Tips On How To Select And Store Fruits

Fruits are one such category of our grocery which we may want to store them to last a reasonable period of time. But before we procure them, it would be quite helpful if we are aware of some small aspects of how to select, pick or buy and then store them for a few days. Here are some simple and practical tips for the commonly used fruits in most households.

 Apples :

Mostly apples are ripe when picked and may be transported to long distances. They are generally safe and ripe for almost 6 weeks. Look for firm varieties and avoid the ones with soft or blemished spots. You may be able to store them in plastic bags for longer in the fridge if not over ripe already.

Bananas :

This is one fruit which is fragile and bruises easily and need to be handled with care. The best bet is to buy them when greenish and once the peels turn yellow and hints of brown, they are ready to consume. Of course raw bananas too can be used to cook as a vegetable or snack. If placed in a cool area in the kitchen or dining area they can be good to eat till about a week or so. They could be hanged from a hook too in an area where the rook is generally air conditioned in hot summers. Be wary of over ripe bananas which may be unfit for consumption. It would be advisable for individuals with issues of indigestion, flatulence and diabetes, to select slightly firm but ripe bananas.

Pineapple :

The fully ripe variety is the best choice to select. Check if it is slightly firm with a sweet smell, yellow skin and dark green leaves. It can be stored whole at room temperature. Once peeled and cut and sliced, it can stay good for a week in the fridge in covered bowls.

Cantaloupe :

This fruit is ready to eat once it begins to have a typical strong smell. Once ripened, it will stay good in the fridge for 4-5 days in a covered bowl after cutting and slicing it. It will be a good idea to keep them away from rest of the vegetables, to keep them fresh.

Kiwi :

Till it is hard and un ripe, it can sit in the room temperature. To know if it is ready, check if it is tender enough to give a slight squeeze. Once ripened, it can keep fresh for about 5-6 days in the fridge.

Citrus fruits:

If picking from the tree, a properly ripened fruit (orange, lime,) will clip easily from the tree without resistance. Once ripened oranges and lemon will remain fresh at room temperature in cooler months depending on their stage of ripeness when picked and bought. In warmer months it would be best to store them in the fridge, but not in plastic bags so that they remain fresh for longer. Lime can stay good for almost 2 weeks at room temperature after which they can be placed into loosely sealed zip lock pouches up to 4 weeks. Unlike oranges and sweet lemons, lime will begin to turn brown as they age which is a sign that they should be discarded, being unfit for consumption. A god idea would be to freeze the lime after cutting and squeezing the juice which can be stored in ice cube trays.

Water Melon :

To select water melon one should look for the skin that is dull and slightly waxy ( although sellers might wax them before selling)and should yield only slightly to pressure. Avoid the ones with cuts or dents with the stem attached, brownish and dry. The round oblong melon should be symmetrical and without any flat sides feeling heavier for its size. One small tip to select the ripe variety is to use the thumping method. This can be done by flicking your index finger against the melon, listening for a rich thud, which indicates its ripeness. It would be better to avoid melons with white streaks through the flesh (if cut) which is mealy, dry, cracked or separated from the seeds. Best is to avoid buying pre cut fruit. The whole water melon can be stored at room temperature for up to a week and in the fridge for about 10 -14 days. Cut water melon should be wrapped in plastic, refrigerated and consumed within 3-4 days. One warning to keep in mind is to avoid very large sized or too sweet ones, since they may be injected by sugar water or glucose by unscrupulous sellers.

Grapes :

The best way to pick the grapes is to check if they are not over ripe, bruised or wilting. They should be firmly attached to the stems and not falling off and plump. Grapes are best stored in the fridge in either paper or plastic bags with some air to pass through. Avoid stacking them in a heap which may restrict air circulation to prevent spoilage. It would be good idea to first thoroughly wash them, dry well before refrigerating. They can be stored for up to a week or more depending on how ripe they are already.

