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Category Archives: Fitness

social disorder
Categories Advice, Anxiety, Fitness, Health, Stress Management, Tips, Wellness

The lesser known Social Anxiety

What happens in anxiety?

Many people with anxiety experience symptoms of more than one type of anxiety condition, and may experience depression as well. It’s important to seek support early if you’re experiencing anxiety. Your symptoms may not go away on their own and if left untreated, they can start to take over your life.

Social anxiety

Socially anxious individuals cannot seem to relax and enjoy themselves while they are in public. These people think that other people are trying to evaluate them in some sort of way, being critical in what they do or say.

However, for people with social phobia performing in front of others and social situations can lead to intense anxiety. For example, the prospect of eating in front of others at a restaurant can be daunting for some people with social phobia.

Social phobia may occur in the lead up to or during in:

  • performance situations (such as have to give a speech or being watched while doing something at work)
  • situations involving social interaction (such as having a meal with friends, or making small talk).

Social phobia can also be specific; where people fear a specific situation or a few situations related to a specific fear (such as being assertive at work or with their friends).

social phobia

How common is social phobia in our country?

Research suggests that almost 11 per cent of the Indian population experiences social phobia during their lifetime, with just under 5  per cent experiencing social phobia in any 12-month period. More women than men appear to develop the disorder. The condition often starts in childhood or adolescence.

Treating social anxiety

Social phobia is treatable and seeking professional support is the first step to recovery. There are two main types of effective treatments for social phobia; psychological treatments will generally be the first line of treatment. In some severe cases, taking healthy food and changing lifestyle can also be effective.

weight loss vs fat loss
Categories Advice, Exercise, Fitness, Health, Info., Wellness

Fat loss vs Weight loss

Health is the greatest gift and contentment is the greatest Wealth. Being obese comes with its own set of problems. It brings so many related health issues and has a major impact on lowering our confidence.

Trying to be slim and healthy can be a long and tough journey which requires a lot of effort, but shouldn’t we make sure we’re putting this effort in the right direction?

weight loss vs fat loss

There is a vast difference between fat loss and weight loss but not many of us know this. A few simple differences and it’s effects on our body are :

  • Body : Weight loss is a reduction in weight which includes fat, weight and water whereas fat loss focuses on losing only the fat content in the body.

  • Health : Weight loss can make our body weak as a we lose larger part of the important components whereas fat loss helps us burn the fat which results in increased stamina and energy.

  • Food : Reduction in diet and exercising can help us lose weight but fat loss requires a proper, balanced diet with regular exercising.

When we merely try to lose weight, we tend to reduce our food intake. This can harm our body, lead to weakness and sickness as our immunity system loses strength.

Fat loss mainly focuses on losing the unnecessary and excess fat from your body resulting in strengthening the muscles with regular exercising.

We must make sure we are benefiting from the efforts and hard work we put in towards making our body and health better by knowing and doing the exercises and diet in the right way.

Categories Advice, Diabetes, Exercise, Fitness, Meditation, nutrition, PCOD & PCOS, skin, Tips, Wellness

Sara Ali Khan suffers from PCOD: What should you know about the disease

 

Polycystic Ovary Disorder is one of the most common diseases we see affecting women today. It is simply more than experiencing irregular periods.

Almost 1 in 10 women are diagnosed with PCOD and PCOS globally and it affects almost 10 million women on a global scale. Recently, on a chat show, it was revealed that Saif Ali Khan and Amrita Singh’s daughter Sara Ali Khan, who is soon going to make her debut suffered from PCOD, which added to her rapid weight gain.

 

Here are some other common symptoms which many fail to ignore and put themselves at risk:


What is PCOD?

Polycystic Ovary Disorder (PCOD) problem is a hormonal disorder in women defined by a group of signs and symptoms. PCOD problem is one of the most common reasons for infertility in women. This health condition can cause problems with a woman’s menstrual cycle, cardiac function as well as appearance. Women who have polycystic ovary have multiple small cysts in their ovaries that occur when the regular changes of a normal menstrual cycle are disrupted.

PCOS occurs not just in women, but in girls as young as 11! Polycystic ovaries are generally larger in size and denser than the normal ovaries. It usually occurs when the sex hormones go out of balance and the body starts producing more male hormones resulting in the onset of several symptoms.

