Healthy indulgences

Healthy indulgences


Healthy indulgences

 Committing to a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean sacrificing the good things in life. All it means is making some smart choices, writes Swati Kapur.

Health and fitness has become a priority for most of us these days. We go to the gym, we exercise and if nothing else, we definitely take a couple of rounds of the neighbourhood park. But then we also indulge — we work late, eat late, sleep late and binge.

On the macro level we may be look fit, but human bodies are dynamic and chemical changes happen at a cellular level. Therefore it is important to get regular check-ups done as well. Suman Rustagi is a regular gym person and partakes of a moderate diet. But recently, she began to experience low energy levels, and sudden fainting spells.

  A full body check up revealed low blood sugar levels with an even lower RBC count. “But I take fruits and vegetables, meat and carbs all in order,’ was her response to the doctor. Suman is now working on her desired body weight and has to restrict her favourite sweets. “It’s hard but I’m working at it,” she says.

Do we really need to compromise on our taste buds, in order to remain healthy?

Lifestyle disorders

Lifestyle disorders may not show prominently but creep in slowly with lack of nutrients and exercise in the diet. The latest development is deficiency in Vitamin D3 in women.

Although we live in a hot country, working women and those limited to the house rarely get adequate exposure to the sun and develop a calcium and Vitamin D deficiency. Dr Ritika Sanabbar, Chief Dietician, Max Healthcare, Saket says, “One main reason for lifestyle disorders is obesity which leads to problems like metabolic syndrome, fluctuation in blood sugar levels, etc. And the chief culprit is a faulty eating habit.”

Metabolic syndrome results when the body’s BMI becomes abnormal, triggering disturbances in insulin secretion, cholesterol levels, and bringing about changes in the blood profile. “Therefore, it is important to not just have a balanced meal but also balance out the macro and micro nutrients. Watch your weight and limit consumption of egg yolks, red meat, fatty cheese, whole milk and organ meat. Also, try to adopt a farm-to-place concept and consume fresh fruits and veggies,” adds Dr Ritika.

Active lifestyle

Yes, we may have indulgences but an active lifestyle takes care of them. These days, people are opting to go on active holidays, as a lifestyle choice. Latitude 30 degrees N Ganga in Rishikesh is one such active hotel that makes sure that its guests indulge, but in fitness and health food. You wake up to a mountain trek and bird watching session followed by a balanced and light carb and protein breakfast.

Go for a three hour river rafting session and get back to gorge again — not on scrumptious delights — but a carb and protein rich lunch. Desserts do make an appearance here but as carrot and corn halwa.

Evening snacks again are grilled and roasted veggies and meats. In between you would have cycled a few kilometers uphill or climbed up a mountain. Lazy bums who like to just sit in their rooms and watch TV have to give away this habit while residing in this active hotel as there is no TV in the room and definitely no room service. The lack of an elevator is taken care of by steep stone stairs. A walk up from the restaurant to the room aids digestion. 
Healthy alternatives

In order to live a healthy life, choose from substitutes available in the market and practice moderation. Rashma Talwar Sud’s Dessert Carte provides only healthy home-made goodies which are great in taste and high in health quotient. “My desserts have a long shelf life, are low in fat, and high in fibre, and not loaded with sugars, cream, or fatty additives. Instead, I use ingredients like oat bran, yoghurt and brown sugar or sweeteners to ensure that these delicious indulgences are guilt free,” says Rashma.

For instance, her oat bran cake which uses oats, bran and dalia as its main ingredients is perfect for someone with high cholesterol. The idea is to use substitutes. So, flour becomes wheat flour, yogurt is used to bind the cake together, which is a very healthy alternative instead of butter, oil or ghee. Her yogurt brownies are very light with no butter and just a quarter of the calories you would get in a regular brownie bought at a patisserie. Thus, indulgence is not a bad thing, all you need to do is make some smart choices.

In the market there are a lot of fat free, sugar free and even gluten free products available these days. And if it’s difficult to spot these products near you, you can always order online. HomeShop18, an online retail platform, caters to people not just in the metros but also in remote towns who otherwise cannot access sugar free health products. “Our sweets, with a longer shelf life, are a hot favourite among online buyers. Sugar-free chocolates, kaju katli and mawa mithaai are the most popular products we have,” says Narasimha Jayakumar, COO Ecommerce,

Other good products to pick up from the shelf are muesli and granola bars. “Muesli and oats are both high in soluble fibre which helps reduce cholesterol levels especially LDL cholesterol. Regular consumption of adequate fibre not only reduces your risk of cardiovascular diseases but also helps in maintaining a healthy weight and keeping your blood sugar levels in control. The best part is that these foods are very filling,” says Dolly Kumar, Director, GAIA.

Take your pick

* Make better food choices by checking the ingredient list and nutritional information on food packaging

*Avoid products with too much sugar and sodium and search for the ones that use whole grains instead of processed flour

*For breakfast, opt for crunchy muesli and oats instead of sugar coated cereal as the former are extremely nutritious and low in fat

*Ditch regular cookies for healthier options like oatmeal cookies and multi-grain cookies that are rich in fibre and keeps you feeling full for longer durations

* Fulfill your craving for sweets with multi-grain granola bars — they provide instant energy and are a better alternative to high calorie snack bars

* Once in a while shop healthy, and include green teas, olive oils, cereals, muesli bars, soya milk, pro-biotic yogurt etc

Try these

Yogurt brownie cake (egg-less)
Brown Sugar - 140 gms
Olive oil - 1/4 cup
Self rising flour - 75 gms
Yogurt (curd) - 225 gms
Baking powder - 1 table spoon
Dark coco - 30 gms
Pinch of salt
Vanilla essence - 1 table spoon

Pre heat the oven at 180 degrees for 10 minutes. Grease a round eight inch baking pan with some oil. In a round bottom bowl beat curd and sugar together. Once beaten well add oil gradually and the rest of the ingredients. Mix well. Pour the mixture in the baking pan, sprinkle some walnuts over it and put the baking dish in the oven to cook. Bake at 175 degrees for about 35 minutes or till done.

Diet oatmeal cookies
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 1/2 cup flour
1 t sp baking soda
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 cups quick cooking oats

In a bowl beat together oil, sugar and brown sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time. Combine flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Mix oats and knead the dough. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and chill  for an hour. Pre heat the oven at 180'c and grease the baking tray. Make small balls of dough and press them on baking sheet. Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes and cool.

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