Eat Your Way To Keep Cancer at Bay

How often are we shocked to hear of any of our loved ones, a close family member or an acquaintance being suddenly diagnosed of that dreaded condition called ‘cancer’? Going retrospectively then on their past years, we are further perplexed and wonder how on earth that particular individual who was a teetotaller, strict vegetarian, non smoker and so active land up with this unfortunate condition? Well friends it is much more than just smoking, alcohol or being strict vegetarian to be immune from falling prey to cancer. Well, it is our total lifestyle and what and how our eating behaviour is, that makes all the difference.

What Can Cause Cancer :

While a lot of factors may not be within our control to prevent from such conditions, like genetics or occupational hazards or environmental conditions like air pollution, drugs etc, yet one important factor that can reduce one’s risks of developing cancer apart from the factors mentioned above, is, what and how we eat, besides of course keeping off habits like smoking, alcohol etc. In short, our eating behaviour through our life cycle matters to a great extent. Yes, one can actually eat their way to prevent or fight cancer through our day to day dietary choices and pattern of eating.

Food Diversity :

We need to have a diversity of foods on our plate which includes diversity of different types and colours too. No singe food by itself can prevent cancer. What is required is the right combinations of different foods and striking a balance between the good healthy plant based and no more than two third of animal based foods which includes poultry and dairy too. The ‘My Plate’ concept best reflects the concept, wherein you have a plate divided into one half being fruits and vegetables, one fourth comprising the legumes or pulses or an animal based source and the remaining being the whole grains and alongside a portion of dairy and water.

Get the Rainbow :

Most of our fruits and vegetables come with different colours in different seasons and these contain the cancer fighting nutrients. More the colours you have on your plate (red and yellow – tomatoes, watermelon, guava, papaya), blue and purple – brinjal plums blueberries, purple cabbage), orange – carrots, mangoes, pumpkin, apricots), green – spinach, broccoli, cabbage), brown – beans, chickpeas, lentils), more the nutrient diversity you get in the right proportions. Compounds like polyphenols, lycopene, anthocyanins, phytonutrients, beta carotene etc. present in various colours, all have diverse role and action in our body to work against harmful inflammatory compounds or toxins which gradually over a period of time can develop into cancer cells. A point to bear in mind is that the beneficial effects of such foods do not show up overnight. One has to have them throughout their lifetime to reap their benefits.

Folate rich foods :

Research shows that folic acid, which is a part of the B complex vitamins, plays a crucial role in prevention by blocking the cancer cells in the early stages, esp. like in colorectal cancers it is considered as a magic bullet. Most of the dark green vegetables, like spinach, lettuce and beans besides animal products are good source.

Junk the Junk :

Foods which are ultra processed, high in sugars, polished and refined foods, excessive consumption of processed meats, smoked foods like ham, sausages, deli meat, hot dogs burgers and the like can all lead to production of toxic compounds which over time can be high risk factors for cancer cell growth, examples being stomach and colon cancers.

Tomatoes, The Saviour :

Including tomatoes both raw and cooked in our meals is great ideas they excellent sources of anti oxidants which help prevent cancer. The lycopene formed by cooking tomatoes and the ascorbic acid in the raw ones both are powerful cancer fighters.

Grapes, the Elixir :

The compound reservertol present in grapes and the juice has strong anti oxidant and anti inflammatory effects which can help prevent cancer.

The Soothing Green Tea :

As per the research available, laboratory studies have shown that the polyphenols in the green tea have been shown to have good anti oxidant effect by slowing or preventing the development of cancer in the colon, liver, breast and prostate cells. However, research for more evidence is stil on going.

The Bean family :

The compound phytochemicals present in most beans are known to be cancer preventive by action of their role in preventing cell damage that can lead to cancer.

The Cabbage and Green Family :

Most of the cruciferous vegetables (like cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli) and spinach are considered highly cancer protective especially the colon, breast, lung and cervix. This is due to their high folate and carotenoid content.

The desi Curcumin :

This is the potent compound in the spice turmeric , an important item of the Indian kitchen pharmacy. It has promising action against most cancers by virtue of its role in suppressing the transformation and proliferation and invasion of cancer cells. The correct dose and mode of consuming it also matters.

