Jun 20, 2019

Epigamia Greek Yogurt Smoothie Review

I had already posted about the ingredients in flavored Greek yogurt. This one is the newly launched smoothie variant in a plastic bottle. The price point is Rs.70.

This 200ml strawberry flavoured pack contains a whopping 24.3 gm / 6 TSP of sugar. Yeah, 6 TSP. The total fruit content is only around 7%. 

And the best part is this line "our smoothie is just like your lassi". Really? I don't remember that we add permitted enzyme, stabilizer and acidity regulator in our lassi. And definitely not 6 TSP of sugar. I'm not even looking into the protein content, given the high amounts of sugar. Will eat a bowl of dal / sundal for my protein.

Yet another junk masquerading as healthy. Would the new investor Deepika Padukone include this in her diet?

Jun 18, 2019

Book Review: Parenting - Innocence to Inner Sense by Aarti Rajarathnam and Brinda Jayaraman

 Though social media usage is attributed to several issues, I must admit that I discover interesting people and their works through social media. Early 2014, a friend on FB shared a video snippet of a talk by Dr.Sivaraman and ever since I saw that video, I have become a big fan of him, read all his books and articles. His works have made a tremendous difference in my food habits since then.

A few months back, I stumbled upon a hard-hitting talk given by Aarti Rajarathnam on modern-day parenting issues. Since then, I have listened to many of her talks. So sensible, patient and relevant for today's parenting challenges. I also found out that she had written a book on the topic of parenting along with Brinda Jayaraman. 

I was so happy when I realized that this book is on Kindle Unlimited

This book dives into depth about four parenting styles, the issues both the child and parent need to handle and the impact on the personality of growing children depending on the parenting style being followed. This was an interesting chapter with relevant case studies.

The chapter on quality time is something we modern parents need to hear. This hard-hitting line sums it up - "You should never be substituted by an object or gift."

"Children know when you are not paying attention to them and it affects them deeply and often makes them feel rejected and unwanted because you make them feel that someone else or something else is more important."

Importance of social skills, respect for others, rules and boundaries are explained in detail. The reasons for a child's misbehavior could be attributed to one of the four Cs - the need to connect, to feel capable, to feel counted and to feel courageous. The explanation was just brilliant and I could relate to many scenarios.

The book keeps getting better as we progress. The chapter on "Mental toxins" was so impactful. The difference between poison and toxin felt like an aha moment to me, and I could relate to this when it comes to why parents feed junk to their kids.

"Poison is any substance that causes instant death. A toxin is a substance that causes a slower death often with subtle or no symptoms."

Mental toxins being referred here are excess use of gadgets, television, video games etc. The author has explained on the possible ill-effects of such use and how it affects the child. She has also given many guidelines on how to set rules and moderate usage, how to use technology effectively, importance of PLAY and outdoors. 

There is also a chapter on various parenting myths. The one that I really loved was the difference between bribe and reward. It was mind-blowing. I have been making this mistake with D - only IF you do this, you will get this. 

"The difference between a bribe and a reward is that in the bribe scenario the child is in control though you think you are and in the reward situation, you are truly in control but are able to get the desired outcome or result from the child. "If-then" rule implies a bribe and "When-then" rule implies a reward."

The final chapter on mind, body and spirit talks about many useful practices that contribute to holistic development of the child. Lots of helpful tips and guidelines here. I'm sure I need to read this book one more time to fully absorb the material.

I'd highly recommend this book to ALL parents. Please do read.

"To be in your children's memories tomorrow, you have to be in their lives today" - Barbara Johnson


Jun 16, 2019

Book Review: The Magic Weight Loss Pill by Luke Coutinho and Anushka Shetty

I have been following Luke Coutinho's works for the past couple of years. His thoughts on wellness, nutrition and fitness resonate with me so much. Needless to say, I've become a fan and look forward to his videos on FB/youtube. When he announced his new book "The magic weight loss pill", I was pretty excited and I had pre-ordered a copy.

If you have been listening to his videos regularly (like me), you would definitely hear his voice as you read this book :-)
The focus area of the book is LIFESTYLE and it is prescribed as a magic pill, not just for weight loss but for general fitness, well-being and for a healthy life. The first part of the book covers the four pillars of good health - balanced nutrition, fitness, sleep and emotional detoxification. Many examples and case studies are covered, along with ailments-specific explanations. The second part of the book talks about 62 lifestyle changes, explained in an easy-to-implement manner.

What I loved about this book is the simplicity of the writing. Many concepts like detoxification, hormonal balance, acidity, inflammation, stress response etc are explained in layman terms by demystifying the jargon. The explanation of gut health and how nutrients are absorbed from the large intestine using the fishing net example was just amazing.

