Tuesday, 29 November 2016


In our state Goa, there isn’t a drastic drop in temperature and we don’t get a luxury to curl up under a comforter and sip on some hot chocolate or soup.  However, if you are travelling to North India or vacationing in cold countries such as Ireland, Switzerland, UK etc, you would require winter foods to cope with a dismal, dreary late-winter chill. Even though you may cover your body with a coat, shawl or sweater to keep yourselves warm, there are certain foods that are best consumed in the winter which have thermogenic effect on the body. As winters can affect your mood and energy levels, these foods have an ability to raise your body temperature and keep you warm and active.
It will also help to rev up your metabolic engine and narrow your waistline. Some of the most effective winter foods are:

·         Ginger: Gingers promotes thermogenesis (a process by which heat is generated when food is digested.) Ginger has a lot of health benefits like improving the respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, blood circulation, digestion and boosting immune system. The warm calming effects of ginger can actually help you deal with stress as well. You can also add it to your stews, soups, teas and curries.

·         Garlic:  Garlic is known for its anti bacterial and anti viral properties. In winters, conditions like asthma and bronchitis becomes exaggerated. Consuming garlic will help reduce these conditions. Garlic also lowers cholesterol and can be easily added to soups, gravies and chutneys. Remember to chop the garlic and letting it sit for 15 minutes before cooking as this activates beneficial enzymes which help in reducing oxidation in the body.

·         Whole egg: These foods have a high thermogenic effect. Since a lot of energy is required to digest lean protein, the energy that is expended will burn more calories. Also these foods help you to build muscle.

·         Cinnamon: They are an excellent option for heat production in your body. Winter is the season to load your meals with all kinds of spices. Cinnamon is rich in antioxidants, aids in digestion and has anti-inflammatory properties.

·         Pepper:  Pepper tops the chart when it comes to warming foods. It can be easily incorporated in the daily diet. Pepper is used in almost all cuisines. It can be added to soups, curries etc. Ground pepper can be added to tea making it a refreshing and healthy beverage. Try green tea with some pepper corns next time. 

·         Fats (clarified ghee, virgin coconut oil): Coconut oil and clarified ghee are beneficial as it provides with medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) that are not found in other fats. These oils have a thermogenic effect that lasts for 24 hours, so using a couple of tablespoons of it each day may help your metabolism over time. These oils do not just have a high nutritional value but can also helps to boost your immune system.



November to December is the months filled with ecstatic celebrations all around the globe. It all starts with Diwali the festival of lights and the beautiful wedding ceremonies and ends with Christmas and the New Years Eve. All festivals bring with it the joy of the festival and ceremonious food that is awaited all year long. While savouring the food, be careful! You don’t want your weight tipping to the wrong side of the scale. Also, New Years does not have to be about a big bulge. Here are some useful health tips that will prevent weight gain and make you the centre of attraction this Season:

·        Eat Wise, Drop a Size
Even while attending parties and weddings, one can still maintain a healthy lifestyle by
§  A healthy wholesome breakfast (Upma, wheat bread sandwich, besan chilas), which will prevent you from overindulging throughout the day.
§  Indulge in free foods in between the meals like lemon water, buttermilk, green tea, fruits and yoghurt. These foods will keep you energetic and active.
§  Avoid fasting and feasting. Do not stay hungry for long, instead try to have small frequent meals or you will end up eating extra high calorie foods.
§  Control portion size. Take small servings on your plate.
§  Choose grilled chicken/fish or baked/grilled/steamed vegetables over batter fried foods. Instead of fried snacks, pick up handful of dry-fruits, as they are packed with vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids.

·        Happiness in Every Bite
Everyone tries to indulge in a bit of sweets during the season.
§  Select dark chocolate as it contains beneficial antioxidants, less sugar and is free of additives.
§  While indulging in sweets, make sure it is done to moderation.
§  Avoid fried and sugar laden sweets like gulab jamun and kajukatli, instead opt for rasgulla, pedas or rice kheer.
§  Curb those desert pangs with options like a bowl of fruits or low calorie yogurts.

·        Party “Patrol”
Most of the celebrations are often considered incomplete without a glass of liquor as accompaniment. While you cannot steer clear from alcohol. Keep in mind the following while consuming alcohol
§  Opt for white or red wine over cocktails or mock tails.
§  Always start with a small measure of alcohol for e.g. start with 30 ml and slowly increase to 45 ml.
§  Keep yourself well hydrated. Make sure to have enough water at regular intervals. Do not confuse thirst with hunger.
§  It is very important to snack before you drink. You can include snacks like nuts (Almonds, Walnuts), seeds (Hemp, Chia and Flaxseeds), Salted veggies or Roasted/Boiled chana.
§  Pre dinner bites are a great way to keep your glucose levels stable. You can include options like bowl of sprouts, milk shake, egg white salad, sweet potato, whole wheat bread sandwich.

