Tag Archives: Food

(Un)Healthy Obsession

At Beaming Health we are all about creating a healthy lifestyle. We have talked to you about eating right, working out and managing stress. We also try to walk the talk or practice what we preach and that’s how we come up with most of the stuff here. So where am I going with this, you ask? Well, I was working on another article and really getting into reading some interesting research on stress and weight-loss (which I’ll, share with you in my next article) and that’s when it hit me…

Almost every conversation I have these days (apart from work meetings, where we try and stay on the concerned topic) comes around to health. It could be a successful weight-loss plan, rediscovering ways to cook with mustard or coconut oil, avoiding moisturizers with parabens, trying out Taekwon-do instead aerobics or another person tuning into a 5k runner. It  doesn’t matter where we start and end the conversation, somewhere in between we get round to discussing some aspect of a healthy lifestyle.

In a way this sounds great. Isn’t it good news that so many people are getting conscious about being fit, strong and happy? Obviously it is, considering that we are a race (the human race) that’s currently dealing with crazy levels of sickness and disease. Awareness never hurt anyone right and maybe we can reverse the negative trend. So what’s my problem here?

Well, as with any topic, when we tend top discuss one subject all the time (say music, movies, relationships) we are generally considered obsessed with it. Any form of obsession has a tendency to take over a large part of our lives, in a slow but significant manner. Most obsessions are harmless as they tend to just define our personality more markedly, rather than have any sinister effect. However, this obsession with health, that I see all around, seems to be part of a cycle, dare I say a potentially vicious cycle.

People start with it to get their physical, mental and emotional selves back on track and to improve their quality of life. However, is our quality of life really better if our obsession with getting healthy contributes towards one more aspect of our ever growing stress.

Counting every calorie, worrying about pollution every time we have to walk down the street,  fearing an injury every minute of a run because everyone else has got fit by running, or sleep waking through the day because six hours of sleep was cut down to five to accommodate another workout.

News flash, there’s apparently a new eating disorder on the block called orthorexia. Orthorexia occurs when a person’s healthy eating habit becomes so extreme that it becomes unhealthy. It basically means a person who’s obsessed with food, and it usually starts with an intention to eat only organic, healthy, natural foods but then spirals out of control.

While we need to be aware of our internal health and the environmental factors that affect us, are we really doing ourselves a favour by obsessing over this all the time. Where do we draw a line and create a balance between leading a healthy life and simplifying our lives to reduce stress? What’s the point of an hour of meditation in the morning, if we’ve spent the whole night mentally planning every perfectly balanced meal for the next day instead of resting our minds?

I think, we humans as a race need to rediscover moderation. Moderation in eating, working out and life in general. Moderation does not mean doing less, it means doing things regularly and steadily for a sustained period of time. Let’s make leading a safe and healthy lifestyle a lifetime goal, for ourselves, our families and the world around us. Working out and eating well should improve the quality of of your life, not lead to mental and physical deterioration.

So how do you draw the line between being aware of your health and being obsessed?

About the Author:

Niranjani is an entrepreneur and blogger who believes that good quality, affordable healthcare should be available to all. She occasionally puffs and pants her way through a 10k race to feel fit, despite her chaotic life.

Photo Credit: Image 1Image 2

Copyright 2014 (c) Primex Scans and Labs. Please do not reproduce this article in its entirety without permission. Alternatively, a link to this URL would be appreciated.

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5 Healthy Ideas to Try This Week

Every January all of us make resolutions, many of which center around health and fitness. The problem with these resolutions is, we have the big picture but not the steps to achieve them and so they ultimately fall by the wayside. This year, we at Beaming Health Magazine decided to share a few tips to help you stay on the road to good health and fitness. So, plunge right in and do let us know which ones worked for you. 

  • Let the Winter Olympics inspire you to reconnect with a childhood game. Be it hockey, tennis, basketball, swimming or even just running free.
  • Discuss an issue that has been creating undue stress for you with someone you can rely on. Then work on eliminating or at least minimizing the source of that stress 
  • Eat one green meal every week. Be it an exotic one or a simple and delicious homemade one, the focus is on including as much raw plant-based food as possible in that meal
  • Switch off all electronic devices an hour before you go to sleep and read a book instead. This includes all computers, phones and the television
  • Spend five minutes in the morning doing a few, simple stretching or deep breathing exercises before you start your day. The quality of transition time, from sleep to alertness will make a difference to the quality of your day

Make these small changes in your weekly routine and soon you’ll be thanking us.

About the Author:

Niranjani is an entrepreneur and blogger who believes that good quality, affordable healthcare should be available to all. She occasionally puffs and pants her way through a 10k race to feel fit, despite her chaotic life.

Photo Credit: Image 1

Copyright 2014 (c) Primex Scans and Labs. Please do not reproduce this article in its entirety without permission. Alternatively, a link to this URL would be appreciated.

