney Diseases

Kidneys are the excretory and regulatory endocrine organs responsible for the formationof urine, through which the waste products are excreted. Healthy kidneys have great potential to manage high workload and that depends upon the type and quantity of food consumed. Renal diseases generally impairs these functions thereby increasing the need for the diet modifications.Complications such as high blood pressure, diabetes, water retention, increase in pottassium, accumulation of waste nitrogen products that is urea, creatinine occur if dietary instructions are not followed carefully.Foods are carefully selected and incorporated in the diet to reduce the workload of the kidneys and to improve their condition. The requirement of various vitamins and minerals depends on the nature of the kidney diseases.In the hospital where i work i get to see more of chronic kidney disease. For this type of disease generally we restrict the salt, pottassium, more of proteins and fluids.I give them the list of food items which has to be avoided and also a list of allowed items. I also give them a sample menu pattern which they follow at home. They come back to me after a period of 45 days with all the test report and with a happy face saying that following the diet doctor has said that the kidney functions have improved from before. So, diet plays a significant role in successfully management of kidney diseases.

1 March 2009

Weight management

As we all know people are more conscious about weight management today.Most of my clients always complain that their weight is not moving even with dieting and exercise.They also ask me whether starving for few days will help but i say no. I explain them the reasons for it-Actually saying after a certain age or time people reach a plateau where the diet nor exercise helps that is when we have to bring in variations in diet and exercise.
The reasons for reaching the plateau are:
1.Suppose if you are calorie consumption is too less then the weight does'nt move because your body does not get the required amount of calories and your body does not have energy to burn the fat and hence your weight reaches a plateau.
2. Same kind of exercise over a period of time does not work for the body because the body gets adapted to that exercise and thus makes those muscles firm and tight thereby increasing your weight .

As i already said bring in variations -like change the exercise pattern do more of cardio exercise and do weight training every alternate day and at the same time change the eating pattern. Include more fiber rich foods like Oats, wheat, greens, fruits and decrease the amount of carbohydrates. Include equal amount of protein rich foods like pulses, fish, egg whites and chicken and you will see the results soon.

I hope this will help you if you are also facing this problem...

27 September 2007

Diet Supplements

Diet supplements are now available at every counter in all shops. Do we need this is the question everybody have in their minds. Seeing the western trends most of all of us want to become slim and thin within few days and the result of this is we go on fasting or starving to make ourself lean. As a result we lack all the important nutrients that we neccessarily need to keep ourself healthy.

I have seen people using all exercises ranging from treadmill to aerobics and also trying out lots of tablets or pills which promise wait lose within few days or months. Losing weight in days and months eventually leads to some ailments like back pain , headache, constipation and there is a tendency to gain more weight if it is not maintained properly. Ofcourse, some diet has to observed inorder to cut down the calorie intake but all of a sudden will always have adverse effect on health.

Usually when we do not take some of the nutrients in sufficient quantities may lead to defeciencies. So then we need to take dietary supplements inorder to replace the natural nutrients which we get from food. From olden days, people are generally aware of multivitamin tablets, B-complex tablets and calcium doses. In addition to this there is one more supplement which we get now is the OMEGA-3.

Omega -3 is available in fish and some of the plant and vegetable oils. This has been very effective for patients with inflammatory arthritis. It is also found in nuts and seeds.

Whenever you use any dietary supplements it is always better to consult your physician or a dietician to see whether it is suitable for you or if it is to be taken neccessarily.

19 September 2007

Risk caused by high fat diet

Eating food which is high in fat content is a receipe for increasing the risk of colon cancer and various other diseases like obesity, diabetes etc. It does not mean that it should be eliminated totally, a small amount of fat is neccessary but for people who overdo are in great trouble. Once or twice a month is not a bad thing. Let me throw some light on this.

As you eat food which have high fat content like meat, fried snacks, egg yolks everyday the blood cholestrol level increases rapidly. This cholestrol clogs the arteries. These arteries are like small narrow pipes. Much like the iron pipes at home corroding over time and the corrosion blocking the pipe, the cholestrol gets deposited on the sides of the arteries thereby decreasing the space for the blood to flow in and out and gradually blocks the whole artery. This inturn increases the blood pressure and risk of heart problems.