·        Post party or wedding
§  Eat a wholesome breakfast (a bowl of cereal with a handful of raisins or fruit platter)
§  Maintain water intake (12-15 glasses of water)
§  Munch on foods high in potassium (bananas, apricots and pumpkin) and water (cucumbers, celery and melon) to flush the excess water out of your cells and reduce bloating.
§  Try to have a fruit slush or smoothie to maintain electrolytes lost due to the diuretic effects of alcohol.
§  Try not to skip your exercise even if it is just a walking session.


Monday, 28 November 2016

Superfoods for Superkids

Children grow fast and they need healthy foods to grow strong.

Let’s face it, feeding children can sometimes be a herculean task. Parents are always worried whether or not the children (including fussy eaters) are getting enough nourishment for their mind and body. There’s a constant battle between what is healthy and what is tasty.

But, nutrition can be fun for kids too, if you make them participate in the kitchen and the weekly menu planning. Educate kids about benefits of different food groups, and encourage them to always try something new before rejecting it. Allow them to come up with creative ways to eat, for e.g., fruits on sticks, fruit smoothies, or a sandwich shaped like their favourite animal.

Let’s look at some Superfoods to fuel the nutritional requirements in your kids:

Essentials for Sharp Memory - Nuts and seeds such as almonds, walnuts, cashew nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc. are tasty and high in omega 3 & 6 fatty acids, and vitamins which help in cognitive development. Fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerels contain essential fatty acids which boosts memory. Eggs can be cooked in many delicious ways, and also helps the brain perform better. Other brainpower foods include avocados, berries and virgin coconut oil.

Immunity Boosters: Ragi contains iron, amino acids and protein which help in fighting anaemia and it keeps the metabolism active.  Healthy fats such as desi ghee and coconut oil are anti-viral in fighting infections. Kids can enjoy ghee topped on their dals or vegetables.  Introduce your kids to the spice cabinet – turmeric and cumin helps in fighting diseases and maintaining good digestion. Even herbs (tulsi leaves, coriander, and mint) are health boosters.

Taller & Stronger:  To match the rapid growth in kids, include soya beans, whey water and a variety of dals in your menus. These foods help provide the necessary protein requirement to assist height and growth. Non vegetarian sources of protein include eggs, chicken and fish.

Eye Health: Foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin C, zinc and vitamin E will ensure good eyesight for a lifetime. Orange, red and yellow pigmented fruits and vegetables such as carrots, pumpkin, watermelon, oranges etc. are filled with beta-carotene which reduces muscular degeneration around the eye. A handful of nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds) provide sufficient omega 3 and vitamin E.

Healthy Bones & Teeth: Even children are aware that calcium is important for strong bones. Milk and milk products such as paneer, curd, and yogurt are good sources of calcium. Add some green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and cauliflower in soups, cutlets or pizzas. Eating Fish can assist in bone strengthening as it contains vitamin D and protein.

Eat Right during Pregnancy

Being overweight or underweight can lead to miscarriages, hormonal imbalances, fertility issues and increase risk of complications in pregnancy. Thus, aim for a balanced diet and maintain a healthy weight with a body mass index of 19-25. A healthy pre pregnancy diet will help you conceive without complications. Understand which nutrients are the most important in the pre pregnancy diet:

Folic acid: Folic acid consumed before and during pregnancy can help prevent birth defects of your baby’s brain and spinal cord which can lead to varying degrees of paralysis, incontinence, and intellectual disability.
Sources: Lentils, dried beans and peas, dark green vegetables (broccoli, spinach, turnip greens) and citrus fruits.

Calcium: Preparing for pregnancy includes building healthy bones. If there is not enough calcium in the pregnancy diet, the foetus may draw calcium from the mother's bones, which can put the mother at risk for osteoporosis later in life.
Sources: Milk, yogurt and cheese

Iron: Iron is an important element in the pre pregnancy diet because if the mother is anaemic; this can be passed on to her baby. Building iron stores helps prepare the mother's body for the needs of the foetus during pregnancy.
Sources: Heme iron: Meat, fish and poultry.
Non heme iron: Dried bean, peas, lentils, pumpkin seeds, nuts, whole grains and dark leafy vegetables.

