F – Follow a Fitness Routine. #AtoZChallenge

F – Follow a Fitness Routine. #AtoZChallenge

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TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY. IT IS THE ONLY PLACE YOU HAVE TO LIVE!”

Life is busy, and a hundred tasks to juggle that leaves you with no time to join a gym or a yoga class.

But, you really don’t need to join a gym or a yoga/dance class to stay fit.

All you need, is will-power, the desire to look after your health and the patience and the perseverance it requires to maintain it.

Being a career woman with a 9 to 5 job, handling household chores and looking after the family’s needs is no mean feat. I see my SIL doing it, day in day out. She hardly has time to even look into the mirror before leaving the house every morning, so finding time for a physical activity is next to impossible.

But, she walks each time she finds an opportunity. And, she wears walking shoes to work, even with her Indian outfits. For her, comfort is much more important than style. Those shoes support her when she decides to walk it down from the train station to her home–a half an hour walk that leaves her feeling rejuvenated.

My mother, at 73, walks all the time–to the temple, to drop her grandson to skating classes, and to her English language classes where she teaches.

Never sit idle!” is her fitness mantra.

Making tiny changes in your lifestyle and your daily schedule will help you stay fit, no matter how busy you are all day. These changes go a long way in improving your health, from the inside to the outside.

Any physical activity increases the feel-good hormones–endorphins, dopamine,serotonin–which improve your mood, increase your happiness quotient and your fitness level.

All you need to do, is move!

Whether you have a sedentary lifestyle or a hectic one, it is paramount that you set aside some time for some physical activity that suits your age and your fitness levels.

TIPS TO INCLUDE FITNESS IN YOUR DAILY LIFE:

  1. Wear comfortable walking shoes so that you can walk during the day, as you commute to and from work.
  2. DO NOT walk in any other footwear except that which is made for walking.
  3. DO NOT take up a rigorous physical activity if you have never exercised earlier. All that enthusiasm will evaporate in a matter of days and your body will not be able to take the sudden change.
  4. Instead, ease into a fitness routine that caters to your age, stamina, your overall health and your body’s ability to get used to this change.
  5. Be gentle with your body and see the signals your body sends out from time to time.
  6. The pain in the neck/lower back/shoulders etc needs to be looked into before you begin a new physical activity. Consult your doctor for a thorough check-up before you set about to do something you never have attempted.
  7. Never follow the herd mentality. I mean, if others jog, does not mean so can you! You might be suffering from some physical ailment that might get aggravated because of the new activity.
  8. Begin with a warm-up, always. And, begin SLOW before you move on to RIGOROUS.
  9. NEVER sit for long hours. It’s worst than smoking. Take short breaks to move around, regularly.
  10. Finally, being physically fit DOES NOT mean reducing those kilo-. It means increasing your stamina and energy levels. So, DO NOT check your weight now and then and grumble if the needle does not move an inch.

Just remember…

Slow and steady, wins the race! So, get movin’, babe!

Love,

SHILPA…

Physical fitness does not mean reducing the kilos, it means increasing the stamina.

 

I am participating in the April A to Z Blogging Challenge, and my theme is ‘SELF-CARE’. You will find all the posts here.

Taking tiny steps towards better health and a happier me!

Taking tiny steps towards better health and a happier me!

Time flies! Precisely why we need to make full use of every moment we get–every single moment of every single day.Some months back, I decided to change my phone habits and save the time I wasted on social media and use it to improve my productivity. What a perfect decision it was!Sometime back, I made some changes in my diet, too, and today, it does feel wonderful seeing how the changes are affecting my health and my lifestyle positively.So, here’s what I changed:

CHANGE IN DIET:

Earlier, my breakfast included a mug of chilled milk with a spoonful of Horlicks and an omelette with either chapati or bread.It was something I looked forward to, the moment I woke up. However, it was also something that gave me gas. Yes, milk does that to me….Sigh.So, to get relief from it, I switched to curd/yoghurt.Now, curd+banana+raisins+oats (I know, I know..OATS!!?? But, hubby got it for me, so I have to finish the stock, right?) has been my breakfast, ever since.I have also started having curd+rice for lunch, as opposed to no rice earlier. My lunch, which comprises of chapatis/ragi rotis, sabji, curd-rice, satiates me.No more hunger pangs within two hours of lunch!The curd keeps me cool, helps with the digestion and I no longer feel like my tummy is a gas chamber!The live bacteria (pro biotics) in the curd takes good care of my gut health. And, a healthy gut, is a happy me!Its high protein content ensures I have enough energy to face a busy day. I deducted rice from dinner, too, which now includes chapatis, sabji/dal, and a huge bowl of salad (cucumber+carrot+tomatoes).Makes me feel full, and yet, not uncomfortably full.MORAL: It helps having a light dinner!