The ‘No’ Deprivation ‘Diet’

Last week, a friend of mine started telling me about this juice diet. Halfway through her sentence, my first I thought was ‘I love juice, so I can do it’. My second thought was ‘ but I love food too, so I can’t do it’. Her next sentence put my mind at rest. Apparently, you are encouraged to have this drink as a replacement for a meal or with a healthy meal, your option. I obviously will go for the healthy meal with the juice option.

This incident put me in a mind of a fact that we have all been long aware of. Unfortunately not many of us want to admit it, since it doesn’t sound magical or drastic enough. The simple fact here is that most diets get us to deprive ourselves of all treats (good for you but oh! so tough) or cut out certain food groups altogether (extreme and not so good for you). This is a tad difficult to maintain in the long run, unless you have the willpower of a dictator.

The easier way to go, would be to add in certain foods along with your healthy diet. In a manner of speaking, we are playing a mind game with our bodies. You can eat everything as before, just make sure you eat more of this. Adding in fiber and healthy nutritious liquids, will ensure that you have a healthy system, while having less space to stuff in your regular indulgences.

I’m starting with a pre-lunch soup and a vegetable juice before dinner. This has got to be the easiest way to get fit and balance those holiday indulgences. I’m sure you’re tempted to join me, so here are a few pointers to keep you on track:

  • Make sure that the food you are adding in is really good for you. For example, a glass of carrot juice loaded with sugar will not help
  • Finish your targeted ‘good food’ before you move on to the other stuff  
  • Since there’s no deprivation here, it’s best not to have ‘off’ days for the first month or three (till it’s natural for you to eat this way)
  • Don’t replace your whole day’s usual intake with salads, soups and fruit juices. I’m asking you to add some lettuce to every meal of the day, not turn into a temporary rabbit and live only on lettuce

Let me know how you plan to eat more and get fit. I’m rooting for you (and me).

About the Author:

Niranjani is an entrepreneur and blogger who believes that good quality, affordable healthcare should be available to all. She occasionally puffs and pants her way through a 10k race to feel fit, despite her chaotic life.

Photo Credit: Image 1

Copyright 2013 (c) Primex Scans and Labs. Please do not reproduce this article in its entirety without permission. Alternatively, a link to this URL would be appreciated.

Of Brunches and Easter Bunnies….

It’s that time of the year again…. redolent of great summer brunches, long lazy days by the pool, sugary drinks, ice cream and of course chocolate bunnies and eggs. The heat is just setting in, and we are getting to the point of power cuts, restless sweat drenched nights and the resulting inertia in the morning that makes waking up such a chore, and working out close to unthinkable.

Add to that the additional pressures that summer brings. The need for a flat tummy that looks good in a swim suit, and toned arms that enable one to sport sleeveless tops. All of which have to be juggled with the mounting pressures of children who are on holiday, and need to be kept entertained and away from mischief. Is it any wonder that tempers are frazzled beyond belief? This kind of pressure is enough to make a normal human being turn to food, if not food and drink, and that’s when the trouble starts.

Perhaps one of the most common ways of coping with stress and the pressure of life is by turning to food for comfort. On the face of it, it’s not so bad. A few extra cookies once a week will hardly make any difference to your waist line, and if you restrict that binge to once a month, it will not affect you at all.

Now that we have used that dreaded “B” word, and brought it out in the open, maybe we should discuss it threadbare. A binge is when a person consumes 4-5 times the food that he or she normally would eat in a relatively short span of time. Say two hours? Typically the food that one consumes when binging is high fat and high sugar. You would have to be a rabbit to binge on carrots, right? Now as long as the binge is restricted to one meal once a week or better still once a month, you won’t have a problem. Acknowledge it as a treat that you deserve for being so disciplined for the rest of the week or month. Savour every mouthful of the food, don’t feel guilty about it, and just go back to your normal healthy diet from the next meal. If all of us could do that, it would be perfect.

Unfortunately in today’s pressure cooker environment, those extra cookies or that slab of chocolate become a kind of crutch that you can’t do without, and over a period of time they become a habit. Of course it starts with a cookie with a cup of tea when you are stressed, and slowly that one cookie is just not enough. That is simply because, when you eat a high sugar/high fat treat, it sends the blood sugar soaring, which accounts for the feel good factor; only you come down from that high fairly rapidly since the body counters this influx of sugar by releasing more insulin to metabolise it, which is what causes that rather quick slump that you feel. Of course you counter it by eating more cookies, which only makes the whole situation worse.

The best way to combat stress is by exercising it away. Walking, dancing, cleaning the cupboard or baking a cake. By the time you have whisked all your frustration into those poor eggs, you are bound to feel better and more than ready to share the cake with the family, limiting yourself to a tiny bit.

