The Evening Hunger time Snack

Most of us get hungry and want something Yummy around 5-6pm. A good snack planned and eaten around this time can be a Key Factor in yourFat Loss & Fitness Journey. So what are you eating for your 6pm snack? Choose Well! Choose Yum! Eat what you Love! #merakiwellbeing  

 

Make Time for What is Important 

     It’s not about “having” time. It’s about making time. Make time for what is really important. A healthy life is a lot more fun 💖#merakiwellbeing 

Enjoy your Meal, if you want to ‘Lose’ your Weight

So often, in my practice I come across people, who are willing to give up foods they love or believe that “if I give in to my taste buds, I will stay fat forever. So its better I stay away from my favorite foods”. These are those who have been on and off diets all the time, and that’s because they couldn’t sustain their diet for long. And yet – they choose to follow the same and obviously results will be the same – weight loss (on the scale) when dieting and weight gain (as soon as they go back to normal eating)

We as humans are chemically wired to choose joy over pain or torture. So obviously when we are eating, we want to enjoy the food and in turn feel satisfied and happy. Scientifically when you relish your meal your metabolism goes up and you not only digest your food better but you also absorb maximum nutrients from your meal. In fact people who consciously eat foods that are “good for you,” even though you don’t like them, or if you think you can have a ‘cheat’ meal and compensate for it by eating bad-tasting vitamin-fortified protein bar, or some ‘tall-claimed’ foods or tea – to wash off the effect of the bad diet or purely choose these because you feel you will put on weight if you eat foods you like – then you aren’t doing yourself any ‘healthy’ favor. Instead not only are slowing down your metabolism, you are also reducing the quantity and quality of nutrients that you get from your food.

Haven’t you experienced that when you abstain from eating and enjoying your food, when you go out – you end up bingeing because you know you won’t be eating this again? Now ask yourself – if you could eat everything would you ever have to go on a bingeing spree?

Also haven’t you experienced that when you eat ill-tasting, ‘low-calorie’ food in the name of diet – you end up eating more and end up feeling stuffed but rarely satisfied?

Let’s talk about the science behind both these – the hormone that makes you feel good about your eating experience is the same one that stimulates your digestive system and also signals the brain to stop eating. Also when you are not enjoying your food brain secretes a neurotransmitter that increases your appetite and makes you hunt for food – and you end up feasting after a bit of starving. Then you get on to a guilt trip – again go starving or dieting and thus the cycle of starving and feasting goes on.

The simple act of eating good food – made at home – as simple as a dal chawal with little ghee – not only fills your tummy, it also satisfies your soul. You feel nourished. Your brain secretes the ‘happy’ hormone – thereby improving digestion, assimilation, nutrient absorption and in turn leads to a greater efficiency in ‘calorie burning’ 😀

Again this does not mean you eat anything and everything – mindlessly. I am just explaining that enjoying your meal is a must for your digestion. Cherish your food, celebrate your food and eat well in Moderation 🙂

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Happy Eating!

Gratitude to Food

On the 1st of January, I started this online event – “30 Days of Gratitude”. (https://www.facebook.com/events/798071456931339/) It is Day 8 today. We started by  thanking special people in our lives – family-friends and today the theme is food.  Food is an integral part of our life. We eat every day. Through our ups – downs, we may choose different foods, but we do eat something. Yes, later it is possible we go on a guilt trip about what we ate, but in that moment, when we were eating – and that particular Food gave us comfort, love and security.

Technically speaking food is simply matter with various proportions of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals. On a regular day – we do make our choices based on awareness of the goodness of the food in our plate. But in most traditions we pray or say Grace before we eat. Traditionally it was a way of purifying the food. Sending it positive energy. We would say thank you for the Food and to the Food. What are we really thanking? The practice of saying a simple Thank you connects us to the food we eat, the people we share it with and the world that has supported and nurtured us with nourishment.

At its core – Food is energy. Haven’t you experienced – that on days when you eat and you are upset, angry or agitated – you often end up feeling bulky or bloated or heavy or along those lines and on days when you are in a great mood, feeling good and smiling on the inside and at peace with yourself – you just eat ‘right’ amount of food, you feel light, there is a spring in your step. ( I am not talking about over-eating out of excitement 😉 )

When you eat with love, what’s prepared with love and served with love, you feel more nourished, refreshed, alive, satisfied, satiated, balanced, at peace and definitely loved. So our meals are an awesome time for gratitude, to remember the goodness of what lies before us, the earth and all our many connections. We eat food to give us strength and energy to carry on with our purpose of life

Most of us are too lazy or in a rush to take time to say thank you before we eat. But a small thank you said from the bottom of your heart is a great thing. Before you start eating – just for a moment pause – close your eyes, take a deep breath and just say a thank you. You will be amazed at how aware you become of your NOW in that moment.  Try this for a week before every meal – just say a quiet thank you in your mind. Would love to hear about your experience.