Go light weight :

Yes, the lighter your baggage, the better. Excess weight or obesity itself can be an inflammatory condition. Excess fat deposition by way of routine consumption of sugars and sweetened beverages, refined and processed carbohydrates, devoid of fiber can be high risk factor for development of cancer of the stomach, liver and colon.

Cooking Methods Do Matter :

Any of the above mentioned foods may still not be of much use if the way they are cooked, stored and combinations of various foods are not right. Cooking foods using dry heat like grilling, baking, toasting, smoking, deep or shallow frying and exposing to high heat for prolonged time can totally alter the chemical structure by producing compounds call acyl glyconated end products (AGEs), which can be potentially carcinogenic. Better methods would include moist heating, stewing, steaming which can retain the beneficial properties of the same foods. Although one may not be able to completely avoid such cooking methods, the saving grace would be to include plenty of salads and vegetables along side or add some lemon juice or vinegar to counter the ill effects to some extent.
Yet friends, it may not be practical to always follow the right track, you can still enjoy occasionally by keeping a tab on portion control and occasional indulgence.

The Why’s and How’s of Good Liver Health

It might surprise you to know that the liver, a cone shaped organ, is the second largest solid organ in your body after skin which is considered as the largest organ, weighing a little more than 1 Kg and hold up to almost 450 ml of water or 13% of your blood at any given time. It sits between your diaphragm on top and your stomach below. It can be considered as the Jack of all trades considering the fact the functions it performs right from filtering off toxic or unwanted by products from your blood, stores fuel for energy release when you go into starving mode and makes a liquid called bile which helps you digest the food you eat.

Functions of the Liver :

This wonderful organ actually can act as your fuel tank, by balancing our energy sources. It stores fuel in the form of glucose and takes the amino acids from the food digested by converting them into fatty acids. When in case of an emergency like starvation or lack of available running fuel, the glucose, the liver comes to our rescue by switching gears and converting the fatty acids into another form of energy called ketones. Isn’t that an amazing organ then? It has an amazing power of self healing or even regeneration within a short span, like in case of injuries, even so much that a small part of liver if removed from one’s body for organ donation to someone in need, it can regenerate to the original size soon enough. It has the ability to process the drugs/medicines when required through the enzymes or chemicals to work on our body and at the same time also quickly after the drugs are broken down and used, the liver can also then deactivate the same drugs and help in excreting them from our body through urine or stools. In addition, the liver is the first nutrient processing centre where nutrients like sugars, amino acids, glycerol, salt, vitamins and minerals pass through, and converts them into their useable for, stores most of them like iron, folate, vitamins A,D and B12 to be delivered where ever the body requires. The liver therefore also acts as a detox centre, where the waste by products or toxins after use is filtered out. Besides this, it also filters out those found in alcohol, heavy metals by converting them into harmless waste to be got rid of. The liver also acts as a security gate, due to its ability to filter out all the toxins, and can trap the virus and harmful bacteria and any other unwanted germs which may encroach in via the food we eat. This is because it has the largest army of immune system that destroy or actually eat the germs (also called phagocytes), and can launch an offensive immune reaction when needed.

Can Liver damage be prevented ?

Isn’t it then our great responsibility to protect this vital organ from any external stress, trauma or abuse, so that it can continue to perform nonstop till our last breath? Well of course yes and how can we do that? It’s very simple and easy, provided we maintain certain decorum with this strong yet very vulnerable organ in our body and that is by taking care of it. Apart from certain external infections or pathological conditions, which may be beyond our control, there are many environmental factors which can help keep our liver healthy and happy.


How can we prevent liver damage?

– Avoiding sugars and sweetened beverages:

Sugar in the form of simple pure sugars or as fructose found in fruit juices can make excess fat leading to accumulation of excess fatty acids which can lead to fatty liver. Research also points out that sugar can be as damaging as alcohol for the liver even without consuming alcohol. But the good news is that this fatty liver is completely reversible with removal of sugars from the diet. Hence keeping away from foods containing added sugars, like pastries, cookies, aerated drinks or any foods containing fructose corn syrup, glucose, in any form will keep your liver hale and happy.