Fat takes more time to get digested and requires lots of exercise to burn these extra calories. When the physical activity of the body decreases these gets deposited and the activity of the colon becomes slow. The waste which is produced by the body does not get eliminated regularly and may result in tumours,piles and constipation etc.

So i recommend you to include lots of fresh vegetables, sprouts and fruits in your diet. Increase the intake of fiber rich food which will not only give fullness to your diet plus relieves you from constipation. A person who has regular bowels is always considered to be healthy person.

You can also include Omega 3-fatty foods in your diet. This helps people with inflammatory arthritis. This is found in oily fish, plant seed oil and nuts and seeds. Try to include Salmon fish, herring, mackerel and sardines, avacado, almonds, walnuts which are very good sources of Omega 3. Try and eat 6-8 nuts a day.

9 September 2007

More awareness among housewives than working women

Today, i would like to share my experiences about my latest talk at Lions Club, Mangalore. It was quiet a good gathering with 30 housewives and few men who were also anxious to know somany things. Even though it was arranged at an odd time, everybody came prepared with a set of question.First after the brief introduction about me I was asked to talk on healthy eating habits for an hour. The next session was interaction. There were commonly queries on different food items(good and bad), better ways of cooking and numerous false notions and beliefs and its affects on health.

Apart from these,I came across few queries which ofcourse many of you would like to know and may be having in your mind too... .Some of my clients complain saying that i just tell them what were all the queries and i dont reveal the answers . So today i thought i'll tell you both-

  • " Any amount of milk is good"- Milk contains carbohydrates and can be consumed only in amounts specified in meal plan. Moreover, unless it is skim milk, it contains saturated fat. An easy method to do this is add equal quantity ofwater to the milk (1:1) and boil and cool it. Remove the fat portion from the top the milk and use it as required.
  • " People with diabetes can eat wheat but not rice". This is not true. Both wheat and rice raise the blood sugar to the same extent. It does not matter whether you take rice or wheat, as long as you control the total quantity.
  • " In olden days people used to eat curries made out of coconut and used coconut oil for cooking but they were healthier than us"- As such coconutoil and gravies made out of coconut have lots of cholestrol in it. Ofcourse, people used lots of coconut in olden days their lifestyle was entirely different from us. Now due to modernisation and increased financial status of people, lifestyle also has changed considerably. We absolutely are not doing any work manually so what we eat sticks directly to our body making it obese and stiff. The cholestrol from food adds on the blood cholestrol making things worse, so we advise people to use low fat products.
  • "Can we do excercise after 40 years"- 30 years is the right age to start a excercise schedule. Every human being needs excercise one or the other ways. It has its own benefits like improving the general well being, makes you feel energetic, helps to lower your weight, lowers stress, blood sugar and blood pressure etc. As you get old the need for excercise is more than at young age. To stay fit and healthy excercise is a must.

There were numerous other queries too which i'll be telling you later in my comings blogs. I hope some of these queries and answers must have benefited you too.

5 September 2007

The "forgotten nutrient"

Seeing the heading you might be wondering what i will be telling you today, it is nothing but the main solvent of our body that is water. It is generally overlooked until it becomes a problem such as during scarcity so it is termed as the forgotten nutrient.

Water makes up 50-70% of weight of human body. Lean individuals have a higher percentage of body water than the overweight individuals. Men have a higher proportion of body water than women in asuch as even women of normal weight have more adipose tissue. The young have a higher ratio of water than older individual.

Water is essential for various functions of the body :
  1. Digestion
  2. Regulating body temperature
  3. Acts as a body lubricant-the saliva that makes possible the swallowing of food, the mucous secretion of the gastrointestinal , respiratory tracts etc.

It is generally met by intake of water and beverages, the water content present in foods and the water resulting from oxidation of food stuffs.

Ordinarily, thirst is an accurate guide in supplying the neccessary amount of water. Under ideal conditions including very low -solute diet, a minimum of physical activity and absence of sweating, the water need for the adult is about 1.5 liters. It includes from beverages, food and water of oxidation. The daily requirement is about 1ml/Kcal for adults and 1.5ml/Kcal for infants.

So, I strongly recommend that for every normal individual a minimum of 6-8 glasses of water is neccessary for maintaining good health. Consuming so much water at once is not possible so divide it throughout the day. Consuming reasonable amount of water will help in good bowel movement and also regulates the body temperature. It is always better to maintain balance between water excreted and water consumed so that our body does not get dehydrated.

