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Why you do this, French Fries? – A love-hate relationship!

My tryst with french fries and our scandalous love affair, revealed...

Once upon a time, on a cold winter day I found out that the cereals (that I had put all my culinary trust in) aren’t healthy. I was shattered. Then I found out the truth about granola and then about flavored yoghurt (neither of them is as nutritious as they claim). That was it. It was all too heartbreaking. Every food I had deemed healthy had been a nutritional betrayal.

It was in this weak moment that I resorted to French Fries. Fries and I have since had a scandalous love affair. They may not be the healthiest but the French fry won’t lie! Precisely why, even in the time of low-fat, low-carb, vegan, raw, gluten-free and the many other fad diets, my love of French fries has remained undeterred.

Truth be told, our relationship with food today is just as complex and unhealthy as my story above. Our culinary priorities at the moment are all over. We are either lost in the maze of fancy diets or are too busy ‘Instagraming’ food to invest any thought in it.

Well, I looked for help and found it. Pooja Bhargava, a nutritionist and fitness expert; maps out an approach to nutrition and health that is both – conducive to our lifestyle and allows us to maintain a healthy relationship with food.

Excerpts of my chat with Bhargava below…

Who are you?

 “First ask yourself, how do you want to look and conduct yourself? In my experience, everyone has different interests. Some teenagers are academically inclined, some are inclined to sports, some towards arts. So focus on your dream because that is what will excite you to follow any particular nutrition or health pattern,” she says.

“The academically inclined will need brain power and alertness. So you need carbs for energy and glucose. Proteins are necessary for your repair but not necessarily if you are an athlete or are into sports. You also need proteins for renewal and bone growth at this age. Fat is important because it helps your sex hormones function properly. So each nutrient serves an important function and each has its own importance” she points out.

You and your food

“Keep tabs on when you ate last. Did you eat at 6 in the evening and then not eat anything till 9 in the night because you were busy attending classes or binge watching something? If that is the case then it’s time to change your eating habits” she quips.

Going back to my unhealthy obsession with the French fries, Pooja explains, “It is when you don’t eat for long hours that the fries start looking tempting. So try and eat every two to three hours. And don’t just roll up a roti and eat it in a jiffy.  Sit down, connect with your food, eat and chew well because that is when your brain gets a message that says, yes I am full and that is when the nutrients get absorbed. But if you eat fast, all of this gets missed out. This is when the French fries seem appealing and you land yourself with binge eating disorders” she warns.

On developing good food habits she says; “Never go hungry when you leave home in the morning. Within the first hour of waking up, eat something. Your body has lost on nutrients in the night considering it was still working when you slept so nourish it well in the morning.”

A little bit of this and that

Stressing again on the importance of all nutrients, Bhargava insists that you don’t skip any. “Think of the 5 fingers in your fist as the essential nutrients. The first being carbohydrates, fats, minerals, proteins, vitamins and when you shut your fist you close it with some water. You need them all to stay in good health. The five nutrients are needed for different functions of your body. The water is the transport system, which takes these nutrients all around your body. This way you will be of your ideal weight and will be fit (mentally and physically) to achieve your dreams and ambitions.” 

Food or exercise?

Which of the two is better? I ask, “Fitness and nutrition are two sides of the same coin. You need to support your muscles and bones and that happens when good nutrition is backed with good exercise.  Since your commitment levels and responsibilities are much higher today, your schedule is packed with classes upon classes - you are getting more and more sedentary. I say cut down one academic class, it won’t matter. Instead incorporate one hour of a physical activity in your schedule. I strongly advise against the gym though. Play a sport instead” she concludes.

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5 weird signs that prove you have a nutritional deficiency

Are you facing any of these weird symptoms...
Ritika SrivastavaTeentalkindia Counsellor

Has your body been throwing mysterious cravings at you? Do you find yourself dealing with strange behavior patterns and bizarre symptoms? Well, if you listen carefully, you will realize that your body is trying to tell you something.

Behind every freaky craving and symptom is your body hinting that you might have a nutritional deficiency. It is your body’s way of begging you to stack up on what it’s lacking.

It may be difficult at first to understand that you can be deficient of nutrients, if you have been eating often. If you have been having your meals and you’ve been snacking away in between meals too, how is it then, that you have a deficiency? The answer is empty calories!

You have probably been loading on food that is nutritionally void, oblivious to the fact that you are depriving your system of all the healthy nutrients that it needs. Let’s take a stock of these bizarre signs and symptoms that point at your deficiencies and the nutrients you need to score on…    

You crave eating chalk

If you have been feeling an uncontrollable urge to bite into a chalk or scrape lime stone powder off the wall and eat it; this implies that you have a calcium deficiency. By driving you to eat into every possible source of it, your body is demanding that you eat more of calcium.

To fix this –

Banana, milk and cheese, sea food, nuts and leafy vegetables are all rich sources of calcium. Every once in a while you can toss yourself a bowl of salad that is packed with the greens, nuts and tofu to make sure you get your calcium dose.   

You want to eat dirt

As strange as it may sound, people who experience this craving struggle with a pretty strong urge to eat dirt (earth). This suggests that the person suffers from anemia and has an iron deficiency.

To fix this –

Sea food, red meat, beans, dried foods, cereals and dark green vegetables are all good sources of iron. If you are a vegetarian, consider filing in your lack of iron with soybean, flax seeds, tomatoes and lentils.       

You have numb or tingly limbs and hands

If you have been getting a numb or a tingly feeling in your hands and limbs, then it is most likely that you have a Vitamin B12 and/or Vitamin D deficiency. We suggest you get yourself tested and if you are indeed deficient of these then make amends.

To fix this –

Lack of exposure to sunlight, vegan diets, stress and other unhealthy lifestyle choices are causes of Vitamin deficiencies. It is important that you consume a sufficient portion of cereals, mushrooms, sea food, cod liver oils, eggs, beef and cheese. 

You want to chomp onto ice

This one might sound strange but an urge to eat ice indicates iron deficiency. When you are running low on iron you will feel fatigued and low on energy, and because ice causes a mental energy boost you will feel like eating it.

To fix this –

Instead of chomping onto ice, we say you level your iron scores by consuming read meat, beans, lentils, orange juice, oysters, yoghurt, soy et al.

You have brittle and flaky nails and you are losing hair by the dozen

If you are losing hair then you need to check on the ingredients of your shampoo but more importantly you need to know that it could be a protein deficiency! If you have brittle and flaky nails then you have the lack of iron to blame.

To fix this –

To fix your iron deficiency you must up the intake of; sea food, red meat, beans, dried foods, cereals and dark green vegetables. For the protein deficiency, make sure you eat loads of broccoli, chicken, oats, almonds, eggs and dairy.  

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