What are the symptoms?

PCOD symptoms are related to menstrual disturbances and excess levels of androgens. Menstrual disturbances can include delay of normal periods, the presence of fewer than normal menstrual periods, or the absence of periods for over three months. A woman’s menstrual cycle may not be associated with ovulation and may result in heavy bleeding. Watch out for these symptoms to determine whether you have PCOD or not.

  • Irregular periods
  • Reduced fertility
  • Abnormal weight gain or obesity
  • Heart (cardiac) complications
  • Acne or skin rashes
  • Abnormal hair growth or hair loss

Causes

No one really knows what exactly causes PCOD, but it is likely to be the result of a number genetic and environmental factors. Researchers are studying the role that genetics might play in this development. Excess production of the hormone androgen can also cause PCOD.

Hereditary – If your mother or sister have a history of PCOD, then chances are you too might get diagnosed with this health issue.

Low-grade inflammation – When women have low-grade inflammation, it stimulates ovaries to produce androgens, leading to PCOD.

PCOD Problem Treatment

There is no PCOD solution, but it can be managed with right PCOD diet plan. Doctors may offer different medicines for PCOD problem treatment or suggest fertility treatment as PCOD solution, but below are some natural ways to manage this health condition –

Eat right

If you are obese, weight loss plans is all you need. The more overweight you are, the more likely you are to be insulin resistant whether you have PCOS or not. Losing just 5% of your weight will help lower insulin resistance. Eat more of weight loss foods and avoid sugary, salty, and fatty foods as much as possible. Increase your protein intake by making it at least 30% of your diet; make carbs less than 50% of your diet.

Know how to maintain a healthy weight.

Exercise

Moderate exercise such as walking or swimming for at least 30 to 90 minutes every day go a long way in managing the condition. It will also help you lower or get rid of insulin resistance.

De-stress

Chronic stress only makes insulin resistance worse. So, look for ways to de-stress your mind and body. For instance, getting good sleep of at least 7 to 9 hours can help lower insulin resistance. Stress reduction techniques, such as yoga and meditation let you connect with your body.

 

How is it treated? Is it curable?

Both PCOD, as well as PCOS, are types of lifestyle diseases which come from following unhealthy eating, practicing little to no physical activity. If not treated in time, PCOS can add up to problems for women trying to have a baby and conceiving can take a lot of time. In addition, women with PCOS also have a high miscarriage rate. Hence, the biggest way to get rid of PCOS is to improve your diet and lifestyle.

Categories Advice, Diabetes, Fitness, food, meal palnning

Understand Diabetes – Do’s and Don’ts

If you’re already following a healthy and nutritious diet plan, congratulations! You’re on your way to leading a fitter and longer life. But if you have any health problems, such as diabetes, check out this best food for diabetes control food list!

Diabetes is an acute metabolic disorder wherein the body is unable to convert sugars, starches and other foods into usable energy. Most of the foods you eat are normally converted into a kind of sugar called glucose during the process of digestion. The bloodstream then transports this glucose throughout the body. The hormone, insulin, then converts glucose into active energy or is stored for future use. The most common types of diabetes are type 2, prediabetes and gestational. In short, diabetes and sugar go hand-in-hand.

Best food for diabetes control

A healthy diet plays an important role in controlling and managing the symptoms of diabetes. Those having this health disorder can either not make enough insulin or their bodies cannot use the insulin correctly. This is the reason why too much glucose gets accumulated with the bloodstream. If you have diabetes, avoid foods high in sugars, carbohydrates and unhealthy fat, as such foods increase your blood sugar.

Key foods are fruits, vegetables and whole grains. There are certain foods that can help manage your blood sugar levels efficiently. Here’s a diabetic food list which you must follow religiously.

Indian Gooseberry (Amla)

One of the richest sources of Vitamin C, the Indian Gooseberry boosts immunity, improves digestion, is a potent liver cleanser, works as a laxative, brings a glow to the skin and prevents aging. This superfood must be part of your diabetic food list, as it helps bring down the blood sugar levels. Mix a tablespoon of amla juice with half a cup of bitter gourd juice and take it on an empty stomach in the morning. It is especially beneficial for young children suffering from frequent colds and throat infections.

