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– The humble spice, jeera (cumin seeds) hydrates, has detox benefits, reduces body heat, cures itchiness and works wonders for those troubled with acne and pimples.

Soak one tsp of jeera overnight along with a tsp of mishri (rock sugar). In the morning first thing, strain the mixture and drink the water. Alternatively, you can put jeera powder to your buttermilk or curd.

Lemongrass is a great herb for the summers. It treats indigestion, keeps you hydrated, improves gut function and cools the body. You can make lemongrass tea by seeping the grass in water. Also, you can use lemongrass by soaking a mesh bag with a handful of leaves in your bathing water.

– Avoid having alcohol. Alcohol is dehydrating in nature and can add up to the dehydration the heat brings along. If you must, then ensure you drink plenty of water along with your drinks. One glass of water for every glass of drink is a good way to start.

– Avoid refrigerated water as it hampers digestion. Ayurveda also has always advised against the consumption of chilled water. Instead, drink ‘matka (earthen pot)’ water. It is naturally cool and has the unique property to reduce the temperature of water in accordance with the climate

– Avoid processed foods like chips, cookies & packaged sugary drinks and beverages. They are actually dehydrating and can reduce the amount of fluid that your body actually retains. Instead, have fluids like coconut water, homemade sherbets, buttermilk, curd etc.

Unsure about the right diet for you? Are you torn between what you’d love to eat and what you hear is unhealthy for you? Sign up for a one-on-one nutrition & diet consultation with leading Mumbai dietitian Munmun Ganeriwal

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Travelling can cause weight gain just as any other unplanned event in our life can, for eg, a family wedding or as simple as a late night movie for which you did not plan ahead. Failing to plan is planning to fail after all. Hence, travelling or any other real life situations that we often go through do not lead to weight gain but our approach towards it does. We need to plan for our food, exercise etc. before hand just as we plan other things in our itinerary. If that is done, travelling will only be a happy experience without the stress of gaining any weight.

IN-FLIGHT MEALS

During a flight journey because of reduced air pressure, our bodily function slows down and digestion gets sluggish. Keeping this in mind, one should follow these few points as mentioned below-

1. Do not leave home empty stomach. Have your meal just before you leave from home.

2. Carry some portable snacks like nuts/ dry fruits/ fresh fruit that can help you through the long check-ins and also upon arrival

3. For short duration flights, the in-flight meals can be brought from home (roti roll, sandwich, poha). For longer flights, you can choose to have one homemade meal (brought from home) and one in-flight meal. For the in-flight meal, choose hot meals (like rice & beans) instead of packed juices, muffins, cakes etc.

HYDRATION

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that
mild dehydration can cause metabolism to slow down by as much as 3 percent, causing weight gain. Hence, its important to stay well hydrated during travels as water also helps in digestion and flushing out of toxins from the body.

EXERCISES TO DO

I always recommend people to do Surya Namaskars while they are travelling as it helps to work out the entire body, without the need of any special equipment. Also, since it gets done within a short span of time (10-15 minutes) and can be done in the hotel room itself, it makes for a great choice for people looking out to fit in some exercise while they are traveling.

TIPS TO KEEP IN MIND WHILE ORDERING FOOD ON A JOURNEY

1. Always do a bit of research about good eating places before leaving for your holiday. Apps like zomato and trip advisor can help you to narrow down few options before you actually reach your destination.

2. Look out for places that serve fresh, local food.

3. Always order 2 items max for a main meal, for eg- warm salad and pizza if you are traveling in Europe OR Rice & curry for a holiday anywhere in Asia

4. Order dessert as a separate meal and avoid having it post a big meal

5. Instead of looking out for calories, look out for freshness in the meal- how fresh are the ingredients, how freshly is it prepared/ cooked etc. Needless to say, avoid pre-packaged sandwiches etc. that are prepared long time back and kept on the shelves

DRINKING DURING HOLIDAYS

Stay hydrated and take it slow

To pace yourself, have no more than one standard drink per hour, with water as “drink spacers” between your alcoholic drinks.

Note that for every person, no matter his size, it takes about 1 hour for the liver to completely digest one standard drink. Sipping on your drink slow and staying well hydrated, keeps the liver from being overloaded; it enables a person to maintain a safe blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and achieve the social relaxation effect that most people desire.