Happy, Blessed and Blissful Eating!

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FOOD – NOURISHING THE MIND, BODY & SOUL

Every time I think I need to write my blog – I realize there are so many topics I could write on, so many myths I could dispel, yet somewhere I realized I was missing a point – something a lot more deeper – something I really needed to write about and did not know what that was. At the same I have been really engrossed, enchanted and mesmerized with Steve Jobs’ biography by Walter Isaacson, and I totally agree with Steve’s love for Simplicity.

How often do we end up complicating things in life, purely by just over thinking or over analyzing and then end up complaining life is so complicated! There is always a simple answer to every problem, yet we choose the most complex ways to solve it, because we simply cannot believe Life can be simple. Let us take an example of our diets – don’t we readily jump, read and believe theories which tell us – some foods are amazing and how eating them would miraculously make us skinny and how some food are bad, and why we must avoid them like the plague. (And a few days later, there will be another theory speaking the exact opposite – so what really is true.. God alone knows!)

No wonder it is said that Common sense is the least common thing! Why can we not be simple with our food and food choices? Why go to extremes – why completely eliminate certain foods, why only eat certain foods?

Now let us talk basic. Scientifically thinking – what is the purpose of eating? Why do we eat food?

Answer: the body uses food to perform one or more of four main functions:

To supply energy – Food supplies the fuel or energy needed to perform the many tasks of everyday living. We need energy to think, breathe, walk, sit, speak and even sleep. We get energy from carbohydrates, proteins and fats. It is important that we eat enough food to supply all our needs. If we don’t, we will feel tired and listless. Having no energy can be compared to a car that has run out of fuel. On the other hand, if we eat more food than what our body needs – we do know that it makes us FAT

For growth and repair Food provides the materials needed to build, repair and maintain body tissues. Proteins, fats and minerals are the best nutrients for growth. Growing bodies need extra amounts of these nutrients. Every person whether growing or not, is going through a continual repair process of replacing injured or dead cells. It is food that supplies the nutrients necessary for this process.

For regulation – Food supplies the substances that help regulate the body’s processes. Water, vitamins and minerals help regulate breathing, the nervous system, digestion, blood circulation and the elimination of waste products from the body. They help keep all the systems in the body working properly.

For protection – Vitamins, minerals and protein keep the body’s tissues and organs healthy. Healthy organs are less likely to be attacked by disease.

This is what science has to say! But is this why we eat food or is this how we decide what we will eat for lunch or dinner? Though some of us do include certain things in our diets that are aimed at health, yet 80% of our food choices are emotional. Very often after eating amazing food we say – ‘what a soul-satisfying meal?’ or ‘dil khush ho gaya’. So doesn’t this imply that our foods not only nourish our body but our soul too! Great food can have an uplifting impact on our mood and vice versa.

How about we get simple with food? Can we eat not to just stuff ourselves but to nourish our soul? Enjoying our now, reveling in the beauty of the world and the simple pleasures of existence are equally important to our survival as food is. Gratitude and a sense of abundance, no matter how little we may seem to have, makes us happy, content and fulfilled. Perhaps all these may even help the body metabolize our food better.

Being skinny or size 0 can never guarantee enlightenment, happiness, or inner peace – it is instead a choice we make. In every moment can choose to be happy NOW, love and accept our body the way it is TODAY.

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I would suggest a small exercise by Louise Hay for a week – “Cease all criticism of yourself and others. Accept yourself as you are. Praise yourself as much as you can. Criticism breaks down the inner spirit, praise builds it up. Look into a mirror often and simply say: I LOVE YOU, I REALLY LOVE YOU. It may be difficult at first, but keep practicing and soon you will mean and feel what you say. Love yourself as much as you can and all of life will mirror this love back to you.

And after a week assess – how you are feeling? How your body is responding to a simple change in your thoughts? See how nourished your soul feels after receiving this love? Would love to hear your experience.  🙂

 

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.

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(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 😀