Understanding Insulin Resistance: Part 1

Hi friends, happy Friday!

How are you all? Hope all safe and healthy. If unwell right now, I wish you speedy recovery.

For me also, its kind of back to March of last year. The last couple of months have been a little relaxed…though masks, sanitizers, social distancing etc were still very much in place. Somehow, the situation has worsened again. My residential compound is sealed and it’s lockdown here in Mumbai anyways. That means no helps, no workouts and back to being a one-woman-army! Client work, cooking, cleaning, laundry on top of managing online schooling/studies for both the girls, it is kind of hard. I almost didn’t get time for today’s blog! I guess it’s true after all that if one really wants to do something, one will find time. Am glad I could 🙂

Today, I want to discuss Insulin resistance with you. It is a lengthy topic so I’ll break it down into two parts, part 1 being today’s post.

First Of All, What Is Insulin?

Insulin is a very important hormone made in our body, by our pancreatic beta cells. This hormone is responsible for converting the glucose that we ingest (through food), into energy.

After we are done eating, the carbohydrates in foods are broken down into glucose which the body absorbs via our intestinal walls into our blood. Then the pancreas releases the hormone Insulin which enables our body-cells to use this glucose for energy.

In short, our blood sugar levels stay balanced due to Insulin. When we have too much glucose, Insulin also tells our liver to store it so that it can be used later in hours of need such as between the meals, stressful situations, fasting and energy for physical exertion/activities.

Now, Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance happens when Insulin is produced alright…but our cells, even liver, don’t respond well to it. As a result, our bodies can’t use glucose in our blood, for energy which ideally happens. Our pancreas gets the wrong signal and it thinks that it’s not making enough Insulin so it makes more.

However, the blood glucose levels go up, stay up and affects us in many harmful ways.

Insulin Resistance vs Diabetes

Oh yes, there is a slight difference. In the case of Insulin resistance, our cells don’t understand the signaling by Insulin and are unable to utilize the glucose efficiently and hence the blood glucose levels increase. However, the levels are generally still not that high as to qualify for diabetic category.

We can call it prediabetes and we can be in this stage for years without even knowing about it. The good news is that it’s easily reversible with proper care.

Diabetes on the other hand, can be of two types, Type 1 and Type 2. In Type 1, our body can’t make Insulin hormone at all. In Type2 diabetes, body becomes immune to Insulin and whatever Insulin the body produces is not enough. Liver overproduces Insulin to keep a balance and exhausts itself soon, resulting into diabetes.

How To Detect Insulin Resistance

It is very hard to detect insulin resistance as it has no significant symptoms but that does not make it any less risky. Around 50% of people with prediabetes end up with diabetes later in life, if they do not make any lifestyle changes. Insulin resistance can only by detected by a blood test or glucose tolerance testing. However, a few signs might point to it:

  • Being overweight
  • Irregular lipid profile (low HDL or high cholesterol or high triglycerides)
  • High blood pressure of systolic 130 and above
  • Fasting glucose level over 100 mg/dl
  • waistline over 40 inches in men and 35 inches in women
  • A skin condition called acanthosis nigricans which is believed to occur due to the buildup of insulin in body. This can be identified by the dark, velvety patches on the back of neck, in armpits or in groin area
  • skin tags
  • Any other symptoms commonly associated with diabetes such as constant hunger, thirst or fatigue

The Bottom Line

Do consider undergoing a simple test – primarily a blood test, to confirm your suspicions in case you see any above-mentioned symptoms of insulin resistance, especially if:

  • you have a sedentary lifestyle or job
  • family history of diabetes
  • had gestational diabetes

Hope you found the post useful. Best weapon against any disease or illness is the knowledge to detect it before it makes irreparable damage to our body. Do join me on Instagram for more regular stories of health, nutrition, fitness and more.

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Otherwise, till next Friday 🙂

Love, Health & Peace

Is Honey A Good Sugar Substitute?

Hi friends, happy Friday!

How are you all?

Last to last post was about jaggery vs sugar (read here if you missed the post) and we saw that in terms of calories and sugar content, there isn’t much difference. For a non-diabetic healthy person, switching over to jaggery from white refined sugar might be okay but for rest, jaggery is and should be treated as a sugar only, especially if you are watching your weight or sugar level spikes.

Oh and make sure to find good, unprocessed jaggery to get real benefits out of it! Adulterated jaggery, highly bleached and full of toxic chemicals – from certain parts of India is a big news these days. The worst part of this adulteration it is that we consume something thinking it is beneficial for us when it is actually doing more harm than good.

Anyways, let’s evaluate another sugar substitute today. Now that we know where jaggery and sugar stand, the next question is “and what about honey”?

First, What Is Honey

Honey is made by honeybees from the nectar of flowers. Sweet and syrupy, it ranges from golden colour to a much darker shade of yellowish-brown.