Unsure about the right diet for you? Are you torn between what you’d love to eat and what you hear is unhealthy for you? Sign up for a one-on-one nutrition & diet consultation with leading Mumbai dietitian Munmun Ganeriwal

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Green tea has become synonymous to good health, diet, fitness and everything that comes under this huge umbrella of weight loss. First things first, both black and green tea come from the same plant. The difference is only in the way each is treated after being plucked, in terms of processing and oxidation.

THE HISTORY

India has always celebrated black tea for thousands of years. It has always been traditionally made with spices and herbs for centuries to cure illnesses of all kinds and degree. The first documented mention of tea consumption in India is in the Ramayana.

Green tea, on the other hand, is native to Japan and China.

IS GREEN TEA PRODUCED IN INDIA?

India has been commercially producing some of the worlds finest black teas since the 19th century. If the Darjeeling tea has been compared to the extraordinary wine from the champagne district of France, tea from Assam is known for its full bodied strength and that from Nilgiri for its fragrance.

Its only recently, may be ten years or so, that these popular growing regions have started processing green tea as well, more driven by its popularity and demand from the consumers.

The amount of green tea produced in India is only 10% of the black which is not a lot especially if you compare it with the Japanese and Chinese cultivation of green tea.

THE TEA ECONOMY

Since several years together, it was the Indian black tea that was considered the finest by the rest of the world for its great taste and flavour. Until a decade back, India was hence, the undisputed and largest exporter of tea in the world. The gradual growing belief that drinking green tea has detox and weight loss benefits has been mostly pushed by green tea companies in Japan and China to reap profits in foreign markets. Resulting which, from rank one, we now rank four as world tea exporters.

HOW TRUE ARE THESE HEALTH CLAIMS?

Let’s get to know the facts one by one

Myth 1 Only green tea has antioxidants with ‘detox’ properties

If green tea has antioxidants and flavonoids, so does black. In each case, oxidation or non oxidation gives the tea a different set of antioxidant compounds. Research says that if Catechin and Kaempferol are Antioxidants in green tea, then Quercetin and Theaflavins in black tea are equally effective antioxidants.

Catechin and Kaempferol – Antioxidants in green tea

Equally effective

Quercetin and Theaflavins- Antioxidants in black tea

Research by American Society for Nutrition & NCBI, U.S

Myth 2 The Low caffeine content in green tea makes it healthier

Well, the fact is that Tea, whether black or green, is naturally low in caffeine

Myth 3 They say that Green tea helps in Weight loss

“Seeing is believing” but not always. One such example is Green tea and it’s health claims.
As a matter of fact, Tea, whether green or black, is only 1 calorie per 100 ml of serving. Moreover, the USFDA has time and again rejected green tea health claims. This is what it says-

US FDA – “There is no credible scientific evidence to support qualified health claims about consumption of green tea or green tea extract”

Not long time ago, ads on TV talked about the colour, strength and fragrance to sell their tea and not promoted it as a “detox” or a “weight loss” agent. Instead of thin, skinny girls representing as brand ambassadors, tabla or sitar maestros having chai were seen, driving the point that the culture of having masala chai in India is as old and rich as ‘Sangeet’ itself.

Let’s get together and celebrate this age old culture instead of brushing it under the carpet in the name of weight loss. Chai anyone?

Confused by the misinformation about potential health problems with traditional Indian foods? Get in touch with award-winning Mumbai dietitian and nutritionist, Munmun Ganeriwal, a strong advocate of the holistic, wellness benefits of fresh, local, and traditional Indian foods

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It’s the month of January which means its that time of the year when we are either making resolutions or trying to maintain them. At the end of each year, we make different kinds of resolutions and you will agree that a chunk of these resolutions is about losing weight. And most of us will also agree that by end of January, or early February our resolutions begin to fail. Statistics also show that 95 percent of people who do manage to lose weight regain it –at times more than what they had lost, —just within a few months. So why is it that 95 percent of people fail diets.

