Monday, March 22, 2010

Diet thoughts

First up a couple of disclaimers. This may nor may not work for you. I am not a qualified anybody or anything related to health to diet. This is purely my experience. Your mileage may vary. Follow this advice at your own discretion.

The key to healthy living during your late 30s (the earlier you begin, the better) is a moderate level of activity and healthy eating. Say, you walk each day for about 30-40 minutes, brisk pace - meaning you cover about 4 kms. And on top of that include one other activity, like sports or yoga or gym for an hour each day - you can get away with eating almost anything. And if you control what you eat, even moderately, the gains are tremendous.

After reading Michael Pollans landmark piece, we are turning leaf eaters - Palak, Methi and a few others. We have experimented with water convolvulus. Drumstick leaves are not available here, otherwise that would be on our list too. Leaves twice or thrice a week, not overcooked has worked very well.

Ditch the chocolate. Right now our current favourite is Pure Jaggery which works well as a post meal sweetener.

Ditch junk. This is not exactly successful, but reduced. Microwave roasted salted groundnuts is a current favourite.

Stock up on dry fruits at home. Macadamia nuts, Figs, Dates, Apricot are great foods to have - than any equivalent junk and almost cheaper.

Ditch juices - eat the fruit instead. Eat a couple of helpings of fruit each day.

Cut down on coffee, tea. We have some herbal tea that we use often with honey which we use a couple of days a week.

If possible, cut down on white rice and switch to red rice or unpolished rice (this is tough). Cut down items like bread and go back to your traditional meals. If you go back to traditional meals, ensure that you go back to traditional activity levels too - which is usually way above 21st century levels.

What happens to a lot of people is that they never make these minor adjustments to their diet and then when the doctor finally advises you have to change your diet, it seems like a radical transformation that seems like too much. So, small changes in your diet go a long way.

Second, leave some space. If you totally cut yourself off salt and sugar right now, there is no more space to make more adjustments. Keep cutting down slowly when there is no need to do so. So that, if and when the need arises, it is just one more minor adjustment.

Third, variety. Don't eat the same thing again and again. Add variety, even in your diet. The human mind is naturally tuned to look at possibilities and choices. Give yourself that.

Fourth celebrate. If you feel like eating junk or oily food once in a while, do it. Eat it on a day that you are going to be reasonably active - not driving around the whole day or while you are travelling...

What we have not been able to do. Eat more salads - I somehow prefer cooked food. Cut down junk completely. But we have been able to make these adjustments and it is like the first few steps taken in a long long journey...

1 comment:

Ananth Majumdar said...

Well done.. Hope you stay on track.. All the best.. :)