– Burden of Excess body weight:

Excessive build up of fat in the liver cells can lead to swelling or an enlarged liver, a condition called non alcoholic fatty liver disease(NAFLD), now also being termed as metabolic associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD). Shedding off those extra kilos or prevention of fat build up works best for good liver health.

– Herbal Supplements:

The term ‘herbal’ may sound to be ‘natural’, but that can e misleading. Some of the herbal preparations even though of plant origin, may contain alkaloids, the type of compounds which when deposited in the liver can cause liver damage leading to hepatitis or blockage of the liver ducts which can be quite complicated.

– Alcohol:

Excessive use of alcohol can lead to increased risk of jaundice, cirrhosis, liver failure and even liver cancer which may become irreversible after appoint. Hence staying away or judicious use in permitted amounts would be a good way to have a healthy liver.

– Vitamin and other Supplements:

Vitamin A is essential for many body functions, however excess dosages in the form of oral supplements may cause liver damage. Therefore resorting to dietary sources or using them if required, under medical supervision is a safer bet.

– Drug Abuse:

Undue and prolonged unsupervised consumption of over the counter drugs like pain killers etc can also damage the liver, since at the end all the toxic by products of the drugs are passed through the liver and if we stretch its capacity beyond a certain point, that can lead to collapse of the liver functions.

Stop blaming menopause for weight gain

‘Iv gained weight after my menopause set in’. How commonly we encounter such statements from women in their mid life or mid 50s?  It’s so easy for them to blame their hormonal changes for the steadily gaining weight and thus sit back reconciled to the fact that nothing can be done to prevent this weight gain. But the fact is that actually menopause does not cause the weight gain as such. It is the gradual changes in your lifestyle around middle age that slowly bring about the change in your body. It is the estrogen secretion that declines which was so far protecting you from a lot of harmful physiological components, thus making you more vulnerable to metabolic disorders. This also causes your body to store fat around your abdomen and that is why it is also jokingly called the ‘meno-pot’! The waning estrogen levels also lowers your metabolic rate, the rate at which your body converts stored energy into working energy. Moreover, this may also cause your body to metabolize starches and blood sugars less effectively, indirectly leading to fat storage. This is also the time when you gradually observe your pear shaped body transforming into an apple shaped figure that is more rounded and full at the waist and abdomen –the site of fat deposition.

But estrogen decline is only one factor, which should not be blamed entirely for this. There are other more significant factors which we may not realize in our day to day life. If taken care of, these external factors can actually nullify the effects of your natural hormone changes in your body without any negative consequences. These are basically, your activity level over the day. You tend to become less active (unless you are in a job which keeps you on your toes most part of the day) since you may have more help at home to do your chores, or even your rise in your job to an administrative level, or may be some physiological limitations of mobility e.g. any joint pains or inflammation etc. m ay be restricting your mobility.


Besides, decreased activity with increasing age, your eating pattern too may not have decreased proportionately. On the other hand, you may be inclined to eat more or indulge in parties and dining out days more often than before! Even if your appetite may have reduced, again that may lead you to eat less of proteins too, and invariably for vegetarians it becomes very less, if they avoid milk or legumes due to fear of indigestion. The lack of proteins in your diet over a considerable period may prompt your body to displace fat stores in place of muscle mass. On the whole you may even end up eating too less and that also leads your body to slow down your metabolism and thus gain weight.

So, young ladies (yes I call you young, since life has actually begun for you now!), break away from the ‘myths’ and ‘blues’ of menopause and gear up to take control of your body from a new perspective. Here are the things you will need to take care of, to keep off fat accumulation and thus prevent weight gain and also enjoy a happy post menopause phase:

Maintain physical activity – This is a must to boost your metabolism and burn off fat cells. A brisk walk of about 45-60 minutes can help mobiles your stored energy and defer fat accumulation. It will also help keep your heart, lungs, joints and bones healthy. The calcium from the bones starts depleting fast after menopause, but a good physical activity can prevent those losses. Strengthening exercises or weight training workouts at least 3 times a week is important at this age to maintain a healthy muscle mass like dumbbells, resistance bands and certain yoga postures.