Jambool

Dark purple in colour, the Jambool is an age-old remedy for a number of conditions. In the Ayurveda, the seeds, as well as the fruit, are used in the treatment of type 2. The dried powder of the Jambool seed is given in a dosage of 2 gm thrice a day. Eating the fresh Jambool fruit has a beneficiary effect on the liver and pancreas too. It helps remove toxins from the liver and prevents fatty liver infiltration.

Fenugreek seeds (Methi)

They are highly effective in treating type 2 diabetes and hence are a must in your diabetic food list. Two tablespoons of powdered methi seeds should be taken in the morning on an empty stomach to bring down blood sugar levels. In addition, this will also help bring down triglycerides and serum cholesterol levels. Methi leaves are also useful in combating anemia.

Helpful herbs

Certain herbs available in pharmacies are especially good in controlling diabetes. Karneem made from Karela is one such herb. Jambukasav, syrup made from jamuns is another such herb that helps control blood sugar.

Bitter gourd (Karela)

If you wish to keep blood sugar levels under control, drink a cup full of fresh bitter gourd juice first thing in the morning. Karela is known to be effective in lowering elevated blood sugar levels in type II diabetes. You can also have it in the cooked form. Karela helps improve carbohydrate metabolism, supports the immune system and is rich in Vitamin A and C. It is also beneficial in the treatment of piles, heat boils and rash.

Diabetic Food List: What Foods to Avoid with Diabetes

White rice

The more white rice you eat, the greater is your risk of getting type 2 diabetes. White rice and pasta can cause blood sugar spikes similar to that of sugar. Opt for brown rice. It does not cause the same blood sugar spikes thanks to fibre, which slows the rush of glucose into the bloodstream.

Sugar

Sucrose, present in table sugar, provides no nutrition instead increases calories and carbohydrates intake. Try substituting this kind of sugar with natural sugar, like honey, jaggery (gur), molasses etc.

Whole milk & its products

Try replacing high-fat milk or its products with low-fat milk and its products like low-fat yogurt (curd) or low-fat cottage cheese.

Tea and coffee

Avoid having more than two cups of the regular tea or decaffeinated coffee every day. Blended coffees are especially laced with syrup, sugar, whipped cream and other toppings that are loaded with calories and fats. Switch over to herbal teas.

Refined flour & its products

Replace these with whole grains, whole wheat or soy bread and unpolished rice, whole wheat pasta.

Chinese food

High-calorie, high fat, high-sodium and high-carb, Chinese cuisine can increase blood sugar drastically and keep it high for a while. So, if you love Chinese food, prepare a modified recipe at home using steamed vegetables and low-sodium, low-fat condiments and flavourings. The best would be to not include in your diabetic food list.

Fruit smoothies & juices

This might sound like a healthy refreshment, but can be a sugary disaster if you have diabetes. A large glass of smoothie contains as much as 500 calories and 92 grams of carbohydrates. Instead, make your smoothie at home so you can control what goes in it. You can add vegetables like spinach and kale and use low-sugar fruits like green apples and berries. Similarly, drinking a glass of orange juice with your breakfast is equal to sipping a can of soda.

Fried foods

French fries, fried chicken/fish and potato chips soak up tons of oil during their preparation. This leads to piling of extra calories if eaten frequently. At 25 grams of fat, 500 calories, and over 63 grams of carbohydrates, a large serving of french fries can spike your blood sugar levels. Also, it can lead to weight gain.

Foods to Avoid in Type 2 Diabetes

Those with type 2 diabetes should avoid refined grains as they affect blood glucose more quickly than whole grains. Here’s a list of grains and products made from refined flours to avoid or limit their intake:

  • White rice, pasta and flour
  • White bread, bagels and white flour tortillas
  • Cereals not made from whole grains
  • Cookies
  • Cakes
  • Muffins

Besides the above-mentioned foods, type 2 diabetes persons must avoid.

