Tag Archives: Sugar

5 Simple Health Hacks for the Festive Season

It’s the season to be jolly. Yes, another year is coming to an end and we are well into the month of super-
sized celebrations. For most people, this is followed by a month of the blues and we wonder why our year got of to such a bad start.

Well, we at Beaming Health believe in enjoying ourselves when the opportunity arises, however, we do have a few tricks up our sleeves that we want to share with you. So clear your schedule for five minutes and reap the benefits over the years to come.

STAY CALORIE CONSCIOUS:

Before you skip ahead, let me tell you how I came to add this to our holiday commandment list. I am pretty conscious of picking the healthier option on a daily basis and our monthly fast food trip is no exception. I always picked the spicy paneer wrap with no mayo at a popular fast food joint and though I factored in the deep fried element (the panner pieces) I was pretty confident of making a fairly smart choice. That’s till I started tracking my calories on a whim. My smart choice was apparently costing me close to 800 calories!

No, I’m not going to tell you that you should skip the holiday treats, no way. What I did was I counted that wrap as my treat and adjusted my other small indulgences for the day/week, ensuring that I got to keep my cake and eat it too.

Basically, being calorie consciousness is not the same as calorie counting. You don’t have to count every bite that goes into your mouth, but just like you budget your finances for the festive season, budget your consumption and you’ll be good to go. A simple app on your phone like My Fitness Pal should suffice. After all no one wants to start the New year broke and bloated.

INCREASE YOUR FIBRE INTAKE:

Since you know that you’re going to be indulging a lot more this season, try and make the few non-party meals a little more healthy. Let these meals work for you, so that you can relax during the celebrations. Increasing your fibre intake is a simple way to start. Fibre makes you feel fuller for longer, tricks your body into thinking that you have eaten more than you actually have, slows the absorption of sugar into your blood stream and even reduces cholesterol levels. It also helps cleanse your gut and colon. The simplest way to make this change is to add fibre into two, or at least one meal, during the day. Have a bran or oatmeal option for breakfast or add a green leafy salad to your lunch.

Remember, all fibre is not equal and you have to be aware of the individual benefits of soluble and insoluble fibre to get the most out of this magic ingredient. Read this simple and quick guide for more information.

SIP ON FLAVOURED WATER OR HERBAL TEAS:

This one is pretty obvious. More water means milder or no handovers, a fuller stomach and fresh dewy skin. Since it’s not very tempting to keep downing glasses of water throughout the day, try having a jug of fresh fruit flavoured water on your table or a bottle in your bag. Check out a few recipes here or make your own. These look so good, they may even tempt you to keep refilling.

Stock up on nicely flavoured herbal and fruit infusions that you can dunk in a mug of hot water every few hours. Specific flavours even have special benefits. Best of all add a mug of green tea as your after meal drink of choice. As far as possible avoid strong caffeinated and aerated drinks as these act as mild diuretics and can lead to a feeling of being dehydrated. Most importantly, don’t go for the pre-packed flavoured waters or iced teas. These are full of preservatives, artificial flavours and sugar. You’ll be better off drinking just plain water.

PICK  A SMART PARTY SNACK:

Most party snacks are heavy on the calories, but we all tend to reach for the munchies when we mingle. A simple way to feel fuller a little faster is to choose a protein based snack over a carbohydrate heavy snack. For example, a handful of nuts is preferable to a handful of chips. A piece of cheese is a smarter choice than some deep fried pakodas. Stay smart and don’t deny yourself too much, you’ll be sure to enjoy the party and the next day.

TAKE 2 GLASSES:

If you choose to drink alcohol, alternate it with a glass of water. This way you’ll avoid a killer hangover and cut back on mindless drinking. Enough said.

So that’s it, our simple but sneaky tips to enjoying the holidays and the days and months to follow. Wishing all our readers a very happy festive season. Don’t forget to share your party season health hacks in the comments below, like they say sharing is caring.


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 or partly without permission. Alternatively, a link to this URL would be appreciated.

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Introducing Your Child To Vegetables


“After 24 months children become reluctant to try new things and start to reject foods.” – Prof Marion Hetherington, University of Leeds

As a mother*, I’m not sure if the above statement is completely true, however, I do believe that good eating habits are set early in life. A habit is after all formed by repetition and young children as supposed to be like sponges, right? When we give so much importance, to how our children should deal with what comes out of the body (potty training) so early, shouldn’t we start with what goes in, even earlier?

Eager to get your child on the right path but don’t know how**? No worries, here’s a quick guide to get you started:

  • Build on a baby’s love for colour and texture. Try a boiled and pureed carrot one day, and a steamed and mashed sweet potato the next.
  • Make small quantities initially and don’t try to substitute a tasting for a meal. This will prevent both the child and the parent from finding the experience stressful. Experiment during playtime, rather than mealtimes.
  • Note the child’s initial preferences and repeat rejected foods in a different form/combination after a gap.
  • Talk to your pediatrician and always be prepared for possible allergic reactions.
  • Make the experience comfortable by preparing, in advance, to deal with the potential food mess. Cloth the child in soft old clothes, cover the floor/table with disposable paper towels and stay away from walls/curtains that cannot be cleaned.
  • Avoid trying new foods in the evenings as resources (energy, medical help, etc.) maybe low, making it a lot more difficult to deal with emergencies.
  • Let the baby feel the food with his/her hands. it’s after all a first time experience for him/her.
  • Don’t add salt or sugar to the vegetable. Let the child discover the original taste before we alter it.
  • Don’t try anything new if the child is not feeling well.
  • Most importantly, enjoy the time with your baby.

Have we missed anything here? Is there an experience you would like to share with us?

*Always check with your pediatrician  before you try a new food or routine for your child. The author is not a childcare or medical expert and has only shared her opinion based on her personal experiences.