For people who want to control their eating habit, try drinking a glass of water before eating. It will give fullness and decrease your apetite to certain extent. Drinking two full glasses fo water in early morning preferably on empty stomach helps to clean our bowels properly. Make this a habit eveyday. During summer usually the requirement of water is more for every individual since water loss is more due to sweating so drink sufficient water and maintain good health.

I hope you will try drinking more water now that you know the importance of water. Remember atleast 6-8 glasses is a must. Make this a practice and let me know what your experience has been.

1 September 2007

Want to be a target of Green Envy when u grow old

Like me you might have experienced that, thanks to all the advances we have made and the explosion of the electronic media, noise pollution has gone up leaps and bounds. If it isn't the traffic noise on the way to work it is the construction work in the neighbourhood,
or the loud TV at home or music at some public function on nearby. We are getting bombarded with noise all the time.

If your children are like mine you might have also noticed that they are in competetion with all the surrounding noise in adding their own noise.

The result of all this you might have experienced that your hearing ability has gone done. I cannot hear clearly unless someone speaks loudly on the phone, or the the music on the TV is louder. Constant chatting on cellphone, walkmans, music players also add to the constant attack on our hearing system.

Researchers at University of Michigan USA have recently found that constant exposure to loud noise causes reduction of blood flow to your inner ear and that causes noise-induced hearing loss. Here is what they say we should do to combat it. We need to have food that provides a combination of Vitamin A, C, E and Magnesium.

Spinach gives you just that. Spinach is rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin E and Vitamin C and also Magnesium. Try and incorporate Spinach into your diet, while trying to reduce the exposure to noise.

30 August 2007

Metabolism & Weight control

One of my clients recently came to me for consultation and asked me to help her with diet to reduce her weight. During our discussion she mentioned about her slower metabolism. She was strongly of the belief that metabolism (or it being slow) was the main cause of her gaining weight. I made a note to write to clear this on the blog. Here is my take on it

We commonly hear about slow or bad metabolism. Is there such a thing as slow metabolism? Yes/Maybe but that is usually rare. But that has nothing to do with people gaining weight. People gaining weight is directly proportional to the calories they consume. Also the fact that they do not exercise regularly makes it worse.

Here is the science behind it - Metabolism is the process whereby our body converts the food we eat into energy. In fact it is the calories we eat that is converted to energy. The more muscle you have the more calories you burn when using them. Men are more muscular so typically burn fat easily (if they chose to) compared to women who are less muscular.

Metabolism might indeed slow down as you grow older but you fight it by reducing your calorie intake and more physical activities.

If you still feel strongly that metabolism is slow please do consult your doctor.

26 August 2007

Tips to increase fiber intake

Here are few tips to increase the fiber intake in your diet:

  • Eat or incorporate more grains, cereals and millets such as wholewheat flour, broken wheat, ragi, bajra, oats, corn etc.
  • Eat some lentils, legumes and dhals such as toor dhal(red gram), urad dhal(black gram) and green grams (sprouted).
  • Consume adequate amount of fruits and vegetables. Atleast three helpings of vegetables and two fruits a day.
  • Eat vegetables and fruits with their skin as far as possible. Avoid taking fruit juices and try using the whole fruit.
  • Include salads and sprouts as apart of your diet.

Here I would like to mention few fruits and vegetables which have high fiber content in them. Italian Millet, Ragi, Barley, Bengal Gram whole,peas, rajmah, red gram, green leafy vegetables, drumsticks, figs, lotus stem(25 mg/100g), dry chillies(30 mg/100g), coriander(32.6 mg/100g).

Dates have good dietary fibre in them (3.9%). Date is also good for constipated bowels as its roughage stimulates even the sluggish bowels and thereby improves the colon action.

But the best reason to incorporate fiber into your diet is to control your diet. Fiber makes you feel full sooner and that way allows you to control your portions. Consequently you cut down on the post meal lavishes.

Canola-No.1 cooking oil

Apart from diet counselling, I been giving a lot of presentations to companies and other gatherings. Today, I would like to share with you a common question asked by most of the people.

People of South India especially Mangaloreans and Keralaties use lots of coconut and its products. There are two reasons for using this in their diet, firstly because it grown at home and secondly may be because they have been using it as a cooking medium from past so many years and they cannot change it now. Slowly people are getting a little bit of awareness and are more concerned with their health than the tastes and flavours. A commonly asked question in all my sessions are " Which oil is good for health?"