Well, I choose to believe the other way round. Its 95 percent of diets that fail people. The problem is in those diets that we often look out for in search of weight loss. So here are my 4 things that you should NOT do to lose weight-

1. Do not follow diets- The problem with diets is that it asks you to eat only one thing or totally avoid some other thing. Once you get on a diet, you start looking at food in isolation vs eating wholesome. For eg: A Keto diet that asks you to eat protein and fats but no carbs i.e. no roti, thepla, rice, bhakri etc. In the science of biochemistry, it is often repeated that “Fats burn in the flame of carbohydrates” which means that fats are burnt or utilised for energy in the presence of carbohydrates. So for fat loss, carbs are extremely important.

Or then there is “Low fat diet” where you are allowed to eat everything but no oil, no ghee. Food is either steamed or sautéed or boiled. But more and more research today is asking us to eat fat to cut fat in the body. So we need to eat fat as well.

Hence, rather than hopping onto a diet, make a pledge today to follow a wholesome meal pattern that not only allows you to eat carbs, proteins, fats but also takes account of real life situations like festivals, travels, everyday stresses, work commitments and so on. Because only then your diet becomes sustainable and you lose weight so that it does not come back.

2. Do not practise inconsistency- While I talk about consistency and its importance with my clients, I always mention one of the quotes by Bruce Lee – “It is not about practising 10,000 kinds of kicks, but it is about that one kick practiced 10,000 times”

We often run from one diet to the other, one exercise to the other, we read about some new superfood, some new workout and we just jump on it, only till the time we discover something new again. Fitness rather is a compounding effect of eating and exercising right every single day. Its an ongoing process and you need to work on it consistently. So instead of trying to know and implement the latest fitness regime your favourite celebrity is following, spend time to find your true calling and stay consistent with your own routine. The best of superfoods and exercise in the world will give zero results if you stay inconsistent.

3. Do not stand on a weighing scale- Firstly, your body weight is not an indicator of your fitness. You may weigh more according to the standard height-weight chart but still be light on your feet, energetic and disease free. I am sure you know someone in your life who may not look skinny or thin, but is super fit, does his or her daily activities at home and workplace effortlessly, is full of enthusiasm and is cheerful, happy and certainly not living on medicines. On the other hand, you also must have come across one such person who is skinny but just had a heart attack. In short, your metabolic health, is NOT a function of your body weight. Just like school report card only reflects number and not overall learning of a student, a weighing scale also only reflects a number and not the overall wellbeing of a person. So instead of obsessing over a number on the scale, focus on getting stronger, fitter and healthier.

4. Do not overlook the importance of sleep- The modern curse of not getting sleep these days has a lot to do with the gadgets you use. That’s right, the light that the screens of your phones and TV in your bedroom emit delays the release of a hormone that induces sleep called melatonin, and increases alertness. Not getting enough sleep impairs metabolism and disrupts hormone levels so much that a study led by scientists at the University of Chicago termed sleep deprivation as “the royal route to obesity”. So switch off all the gadgets at least an hour before you go to sleep or still better, just keep it out of your bedroom.

Make this 2018 a special year where you not only lose weight but also keep it away forever; where you not just lose weight but also get healthier and fitter in the process. Until next time, eat right, exercise smart, move more and sleep well. Have a good day!

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Image Credit – Scroll.in

Mumbai may not be Delhi yet, but the rising smog and air pollution is taking a toll on the health of city folks. Here’s few simple tips you may follow to bolster up your immunity and stay safe and healthy-

FOOD

1. Jaggery and Ghee – One of the richest sources of iron, JAGGERY helps in increasing the haemoglobin of the body. More RBCs (haemoglobin) = increased oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood. This in turn, will help in increasing your lung capacity and ability to fight against the harmful effects of air pollution.

GHEE works as an anti inflammatory agent and will keep you away from allergies (like burning sensation in eyes, dry throat etc.)

HOW TO HAVE– Dip a small piece of jaggery in ghee and have it post meals.

2. Turmeric– Curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It supports liver detoxification and due to its anti-microbial properties, it’s use is beneficial to fight against harmful bacteria.

HOW TO HAVE– Grandmom recommended and now approved by the
West, sip on the haldi doodh before you go to bed.

 

3. Tulsi– The combo of honey, ginger and tulsi works as a decongestant. The antibiotic, anti-bacterial and detox properties of tulsi also enhances hair health and help soothe your flared up & itchy, irritated skin.