  • Trans fat – They have been linked to inflammation, insulin resistance and belly fat
  • Fruit flavoured yogurt – Flavoured yogurts are made from non-fat or low-fat milk and loaded with carbs and sugar. Plain yogurt can be a good option for people with type 2 diabetes
  • Flavoured coffee – Consider this as a liquid dessert and not a healthy beverage as it is loaded with calories and carbs that result in weight gain
  • Honey – Other forms of sugar – including natural sugars such as honey – can cause blood sugar spikes. Type 2 diabetes persons should also avoid brown sugar and maple syrup
  • Dried fruit – When a fruit is dried, it loses water that leads to even higher concentrations of vitamins and minerals. Dried fruits may contain more than three times as many carbs as fresh fruits do. Hence, type 2 diabetes persons should avoid them
  • Packaged snacks – They are nothing but mostly refined flour and supply few nutrients to the body. In fact, some packaged foods may contain more carbs than mentioned on their nutritional label.
navratri special diet
Categories Advice, Diet, festival special, Fitness, food, Health, meal palnning, Meals and Snacks, Tips, Wellness

Well-Balanced Diet for Navaratri fasting

The festivities of Navratri begin shortly. Along with the fun and frolic of garba, it also brings along the nine-day fasting routine. In order to maintain good health, it is imperative that you follow a healthy diet and fast in a safe manner.

Is fasting healthy? Many may wonder if going on a nine-day fast is indeed healthy for our bodies. Yes, it is an extremely healthy practice as long as you do not starve yourself. Fasting helps you cleanse and detoxify your body and mind. All you need to do is fast in the correct manner by eating small meals frequently and select healthy eating options.

Bad effects of not fasting properly:

Many people who fast also go to play garba or dandiya in the evenings. Since this requires stamina and energy, it is vital that you fast in a proper manner in order to enjoy the festivities and not strain your body’s health. Some of the ill-effects of not fasting properly are:

  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Fainting due to a drop in blood sugar level
  • Unable to sleep properly
  • Lack of stamina
  • Tiredness

Who should avoid fasting?

We suggest diabetics and pregnant woman avoid this fast as it can cause a drop in the blood sugar levels which is not conducive in both the cases.

sabudana khichdi for navratri fasting

1.) Breakfast options (choose any one)

  • Fruits shake with wet almonds.
  • Fruits with cream of milk.
  • Amaranth porridge with nuts.

2.) Mid-morning options (choose any one)

  • Green tea with water.
  • Lemon water with fruits.
  • Coconut water with fruits.

3.) Lunch options (choose any one)

  • Baked sabudana tikkis with veggies and curd.
  • Grilled Vadas with mint spicy chutney.
  • Kuttu chapatti with vegetables and salad with raita.
  • Samak rice with vegetables and salad.

4.) Post Lunch

  • Drink a cup of hot green tea.

5.) Evening time

  • Green tea with baked chips or roasted makhana or baked namkeen.

6.) Dinner (choose any one)

  • Paneer tikka with vegetables.
  • Milk with fruits.
  • A bowl of vegetables and salad.
  • Pumpkin and bottle gourd soup with vegetables.

 

Here is the collection of Farali recipes which you can have during fasting. All fruits and foodstuff made of fruits are eaten during the seven days. The devotees, who have taken fast, would get up early in the morning, take bath and worship to the Maa Durga.

People follow a specific diet for Navratri special, if they haven’t observed a nirahar means water-less fast. Special in Gujarati people may not eat onion, garlic, wheat, rice, vegetables etc.

They take beverages like tea, coffee, and milk, on Navratri. Dishes made of sago, potato, and Singhare ka atta, kuttu ka atta is generally consumed by the people, when they observe fast on Navratri.

Sendha namak as rock salt is used instead of common salt, for cooking on the festival. All fruits and foodstuff made of fruits are eaten during the seven days.

drum stick rasam

Here is the Gujrati farali recipes..

  • Sabudana Khichdi
  • Mandvi Paak
  • Singhoda ni Kheer
  • Moriyaani Khichadi
  • Dudhi no halvo
  • Suran Bataka ni khichadi
  • Potato Rosti
  • Potato Wafers
  • Farali Batata vada

South indian navaratri festival recipes..

  • Rice Payasam
  • Carrot Payasam
  • Lemon Rice
  • Besan Ladoo
  • Vermiceli Kheer
  • Udipi Sambar
  • Drumstick Rasam
  • Idli recipe
Categories Advice, Exercise, festival special, Fitness, food, Health, Meals and Snacks, Tips

Navaratri tips for fasting

Navratri special: Navratri is one of the most important Hindu festivals celebrated twice in a year.

In the eastern state of West Bengal, the festival takes the shape of Durga Puja, when the devotees of the deity celebrate the triumph of good over evil.

