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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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Make your own #TastybutHealthy recipe: Misal Pav!

Since the food industry has conditioned us to believe that food that is tasty cannot be healthy, we often mistake our regional, traditional snacks as fattening or unhealthy. So together let’s discover the health benefits of #TastybutHealthy Misal Pav so that not only you start cooking more of it at home, you also start enjoying the dish guilt-free!

1. High in good quality protein

People in general, especially vegetarians, are often worried about optimal protein intake in their diet. Misal that is cooked with various kinds of legumes& sprouts and eaten along with local bread (Pav), represents a complementary food combination where the limited amino acids in one food item is adequately supplemented by amino acids in the other food item.
The ‘Pav’ is deficient in the amino acid lysine but rich in methionine, while legumes/ sprouts are deficient in amino acid methionine and has plenty of lysine. Therefore, a combination of Misal & Pav works very well to give full benefits of all the essential amino acids/complete protein profile to the body. This concept (and wisdom) of using complementary food items and complementary proteins is deeply entrenched in Misal Pav since time immemorial.

2. Rich in fibre

The legumes/sprouts provide adequate roughage as well, thus making them easily digestible and ‘light’ on the system.

3. Rich in essential fats

The inclusion of copra (dry coconut), mustard seeds, curry leaves in the recipe provides for all the essential fatty acids that are required for immunity, healthy joints and yes, weight loss too!

4. Digestive

Thanks to the rich Indian tradition of using a multitude of spices in our incomparable array of cuisines, digestion is seldom a big issue with Indian food.The use of jeera, lavang, kalimirch, dalchini etc in the Misal masala makes sure that you can “have it and eat it too”

FUN FACT- Not many know that Mumbai Misal Pav has been recognized as the ‘World’s Tastiest Vegetarian Snack’. Beating dishes from across the world such as Barcelona, Perth, Athens and more, the humble Misal Pav was awarded in 2015 for its “wonderful textural colours and contrasts”; at the Foodie Hub Global Awards, London.

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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Make your own Tasty but Healthy Breakfast: Mysore Bonda and Coconut chutney (South India)

Here’s one of the mouth-watering dishes from South India that can give us some real Tasty But Healthy recipe goals: Mysore bonda and coconut chutney.

Read below for reasons to tickle your taste buds!

1. Healthy gut- The non-digestible component of plant fibers like that found in rice – known as prebiotics– stimulate the growth and induce changes to the composition of gut microbial populations. The gut microbiome (probiotics) play a very important role in the overall health of a person—whether it be in contributing to weight loss or fighting against diseases like cancer or diabetes.

2. Boosts immunity- The rice flour and urad dal in the bonda mutually complement each other and their combination provides full benefits of all the essential amino acids/complete protein profile. Antibodies that help fight disease are actually made of protein. Hence, it boosts your immunity and makes you less susceptible to infections.

3. Reduces abdominal fat- The fats in coconut (known as medium chain triglycerides MCTs) are shorter than most other fats. This makes them a unique kind of fat that is metabolized differently in human body. Certain studies have found a significant reduction in waist circumference after consumption of coconut in the diet.

4. Heart protective- Coconut helps protect against heart disease by increasing good cholesterol and lowering the ratio of bad and good cholesterol.

Few more options that are quick, easy and equally healthy are-

1. Rava upma

2. Uttapam

3. Namkeen Sevaiyan

4. Egg and local bread

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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An Italian proverb says “A good beginning makes a good ending”. We all know the importance of starting our day with a healthy breakfast, don’t we? Our dadis and nanis have always told us – “subah subah khali pet ghar se baahar nahi jaate”. And does science agree with it. Hell yes, it does.

Several good reasons why you should eat first thing when you get up-

– Breakfast kick-starts your metabolism, helping you burn more calories throughout the day and increases fat burning in the body.

– When we sleep, all our body processes slow down. When we wake up, our blood sugar is low, the same blood sugar that is needed to make our muscles and our brain work. Breakfast helps to replenish this blood sugar and boosts our energy levels.

In my practise, I meet so many people who are always so rushed, no time to eat breakfast. And what I typically see in these people is that once they get through their day, they get so hungry later on that they are snacking on high fat high sugar foods.

Not getting your fuel by eating first thing in the morning, will make you overeat later in the day.

So the first take away is that if you do want to get thinner, lose weight, take charge of your diabetes, thyroid, PCOD, cholesterol issues or anything else, you should make time to eat your breakfast.

And for those who just don’t feel hungry enough to eat, for them two things –

– make sure you eat your dinner every night 2-3 hours before hitting the bed. If you are eating your food and straight away lying down to sleep, not only does it lead to acidity when you wake up in the morning, you also not feel hungry enough for breakfast

and second thing, make sure you get sound sleep through the night. With sleep deprivation, you wake up not having a desire to eat and not feeling hungry.

