Bust Those Weight Myths

Weight loss dieting is something, which people read, think and have many questions about. Strangely, in my interaction with people, I have discovered that there are many misconceptions in people’s minds about weight loss, and often this prevents them from achieving their target.

Myth: Weight loss is about calorie control.
Fact: The calorie control theory as a weight loss method has been proven wrong many times over. Yet, thought health professionals have been talking about the calorie control method for years, it is difficult to erase it from public memory. The reason the calorie control method doesn’t work is because, firstly, drastic reduction in calories stimulates hunger. And beating hunger is a tall order. Secondly, nutritional deficiencies force the person after a while to give up on this method, and thirdly, the body gets used to this method and lowers the metabolism to keep pace with the low intake. Therefore, weight loss becomes exasperatingly difficult after a while.

Myth: Weight loss programs give permanent results.
Fact: Most weight loss programs are designed in such a way that they kick start weight loss and result in a defined weight loss over a period. But this is only the first phase of weight management, which is to give the desired weight loss. But for sustaining it, one must definitely follow a change in lifestyle too.

No weight loss program can succeed without lifestyle changes. Most such programs fail to give long-term results because people do not improve their lifestyles.

Myth: Exercises help weight loss.
Fact: Without diet management, exercise can only shape muscles and trim some areas (more in men and much less in women). Solid weight loss is extremely difficult and time consuming, particularly in women. This doesn’t mean that I am against exercise. On the contrary, people who exercise are admirable. But the fact is that weight loss at the end of the day is about eating right.

The quickest results can only come from food management. The real role if exercises comes in step two of weight management, which is about stabilizing the weight and inducing health and happiness, which, in my opinion, is the greatest contribution of exercise.

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Myth: The right diet program works for everyone.
Fact: There is no singular diet program, which will work for everyone. Therefore, borrowed diet programs are frustrating. The best diet program is a tailor made one, where the person losing weight also gives inputs to his/her dietician to plan the diet. He/she works as a partner in progress rather than a victim of weight who is following the program blindly.

Myth: Weight loss will make you happy and beautiful.
Fact: Weight loss can make a person feel confident (especially in women) and attractive, but happiness will not comes from just losing weight. Similarly, beauty is not connected to weight loss, as women of any size can look beautiful!

What’s in Your Kitchen?

There are several herbs that have many health benefits. Some of them are:

Fennel
It is an aromatic plant and has been used in flavoring since ancient times. It has phosphorus, sodium, potassium, iron, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin C and calcium. It is known as a digestive aid and was traditionally served at the end of the meal. It is also a good mouth fresher, is useful to relieve flatulence and helps remove phlegm from the bronchial tubes.

Saffron
Used widely in India, saffron is a part of the flower, it is widely promoted as a medicine which strengthens and improves the functioning of the stomach. It enhances the color and aroma of the cuisine. It is also popular as an aphrodisiac and is useful in improving the menstrual cycle. Saffron is good for the skin and since it is a warming herb, it is frequently used in cold climates.

Cardamom
Grown in south India, it is known for its digestive properties. Cardamom is a good breath freshener and healthier than all the toffees and gums are uses. To just pep yourself up, put cardamom is boiling tea water and drink. Cardamom is also believed to be an aphrodisiac. Using cardamom as a mouth rinse along with mint and fennel relieve throat inflammation.

Curry Leaves
They are good for the digestive tract and help relieve morning sickness when used as a fresh extract with lime and jaggery. They are also good to cure indigestion and help lower cholesterol. For stomach problems and upsets, one can add a paste of curry leaves to butter milk and drink it. Consuming fresh curry leaves every morning aids in blood sugar management. Curry leaves juice delays premature graying of hair.

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Poppy Seeds
Poppy seeds are effective in inflammation, heat stroke and irritation of the stomach. Poppy seeds with milk are good for improving sleep. Being mildly sedative, they also help with aches and pains.

Conclude
By now you must have realize that how important is to have herbs in your kitchen too. As these herbs help you leading a happy and healthy life.

Going Green

A salad means different things to different people. For some it is rabbit food eaten only if you are some sort of a freak! Many feel there is no point of living a young, healthy life if all the fun is taken out of eating. For them, salads are not fun.

Here’s Why Should We Eat Salads:
Firstly, they are delicious. Anyone who has eaten a salad knows that it is great way to mix completely different kinds of textures, foods and flavors in one meal. In salads, one can mix nuts (almonds, pinenuts, walnuts, and the like), green crunchy leaves (great texture), cereals like boiled corn, beans, peas, potatoes; or one can add some proteins like boiled egg, delicious and flavorful herbs like basil, oregano, mint and holy basil.

You can toss these aromatic and refreshing ingredients with a salad dressing, which can be anything from honey, lemon juice or balsamic vinegar (takes the salad to another level).

