Some sweet talking

Festival qualms
Last Updated 19 September 2016, 18:27 IST

With the festival season upon us, the upcoming months will see most kitchens filling up with high-sugar and fat-filled food. While indulging in these delights can be satisfying for one’s tastebuds, they can play havoc with one’s health and also lead to extreme weight increase.

It’s not just the fitness freaks who are wading away from overindulgence, but anyone who is careful about their health is gearing up to tackle temptation. Vijay Sagar, a sales consultant, says that though one cannot entirely stay away from festival food, indulging carefully is a conscious choice. “I exercise regularly and during this season, I make sure that I take the extra effort of walking more. Though we don’t have a lot of fatty food, the sweet boxes lying around can be really tempting.”

Cravings are bound to mess with one’s mind and Jayashree Mrutyunjay, a montessori teacher trainer, says that she keeps a check on her ideal body weight all through the year, despite having a sweet tooth. “When there are a lot of sweets, I drink a few glasses of water before consuming them. Also, before indulging in a grand feast or buffet, I make sure that I have a lot of salads that include cucumber, carrot etc, as they are filling. Also, if I have been forced to eat more at lunch, I make sure that I have a light dinner of rice and dal,” she says.

There are many ways to combat overindulging during the festive season. Fitness freaks like Ravee Iyer, an entrepreneur, confess that having a craving for sweets doesn’t help. “It’s a difficult period for people who like sweets and fried food. I especially love chocolates but consciously try to have more dark chocolate than the more festive versions,” he says.

While Ravee adds more hours to his workout, he also makes sure that he stays away from huge feasts. “While starving oneself or depriving oneself of a treat is impractical, ways to control have to be self-derived. I stay away from home, when it’s a festival day, especially when a lavish spread is being prepared.” he says.

For people with lifestyle health conditions, keeping a tab on their health at this time is a requisite. Dr Chandil Gunashekara, a general physician, says that he often sees people with diabetes going through a difficult time when the festivities are on. “Having sugar-free sweets or working on alternatives is much needed. One has to be selective about the intake of high-calorie foods and which days and what time of the day they want to have them. The new school of thought says that one can indulge but self-control is the thumb rule.”

Having a balanced diet makes a lot of difference. “This way, one knows that they will not end up with extra pounds after the festival. Also, additional exercises tend to burn the calories and increase metabolism,” adds Chandil.

There are  healthier options for one to indulge and yet not feel guilty. Having tender coconut water or buttermilk before meals is a filling and nutritious way of combating calories, says Leena Reji Jean, a dietician and fitness instructor.

She adds that festival food was formulated according to the climatic conditions and isn’t always bad for one’s health. “But it is one’s sedentary lifestyle which has brought in health conditions and makes one lethargic, ill and overweight. Regular exercise works best,” she adds.

Leena says that using jaggery instead of refined sugar in sweets is an alternative. “Also, prepare more dishes with sprouts, including desserts. Use an airfryer or shallow fry for fried foods. Using coconut oil is a better option  and one should also use ghee wisely,” she adds.

(Published 19 September 2016, 16:52 IST)

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