Today, the market is full of all kinds of honey. The difference could lie in the plant-source, the way it is extracted or even in how it is processed. It could be raw, it could be pasteurized. Our choices are vast – from wild honey to acacia honey to clover honey to even neem honey! Not to mention blended honey, now.

Nutrition & Calories

Let me share a personal experience with you. There was a time long back when I decided to try warm honey-lemon water first thing in morning – for weight loss. Well, that was the prevalent wisdom then and a very famous brand was actively promoting its honey for the same purpose.

Did it work for me? A big NO! That got me thinking how it could even? If you are trying to lose weight, the first general step is to reduce sugar intake. Was honey-lemon water in morning helping with it? No. It just added to my sugar intake and the logic was so simple to me that I refused to listen to all the “weight-loss wisdom” after that till it fitted my basic, simple logics of nutrition and calories.

I never got to examine the detox part of it as I stopped consuming it altogether after that whole weight-loss debacle.

Before we come to the nutrition part, let’s clear the calories part. Did you know, honey has more calories than white sugar? Oh yes, 1 tbsp of honey contains 64 calories versus 1 tbsp of sugar with 46 calories. This means swapping sugar for jaggery or honey would not be a safe bet for weight-watchers!

It also means that for diabetics, honey isn’t a good alternative to sugar, just like jaggery. Though it has a relatively less glycemic index (61 against 65 of sugar) but it still causes sugar spikes and still adds up on calories for weight-watchers.

Much sweeter than sugar, honey is about 35% glucose, 40% fructose, 9% sucrose and rest other simple carbohydrates. Though this could also mean that you use it in lesser quantities!

Having said that, a dash of honey in your herbal tea is fine if it increases the flavour or makes it slightly less bitter. At least you know/understand why you are having it and what exactly would it be doing!

Honey does contain several micronutrients like iron, zinc and potassium but in minute quantities. However, high-quality honey:

  • is rich in flavonoids and other antioxidants (such as phenolic acids)
  • helps in wound-healing and anti-inflammatory purposes
  • can also help with heart health and other chronic diseases

Doctors strongly advise against giving a baby of less than 1 year any sort of honey as it contains pollen spores and might result in botulism, a kind of serious toxicity caused by bacteria Clostridium botulinum.

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Which Honey Is The Best?

That’s an important question!  Choose raw, unprocessed, unpasteurized honey always. Preferably an organic one and definitely without any added sugars or chemicals/preservatives!

The Bottomline

For normal healthy people, swapping sugar with high-quality honey might make sense. Even then, consume only high-quality honey and in moderation.  If it fits into your daily healthy diet, no harm taking it and it would be best to consume it with other nutritious foods.

If you are a weight-watcher/diabetic and your doctor/nutritionist allowed you some honey, make sure it’s high-quality and you add it with some other foods with fibre/protein/fat etc so that the sugar-spikes are regulated.

That is all for today, friends. Hope you found the post useful 🙂

Till next Friday!

Love, Health & Peace

Drinking Copper-Water/Tamra Jal

Hi friends, happy Friday! How are you doing?

This summer (and always), a very good idea to help you remember to drink adequate water every day is –to keep a separate water bottle for yourself! This way, you know how much you drank and complete your target, if you are lagging behind.

Keep a glass or a steel bottle preferably. It’s great because it is safe, reusable and eco-friendly!

I know the moment you read this, you would say, “and what about a copper bottle?”. Very much in trend, I keep seeing ads for very pretty, shiny hand-painted/hammered water copper water bottles. Suddenly, copper bottles have become a health trend and lot of people have started drinking water out of copper bottles.

As a kid, I used to own a copper serpent-shaped ring that I liked a lot. I used to wear it all the time but within a few days I noticed that the skin under the copper ring turned green in colour and the stain stayed for many days even after I removed the ring. For some reason, the stain felt toxic to me as a kid and since then I am wary of copper. I know now it’s oxidation but still…

In any case, I always preferred glass so I never tried copper bottles but my sister did. For few months, she drank water out of these pricey, beautiful bottles…to one day end up with copper toxicity! Luckily she had no symptoms and it came out in a routine blood-test before anything happened. She immediately stopped drinking water out of copper bottle, of course.

This made me realize that a ‘’health’’ trend could also be dangerous if we don’t understand it well. That a “health” trend might not be for everyone.

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What Is Copper (Cu) To Us?

Copper is a mineral. It is important for many functions in our body. However, it is required in very small amounts and its natural deficiency is very rare as many foods contain it. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for adult men and women is only 900 μg/day (0.9 mg) as per WHO and is easily met.

What is Copper toxicity?

If I didn’t see it happen myself, I probably wouldn’t believe it. It is after all an ancient custom of India, to drink copper-water or tamra-jal, out of copper vessels, isn’t it?

