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Ganesh Chaturthi | Keep it Healthy with these 9 Food Rules

Ganesh Chaturthi: During festival season, with all the delicious food to gorge on, don't lose sight of your health.

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<div class="paragraphs"><p>Don't lose sight of your health this festival season.</p></div>
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I have a slightly different approach to festivities.

I believe festive months are the time when we must look more closely at our diet and keep a conscious check to undo the damage that too much of meetha and junk food might cause.

Beginning with Rakshabandhan (which just went by), which will be followed by Ganesh Chaturthi in September, and then Diwali in November and finally Christmas in December, and then, of course, the build up to the new year celebrations...the remaining 4 months of the year can prove to be a food (orgy) minefield that has the power to derail our health, blood sugar, weight and immunity big time.

In these COVID times, we must not let that happen.

So what is the solution? Can one undo the damage of the overindulgence during the rake weekend (and similarly for the coming festivities)?

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Absolutely!

The damage can be undone (and even prevented) by con-sciously adopting the time proven nutrition rules and intentionally including some healthy, cleansing and strengthening foods in our diet on a daily basis.

The damage can be undone (and even prevented) by con-sciously adopting the time proven nutrition rules and intentionally including some healthy, cleansing and strengthening foods in our diet on a daily basis.

Simply follow these 9 basic rules to keep your health on track and enjoy the festivities minus any damage to the health.

First, Cut Out All That Is Toxic From Our Daily Diet

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Cut down on alcohol and other toxic foods.</p></div>

Cut down on alcohol and other toxic foods.

(Photo: iStock)

This includes smoking, excess of processed food, tea, coffee, chocolates and obviously, alcohol.

This will help to clean up the already taxed (and maxed to work) liver, skin, lungs, kidneys and lymph.

Also include citrus fruits in diet, switch to green tea, cut down excess sugar from your diet. Basically detox on a daily basis.

Go Vegetarian for a While

...or at least cut down heavily on non-veg foods.

This will help immensely by supporting the body with nutrients and easy-to-digest food.

To undo the festive default calorie overload and also to give our stomach a little rest have simple, easily digestible, yet highly nutritious meals (like simple dal chapel, multigrain khichri, vegetables loaded soups etc) as often as possible.

Keep it High Protein

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Balance out the carbohydrate binge with protein!</p></div>

Balance out the carbohydrate binge with protein!

(Photo: iStock)

Festivals mean a carbohydrate binge, so consciously keep trying to in-clude high protein sources in your diet.

Opt for a protein with complex carbohydrates combination at every meal or snack. Some examples are: fish with rice, muesli with yoghurt, and wholewheat toast with egg, Khi-chri (rice plus dal).

Change Your Grain

Barley is a good option as is rich in soluble fibre that has the ability to form a gel when it mixes with liquids in the stomach.

This slows down the emptying of the stomach, which prevents carbohy-drates from being absorbed too quickly and raising blood glucose levels.

Switch to a Low Fat Diet

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Steer clear of processed foods with preservatives.</p></div>

Steer clear of processed foods with preservatives.

(Photo: iStock)

Say no to all those splendid looking fried and refined foods, as well as processed and packaged foods as they are high in preservatives and chemicals.

Get Your Stomach’s PH Back on Track

Most of the heavy, festive fare we eat tends to be acidic in nature, that messes up the balance of our gut.

So to get our stomach’s ph back on track, it is important to consciously include alkaline foods in our diet.

Have warm water with a squeeze of lemon and some honey first thing in the morning everyday. Lemons can help immensely.

Load up on Nutrients

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Make sure you'rre getting enough essential key nutrients.</p></div>

Make sure you'rre getting enough essential key nutrients.

(Photo: iStock)

Include green vegetables, beets, cauliflower, cucumber, peas, apple, banana, orange, peach etc in the meals, as they also make the stomach alkaline.

Festive diets are not really nutrients loaded, they in fact tend to be nutri-ent vacant.

So, consciously set that right by eating a diet that is focussed on essential key nutrients like vitamin A and C, B complex and D, cal-cium, iron etc.

To correct their developing deficiencies include enough fruits and vegetables as these are good sources of vitamin A and C, and magnesium (amla, berries, citrus fruits, apples, bananas, dark green leafy veggies, carrots, pumpkin…).

For vitamin B plate enough dairy, fish and green vegetables, and ensure calcium by downing enough dairy everyday.

And if you are lactose intolerant try alternatives like soy milk and til (sesame) seeds.

Scoring vitamin D is simple, just spend 30 minutes in direct sunlight everyday without fail to allow the body to make the required D.

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Don't Forget These Spices

Four spices to consciously include in your meals are:

  • Turmeric

One direct result of eating rich food day in and our (and yes drinking too) thanks to the festive foods can be increase of inflammation in the body.

Turmeric thanks to curcumin it has is a great inflammation cutter. So begin adding it liberally in all your tadkas and also have warm haldi milk with a pinch of pepper every night.

  • Fenugreek seeds

Methi seeds can keep the blood sugar levels in check. So add liberally to your dal tadkas.

  • Black pepper

It is a rich source of vanadium, a trace mineral that helps boost or inhibit the action of enzymes in the body selectively helping keep the blood sugar levels stable.

Always add some black pepper over a freshly fried egg and season your soups and vegetables liberally with it too.

Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Drinking lots of water is also a great way to detox.</p></div>

Drinking lots of water is also a great way to detox.

(Photo: iStock)

Have at least 7 to 10 average sized glasses of water each day.

It helps dilute toxins and waste products for their easy drainage from our body system; regulate and maintain our body temperature, and also helps to clear excessive fats from our blood-streams.

Other beverages which would add to detoxification are infused water with lemon or cucumber, lemon water, green tea, herbal teas, freshly made fruit juices with no added sugar, coconut water.

Finally one hot tip: have some cinnamon everyday. It has a component hydroxychalcone that helps keep the fasting glucose in control. A pinch everyday (say in your cup of tea or sprinkled on your cereal) is all you need.

(Kavita is a nutritionist, weight management consultant, and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of The Dont Diet Plan: A no-nonsense guide to weight loss, Fix it with Food, Ultimate Grandmother Hacks, and Don’t Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People.)

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