In north India, Gujarati people observe a seven day fast during Navratri and break their fast on Navami, the nine days of the festival by worship young girls.

People from all over the world celebrate Navratri special with passion, intensity, and enthusiasm. While some people take participate in the celebrations for religious reasons but others look to give their body a much needed lose weight.

If you plan to fast this Navratri special then make sure that it is done the healthy way. It can help you lose weight, wash your mind and will leave you feeling great!

Tips to follow to make fasting in good health –

1. Keep yourself happy, making your cheeks rosy and eyes bright. Drink lots of water max to max 2 litter par day and liquid like lemon water, coconut water, Energy drink, green tea, and buttermilk.

2. Eat minimum meals and do not get hungry yourself. This will help keep blood sugar levels and stop you from feeling faint and low.

3. Amaranth Grain, one of the most promising unexploited food and folder crops. It is the best protein origin you can take during fasting. Make amaranth porridge with milk or cook it as namkeen dalia with lots of vegetables.

4. Combine high carbohydrates food like sabudana and potatoes which is mostly used in fasting with other stringy vegetables like bottle guard spinach, capsicum, tomatoes, cabbage, etc. Also try to roast, grill or bake vegetables instead of deep-frying them.

5. Samak rice is very easy to digest and can be applied in any kind of quantity.

6. Control those evil sugar strong desire by eating a lot of dates, Samak rice kheer, apple kheer, and fruits raita.

7. Try and eat healthy snacking and don’t overeat onnamkeens packets as they are high in salt and fat content.

8. Instead, pick for roasted makhana, a mix of nuts like almonds/ raisins/ walnut / baked chips, roasted peanuts, etc.

9. Change sugar with honey or jaggery.

10. Use skimmed milk instead of full cream milk.

Categories Beverages, Diet, Fitness, food, Health, nutrition, skin, Wellness

Health benefits of Bottle Gourd in Morning

8 reasons to start your day with Bottle Gourd juice!

What is the first thing you do after waking up? If you have a habit of drinking bed tea or coffee, give it up right now! Kick-start your day with a healthy Bottle Gourd juice. Be it post workout and detoxification or dealing with UTIs. Bottle Gourd juice can work wonders for your health.

#1 Acts as an excellent post workout drink

Replace your protein shake with a healthy and natural post workout drink – (Bottle Gourd)lauki juice. The presence of natural sugars in the vegetable not only restores glycogen levels but also replaces the carbohydrates lost from the body during a workout. This juice also improves the efficiency of the muscles due to its high protein and nutrient content.

#2 Helps you deal with UTI

If you are experiencing a burning sensation or pain while urinating, all you need to do is drink a glass of freshly prepared lauki juice every morning. Because, symptoms of urinary tract infection such as burning sensation and pain are caused due to high levels of acid in the urine. And as lauki juice is loaded with water and is alkaline in nature, it exerts a cooling effect on the body and acts as powerful diuretic agent, relieving the burning sensation.

#3 Detoxifies your body and exerts a cooling effect

Drinking a glass of lauki (Bottle Gourd) juice on an empty stomach makes you feel fresh and energetic. The juice contains 98% water and antioxidants that help in flushing the harmful toxins from the body. This in turn cleanses your body and helps you to start your day with a bang! Also, during the hot summer days, sipping this nutrient-rich juice not only satiates your thirst but also prevents loss of sodium from the body, providing a cooling effect.

#4 Helps you lose weight

Did you know that lauki juice is low in calories and fats, making it an effective drink to lose weight? Also, it is rich in fibre that keeps you full and thus, prevents you from hunger pangs. And being an excellent detoxifying agent and a great post workout drink, lauki juice helps you to achieve your weight loss goals.

#5 Acts as a natural remedy to get rid of suntan

If you don’t want summers to ruin your skin or leave a dark patch on your face and back, then try this home remedy to deal with suntan. Loaded with anti-inflammatory properties and high water content, lauki juice acts as a natural bleaching agent to lighten your skin tone. Due to the high water content, it also moisturizes the skin.

#6 Treats constipation and other digestive problems

If you suffer from constipation or flatulence, ensure you drink a glass of lauki juice once a day (preferably early morning). With 98% water content and high fiber content, lauki juice helps in proper digestion of food. It also contains electrolytes that helps in maintaining electrolyte balance in the body and help your to fight diarrhea.