Copper toxicity can be fatal as it affects functioning of vital organs. Getting too much copper on a regular basis can cause liver damage, abdominal pain, cramps, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.

So, Good Or Harmful?

Not necessarily harmful but we have to be very careful. Drinking tamra-jal and cooking in copper vessels is not new to us Indians. It is supposed to have many benefits which include:

  • Better immunity
  • Better joint health
  • Better thyroid care
  • Better iron absorption in body
  • Aids in digestive process etc


Not much research has been done on these fronts but at least the water-purification and anti-bacterial properties of copper and copper-water are well-proven.

Precautions For Copper Water/ Tamra Jal:

As per Ayurveda, the process is to is to leave water overnight (for about 8 hrs) in a copper-vessel and then, consume in morning empty stomach – rather than using a copper bottle to drink all through the day, day after day!

If you use water vessels/bottles made out of copper, please take care to:

  • pick vessels/bottles made of pure copper only. These usually come with some certification
  • make sure the water vessel/bottle is not corroded inside
  • make sure the vessel/bottle is washed properly every day and completely drained of old water before refilling it
  • do not refrigerate water in copper vessels/bottles
  • drink water plain from copper vessels/bottles. Do not make ‘detox’ or flavoured water in these vessels/bottles
  • do not drink this copper-water continuously for more than 2-3 months. Take a month’s gap. This gap allows body to flush out any toxicity developed on its own

That is all for today friends. Hope you found the post today useful. If you want to drink tamra-jal or copper-water, make sure you follow the process. I have realized that Ayurveda has very specific processes for every practice. Hence, while following such practices, we need to fully understand the concept and the process.

Till next Friday

Love, Health & Peace

Jaggery vs Sugar

Hi friends, happy Friday!

How are you all? Hope all good. Spring is here and in Mumbai where I live, it has already become quite hot. Make sure you keep hydrated!

Do limit your intake of sugary sodas and other sugary beverages this summer (and always, actually) because one thing that our body can absolutely do without, is added sugars. Almost everything that we consume, has some amount of sugar in it and any extra added refined sugar that we eat, does us more harm than good. Eat fresh fruits a lot instead. High on fibre and other nutrients, juicy fruits can quench our thirst equally well.

Whenever I tell my clients to limit their sugar intake, I am almost always asked, “and what about jaggery?”

Hmm…that is a tricky question and the answer depends from one person to another. I personally, do avoid added sugar as much as I can. However, some days when I feel like having sweet milk-ginger tea, I put in half a spoon of jaggery powder instead of white sugar. But then, my sugar intake is low anyways and I do not have high blood-sugar levels either.

If you are a healthy person with limited sugar-intake, it is alright for you to make the switch from sugar to jaggery or jaggery powder. Jaggery is less processed after all.

However, if you have excess weight and/or high sugar level already and/or looking to lose some weight, consider jaggery as a sugar only. Why? Let’s just see what jaggery is and you would get your answer on its own.

What is Jaggery?

Jaggery or gur in Hindi, is generally made out of sugarcane or date palm. The sugarcane/palms are pressed to extract their sweet juice which is then allowed to stay in large containers for long so that the sediments settle down and can be filtered easily. The strained juice then is boiled, cleaned and the remaining paste is put in moulds ending up in big/small blocks of gur/jaggery.

Interestingly, darker the jaggery is, the more trace minerals it would contain and hence better. However unattractive it might look!

But, somehow we believe (and it’s true, industrial grading-wise) that brown means it is higher in impurities and golden-yellow means that it is relatively pure. Due to this grading scale, artificial colours are sometimes added to jaggery, to give it the golden/red colour.

The way jaggery is made also gave it the name ‘non-centrifugal’ sugar because sugar-mix is spun while it is getting cleaned and in the process of getting clean/refined sugar, the nutritious molasses are separated from the mix. With jaggery however, this process is not needed hence the nutritious molasses stay in it. This molasses is what makes jaggery more nutritious than sugar!

Now, Jaggery vs Sugar

Compared to sugar, jaggery is more nutritious (due to trace minerals) but it is still essentially sugar. As simple as that. All the extra nutrients that come from jaggery, come with lots of sugar too. And you have to consume a lot of jaggery to get any tangible benefit out of it. With the calories and sugar attached, is it worth it? Not if you are already struggling with diabetes, high sugar-levels and weight issues, for sure.

With a high glycemic index of 84.1, jaggery can raise blood sugar levels, it just takes a tiny bit longer. Though, jaggery:

  • being a more complex carb than sugar, breaks down slowly in our body
  • has relatively lower glycemic index than white sugar
  • if consumed in completely unprocessed version which is made in traditional way with no chemical additives, believed to be alkaline. I am still looking for that one though, if you know where to get it from, please let me know too!
  • contains trace minerals such as potassium, magnesium, iron, phosphorous and calcium
  • due to these trace minerals, is said to improve digestive health, prevent anemia and improve immunity, if one is deficient in them otherwise

The Bottomline

If you are a diabetic, have blood sugar issues or struggle with weight concerns, best to avoid sugar and jaggery both. They both are sugars -spike up insulin levels and add up to the calories.

