Changing your Lifestyle – Who said it was easy!

Lifestyle is your way of life. You live it. You don it every single day. And if you have to change it, it’s like stripping off the skin you’ve worn for years. It’s painful.

So no one can say it’s easy. Easy is what I’m penning down here. Crediting change to yourself is just as difficult. Commit to changing your lifestyle accepting that you need to better your health & life, realizing that no one but you can make that change and focusing on the consequences of this change when it happens. There can be no greater incentive than visualizing the changes yet to come. And no greater reflection of positivity.

Steps to make sure you succeed in changing your lifestyle for the better

  • Be prepared for the fall: You will fail, temporarily. Be prepared for it, just don’t wait for it. You wear a lifestyle for years and when you decide to change, expect to learn on the job. And with every fall there will be a new lesson learnt. With every lesson you learn pin up the sheets and make your footnotes to success.
  • Close the exit window: “Try” is a no risk word. It doesn’t allow you to commit. And if you want to win this challenge you cannot just “try”, you “must”. Close your mind’s eye to that exit window. Once you’ve made the decision to better your lifestyle, there must be no looking back. Turn in the key and throw it away. Because outside that window rests exactly what made you take this decision in the first place.
  • Pray, your routine: It’s not just about the food, it’s also about your food timings, the food gaps, your sleep, your stress, your water intake and your quantities. It may seem overwhelming. But just like the ocean waves that topple over each other seemingly without rhythm or rhyme but finally ripple to the waiting shore in complete harmony in a tickling foam of white, must your habits seamlessly orchestrate your routine to give you the lifestyle your health deserves. It’s your routine that will invent the change. Just like not drinking water maybe a habit, drinking water must become one. Keep a water alarm, arrange bottles of water in your work space, spike your water with lemon and mint if you like flavor , do what it takes to drink 10-15 glasses of water daily. Start with one element and pick up the others on the way, if you don’t sleep enough start with sleeping half hour early, if you are used to skipping meals, start with never skipping lunch. It’s all about your routine.
  • Believe: Believe in the change you want. Think and reminisce over why you believe change in your lifestyle is essential. Focus on these everyday. Meditate for 5 minutes in your day, in quiet, simply taking in your goal in your mind’s eye. Think over your falls of yesterday and determine not to repeat them today. Want the change so bad that it becomes a desire you just have to. Here obstinacy may prove to be a great tool!
  • Stay prepared: If healthy food hasn’t been a frequent visitor in your home in the past, you would need to make an extra effort to ensure you are well stocked with it. When hunger calls even the most resolute minds can crumble on the feet of the most scrumptious, oil laden, sugar laced food. But if healthy food is available just when you are starting to get hungry even the most fickle minded can make a healthy choice. So let stocks do us last!! Stock healthy food in your kitchen, in your office drawer, in your bag, in your car ranging from fruits to nuts to cheese to yoghurt to dry fruits to wheat crackers to soups to milk to stubs of corn to cherry tomatoes to an endless list! The magic word is “to stock” and the event will be an unbendable “you”.
  • Exercise daily: Just don’t set a time requirement. You must exercise daily. Period. On busy days, even a 10 minute walk is enough, on days when time is leisure you will have an hour to sweat! Do not feed conditions into your exercise routine. Like the kind (if you’ve missed yoga, go for a walk, if you’ve missed Zumba, bring the music on and dance at home!), the time (you woke up late, so what jog at 6pm instead of 6am!), the space (the gym’s closed today, not the park though) and the time limit (an hour maybe better than half but a half hour is better than nothing!). Pat yourself on the back if you’ve packed in some kind of exercise 6 days in the week.
  • A partner in crime: or in something better serves a purpose. Sharing common goals with a friend or a partner could make your journey inspiring and a tad easier. The pitfalls are easier to ride over, the exercises are more regular, the hard days are less hard and binge days are fewer when you have a friend in tow! It’s comfort, it’s grass beneath your feet.