HOW TO HAVE– Make a kadha or herbal decoction from a mix of tulsi, ginger, honey, cardamom and crushed pepper in boiling hot water. Excellent for cough, cold and flu.

– Apply Tulsi paste on skin

– Mix Tulsi powder with coconut oil and apply to scalp

 

4. Amla– One of the richest sources of Vit C, it equips your body to fight infections and improves the body’s immune response. It also helps in digestion by stimulating the secretion of gastric and digestive juices. Healthier gut= Better immunity

HOW TO HAVE– You can make a chutney out of it and have it along with
your meals or have the probiotic-rich Amla murabba as any of your
mid- meals.

5. SAFFRON– The most expensive spice in the world, Kesar is rich in antioxidants like carotenoids, which in turn, helps prevent free radical damage and is beneficial in boosting resistance against infections.

HOW TO HAVE– Take 4-5 strands of kesar and soak it in water overnight or for 2-3 hours. Have it first thing in the morning along with its water in the morning.

 

EXERCISE

1. Surya namaskar (sun salutation) and poses that open the chest, throat, and sinuses help eliminate mucus and remove congestion in the respiratory organs.

2. Few simple poses or asanas that one can practise are the fish (matsyasana), boat (paripurna navasana), bow (dhanurasana), locust (salabhasana), and camel (ustrasana) poses, along with inversions like shoulderstand (sarvangasana) and the headstand (shirshasana).

These simple yoga poses will help get the blood flowing to increase immunity and build your health & vitality.

 

ADDITIONAL POINTERS

1. Steam inhalation with lemon grass– Lemongrass has antibacterial and antifungal properties that help you cope with cough, flu and cold. Loaded with Vitamin C, it also boosts the immune system of the body to fight the infection. For sinusitis, cold, and bronchitis a steam inhalation is very helpful. Boil a handful of lemon grass leaves in water & inhale.

2. Rub ghee inside your nostrils– Just before you step out of the house, apply a thin layer of ghee with your little finger to the insides of your nostrils. This helps get rid of the acute effects of pollution and prevents allergies, rhinitis etc.

Keep yourself happy by keeping yourself healthy. Let well-known Mumbai dietitian and fitness expert Munmun Ganeriwal design a nutrition, exercise and lifestyle transformation program that elevates your overall sense of well-being. Contact us now for an in-depth consultation.

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Expert diet tips for teenage boys and girls

Teenage is the age of change, growth, and transformation. It is the period when what you eat (or not eat) is vital and it sets the foundation of your physical and mental well-being for the rest of your life. A few diet guidelines for you to follow in your teenage years-

1. Count Nutrients, Not Calories-

For life to sustain, food needs to be nourishing, and for food that nourishes, it has to be high in nutrients. In an effort to lose weight, we are constantly avoiding calories and in the process, we lose out on nutrient-dense foods as well. Counting the number of calories that you are eating is really irrelevant, what matters is the nutrient to calorie ratio of your food- nutrients for each calorie consumed.

To Do – Cut down your consumption of “empty” calories from packaged/ processed food like biscuits, cereals, cupcakes, wafers etc. Instead, eat more of real foods like nuts, cheese, curd, peanuts, whole fruits etc.

2. Avoid Meal Gaps-

If all that you want to do is lose weight, then you really cannot afford to starve yourself. Eating frequently and avoiding meal gaps of more than 2-3 hours is crucial to fat burning. Ensure that you make time for breakfast and avoid skipping it. Similarly, if you do not want to be caught up in food crisis/ accidents (like gorging on a doughnut at 6pm when you had just decided to eat healthier in the morning), you need to plan ahead for your 4-6pm snack.

To do- Few breakfast and evening meal options are cheese sandwich/
roti- ghee-jaggery/ poha/ idli chutney/ upma etc. Carry your lunch from home and eat an early dinner at least 2 hours before you hit the bed.

sugarcane juice helps in getting flawless well hydrated skin

3. Stay Hydrated-

one of the most important things to do if you are looking out to have a glowing, flawless skin is to stay well hydrated. Sitting all day long at cafes and sipping on colas (even if it’s the diet version), coffee and other sugar loaded beverages, not only adds to empty calories but is also dehydrating and will hence, make you feel bloated and heavy all the time.