If you are healthy and a non-diabetic, you would still do best to reduce any sort of sugar-intake all together. With overall reduction of sugar-intake, replacing your white-refined sugar with jaggery is alright. Try to get organic and unprocessed jaggery for the purpose, to maximize any benefits out of trace minerals etc.

There are many foods and fresh produce available that would help better with many benefits associated with jaggery though. Where sugar cannot be quit completely, replacing it with jaggery makes sense but only if you are non-diabetic and enjoy a normal health/weight.

Hope you found today’s post useful. Don’t forget to join me on Instagram on the link below:

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Till next Friday,

Love, Health & Peace

Belly Fat 101

Hi friends, happy Friday! How are you all?

Thank you everyone for sending your love and feedback on my last post “Kanyadaan“. On another blogging-platform where I share these blogs a few days later, I got a couple of negative comments too. A few women criticized me for doubting my traditions to sound cool and modern.

As it goes, I am at the point in life where I have decided to believe in what I say/write. I do not mean to insult anything/anyone but if some traditions are against gender-equality or humans-equality, they need to go. It would be a long way but it would end, the sooner the better. And I certainly am not going to debate my beliefs with anyone, offline and online. No one ever won those arguments, have they?

Coming back to today’s post, this one is about something that everyone wants to lose.

I have been telling one of my clients to start gym for some time now. She is a busy mom of 2 and wants overall health with a toned body as well as a flat tummy. Definitely achievable, if you eat a well-balanced diet and exercise regularly. If someone tells you it’s not possible after two C-secs, maybe you would like to show them yourself by starting soon! 😊

Till you do it yourself, do join me on Instagram where I keep posting stories on nutrition/health tips, workout ideas and my own flat tummy, muscles and abs! Work in progress still but, a proof nonetheless! 😀

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So, she went yesterday and was told by a floor-trainer that she looks fine and doesn’t need to lose any weight. The trainer was right but he gave half information. She needs not lose much weight yes, but definitely a good amount of fat especially around her tummy. And not just for aesthetic reasons.

Did you know, the ‘’around-your-tummy’’ is the worst kind of fat for our health? Did you know it is of a different kind than the one around our hips and thighs? Oh yes, not all fats are created equal! And location does matter.

What Is Belly Fat?

This excess weight or fat that gets deposited around our tummy/abdomen, over a period of time – is called visceral fat. It is stored in our abdominal cavity and surrounds our internal organs like liver. It is also called active fat. There is also a term called abdominal obesity for it. You can call it beer belly also.

The little softness that we feel if we poke our tummies is subcutaneous fat (which is relatively better) and the visceral fat sits deep inside our belly. Visceral fat negatively impacts almost every organ of our body by causing major hormonal imbalances and triggering unhealthy chemical reactions.

Visceral fat can’t be seen from outside and only an MRI or a CT scan can tell us the accurate measurements of visceral fat in our body. Since these are expensive and not generally done for this purpose solely, there are various other ways for us to roughly determine it.

One good and simple way is to measure your waist, at navel. For men, more than 40 inches and for a woman, more than 35 inches mean excess visceral fat.

The main causes for visceral fat deposit are:

  • Unhealthy eating
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Menopause – due to lack of oestrogen hormone
  • Imbalance in gut bacteria population
  • Genetics – ( but let’s not make it our excuse, rather make it our motivation as genetics also can be changed to a lot of extent)
  • Inadequate sleep

The best way is to notice how your pants/jeans fit. If your size has increased majorly or keeps increasing, you need to start worrying.

Why This Fat Is The Worst Kind?

Because it can cause major health problems very quickly. People with normal weight and BMIs can also accumulate excess belly fat and be at risk for health concerns. It:

  • clogs arteries and raises blood pressure
  • increases insulin resistance leading to type II diabetes
  • increases risks for heart attacks and other heart complications
  • and for strokes
  • and for cancers such as breast, colorectal etc
  • results in low metabolism and increased risk of metabolic syndrome

How To Get Rid Of Visceral Fat

The good news is that visceral fat is not that stubborn and with its reduction, many diseases caused by it can be reversed/halted/improved. How?

