Feel Fabulous In 15 Days

Health & Fitness

Feel Fabulous In 15 Days

No Comments 31 July 2011

Simply do something healthy each day and you can add up to 15 years to your life! That’s what the experts say. So, we’ve brought you some healthy (and tasty) ideas for the next 15 days. Try them at random, and you’ll start feeling great.

Day 1:

Power Up With Proteins. Proteins are the building blocks of life. Are you getting enough protein from your diet? If not, today’s the day to try some tasty protein-powered treats. Spread peanut butter or yeast extract over bread toast. Drink a glass of milk. Eat a boiled egg. Nibble on hard cheese. Cook beans with rice.

Day 2:

Consume Those Carbs: Health experts say 50 to 60 per cent of your total calories should come from carbohydrates, preferably from complex carbohydrates (starches) and naturally occurring sugars rather than processed or refined sugars. To increase complex carbohydrates in your diet, dish up a delicious meal of brown rice or whole-wheat pasta, whole-grain bread, beans and baked potatoes today. Yum!

Day 3:

Bone Up On Calcium: Can’t stand milk? Load up on a yummy cupful of yoghurt or low-fat paneer today. Great for upping your calcium intake without adding on the fat. Dieters take note: Researchers at America’s Purdue University found that women who consume calcium from low-fat dairy products or get at least 1,000 milligrams a day showed an overall decrease in body weight. Since calcium is on your mind, today might be a nice day to schedule a bone density check-up, and add a calcium supplement to your diet.

Day 4:

Get An A Plus: Winter is a great time to take care of your eyes. This is when most Vitamin A-rich vegetables hit the market. Carrots, spinach, fenugreek, beetroot – juice them to the max! You’ll get extra benefits such as glowing skin and cancer-protection. Good sources: Liver (especially fish liver), egg yolk, oranges, apricots, carrots, tomatoes, melons and leafy vegetables.

Day 5:

B Wise: Vitamins B – 1, 2, 3, 6 and 12 – are vital for repairing body tissue, keeping your nervous system healthy, protecting your gums and keeping your joints and ligaments in good order. Today, go shopping for B-rich wheatgerm and pulses, fresh whole grains, low-fat dairy products, bananas and fish.

Day 6:

Seek Vitamin C: There are ways – and delicious ways – to get more Vitamin C to your diet. Take your pick. Drink lots of fresh citrus fruit juice. Add a generous squeeze of lemon juice to your salad. Or make slightly salty lemonade. Fortify tomato juice with lemon juice and herbs. Sit back in the warm winter sunshine with a good book, and enjoy a feast of oranges. See how easy it is to squeeze some C into your life? Do this today, and you’ll want to enjoy the refreshing experience every single day.

Day 7:

Take Five: Think about your eating pattern. Do you eat three big meals a day? Or worse, miss out on most meals? If yes, make amends today. Eat small portions at regular intervals, ideally every three to five hours. This will stabilise your blood sugar levels and prevent you from eating too much at one go. Besides, you’ll find yourself more active and energetic throughout the day.

Day 8:

Build Your Liquid Assets: Pure water, herbal teas, fresh vegetable or fruit juice. Enjoy any, some or all of these today. Each of these will revitalise you in two ways – by giving you energy and helping the toxins move faster out of your body. Just for today, cut down on coffee, tea, artificially sweetened and fizzy drinks, and spirits.

Day 9:

Go Sweet On Honey: Celebrate Freedom-From-Sugar Day today. Not for nothing is sugar called ‘white poison’- it gives you nothing but empty calories. Turn to honey for a truly sweet and healing experience. Buy the best quality honey you can find – the darker the better. It has great anti-oxidant qualities, and plenty of vitamins and minerals. Just a spoonful gives you instant energy and kills bacteria. And need we remind you of how delicious it is?

Day 10:

Cook Light: No-Fry Day today. Grill your veggies, bake some apples, boil those potatoes, poach the eggs and steam your greens. Cook food on a low heat – it requires less oil, brings out the flavour better and helps retain the vitamins.

Day 11:

Dine Early Tonight: Thanks to work pressures, dinner is the only meal many of us are able to enjoy. However, it is a mistake to eat a late, large dinner. If you’ve been eating your evening meal close to midnight, chances are you’ve been tossing and turning in bed. Give your body time to digest dinner tonight. Eat before 8 pm, allowing your body to focus on repairing and rebuilding cells, instead of struggling to digest a big meal. You’ll sleep soundly and wake up feeling incredibly fresh.

Day 12:

Come To The Crunch: Have a cereal for breakfast this morning. Choose from among shredded wheat, coarse semolina, raisins-and-bran… Cereals are a rich source of many essential vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. The typical cereal dish is low in fat, cholesterol-free, fibre-rich, and filled with Vitamins E and B-complex, and minerals such as iron, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc. Nothing quite beats muesli for both flavour and power – an energising treat sure to cure you of your addiction to greasy parathas!