No one can say it is easy. But no one can say it’s impossible either. It’s change. And change is always a challenge. Be prepared to take on that challenge and know in your heart that you are going to win. It’s a 100% chance, you are competing with no one else.  So victory can’t evade you unless you step aside and change your path!

 

My childhood…passed on!

child-play-games1

I thank god every single day for his presence in my life. His presence that i can touch and feel and love. I get shouted at by them even at age 40 and i can curl myself up in between them without them asking why. My parents. Two people who love me like I can only love my children. Two people who gave me so many memories of a childhood that was filled with laughter and sunshine, contentment and culture, normalcy and…….the outdoors!

They passed on an inheritance that will stay with me like a shadow for as long as I will eat and enjoy good food, good books, good friends and good play.

We had a 21 inch screen TV at home. Until I was 15 the TV unit was a beautiful piece sitting on the mantle waiting to frame the best photograph yet to be clicked! It was probably bought under social pressure but really was of no use in our modest daily routine. The laptops and search engines of today were definitely not hourly names in any household.

Which is why my childhood was versatile. I learnt to play. I learnt to love reading. I learnt to write and express. I played hopscotch and cycled on Sundays by the sea with my friends. I hated classical dance but at least I learnt to move with grace.

I learnt conversation without going for elocution classes or theater. Because I never found it unusual to talk in plenty to my parent’s friends. Conversations with adults proved to be worth a ton of experience and wisdom.

There was always something to do. Boredom was just a word in the dictionary the meaning of which i never felt the need for to search.

And that’s why I grew up healthy in habit and healthy in routine. We ate clean home cooked meals rarely peppered with anything artificial/packaged. The spice on our palettes and table habits of eating together inspired the downing of at least 7-8 glasses of water a day. Our days were never complete without aggressive games of “7 tiles” and “catching cook” taking our breaths away on roller coaster rides leaving happy smiles on our faces as we unwillingly trudged home at the end of the day’s play. Promises to meet the next accompanied.

Lack of TV and google search paved way to reading multitudinous titles and precious times with dad as he read to us every single night.

Times of course have passed and as we step into an era where obesity could set in at as early as 5-15 years, we need to steer children away from gadgets and introduce them to the wonder of free play. The likes and followers on Instagram can never replace the interaction with friends on the football ground.

5 steps that we must take to help beat childhood obesity

  1. Get off the idiot box: Children are 6 more times likely to take to games and physical exercise if the TV and other sources of viewing media are minimized. Global research assert that states where children indulge in 4 hours or more of screen time are 40% higher on the obesity graph. TV is shown to numb creativity, dull active brain cells, lower verbal abilities and increase sugar cravings.
  2. Physical exercise and free play: Free play and games and the outdoors have a cumulative effect on health and social skills. Leadership skills, social skills, muscle strength and bone development, an unbeatable immune system, burning excessive adipose tissue, mental calm & focus are just a few in a long list of benefits that  regular physical activity can proudly bring in.
  3. Intermittent snacking: Any food, even healthy food in excess is stored as fat in the body. They become your reserve for fuel later in case you fall short in life situations. The problem lies in the fact that little bits of excess every single day will finally build an unending reserve that just cannot be exchanged for anything in this world, leading to obesity at an early age before you even start assuming responsibility for your own health. So teach your children to eat well, eat right, eat clean fresh food, eat only when hungry and eat to drive the hunger away, not to feel full. The need to munch can be a dangerous habit, once acquired difficult to reverse. So children must eat on time so that the need to snack excessively is not over powering.
  4. Eating the right quantity of fats: I see children being fed and themselves choosing a lot of carbohydrate dense foods. These of course are a good source of energy but it’s important to also choose this one nutrient that i see being overlooked. GOOD FATS. Again our foodie brains will automatically switch our attention to the oil laden deep fried snacks and sweets. Apply caution on quantities and the quality of the fats chosen. Nuts (Almonds, walnuts, pistas and peanuts) and seeds (sunflower, flax, chia, etc), saturated fats like small quantities of butter, ghee and fresh cream and omega 3 rich fish are good to repair and nourish the myelin sheath in the brain that conduct nerve impulses and help with vision and motor impulses.
  5. Allow children to develop a penchant for natural flavors: Natural flavors are mild and soothing like the sugar in carrots and milk, the pungency in onions and radish. Allow children to understand these flavors without adding too much sugar/salt to their meals. Flavor additives are strong and overpower the mild natural flavors in foods, they are also addictive and pave way to strong sugar cravings as children grow up.