CHANGE IN PHONE HABITS:

I did a post on my phone habits last year. I also did a follow-up post.Since the past two months, I have made furthermore changes in my phone usage.I switch on my phone wifi in the morning at 8.00 to check messages/mail etc and switch it off within 10 minutes.I check it again for few minutes at 11.00 and then keep it switched off till 1.30 pm.I use the Canva app on my phone to make images for Instagram and Pinterest after lunch for half an hour.Evenings are usually spent working on laptop, or talking to friends on the phone. So, by 8.00 pm my phone wifi goes off to sleep.The time I spend on social media has reduced substantially:INSTAGRAM: 15 MINS. (Set the timer on Instagram and it will remind you when your time’s up).FACEBOOK: 10 – 15 MINS.WHATSAPP: 5 MINS. (I’d rather talk than text).CANVA + PINTEREST: 30 MINS.GMAIL: 2-3 MINS. (it’s also on my laptop, so makes no sense wasting time there).Now, I have ample time to indulge in art, reading, blogging and planning.Also, it saves my eyes from strain.I have stopped watching TV during lunch time, too.I pay attention to the food in my plate and how good it tastes.TV viewing is for the evenings, for some time. That’s a lot less screen-time, right?MORAL: Use the phone judiciously and you will have mastered the art of Time Management!I keep an account of it all and intend to do a follow-up post on how well these changes help me in the long run.How about you? Have you made any changes lately? How do you feel about it all?Love,SHILPA…

Are you lactose intolerant?

Are you lactose intolerant?


Featured post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

Do you remember, as kids, being coaxed to drink up that tall glass of warm milk every morning and evening? I know, some of you couldn’t even tolerate it and so emptied the glass in the flower pot or the sink, right?  The smell and the taste can be off-putting, so I can understand.

But, there’s a reason why our parents wanted us to drink that glass of milk, you know?

Milk is a COMPLETE FOOD as it consists of every such nutrient that we humans need.

 

We have heard it since the time we were kids about how drinking milk will give us strong teeth and healthy bones as it is rich in Calcium.

But, apart from that, it also helps keep the heart healthy and the blood pressure under control.

Milk fortified with Vitamin D helps us sleep well and helps produce serotonin–our  ‘good mood’ hormone–which could keep depression away. Now, this is an information my doctor provided.  He said that a lack of Vitamin D results in all of the PMS related feelings like mood-swings, irritability, depression, fatigue, etc, that, if not taken care of, can only worsen with time.

And, yet, so many of us find it unbearable to even bring a glass of milk close to our nose! Well, if the smell puts you off, you could always add a spoonful of some nutritional powder, like Horlicks, Boost, Complan, or even almond/cardamom powder–there’s a wide choice of nutritional drinks available in the market. Choose the one that you like.

If hot/warm milk gives you nausea or gas, try chilled milk. I love chilled milk. I add a spoonful of Horlicks to it and have it for my breakfast.  My last post was on coughs and cures, where I failed to mention that my cough usually gets cured by a glass of chilled milk, instead of the usually prescribed warm haldi wala doodh (milk with turmeric)!

Lactose intolerance and food options:

When the body cannot digest the lactose present in the milk, it makes you lactose intolerant. One could suffer from nausea, vomiting, gas or diarrhoea and, hence, stay away from milk, altogether.

However, if not milk, then you can surely have other milk products such as curd or yoghurt, buttermilk, cheese, cottage cheese or paneer, ghee, butter and milk which is lactose-free.

Other alternatives are soy milk, coconut milk, almond milk.

Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach contain calcium as does Amaranth. Chia seeds, beans, lentils and tofu are other foods that also contain calcium in good quantities.