#7 Helps you to deal with hair loss

If you have tried everything one earth and still haven’t found anything to prevent hair loss, then this miracle-like remedy might help you! Known to be loaded with nutrients, lauki juice when applied in combination with sesame oil on the scalp proves to be effective in treating hair loss and even baldness. And what’s more, in Ayurveda, it is known to prevent premature greying of hair.

#8 Relieves stress and depression

Lauki juice contains the highest amount of choline, a neurotransmitter, than any other vegetable. It is loaded with vitamins, amino acids and minerals that help in the synthesis of neurotransmitters that in turn help in proper functioning of the brain cells and thus, prevent mental disorders like stress and depression.

We are sharing a quick magic Bottle Gourd juice recipe with all of you.

Ingredients

• 1 cup Ghiya chopped.
• Mint
• Cumin powder
• Ginger
• Water
• Ice cubes
• Salt

Recipe

• Take 1 cup peeled and chopped Bottle Guard in a blender.

• Add handful mint, ½ tsp cumin powder, 1-inch ginger, ¼ tsp salt.

• Add 1 cup chilled water and blend smooth.

• Pour Bottle Guard juice in a glass with few ice cubes.

Categories Advice, Diet, Fitness, food, Health, meal palnning, New Food, nutrition, Protein, Wellness

Why everyone should eat Chia Seeds?

Weight loss can be a major challenge today because of the abundance of food available and a more sedentary.

But inthis modern-day superfood that is native to South America can help you with weight loss in a healthy way . In older times, chia seeds were a staple in Mayan and Aztec diets, but later got banned due to their ritualistic religious use. Needless to say, these seeds have made a comeback with a bang in the market due to their positive connection with weight loss.

When you think of chia seeds, you most likely think of the tiny seeds that were the joke of a generation as we slathered them on clay sculptures and gleefully watched the sprouting of ‘green hair’ on Homer Simpson and porcupines.uhh..now let us go keen on them, Chia seeds are rich in fibre and thus eating them in between your meals not only stops you from bingeing but also helps you eat less in your next meal.

Chia is the edible seed of Salvia hispanica, a flowering plant in the mint family.

The seeds are hydrophilic, absorbing up to 12 times their weight in liquid when soaked and developing a mucilaginous coating that gives chia-based creams and beverages a distinctive gel texture.

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)

Energy – 486 kcal (2,030 kJ)

Carbohydrates -42.1 g

Dietary fiber-34.4 g

Fat-30.7 g

Protein-16.5 g

 

Chia seeds on average contain 6% water, 42% carbohydrates, 16% protein, and 31% fat. The fatty acids in chia seeds are highly unsaturated, with the major fats being linolenic acid (50–57% of total fat) and linoleic acid (17–26%). The seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and the B vitamins thiamin and niacin.

Ground or whole chia seeds are used in Argentina, Bolivia, Guatemala, Mexico, and Paraguay for nutritious drinks and food.

Chia seeds may be sprinkled or ground up on top of other foods. Chia seeds can also be mixed into smoothies, breakfast cereals, energy bars, granola bars, yogurt, tortillas, and bread. They can be soaked in water and consumed directly or mixed with any kind of juice or milk.

Categories Advice, Diet, Fitness, food, nutrition, Protein, skin, Wellness

6 skin benefits of fasting during Shravan

In case you are fasting and keeping your non-vegetarian diet aside, here are seven food items that will help you get a healthy glowing skin in the month of Shravan

If you think that fasting during Sharavan can turn your skin dull and dry, then you need to think again. This is because a vegan diet comprising of fruits, vegetables, health drinks and nuts, improves the digestive system, keeps you healthy and helps you attain a glowing skin. The fasting diet is equally rich in vitamins and minerals, fasting do have some skin benefits. These seven food items listed below will help you get a healthy glowing skin in the month of Shravan:

banana

1. Banana: Rich in vitamins, minerals, and potassium, the fruit nourishes and revitalises dry skin. Consumption of banana protects the skin against free radicals that cause pre-mature ageing. While it’s zinc content fights acne-causing bacteria and the vitamin C content promotes the production of collagen.

papaya

2. Papaya: Rich in vitamin A and Papain enzyme, papaya helps to reduce pigmentation and promote rejuvenation. Also, it removes tan and controls acne breakout.

