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Friday, February 22, 2013

Five Point Program For Staying Fit

The other day, I went for lunch buffet to Global Fusion with my cousins, I noticed that they did not visit the salad station at all, instead ordered steamed and stir-fried dishes.

With too many pesticides used during growing vegetables, it is becoming more dangerous to eat raw vegetables. Yet, when I went to this fitness chat with dietician Namita Jain, (I was invited by Nature Basket to attend her session on ‘Healthy Eating for Healthy Living) she started the session with Pomegranate salad using all the raw vegetables such as spring onions, carrots, capsicum, cauliflower and garnishing with grated ginger, lime juice, dates and salt.

It tasted good. It had no high cholesterol dressing like Mayonnaise or creams, but still I was hesitatant since all the veggies were raw. Were they washed? How many hours before the session were they chopped? I was not sure about that.

While we munched on the salads and orange juice, Namita started to discuss the 5-point program for staying fit.

Point I: Calories In equals Calories Out

First point to remember is that there has to be a balance between calories that we take in and calories burnt out. If the balance is not maintained then excess of undigested food is converted to fat.

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Always eat light and exercise to burn the calories.

Calories are basically the energy in food, it is not possible to calculate every single calorie that enters our body, but it helps to remember that larger portions have more calories. So the easiest way is to eat smaller portions, fewer snacks and healthy meals. It is much easier for body to extract nutrients from cooked food than from raw food. For raw food you need to chew the food properly in order to digest it.

Burning calories is not just jogging or spinning on a wheel, they include other activities too. Almost all the activities that we do during the day- time burn up calories. For example, cooking for an hour burns 140 calories, taking care of elders uses 232 calories, gardening burns 298 calories, even playing cards/board games burns calories.

Point 2: Always have a square meal.

Every square meal must contain carbohydrates, fat, proteins and cereals. Actually our Indian Thali is such that it verifies the concept of a square meal. There are three types of calories that we take, active, semiactive and couch-potato calories.

Active calories are found in lean meat, fish, poultry, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes.

Semi-active calories are in fiber rich cereals, whole-grain, low-far dairy, soups.

Couch potato calories from pastries, cookies, pies, cakes, fatty processed meats, chips, pretzels, snack food, greasy fast food.

However, too much of anything is bad and undigested food is converted to fat. The built up of fat in the arteries can narrow the blood vessels, leading to high blood pressure. But too little is not good either. Our body needs enough calories to give nourishment; or we will feel tired all the time. On an average it is important to have more than 1200 calories per day.

During my last visit to Hong Kong, I had noticed that Chinese ate several times a day and yet remained slim. I realized that it’s not how many times you eat but what you chose to eat determines our weight. Research shows that frequent meals prevent a high influx of fatty acids that contribute to high cholesterol level.

The second demo dish ‘Multi-grain Tortilla wrap’ was prepared and passed around. The stuffing consisted of crumbled cheese, green onions, coriander leaves, chat masala and chili powder. It was quite dry, even though I had it with tomato salsa.

Point 3: Indulgence and compensation.

There are times when we go for parties and we tend to overeat at the buffet tables. In such times it is important to compensate the next day by eating less. Actually it is important to detox once a week and maintain good eating habits. For detox you could have soups, steamed vegetables, fruits, milk and citrus fruits.

Point 4: Stop before you are full and eat before you are hungry.

Eating too much can lead to acidity and indigestion. Body needs fuel every 3-4 hours. You could eat small snack in between meals like apple, grams, or cracker so that you are not starved during the lunch hour.

Point 5: Self belief.

Mind is powerful; it can be trained to think positive for positive results. People don’t succeed because they believe that they cannot.

Banana nut spread was being prepared at the cooking station while she informed us about staying fit. Her assistant mixed the mashed banana with raisins, chopped dates and chopped nuts and served on cracker.

There were question–answer session after her talk, there was lots of interaction. The room had full attendance of about 100 people.

Women complained that the media and ads publicized the product too much, causing too much confusion and sometimes had adverse effect on their health.

Namita Jain counseled that the new product be tried in small quantities before including it in the regular diet because it may agree with some and with others it might not.

To stay fit, she advised that water is very important for our system and must be consumed at least 3 liters a day. One must eat light food at the later half of the day because detoxification takes place in the night.

Exercise is important because it helps reduce bad cholesterol. It is not advisable to go for walks immediately after eating. If you get tired after exercise then you are not doing it right. Many youngsters are overdoing it resulting in fatigue. She said that instead of taking advise from gym instructor, it is better to consult doctors before taking any steroids.

On being asked what suitable oil to be used in cooking, she advised that any unrefined oil can be used and brand of the oil can be changed frequently.

There was nothing new that we learnt from these talk/demo sessions, but it was worthwhile to attend it to refresh our knowledge and re-adapt to live the healthy way.

Came home with a damage of 3k to my pocket because although the demo is free, the bottles on the shelf are not, it is difficult to resist the grocery shopping when the food is all around you.

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