Staying fit through inculcating healthy eating habits might feel a little overwhelming at times but what if we tell you that it doesn’t have to be? What if we tell you that you don’t need to completely cut off sweets or maida to become fitter?
Seems untrue? Krish Ashok, the author of Masala Lab: The Science of Indian Cooking is here to help you through little hacks that’ll help you stay fitter while enjoying your favorite foods in moderation.
Hack 1- Pay attention where your fructose is coming from
Fructose (fruit sugar) which is a type of sugar that is present in most fruits and in other plant-based foods such as vegetables, honey, sugar cane etc. might seem like a healthier option but in fact is not as healthy as one might think.
Lessening your fructose consumption might do a lot of good to your health. This in no way means that you should stop consuming fruits all together; it just means avoid consuming over ripe fruits like mangoes and bananas. In addition, avoid drinking fruit juices but rather consume the fruit directly for maximum benefits.
Hack 2- Remember how your body processes starch
So firstly, let’s understand what carbohydrates are – these are large chains of sugar molecules that your body breaks into glucose which is the main source of energy for your body. Now starches are a kind of complex carbohydrate that your body requires more energy to digest which also makes it beneficial for your gut bacteria that has long term health benefits like reduction in the risks of cancer etc.
Hence it is advised to avoid processed grain and refined starches (white flour, white bread, pasta, breakfast cereal etc) but rather consume resistant starches (oats, legumes, cashew) that have impressive health benefits.
Hack 3- Eat only as much is required
It is important to consult a nutritionist and understand your bodily nutrition needs before you start filling up on copious amounts of food. Keep a check on your daily calorie consumption and eat only as much as your body requires. Surprisingly, this helps your mind stay active for longer which leads to higher productivity. This also helps you maintain your body weight.
Remember, you should feel satisfied after a meal and not stuffed!
Hack 4- Pay attention to the amount of protein you are consuming
If you follow vegetarianism or veganism you might not be fulfilling your body’s protein needs on a regular basis. In this case, you need to pay special attention to your protein consumption because just 2 bowls of dal might not be enough for you. Try and include more paneer, soy protein, lentils, tofu etc to include sufficient protein in your diets. A lack of careful diet- planning can lead to nutritional deficiencies.
Did You Know?
Jaggery/ Honey are not a healthy alternative to sugar, since jaggery is 95% the same as white sugar and honey is mostly fructose.
Hack 5- Stop paying attention to fat start paying attention to carbs
Hog on that plate of ghee paratha without guilt.
Yes, you read that right! Ghee is not bad for you; in fact fats reduce the way in which blood sugar spikes which is a good thing. But remember, moderation is the key. As long as you stick to your nutritional needs and calorie limits, eat anything that you like.
Hack 6- Start using affordable modern day kitchen devices
Eating healthy seems like a challenge but in today’s time where you have products like an air fryer; it doesn’t have to be that difficult. For instance if you’re craving fries, you can easily satiate your cravings by air frying those; this in no way means you can hog onto those fries but a controlled portion won’t hurt.
You can also pick up spice grinders for a freshly blended spice mix instead of storing powdered spice and if not, ensure you store it in an airtight container in a freezer.
Hack 7- Understand where your food comes from
This broadly means keep a check on whether your food is coming from a packet, plant or an animal. If it’s coming from a packet it might not be a healthy option. Hence, try and reduce the consumption of packaged food items. Moreover, if possible try and keep a check on how much processed food item that you’re consuming. Minimally processed food is much safer to consume than highly processed food. Eating food that is as close to how nature intended it to be, can have a profound impact on how you feel, look, and think.
So these were a few checks that you can be mindful of before your next meal.
Remember, making the switch to a healthy diet doesn't have to be all or nothing. You don't need to be perfect, give up all of your favorite foods, or alter everything at once—doing so generally results in straying or giving up on your new eating regimen.
A better strategy is to implement a few minor adjustments at once. Maintaining modest goals will enable you to accomplish more over time without experiencing deprivation or being overburdened by a significant diet change. Consider creating a healthy diet as a series of doable, incremental steps, such as including a salad in your diet once each day. You can add more healthy options as your minor modifications become routine.
In addition, choose home cooked meals over outside food, this way you can keep a check on what’s coming on to your plate. Understanding the ever evolving science behind food might sound like a tedious job but is actually very simple and helps you maintain your health.
If you’d like to know more about such hacks and learn the science behind food and why it is important- check out our podcast ‘One Rep at a Time’ wherein our Ep 035- We interview Krish Ashok and know more about Hacking the Indian Kitchen.