Feb 27, 2021

Common cause of overeating



Let's say, you are in a restaurant with your family. Each of you had ordered items you would like to eat from the menu. Food arrived, you enjoyed the food you ordered. So has your spouse.

But you notice that your child hasn't finished her plate of food. She is struggling to finish. There is quite a bit of food remaining on her plate.

What would you do?
(A) I'd force her to finish what's left on her plate. Wasting food is a crime
(B) I'd take the plate from her and finish off the remaining food. Food shouldn't be wasted
(C) I'd ask my spouse to finish the remaining food. Food shouldn't be wasted but I'm already full
(D) I'd gently nudge my child to eat a little more and then ask her to stop
(E) I'd tell my child that it is okay to waste food and not stuff herself

Which of these behaviors resonate most with you? Which of these behaviors resonate most with your parents? Do you remember your experiences from childhood when you visited a restaurant?

As much as I'm concerned about food wastage, I have observed that I don't exhibit behaviors A, B, or C. My most common behavior is D. That is because of how my dad used to ALWAYS exhibit behavior E while I was growing up. He neither used to force me to wipe my plate clean nor eat the leftovers from my plate.

Yes, we should be mindful about the food we order, but there are higher chances that a child is not able to finish her plate of food. Let's say, a 10-year old orders a plain dosa but the size of the dosa is bigger than what the child's appetite can take in.

Many times, because we don't want to waste the food ordered, we end up eating the leftovers. Instead of letting the food go into the dustbin, we dump it in our stomachs. This is one of the common situations that result in overeating. The excess food that our body doesn't need causes so many issues - indigestion, heaviness, fat accumulation, etc.

So the next time when you are forcing yourself (or your family) to finish the food, pause for a moment and ask yourself - "Am I still hungry? Is this something that my body can process?" 

If the answer is NO, leave the remaining food as is. It is okay. Next time, be more mindful about your order quantity. 

Feb 26, 2021

Source of Vitamin D

Whenever I do a compilation post on nutrients and their various food sources, I often get this question "Can you make a list of food sources rich in Vitamin D"

I was deficient in Vitamin D for many years. I have also taken D3 supplements earlier. I had searched for food sources rich in Vitamin D, but for a vegetarian like me, the options weren't many.

Thanks to the walking habit I incorporated in 2020, my Vitamin D levels have now increased WITHOUT any supplements.

Feb 2020 => My Vitamin D level was 10.3

Feb 2021 => My Vitamin D level is 27.2

I used to be an indoors person most of the time. I was stuck with my laptop/phone and other indoor chores until the pandemic started. We realize the importance of something ONLY when it is taken away. Being stuck indoors for many days made me crave fresh air and sunlight. I started to walk on my apartment terrace every day. I wrote about the benefits of a daily walk in an earlier post.


I have now realized the importance and effect of Sunlight on my overall well-being. I now consciously make time to get exposure to Sunlight twice a day. The times I prefer to walk are 8-9 AM and 5-6 PM.

We humans are not like indoor plants/crotons. We need Sunlight to thrive. Our body works on circadian rhythm and it can secrete the right hormones only when we expose ourselves to sunlight during the day.

Sunlight is also a very important source of energy to perform our daily responsibilities. I have also observed that the more energy I get from Sunlight, the less energy I need from foods.

Whether you are dealing with Vitamin D deficiency, lack of energy, fatigue, depression, body aches, etc, it is extremely important to allocate time in your daily schedule to meet and greet the Sun. No other alternative sources - be it food or supplements can match the magnificence of Sunlight.

Feb 23, 2021

How I reversed PCOD?



A few days back, I had posted a note on Instagram that I have reversed PCOD. There were many questions on how I did it, what diet I followed etc. 

PCOD is a lifestyle disorder. So all I did was corrected my lifestyle. As simple as that. 


Please note I'm neither a gynaecologist nor a nutritionist. The points shared below are from my personal experience. Please do your due diligence before you embrace any change.