Milk products for the lactose intolerant:

Curd contains high amount of proteins making it a highly nutritional food. Add some fruits of your choice, some dates and other dry fruits and honey and you have a delicious and healthy bowl for a midmorning or evening snack, ready in no time!

You could also make a smoothie with curds and some fruits. Keep sugar out of these recipes, though. And, artificial sweeteners, too. Using honey, dates or raisins is a better alternative.

Curds go well with parathas, rice (curd-rice, any day!) or oats, too.

Buttermilk, when had after a heavy lunch, makes for the best digestive. Just add some cumin powder, rock salt (kala namak), some finely chopped green chillies and coriander and you get the best cooling, digestive drink, ever. You know that, don’t you?

Cottage cheese, or paneer, is another milk product loaded with calcium and proteins. And, it aids in weight loss, too. Homemade paneer tastes the best–soft and creamy–as opposed to the readymade one, which is often rubbery and lacks any taste. Just add a spoon of lemon juice to some warm milk and when the milk curdles and the curds separates, pour it through a cloth in a strainer. Gather the cloth, squeeze it lightly to drain the excess water and tie it up. That’s it. Perfect, soft, tasty paneer ready to be used in your recipes, or eat it as is.

Cheese provides calcium and proteins, vitamins A and B12, riboflavin, phosphorus and zinc. The best benefit of cheese, I read, is for the teeth as it prevents tooth decay. For those trying to gain some weight, you could add cheese to your diet. It helps improve the bone density and also strengthens the muscles.Opt for cheese with low salt content as otherwise it could affect your blood pressure.

And, finally, gheeor clarified butter, is another milk product that you can consume on a daily basis. It will help in maintaining your gut health, keep your joints healthy, your heart beating beautifully, your skin soft, and your weight under control. My post on Ghee has the method of preparing it at home. it’s really easy to make, or you could buy white butter from the market and use that to prepare the ghee.

So, if you have deleted milk from your daily diet due to lactose intolerance, do include it now through the various milk products.  You will be doing a world of good for your health–mental as well as physical health. Trust me!

Take care,

Love,

SHILPA…

 

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From thin to slim. #Bonhappetee.

From thin to slim. #Bonhappetee.

Get Fit Stay Fit

Featured post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

What is, or has been, the number one wish on your health list? Let me guess, does it have to do with losing weight? I know, that must be it, because 9 out of 10 people consider themselves overweight, or “fat” (which is so wrong, let me tell you). They follow everything they can to lose a few pounds to become “acceptable” and get rid of the tag that others label them with.

The world is not kind to thin people, either. The body shaming taunts wound our spirits, and our self-esteem suffers badly.

Having been thin,  I have heard it all–from “don’t you eat?” to “does your hubby thrash you if you eat more?”.

People fail to realise that there is a thing called metabolism –

The process that occurs within our body that maintains life; a process that causes food to be used as energy, and decides how fast or slow our calories and fat gets burned.

I have a high metabolism, that means, the food that I eat gets converted into energy at a faster rate and hence doesn’t get converted into fat. So, however much I eat, multiple times in a day, it hardly shows!

Earlier, though, the thinness caused me to appear gaunt and stick-thin. Hubby encouraged me to eat all that I wished to and include all sorts of health tonics and stuff, but to no avail. I remained thin as ever.

With time, I realised I needed to make changes in my lifestyle, my diet and my perception about myself.

Yoga: the best exercise regimen

It was only around three years ago, I decided to include a proper exercise regimen that would not further burn my calories, but help tone my body and help build some muscles. And, the best way to attain that, I felt, was through Yoga.

Yoga helped me understand my body. The areas that were flexible and also those that weren’t, and the aches and pains when I bent forward or backwards. Regular practice helped increase the flexibility in a body that had not had any kind of exercise for a long time.

We women are under the wrong impression that our household chores make for perfect workout sessions. It is really not so! We do burn calories sweeping floors and running around after the kids all day long, but, the flexibility that every other part of our body lacks can be achieved only by a proper workout.

The various asanas and the Suryanamaskars helped me achieve the kind of flexibility and suppleness I needed. I could feel my body getting toned, my skin getting healthier and me getting trimmer and curvier from being stick thin.