First of all before answering to their question, I had to highlight a few things:
  • No matter which oil you choose, limit the amount of cooking oil.
  • Use only 4-5 teaspoons of cooking oil per day.
  • Not more than 25% of your calories should come from fats in your diet.

Then I tell them the classifications of fat namely:

  • Saturated fat
  • Unsaturated Fat- Poly unsaturated and Monounsaturated fat

I give them the choice under Polyunsaturated and Monounsaturated fats. The former lowers the blood cholestrol while the latter is considered neutral where blood cholestrol is concerned. It is said to be protective of HDL-C level, the good cholestrol fraction.

The commonly used monounsaturated oils are olive oil, canola oil and peanut(groundnut) oil. Pricewise olive oil is costlier and peanut oil is cheaper. Nutritionally canola oil is very good and affordable by all groups.

Here are some more details about Canola Oil - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canola

18 August 2007

Simple steps in cutting down salt

People having High Blood Pressure, Congestive Heart disease or Kidney disease are usually advised to cut down salt in the diet. They are rather confused what to eat and what not. Some of the sodium(commonly called table salt) in the diet occurs naturally in foods. The rest comes from salt added to foods when cooking or processing.Since taste for salt is an acquired habit, it should be possible to cut down its intake gradually.

Here are some rules to keep the sodium intake within the recommended level:

  • Cut down on convenience foods- baked foods, cakes, biscuits, pastries, cheese, salted butter,canned foods, soup cubes are high in sodium even though they do not taste salty.
  • Avoid foods preserved in salt such as salt fish, pickles etc.
  • Limit the salt used in cooking and do not add salt at the table.
  • Use herbs and spices to enhance the flavour of the foods in place of salt.

For example-

A dash of lime on vegetables and lentils

Garlic, onions, vinegar

Nutmeg. bayleaf, dry chillies, mustard seeds, pepper, turmeric, coriander, cinnamon

The amount of salt you can use will depend on the specific needs and may range from 1/2 to 1 teaspoon per day. Consumption of a single olive (fruit) in a day fulfills the required amount of salt for any normal adult. Rest of the food whatever he takes can be salt less since the required amount is met by eating olive.

Salt Substitites are available in the market just like sugar substitutes. Here i would like to put a word of caution before using it. Please read the labels before purchasing since some of the salt substitutes contain Pottassium salts which are contraindicated for patients with Kidney problems. Before using these substitutes it is always better to consult your Physician or dietician and ask their advice.

14 August 2007

Hygeine and Health

The main purpose of writing this article is to convey the idea of how hygeine plays a part in the health. Eating is a natural course of intake which includes all edible solids, drinks, liquids and solid foods etc. Here I would like to mention a few points which should be borne in mind so that you benefit from it.


  • Do not suppress calls of nature.
  • Make sure you wash your hands properly, rinse mouth, wash feet and face.
  • Keep your nails well cut so that they do not pass on the germs to your body.Most of the infection spreads through hands and nails.
  • Eat only when you are tension free. While taking meals do not discuss things which will upset you or create any tension. Always have meals when you feel easy and relaxed.
  • Try and keep the work related or other business commitments away from meal time so you enjoy or relish the food.
  • Raw vegetables and fruits should never be mixed with your normal meals because they require different types of enzymes and digestive juices for digestion.
  • After taking meals never go to sleep. Have a nap after lunch and wait for atleast a couple of hours prior to sleep after dinner. If time permits go for a small walk after dinner. It has been well said " After lunch rest awhile and after dinner walk a mile". Try using this method to keep yourself healthy.
  • Some studies have shown that sleep to your left helps digestion and good blood circulation. This will make you feel light and cheerful throughout the day.
  • After finishing meals always wash your hand and mouth thorougly.
  • Do not take mixed combinations like milk and curds together, hot and cold drinks, bitter and sweet etc.
  • Whatever may be the food item it should be taken fresh, tasty, nourishing, palatable and well balanced.

Before planning a meal always keeps these views as general guidelines of nutrition, health and hygiene.

I hope you will start adapting these good food habits from today itself. Remember this saying always. "HEALTH IS WEALTH" .Good luck!