Here's a compilation of a few questions (real and imaginary) that came up related to PCOD reversal.


(1) What diet did I follow?

I didn't follow any popular diet per se. 

First and foremost, I completely stopped all forms of packaged/processed/junk foods. This one change by itself contributed to 50% of my PCOD reversal.

I'm a vegetarian since childhood. And I continue to eat the same way. I did a few tweaks/changes to the ingredients that have helped me tremendously.

  • Switched from white, polished rice to millets and traditional rice varieties.
  • Increased the quantity and variety of vegetables in my meal plate, giving more importance to native, local vegetables and greens.
  • Switched from white sugar to cane sugar/jaggery/palm jaggery. I'm also extremely mindful of the quantity of these alternative sweeteners I consume
  • Switched from iodised table salt to pink rock salt and sea salt
  • Stopped eating all maida-based and bakery products.
  • Reduced the amount of wheat in my weekly diet. Reduced intake of chapathis to 1-2 times a week.
  • Stopped using refined oils in my cooking. Switched to cold-pressed oils.
  • Limited my milk tea consumption to 2 cups a day
  • Stopped having instant coffee


(2) Will changing diet alone suffice?

Not sufficient. It is not only about WHAT we eat. It is also about WHEN we eat and HOW MUCH we eat. The following habits are something I highly recommend:

  • Stopped mindless snacking throughout the day and I stick to 3 proper, home-cooked meals
  • I follow at least a 12-hour circadian rhythm fasting
  • I eat only when I feel hungry
  • I finish my dinner by 7 PM


(3) What changes did you make in your cooking methods?

Cooking methods play an important role, especially the vessels we use to cook/store food, the way we cook vegetables, etc.

  • Stopped using plastic plates, bowls, spoons, and water bottles. Switched to ceramic and stainless steel
  • Stopped using non-stick cookware. Switched to iron cookware
  • I prefer to steam cook the vegetables so that the nutrients are retained. No overcooking of veggies
  • I pressure cook rice and dal. Yet to explore the open pot method or starch draining method
  • I prefer freshly cooked food. No reheating leftovers for 2-3 days. No freezing meals.


(4) Will these food-related changes alone good enough to reverse PCOD?

These changes will help to control the symptoms, but for complete reversal, we also need to look at all other aspects of lifestyle, other than food.

Other aspects that have helped me include

  • Regular Yoga practice 4-5 times a week
  • Staying physically active throughout the day
  • Exposure to Sunlight - 30 min in the morning and 30 min in the evening
  • Sleep between 10 PM-6 AM on most days
  • Oil bath once a week
  • Giving rest to my body during my monthly cycle (No Yoga, no strenuous cooking)
  • Spending time consciously on gadgets/screens and being mindful of my content consumption


(5) How do stress and thoughts impact PCOD?

Stress impacts our hormones in a big way. In the past few years, I have learned to slow down by understanding my priorities and keeping my goals and to-do lists to the minimum. It isn't easy given the fast-paced lives of today. But it is essential to reassess our priorities and focus only on a few goals that matter to us.


(6) How long should I do all these?

Lifestyle changes are for life long. Once we embrace these positive changes, there is no going back. Reversal doesn't mean that PCOD will never make a comeback. By continuing with these lifestyle changes, I hope to keep PCOD (and other lifestyle ailments) at bay forever.


(7) This seems like a long-drawn process. Are there any shortcuts?

NO, NO, NO....there is no easy way. Shortcuts or quick hacks will never work for lifestyle ailments. It has taken me around 7 years to make all these changes. The more we have gone away from nature, the more effort we need to put in. Be willing to put in the required effort. 


The above lifestyle changes have worked for me. Please do your due diligence and understand what works for your body and your life situation. Design YOUR lifestyle.


Related posts:

10 habits to keep PCOD under control

10 more habits to keep PCOD under control 

5 points to keep in mind when starting your PCOS reversal journey


Feb 17, 2021

Thank you and Goodbye, PCOD!



