I have been wanting to write on the topic of food and health for some time.
Whenever I meet friends or family, given our mid-life age, a discussion on food & health inevitably comes up. And some or the other person will bring up the statement – “only exercise won’t help, we need to start dieting as well…”
Let’s break this sentence into 2 parts, and discuss the exercise bit for a moment.
Exercising is extremely important. The good part about exercise is that, if done right, it balances your hormones, helps your mental health, charges you for the day, keeps your body in shape, helps you maintain a good body image and on and on.
The bad part is that the era we live in is filled with social media and influencers who have nothing else to do but make exercise videos, use body enhancers and set a false expectation for everyone else. This is leading to a lot of heart attacks and deaths right at the gym, and even at sports grounds.
To summarize, exercise should be done in moderation, and with discipline. A daily routine of 30 minutes or an hour is enough. Anyone asking you to do more than that, is asking you to become a professional at some sport. If that is your goal, by all means, go ahead.
And exercise alone is not enough. You need to eat the right food too. Whether you wish to compete professionally, or just maintain good body health.
The challenge I have with part 2 of the statement, is the word “dieting”. It has become extremely common to use the word dieting, and this word has been highly abused.
My point of view – the word “dieting” by itself is extremely generic. It does not convey anything specific. And lately, it has gathered a negative intonation that dieting is equal to eating less food. That is the first image that comes to an Indian mind, when they hear the word “Dieting” — less food.
What I learnt over the years, is that the Hindu system of following 3 types of meal plans – Sattvic, Rajasic and Tamasic – best explains what we should be eating on a regular basis. And why Rajasic and Tamasic meals should be limited.
Let me share what I do, which is not 100% Sattvic, but quite close.
I do not eat:
* Packaged food (no biscuits, chips, bread, chocolates, mithai, snacks)
* Eating food from restaurants (no pizza, burgers, butter chicken, butter naans, etc.)
* Non-Vegetarian (no fish, chicken, lamb, beef)
* Paneer (no starters nor main course)
* Rice (biryani, steamed rice, rice idli, poha)
* Potato (all meals with potato are replaced with lentils – like methi with daal instead of aloo)
Note : I still consume egg, drink Tea, eat Parathas made at home.
Except for the above, I basically eat everything, and as many times I want in a day.
Disclaimer – Sometimes I will still end up eating from the “No-list”, but I can proudly confirm that the non-Sattvic food is now limited to less than 5 to 10% in the whole month. And reducing further.
This change in daily habits of eating Sattvic food and exercising regularly, has brought about a huge difference in energy – physical and mental. You will notice that your body and mind becomes calm, and you are lesser prone to illness as time goes by.
In summary, for a good physical and mental health, you can do the following:
1. Exercise regularly (Yoga or Gym or Sports)
2. Eat Sattvic meals as much as possible
3. Bring discipline to your life, especially with regards to food and exercise
That is all for today. Until the next article – eat healthy and have fun while the option exists.
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