Apart from the 62 lifestyle changes, there are quite a bit of takeaways that one can implement in their life, by going through the first part of the book.

A few powerful phrases that made an impact on me:

"Less is more when it comes to the consumption of protein"

"All cravings could just be an unhealthy gut communicating with your brain in the wrong language"

"If you want to eat sweets and junk food, never do so immediately after a workout"

"Using exercise to lose weight or as a remedy to eating the wrong food is the reason why weight loss continues to be the most wanted and yet most elusive goal for most people"

"If I were given a choice between artificial sweetener and white sugar, I would pick the latter because the human body is not designed to break down aspartame."

"Working out for one hour everyday and then sitting for the rest of the days makes you just 4 percent more active than someone who doesn't work out."

The only thing I wish that was different in this book is the structure or the way in which the 62 lifestyle changes are presented. It could have been grouped under the 4 pillars or in some other logical group, so it would be easy for us to relate or remember. Nevertheless, the take-aways are plenty, that this lack of structure doesn't matter much. 

Do pick up this book if you are interested in nutrition, health, fitness and of course, weight loss.

Jun 11, 2019

What's inside packaged milkshakes?

Over the past year or so, there has been a rise in the number of packaged milkshake brands that are being launched in India. At the same time, I also notice the proliferation of milkshake outlets in every nook and corner of Bangalore - Frozen Bottle, Keventers etc. 

What are the factors influencing the growth of milk-based beverages market? What's the growth rate of milk production in the country? How is the local demand trending? Are people shifting from packaged fruit juices to packaged milkshakes/flavored yoghurts etc? Or is it because of flat or declining export demands? Something worth exploring.

As part of my daily news updates, I go through fnbnews to learn about new product launches. I came across this launch announcement a few days back - ITC launches dairy beverages SunFeast Wonderz milk in 4 variants. 

A Bigbasket search for milkshakes shows up at least 7-8 brands of milkshakes with many variants, all of them with the usual promise of "high protein / high calcium / added vitamins & minerals". But a peek into the ingredients list and nutrition facts will clearly show how every single brand is loaded with sugar. Here's a quick comparison of the popular brands.

1. As you can see, each brand contains around 5-6 tsp of sugar per pack. Do note that the nutrition facts table shows values per 100 ml whereas the pack size is either 180ml / 200 ml. We need to be conscious of this fact.

2. The shelf life of all these packs is close to 6 months. How does milk stay fit for consumption for 6 months? Obviously, there are various additives added to increase the shelf life - emulsifiers, stabilizers etc.
3. I have only looked at the vanilla flavors of these brands. The fruit flavors have hardly any real fruit pulp but contain many synthetic food colors and artificial flavors. For example, Sunfeast Wonderz fruit n milk mango flavor emphasizes "mango pulp and bits" in the front label but if you look at the ingredients, mango pulp is ONLY 4% and mango bits are 2.5%. The yellow color comes from synthetic food colors - INS 102 and INS 110.

4. Paperboat uses this tagline "drinks and memories" but I don't remember our mothers/grandmothers adding xanthan gum/guar gum/carrageenan to our milkshakes. Let's not fall for such emotional traps (nostalgia, guilt, fear) being used extensively in marketing these days. 

Most of us have a mixer/blender at home. Let's make milkshakes at home IF we want to drink them. Totally not worth buying these tetra packs of sugar, synthetic colours, artificial flavors and additives.

May 31, 2019

Strawfit Milk Flavouring Straw with Colostrum Review

 A friend of mine messaged me about this product - milk flavouring straws for children who hate milk. One search in Insta shows me how mommy bloggers have been promoting it with such impactful videos showing kids who say no to milk and regular foods but gulping down milk with this straw. Do see a few videos for yourself. Unbelievable! Professional ad makers can go on a sabbatical !! 

What irks me the most is that in all these posts, these mommy bloggers say that these straws are sweetened with stevia. Guess no one bothered to see the ingredients list. 

1. The very first ingredient is sugar. Yes, over 50% of the product is sugar.
2. The selling point "colostrum" is only around 4% in powder form.
3. Maltodextrin is the second listed ingredient. Why is this artificial ingredient needed in a toddler's diet?
4. The pack says no artificial flavours but nature identical flavours are present.

Each pack comes with 30 plastic straws and servings recommended is 2. The pack costs ₹350. Though these straws are portrayed as BPA free, reusable and recyclable, how many straws will be reused? How many will be taken to proper recycling centers?

We are reaching new heights of ridiculousness day by day.

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