Friday, July 10, 2015

Diet and Dieting- What we need to know

Summer. For some it is an opportunity to flaunt their perfect figures in shorts and trendy tops while for some it is time to hide dollops of fat acquired during the winter in baggy tees.

I happen to come in the second category, thanks to the evil named PCOD (Poly Cystic Ovarian Disease) and 3 years of neglected diet.



After suffering a lot both physically and emotionally due to the medical condition, I have finally understood what it means to have a healthy, balanced life and how important it is for each and every one of us.

Any health problem associated with sedentary life style and unhealthy eating habits is like a Nemean Hydra that just keeps on sprouting two heads each time you cut off one. Trust me, I have been there.

With PCOD comes not only serious hormonal imbalance and weight gain but also severe mood swings, lethargy and self-confidence issues. Medicines are generally not suggested because they cause only temporary relief from the problem and end up resulting in further hormonal imbalance. All the doctors I have visited suggested me only one thing- exercise and  a balanced diet.

We all have written long, rich answers for a balanced diet at school but I don't think any of us realised the actual importance of it at that time. I do now.

A balanced diet might sound boring but it is very important to stay healthy and fit in the long run. After I decided to put an end to my laziness and join the gym, I also started eating healthy you have no other choice when you are at home :P)  and believe me, just after a month of it, I can totally feel my body being lighter and more flexible than before.
                    
Balanced diet is nothing but proper, nutritious food taken at proper timings and intervals. I know hostel life takes away all the resolution of eating proper what with the late night hunger demands and hurried stuffing for breakfast. But we can at least give it a shot.

Breakfast, being the most important meal of the whole day shouldn’t be neglected at any cost. A lunch rich in all carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, proteins and minerals should be mandatory. A light snack in the evening followed by a protein rich, light dinner in the night should complete the balanced diet for the day.

Being a complete vegtarian, I had intially my fears about going short on protein but with a bit of reserach and help from my trainer, I could follow a protein rich diet with pulses, curd, chana, cheese without much effort. 


A balanced diet might sound boring but it is very important to stay healthy and fit in the long run. After I decided to put an end to my laziness and join the gym, I also started eating healthy you have no other choice when you are at home :P)  and believe me, just after a month of it, I can totally feel my body being lighter and more flexible than before.
                    
Balanced diet is nothing but proper, nutritious food taken at proper timings and intervals. I know hostel life takes away all the resolution of eating proper what with the late night hunger demands and hurried stuffing for breakfast. But we can at least give it a shot.

Breakfast, being the most important meal of the whole day shouldn’t be neglected at any cost. A lunch rich in all carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, proteins and minerals should be mandatory. A light snack in the evening followed by a protein rich, light dinner in the night should complete the balanced diet for the day.

Rather than taking 4 complete meals in the day, eating small amount of food at regular intervals is also recommended especially for those who are dieting. 8-9 small meals consisting of fruits, nut etc would keeps your hunger pangs that come with dieting at bay.  

On contrary to what people think and believe, dieting is not ‘stopping to eat’ at all. Rather, it is more of completing the food cycle of a day in a particular method and time and restricting certain kinds of food.

My gym trainer and dietician told me to eat anything I liked (not junk food of course) but to eat them in sufficient amounts and at proper time. I have seen many people crash dieting and gyming at the same time which resulted in body weakness.

One thing that people don’t realize about crash dieting is that you might lose your kilos very fast, but you will gain double the amount equally fast. In Rujuta Diwekar’s words, Crash diets are like fake jewellery, bure time mein aap ke kaam nahi aata! and more funnily “Crash dieting is like a fling with a bad boy (even when you are in it, you know it’s not going to work long term)” and once you ponder over it, you realise how true it is!

I have also noticed that from the time I have started eating balanced meals at the proper time and exercising regularly, I don’t even crave for stuff like chocolates, chips and other junk I used to eat randomly before. I hardly ever feel hungry except at meal times.