A balanced diet:

We learn right from our school days how important it is to follow a balanced diet in order to stay healthy and happy, but rarely do we actually follow it on a daily basis. Thanks to our busy schedules we treat our health as an afterthought.

I used to begin the day with a king-sized breakfast followed by a good lunch, too, but it was in the late afternoons that my energy levels dipped and I would feel tired soon. I realised the time gap between lunch and dinner was too big and I needed to add some snacks to fuel me through the evenings.

Most of us make do with a cup of tea/coffee and a couple of biscuits. Rarely do we stop to think where we will get the nutrients from that we require to function until dinner time. I mean, seriously, how are you going to benefit from a cup of tea and a few biscuits made from refined flour?

I added sprouts and vegetable juice for this particular hour in my diet plan. Sprouted moong and matki made into a bhel with tomato-onion-chillies and some farsan was the perfect savoury snack that kept me full and supplied the necessary nutrients to last me till dinner time.

Vegetable juice made from beetroot-tomatoes-carrots with some ginger made for the perfect drink to wash down the bhel. Either that, or buttermilk or lassi, that would aid in digestion and also keep my system cool.

Fitness matters:

Whether you are on the heavier side or the lighter side, what really really matters is how you are from within. I feel proud to say that almost all of my blood tests come out perfectly normal, except for Calcium and Vitamin D3, for which I take supplements. I feel energetic and happy knowing that sticking to a particular diet plan that I chalked out for myself as well as an exercise regimen has helped me stay in shipshape.

My body may not appear strong, but it is strong enough from within to fight infections quicker thanks to an efficient and a reliable immune system. I seldom fall sick (Touchwood!) and on the rare occasions when I do, I bounce back pretty soon.

Thanks to my Yoga practice, I don’t experience a lot of aches and pains. And, the bad lower back that does complain once in a while, gets taken care of through some gentle exercising.

Taking care of your diet despite a busy schedule and following a particular exercise plan goes a long way in giving you a healthy body. Accepting yourself as you are and being proud of how well you care for yourself is what matters.

Fitness matters more than size!

Love,

SHILPA…

Thanking Anshu Bhojnagarwala for this opportunity to share my fitness journey for Bonhappetee.

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10 super foods that help lower cholesterol.

10 super foods that help lower cholesterol.

Cholesterol  entered my world some years ago while I was researching healthcare necessary after the age of 35. A blood test (Lipid profile) would tell us if our cholesterol levels were good, bad or ugly. Suffice to say, the picture was rather ugly (for hubby), and we had to quickly get into battle mode to fight this enemy.

So, what is this cholesterol and is it really as bad as we think it is?

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found in every cell of our body.

Our body makes the cholesterol that we need. And, it does have a role to play: Our body requires cholesterol to make hormones, Vitamin D and substances that help digest our food. 

Cholesterol comes from our liver and our diet. 

There are two types of cholesterols carried by different types of lipoproteins: LDL, or the Low Density Lipoproteins which is the BAD Cholesterol and HDL, or the High Density Lipoproteins, which is the GOOD Cholesterol.

High levels of LDL can clog the arteries and cause heart disease.

Source: Wikipedia

 

Unlike fat, cholesterol cannot be burned by your body through sweating while exercising etc. So, to avoid excess accumulation of cholesterol in the body, you  need to watch your diet. Your doctor will prescribe medicines to bring down the cholesterol levels, or the LDL levels. The drugs usually prescribed are STATINS. These lower the triglycerides (another type of blood fat) and also raise the HDL levels.

However, Statins do have side-effects like high blood sugar, muscle inflammation and intestinal problems. So, while it is advisable to take the prescribed drugs to bring down the levels of cholesterol, it is better to take a good look at your diet to do the same. That is a much preferred mode of bringing down the LDL levels. Along with exercise, of course!

Exercise on a REGULAR BASIS is a must  if you wish to see any positive results. We do begin working out with great enthusiasm, but seldom do we all stick to the routine and in a matter of days we fall off the track and go back to our old habits, don’t we?

We also need to take care of what we eat. We keep reading about the need to watch our diet and make exercise a part of our daily routine, so, what’s new, you might ask. Well, the fact that not all of us stick to our diets and our exercise which results in raised levels of LDL that cause more trauma to your arteries and consequently to your heart, much more than you think.