10 August 2007

Here comes the month of festivals

From next week onwards starts the month of festivals. This month is commonly known as Shravan Mahina. We celebrate lots of festivals like Nagarapanchami, Raksha Bandan, VaraMahalaxmi pooja, chudi pooja, Krishanastami and the list goes on...

Different festivals have their own reasons for celebration and particular offerings for gods. For eg. on Nagarapanchami day we do pooja for Snakes (cobra). On this day abhishekas (washing sacred stones with the snake carvings) are done with tender coconut water, milk, ghee, turmeric water etc... while some of them offer milk to snakes. It is a myth that this day the snakes come out of their holes after staying for long period inside, so on this day if we offer milk, tender coconut water, it will not harm us.

On this day we prepare lots of dishes with turmeric in it and turmeric leaves are used in one way or another. This root can be used when it is raw or after it has been dried thorougly or is also used in powder form.

Turmeric is known for its antiseptic property and also helps in curing acute skin problems like burns, cuts and wounds. Its leaf imparts a good aroma and dishes can be prepared wrapped in it to get good flavor. It acts as cooling agent. In olden days for persistent coughs, people used to used to mix it in milk and drink every night.

Today I would like to share with you a common Mangalorean dish called Pan Patholi (rice dumplings). This is prepared with the rice batter and it is stuffed with a mixture of coconut and jaggery gratings.
  • First clean the turmeric leaves and chop both its sides and allow it to dry.
  • Meanwhile soak 1 cup of raw rice in water for an hour. Grind this rice with 4 tablespoon of coconut and little salt into a thick batter. Add soaked poha(beaten rice) and grind for another 3-5 minutes.
  • Take about 100 gms of coconut gratings add jaggery(proportionately)and little cardamom powder. Mix it thoroughly and keep it aside.
  • Keep the pressure cooker ready with little water for heating.
  • Now spread a tablespoon of rice batter prepared earlier over the leaf and spread it thinly and place a tablespoon of coconut stuffing. Fold the leaves and seal the edges (akin to closing an envelope).
  • Now stack the patholis in the cooker (without weight) and steam them for about 20 minutes.

Delicious, steaming, aromatic patholi is ready. It can be had with ghee, honey or butter.

The nutritive value of this patholi is rather high compared to other foods. This can be used as desert in place something really sweet. Note that rice, jaggery and coconut gives you a lot of calories. So it is advisable to have this as a supper food or second serving during lunch. That way you maintain your calorie count for the day.

Give it a try and let me know what you think

6 August 2007

Health Conscious Corporate World

Up until now, I have been telling you about the nutritional values of various vegetables and fruits. Along the way I have been visiting and talking about Healthy Diet at many a companies, schools, on air on Akashvani Mangalore and a few other places. The reception has been nothing short of great. People have shown extreme keeness to diet counselling. In this blog I would like to share some excerpts from my visit to one of them this past weekend.

I was invited by Hindustan Unilever Company(previously know as Hindustan Lever Limited) at Mangalore to take a session on nutrition to their staffs and their family. What would HLL gain by doing this you ask? Companies across the world are recognizing the value of having healthy employees. Healthy employees result in higher morale which results in higher productivity. Healthy minds can be creative/innovative. Families of the employees being healthy keeps the employees from being distracted during work. Did I mention the work in corporate world these days is full of pressure, extended hours and global competition?

I chatted up a little bit with Naveen Kumar, HR executive at HUC, who sponsored this session. He, while being pioneer in leading this initiative in his company, told me that the key objective of this session, from HUC's point of view, was to bring about an awareness of health, help employees implement discipline in food habits. Employers like HUC in that regard are setting the trend of being a caring employer and good citizen.

Most of attendees (~40) who attended my session had queries around blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and other health related side effects of food habits gone awry. It was a very interactive session with active participation with lots of good questions during the Q&A session. All the attendees had enough notice and had come prepared with good questions.

During the first half we covered the various food groups, effects of cooking on nutritive values, how to keep fit by eating good food etc... Based on them being quiet if I thought they were probably lulled by a break from their hectic schedule, I was wrong. They were digesting all that I had to offer.

In the second half, the Q&A session, each of them seemed to have come up with three questions of their own. Here is a small summary of the questions


  1. The most frequently asked question was " How does I loose weight and look good?". This was no different from the other sessions I have been conducting especially coming from the ladies. Almost 90% of the ladies want to get back to their pre-pregnancy weight .