So balanced diet my friends, is the key solution to all the vices of diabetes, heart diseases and all the sickness that we are prone to these days thanks to our sedentary lifestyles.

And when you are bored of eating similar food everyday, you can make it interesting using Honey Diet which adds sweetness to the food without hampering your health!

This post is written for Dabur Honey

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Cricket se naata, Zindagi se rishta!

If there is one word that unites every single person of our country inexplicably and irrevocably, it is Cricket. Be it a toddler or the greyest head in the family, when there is a cricket match on, all the heads of an Indian family can be seen huddled together with various degrees of anxiety on their faces. 

Watching a cricket match with family has its own fun but owing to the fact that I had been a resident of a place called 'hostel' for the past three years, 2015 Cricket World Cup was spent watching with the entire hostel shaking with trepidation. 

29th March, 2015 dawned and was imprinted in my memory not only because of the memorable match watched with the entire hostel (plus 10 hostels in the vicinity who were shouting themselves hoarse) but also due to the war I had to wage to keep myself updated with the score. 

It so happened that my department decided to feed us food for free on that very day. It must have been their idea of a treat to accompany the nationwide treat of the World Cup but it was the biggest hindrance ever to our planned hollering with the match.

The day passed peacefully till 12:30 when my phone rang. There was a universal groan of sympathy from my friends who were sitting on any place available in the crowded dining hall. I decided to ignore the phone call and sacrifice mine and the entire departmental girls’ lunch treat.

“Khabar jaak Ma’er bhog-e” (Let the lunch treat go to Durga Ma’s bhog), I said, to encouraging nods from my friends.

But 5 phone calls and a final outburst from the teacher coordinator later, I decided to go after all. I knew no one would be willing to accompany me so I did not even bother asking. Being the student coordinator of the event was showing its darker side.

I was about to get up when two friends of mine screamed. Fearing a gas explosion or worse, a sixer by Austalia, I gasped and turned.

Tui uthe gele to here jabo!”(If you get up from here, we will lose), said one of them while the others looked at me, horror drawing on their faces.

Let me clarify this thing first. We all were sensible, logical girls in general but when it came to cricket, especially the FINAL, all sorts of superstition caught us in its grip. We had been watching the match without shifting even a centimetre from our positions for the past two hours- positions that would ensure no boundaries and maximum wickets. And me getting up from my ‘position’ on the dining table sandwiched between 4 people from all the four sides would definitely mean endangering India’s chances of winning.

What to do then?

I gingerly placed my pillow in my position, draped my friend’s over-long plait on it so that it resembled my hair and extricating my limbs from the crowd, cast a last, sad look on the TV screen and made my way to the sweltering heat outside.

The moment I reached the gate, I started running towards the college. Not a single soul was to be seen in the college campus. Trying to keep the wave of frustration at bay, I calculated that it would take me around 20 minutes to go the department, get the coupons, go to the other mess, get the food packets and return to the hostel. 20 minutes of missing what might be the most crucial points of the match.

Out of breath by the time I reached the department, I considered my options. A google search while running/jogging/meeting an irate teacher was not an option. So, I decided to use the inbuilt personal assistant of my brand new smart phone- Cortana.




All I had tested of it was whether it could sing and dance. But now, desperate times called for desperate measures!




Voice recognition mode on, I quickly gave it instructions to open UC Cricket and keep me updated on the scores. And Voila! My problem of getting match updates while continuing my job at hand was done in a jiffy!


20 minutes later and 10 food packets in hand and eye on the my mobile screen, I re-joined my friends to see the match.

“Thank God you came. You know what...”

“Watson got out, right? Yeah, I know”, I said grinning and enjoying the looks of surprise on their faces. Thanks to Microsoft and UC Browser!

Written for UC Web. Watch their ad here!






