What do you want to be first thing in the morning? Energetic Fresh. Vibrantly alive. You can be all these and more – because the key to them lies, in your hands! What you need to do is start your body’s energy cycle that lasts for the entire day. And how do you rev up this energy cycle which means, you create- use-up-create energy constantly? By two simple ways – exercise, and eat (when you must) the right food.
The best breakfast you can treat yourself to is exercising. Walking or jogging or cycling or swimming or inchstepping, for 20 to 42 minutes awakens you like nothing else does. It stimulates your insides by working on your muscle tissues, relaxes your digestive tract, rids your body of wastes, gives you more punch than the caffeine you get from your morning cuppa.
Eating in the morning does not really help your energy cycle. You will know why later in this chapter. But, if you must eat, go for fresh fruits and sugar-free fruit juices. Your body can digest them with ease. Thus, the energy cycle generated by exercising does not get used up for digestion and you are free to use it for more important jobs.
Aha! you might say, these guys promised us that we have to make little changes to make big differences. Do they call these little changes? Why, I’ve never exercised in the morning! And as for drinking fruit juice instead of coffee… forget it! Wait! Don’t tune off. We are talking of an ideal situation here. If you can switch to this state without feeling any pangs, you’d be into your energy cycle almost with a snap of your fingers!
But what if you are used to eating a hearty breakfast? What if the thought of eating fruit in the morning makes you squirm? What if you don’t feel ready to face the day without your morning cuppa? Here is where that tiny change waltzes in, Have your morning cuppa without sugar. If you cannot cultivate a taste for your unsweetened beverage, use a sugar-free sweetener, but try to wean yourself out of this habit gradually.
If you feel unfinished without sinking your teeth into your toast, continue to do so. Just substitute the butter with a delicious herbal spread, You can pile onions, coriander leaves, ginger, garlic, salt, lemon juice into your mixer and churn out this mouth-watering chutney. Spread it over your slice and crunch away! If you are into dosas or parathas prepare them without oil or ghee. And you can use the same fat-free chutney as an accompaniment. Coconut as a base for your herbal spread is avoidable since it increases your cholestrol. It is far healthier to use onions.
Afternoon: If you haven’t had time for exercising, here is your opportunity to do so. Your lunch hour is your own. You could go for a 42-minute walk. Or swim if you have a pool handy. If your office has a gym, use the walker or stationary cycle. If you have your own cabin, you can inchstep. Keep jogging shoes, socks and a mat permanently in your cabin.
Once again, the ideal lunch would be a soup and a nice luscious salad or a medley of vegetables with a fat-free masala – eaten with oil-less rotis or bread. Wash it down with fresh buttermilk or chaas.
If you cannot do without your thali, have hot steamed rice (without ghee) and a fat free sambhar or dal with your sabzi cooked in an oil-less masala. A void pickles and papads.
Most of them have excess oil and salt. For dessert, sink your sweet tooth into a nice juicy fruit.
If you eat out regularly, try and inculcate these hints into the chief’s menu. We are sure a good restauranteur would want to please his regular customer.
Tea-time: Your tea should be sugar-free, and if you enjoy a snack with your evening cuppa have idlis or cream crackers. The humble idli is an ideal health food. You can even put sprouts into its mix before steaming. And, of course, the accompaniment should be the oil-less sambhar or the herbal chutney we’ve already mentioned.
TV-time: In the evening, while watching television, you can inchstep or pedal on your stationary cycle. If you like snacking, crunch on cucumber fingers. Instead of eating fried farsan or peanuts (they contain high cholestrol), you could make your own TV snack. For example, mix vegetables with sprouts and a few roasted channas, sprinkle them with chaat masala and squeeze a fresh lemon. Or spread chutney on a cream cracker, place a sliced tomato over it, sprinkle with sprouts and chaat masala, and place a tiny sprig of coriander or mint leaves as a garnish. Salted biscuits are not recommended for obvious reasons.
Dinner. Your night thali can be similar to your afternoon one – steamed rice, fat-free dal, a sabzi cooked in an oil-less masala, a chutney and fruit. If you enjoy onion bhajiyas, dip them in their batter and grill or bake them, Don’t fry them.
Pre-dinner appetiser. Perhaps you are used to imbibing alcohol before dinner. The healthiest way would be to give it up. Relax with a glass of buttermilk. Or fresh fruit juice. If that is not possible, don’t exceed two small pegs of your favourite. Beyond that, it’s just not worth risking your health.
Initially, preparing such meals may appear an onerous task. But that is only because you are not used to it. In time to come, you will realise that oil-less cooking is far simpler and quicker than the oily way. It involves churning out the masala in your mixer and cooking your vegetables in it, or boiling the dal with the seasoning such as mustard seeds, curry pata, etc. By following such a fatless and sugar-free lifestyle daily, you can splurge once in a way when you are out at a friend’s place or at a restaurant.
On such occasions, you will be surprised how full you feel on food cooked in oil-for by then, your system will be tuned to healthy eating.
By adopting the simple principles mentioned above, you will be aiding your body’s energy cycle. You will enjoy your meals even as you continue to lose weight.
Your exercising ensures excess fat-burning, while you are not putting fat or sugar into your body. You can compare this fitness lifestyle of exercising and healthy eating to blinking. Blinking comes naturally to you. Only by putting weight on your eyelid, will you make it difficult for yourself to blink. Similarly, by not exercising and overeating, or eating the wrong food, you put pressure on your body system. By getting into the fitness lifestyle, you are leaving your body free to ‘blink’ away in its natural energy cycle.