What is healthy breakfast?

A bowl of Oats or ready to eat cereals with a few decorative strawberries on top like they show in TV ads or a tall glass of orange juice like they show in Bollywood movies. Wife is worried about husband’s cholesterol. Husband’s only chance of fixing his health issues is through the wife switching from home-cooked, traditional breakfast meals, to oats and cereals. And then there are ads of children indulging in chocolate cereals that would make them taller, stronger and sharper. Like really?

Let’s dissect their claims one by one-

– First thing is about nutrition profile- . They say that these oats and cereals are rich in soluble fibre and by virtue of that, it will reduce your cholesterol and lead to weight loss. What we need to understand is that the grains, pulses and millets that go into making our traditional breakfast are also a rich source of soluble fibre and can also work to lower our body cholesterol.

Second thing is about taste and satisfaction, I call it Vit J, where J is joy. Unlike the western ‘consumerist culture’ of sweet and cold cereal breakfasts, we have a tradition of garam nashta that gives us Santosh meaning makes us feel more satisfied. Once you have received your dose of Vit J, you will see that you don’t experience sugar cravings through the day. But if you are eating your breakfast that fails to give you this vitamin J, then you will surely see yourself reaching out for a piece of pastry or a doughnut later in the day.

We need to embrace the huge food diversity that our country represents and not mindlessly follow the global uniform eating pattern of cereal and milk. Diversity in food that you eat is also important for your health and well being because the diversity of good bacteria in your gut thrives on it.

Few things you need to ensure are-

– You eat only one breakfast item at a time.

– Eat it slow, chew your food well, and make sure you are not multi tasking while eating with your phone or morning newspaper.

When you do all of this, you will see that you are not overeating, and in few days time, you will see your acidity and bloating disappear, higher energy levels with a sense of feeling light and nice. And yes, weight loss too!

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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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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Nothing gives more joy than sitting by the window on a rainy day, eating hot pakodas and sipping some adrak chai. But most of the time, instead of enjoying our deep fried goodies, we are scared eating them. Let’s get to know myths & facts about deep frying & whether its healthy or not.

Question 1 – Isn’t Deep fried food Fattening?

– The USFDA has reviewed its dietary guidelines in 2015 saying that there is no upper limit to one’s daily dietary fat intake. In simple words, the ban on total dietary fat has finally been lifted, and it’s none other than the USFDA asking you not to worry about the fat & indulge in your bhajjiyas guilt free 🙂

Second point is that Nutrition science tells us that addition of fat to a meal brings down its glycemic index. Presence of Fat in a meal delays the process of converting food to blood sugar. Hence, the more fat, the slower the sugars or carbs are digested, and lower is the glycemic index. Not difficult to understand why we have food combinations like aamras and puri. If the mangoes in aamras are infamously known to increase your sugar levels and make you fat, the deep fried puri along with it makes sure the GI of the overall meal stays in check.

Question 2 – What are the best oils for deep frying food?

– We need to consider two things to determine the best fat that will not break down at high temperature to create toxic compounds- one is the smoke point and other is the stability of the fat.

Ghee has the highest smoke point & being the most stable fat that undergoes very little oxidation when heated, it makes for the first best medium to fry food. Second to ghee are filtered oils from local oilseeds like mustard, coconut, sesame and groundnut.

And, What about olive oil? Well, olive oil because of its low smoke point is not suited for deep frying. To know more about oils, do watch my You tube video on Olive oil v/s Indian traditional oils.

Question 3- Can we reuse the oil?

– Oil that you are frying in should not be reused as reusing oil oxidises the fat, forming free radicals and compounds which are harmful to our health. The only exception to this is Ghee, and that’s because of its unusually high smoke point.

Question 4 – Is deep fried food healthy?

– The answer to this is both yes and no. It is certainly healthy when you are making your deep fried stuff at home. Why? Because at home, you can make sure you are using nutrients and antioxidants rich ghee or filtered oils, you can also make sure you do not reuse the oil and eat them fresh and hot.

While you eat them outside say at restaurants, most of the time, these parameters are beyond our control. Also, most of the time, at restaurants and hotels, the deep frying is done twice, one before and one again just before serving you.

Question 5- How much can we eat?

– The act of overeating the healthiest food in the world can also create toxicity in the body. So like with everything, do not go overboard, eat slow and eat mindful.

Keep calm, eat the fried, and eat it wise!

Image credit- Google images

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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Did you know that many habits that you consider as daily routine are actually not good for your health? Read these commonly mistaken habits and take the corrective measures as mentioned in the infographic.

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This summer, #BeatTheHeat with Rice and get your summer diet plan on point.

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After being quoted as the “new” superfood by health experts in the West, it seems GHEE has started to receive the appreciation that was long due. Get away from misconceptions of Ghee and know some eye-opening and beneficial health facts about Ghee.