** There are a lot of books out there that will give you practical tips, as well as, detailed steps on this topic. Alternatively, you can speak to a doctor or nutritionist who specializes in children’s nutrition.

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.

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.

A Cup a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

A cup of green tea a day keeps cancer and wrinkles away.

Actually it’s 3-5 cups a day and you can add tooth decay to that line above. It’s not called a cup of magic for nothing.

Now, here’s a little story for you. A long time ago (around 2737 B.C.) Emperor Shen Nung was relaxing under a shady tree with a drink of freshly boiled water, when a leaf floated down and softly landed in his cup. A gentle aroma soon rose from the water and when the emperor took a sip he was rewarded with the delightful flavour of the world’s first cup of green tea. I’m not sure how much of this story is fact or fiction, given that tea leaves do not grow on trees, however, over the next 2000 years or so the delights and benefits of this gentle brew spread from China to Japan, and other parts of Asia.

Today, while the whole world is drinking this bittersweet brew, because it’s ‘the thing to do’, most of us are not fully aware of the benefits we’ll be reaping. Here are a few pointers you may want to share with the last few non-green tea-drinkers on planet earth.

Oxidative stress plays a crucial part in a number of human diseases, including the much dreaded cancer . One way to protect our bodies from anti-oxidant stress is to maintain an optimum level of anti-oxidants in our system While, Vitamin E and C are well-known anti-oxidants, green tea is supposed to be 24 times more effective than the former and 100 times more effective than the latter! Specifically, it is thought to reduce the risk of breast cancer, prostate cancer and colorectal cancer.

In an extension of the previous point, anti-oxidants reduce and even prevent cell damage, thereby acting as both a deterrent to heart disease and helping with recovery after a coronary attack. Green tea has the ability to accelerate glucose and lipid metabolism, which can help with diabetes, cholesterol and obesity. So both a diabetic grandparent and a teenager fighting puppy fat can benefit from a few cups a day. Talking of older people, the anti-inflammatory benefits of green tea can even help with rheumatoid arthritis and other common joint complaints. Matter of fact, in controlled human trials, green tea as shown to increase fat oxidation by 17% and energy expenditure by 4%.

In Asia, particularly India and China, green tea has been used for centuries as an astringent, stimulant, diuretic, as well as, to deal with flatulence, to regulate body temperature, to control the levels of blood sugar, and as an aid to digestion. It even kills bacteria which affect our teeth, thereby improving our dental health and reducing the risk of infections.

You want that make-up-advertisement-like glow? Get it the natural way, with no make-up. Sip a cup of green tea while reading your glossy magazine! The best part, that little bit of tummy bloat from too much weekend indulgence will come down and you can cut down on your dental bills at the same time.

So now we know it helps our bodies, inside and out, but what about our minds? Well, here’s something all of us know, green tea contains caffeine. Scientific studies have shown that, cafffeine can improve our moods, increase vigilance, reduce reaction time and sharpen the memory. The problem is the ‘jitteriness’ it causes our bodies to undergo. Green tea has cracked that problem. How?, you may ask. On one hand green tea contains close to the ideal amount of caffeine that the human body needs to stay alert. On the other it holds an amino acid called L-theanine, which can cross the blood-brain barrier and which research has shown to have an anti-anxiety effect on our brain! Ultimately, what you have is a slower, more stable release of energy, with increased productivity.

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 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.

Harvesting Good Health

We are almost halfway through January and the first sticks of sugarcane are appearing at street corners. Homes are getting a good spring clean and the excitement of the New Year spills over to the harvest festival of Pongal.

Fortunately Pongal remains one of the Indian festivals that is still celebrated in the traditional manner, which means that the goodies associated with it, are simple and wholesome. Shakara Pongal or the Sweet Pongal for instance, is a combination of unpolished rice, jaggery or gud, milk, a wee bit of ghee, dried fruits, nuts and spices. What could be healthier? In fact you could adapt this recipe to make a really tasty, healthy porridge for the family every day. Substitute the rice with broken whole wheat (rava not Sooji), or oats for variety, and cut out the ghee (that’s for festivals only), and there you are. Protein from the milk, carbohydrates from the rice, wheat or oats, and vitamins and minerals from the dried fruits and nuts. It doesn’t get more wholesome than this.  Though jaggery is a healthier version of white sugar, the ultimate goal needs to be avoiding sugar altogether. The dried fruit should provide enough sweetness, and if not, chop in a fresh banana or apple.

The savory Pongal is also a great everyday food. The combination of rice and dhal is a perfect balance of protein and carbohydrates. Throw in a healthy dose of chopped vegetables, and lots of spices, and there you go, a great lunch or dinner. The only things to bear in mind are to omit the ghee, and use lots of vegetables in the mix.

What would Pongal be without sugarcane?  There’s probably no greater joy than tearing off those strips of purple skin with your teeth, and then chewing the white stalks; allowing the sweet nectar to fill your senses with delight. Chewing Sugarcane is a wonderful way to give your jaws and teeth a workout. The juice itself is a great source of vitamins and minerals. Only, make sure that you do it the hard way. Actually chew the cane and access the juice. Don’t just buy a glass of it. Finally, make sure to rinse your mouth thoroughly after the sugarcane indulgence, or your dentist won’t be too happy with you.

Every year, as we celebrate Pongal in all its simplicity, the message that gets driven home so clearly, is that, festivities don’t have to be associated with rich dining and calorie overloads. It is probably far more satisfying to celebrate a festival in the traditional, simple and healthy way.

Have a wonderful, happy and healthy Pongal.

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 1Image 2

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.

Demystifying health, healthcare and the secrets of a healthy lifestyle

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Demystifying health, healthcare and the secrets of a healthy lifestyle