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Nutrition for the uninitiated

Updated: Oct 25, 2019

Nutrition, a word, the meaning of which, as time passes, gets more blurred. It is often a dilemma to figure out what is actually good for our body, our nutrition. We tend to follow the advise of posts on the internet and friends, without actually knowing their benefits and effects, and some snippets handed down by our grandmothers. This leads to us treating ourselves like a guinea pig, hoping that at least one would work.

Read on to know what real nutrition is.


NUTRITION (n)

the process of providing or obtaining the food necessary for health & growth.


Nutrition is a big family made up of the famous 7 important suspects - Protein, Carbohydrates, Fats, Vitamins, Minerals, Fiber and Water. Scientifically speaking, the body requires a right blend of all these suspects, for a healthy being. Just like anything in excess is harmful for you, excessive intake of wrong types of food and supplements will lead to an imbalance of nutrition. The simplest way to knowing what is and how much food is good for you, is to refer to the food pyramid. The pyramid sufficiently sums up the right amount of nutrients required by the body and the foods that contain them.


The pyramid bifurcates the different food groups and lists the important building blocks required for a healthy nutrition. Food Pyramid is integral as you start your journey towards a healthy lifestyle, the foods giving similar nutrients are grouped together. Maintaining a healthy balance by knowing your portions of these foods is needed for good health and well being. So, enjoy a variety of them everyday.

This makes choosing and preparing a balanced diet all the more easier.


In short, the Food Pyramid preaches, that for a healthy lifestyle, we should eat lots of Vegetables, Salads and Fruits, a healthy portion of Wholemeal Cereals and Breads, a moderate amount of Milk, Dairy Products, Meat and Poultry. Research shows, foods listed in the top two shelves - Spreads, Processed Foods and Sauces with High Fat, Sugar and Salt content are the foods from where the most amount of calories get accumulated in the body, and might cause illnesses, too, if not moderated at an early age. So, they are best avoided or had in minimal servings.


Natural food produce, such as cereals, fruits and vegetables, is undoubtedly the healthiest option that anyone can choose as an ideal food choice. Out of these, whatever can be consumed raw, must be had raw, like fruits and vegetables in the form of salads. Cooking depletes the nutrition quotient of these natural food products. And in the case of packed foods, the nutrition content gets depleted at the time of processing, while the additives increase the taste of the food.


What we need to do is eat consciously and wisely, for every time we eat, it is an opportunity to nourish the body. It is not difficult to follow a practice, once you understand the concept and science of nutrition. But, to embark on a journey towards a healthy body, it is important to have the willingness to begin, knowledge to implement and implement the knowledge. No one knows your body better than yourself, therefore, know what your body needs, listen to its limitations and work towards its goals. Maintaining a food journal, including it in your routine and setting a weekly goal and working towards it are some ways to keep you on track.


The age-old wisdom correctly puts it as, “You are what you eat”.


We sure are what we eat, as the nutrients from the food provide support and nourishment to each and every cell in our Hair, Skin, Nails, Muscles, Bones, the Digestive and Immune systems. Therefore, an unhealthy diet does not give your body an opportunity to absorb the right nutrients. With the right diet, your Mood, Energy and overall Health and Performance will sky rocket.


In addition to a right diet, physical movement or exercise is also important. Doctors and dieticians suggest that rather than following those crash-course-diets, we must make healthy eating habits and right exercise routines part of our daily routine. Therefore, simply put, the secret to a Healthier Lifestyle is 80% Diet and 20% Exercise.


With fast food and gastronomy being at it most creative potential, we love to catch up, participate and relish the gourmet world. But instead of asking yourself, “Why not indulge a little?”, tell yourself “Let’s indulge in Moderation”. Fast food once a while is alright as a treat to have followed a perfectly healthy diet on other days.


Our Ancient Science of Life, Ayurveda, believes that imbalance or Vikriti is very harmful for a human, his body and his mind. Vikriti can happen in either functional or the structural component in the body. To bring the body back to balance and harmony, a change in our mindset, our diet and our lifestyle is needed. Imbalances in our body can be brought back to balance by making intelligent choices for our Body, Mind and Soul - for every choice we make, contributes towards the rosy path in life.


Food or ‘Ahara’ is considered as the sustainer of life, by Ayurveda. Therefore, it places great emphasis on the selection of food, its cooking and illustrates rules for healthy eating and lifestyle. What you put into your body, becomes the energy which translates into everything you do. Therefore, a foolproof diet plan is the solution to tackle the lack of nutrition in your physical being i.e. ‘Vikriti’ or ‘imbalance’ of the physical. Ayurveda’s plan for diet and wellness is intricately designed according to a person’s Dosha - which is determined on the basis of a person’s constitution. The three doshas are Vata, Pitta and Kapha. So, knowing your Dosha will greatly help with the foods for your diet and your being.


Starting your day with warm water is recommended as it fires up the body’s digestive fire or Agni. Starting with something cold, acts as an extinguisher to the fire. Spices not only add beautiful flavour and aroma but also brings therapeutic properties to your meal. Spices like Ginger help boost our natural immunity and metabolism while turmeric is full of anti-inflammatory properties. Each taste is said to contain specific nutritional qualities, which leave you nourished and prevent after-meal cravings. So, including the six tastes, salty, sweet, sour, bitter, astringent and pungent in your meal brings you closer to a fulfilled healthy Ayurvedic lifestyle.


We need to be wise at how we treat our body, as we have to live in it for the rest of our lives. Therefore, make the right choices for the long haul and have fun while doing it. Take time out, just for yourself, to nourish and rejuvenate your Body, Mind and Soul - consider this your Inner Yoga.



So, Embrace the healthier lifestyle wholeheartedly and say “I choose” rather than “I should”, “I will!” rather than “Can I?” and “I love to!” rather than “I have to”.

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