Children absorb what you offer them.Their ability to choose is what parents can influence. Exercise this right, right from when they are born. Enable your children with the knowledge to choose the right kinds of foods through constant exposure to a variety of natural flavors and textures. This effort on your part will effect an organic understanding of the power of healthy foods and a natural inclination to healthy eating practices.

Health is the best inheritance you can pass onto your child. So learn, imbibe, practice and pass it on!!

 

My Grandmother’s Days

SUBJECT: This article explains the extensive benefits of gut bacteria and simple recipes of fermented foods that can be included daily in your diet. 

I vividly remember those days back in Kerala where Bombay met with summer vacations and we spent our bright scorching holidays in the mud, grime and happiness of village life.
All rules were broken, discipline was mere theory and all that my brother I did was to eat clean nature’s food and burn all of it right after, in extensive play.
My granny used to store large jars of spicy, teary, desirable pickles well apart from our reach served to us with love at every meal. The tongues went slurp and the tummies went burp into satisfied volleys of laughter as we went steal from even our cousin’s plates. We weren’t allowed too much, it was a treasure that i know was a treasure only today!
The art of fermentation is forgotten. The skill requires time, patience, technique, hygiene and some creation. But what do you get at the end of this long labor?
Delicious bites of vegetable or/and fruit forcing you to crinkle your nose and your eyebrows and leaving you wanting for more. And of course a gut full of beneficial bacteria that keep your digestive tract at a desirable ph not allowing unwanted pathogens to grow.
Our body has about 10 trillion bacteria! Just like that! God’s gift that we don’t really unpack to assimilate the value of because it doesn’t come wrapped in gay colored packages like processed foods do. So we take several essential periodic steps to ensure we kill a lot of these bacteria over a period of time.
STOP, NOW
  1. Sugar/fructose
  2. Refined flours
  3. Processed foods coming out of gay colored tempting packages
  4. Antibiotics
  5. Antibacterial soap
  6. Chlorinated water
  7. Agricultural chemicals and pesticides
  8. Pollution
WHY? BECAUSE….
This is what gut bacteria can do
  1. Contribute to optimal digestion of food and absorption of nutrients
  2. Ensure good bowel Movement
  3. Contribute to great Immunity
  4. Reverse fat accumulation, insulin resistance and inflammation.
  5. Boost energy levels
  6. Keep cholesterol levels within range
  7. Regulate hormones
  8. Support a healthy weight
  9. Improve mental function
HOW?
BY TRYING OUT SIMPLE RECIPES TO FERMENT WHAT IS AVAILABLE AT HOME, especially vegetables and some fruits. Yoghurt made at home is a great daily source of fermented food. Bites of seasonal vegetables like beet, carrots, raw mango, amla, cauliflower, etc can be seasoned with rock salt and filtered water and stored in mason jars for fermentation. Kombucha tea, sauerkraut, kimchi,  tempeh are worth researching through and !
Let your kitchen be ruled by the bacteria for the bacteria!!

Let not a day go by without digging into your bowl of ferment and don’t be surprised by how health knocks at your door every single day.

Anupama Menon (required)
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Continue reading “My Grandmother’s Days”

Get fit not Fat this Christmas

With the holidays in tow, the highlight for many during this season is gathering with family and friends and enjoying your favorite holiday treats. Cookies, candied yams, and pies can often be found at every turn when attending holiday festivities. Here are some tips that will help you to enjoy your holiday to the fullest while not increasing your waistline.

