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Medicine & Health Education
Essential Therapeutic Life Style Changes
For a Healthy Body, Mind and Spirit
Some Simple Steps to Uplift the Physical, Mental and Spiritual Health
Bala N. Aiyer, M.D.
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Part - 04
 
 
PART - 04: IT IS ESSENTIAL TO HAVE PROPER DIETARY PRACTICES
 
 
 
 04.01: What should be the contents of the daily fare?

If you are already have diabetes or a heart condition or a kidney problem, you have to follow the diet regimen prescribed by your doctor. Let us see now what those having good health should do as a preventive measure. Basically, it would be good to have food four times a day. There is no need to starve one-self to maintain proper health. Regular food with controlled calories and proper food choices are needed for seven days a week with some choice dishes spread out on a few occasions during that time period is a good schedule for eating. To illustrate, in a week, one can indulge oneself on a Friday night, a Saturday lunch and a Sunday brunch. On other days, the intake should be controlled to some extent. The day can start with a cup or two of plain water before taking any food. Breakfast is a must; which may consist of multi-grain bread, oats, cereals and some skimmed milk (low-fat). Starchy or oily food can be reserved as a Sunday special! Lunch fare may consist of a mixed vegetable soup, along with nuts like few almonds, cashews and other beans, before small main-course meals. You can get the benefit of added spices ginger and garlic to improve the taste.

If raw vegetables do not suit the taste, you can try boiled vegetables as a substitute for it. Non-vegetarians may take a couple of eggs (or egg white) along with breakfast. Meat eaters may savor in a limited amount of fish or chicken along with an ample amount of vegetables. But, they must avoid high fat containing fried dishes as also beef and pork. Both mid-day and evening meals should restrict the quantum of sugar and starchy items (carbs as they are called). Everyone must eat four portions of meals in a day. They should not skip the breakfast. Fruit juices can be added for breakfast. Everyone must drink plenty of water; about 6 to 8 ounces of water first thing in the morning and again before lunch can be a good idea. A light breakfast and a small evening or bedtime snack besides a well-planned lunch and dinner will be a good meal plan. To understand the components of a full meal, we may think of the platter consisting of 12 parts; the ingredients would then be: 2 parts for rice/cereals; 1 part for starchy vegetables like potato, and plantain; 2 parts for fish, chicken and dairy products; 3 parts for salad (raw vegetables); 2 parts for cooked vegetables; 1 part for fats like oil, ghee and nuts; herbivores may substitute meat items with pulses and nuts. For a proper appreciation of the actual quantum, one part would be roughly half a cup or four ounces in measure. That will be plenty of food that an adult will need.

04.02: Information about varieties of Food one need to know.

The basic principle to be kept in mind while choosing the various food choices is that starchy items like rice and cereals should be minimal. Greens and raw vegetables should form a major part of the regimen. The daily requirement of an average individual is around 1000 calories. Intake of oil, ghee and other fatty foods should be reduced as much as possible to avoid obesity and accumulation of bad cholesterol in the blood. Having a glass of plain water before starting a meal is a good custom to be adopted. Most of us do not have enough physical exercise or labor oriented avocations to have more food than what has been mentioned above. Consequently, any excess would lead to unwanted results like blood clots. Also, Indians are advised not to partake of non-vegetarian foods like beef or pork since they have a very high fat content.

Substituting white rice with par-boiled, brown or red rice and wheat products like atta, rava (sooji) and chappathi may appear advisable but there is not much difference. The alternative grains may take a little longer for digestion. But all of them are carbs and contain convertible sugar. Similarly fruits and fruit juices have high sugar content. Vegan diet has deficit in Vitamin B12 in their aliment. Vegetarians may have a deficit of Vitamin B12 but dairy products like milk and yoghurt may offset this to some extent apart from contributing protein. We need fresh Vegetables to get most of our vitamins. It should also be remembered that cooking destroys some vitamins which are present in raw vegetables which makes raw vegetables as salads a desirable component of the intake.

Non-vegetarian foods like fish, chicken, eggs, lamb, goat, beef and pork, contain a good amount of fat and also lack in fiber. This may be acceptable for a young person with lots of physical activities and exercises. But as age advances and sedentary life begins the same causes the problems. This leads to obesity. Beans, nuts, and pulses do have protein but their amount is restricted to 15 - 20 %, the rest being starch like rice. They also contain some oily fats. Our cuisine contains a number of dishes rich in oil content; for example "vada" may have protein from the pulse (beans) but is soaked in oil. Sweet dishes invariably contain large quantities of sugar and fat as ghee (melted butter). Spicy snacks and hot foods with pepper may taste good but may cause stomach trouble. Also, when the spicy red pepper content is more in the dish, this itself will always have lots of salt and oil as part of the preparations. Foods must be low in fat contents to 15% along with limited starch and reasonable portions of proteins within the limits of Calories allowed. It is therefore necessary to balance the content of starch, protein and fat in whatever food we take. It is never too late to start a Good Diet Plan and Exercise.

 
   
   
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-- This is called Behavior Modification --
Essential Lifestyle Changes -- for a healthy Body, Mind and Spirit 0
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Thank You
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