 From 2004 until 2020, my abdomen ultrasound scan report would have the phrase "bilateral polycystic ovaries".

My 2021 scan report says "Ovaries appear normal" and no mention of polycystic ovaries. Yes, I have successfully managed to reverse my PCOD condition. So thrilled about it!

The only intention of this post is to give hope to those women who are diagnosed with PCOD.

Yes, PCOD can be reversed ONLY through consistent lifestyle changes. 

It is certainly possible WITHOUT any medications/pills and WITHOUT any extreme diets/workout routines (Unless you consider quitting packaged/processed/junk foods as an extreme diet!)

This reversal journey has taken me around 7 years to understand and consciously make changes around food, activity, exercise, sleep, digital wellness and stress management.

In the past few years, I have shared my journey and lifestyle changes I have made through my blog and Instagram posts. I have written two long-form articles on the habits to keep PCOD under control (My blog -> Handpicked articles section). Do check them out if you haven't taken a look already.

10 habits to keep PCOD under control

10 more habits to keep PCOD under control 

Last but not the least, a heartfelt gratitude note to PCOD for coming into my life and teaching me a lot of valuable lessons on nutrition, health, wellness, and lifestyle.

Feb 16, 2021

The Oil bath Ritual


 Saturday mornings in the 80s used to be like this at my home. My grandmother would apply generous amounts of warm sesame oil on my scalp and let it soak for around 30 minutes. I would be playing outside, exposed to the Sun while the oil was getting absorbed. After she got the hot water ready, she would call me. She would then apply a paste of shikakai paste all over my hair and then wash it off. Though my eyes would be tightly shut, invariably the shikakai paste would get in my eyes and cause a burning sensation. After the hair bath, she would put a piece of sambrani (loban) on top of hot coal. The fumes would immediately start coming and she would cover it with a bamboo basket. I would then keep my head on top of the inverted basket and the hair would slowly dry, thanks to the hot fumes. And the aroma used to be so divine and relaxing.

I have recreated a similar ritual in the past 2 years. Every Fri/Sat I have been following this oil bath ritual. I warm a few tbsp of cold-pressed sesame oil and massage all over my body and my head. After leaving it for 10-15 minutes, I wash my hair using a herbal hair wash powder. I don't use any soap/bath powder so that the oil gets absorbed through my skin. This whole routine takes around an hour but worth the time investment. 


The oil bath is effective not just for the hair but for the whole body. It nourishes the skin, cools the head, and relaxes the mind in general. 


How this has benefitted me?

  • Hair has grown longer
  • Hair fall has considerably reduced
  • I love the calm, cooling effect on my mind and body
  • Skin dryness has reduced
  • The frequency of migraine/headaches have reduced


If you spend too much time in front of laptops/gadgets/books, I highly recommend adding oil bath to your weekly habits.


An oil bath is usually recommended twice a week but even if you can allocate time for it at least once a week, you will be able to reap its benefits.


P.S. I quit using shampoo sometime in 2015 and switched to herbal hair wash powders. I wrote about this in detail in an earlier post

Feb 14, 2021

Being environment-agnostic


 

Whenever someone asks me how to quit junk foods, my first suggestion would be "Out of sight, out of mind. Don't stock them up at home".

Imagine a pack of chips lying inside your snacks cupboard. You are not into the habit of reading nutrition labels yet. You are not aware of the information that packaged foods are harmful to your health. You will be tempted to munch on that pack of chips when you open that cupboard.

Once you learn to read the nutrition labels of junk foods and how such ingredients impact our body, you will eventually stop eating them. Once your taste buds get used to real, natural foods, the taste of junk foods would be so unappetizing that you wouldn't be tempted to buy them when you are inside a supermarket.

Many years back, I used to be so addicted to Lays chips. But now, when a pack of chips is placed right on my table, I wouldn't be tempted to open it. The presence of that pack doesn't tempt me in any way.