Continue reading “Get fit not Fat this Christmas”

Quick Recipe (# 1) under 15 min

Our dining has evolved from the customary “three square meals” and we have traded meals for snacks these days. Do you feel guilty about snacking? Don’t. In fact, snacking is an important part of your daily routine giving it a fourth meal status and offers numerous health benefits when done right. Here’s one that you can do in less than 10 minutes!

Recipe – Cornflakes Salad

Preparation Time – 10 minutes Continue reading “Quick Recipe (# 1) under 15 min”

Action Guide to Weight Loss Barriers

 

“Gosh, I need to lose weight, but I’ll start seriously from tomorrow”, “Urgh, just another bite of the brownie won’t do me any harm; I vow to be on a stricter diet from tomorrow”, “A rainy day is the perfect time for hot bajji’s, I shall start exercising tomorrow”, “zzzZZZ, conquer that alarm before it spoils my sleep”. Familiar phrases? Fighting with your inner self to stay motivated and on track to lose those extra kilos? Follow these cheat-proof strategies to help you meet your obstacle filled goals of losing weight.

Obstacle 1: I don’t like fruits and vegetables Continue reading “Action Guide to Weight Loss Barriers”

What is disordered eating?

Disordered eating is defined as “a wide range of irregular eating behaviors that do not warrant a diagnosis of a specific eating disorder.” Yo-yo dieting and a pre-occupation with food are nothing new in our culture. But when does a fixation with what is consumed, calories and weight become a major health concern? When is it considered disordered?

Eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa (AN) or bulimia nervosa (BN), are diagnosed according to narrow criteria. This excludes most people and the majority of people suffering with disordered eating.

Symptoms of Disordered Eating Continue reading “What is disordered eating?”

Put down the diet soda, it does NOT help lose weight

Diet sodas are sugar free drinks, artificially sweetened versions of carbonated beverages with virtually no calories. Most are sweetened with at least one of these sugar substitutes: acesulfame potassium and aspartame.

Diet soda is loaded with artificial sweeteners and chemicals that can be harmful to your body.

The artificial sweeteners in diet soda overwhelm your taste buds with an onslaught of sweetness. Aspartame ranks 200 times sweeter than table sugar. In fact, brain scans show that diet soda alters sweet receptors in the brain and prolongs sugar cravings rather than satisfies them. Continue reading “Put down the diet soda, it does NOT help lose weight”

Health Benefits Of Yoghurt

“The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine, or the slowest form of poison.” – Ann Wigmore

Yoghurt is an ideal snack choice as it keeps the body feeling full for longer. It can be eaten as it is, in the form of a smoothie or topped with fresh or dry fruits. While shopping for yoghurt, check the label and look for brands that contain “active cultures”, “probiotics”; and Vitamin D will be an added benefit.

Yoghurt’s nutritional benefits surpasses that of milk. People who are moderately lactose-intolerant can consume yoghurt without feeling ill, because the lactic acid found in yoghurt is partially digested and is better tolerated by the body. Yoghurt is nutritionally rich in proteincalciumriboflavinvitamin B6 and vitamin B12.

Continue reading “Health Benefits Of Yoghurt”

Super Healthy Breakfast Recipe!!

Here’s a recipe, perfect to wake you up to the beginnings of a day full of activity, antioxidant rich with fiber and calcium to make a nutrient dense delight just for you!!

Super Healthy Smoothie!!

Slim yoghurt, chilled – 3/4 cup (source of calcium, protein and probiotic donor!!)

Fruit of choice, chilled – 3/4 cup (antioxidants, vitamins, small amounts of fiber)

Honey/Palm sugar – 2-3 tsps (palm sugar has a very low glycemic index, more than 100% less than that of sugar)

Oats, added without cooking – 3 tbsps (source of soluble and insoluble fiber, contains a fair amount of magnesium and iron)

Almonds – 6 counts (monounsaturated fats, source of botin, vitamin E, some minerals and a little protein)

Soak the oats in the curd for 10 minutes.

In a clean blender, crush the almonds well.

Now add the yoghurt (with the oats), fruit and palm sugar. Blend well with ice.

Enjoy!!

This recipe will give you approx 250 kcals, a happy feeling and a sound tummy!!