  • Eat Healthy – It’s important that you watch what you eat. You need not starve; on the contrary small but frequent eating of healthy foods can keep your body to work and burn extra fat. Good sources of protein should be encouraged which will help maintain your muscle mass and keep of fat deposition. Non fat dairy and mill products, legumes, nuts and seeds and whole grain cereals are good options to choose from for your protein requirements. Besides, a good helping of fresh fruits and vegetables will take care of your minerals like calcium, iron, zinc and selenium, and other important vitamins. Anti oxidant food sources with omega 3 fatty acids can be obtained from flax seeds, red and yellow fruits and vegetables.
  • Avoid high/bad fat foods – It’s important to keep off foods which are inherently high in fats like whole fat milk  and products made from them, organ meats, processed and ready to eat foods, excessive bakery foods which contain saturated and trans fats. Use of oils for cooking should be limited to a minimum possible.
  • Sugars and salt – Beware of hidden sources of sugars and slat! Intake of food sources with high sugar and salt content should be avoided. Ready to cook foods, bakery stuff, processed foods, preserved foods; packaged drinks, fruit juices, sodas etc are all high in the unhealthy sugars and salt. These are the harmful or bad carbs and will lead to unwanted fat deposition, raising risks of diabetes, cardio vascular problems and even cancer.
  • Use of High Fiber/Good Carbs – Foods like whole grains, oats, whole and husked pulses, salads and other green leafy vegetables, fruits and nuts and seeds like flax seeds are good sources of fiber and helps maintain a healthy gut, besides warding of diseases like cancer, and diabetes.
  • Water Intake – To maintain a healthy digestive tract and keep off accumulation of toxic byproducts, a good amount of water intake should be maintained. About 2.5-3 lts a day will be ideal to have to maintain healthy physiological functions of the body.

To sum up finally, I would say you are on the threshold of a new phase of your life and now it is up to you how you can make the best from this new era, experimenting new things without the limitations and burden of disease. After all, say ‘Me-no-pause’ to your active healthy life!

Human Kidneys- It Needs Greater Attention!

Human body is an amazing creation of God with a complex system of functionality and performing roles, each one of which is no less important than the other. For a human body to keep working without a break, it is important that the by-products it generates get filtered and excreted timely to avoid accumulation of unwanted toxins in the body, which would else cause disease. This function is performed by the renal system of your body. It consist of two little bean shaped organs, called the kidneys. These are the powerful filters which screen all the waste products generated from all that you eat and drink. And, later it excrete out he unwanted toxic products and re-circulate the purified substances back into your circulation.

Thus, it is greatly essential to ensure a conducive environment for these organs, in order to make them perform their important role. In addition, they save us from severe complications too. So, how can you do this?

Well, the answer is quite simple. You can easily take care of your entire system by measuring what you put in to the body, i.e. the food and drinks you consume whole day. In all, you need to follow a healthy lifestyle as follows:

Ensure a healthy diet:

Consume lots of fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grain and cereals. The diet you take should be devoid of too much of fats and sugars, which is generally available in a concentrated and refined form.  A natural balanced diet comprising of various food groups assures to provide adequate nutrients required for normal functioning of the kidneys.

Manage your salts:

The intake of salt needs to be particularly paid heed to, the reason being that excess salt can trigger an osmotic load and cause an imbalance between the fluid volume inside and outside the cells. Make sure you use the required amount of salt in cooking food. But, strictly avoid high salt or sodium foods like bakery products, processed foods, packaged foods and all preserved foods like sauces, pickles, jams, sauces etc. The processing of these food items make use of excess salt. However, you can consume these foods occasionally. It is not harmful to the kidneys in small amounts, as your kidneys are strong enough to bear an over load once in a while!

Keep your body hydrate:

It is very important that you take adequate fluids, mainly in the form of water throughout the day. Doing so, the filtration process of the kidneys becomes smooth. On the other hand, in the absence of adequate water intake, the process of these organs is affected and the waste products may not be excreted out completely. Don’t ignore this! It can lead to many diseases likehigh blood pressure, infections and inflammations.

Besides, there are some points you always need to take care of. Have a look:

  • You should avoid excess consumption of alcohol, soda drinks or any carbonated drinks like colas. Along this, excessive tea, coffee or concentrated juices are also not good for you.