Thursday, July 2, 2015

Save the Species- Before it is too late

We all know the magnificence wildlife has around the world. We all are aware of the important role they play in maintaining the balance required in our ecosystem. We all are not unknown to the absolute danger some species are in. But what do we choose to do about it? Nothing.

It was only when I was researching this topic that I came to an acute realization of how real this danger is. It is not just a snippet from the news that we read and see, 'tch-tch' on the conditions of state and forget. It is not just a fact or figure that slips out of our memory as per our convenience. It is something that every human on the face of this earth is responsible for.

You don't murder someone and let the fact slip your mind, do you? And in the context of wildlife on the brink of extinction, we are pretty much the murderers because it is us and only us who are responsible for what is known as the 'sixth greatest extinction wave'on our earth.

Though the selection of which specie should be protected is based upon various of factors like its economic value, its public perception and sometimes, pure chance, I strongly feel that each and every specie labeled as endangered should be conserved while there is still time.

Following is my top three list of animals which need to be saved immediately-

1. Asiatic Lioness-
This is a Lion specie found only and only in India now. History has it that they were formerly living in many countries like Persia, Arabia, Mesopotamia but heavy hunting eradicated their numbers in all of them. In India, before the colonial rule, Asiatic Lioness were found in many states like Bengal, Rajasthan, Maharashtra but ruthless hunting reduced their population to dangerous levels. During the revolt of 1957 in India, a single British officer shot about 300 lions. 

And we claim that humans are the most intelligent beings on earth. What is the purpose of such intelligence that shows no humanity towards beings that are as much part of the planet as we are?

The unfortunate fact is that its number as dwindled so much that it exists as a single population in Gujarat. There are approximately 201 Lioness left now. Naturally, it is labelled as 'EN' or Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

2. Indian Wild Ass- 
The fate of Indian Wild Ass, also known as 'Khur' seems to be similar to that of Asiatic Lioness. Previously having a healthy population in countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran, the last remaining herd of this specie is found only in Gujarat and Rajasthan now.

Though the British officers and Indian Maharajas had spared this poor animal from hunting as they did not find it interesting enough', the Mughal Emperors took their place instead and hunted it till it was driven into near extinction. Accounts of History show that the Mughal emperors took great pleasure in hunting this animal and there is even a painting of Akbar surrounded by Wild Asses shot by him in the Akbarnama. 



With Gujarat as its only habitat now, Wild Asses is also categorized as Endangered by the IUCN. Though their population has been carefully increased in the recent times, ecologists fear that a massive death might take place due to the weather of their current habitat. Conservation therefore, is a major concern now.

3. Gharial-


Gharial is a crocodile specie native to India. It is characterized by its long body and a long, thin snout which it uses for catching fish. Its population met with a horrifically drastic decline in the past 70 years where its number fell from 10,000 to approximately 200 individuals. The main reasons of this were killings for skin and eggs, by fishermen etc. A large number of Gharials were killed in the recent times due to depletion of water bodies and the fishing nets used in them.

It is labelled as 'Critically Endangered' by the IUCN. Do we need any more reasons to save this animal? 

It is high time that we took our share of responsibility and started worrying about the plight of our planet. We won't be sitting so peacefully if there were 200-300 number of humans left on this earth, would we? Then why the negligence shown to the animals?

Despite the conservation efforts taken up by every country in the world, the endangered animals have their numbers dwindling. The major reason is the loss of their habitat and natural conditions required for them to live in. This is the extent of damage that we have done to our planet. And if we are under the illusion that we would survive in this epidemic, then we can't me more wrong. 

Steve Irwin has said, "If we can teach people about wildlife, they will be touched. Share my wildlife with me. Because humans want to save things that they love.” 

Let us start loving wildlife now. Let us start saving wildlife now. 

I am participating in the Save the Species contest for the book “Capturing Wildlife Moments in India” in association with Saevus Wildlife India,  read the reviews for the book ‘Capturing Wildlife Moments in India’ here “