Reduce the Heat this Summer – the Yummy Way!!!

Right in the Middle of SUMMER, aren’t we?? Temperatures just seem to be on the rise – both outside & inside of us! We are literally on FIRE 😉 We can’t wait to get our hands on anything COLD – to just Chill and reduce the temperature. Summer brings with it hyperacidity, bloating, heaviness, constipation and  loads of ‘loss of salt/electrolytes and dehydration’ issues. And if this was not all, many find their faces bloated too! (Dang!! There goes the selfie 😦  ) Let’s look at the health perspective of the Truly Yummy and yet, believed to be oh-so-unhealthy Drink!! Sugarcane

Sugarcane Juice – is the perfect remedy for all that heat fatigue, acidity and bloating and now add a dash of lime and this drink – can add the zing back to your dull day.  This drink can help you flaunt the patli kamar contrary to popular belief that it is fattening!!

So how often can I have it – would be your next logical question & to that I say – daily 😀 .. Yups!! You heard me – peak noon, when the sweltering heat of the sun is unbearable and we crave a cold drink – is the ideal time to sip on a glass of baraf wala – nimboo wala – sugarcane juice.. Tastes Divine!!

To the skeptical, lost in calories people – yes it does have calories (like every other food item- and again I would rather have you to refer to my article on calories, before we set forth cursing them AGAIN!!) Sugar cane is flooded with nutrients, sugar, electrolytes and minerals!

Health Benefits for the Scientific Minds –

  • Technically, sugarcane juice is rich in calcium, chromium, cobalt, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium and zinc.  It also contains iron and vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B3, B5, and B6, along with high concentration of phytonutrients, antioxidants, proteins and soluble fiber. All these nutrients work together to keep your body in a good and healthy shape.
  • The sugar in the sugar cane juice is the natural sugar and not the refined one we tend to consume. This natural sugar – gives an instant kick of energy and quenches the thirst, which we badly need in this heat! It is good source of glucose which as we know, helps to re-hydrates the human body and gives it a boost of energy. So the next time you feel fatigued or dehydrated, consider drinking a glass of cane juice – Guilt free!!!
  • The antioxidants in sugarcane juice help to fighting against infections and boost the immune system of the body. It also protects the liver against infections and helps in keeping the bilirubin levels in control. This is the reason that doctors advice drinking sugar cane juice to jaundice patients, as it is one of the few things that get digested without too much pressure on the liver and also helps in reducing the bilirubin levels. Did U Know – Sugarcane juice is probably our earliest known detox tonic???
  • Another reason why it is an ideal summer drink is due to its high potassium content. Summers are the times when the digestive system may be slow as it is also dehydrated & fatigued. The high potassium makes it a good digestive aid. It helps in keeping the digestive system in good shape, prevents stomach infections and is considered to be particularly useful in treating the problem of constipation.
  • And Ladies – to flaunt the soft supple skin even in this heat – this juice comes to your rescue!! Being high in antioxidants, as it has flavonoids and phenolic compounds it has the perfect ingredients to make the skin healthy, shiny, soft, supple, fair as well as prevents from early ageing and wrinkles. It rehydrates and moisturizes the body thus makes the skin soft and bright.

And again – Moderation is essential.. A glass is what you need, and it is very important to have it the minute it’s squeezed out, as the goodness gets evaporated quickly. And very importantly – check that your gannawala stores the sugarcane in a safe, hygienic manner, away from buzzing makkhis. Ideally, it would be great if you could, chew on the cane and allow the fibres to massage your gums.

MANGO – FAT of Summer or FLAVOR of Summer???

Mango is the KING of FRUITS! Would we really title it the King if it made us “fat”? If we call it the King, don’t you think it should have some Royal benefits!

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Now, there is a reason why certain fruits are seasonal – this is because they help us handle or rather deal with the changes the season brings with it. Hence, mangoes are great in summer as they will give a season’s supply of the ‘real’ antioxidants – don’t we just looove our anti-oxidants? In fact, most people are hooked to “green tea”- coz ‘they think’ it is anti-oxidant rich!! (I will leave green tea for another day, now back to my flavor of the season – Mango!!). But Mangoes are really rich in antioxidants and thus keep free radicals at bay!

So the next logical question is – HOW DOES MANGO HELP ME IN SUMMER?

