Diwali came in with loads of celebrations and went by giving immense joys and prosperity. Well, Diwali might have passed but the season of festivities has just begun. This is the time of the year when your calendar is marked with wedding invites, bachelor parties, Christmas celebrations and New Year’s Eve celebrations. Keeping your busy party schedule in mind, we bring to you a quick 15 day’s diet challenge which by incorporating in your daily regime, you can be festive-ready in the best possible manner. So, be ready to put your best foot forward by taking out 15 days and completing a challenge, one day at a time.
�DAY 1: Trash the trans-fat: Almost all of the Trans fats in our food is created through an industrial process (called hydrogenation) that solidifies vegetable oils to increase shelf lives of the products. FDA has documented trans-fats to be totally unsafe. These fats can contribute to the development of coronary artery diseases, elevated cholesterol, and a greater risk of stroke. So, all you need to do is skip on market-made bakery items likecake, pastries, crackers, cookies, frozen pies, vegetable shortenings etc. The best thing is to freshly prepare these delicacies at home. Our recipe corner might just come handy to you.
� DAY 2: Good Fat vs Bad Fat: Fats are essential for your body’s physiological functions. But, you should know how to differentiate between the “good” and the “bad” variants of fats. Good fats come mainly from vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fish. Good fats are of two types: Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Choose from- olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, avocado oil, sesame oil, mustard oil. And completely avoidcheese, butter, palm oil, margarine, mayonnaise etc.
� DAY 3: Go easy on Sodium: The recommended sodium intake for a healthy person is one teaspoon (approx. 6 gm) per day while for someone with hypertension; it is 0.75 teaspoon (3.75 gm) per day which accounts for 2300 mg of sodium (for healthy person) and 1500 mg of sodium (for someone with hypertension). You really need to maintain these levels in order to keep you body’s electrolytes in balance. If extra sodium accumulates in your body, it makes you hold onto water. This also leads to increased blood volume and puts more pressure on blood vessels and heart. If this continues for a longer time, the extra pressure on vessels can lead to hypertension and eventually can result in a heart attack.
�DAY 4:Stroll 15 mins post Dinner: A short walk of 15 minutes post the last meal of your day will ensure: better digestion, improved metabolism, better sleep, weight maintenance, and improved blood circulation. Researchers have also found out that it considerably decreases your risk of getting type II Diabetes by stimulating pancreas and maintaining insulin levels.
�DAY 5:Cinnamon tea before bed: A cup of cinnamon tea blended with green tea (or plain hot water) will ensure your blood glucose and cholesterol levels are in check. Cinnamaldeyde is found in cinnamon which provides your body with the necessary power to ward off bacterial infections.
� DAY 6: Soaked nuts: A good start to the day should be given right in the morning by indulging in soaked nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachio). Not only do they make your heart healthy but also ensure good skin and hair in the long run. Soaking and peeling nuts (especially almonds) ensures the removal of tannin (an ingredient present in the skin) that may hamper with nutrient absorption.
�DAY 7: Infused water day: You may consider getting one infusion bottle or use any glass pitcher (of about a litre). Pour water and cut and infuse one lemon, few mint leaves and ½ inch of ginger (chopped into pieces). Let the magic ingredients soak into the water overnight and next day, keep sipping water from your infused bottle, little by little throughout the day. Infused water aids in detoxification, destruction of free radicals, improving metabolism and aiding in digestion.
� DAY 8: Be positive with negative calorie foods: Negative calorie foods are the ones that burn more calories in the process of being digested compared to what they provide as a meal. But you have to be physically active to draw out their benefits. Choose from: Celery, beets, apples, Brussels sprouts and cucumber.
� DAY 9: Let’s boost Melatonin: Melatonin is a hormone produced by the body that regulates your sleep. Disorder of melatonin in the body can lead to disruption in circadian rhythm and give rise to insomnia and depression. To naturally boost melatonin secretion, you may want to consider foods likenuts and seeds. Dark leafy greens, soybeans, milk, fish (tuna, salmon), dried prunes and almond milk.
� DAY 10:De-code food labels: Get into a habit of reading the food labels of anything you’d pick up from the shelf of your favourite grocery store. Avoid anything that contains Trans fats andextra sodium. Look at the ‘ %DV ‘ – Percentage daily value- less than 5% DV is too little and more than 15% DV is too high. Sugar might be masked under few “alias” like “dextrose”, “invert sugar”, “turbinado”, “fructose corn syrup”, “barley malt” etc. – avoid picking such food items.
�DAY 11:Portion size potion: Controlling your portion size is the most effective way to ensure you get all the benefits of a variety of foods. Consider this “handy” guide: For grains (rice, pasta, cereals): handful, chicken,fish, meat should be the size of your palm, and cooked vegetables should at least be the size of your fist while butter or cheese should be the size of your thumb. Oil for one serving should be equivalent to the tip of your thumb.
� DAY 12: Load up fibre: It is recommended to consume at least 20-25 g of dietary fibre per day. A high fibre diet ensures normal bowl movements, maintains bowel health, lowers cholesterol levels, maintains blood glucose levels, and helps in maintaining weight. They also make you feel full for long. Include whole fruits, vegetables, salad, beans, legumes, and whole grains in your diet.
�DAY 13:Herbs: Kitchen super fighters: There are certain super foods available all the time in your kitchen that provide your body with necessary stamina to fight common infections and boost metabolism. All you need to do is incorporate them in your regime on a daily basis. Rosemary – improves cardiovascular health, Cardamom- is a diuretic, lowers blood pressure and is anti-inflammatory. Cumin- promotes weight loss, is rich in iron and helps in digestion. Coriander- contains Vitamin A and beta carotene.
� DAY 14: The golden milk day: To prepare your golden milk cup, all you need to do is take 1 cup of regular milk or almond milk and to it add a pinch of turmeric (about ½ tsp). Consume it lukewarm to draw out maximum benefits which include: anti-inflammation, increased antioxidants, strengthening of immune system and relief in common musculoskeletal body pains especially in joints.
� DAY 15: Your quick guide to Healthy food swaps: We bring you a quick guide on “choose this not that”. The list is certainly a lot more which we will keep you tuned in for. But until then, start with the swaps as listed below:
From This To This
Butter Peanut butter or avocado mash
Potato chips Unbuttered Popcorns
Milkshakes Healthy smoothies
Desserts Dark Chocolate
Deep fried snacks Roasted Chana
White pasta Whole wheat / durum wheat pasta
Fruit juices Whole Fruits
It is truly said that you should let your food be your medicine and not medicine be your food. Our 15 day’s guide can serve as your stepping stone towards an eternal healthy and disease free life. Begin today!