  • If you are already suffering from problems like blood pressure or diabetes, it is very important to keep their levels in check to avoid causing undue stress on the renal circulation.


  • In case of any infections of the kidneys like UTI or any other, immediate attention needs to be given for avoiding major complications later on.


  • Smoking can cause polluted toxins to be channelized to the kidneys, which can cause toxic accumulations in the renal pathway, thereby disturbing their normal functioning.


  • Undue or prolonged use of over the counter medicines, addictive substances or any form of chemical ingredients hidden in any contaminated food etc. can also injure the kidneys and cause serious complications. Same is the case with the medicines taken without knowing their composition, like in case of self-medication.


  • In a bid to have a strong body, health conscious people go over board to have a muscular physique. They generally switch to certain supplements containing high or purified proteins, health tonics and capsules. But, this practice of taking such diet supplements can actually do more harm than good in the long run. The over consumption of proteins like ‘creatine’ might help you to build good muscle mass, but it may take a toll on the functioning of the kidneys leading to renal failure finally. Therefore, you need to consult your dietician before you start with any such supplements.

Rainbow Diet For This Winter


Come winters and along with, bloom fresh,colourful variety of foods available from the farm to the homes. This is one such time of the year when one is also tempted to indulge, and if not wary can leave you heavier at the end of the season! So how exactly can we make the best of the bounty of foods at our disposal and yet maintain a healthy fit body? Well, it’s not difficult at all, if we make a couple of good choices from the plethora of multi colour fruits and veggies available using the rainbow formula. Yes, just think the 7 colours of the rainbow and plan your day’s diet, and vow there you are with a completely balanced multi nutrient diet at your disposal!

Considering the seven colours,the options are many:

RED: the colour red denotes richness and warmth. Foods like tomatoes, red bell pepper, strawberry, cherries, red apples, beets, guavas etc.are the fruits abundant in winters. Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, the anti oxidant factor which provides immunity to the body and also known to be heart healthy besides reducing risk of cancer. To derive the full benefits of this nutrient it needs to be consumed in heated form like in tomato,gravies, soups and purees. It’s also rich in vitamin C which can be got by eating them raw like as salads and juices.

ORANGE: this is a blend of red with yellow and signifies activity, enthusiasm, optimism and confidence. Foods like oranges, papaya, peaches, carrots, apricots etc. are good sources of antioxidants and vitamin C which strengthen the immune system.

YELLOW: this colour also signifies warmth, illumination and life. Foods like banana, honey, corn, grape fruit, yellow zucchni are rich in photo chemicals which are needed for healthy function of the liver, gall bladder and pancreas.

GREEN: this colour signifies life, healing spirituality and freshness. Foods like all green leafy vegetables (spinach, asparagus, mint, mustard leaves, cauliflower leaves, broccoli, celery, peas, beans, lettuce and wheat grass. All these foods are a power hose of iron, magnesium, vitamin C, and calcium.

BLUE, INDIGO, VIOLET: these foods include blue berries, black berries, brinjal, purple cabbage, plums etc. contain pigments like anthocyanin, phytochemicals and flavonoids all of which reduce mortality and reduce risk of cancers

Apart from the rainbow colours white also is equally important which include functional foods like garlic and onions which contain the enzyme allinin which help fight high cholesterol and hypertension, besides preventing cancers and infection. Foods like banana and potatoes are also rich in potassium and flavinoids which are anti inflammatory too.

Another colour other than the rainbow spectra is the earth colour- Brown.
Although not part of the rainbow, one just cannot escape the various shades and hues of this neutral colour! Even if you were to have all the 7 colours, your meal would be incomplete without this one – the staple cereal base of any country. It could be the basic brown bread or the whole wheat chapati or the equally nutrient dense millets like the bajra and the Jowar. Legumes and pulses too can not be ignored as without these your protein and energy requirements would still not be complete! Therefore, a wise combo of the rainbow foods along with a healthy cereal and legume combo, you could be having one of the most healthy platter at your disposal.