Here is how it is – mango is rich in carotene (Vitamin A) and is high on fibre to help you deal with the scorching heat – mind you it is just the beginning of April, May is not even close and we are already complaining. Vit A is known for its benefit to our eyes, thus the carotene provides nourishment to the eyes to cope with the dazzling burning bright – sun, in spite of us having our Guccis or Ray bans on. This same carotene protects our skin by preventing suntan and sunburn. The fibre provides the necessary roughage for the intestines, which otherwise feel overstrained with dehydration and heat exhaustion, thus preventing constipation. The fibre keeps us feeling fuller longer!

Now you may think – Fine – it is good for my eyes, for my skin and even my tummy – but what about the FAT?

Now – let’s get into the Math – 100 gms Mango v/s 100 gms apple – 100gms ripe mango has 0.4 gms fat  whereas 100gms apple has 0.5 gms fat!!!!

So shouldn’t the apple make us fat! Come on, does it not have 0.1gm MORE fat than Mango!

Yup.. That bursts our bubble! Honestly it’s not really much, but then why is it that we blame the poor King – Mango to make us fat?

It is how we eat the mango – that makes us fat and not the mango itself!

We relish our aam-ras puri, don’t we? Have you ever heard of apple-ras puri? Exactly why we blame the mango and not the apple!!

A mango or any other fruit as a matter of fact, when eaten with a meal or as a dessert immediately on a full stomach (after a meal) alters the pH balance or acidity of the stomach and messes both the glycemic index (the measure of how quickly blood glucose levels or blood sugar rise after eating a particular type of food) and glycemic load (number that estimates how much the food will raise a person’s blood glucose level after eating it) of your meal.

But when a mango is eaten by itself – like any other fruit – say a watermelon or musk melon – now the sugars, the vitamins and the minerals in it are actually much more available to the body than they would be, when it is consumed along with, or right after a meal. Just so you know that for the carotene or Vit A to be absorbed we need fat, because Vit A is a Fat-soluble vitamin. Now here is where the King plays the role – the fat of the mango actually helps in the Vit A absorption – making it ‘not-dependent’ on another food item so that we can get the benefit of Vit A from it – so it is kind of a one-meal-wonder!!

So EAT the Mango you love 🙂

Eat it as soon as you wake up, or as a post-work out meal, and it may just help you get that six pack or the patli kamar (thin waist-line 😉 you have always wanted!

DEBUNKING MYTHS – THE “FAT” FARCE!!?!!

Preparing for exams I have missed blogging! Feels good to be back 🙂  & to write 😀

Going back to what I love 😉 , picking another myth I would love to talk about – FATS!!

So many of us feel that simply banishing Fats from our diets – we will achieve – ‘that perfect body’ or ‘that perfect weight’ we always dreamt of!

Fats actually play a very big role in our body. They come to our rescue during times of big Stress (physical and emotional!), during illness and when one is starving. Fats are our second in line energy source after carbohydrates. It is thanks to the fats that our human race has evolved in spite of prolonged starvation and famines when food was not easily available.

Let’s talk science of Fats – they are stored in the body in cells called adipocytes. Being energy dense they provide 9 kcal per gram as compared to carbs & proteins (4 kcal/gram)

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(Image Courtesy – http://personaltrainingfrankston.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/good-fats)

Function of Fats in our body –

i)                  Transport of Fat Soluble Vitamins – Vitamin A (for skin & eyes), Vitamin D(most popular now – for bones), Vitamin E (skin & anti-oxidant properties) & Vitamin K (blood clotting)

ii)                Maintaining Body temperature – fat acts an insulator and prevents loss of body heat – thus keeps us warm.

iii)             Shock Absorber – protects vital organs such as heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, etc

iv)             About 60% of brain is made up of fat – and thus helps it function smoothly

v)                They also form the protective sheath covering the nerves & thus help nerves transmit impulses to & from the brain & spinal cord

vi)             Its needed for normal growth of children in pregnant women & for milk production in mothers

vii)           They lubricate joints

So Fats are not just for maintaining good health, but for nourishment, growth and support of life itself.

So if you want a lean and toned body, a healthy active heart, smooth supple skin and glorious lustrous hair- make sure to make fat a part of at least your 3 main meals. And when I say fats – I don’t mean just the oils. To have the nuts, cheese or any other dairy product is also important as they contain essential oils.

Eating ADEQUATE amounts of fat (not less & not more) will actually guarantee proper functioning of body and in turn lead to optimum fat burning. Fats when eaten as a part of a complete meal ie in combination with carbs and proteins, reduce the glycemic index (ability of foods to raise blood sugar/ glucose)of food. So, they now work at gradually releasing glucose in the blood – which further leads to active fat burning, stable blood glucose, reduced hunger, HAPPY MOOD (instead of fluctuating Moods with fluctuating Glucose!!) and definitely Radiant Skin 🙂

Debunking Myths – Curbing Your Carbs…Really!!??

