I have a confession to begin with.
Being a Motivational Speaker has not been easy. I have traveled like crazy people in the last 5 yrs. Even travel addicts and travel enthusiasts don’t travel the way I do. I have left no stone unturned in covering the length and breadth of my country in pursuit of my events. It is a lot more glorious to the onlooker than to the actual traveler.
And one of my biggest travel issues has been the food. My stomach has given up now, it seems. Sometimes my clients take me to the best of restaurants and all I want to have is “khichdi”. I am either agnostic to food or dreaming about “daal-chawal” whenever hungry. And every time there is a well-dressed platter of food in front of me, I start missing home!! Trust me, I start dreading the consequences the moment my clients say – dinner is on me!
That is how intense my food problems are. I just cannot emphasize enough on the importance of eating right. It is joy. It is pleasure. It is ultimate. And no, it is not about hogging the best of foods wherever you go. And it is surprising how so many I meet – have no idea how they are torturing their bodies slowly by abusing their digestive system every day.
Let me begin with a simple understanding of food according to ancient science of Ayurveda.
It is of 3 kinds – Sattvic, Rajasic, Tamasic.
While tamasic foods are considered detrimental to the peace of mind and have sedative effect on mind and body, the Rajasic foods are the ones that simply stimulate. They don’t really have a positive or negative effect. Sattvic foods are considered the best for a peaceful mind and a healthy body.
Now, with all the meat ban and killings over beef, I really want to hold on to my dear life because I don’t want to this one beautiful life to come to an end over something as personal as what people want to eat 😉 … so I would simply say, you may want to read more about the three kinds of food, what falls under them and draw your own conclusions about what you want to eat and what you want to give up. That is totally your prerogative.
Let us continue with, why you should eat right though.
I personally believe having a sattvic diet as the maximum composition of your eating habits – is a very good idea. But what I see around today is nowhere near to a good habit. Snacking, unhealthy snacking, untimely snacking, hogging like you have never eaten, eating anything without giving a single damn about the hygiene, or the amount of unwanted calories you consume with those appealing looking foods – just some of the many amazing eating habits of the modern world and the youth.
The biggest problem in the world of ‘eating eight’ is overeating. A lot of people love to call themselves foodies. But mostly those foodies are simply over-eaters. It is great to let your taste buds enjoy ethnicity and eccentricity. But it is not good for your stomach to offload so much eccentricity on those tiny intestines. They will function in normal speed, no matter how much you push them!
And what really happens when you over eat? Some people say they have great metabolism and they don’t gain weight. I feel sorry for those poor souls. Okay you don’t gain weight. But where do those carbs go if you are not working out? (Most over-eaters never go to the gym. Because those who care about their bodies, usually don’t over-eat either.) I will tell you what – if it is not making you fat, it is making you lazy. And trust me, fatness and laziness are equally hard to fight.
And before you start barraging me with the moral lecture of no body shaming – let me tell you. If you want to be okay with being fat, please go ahead. Your life, your body, your cholesterol, your fats, your arteries and your heart. You can do whatever. But my suggestion is that – instead of focusing on “loving yourself the way you look (even though you personally believe you can do better; and your mirror agrees), I would say – focus on fitness. It will be a much cooler approach towards life. Think about all those crazy for fitness people. Don’t you admire them for your discipline while you secretly wish you could also follow their footsteps?
Well, the first step is – to stop eating unnecessarily. It makes you lethargic. And anxious. And unproductive. And if you absolutely have to eat a lot, phase out the junk stuff and shift to fruits and salads and juices. Yes, that boring food is actually the right kind of food.
I would any day choose boring food over an unhealthy body. A lot of people might not agree (the ones who believe they live to eat; it is their life and they can eat whatever they want; life is meant for eating; food is their religion etc.) and they may be right. But I would like to choose to have a body which is healthier, fitter, more graceful, have shine in my eyes, get good sleep, have a calmer mind etc. A healthier diet works for me. You should choose whatever works for you. Although I am sure a double cheese pizza from Pizza Hut doesn’t go into that criteria by any parameter.
But what is this joy of eating right really?
Now, I am no nutritionist. But I do know a few things – wisdom passed on by parents. I like to start my day with a cup of hot water with honey and lemon in it. Nothing fights those extra fats like hot water with lemon on an empty stomach.
The second thing is – to never miss breakfast. I would say – never skip meals but we will come to that part of the negotiation later, when we have got this one accepted! I am sure you have heard – breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You have been hungry for the night and the body now needs something to kick start the day. I am obviously assuming you have also done your morning fitness regime.
When you miss breakfast, you tend to go for brunch. A heavy brunch. Then you again snack heavy in the evening. And by the time it is night, again you end up eating much. Instead of keeping huge gaps between your meals – I would say, eat often but eat less. An early morning heavy breakfast (like a king) with sprouts and salads and cereals and milk will keep you good for the day. A light lunch followed by light snacks and lighter dinner – try this for a week. You will feel amazing within yourself. The problem when people take lunch as the first meal of the day is – the lunch obviously remains heavy. As a result, you only feel hungry by the time it is dinner and then you over-eat again. After that you sleep. With all the food in your stomach. And the work of digestion left to your intestines with no help from you.
I remember reading somewhere – it should be 50% food, 25% water and 25% air in your stomach. I would say – eat less. Mostly, it is the perception of hunger and not the actual hunger that is so enticing. Eat a little less than a full tummy. And eat more of green, leafy veggies than fried things made of flour. Maida, or finely willed wheat flour, is one of the most dangerous foods. Extremely unfit for daily consumption, coupled with bad sleeping habits and lack of physical exercise – it makes a very deadly combination of bad food. If you can’t stop eating because you think you are hungry – try eating slowly. The brain gets fooled to believe you have been eating for long and will tell you to stop soon. Sometimes, it is stupid J
There is one more thing you can do to ensure you enjoy your food. If while eating, all you can think of is – your job and the pressures or your fight with your gf/bf, or your mess of a life – it is going to do no good. Try to eat while the food is hot, and try not to eat your thoughts along with the food. Just concentrate on eating. It has an invisible but very powerful impact on your body.
But most importantly, eat right because there is an inexplicably strong connection between the mind and body. And it is your food that holds it together, most of the times. Hope you find that joy!
By: Aakash Gautam