Similarly, with uncomfortable relationships, the "out of sight, out of mind" strategy works. When this person is not living under the same roof as yours, you wouldn't be thinking about him/her, you would move on with your daily routine and you would be flowing freely.

But when that out-of-sight becomes your everyday sight, the uncomfortableness grows, you get triggered, you feel negative emotions. Are these emotions addictive? Maybe.

But we need to realize this.

If you hold anger, remorse, or resentment towards someone, that person doesn't get impacted in any way. They continue to lead happy and peaceful lives. They might get good sleep, they might feel relaxed. BUT it is YOU who would be losing out on all those important factors. So learn to let go of such emotions for the sake of your well being. 

Question yourself - Is it your EGO ensuring that you hold onto those emotions for longer? Is it self-pity?

Aim to reach a state where even if they are right next to you, you wouldn't be impacted. You will continue to be who you are, you will continue to flow freely. Their presence, their words, their actions, and inactions wouldn't bother you. Think of that Lays chips pack lying on your table, untouched. Similarly, all negative emotions will be far from your mind, untouched. You would be environment-agnostic. Your happiness and peace will be with you always regardless of how the environment around you changes. I understand it is a far-fetched goal. But worth aiming towards.

This is more of a self-reflection post that I wrote for myself. Sharing it here, so this might help others with whom the underlying message might resonate.

P.S. Please note I'm only referring to uncomfortable relationships. This strategy doesn't apply to toxic/abusive relationships.

Feb 9, 2021

Sacred space


What's a sacred space? Is it a place of religious importance? Is it a corner in our homes where we do our prayers?


Along with these spaces, two places need to be given sacrosanct importance - our body and our mind.


"Treat your body like a temple" - we might have heard of this phrase. One of the interpretations of this phrase implies that we need to be more aware of the food we put inside our bodies. 


As I pondered over this phrase, I wondered whether we give the same attention to our minds. 


Do we treat our minds like a temple? 


Are we aware of the inputs we feed our minds - written content, visual media, audio, verbal interactions?

Are we aware of the thought trails (remember the thought rabbit hole!) and where they lead us towards?

Are we aware of the repetitive thought patterns?

Do we pause and understand a thought, feeling, or emotion?

Do we take dedicated time to process our thoughts and the triggers behind them?

Do we take a step back and dissect why we reacted the way we did?


I wasn't doing any of these until 2019. Over the past year, I have started to do a lot of questioning in myself - questioning my thought, my emotion, my reaction towards a certain trigger, etc. This is possible only because of the solitude time I have allocated for myself during my walks and other chores. This is possible only because of consciously reducing distractions and culling my content consumption patterns.


Earlier, if an uncomfortable thought or a trigger comes up, I would reach out for a distraction, mostly my phone or scrolling through an OTT platform/Youtube. But now I process my uncomfortable thoughts as much as possible. I don't segregate them as good vs bad thoughts (seeds vs weeds). I rather prefer to ask myself why I'm feeling this way, in a self-compassionate manner without being self-critical about myself. As I ask "Why" more and more, I realize that some of these thoughts are triggered by childhood conditioning, beliefs set in my early years, the subtle messages etched deeply, the kind of information I've been consuming over the years, and most importantly, the EGO in a big way.


Gaining awareness is the first and most important step. Without this clarity, the same thoughts and our reaction patterns keep repeating on auto-pilot mode.


"Treat your mind like a temple" - it is a much more challenging process as compared to the body, in my personal experience. But we can keep that goal in mind and work towards it. 

Feb 8, 2021

The wakeup call

 I came across this interesting insight somewhere. When you are starting your 30s, you usually get a wake-up call from the Universe if you are not aligned with your life's purpose. Each one of us gets this wake-up call. Some of us dismiss it completely and move on with our lives. Some of us hear it but snooze it multiple times, thinking this is not the right time and give ourselves multiple reasons excuses to avoid hearing it. 