Even if one consumes five of the seven colour foods, you are sure to maintain a healthy, disease free life.
However, a word of caution would be in place to warn you against the traditional high fat associated foods more often being a part of any good meal or snack. Inclusion of butter, cream or ghee in liberal amounts even with the rainbow foods can tilt the balance and undo all the goodness of these winter foods. So folks rake up your culinary skills and get the best of Nature’s bounty this winter!


Sweets Not Taboo For Diabetics

Attention all my diabetic friends! Enjoy this Festival of Light and Sweets. Despair not folks as the good news is that after all sweets are not taboo for you all! Did you hear or read right? Yes you did! It’s not the sugar free sweets I’m referring to but the actual sugar sweet! Rather sugar free sweets can be more dangerous and misleading than having an actual sugar sweet.

The trick lies in the choice of sweets and also tweaking your menu for the day you decide to have some sweet.

What actually matters for diabetics is the total amount of carbohydrates taken rather than the source to maintain their blood sugar levels. In any case you do consume almost 50%-55% of your total calories as carbs which come from the so called ‘diabetic food’ comprising cereals, pulses, fruits and vegetables and milk and milk products. Now, in order to appease your sweet tooth, all you need to do is to swap the sweet with an equivalent amount of carb containing food item you would have had either from a roti or a bowl of pulse or say from a serving or two of fruits or milk. You would need to have some idea of the amount of carbs in various foods to be able to do this swapping. A serving of cereal like a chapati or a bowl of dal or a glass of milk normally contain about 15-17 grams of carbohydrate, which is also considered as one unit of carb. Equivalent amount of carbs would also come from 3 tsps of sugar. Most of the Indian sweets which are prepared from either cereal, plus or milk would comprise almost 25-30 gms of carbs. This means to be able to have one sweet you would have to forego either 2 servings of fruits or 1.5 serve of pulse or 1.5 serving of bread or chapati.

You could also opt for some home made sweets made with lesser sugar or a smaller portion size. Another way would be to make wise choice of sweets like the ones without syrup or excess sugar, e.g. A rasgulla or a khoya barfi.

Here are some simple tips to help you indulge and also maintain your sugar levels.

– avoid very juicy or syrupy sweets or with excess sugar contents.
– opt for home made sweets if possible

– stick to the golden rule of ‘ moderation’

– choose to have the sweet in the day time, so that you would have the margin to make adjustments with your balance carbs.

– avoid sugar free substitutes as they can be misleading and harmful too.

– avoid high fat foods or those deep fried

– make it a point to squeeze in some 45-60 minutes of brisk activity like a walk or work out to balance the input.

– try to include good high fibre foods before having a sweet to minimise sugar absorption.

– last and not least avoid making it a routine way of indulging. You would enjoy more when you do it in special occasions!

So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and celebrate this Diwali with your family and friends.
Happy Diwali to you all!

Is Sugar Free Really Free Of Sugar

It has almost become a fad these days with a number of ‘so called health freaks’ to omit sugar from their cup,of tea or coffee. So far so good! After all, we all know by now that sugar is considered as one of those white poisons in our day to day foods that we have. But then most of these people are resorting to ‘sugar free’ pills or artificial sweeteners as they are called. This is where they are faltering! What needs to be borne in mind is that these white pills may be sweetening their cup of tea, but at the same time may be poisoning their health! Recent research published in the Wall Street Journal has exposed some hard bitter facts of the sweet myth. According to studies in mice and people, the artificial sweeteners can actually raise the blood sugar by its action on the normal gut bacteria which can induce such adverse reactions.

Moreover, sugar free can actually, be deceiving you into over indulgence due to the fact that you may be tempted to eat liberally assuming that food to be non sweet or zero calorie. In fact it is just sugar free, but not fat free! Most of the sweets are laden with fats and will actually lead you to gain extra kilos.

So if you are diabetic or over weight, you would do better having a spoonful of sugar rather than those sweet sugar free poison foods. After all even diabetics are allowed around 1-2 Tsps of sugar, provided they count their total carbohydrates! So folks just chuck those pills or sachets containing the bitter sugar and keep healthy!

