The science of eating right
We can benefit from Naini Setalvad’s weight-loss journey and ensure that ours is a smooth ride
I speak from experience when I say that the beginning of a health journey can be equally exciting and daunting. My voyage from 160 kg to 60 kg was not devoid of choppy seas, but I sailed through. I had tried multiple diets from my teens to my thirties, but I would always reach a plateau, which would dishearten me and result in my giving up.
However, at 32, under the right guidance, I hopped on to the fitness train with renewed enthusiasm. This time around, I was more focussed and alert of the traps that would usually bring me down. Having overcome the pain and pitfalls, let me share with you how to identify your own health traps so that you can achieve your wellness goals with ease.
Pecking is for chickens: I can’t stress enough what a grave mistake it is to cut down on your food. Most people who are on weight loss programmes believe that by eating little, they will achieve their goal easily. It is not that simple. As you continue to cut down on your food, your metabolism slows down, making it difficult to lose weight further. This is when you reach that infamous plateau where your weight does not budge. Thus, instead of cutting out food, you must concentrate on increasing your metabolic rate. This can be done by having balanced meals, with appropriate portions of wholegrains, starches, whole pulses, dal, and healthy fats like coconut, ghee, and cold-pressed oils.
Do not disregard digestion: This is an area I focus on with all my clients when aiding them with weight loss. Digestion is the root cause of ill health. Many a time, I see people writing off flatulence, constipation, and loose motions as an ‘upset tummy.’ But little do they know that it is their bodies’ way of telling them that all is not well. Did you know that, if ignored, these minor issues can turn into major diseases like abscesses, chronic dehydration, and even cancer!
Fibre first: When on a health trip, everyone is busy counting carbs, protein, and fat, but that’s where they are going wrong. Instead of focussing on calories, focus on consuming enough fibre through fresh fruit and vegetables. Fill your plate with 50 per cent seasonal and local produce to ensure you are forever vitalised, energised, and glowing.
The devil in disguise: There is nothing better in life than being told that something delicious is healthy for you. This is probably why we fall for sugar-free chocolates and health bars. Although they are sugar-free, they will be high on fat to compensate for flavour and have artificial sweeteners that affect gut health. Sticking to fresh, home-cooked meals is the best way to ensure that your ingredients are unadulterated.
Season with salt: I have often seen that people who are on ‘healthy diets’ forget to keep a check on this essential multi-mineral—salt. When one consumes fresh fruit and vegetables, there is a rise in potassium levels, which results in a drop in sodium levels. This can lead to a dip in energy levels, headache, and exhaustion.
Vitamin check: Today, the world has woken up to plant-based and vegan diets. Not only are these great for health but also beneficial for the environment. However, one must tread with caution. Many a time, we forget that two essential vitamins—B12 and D3—are not in significant quantities in plant-based food. Hence, it is best to get your levels tested and supplement under medical guidance if they are low.
Health starts with hydration: One of the common concerns faced by many when eating healthy is a feeling of hunger even when full. If you are eating all the food groups in balance, along with plenty of vegetables, then this can be attributed to poor hydration. Drinking at least 2–3 litres of water throughout the day is advisable.
Pay heed to my suggestions and be ready to transform into a healthier, fitter, and energised version of you!
Do try out this fibre-filled and probiotic-packed recipe given below.
Moong Dal Dhokla
500 gm split green gram (moong dal)
1 kg bottle gourd
1 bunch spinach
1 bunch coriander
3 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp asafoetida (hing)
3 tsp green chilli paste
1 tsp mustard seeds (rai)
5 tsp oil
Juice of 2 lemons
Salt to taste
Soak the split green moong dal for 10 hours. Grind it to a smooth paste in a grinder.
Grate the bottle gourd.
Chop the coriander and spinach finely.
Add ginger, chilli paste, salt, and asafoetida to the above batter.
Pour into steel plates and steam for 20 minutes.
Heat oil in a wok.
Add mustard seeds and wait for them to crackle.
Immediately add them to the dhoklas.
Garnish with lemon juice.
Serve with green chutney.
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