To do- Make sure you are carrying a bottle of water (no plastic bottles please) when you step out and sip on it throughout the day. Choose to have local & seasonal sherbets like aam panha/ bel sherbet/ nimbu sherbet/ kokum sherbet/ sugarcane juice that will not only hydrate you but will also promote the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut and make your belly look thinner.

NOTE: This article was written by me for The Health Site.Com & was published on 12th September 2017.

Image credit: The Health Site.Com/ Google Images

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5 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Get Their Diet Right- Diet for Entrepreneurs

NOTE- I had written this article for Entrepreneur India & it was published on 23rd June 2017. Read on…

According to the ancient Indian philosophy of Yoga, the ‘Annamaya kosha’ (our physical body) and our ‘Mana’ (mind) is a direct reflection of the ‘Anna’ (food) we eat. Fascinating new researchers agree with this ancient philosophy and is now telling us that what we eat, how we eat and at what time, all affect our body and brain, deciding not only how we look but also how well we can take decisions, execute plans, basically our cognitive performance.

Getting their ‘diet’ right hence is crucial for Entrepreneurs to balance the risk/reward, flowchart growth, crack deals, meet deadlines, plan strategies and look presentable all at a time.

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing” So says Walt Disney and so I shall straight away list out a 5-points ‘Eat Right Action Plan’

1. Wake up to ‘real’ food

“A good beginning makes a good ending”, says an Italian proverb. Starting off your day right is crucial for entrepreneurs as it will keep you high on energy and light on your feet all day. Most of us love to have our cup of tea/ coffee the first thing in the morning, almost like an everyday romance: fingers hugging the hot cup of fresh brew close to the lips, taking in each sip with all the aroma and warmth it offers. But sorry to burst your bubble, tea/ coffee is not the best drink as you wake up.

Tea/ coffee, of any variety it may be, has caffeine in it. Studies suggest that caffeine triggers release of cortisol (also called ‘stress’ hormone). A big bump in cortisol puts your body in a ‘stress’ mode and slows down metabolism, breaks down muscle, hampers fat burning, increases blood pressure etc. This ‘stress rush’ is part of the reason why we feel ‘awake’ or ‘alert’ after our morning cuppa.

While we sleep, all our body processes slow down. As we wake up, the body systems also need time to wake up and start functioning in its full capacity. In such situation, it is better to eat ‘real’ food that is easy on it v/s something that will further load or stress it out.

Action Plan (1) – Start your day with a fruit/ dry fruits/ handful of nuts or hot homemade breakfast within half an hour of waking up. Post this meal, you can enjoy your morning cup of tea/ coffee.

2. Planning meals ahead–

If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail” said Benjamin Franklin. Everyone in business knows that planning helps prevent crisis so that you spend less time firefighting and stay ahead of the game.

Similarly, if you do not want to be caught up in food crisis/ accidents (like gorging on a pastry at 6pm when you had just decided to eat healthier in the morning), you need to be planning ahead for your meals.

Eating small, frequent meals every 2-3 hours gives a slow, sustained release of blood sugar which in turn keeps your mind alert and body energetic through the day without feeling the need for stimulants like tea/ coffee/ cigarettes.

Action Plan (2) – Plan for your lunch and evening snack (between 4-6pm) in advance. For mid meals, nuts, dry fruits, chana, fruits, yoghurt, cheese slice, coconut water, nimbu sherbets are great options.

3. Local food, global spirit –

Indian entrepreneurs, today are going global like never before. For an undying global spirit, what we must stay true to is eating local.

Eating local and seasonal foods is good for your health, supports the local economy and benefits the environment at large. Whereas eating foods from far off places, industrialized and packaged, adds inches to your waist line, hampers work productivity and will negatively affect your bottom line.

Action Plan (3) – Replace the cookies/ biscuits in meetings with peanuts/ cashews, aerated drinks/ colas with buttermilk/local sherbets, cakes/ pastries with chikki/ laddoo/ dates etc.

4. Add ghee to your meals

Ever wondered what the traditional business communities (Marwaris/ Gujaratis/ Parsis/ Sindhis) of India eat in common? It’s the GHEE. Ghee being rich in omega 3 boosts brain power and improves memory and cognitive function. Its unique SCFA accelerates fat burning giving you a younger body and sharper mind.