  2. Second question was " I am a diabetic patient , what should be my threshold for sugar intak each a day?",


  3. Can i eat pickle if I have hypertension?" and like this questions went on.
I was happy that people are starting to pay attention to their health are raising their concerns.
This is a positive sign and I offered them some of the very tips that I have been offering. The motto being "Healthy food, Regular exercise would keep people healthy and healthy people look fresh and young".

4 August 2007

Healthy Substitutes for every day

While trying all your favourite receipes and not missing out on the delicacies here are some healthy alternatives/substitutes to reduce (saturated) fat, I recommend you use
  • Try skim milk instead of full cream milk.
  • Use oil instead of butter or ghee.
  • Use less meat, eggs or cheese than the receipe.Use minimum oil for cooking.
  • Refrigerate curries, gravies, soups and stews until the fat raises to the top of the bowl and skim it off.
  • Steam, boiling, roasting, grilling or microwave the food using less fat. Saute with water, juice or broth.

I think the earlier you modify your food habits the better. Ofcourse, you need to start slowly and persist with the goals and surely show its results within a months period. Good Luck!

2 August 2007

Pineapple

There are only three words to describe Pineapple- Delicious, Healthy and Nutritious. Here is a trivia for you guys - it is called Ananas in Kannada and in French language.

It has vitamins, minerals, fiber and iron. It is also a good source of Vitamin C. It contains traces of sodium and absolutely no cholestrol at all.

Most of the time it is sour in taste so it is normally by sprinkling sugar.It is also used in preparation of puddings, cakes, fruit salad, pie and variety of dishes.

We, Mangaloreans, prepare a side dish for weddings and other ceremonies with pineapple, mango and grapes (black currant) and it is commonly called Sasam.

Pineapple pudding is also another delicacy for the occassions. It is easy to make and also has good healthy ingredients. Here is how it is made
  • Chop the fleshy part of the pineapple into small pieces and keep aside.
  • Fry Semolina(1 cup) with little ghee (4 tablespoon) in a pan until light brown in colour.
  • To this add the double quantity of hot water(2 cups) and cook it on low flame.
  • Add one and a half cup of sugar and keep on stirring to prevent lumps.
  • Add pineapple pieces, a pinch of saffron(dissolved in milk), cardamom powder.
  • Allow it cook on low flame for another 5 minutes.

Delicious dessert will be ready within 10 minutes.It is delicious when hot or can be served chill.

Let me know what you think about the Pudding.

1 August 2007

Soyabean- a high protein food

Did you know Soyabean is a high protein food!.
I had heard about this soyabean long long ago but i did not know its nutritional values until i did this nutritional course.Today i want to share this with you so that you can also make use of it in your daily menu.
One of my client, who was interested in going for a body building competition came to me asking for a diet to grow his muscles. He wanted to gain weight by growing healthy muscles. Hewas advised a high protein diet by his Physician. He was already consuming lot of chicken and even then he was not gaining much weight to become eligible for the contest. I suggested him to use soyabean in addition to chicken and pulses. I was surprised to hear that he was completely unaware about Soyabeans!. He said he heard this name for the first time in his life. Then i had to explain him everything about it.
Soyabean is called the king of Proteins. It contains more proteins(43.2g) than meat(18-22g) too. Isnt it surprising!.It also contains 240 mg of Calcium, 690mg of Phosphorus,10.4 mg of Iron and it is also a good source of folic acid.
It is available in the market in whole, flour, chunks, granules etc, etc...It can be used in any form. Even if you have in less amount it gives bulk to the diet. The flour can be added to Whole Wheat flour in making chappathis, pooris, parathas. Chunks can be used to make manuchurians, pulavs,biryani and granules can be used for cutlets, bondas, bhajjiyas. As such it can be soaked the previous night and delicious curries can be prepared just like any other grams.
So nowknowing the benefits i think you should not waste time just rush to the nearby supermarket and get a kilo of it and start using it from now itself.