Also with the right nutrients, make sure you do not miss on any of this pregnancy super foods:

·         Eggs: Eggs are rich in choline, which promotes your baby’s brain health and overall growth while preventing neural tube defects. Eggs even contain omega 3 fats which are important for both brain and vision development.

·         Whole grains: whole grains are important during pregnancy because they are high in fibre and nutrients including vitamin E, selenium and phytonutrients  (plant compounds that protect cells)

·         Colourful fruits and vegetables: eating plenty of green, yellow, red, orange, purple and white fruits and vegetables ensures that you and your baby get a variety of nutrients.

·         Water: Hydrate yourself well. Dehydration during pregnancy can lead to many complications such as headaches, nausea, cramps, oedema and dizziness. This is especially important in the third trimester when dehydration can actually cause contractions that can trigger preterm labour.


When you think of summers, the image that comes to most of our minds is beach, swimming, games, ice cream, and summer vacations etc. For all these activities to be possible, we need our energy levels to be high and maximum.  However, with this excruciating heat, we tend to feel dehydrated, fatigue and low.
In order to uplift our energy levels, most of us would look at sugar or caffeine to give us a boost. However, fresh, unprocessed foods will boost your energy levels much better than sugary or caffeinated beverages. Sugar and caffeinated beverages are not helpful in the long run, they will lead to more sugar caving and eventually headache.

One of the best ways is to instantly kick up your energy levels to all time high is to include energy- enriching foods. These foods will also help with lifting mood and focus. During the summers, however with low energy levels, appetite decreases too and most of us would rather enjoy a drink than eating something.

So here are some easy to make homemade energy drinks to beat the heat this summer, eliminate tiredness and boost energy levels.

·         Radiant Skin Smoothie: Mix pineapple, aloe vera juice, mint leaves, green apple grind using chilled water and strain.
Pineapple tends to have a good mix of vitamins and antioxidants. They also contain enzymes like bromelain that can protect your body against inflammation.

·         Low Calorie Smoothie: Mix cucumber, coriander leaves, green apple and lime together, grind using cold water and strain.
Cucumber is made of 90 percent water and is known as a soothing vegetable. Cucumber helps by hydrating the body and replenishing the nutrients.

·         Kokum Juice: Put together kokum, cardamom, cumin seeds, fennel seeds grind using chilled water and strain.
Kokum is a healthy and refreshing natural coolant. It is rich in vitamin C and has antioxidant properties. It helps to hydrate the body and improve appetite.

·         Iced tea: Take 2 litres of water, boil using green tea. Cool and add lemongrass, mint and some cut fruits.
Iced tea is an antioxidant rich drink which will keep the energy levels boosted and the body hydrated throughout the day.

·         Apple Smoothies: Mix slim milk, apple, almonds, elaichi powder together, grind and enjoy with ice cubes.
Apple milkshakes can also be a perfect solution which will effectively enhance the energy flow in your body. An apple milk shake, especially a chilled one, will keep you active throughout the day.

·         Mango Smoothie: Mix mango, slim milk, sugar grind together and enjoy it with ice cubes.
Mango pulp is rich in vitamins, minerals and potassium. This smoothie will charge you up with ample energy.

After a long day at work, indulge in any one of these smoothies to keep you energised. These summer smoothies not only taste great, but they also provide the body with water and a combination of nutrition, keeping you healthy and happy. Go easy on fruit juices, sodas, soft drinks, energy drinks which will cause an immediate weight gain. Eat healthy and beat the summer heat!!

(Inputs by Nutritionist Harpreet Pasricha)


Scorching heat and exorbitant humidity leads to low energy levels, lack of appetite and dehydration at the end of the day. In such climate, our body needs cooling foods that will keep us hydrated and our energy levels stable. So this summer, add these following foods in your diet and beat the Indian summer heat!!

·         Curd: This is one of the traditional foods used by Indians to cool the body during the summers. It is good for our gut flora and the bacteria present in it have the capability to destroy the ulcer forming bacteria. It also aids in digestion and boosts immunity.

·         Kokum:  It is a small, dark purple plum found only in India. This is commonly consumed in a juice form and helps prevent dehydration, replenishes electrolytes and improves appetite.

·         Coconut water: Tender coconut water is a rich source of natural electrolytes during the summers. This potassium rich drink will keep your energy levels stable and will keep you hydrated. 

·         Herbs (Mint and Coriander): Herbs are well known cooling foods and will keep you hydrated. They are filled with antioxidants which will protect the body from damaging effects of the sun. You can add mint or coriander in most of the smoothies and juices. You could also include a mint or coriander chutney and benefit from this cool food.