Action Plan (4) – Make sure you have at least 1 tsp of ghee or white butter each with breakfast/ lunch/ dinner.

5. Keep a 2 hours gap between dinner & bedtime

Eating a wholesome dinner that is not close to bedtime will allow enough time for digestion to occur, induce sound sleep and reduce the chance of waking up tired, bloated or acidic the next morning. In short, you would be all set to take the busy day head on!

Action Plan (5) – Choose between dinner options like curd rice, rice & dal/ sambhar, khichdi, appam & stew etc and have it 2-3 hours before you go to bed.

The founder of modern management, Peter Drucker, says- “Entrepreneurship is neither a science nor an art. It is a practice.” So much like ‘Eating Right’, a practise that only leads to good health and happiness!

IMAGE CREDIT – Entrepreneur India/ Shutterstock.com

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Watch Aditi Saraf talk about her journey to weight loss and fitness. Once struggling with PCOD, she showed immense courage in giving lifestyle a fair chance instead of popping pills prescribed by her doctors. The result of her consistent efforts is a much confident Aditi who has lost 10 inches, is free from menstrual pains, and most importantly is happy & content.

Top food, fitness strategies that helped her to get PCOD free and lose weight are-

1. Eating fresh food that is local and seasonal– Her diet was tweaked based on the seasons and based on what was available locally. From jackfruit to mango, from rice to jowar and from coconut to ghee, she had all the seasonal and fresh local food fearlessly.

2. Planning for meals– Being a working woman and a frequent traveller, her meals were planned in advance. She learnt that to lose weight it is important to nurture her appetite and not suppress, to eat lovingly and not deprive.

3. Exercising consistently– Instead of shifting from one exercise to another in search of weight loss, she learnt to stay consistent with the one exercise she chose to begin with. Structured and progressive exercise plans ensured she increases her lean muscle mass to look fit & toned, not just thin & skinny.

4. Regulating bed timings – The most crucial for weight loss and maintaining hormonal balance is sleep. Keeping all electronics away at least an hour before bed & regulating bed timings, enabled her to wake up fresher and more in harmony with her own self.

Interested in adopting a lifestyle change to counter hormonal imbalance and PCOD? Get in touch with us for a diet and exercise consultation and let us work together to achieve your health and wellness goals.

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HOSPITALS AND ITS UGLY FAST FOOD CULTURE

This picture is not from any shopping mall. This is from a renowned, multi-speciality hospital in Mumbai. Yes, hospitals in big cities, trying to be in sync with the global culture of coffee houses and its chains, have become a replica of food courts in malls housing big, domestic and international, fast food chains serving packaged, processed food.

The pre- packed food (puffs/ pastries) and fast food culture of pizzas and burgers, by the way, is one of the major reasons why someone would even need a doctor and therefore, land in a hospital!

I happened to be at this hospital last week. One could locate a franchise café at each floor whereas there is this SINGLE canteen in the entire multi-storied building serving healthier meals like poha, idli etc. To reach to this SINGLE canteen, one would have to spend half an hour minimum, through the elevator traffic (the staircase was kept locked, conveniently) and time constraints do not make this an affordable option at all times. Hence, they are either forced to eat this pathetically low quality, insanely priced food made easily available at each floor or simply starve – both being equally dangerous and unhealthy for the patients and visitors alike. Modern day hospitals, unlike earlier, do not allow outside food (homemade or otherwise) and it further adds to the agony.

On one hand, we as a nation, are talking about climate change issues and on the other hand, important institutions like hospitals are simply contributing to landfills & plastic pollution with these cafes serving bottled mineral water/ juices/ aerated drinks and fast food wrapped in plastic films, on plastic plates.

What institutions like hospitals with added health and social responsibilities should do –

1. Promote local food (healthier and more nutritious) and support local economy

2. Have minimum one canteen or its delivery counter (serving healthier meals) at each level/floor so as to make it more accessible and available

3. Get rid of all the plastic used in food/ beverages, both from the ecological and health point of view. Its well proved that plastic going into food is detrimental to our health

What we as patients and visitors should do –

1. Avoid taking food from these conveniently located cafes serving convenience food

2. Ask/demand the hospitals to ban these cafes, promote healthier food and reduce their plastic footprints

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