Breaking myths about superfoods and fasting / Scientific Diet plans / Simple Health tips

“ If you see our diet plans you will find that we do not talk about calories or oil rather we talk about biochemics and how a certain food will be absorbed by your body or how the fat will be broken down or stored.”

“We tell people to consciously look at the food before eating and that surprises them. “ she smiles but there is a science to this simple step.

“ I’m curious too, why is looking at food important”

“ Let me give you an example.Whenever you think about or look at golgappas or a pickle or aam panna your mouth starts watering but when you look at a shake or cold coffee your mouth doesn’t water. That’s because these foods are acidic in nature while the body always wants to have an alkaline disposition.”

“ So to balance, the mouth secrets saliva which is one of the most alkaline juices in our body..”

“ In anticipation to the mere thought, sight or aroma of the food, the body begins to prepare itself to secrete the right amount of digestive juices and enzymes”

“ Now once you see the food or smell it the saliva is secreted and we gulp it down, it reaches our stomach which is like a mixer. Getting the signal it asks the pancreas to secrete bile, thus the whole digestive machinery is set in motion and kickstarted even before you have started eating, just by looking at the food”

“ Now a days people eat mindlessly while watching T.V or on Whatsapp without paying attention to what we are eating. So the body doesn’t know what it needs to prepare for. Even before the stomach is ready and the mixer is switched on, the food, let’s say chicken keeps getting thrown in, confusing the system. Even before the pancreas can start secreting bile, the mixer ( stomach) is overloaded “

“ Similarly it is equally important to chew the food properly. We have the teeth which are the grinders and the stomach which is a mixer. If the grinder is not doing it’s job properly the whole burden of breaking down the food falls upon an overworked stomach. A lot of food just keeps lying there leading to fermentation, releasing gases which cause acidity, bloating and headaches”

“ So we teach our clients these simple things which go a long way in ensuring good digestion which is very important for a healthy body”

“ Do you feel that incidences of acidity and bloating and migraines are on a rise?”

“ I hardly came across people coming to me with complains of acidity or bloating when I started my practice but now there is a deluge. This is because there were not too many distractions like mobiles back then. People were mindful of what they were eating and chewed well. “

“ Now a days everyone is in a rush. I feel if you eat an apple in a hurry it will do more harm than good while if you eat a muffin and chew it well it will not cause any damage”

“ It’s also important to have your meals at the same time everyday. And never skip a meal.”

On Fasting
“ When you fast you give a rest to your digestive system. By fasting I mean not eating anything, not even milk or fruits or juices like the Jain way where you only drink water.

“ That is because 75% of our energy goes to the digestive processes the rest 25% is diverted to other functions. So when you fast this energy goes to heal the damaged cells and to remove the toxins.”

“ Would you recommend everyone to go on a fast at least once in a while?”

“ Ideally yes but I cannot make a generalized statement as we need to know the medical condition of the person, age or if he is on any medicines. Accordingly he should begin with a fast of 8 hours or 12 hours or more or else the person might be low on energy and it might backfire”

Food myths.

“ We often make the mistake of blindly accepting everything we hear in a generalized manner, so if we hear oats are good we splurge on them not giving a second thought as to how much to eat.”

“ True.Also there is a lot of talk these days over gluten and lactose .A lot of people are of the opinion that one should avoid wheat or gluten based products or even milk based products….what do you think?”

“ A lot of people feel that they have acidity and bloating if they eat wheat or rotis and feel lighter on avoiding it. But have you ever thought why no one had any issues with wheat or milk a few decades ago. In fact most of us in the north grew up eating rotis. Which means that we are not Celic or born with a gluten intolerance . then what has suddenly happened ? Why have these common foods become a villain?”

“ What is the real culprit then?”

“ A lot of factors such as stress that produces a hormone called cortisol, additives in the food….Ok, tell me how many times did we go out to eat as children?

“ I guess only on occasions “ I’m quick to answer.

“ Exactly but now a days we eat at least three to four times a week..”

“ Hmmm true, a birthday party, kitty, dinner with family, movie time” I do the math.

“ Every dish we eat out including bakery products contains additives which are synthetic and harm the gut”

“ Then there are other chemicals and pollutants in cosmetics and toiletries and plastic containers which are toxic. Add microwave to this list.”