How often do we hear people around saying, “I am on Low Carb – High Protein diet” or “I am having no carbs for dinner” or “Carbs are oh-so fattening ” or How often do we read articles that so categorically state that Carbs are what make us prone to central obesity, diabetes, etc.?

How convenient is it to blame the CARBS and forget to look at our lifestyle – I mean, the fact that we were so occupied killing time on our lounge chairs or sofas or office chair or on our car seat – we were so busy stressing out over issues that really did not matter or even spend sleepless nights partying & drinking or watching movies or religiously completing assignments at the ‘last minute’. Oh! But all this is okay!! All  we need to do is cut our carbs.. Avoid rice and then all will be well. And we will be magically thin. Did we find Cinderella’s fairy godmother? And if we haven’t then let’s face some facts!!

Smile-and-carbohydrates

Let us start with considering the Chemistry of Carbs – what is a carbohydrate – when broken down to basics carbohydrates are a combination of Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen molecules. Now depending on how loosely or compactly they are tied together do they become simple carbs or complex carbs. And yes – our body needs both!

We find these simple carbs in all fruits and complex carbs in all grains including rice, dals/ pulses and lentils. These are natural foods. Now processed foods like cakes, biscuits, pizza, breads, ice creams, chocolates are also carbs, but these are not really complex because these are processed and refined (i.e.  The fibers from the grains have been completely peeled off and also have lots of added sugar). And yes, these are the carbs we need to restrict because they come with their share of the very popular trans-fats, sodium, preservatives, added colours and emulsifiers. They not only block, congest, clog and choke our arteries, they also raise our blood pressure, cause mood swings and YES, add to our girth – Central Obesity. So when indulging in such meals restrict to once a week and preferably before sunset, because that is when our digestive system is still in the ‘active mode’. ((I am so tempted to write about desserts here too, but I think I would leave that for another post & stick to my Carbs here!))

Did you know that our grains like rice, wheat, jowar, ragi, bajra, and the various dals and fruits we consume provide our body not just with energy-giving carbs [or calorie-giving carbs ;), hope you remember that calorie is nothing but unit of energy… Refer my last post on Calories] but also with essential fatty acids, amino acids, high fiber, water soluble B vitamins and loads of micro minerals like selenium, zinc, chromium and many other essential nutrients.

Are these not our doctor’s prescriptions for maintaining our youth and vitality… to improve our immunity… to help lower blood pressure? This in turn escalates peristalsis, improves fat burning and thus lead to a slimmer waist line and a definitely a healthier heart. Curbing your carbs diminishes your body’s ability to burn fat naturally. The key to success is MODERATION. Watch the quantity. Anything in excess is bad.

Debunking Myths – Counting n Cursing Calories!!

Oh! How we love Counting & Cursing our Calories! We also love to track how many calories we burnt on the treadmill! But – Do you know that even if you simply start that treadmill, and don’t even stand on it, the display will show 200 or 300 calories burnt after some time, out of nowhere!

calories

And did you know that Calorie is not your enemy – it is just a unit of ENERGY! So instead of counting calories, try counting on your inner wisdom. Try listening to your body and your stomach.  Your body’s innate wisdom will guide you accurately to the foods you choose to eat each time and listening to your stomach and eating mindfully will help you eat the right quantity of food.

So STOP Counting n Cursing your calories and instead Bless, Love & Celebrate your Food!

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Try this for just a week & see the Magic 🙂

Debunking Myths.. Weight Loss? or Fat Loss?

Most of us are obsessed with our appearance and our weight! But did you know that our body weight is just a number and NOT an indicator of our Health – Wellness – Fitness levels. It is our Body Fat Percentage that actually is the right indicator for these.

What is the point of weighing close to the “Ideal Body Weight” on the scale when our body fat levels have increased and lean body mass become poor? We have moved closer to “Possibility of a Heart Disease in the Future” too.

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We all know that our bodies are made up of a lot of different kinds of tissues and definitely water. There are muscles, fat, bones, and various organs (these are again specialized tissues). The body fat percentage is just the percentage of our weight which is made up of fat. The part that isn’t fat is called our “lean body mass.”

So our goals should probably include being HEALTHY – FIT, and not just lose weight, rather focus on reducing the fat percentage.