There are foods that help bring down the LDL levels. Foods that, if we make them a part of our daily diet, are sure to help us in the long run as well as get off the drugs. So, sharing with you all today, 10 of the super foods available locally and which help reduce the bad cholesterol.

First off, though, you need to consciously stay away from deep fried stuff like certain Indian snacks (samosa, batata wada, bhajiya) and include healthy foods which I will mention below. Trans fats found in vanaspati, are the number 1 culprit that cause the LDL to shoot up. So, keep that out of your kitchens, and switch to desi ghee, or clarified butter, which is heart-friendly.

 

FOODS THAT HELP LOWER CHOLESTEROL:

Methi: I shared a post on Methi some time ago, where I wrote about the benefits of including sprouted methi , or fenugreek seeds. Fenugreek seeds help lower LDL as well as blood sugar levels if consumed on a daily basis. So, sprout some methi seeds, place them in an air tight container, in the refrigerator, and have a teaspoon of these sprouted methi seeds first thing in the morning.

Tomatoes: Rich in lycopene, tomatoes help detoxify the body and reduce the risk of heart disease by helping lower cholesterol levels. Add these to your salads, have these through soups and along with veggies, or juice them up and gulp them down!

Fatty fish: Now, this is good news for sea food lovers, isn’t it? Fish contain Omega 3 fatty acids which help bring down the level of triglycerides and simultaneously raise the HDL levels.

Garlic: Years ago, dad used to chew garlic cloves. I tried it, too, but the pungent flavour put me off it. It’s only after I grew up that I learned how beneficial garlic  is to the heart. The anti-oxidant properties of garlic help lower cholesterol levels, provided it is consumed raw, or semi-cooked. So, despite the bad breathe it gives, just chomp on a garlic clove. You can always use a mouthwash to drive away the smell!

Ragi:  Ragi, or finger millets, contain amino acids which help get rid of excess fat from the liver and bring down cholesterol levels. It also helps reducing blood sugar levels. Eating rotis (Indian Flat Bread) made out of ragi flour instead of wheat, will definitely help you in your fight against cholesterol. Ragi rotis are the most preferred rotis at my home and take lesser time to prepare!

Ladies finger: Ladies finger not only helps bring down cholesterol but also helps reduce your blood sugar levels thanks to its soluble fibre content. Slit a couple of ladies fingers and place them in a glass of water at night. Drink the water the next morning. Or, eat more ladies finger sabji! Either ways, it helps.

Nuts: Nuts, especially, walnuts and almonds help reduce the bad cholesterol (LDL) and raise the good cholesterol (HDL). Have a whole walnut daily and a few almonds, too, along with your breakfast.

Apples: Apples contain the same soluble fibre that you find in ladies fingers, which helps lower bad cholesterol. So, it isn’t for no reason that we have been taught that an apple a day keeps the doctor away!

Oranges: Including foods rich in soluble fibre helps reduce cholesterol. And, oranges are rich in soluble fibre, apart from vitamin C.

Cinnamon: Cinnamon is known to lower blood cholesterol levels significantly. Add a teaspoon  of cinnamon powder to your cup of tea while it boils. A teaspoonful of this powder is more than enough to do the trick, provided consumed on a daily basis. Grind the cinnamon and keep the powder next to your tea and sugar containers. That way you will be reminded to add it to your morning cuppa.

 

I have included those foodstuffs that are grown locally. Foods such as oats, or avocados, although available, aren’t locally cultivated. Eating foods grown locally makes a lot of difference to your health.  The reason being that these foods are picked as soon as they ripen and are packed and sold immediately, thereby keeping their nutrition intact.

So, that’s it from me today. Do share with me any other tips you may have for reducing cholesterol. I would love to know all about it!

Love,

SHILPA…

 

P.S.

I have been including almost all of the above in hubby’s diet since a long time now and his cholesterol levels have come down significantly. He stopped taking the drugs he was prescribed for cholesterol and depends more on the diet to control the LDL levels. Now, all he needs to do, is get back on that bicycle! I know he will. It’s just a matter of some time.

SHILPA..

 

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Fight Cholesterol the easy way