  • Exercise regularly (30 minutes a day at least). This needs to include cardio as well as strength training, both
  • Eat well. A healthy, well-balanced diet is very important and no, it doesn’t include just salads or starving yourself. You will be amazed by how much you can eat in a healthy, well-balanced diet. In fact, I advise my clients to never skip a meal!
  • Avoid junk food, processed foods and sugar as much as possible. None, if you can!
  • Avoid stress – easy said and done but reducing stress levels can work wonders and of course, regular exercise helps in stress-management tremendously. Meditation is another way to reduce stress
  • Limit alcohol intake and quit smoking
  • Sleep 6-8 hours a day

Hope the post today helped you in decoding the belly fat mystery and provided some solutions for it as well. If there is something else that worked for you in a significant way, do share 🙂 Best way to get in touch with me if you don’t have my phone no., is to DM me on Instagram.

Till next Friday

Love, Health & Peace

How Much Should I Exercise?

Hi friends, happy Friday. How are you all?

I mentioned THR (Target Heart Rate) in my last blog on the secrets of 10K steps and said that to get maximum results from our walks, we ideally need to maintain our THR for a certain period of time, with consistency.

Some of you asked about how to calculate THR. Coincidentally, something happened to me a few days back that got me thinking hard on the topic as well. It’s a complicated topic but let’s try to simplify it today.

But. Before I start further, let me put a disclaimer. Four, actually.

  • All these THR, MHR, RHR etc are different for different people. As these are generally used as ranges, if one end of the range is low for someone, quite possibly the other end is relatively low too
  • There should always be a gradual increase in the intensity of any exercise even if it’s walking
  • In case you find any difference in the healthy ranges of all these parameters and this difference ever translates into any physical concerns (such as chest pain, weakness, fainting, lightheadedness or low BP etc) for you…go see a doctor immediately
  • In case you suffer from a cardiovascular ailment already, please consult your doctor before starting any moderate/intense exercise regime

Having cleared all that, let’s come back to the topic. As I was saying, a few days back, I noticed that my fitness band showed me my Peak Heart Rate. Either I never reached it earlier or I noticed it for the first time somehow.

What surprised me was the fact that it did not happen when I was sprinting on the treadmill but rather when I was doing lunges. Well, lunges with weights but still reaching my peak heart rate on a leg day when I was not really breathless (aka not panting) was surprising to me.

What Are Various Heart Zones

These of course, vary depending upon age and the fitness levels. These zones overlap also.

  • Resting Heart Rate
  • Moderate Heart Rate
  • Fat Burn Rate
  • Target Heart Rate
  • Maximum Heart Rate

How To Calculate THR

We all have a Maximum Heart Rate (MHR). It is the maximum no. of times our heart should beat when we exercise. In simple terms, this is our upper limit in terms of what our heart can handle. There is a very simple formula for it:

220 – your age = Maximum Heart Rate

Once we know our MHR, we can calculate our Target Heart Rate (THR). This is when our heart is getting exercised but not overworked. Nothing that the good little ol’ heart can’t handle!

THR is perfect if you have a fitness band and want to keep a track of whether you are working at your optimum exercise intensity…walking, jogging included. Very easy for you to define your ‘brisk walking’ speed now!

So now that we calculated out MHR, let’s get down to the THR range;

  • for light/moderate intensity exercises including walking – your THR is 50-70% of your MHR
  • for high intensity exercise like HIIT, running  etc – your THR is 70-85% of your MHR

Simple, isn’t?

Why Should I Bother with THR?

Lot of times, things are left for individual interpretation such as the term ‘brisk walking’. The downside of it is that despite a lot of walking done, many people do not reap the benefits of it because they are not walking brisk enough to get any real benefits out of it.

  • Exercising at the right intensity level helps in reaping maximum benefits out of it – not too less, not too hard
  • Maintaining a THR through a workout ensures cardiovascular as well as respiratory health and endurance
  • Maintaining it would let you know when it gets too much to ensure no burnouts happen

In general, it is recommended that one exercises in THR for 20-30 minutes for best results.

guidelines source: pennmedicine.org

On a personal note, these seemingly technical guidelines have helped me a lot. These are tools which help you in understanding your body more and how it responds to any exercise. This understanding then become our natural cues after some time. e.g. when I work-out at gym, I like to keep myself constantly in fat-burn zone which is also the target heart rate (THR) zone for me right now, for the entire hour. It’s hard but it pays off well.

However, if you feel you are in tune with your body and its cues…and you don’t want any gadgetry-help for that, you are good to go too!

Whether you like to track your performance with some technical help or you know you are good without any external cues, the end result should be the same – Awareness. Don’t push yourself too hard but don’t keep underachieving your potential. Do it slowly and steadily…but do it surely!

Do join me on Instagram for lots of health/nutrition, self care and motivational stories and feeds

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Till next Friday

Love, Health & Peace

The Secret Of 10K Steps

Hello friends, how are you all?

Let me start today by saying that I am very grateful to all those of you who keep giving me feedbacks, sharing experiences and ask questions. All these things push me to learn more…get a better understanding of many things. Not to mention finding the elusive-till-the-last-minute blog topic! Thank you everyone.