·         Fruits (Watermelon, citrus fruits like orange, sweet lime): Watermelon is the most common fruit relished in the summers. Likewise citrus fruits like orange, sweet lime are also excellent choices this summer. They are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals which will take care of your skin while simultaneously cooling your body.

·         Vegetables: Just like fruits, vegetables also aid in hydrating the body and replenishing the nutrients. Vegetables such as cucumber, tomatoes, lettuce, cabbage and zucchini are considered soothing vegetables in this scorching sun.

Drinks and Smoothies to Hydrate Yourself in Summers!!

Dehydration can lead to fatigue, dizziness and headache. Since it is very easy to get dehydrated during the summers, one should keep hydrating themselves often to avoid any problems. Water is the best hydrating drink but you can also hydrate yourself with flavoured infused water, coconut water, buttermilk, fruit shakes, lassi, flavoured milk, cold coffee, flavoured iced tea etc.

You can also hydrate yourself with these easy to make chilled smoothies to beat the Indian summer heat!!

·         Electrolyte Booster Smoothie: Put together tender coconut water, apple, amla juice, mint leaves, grind together and strain.
Coconut water is the best hydrating drink during the summers because of its wonderful cooling properties. It is packed with electrolytes and essential minerals which help keep the body well hydrated.

·         Coolant Smoothie: Grind watermelon, mint, ginger, lime, parsley, fennel seeds, together in a mixer and strain.
Watermelon will keep you hydrated and fresh throughout the day. Lycopene present in watermelon helps to protect against sun damage.  Cool it and benefit from the antioxidants present in this delicious fruit.

The ultimate aim of eating right during the summer is to provide ample nutrition and to keep your body hydrated. This will ensure better health, skin, stable energy levels and will keep you fit this summer.

Tone your body by toning your diet

We all know that working out is a great way to getting that fantastic chiselled body. However, a common error is to assume that just working out will give you the desired results. Studies indicate that in order to achieve a healthy body only working out is not the solution. You need to eat right as well. Diet plays a vital role in reaching a weight loss goal. Research proves that weight loss is 70 % diet and 30% exercise. So if you are thinking that an hour in the gym qualifies a generous chunk of red velvet cake, then you will be spending many hours in the gym with little effect.

Know your facts!
Your body’s metabolism is a complex series of biological interactions which systematically break the food into food chains and components with enzymes and reactions. You need the right amount of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals in order to make your body work for you. While exercise can help in speeding metabolism, increasing lung capacity, and strengthening muscles, it will not be able to do much if you are not eating right to make the change happen in your body. In fact it may have an adverse effect as a result of excessive intake of sugar, binge eating, and cause serious deficiencies and dehydration.

Healthy workouts
Exercise is a fabulous way to tone your body and to improve stamina. Exercising smartly can have umpteen benefits that will give you an overall feeling of wellness. While exercising you must keep in mind that you are not meant to lose weight through exercise but you are meant to tone up and lose fat. Too much exercise can have adverse effects such as loss of muscle, decreased bone density, and ultimately lead to injuries. It is vital that you top up all the nutritional loss during exercise with the right foods. Healthy food choices will give your body the energy it requires to burn the fat and make it function more efficiently. Giving in to the misconception that you can eat whatever you like as you will burn it in the gym will only lead to disappointment and heartache. An hour on the treadmill will burn approximately 300 calories, so think twice before you indulge in a slice of pizza which roughly contains about 600 calories. Irresponsible eating, especially after exercise, is a sure shot way to put on extra weight.

Eat right to look great
When you decide to embark on the journey to wellness, you need to factor in two of the most important components – balanced diet and moderate exercise. Sticking to just one will only make the journey harder, longer, and more frustrating. Every body is different with its own unique requirements depending on genetics, lifestyle, and composition. What you required as a child is very different from what you require in your middle age. Similarly an athlete’s dietary requirements are far different from a corporate employee. Therefore it is imperative to get a good dietician who will be able to identify your unique set of requirements and put you on a diet plan that caters to your specific needs.

The right diet will get you there
There is no contesting the fact that the right diet plan can work wonders for your body. A balanced and nutrition filled diet will give your body the fuel it needs to work harder, become stronger and eliminate the toxins and fats it has been storing all this while. When you are working towards losing weight you need to eat the right kinds of food that will work for your body rather than those that will get stored up as fat. A dietician will prescribe a set of foods that act as power foods or super foods that actively aid in weight loss by fooling your system into thinking it is full and keep your metabolism working even after you have stepped off the treadmill.