“ A whole lot of toxins get accumulated in the gut affecting it’s functioning which in turn affects the immunity, hair, skin, in fact practically pretty much everything”

“ So it can’t tolerate milk and then wheat and then something else…and instead of addressing the core issue which is getting back the digestive system to it’s healthy state we keep eliminating one food item after the other. How long can we keep on doing this. After a while we will be left with nothing that our gut can handle.”

“ So try to find out why your gut is crying and try to heal it by adding probiotics to your diet, following simple steps like chewing food properly and eating mindfully and eliminating plastics and other contaminations from our system.”

“ Remember all inflammation starts at the gut and then spreads to other parts leading to arthritis, heart attacks and even cancers.”

“ So essentially you are saying that Food is medicine and making small changes in our eating habits and lifestyle can help prevent such serious illnesses. “

“ Absolutely. Know your body. Understand your body. The same thing does not apply on everybody. ”

“ So you are saying that we must not blindly follow advice or apply everything we hear. But to be honest it often happens that if a friend who had been having severe migraine says that ever since she stopped milk the migraine has disappeared and recommends to go off dairy or someone who has lost a lot of weight suggests a miracle diet we tend to get influenced and copy it too. Also there are a lot of fad diets and testimonials on the net with people who have benefited endorsing it. What is your take on it?”

“ Who is this someone? Are they qualified? The problem with google is that anyone, be it a layperson or a quack can go and write anything on the net and the gullible people hoping for a miracle lap it up without checking the credentials of the source.”

“ Ask yourself if the information is coming from a medical journal? Mostly it is just data not reliable information. In fact if you google any disease or the side effects of even an innocuous medicine the google is likely to churn out such diagnosis that you may not live for long”

Super Foods

JACKFRUIT SEEDS

“ There is a trend these days for superfoods like quinoa and chia seeds or white tea and green coffee which are mostly imports and quite heavy on the pocket too. Would you recommend them for health benefits.”

“ First of all we need to ask what is superfood? Everyone’s definition of a superfood might be different. For me superfood is ‘Gondh that you use in panjiri in the North or the green or sprouted cashew in Goa..”

I ask her to elaborate as despite being in Goa for a decade I’ve never heard of Green cashew before.

“ Locals pluck cashew and roast it to remove the covering but some of it burns to charcoal and is of no use. It is thrown away in the backyard and sprouts. It is a superfood which is completely ignored even by the locals.”

“ So superfoods for me are foods with a lot of nutrition and they could be in my backyard , they need not be fancy expensive imports.”

“ Another superfood is ‘Sattu’which is an amazing post workout drink. We are ready to shell out a bomb for whey protein but ignore the traditional cheap sattu.”

“ Then there is ‘kanji’ or fermented black carrot which is a super probiotic and superfood which can be used instead of the super costly goji berries. Or the local sabza seeds or falooda seeds which are a cousin of the chia seeds from Mexico which are a super fad these days.”

KOKUM INFUSED WATER

“ Banana flowers are great for balancing your hormones”

“ So take locally available seasonal superfoods for they are best suited for your body”

VIRGIN COCONUT OIL

“ Women from all walks of life, social backgrounds and ages come to you , what is the single largest complaint or problem you come across? Is it lifestyle diseases?”

“ Hormonal imbalances” Harpreet doesn’t need a second to answer this one.

“ What are the reasons for the increase in incidences of hormonal issues even among teenagers today?

“ Stress. As women we have taken too much of stress on ourselves. We want to be perfect at everything. We want to be the perfect wife, the perfect mother ,perfect at work. I ask all my clients did they as students score a 10 on 10 in each subject in every class? No. Then why this urge for perfection?”

“ It’s ok if you are a 8 on 10 homemaker or 7 on 10 wife. If someone doesn’t pat your back for the 8 jobs you have done but rather points out the two left he’s definitely not your well- wisher. Ignore his opinions.”

“ The problem is we get affected by negative feedbacks very easily. It should not be so. Give yourself a break. I’m sure there’s no woman who wouldn’t like to give her best or not take care of her children or home.”

“So what is the best way to keep ourselves healthy and fit?”

“I believe that good health has four components. Physical, Mental, social and spiritual. And the all have to be in harmony”

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