Coming back to post today, if I ask you which is the easiest/simplest thing one can do, male or female, of any age group…towards one’s fitness and exercise, what would be your guess?

I bet you would say, walking. And you are absolutely right. It is not expensive, is very flexible in terms of time/place and almost everyone can do it! Walking indeed is the easiest thing to do for our physical fitness. It has always been actually. Our moms and dads did it and before them, our grandparents walked their morning-walks with dedication….and I guess, walking has always been the ‘in’ thing for health-conscious people in every generation!

When fitness bands started or even before them when basic pedometers came into being, the things changed a bit. Instead of counting kilometers, we starting counting our steps.

But, do you know why steps matter? How much you should walk? How many steps? And why? What is the big deal about 10K steps every day?

First Things First, Why Walk?

Walking is natural to us, we need not learn it, we all know how to! No guidance needed there. Well, except for the correct posture which is important to reap the maximum benefits out of your walking.

Walking for any real benefits is a slightly different story because it requires discipline too, for starters. Like any other exercise/passion you need to get up and show, everyday!

There are many advantages of walking – it’s doesn’t cost anything, is a flexi-routine and there is no need for any memberships, special tools, equipment etc. You can choose your own pace. And you can gradually increase the distance/speed as per your comfort levels.

Of course, one can always invest in a fitness band/pedometer, good walking shoes etc to keep a better track and get a better performance. In fact, with a fitness band, you can track and walk as per your target heart rate (THR). To get any results from your walks, you ideally need to maintain your THR for a certain period of time, with consistency.

Now, Why 10K?

Interestingly, the magical no. of 10,000 steps came from a marketing campaign prior to Tokyo Olympics Games in 1964. The company selling ‘Manpo-kei’ pedometers (man here means 10,000, po means steps and kei means meter) promoted the concept of 10,000 steps a day for good health. The concept hit home and became hugely popular.

Since then much research has been done and at least one thing is clear from all these researches, 10K steps a day do have a positive impact on:

  • blood-pressure levels
  • better insulin sensitivity which means improved blood-sugar levels
  • even helps with chronic diabetes
  • metabolic syndromes
  • improved cholesterol levels
  • cardio vascular diseases/heart health
  • general health, moods and stamina
  • might help with weight management with a well-balanced diet
  • improves circulation in body

Did You Know?

10K steps are equivalent to about 8 kms or 1.40 hours depending upon your speed and stride.

In The End

Just keep moving, walk as much as you can, for starters. If 10K steps seems too daunting to you, it’s okay to start with a lesser number…6K maybe. Just gradually increase the number. Most important thing here is to get up and get moving, on a regular basis.

10K steps everyday consistently, need some physical efforts and getting 10K steps every day makes you disciplined and mindful about your own health. Any physical activity beyond what one is doing currently, will most likely be beneficial only.

If walking is your only mode of moving and physical activity, might as well clock 10K …in fact, the more the merrier! You can even split your steps over two walks a days.

Do Remember

  • Walking alone is not a substitute for strength-training which is way more beneficial however, it’s a good way to start nonetheless
  • It is important to walk briskly to reap real benefits out of your walking
  • Build up your steps gradually
  • In case of knee-pain/joint-pain etc, one should seek advise from the doctor before starting
  • To understand more on walking postures etc, do read a previous post here
  • Keep hydrated
  • Senior citizens need to walk depending upon their health and medical advisory

Hope you find today’s post useful. Do join me on Instagram for a lot of daily health/fitness/nutrition info on the link below

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Till next Friday

Love, Health & Peace

Hybrid vs GMO Produce

Hi Friends, how are you all? How was the week that went by?

On my Instagram story yesterday, I posted about my current fruit-addiction ‘Thai Guava’. Well, it’s a fruit that I got introduced to very recently. It is a guava grown throughout Southeast Asia but now, produced locally even in Maharashtra.

I generally prefer local, seasonal fresh produce as that tends to be less in wax and other preservatives and is…well, fresher. When I tried Thai guava, I was apprehensive initially as I though it’s an import. Later, when I researched more, I came to know that it’s produced locally. Thank God because I love them!

I also prefer my food to be non-GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms). And food/produce which is made to look better and made to last more on our plates/shelves, doesn’t appeal to me…despite the enhanced beauty.

And apparently there are more like me because on my Instagram story, I got a few queries if Thai guava was a non-GMO. And that is how this post came into being.

The truth is that a lot of fruits and vegetables that we eat are not nature-made. In fact, most of what we eat today is man-made. Oh yes, the orange carrots we love to munch on, were purple in the beginning. The kale and broccoli…the cauliflower…the Honeycrunch apples….all man-made. You won’t be able to eat most of the original versions!

So what exactly is a hybrid and what is a GMO produce?