Dine Out To Good Health

Dining out is a much happening concept in today’s world , be it a family, social, official, business or corporate event as can be appreciated with the fast growing hotel industry. But this culture of dining out or even ordering for ‘home deliveries’, has gradually given rise to a new dilemma of how to balance healthy dining with the compulsions or obligatory responsibilities of social dining, without compromising on one’s long term health consequences.
We know all restaurant foods are mostly laden with the undesired fats, carbs and sodium, the three musketeers acting against one’s long term health. So does that mean you have to deprive yourself of all these social activities and outings? Well no. You can still enjoy going out without compromising on your health, provided you act judiciously and practice a healthy eating. Yes, first of all you need to be motivated enough and have a good will power to choose wisely. Then go ahead, just keeping in mind some useful tips as follows:

• Firstly do not set out totally empty stomach. Fill up partially, say with a light healthy snack like some salad or soup or perhaps a bowl of fruit salad.

• Study the menu and look for items with minimum fats, carbs or refined products. Do not hesitate to ask. Have the waiter describe the recipe like the ingredients used and how it is cooked. If possible you could request to tweak the recipe to minimize extra cheese, cream or butter etc.

• Order for fresh lime juice to kick off while you decide on the menu.

• Order items that are steamed, broiled, roasted or grilled, requesting to avoid butter or cream etc.

• For starters non vegetarians can opt for grilled, roasted or steamed chicken or fish without excess fat. Vegetarians will be better off opting for some grilled seekh capsicum, broccoli, zucchini, mushrooms, onions etc. or some roasted papad (if sodium is not a concern). Avoid paneer as it is mostly the high fat variety. Addition of herbs and spices can enhance the flavor.

• Some of the worst appetizers to be kept off from are, paneer or chicken tikkas, chicken wings, potato, cheese burgers or potato fingers and all dips.

• Order for light clear soups, requesting to get the add ons separately so that you can make you own choice.

• You can choose from the salad bar, but avoiding items like potatoes, corn, grated cheese, creamy dressings, croutons etc. lemon squeeze or rice vinegar instead of salad dressing can do the trick.

• For enjoying the dip with the salad, just dip the fork into the dip before helping with the salad, rather than taking spoonfuls or spreading it over.

• Order for breads without added butter or ghee.

• Avoid paneer dishes as they are high fat as also the Indian vegetable recipes, unless they are stir fried or steamed or baked.

• Keep track of portion sizes, since portion control is the key to safe and moderate indulgence.

• Lastly, if you are too tempted to sweeten your taste buds, surely you can go ahead but just having a small bite or portion. If your companions are generous, you could just take a portion off from their share rather than ordering the whole serving.

Above all, not to forget that a regular good session of any physical work out, be it a brisk walk or any sport or even hitting the gym can balance the indulgences you might love to give in to occasionally.
So, guys go ahead and dine out to your good health.

Diet in Monsoons

This is that time of the year when risk of food borne infections and illness are at its peak. So friends, here are some of important factors to be kept in mind to keep fit and healthy to enjoy the monsoons:

    • Avoid heavy fried and fat rich foods -difficult to digest
    • Use only pasteurised milk and milk products from the same-curd, buttermilk good options.
    • Avoid cut fruit and other roadside juices and foods.
    • If desired use stew of chicken, rather than heavy curries or fried forms.
    • Eggs especially white portion can be consumed if boiled or cooked well to avoid infection.
    • Sprouts and salads cut at home are safe and healthy options.
    • Pickles and other preserved items to be stored in air tight containers to avoid fungal growth.
    • Spices like hing, zeera, pepper and cinnamon are good for digestion.
    • Dry cereals, pulses etc. to be stored in air tight containers to prevent worm infestations
    • Use of coriander and mint is gut friendly biput need to be washed well.
    • Wash fruits and vegetables first by soaking in potassium permanganate solution or vinegar solution and then rinsed with fresh water.
    • Refrigerate cooked food once it reaches room temperature. Freeze foods not intended to be used soon.
    • Have plenty of fluids like water , lime juice, coconut water etc. avoid aerated beverages like colas, sweetened drinks which can cause dehydration
     So friends eat healthy, stay healthy and enjoy the monsoons!