3. Pomegranate: Its antioxidant property builds up immunity and reduces tanning. Also, pomegranate has anti-ageing property that help rejuvenate the skin internally and externally. The delicious fruit if consumed during the fasting season, will keep the skin healthy and glowing.

4. Sweet potato: It contains vitamin A, C, D along with niacin, riboflavin and potassium. Sweet potato is a rich source of natural antioxidant that reduces pigmentation and signs of ageing. During Shravan, sweet potato can be eaten in boiled or mashed form. It can also be sauteed in olive oil and eaten for taste.

5. Sabudana: This is another rich source of carbohydrate, which is eaten universally during fasting period. Carbohydrates are rich source of energy and will keep you active throughout the day. Sabudana is eaten mostly in the form of khichdi, popularly known as ‘sabudana khichdi’. Mix milk and dry fruits in a sabudana recipe to increase its nutrition level. Sabudana along with milk and dry fruita contribute to a healthy skin.

6. Cold Milk: This is one of the most important drinks to have during Sharavan. Drinking milk increases the nutrition level of the diet and helps attain a healthy skin. Anytime you feel an acid formation in the stomach or heartburn coming on during the fasting period, have a glass of plain cold milk without additives or sugar. It can also be consumed as the main drink in the morning or evening.

Stay away from high calorie foods during fasting month as such food items can weaken the immune system and lead to a dull skin.

Categories Advice, Diet, Fitness, food, Wellness

Why fasting during Shravan is good?

The Hindu month of Shravan is when many people follow fasts on certain days like Mondays or eat only one meal for the entire month. There are also other days like the Chaturthi, Ekadashi, Poornima (full moon day) etc. when fasting is followed too. Why did this practice of fasting begin? What are the rules? Does it have any benefits – health and otherwise?

The spiritual reason

It is believed that fasting has been a part of Hinduism, which is a way of life, since the beginning. We, humans, spend a lot of time in planning, procuring, cooking and eating food which not only becomes an exhausting activity by itself, but it also takes away from what should be a spiritual way of life. Or so is the belief! So, certain days were followed as days of fast when one would abstain from eating or would eat limited, saatvik foods.

Hence, the food allowed on fasts were supposed to be those which are easy to procure throughout the year, like the tubers sweet potato, yam, tapioca, the millets like the Indian barnyard millet (samo/varai/bhagar/saamai), grains like amaranth (rajgira), dried fruits, water chestnuts etc. It was believed that when you don’t have to spend too much time in managing the food part of every day, you end up having more time to be close to the Almighty or the higher spiritual powers, and hence one would take up these fasts with joy.

The present reality

Unfortunately, over time, fasting has become more of a feasting where people indulge in deep fried starchy foods like potatoes, sabudana (sago palm starch pearls), sweets made using dairy products and heavy handed use of ghee. Also, often people forget the real purpose and goal of a fast eat simple foods (eg. Fruits), do not over eat, eat less at each meal or decrease the number of meals, cook food in a saatvik way (avoid deep frying, processed foods).

So instead of being able to derive any of the reported benefits of fasting like improved digestion, improved insulin levels, decreased body weight – one ends up actually feeling bloated and is unable to sleep at night due to the ‘upvaas’ feasting induced hyper- acidity.

How to derive health benefits from fasting?

  • Take the focus away from food: Instead of planning a visit to a new upvaas food joint, eat a fruit and enjoy the light feeling tummy.
  • Eat nutritious carbs: Stay away from starchy potatoes and sabudana and derive the nutritious benefits of foods like water chestnut, rajgira and varai.
  • Follow the ancient Chinese rule of eating: Eat one morsel less than what makes you feel full. Do not overeat at any cost.
  • Detox: Drink plenty of water and eat fresh fruits as that is what will keep you feeling energetic.
  • Revive the Saatvik way: Use healthier cooking methods for making delicious upvaas food eg. Make sabudana appe instead of sabudana wada or a upvaasache thalipeeth made from upvaas bhajani instead of sabudana thalipeeth.
  • No feasting after fasting: Once you are done with the fast, do not try to compensate for the imaginary loss of calories by bingeing the next day.
  • Exercise, always: It would be useful to remember that a fast does not mean you are unwell, no need to use that as an excuse to not exercise every day.
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