If you are one of us who feels that the only way to fight stress is to eat, then maybe you should have a fruit, or a salad and a sandwich with a glass of milk. Actually, what would be really good for you would be the handful of carrots that you stole from the Easter Bunny.

About the author:

Sunitha Srinivasan has qualified with the National Association of Fitness Certification in the USA as a Lifestyle Consultant and Resistance Trainer. She focuses on helping people with their struggle to create a balanced and healthy lifestyle,  given the time constraints and stress present in today’s world.
She also conducts workshops on Wellness, Stress Management and Work-Life balance.
She can be reached at Sunitha@sans-souci.in

Photo Credit: Image 1

Copyright 2013 (c) Primex Scans and Labs. Please do not reproduce this article in its entirety without permission. Alternatively, a link to this URL would be appreciated.

“No, I Don’t Eat Rice……..

.. Not I don’t that I don’t like it, I just don’t eat it. Why you ask? I believe that rice makes me fat, and so I never eat it, but nonetheless I haven’t lost a single kilo! If anything I’m gaining fat!” How often have you heard that refrain? It’s almost becoming a standard discussion every time a group of people get together. I’m sure you have heard it more times than you care to remember, and are now wondering how much sense the argument for and against rice makes.

If you are a South Indian, this should actually be a no-brainer. Our fore fathers ate rice as a staple part of their diet for hundreds of years and stayed healthy, so what makes this generation so different? Okay, I know what’s running through your minds. The previous generations had a different kind of lifestyle or the quality of rice they got in those days was different or worst of all, they didn’t know the virtues of a pure protein or pure fat diet.

Okay so let’s work this one through step by step. All of us know that our bodies require the four macronutrients – carbohydrates, proteins, fat and water – to perform optimally.  Carbohydrates, such as rice, chappattis, bread, pasta and fruit, all fuel the body. They are what give you the energy to move, to breathe, to think and carry on the process of metabolism. The bulk of your diet, that is, 45 to 65 percent of it, must consist of carbohydrates. Don’t ever forget that the primary function of food is to fuel the body. If you deny your body its basic share of carbohydrates, it will look for other sources for fuel. The first logical one is protein and more often than not this means muscle protein. Sure, your body will be fueled  but by an extremely inefficient, expensive source of fuel. Pretty much like burning a sandalwood log in the kitchen fire. We all know just how hard it is to build muscle. More importantly, protein will neglect its prime function of repair and maintenance of tissues, and helping to build fresh muscle. The result is that you will be left with aging skin, falling hair and damaged tissues.

So where is all this leading? Obviously it does not mean that you need to do a complete 360 degree turn around and gorge on every candy bar in sight? What you need to do is choose your carbohydrates carefully, and learn to read food labels. Skip the highly polished white rice and go for brown, black or red rice In this case, the more coloured it is the better it is. Look for the word unpolished on the label, which basically indicates that you are on to a good thing. Ensure that your chapattis are made with atta (unrefined wheat flour), not maida (polished and refined wheat flour) and have no oil in them. Check that the grains in your breakfast cereal are unprocessed and have no sugar. Ragi or oats porridge is always preferable to processed breakfast cereals.

Moving on to bread, the real biggie on the carbohydrate team. It’s so easy to read the label that says brown or whole wheat bread, and think that you are making the right choice. Stop for a moment and check the ingredient list. The ‘brown’ may be coming from caramelised sugar, and if in the list of ingredients whole wheat flour is listed after the salt, you know you are being conned. The quantity of salt in a loaf of bread is only a teaspoon, which makes the whole wheat even less.

Going back to our main character here, rice. It is the rich, oily gravy or the fried papaddum that you eat with the rice, rather than the rice itself that should be a source of concern. Every gram of fat in that gravy contributes nine calories, as opposed to the four calories contributed by a gram of carbohydrate in the rice. Basically, less than half your calories for that meal come from the rice.

So banish the oily and fried stuff from your life, and enjoy your complex carbohydrates. You can be certain that they will be your greatest allies on the road to fat loss and good health. So now, can we please bring on the rice?

About the Author:

Sunitha Srinivasan is a Lifestyle Consultant and Resistance Trainer. She has qualified with the National Association for Fitness Certification, Arizona, USA. She conducts workshops on wellness that she calls ‘A Celebration of Life’, counsels on the management of lifestyle diseases and writes for leading journals and magazines.

She can be contacted at sunitha@sans-souci.in

Photo Credit: Image 1, Image 2

Copyright 2012 (c) Primex Scans and Labs. Please do not reproduce this article in its entirety without permission. Alternatively, a link to this URL would be appreciated.

Demystifying health, healthcare and the secrets of a healthy lifestyle

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Demystifying health, healthcare and the secrets of a healthy lifestyle