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Vishuddha is the chakra located at your throat and neck, and incorporates your thyroid gland. It is one of the seven chakras in your bodies, which are believed to be vital energy centres. The Vishuddha chakra is supposed to be about choice, willpower and the right to speak and be heard.

Since it’s between the head and the heart it works to maintain integrity between what you think and what you feel. When you find it difficult to communicate or express your thoughts and feelings, when you do not believe you have the right to make choices for yourself that empower you or when you feel suppressed by swallowed emotions and feelings, is when the throat chakra is affected that often manifests as thyroid problems in the body.

It is no wonder then that women are five to eight times more likely than men to have thyroid problems (as per American Thyroid Association, ATA). Of course, there are also huge hormonal events only specific to women like pregnancy and menopause, which exposes more women than men to it but for most of the time, women all over the world fail to listen to their inner voice, much less express it. Self-empowerment is the main lesson of this chakra symbol.

Now, self-empowerment comes from within. For first, it comes from taking ownership of the problem instead of blaming the ever-nurturing thyroid gland for weight gain, hair loss, forgetfulness, irritability etc. and second, from making efforts to deal with the hormonal imbalance by improvising your lifestyle before resorting to taking external thyroid hormones in the form of pills/ medicines.

The three main strategies for a healthy lifestyle that will support your thyroid gland (whether you have hypo or hyper thyroidism) and help you reach your optimum body weight (body composition) are-

1.NUTRITION – Nourish, nurture and support your thyroid gland with ‘real’ food and nutrients so that it can function efficiently. Real food is the food that is grown in a soil near you, not wrapped in fancy packaging and flown from a far away land. Processed, industrialized food is rich in sodium, salts and preservatives which creates havoc to the fine, delicate balance of sodium and potassium in your body cells. Hence, that packet of ‘high fibre’ biscuits, ‘multi-grain’ chips, ‘diet’ bhel, ‘anaaj wala’ breakfast cereal etc. that you open in the hope of losing weight, only puts additional stress to the already ‘overworking’ thyroid gland. That you feel only bloated and puffy (instead of feeling lighter) after consuming them only adds to the big, bad story of packaged, processed foods.

What to eat? Instead of hopping onto the latest diet trend wagon of either “low fat” or “low carb” or “high protein” diet, nourish your thyroid with wholesome food. One that is inclusive of all: fibre-rich carbs, indispensable amino acids (protein), essential fats along with vital vitamins and minerals.

The whole grains (jowar/ bajra/ nachni/ wheat/rice) that you eat in the form of rotis, bhaat, thepla, bhakri are not just fibre and carbs, it is also rich in iodine. Adequate iodine is essential for the synthesis of thyroid hormones, almost like basic building blocks. So the moment you give up on rice and roti to lose weight, your thyroid struggles all the more to function for you.

More and more research has found that deficiency of Vit D is significantly associated with thyroid gland malfunction. Now Vit D is a fat-soluble vitamin. So in order to make up for the low Vit D levels, to support your thyroid and to lose weight, you really cannot afford to be fussy about essential fats like ghee, coconut, white butter, filtered oils etc. Your ‘low fat’ ice-cream; ‘skimmed’, ‘double toned’ milk well, will actually do just the opposite for you!

Since iodine combines with tyrosine (protein) in the body to make thyroid hormones, adequate protein in the diet is important and is crucial to optimise metabolism of the body. Make friends with milk, curd, cheese, nuts, eggs, meat, fish, dal, legumes but remember eating them with your whole grains and essential fats. Wholesomeness is when you eat in combination v/s isolation. So say ‘NO’ to dinner of only ‘grilled fish’ and give a big high five to rice and fish curry. Hope you are getting the story!

2. EXERCISE – Thyroid hormones play an important role in bone mineral homeostasis and bone density. Both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism are associated with reduced BMD (bone mineral density) leading to increased fracture risk, osteoporosis and joint pain.

Consistent strength training will help increase BMD & strengthen your musculoskeletal system. Non-weight bearing cardio exercises (like swimming, cycling) will help burn fat without overstressing your joints. The practise of yoga & asana helps in opening and balancing the vishuddha chakra.

Hence, it is ideal to take a broad base approach in exercises too and do a combination of strength, cardio and yoga (on separate days)

3. SLEEP- Hypothyroidism is most often associated with fatigue, also called ‘adrenal fatigue’. And things that trigger ‘adrenal fatigue’ are stress and poor sleep. Deep, restorative sleep is hence crucial and one should be working towards getting enough sleep during the night and a 20 minutes “catnap” post lunch.

So eat, move, sleep and most important, speak and express yourself- assertively and fearlessly. Let your thyroid blossom and feel beautiful!

Read related articles on nutrition

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Cholesterol and Indian diet: Time to stop worrying

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Diabetes control: Eat, Move, Sleep!

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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