It should not be a mere proverbial saying but a practical commitment when we say ‘Eat for the body you want and not for the body you have’.
If we really want to shed weight we must observe the above principle day in and day out. Rather, it should not be like a New Year Resolution which is a momentary oath only. We must remember our commitment in terms of what we should eat and drink right from the time we wake up till we retire to bed. In the following essay, we shall see how we can plan and implement our day’s food:-
1. Healthy habit right from the time we get up from bed:-
We must avoid coffee, tea etc.. Instead, we must start with a nutritious intake.
* Soaked badam or walnut – 5 pieces OR
Overnight-soaked fenugreek – 1 teaspoon OR
Half lemon fruit juice in warm water with a pinch of cinnamon and turmeric OR
The essence of betel and ginger OR mint leaf, coriander and basil essence
We have to take one of the above and 20 minutes after that only coffee or tea can be taken. At the same time, if we are in the habit of taking any medicines in the empty stomach like thyroid medicine, we have to take it first and after 45 to 60 mts. only, we can take either of the above items daily.
2. When to take breakfast?
It is advised that we must take our breakfast exactly within two hours from the time we get up from the bed. The concept of ‘brunch’ should be done away with. Our morning breakfast should ensure carbohydrate, protein, vitamin and mixture of various minerals.
Eg:- Idly, dosa or pancake, oothappam, pesarat – any one of these with mint or coriander chutney OR
Uppuma made out of flattened rice with multi vegetables OR
Keerai dosai or egg dosai with sambar or chutney OR
Nutritious porridge made out of water, buttermilk and less salt OR
Sprouted grains and fruit salad with flak seeds spread
It is a ‘must’ to avoid coffee/tea after breakfast since they will destroy all the nutrients that we have taken in the breakfast.
Exempted category for breakfast:- Only those who are in the practice of observing intermittent fasting are excused. In practice, these persons will take their food only within any 8-hour schedule like between 10 am and 6 pm or 11 am and 7 pm or 12 noon and 8 pm as the case may be. This schedule of taking food will be highly helpful to those who are diabetic or those who cannot shed their weight by whatever means. It is observed that a particular community adheres to this schedule strictly even today. They will take a full meal in the morning and some snacks around 2 pm and again food at 6 pm. That is all.
3. For forenoon appetite:-
Avoiding coffee and tea is always better and wise. Instead, we can take a tender coconut, buttermilk, lime juice, nannari sharbath or syrup with less sugar, green tea, and hibiscus tea or tomato juice. It is recommended that we can take any drink except sugar and pure milk.
4. For noon meal:-
The number of different items should be measured and taken. For instance, half of our plate should be earmarked for vegetables. One quarter should be for rice or millet-based rice and another quarter should be for sambar, spinach, buttermilk-based kuzhambu, tomato-based curry, kootu or any other side dish, rasam or non-vegetarian gravy.
It is better to avoid more oil-based concentrated sambar, vatha kuzhambu, hot sambar or kuzhambu, pakkoda kuzhambu and kuruma because the tamarind and coconut pulp and oil used in these items will increase the calories and affect the digestion also.
5. What is the ideal food in the evening:-
Evening from 4 pm to 7 pm is the most vulnerable time. Children and parents returning from schools/colleges and offices will feel terribly hungry. They will be tempted to eat a lot of snacks without any limit. If we want to control this, we must not fail to take our noon meal. This will cause adverse effects on the body. It will add more weight. Hence, instead of the junk items as snacks, we must eat those snacks which are rich in protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals.
Example for good snacks: (any one item)
Sprouted grains, raw mango, onion, cucumber and tomato added sundal – half a cup
Fruits, vegetables or sprouted grains-mixed salad
Whole wheat bread sandwich with mint chutney and vegetables or paneer slice
Bread omelette with cucumber, onion and cut tomato pieces
Home-prepared bel with mixed vegetables
One cup full of fruits
A nice salad containing boiled corn, groundnut, sprouted grains and vegetables
Salad made out of groundnut
6. Evening food – last intake of the day!
The ideal time of the last intake of the day is between 6 pm and 8 pm. There may be certain exceptions wherein some people will return home only around 9 pm. They should also ensure that they take their night food as immediately as possible.
Idly or dosai or oothappam or ragi dosai (pancake) with side dish as chutney and sambar can be eaten, most preferably before 8 pm. Afterwards, it is better to avoid
any more intake except for a cup of milk or fruit before going to sleep.
The principle of ‘We can’ and ‘We will’ will undoubtedly inspire anyone to achieve this objective.
(This article written in Tamil for Aval Vikatan magazine dt 30/4/19 has been translated in English by P.S.Ramamurthy)
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