Rains and Pakora Cravings!

And its officially the Rainy season here 😀

The first drops of rain always bring a smile on our faces and we heave a sigh of relief – hoping that Picture-of-Mumbai-in-the-rains-Bombay-Monsoon-photo-4it will now cool the soaring temperatures

Bombay/ Mumbai is at its beautiful best during the rains! And the perfect way to celebrate this dreamy atmosphere around is to sit near the window – and not just watch the rains, but enjoy the soothing sound of rain, breathing deep – taking in the freshness of the air that only a fresh rainfall provides; watching children splash around in the puddles and making paper boats and rejoicing in the smell of fresh earth! Don’t we just want to sometimes just go out there and dance in the rain?

(Picture Courtesy – wonderfulmumbai.com)

To make it even more perfect – is to now sip on the hot mint-ginger chai with some fried yummies like pakoras or the king of Mumbai street food – Vada pav!! Don’t we all crave this? Did you know – it is not some silly fancy to crave these foods during rains – but there is an actual reason behind this. Our innate cravings that come from our gut have solid logic to them.

Most mothers know and some rather dread rains as they bring with it infections – both respiratory and digestive, fevers and various other issues. Why just children, don’t we also fall ill?

Now let’s talk logic – when or why do we fall ill? Why is it that some people fall ill more easily and others don’t? The reason is Immunity or the Immune system.

Immunity is the body’s natural defense system against illness and infections. Everyday several bacteria, virus and germs attack our body. Our body shows resistance against these attacks. This resistance level depends on how strong is our immune system. Strong immune system is a key for proper functioning of the body and to fight off most diseases. For staying healthy, our immune system should be really strong

Low immunity has become a major cause of concern today owing to changes in lifestyle and our eating habits! And one of the most overlooked reasons why our immune system collapses is insufficient calorie intake.

Be it at restaurants or at parties or in trains, anywhere for that matter – one of the hot topic for conversation includes counting calories and discussing our new discovered weight loss techniques or fad diets. So people want to avoid ‘the-so called-high-calorie’ food like the plague. And yesterday I overheard an even more fantastic gyaan (I am being sarcastic here!) – “we must never give our taste buds of anything that it wants.” And let me tell you – it did not come from a fit woman – rather from the exact opposite of fit!

Given that Aunty’s logic – means no garama-garam pakoras or vada pavs! And yes a pakka chance of catching flu or cold-cough and general dullness. Coming back to what I always say – our body or gut and our innate cravings are not our dushman (enemy)! Your body is not planning and plotting all the time to ruin your “weight loss” program!

In fact – we should revere our bodies for not reacting the way it should ideally have – for all the torture we put it through in the name of diet or exercise. Many people exercise as a way to punish their bodies for over eating. To them I would like to ask – did you eat the food or your stomach grew an arm and a mouth to eat it all! You were not mindful when you ate and you literally tortured your stomach into digesting all of that and if that was not enough you run like a maniac on treadmill to now burn it all off and punish yourself! Does this even remotely make sense? But so many people do this!

We should eat and exercise from the perspective of being FIT, HEALTHY and HAPPY and not to punish ourselves. And to be honest these punishing tatics never work – because most people who may have lost “weight” doing these things always put it back on!

Shouldn’t our diet and exercise plan aim to keep us fit for the rest of our lives? Or are we meant to yo-yo from losing weight and putting it back on? – and this seems to be like on a loop!

So again – your palate is not here to disrupt your your weight loss plans. It is only trying to protect your immunity – so that you do not fall prey to a whole range of infections. To provide the system with the adequate calorie surge needed to protect from bacterial and viral and other infections does our body urge us to eat fried food. And simply because it cannot speak in the formal way – do we end up craving for these.

To my thinking minds – tell me one thing – during summers does our body not quease at the thought of eating these same fried food! This is because our gut-feelings are intelligent enough! Give your body some credit.

So it is not you being crazy with your cravings and it has nothing to do with ‘control’ or ‘willpower’ as a few people feel.

There are essential fats, like in filtered groundnut oil – being rich in antioxidants (much more than your 1 cup of green tea) that help you fight free radicals and prevent illnesses and infections. These also make your skin glow and strengthen the roots of your hair. (Are we not told to oil our hair – when we face hair fall – same logic!)

And I am talking about the pakoras and vadas that you fry at home – so you know exactly what oil you are using and you will not re-use that oil – which happens outside!  And the craving for the ginger-mint chai with these is because ginger assists your intestines to break down fat and rids your stomach of gas. That way, your smart body has taken care of what-looks-like overindulgence too.

chai-and-pakoras-at-grand-hyatt-goa-4

 

 

(Picture Courtesy – http://goanewswire.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/chai-and-pakoras-at-grand-hyatt-goa-4)

So stop cursing your body – your cravings and your calories. Eat mindfully and eat in moderation and exercise right and you will find yourself enjoying your food and yet being Fit-Healthy and Happy!

Happy Eating 😀

 

My Relationship Status to My Food – It’s Complicated! — Really?

 “Why am I so weak willed?  Why is it so difficult for me to resist the temptation of over-indulging in so called forbidden foods – ice cream, chocolate, pizza, that very inviting-looking pastry, etc.?” – How often do we get frustrated with ourselves this way?

Like I mentioned in the previous post, our bodies make us crave particular foods and flavours when we are out of balance in some way, whether it is physically, mentally or emotionally. Feeling powerless to resist cravings usually has absolutely nothing to do with willpower.

Physical or rather physiological cravings occur because we have either a reduced store of certain nutrients or an imbalanced diet as a result of either an excess or even drastically reduced portion – often of sugar, salt, or carbohydrates. These types of cravings can happen as a result of poor diet (includes both – over-eating as well as eating less than what you need), over-exercise or no exercise, stress, illness, lack of sleep, or – as a favourite topic of discussion among the ladies – a symptom of pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS).

Cravings related to mental or emotional state are much more complicated, because the root cause cannot be addressed simply by increasing your intake of leafy greens. No food or vitamin supplement can replace this.

Emotional eating can really disrupt your efforts for weight loss. Often, emotional eating leads to consuming too much of our so-called forbidden foods – like the high calorie ones, high fat ones, salty and sweet ones. Eating as a way to suppress or soothe negative emotions, such as stress, anger, anxiety, boredom, sadness and loneliness can never really solve the core issue that led to the disturbance. There is personal inner work to be done to identify triggers and thus we begin our journey to heal.

How to differentiate Physical Hunger from Emotional?

eating

In this journey to heal or even identify that disturbance which leads to the “emotional craving” for certain foods, befriending our body works wonders instead of criticizing ourselves or thinking that we are weak willed. When we make friends with our own body – our own inner guidance – we come to realize that our body is actually strong and that it knows what to do. It will then guide to make right food and exercise choices to achieve your dream bod!

I believe that food is not about calories or fat but about feelings, emotions, the love for food is an enriching and rewarding experience and central to human existence. Along with your body befriend your food. And eat it without any guilt rather eat it with utmost pleasure. (Mind you – I said EAT not Binge 😀 😉 & remember the bit on Physical hunger)

(P.S. – Working to write the last part of the i-Crave series ending with Strategies on dealing with Emotional Eating. Will keep you posted)