Some of us pay heed to that wake-up call and start making changes that help us align with our life's purpose.


For me, that wake-up call was the arrival of my daughter when I was around 30 years old. I was working for a startup - extremely busy routine, along with a long commute every single day. I then applied for a busier job role at an MNC (longer commute as well). A long interview process, 6 rounds spread over 3 weeks and I got the offer. I accepted the offer for this new job and put my papers down in my current job. 2 days later, my long-awaited pregnancy got confirmed along with a fair warning from my gynecologist that I need to be more careful especially in the first 3 months.


I declined the offer for the new job and completed the 2-month notice period of my current job, working from home. 


That single wakeup call triggered multiple wakeup calls in me

  • Why it is high time I prioritize my health and well-being
  • Why I need to get the confidence and knowledge to raise a child when there is NO help/support from extended family (husband of course, always supports me in whichever way possible)
  • Understanding the true nature of many relationships and their mindsets
  • Realizing that career is not all about climbing the corporate ladder, rise in paychecks, and chasing after promotions and titles
  • Identifying my passions and interests, understanding what puts me in a state of flow, and gives me satisfaction and happiness
  • Getting the perspectives on what's important in my life, what my priorities are, and how I want to contribute to the world


If you are in your late 20s/early 30s, make sure you listen to that wake-up call. Don't ignore, dismiss or snooze it. It is unique to your life situation - a new opportunity, a new interest, a new relationship, etc. Pay attention to that wake-up call.


Feb 4, 2021

My thoughts on "The Great Indian Kitchen"


 

Many people had messaged me, asking me to watch this new Malayalam movie "The Great Indian Kitchen" streaming on Neestream.

Since I'm a big proponent of home cooking and its importance in today's times, I was eager to watch this movie after seeing the trailer. 

I'm sure every woman in India who watched this movie would have been able to relate to atleast a few scenes and nodding their heads - either their own personal experiences or the observations they have had with respect to the lives of their mothers/MILs/aunts. 

After watching a new movie, I usually watch a few reviews of the movie on Youtube. In one such review, the reviewer mentioned that there were no names given to any of the characters. I realized this fact ONLY after watching the review. 

Apart from the actual preparation of the food, all the other work that is involved is highlighted so beautifully in the movie - chopping veggies, cleaning dishes, clearing the dining table, clearing the kitchen countertop etc. 

The scenes that I could relate so much are
  • The one where the women of the house keep running from the kitchen to the dining table, serving fresh hot dosas to the men, while they end up eating a stack of cold dosas in the end. 
  • The guest who cooks a meal, makes a mess in the kitchen and casually remarks, "What more work is there? We have already finished cooking". Highly irritating character! 
  • The man who doesn't want to eat leftovers for dinner and asks the wife to prepare chapathis.
  • The FIL who wants to have both chutney and sambhar along with dosas
Giving toothbrush in their hands, contributing nothing to home except eating and spitting leftovers all over the table, passing comments on how each dish should be cooked - Heights of patriarchy! Also shows us a glimpse of how people can be abusive in a nice, friendly manner without any physical or verbal ways. 

When the wife gets her period, the following scenes show a temporary househelp who does all the work - exactly the same set of tasks that the wife was handling. Depicts the place the wife is being kept at.

I wish there is a part 2 of this movie where a child comes into the picture, as the dynamics shift quite a bit when this family of husband/wife become parents.

At the end of this movie, I'm sure all of us would have felt a tinge of frustration and helplessness. 

Here's what I do to continue the habit of home cooking and not feel overwhelmed
  1. Setting the right boundaries - what work are you ready to take up? What chores for which you need external help? What chores do you expect others in the family to take responsibility for?
  2. Clearly spelling out the expectations - What menu are you willing to prepare? What menu is not possible? What times you would be in the kitchen?
  3. Asking for HELP. There's no pride in taking all work on our shoulders and feeling overburdened.
  4. Saying NO directly without hesitation. Hard at first but comes with practice.

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