Hybrid

A hybrid produce is man-made for sure, created either on a farm/plantation or in a lab…by cross-breeding two different but compatible fruits or vegetables. This creates a new variety which could be very different from the parents or just a better version, more suitable for human palette.

Many a times this happens naturally (evolved over a period of time) and sometimes its man-induced. Grapefruits for example is a cross between pomelo and sweet orange. It was a done on a plantation way back in 18th century.

And the banana that is equally loved today all over the world by all the classes…is a hybrid and I bet, you won’t like the original banana at all! A hybrid of two wild species, both unpalatable…our nutritious and humble banana as we know it today, was a natural accident, capitalized upon by human agriculturists however it hasn’t changed genetically.

In case of bananas in India, the popular varieties or ‘cultivars’ are Robusta, Monthan, Poovan, Dwarf Cavendish, Nendran, Red banana, Basrai, Ardhapuri, Nyali, Safed Velchi Rasthali, Karpurvalli, Chinia and many others.

Hybrid fruits/veggies need a lot of care as they are sensitive to their environment. They also don’t reproduce easily on their own and might not stay true to their parents if reproduce at all. They might eventually stabilize and survive on their own.

The hybrids are particularly profitable to the farmers/producers as it produces a consistent, higher yield and is predictable in terms of quality. They are maximized for human-desired traits. This could also make bigger-sized fruits/vegetables with a better taste.

GMO

As per WHO, foods produced using GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) are called GM (Genetically Modified) foods.

This genetical engineering (genetic cloning, protein engineering and kinds) can be done through bacteria, viruses or other plants/animals. It is mostly done to ensure some sort of resistance or tolerance in the produce e.g. a resistance for pesticides that is used to kill the pesty weeds or making the crop resistant to insects. The saved harvest can be high on that pesticide or other ‘un-studied on humans’ chemicals…and this is why GMO is a controversial topic since ever.

For example, GMO corn has a pesticide Bt engineered into its genetic code and this insertion makes it resistant to the pests. Overuse of such corn with a pesticide built into its genes, over a period of time really raises a red flag! However, don’t worry, thatb corn is industrial and the whole sweet corn (including canned/frozen versions) that we eat is most likely not genetically modified. Almost all GM-corn is used as fuel (I am also not sure if ethanol really is environment-friendly to be honest but that’s for another day), livestock feed and processed foods.

Am waiting for the day when it would become compulsory for the producers to label the produce as GMO or otherwise. We deserve to know and make our informed choices on our own, don’t you think?

In The End

Not saying GMO is all bad. There is a reason why such a concept was even introduced and the resultant high-yield, disease free species help in maintaining food supplies all over the world. They are approved by top authorities as safe for human consumption before they reach us. So make sure, they are approved by authorities such as FDA, FSSAI etc

In the end, a few key-points are worth remembering:

  • Hybrids are not genetically modified. They are guided/traditional/controlled cross-pollination in fact
  • Hybrids can be both natural or man-made…in plantations or in labs
  • Hybrids do not have an altered DNA
  • Organic foods are only labeled organic if they do not in any way, use GM products so make sure you know how to identify truly organic products/produce
  • Read your labels carefully as almost 50% of imported packaged food today have either wheat or corn in them, one way or other and…are also found to be GM positive
  • India allows import of GM soyabean and canola oil however the only GM crop approved for cultivation in India is Bt Cotton (because of many crop failures in past in the cotton belt area, I believe)
  • Cultivation of unapproved GM crops in India, is a punishable offence. Yey!

We are lucky that India still manufactures most of its produce non-GMO and many attempts to introduce them to Indian consumers in past, have been not allowed yet e.g. BT brinjal, Protato (protein rich potato) and GM mustard etc

However, let’s stay aware of what we consume and make a habit of reading the labels well. Till the time we have a definite answer to the question whether GM produce/crops are safe or not, better stay wary…and aware.

Do join me on Instagram on the link below for much more like this…on health, fitness, nutrition and awareness, on a regular basis.

https://www.instagram.com/jillofmanytrades_blogger/

Till next Friday

Love, Health & Peace

Never A Bad Time To Start

Hi friends, happy Friday! How is it all going?

Hope you all have finally adjusted and settled down somewhere between the pandemic-related anxiety and the courage to re-start the life, though of course, with due adaptation to the new normal.

I have, I guess. Though we still take care to sanitize everything, to wash hands frequently, to wearing the masks when out, we still order most things online and the online-schooling isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, I am sure. However now, the kids go down to play, the office is open and client-meetings have started in person!

A fresh breather came in the form of me starting my gym-routine again, finally. Though, it has been hard starting from ground-50 (I totally made that term up!)…once again sweating, panting, pushing, pulling…gradually increasing the reps and weights…even if at half the strength and endurance.