30 July 2007

Maize- a rainy season food

Maize commonly known as Jola or Cholam is a popular snack for many people in rainy season in coastal region of Karnataka. People are tempted by the taste of these hot maize sticks. It is normally fried over burning charcoal till light brown and smeared with red chili powder, salt and lime juice. Yummy ! its delicious. Let me tell you what makes this so delicious?
Maize is availab1e in two varieties i.e dry or tender. Tender variety is cheaper and healthier than the dry one.Tender maize contains less amount of carbohydrates than all cereals (24.6g), 1.9 g of fibre, 121mg of Phosphorus and 6 mg of Vitamin C. Since it tastier it is liked by all people.
There is a great demand for this in Tibet and China. Now we get American Sweet Corns in plentyin markets. The tender ones are used in soups, manchurians and lots of chinese dishes. But besides this one can also use it as a snack for evenings. Let me explain to you how ...
I will give you a simple and easy receipe. Seperate the seeds of maize or sweet corn and put it in an air tight container or box (without water) and steam it for 15 minutes in a pressure cooker without the weight. To the steamed corn add a pinch of butter preferably low fat, salt, red chili powder and two teaspoon of lime juice. Garnish it with coriander leaves and relish it when it is hot. Do try this and eat in plenty. Do not worry about calories bcoz it contains very less calories than all cereals. Isnt it a healthy snack for evenings?

26 July 2007

Sprouts - healthy way to eat grams

Indians, across the board, are a pampered lot and celebrate lot of festivals throught the year. The speciality in each festival is the prasadam (offering to God), Sweet Appas for Ganesh Chathurti, Panchakajjaya for Krishnaastami, and Sprouts Usli for Ram Navami etc..

We can prepare very tasty, delicious and nutritious Sprouted green gram usli (Sprouts salad). Green grams are soaked a day or two in advance and let to grow sprouts. These days shops sell the already sprouted.

If you were interested in sprouting here is how. It is easy and can be done at home
  1. Soak the pulses ( Green gram, beans, alfalfa) for 2-3 hours
  2. Rinse out the water and tie them in a damp cloth knotted or bound with some thread.
  3. 36-48 hours later the grains would have grown sprout and be ready to eat. Best time to eat is in the morning.

Sprouts are easy to digest by both the elderly and children and they have plenty of all the necessary nutrients. Other dressing like lemon juice and black salt can be added depending on one’s taste and preference.

Sprouted foods are capable of providing energy, activity, strength to the body, helps in rebuilding damaged tissues and cells and also in retarding ageing process. Research carried out so far on sprouts indicate that Vitamin B increases by 1000%, Vitamin C by 600% and 90% of the cancer cells was arrested by the sheer use of milk extracted from sprouts of wheat.

I highly recommend eating sprouts atleast once a day. If all the benefits are not enough of an incentive here is a starter receipe for the delicious Sprouted Green gram usli

  • Take a bowl add sprouts
  • Grate carrots, finely chopped onions (optional), Tomatoes or Cucumber, boiled mashed potatoes, finely chopped green chilies, black salt, chaat masala (optional), lime juice and plenty of coriander leaves.
  • A teaspoon of coconut grating sprinkled for garnish would really spruce it up.
  • Mix them thoroughly and serve

Meat, Poultry diet

One of my new clients came to me with three concerns viz. Uncontrolled Weight gain, High cholesterol and Hypertension and asked me if I can help him in the way of structuring a diet. Before I did that I was interested in understanding more about his food habits and the food content. He said he was primarily having non-vegetarian’s food like pork, poultry, beef etc from past ten years everyday and just doesn’t like vegetarian food at all. So that gave me a basis to analyze the food content and what was causing the issues he was concerned about.

It is a ironic reversal of trends that India, known in the past for vegeterianism is moving towards more of non-vegetarianism, while the Western world is moving in the other direction.

While Meat, fish, eggs have a lot of good nutrients one can get almost all of the same virtues by eating vegetables. I am not in any way advocating giving up on meat. I am merely highlighting the fact that people who do not eat meat do not have to feel that they are missing out.

Here are some facts about meat and comparison with Poultry food
  • Mutton, pork and beef are high fat, high calorie, high cholesterol diet with plenty of saturated fats and will need all those extra hours at the gym to burn/negate them
  • Poultry products on the other hand have moderate fat. Fats and calories in poultry are formed in the skin and in pads which are located just beneath the skin and thus can be removed easily. Iron, obtained from poultry is easily absorbed.

So once I explained to him all the good things he could have with vegetables, we came up with a hybrid diet which had him eat vegetables one time of the day and also let him eat meat. This coupled with exercise regularly, we have seen things turning around for him.