Contrary to what people believe, salads are very filling, and once potato or pasta, beans, corn or egg is added, it is a complete meal in itself. Eating a salad, besides being very refreshing, also keep one full.

Salads are healthy! We all know that but why? Because it has fiber, (to keep constipation and diseases away), is loaded with enzymes (which keep you looking young) and has truckloads of vitamins and minerals thanks to nuts and greens. It has medicinal properties if fresh herbs are added to it.

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Salads are ideal for people who don’t like to eat heavy lunches or dinners that make them feel bloated, lethargic or plain lazy. Therefore, they make a great choice for a business or working lunch. At least you will be awake after eating to conduct the business! Also, raisins, apricots, prunes, figs are not only rich in minerals but also are great alkalinizes (making the body alkaline, according to Ayurveda, healthy).

Salads are incredibly easy to make, and even a moron chef can whip up a great salad.

Healthy Mantras

These days we hear quite a lot about wellness. Many people mistakenly associate wellness with the indulgences of the rich and famous. So what exactly is wellness and why do we need it?

It is a concept of regular servicing of the body, mind and soul in an integrated way to achieve good health. People usually pay attention to their bodies when they start having problem or when their day-to-day performances are affected by a ‘feeling low’ syndrome, difficulty in sleeping and depression.

About Wellness
An addictive, obsessive fitness routine will hardly benefit the heart if the mind is packed with anxiety. Wellness addresses the basic rule that to be healthy, one must balance the mind, body (nutrition and activity) and soul. Unless one finds a balance between the three, one cannot be truly healthy.

Lets take the typical example of people who eat right, exercise enough and yet fall ill because in their perfectionist behavior, they drive everyone up the wall and end up getting high blood pressure.

There are many researchers who have studied and written about the mind and body connection in the proper healing of diseases. Harmony with the outside world and balance within oneself are the key mantras for a healthy life. If this sounds too esoteric and unachievable, then lets weight the choices we have – a lifetime of punishing schedules or a nourishing schedule.

For Wellness
The important step towards wellness is the ‘attitude’ – nourish yourself but do not punish yourself. Now that we have touched upon the first mantra, lets elaborate what the right attitude is. Many people go through a lifetime of disease, pain and misery. Now while the pain may be inevitable the associated and prolonged misery is not.

Typically, many overweight people stay that way for the rest of their lives because they cling ferociously to their set attitudes. For them, weight loss is a number on the scale and they will try and dangerous diet or fraudulent machines to just get there.

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The mindset is that once we lose weight we can go right back to bread, white riche, noodles, and sweet drinks. But as long as we associated this refined food with a ‘normal’ diet we can never lose weight for good.

More
Similarly, if we cling to the same beliefs and eating habits that brought about the disease, we can never get rid of the problem. You have to heal from the foundation itself by changing food habits along with food beliefs.

Food Mix and Match

Food combinations have interested researches and dieticians for a long time. They have been studied by western naturopaths who rely heavily on diet as the basis of treatment. The unique aspect about the food combination theory is that it shares several common features with our Ayurvedic texts. The theory states that different foods have different digestion periods (like fruits are digested quickly whereas lentils take longer).

So, when we eat a slow digesting food with a quickly digesting food, it creates fermentation leading to gas, bloating, and the nutrient absorption slows down. Here is a lowdown on how digestion varies with different food types:

Vegetarian Food
Water: Few minutes
Liquids or broths: 10 to 15 min.
Fruits like watermelon: 20 min.
Other melons like muskmelon, honeydew: 30min.
Oranges and grapes: 30 min.
Apples, grapes, cherries, and peaches: 40 min.
Raw salad (like celery, cucumber etc.): 30 to 40 min.
Cooked vegetables (green leafy and light): 40 min.
Cooked vegetables of the root variety like beetroot, carrot: 50 min.
Semi-concentrated starches like potato, sweet potato: 60 min.
Concentrated carbohydrates like brown rice, oats, corn: 90 min.
Vegetable proteins like lentil, chickpeas, beans, and peas: 100 min. (soy bean is an exception because it takes about 120 min.)
Almonds, walnuts: 120 min to 180 min.
Low fat milk cheese: 90 min.
Paneer and ricotta: 120 min.
Dry cheese of whole milk: four to five hours.

Non-Vegetarian Food
Fish such as cod, flounder, sole seafood: 30 min.
Fatty fish such as salmon and trout: 45 min.
Chicken: one and half to two hours.
Lamb: three to four hours.

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Combinations not good for digestion
Dried fruits, cooked fruit syrups with fresh fruits. Cooked foods with fresh foods. Mixing dairy products with fruits. Mixing non-vegetarian foods with starches or fruits. Fruit with or after cooked food. Mixing dried fruits with meats. Mixing citrus juices with apple juice.

People with sensitive stomachs will notice an improvement in their digestion pattern if they follow this protocol.