From what was a hard-earned good level of strength-training for me, to falling back and beginning again from ‘mid-way’ levels – has been almost disappointing. Oh no! It didn’t take me by surprise, I anticipated it but still.

Nonetheless, I am happy to be back. Not complaining a bit! I am not starting from ground zero and I am making quick progress. The hard-work hasn’t gone all waste!

So, why am I saying all this to you? How does it matter to you what happens with me?

Let me tell you why. I would be a super-rich woman if I get 100/- for every time someone told me that the reason that they don’t go to the gym (or do anything for health/fitness, for that matter) is because they “know” that the moment they stop, it all comes back…the weight usually!

They say it because they haven’t figured it out, yet! They say it because they haven’t started, yet!

If they ever start, they would learn the truth quickly. And the truth is that you never go back completely…your hard work is never wasted…your recovery the next time is much faster. And it’s never a bad time to start!

Once you get used to any fitness regime or eating healthy foods, you can never go back. Your body won’t let you!

It pays tremendously to be fit and healthy! You would not only feel less tired but calmer mentally! The joints would pain less and the back would be stronger. You would be able to run with your kids/dog much more and the sleep would be more peaceful. Not to mention the BP, sugar levels and osteoporosis…all under control.

So when are you starting? Someone who is at least making an effort or has started…is already way ahead of someone who is still busy finding excuses. Do start soon. And do join me on Instagram for little tips on health, nutrition and motivation, everyday.

https://www.instagram.com/jillofmanytrades_blogger/

Till next Friday

Love, Health & Peace

Oats

Hi friends, happy Friday!

How is it going?

Today’s post is about oats but then, everybody knows about oats! The question is how much do you know? I have recently realized that many of us use oats in cooking often but still are unaware that there are different types.

One of my clients is a big oats fan and I am often amazed at how many things she makes out of oats, for her meals. I am definitely not complaining, oats is good for her and it helps me tremendously that she likes it already. The hardest part of my job is to convince people to make changes…and to keep them motivated and informed enough to stick to it, for good…for life!

Back to oats! Oats is a pretty versatile grain. It is used in making yummy oatmeal, in baking, in pet foods, in livestock feed etc. One can have it any time of the day, in any form…on its own or mixed up with other grains/flours.

Oats & Nutrition

Rich in fibre, low in fat, high in protein as well as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants…oats is one of the healthiest food for us. Oats have numerous health benefits:

  • Rich in soluble fibre beta-glucan which is good for cholesterol management, digestion and satiety (feeling of fullness, after a meal)
  • Helps in weight management
  • Stabilizes blood sugar levels and prevents insulin spikes
  • Aids in regular bowel movement
  • Beneficial to the gut bacteria
  • Gluten free so a great choice for people with gluten-sensitivity

Did you know that there are various types of oats?

There are. And it all starts with oat groats. The whole oat kernel has a tough outer shell which protects the seed of the oat plant. Once this outer shell is removed, we get the oat groat. This oat groat is then further processed in a few different ways to increase shelf-life, as well as to make them fit for human consumption.

  • Steel-cut oats – The whole groats are cut into 2-3 pieces, by using large sharp steel blades. These are still considered unprocessed oats. These are also called as Irish oatmeal. Steel-cut oats are bigger in size, chewier with a coarse kind of texture. They take a longer time to cook however soaking them before cooking reduces the cooking time to a great extent
  • Rolled oats – The whole groats are steamed and pressed flat with steel rollers. This process lessens the cooking time. Slightly milder flavored than steel-cut, these oats are soft in texture and take less time to cook as they are already steamed during the making process
  • Instant oats – These are rolled oats which are further cut into many smaller pieces for even faster cooking. They are steamed and more flattened during the making process and they have a mild, soft texture
  • Quick oats – These are very similar to Instant oats though they might contain additional flavors, sugar etc

Which oats are the best?

Nutrition wise, the difference is not much, to be honest. However, steel-cut oats are found slightly higher in terms of protein and fibre. They are also the least processed. They also have the lowest glycemic index of all three types and help with stable blood sugar levels.

In the end

Though steel cut oats are my personal favorite but then, I don’t cook with them as much as many others do. If it is convenient for you to use instant oats variety in your cooking to save up on time and energy, it is good enough. As simple as that.

So, while stocking up on oats, make sure to buy whichever type suits you better. No point buying steel-cut version when you find them time-consuming and end up not using them altogether! Just try to stick to unsweetened ones.

Use this highly nutritious grain in your cooking, in your baking, in your smoothies, salads and soups etc.

I hope that you found this post useful. Do join me on Instagram for more regular stories on health, fitness, nutrition among some other random stuff that moves and motivates me. If you like my weekly posts, you would love my stories too 😊

https://www.instagram.com/jillofmanytrades_blogger/

Till next Friday

Love, Health & Peace