Day 13:

Eat The Bright Stuff: And no, we don’t mean red meat or fiery curry. Feast on tomatoes, beets, red, yellow, and orange peppers, carrots, broccoli and spinach. Toss them together into a salad, make soup or squeeze the juice out of them to power yourself with vitamins and minerals. Afterwards, enjoy a dessert of baked or stewed apples. The reason: The darker vegetables and fruits have a higher nutrient content.

Day 14:

Go Nuts! And seeds! Enjoy cashews, almonds, walnuts, crunchy sesame and groundnuts in moderate amounts and without frying. These are excellent for your skin and general health. Studies show that those who eat nuts daily are likely to live at least three years longer than those who don’t.

Day 15:

Chill Out! Time flew, didn’t it? You did a great deal for your health this month, and we bet you want to celebrate. Why not? Treat yourself to a new movie with friends. But hey, pick mineral water instead of the cola, and if you must have that buttery popcorn, share a pack with your pals. Sorry, couldn’t resist that!


Birth Control Pill Myths

Health & Fitness

Birth Control Pill Myths

No Comments 27 July 2011

Dr Duru Shah deconstructs the myths about oral contraceptives that have prevailed over the years.

Myth # 1: “The pill causes cancer”

• Reality: Women on the pill have:

• Less risk of cancer of the ovaries

• Less risk of cancer of the lining of the uterus

• Possibly less risk of cancer of the bowel

• Mortality = about 10 per million

Myth # 2: “The pill causes infertility when it is stopped”

Reality: Post pill infertility

• More than 12,000 pregnant ex-pill-users, after at least five years of use, were statistically less likely than non-users to have any delay in conceiving…! – Farrow et al (J Hum Reprod, 2002)

Myth # 3: “The pill causes weight gain”

Reality: Among users of two 20 mcg Oestrogen-containing pills, in a one-year trial:

In one pill group:

• 13% Lost > 2 kg

• 74% Stayed at same weight + 2 kg

• 13% did gain > 2kg

(The other group showed similar results)

Myth # 4: “The pill cannot be used while breast-feeding as hormones affect growth of babies”

Reality: oestrogen-free pill and progesterone-only pill have proven to:

• Be safe while breast-feeding.

• Not affect the growth of babies.

• Not affect the quantity and quality of breast milk.

Myth # 5: “There should be a gap after three to six months of continued pill use”

Reality: No gap is necessary as the one-week gap after every three weeks of taking the pill is adequate.

Myth # 6: “The pill cannot be taken after 35 years of age”

Reality: With selective progesterones like desogestrel, it can be continued till menopause.

Myth # 7: “The pill has bad side effects”


• Brilliant at its main job (contraception, preserving reversibility)

• Menstrual benefits, especially less painful and lighter periods – or no periods at all!

• Less risk of cancer of the ovary

• Less risk of cancer of the lining of the uterus

• Possibly less risk of cancer of the bowel

• Less pelvic infection

• Less ovarian cysts

Minor drawbacks could, in certain cases, cause:

• Weight gain

• Acne

• Mood changes

• Breast tenderness

• Headaches

• Nausea


11 Exercise Ideas For Women

Health & Fitness

11 Exercise Ideas For Women

No Comments 23 July 2011


While you may be going totally gung-ho over your new exercise routine, meticulously sticking to your diet and exercise routine, reading up all you can and even enjoying yourself doing it all, it is important to know the difference between how much of what you read is hype and how much of it is the truth. So here are a few gospel dos and don’ts that you should hold sacred at every routine…

Do get crunching (your abs that is)

The abdominals are composed of four sheets of muscles that work cooperatively, so if you want to see results you have to strengthen all four muscles. The key is to isolate the stomach muscles and, using the right techniques, simultaneously strengthen your back for better balance and posture.

Don’t over-exercise

Walking too hard can lead to injuries. An exhausted mind and body weakens the immune system making it prone to infections, colds and the flu. In addition, technique and posture are poor in a tired body. For maximum benefit at minimum injury risk, the body needs to rest and recover. After a heavy muscle workout a 24-hour rest period is advisable.

Do lift weights

At age 35, you start losing a small amount of bone each year. When you lift weights, one increases one’s bone density and lean body mass. Do full body strength training at least twice a week.

Don’t get bored

After doing a particular routine like aerobics, gym every day for a number of years, it’s easy to lose motivation. Cross-training prevents boredom, develops new muscle groups and helps prevent injuries caused due to overuse of muscles.

Do str-r-r-r-retch

Stretch your big muscles — quadriceps, hamstrings, calves and back — before and after a workout. Stretching will result in better performance. Flexibility is one of the most important factors of fitness.

Don’t dehydrate yourself

When exercising, the body needs water every 20 minutes to replace water loss. Always avoid caffeine or alcohol when exercising, both of which further dehydrate the body.

Do warm-up and cool down

A low impact warm-up before any exercise routine is essential. It warms the muscles, makes them limber and easier to stretch, which results in a better workout. It also helps to prevent injury.

Cooling down after exercising is also important as it relaxes the muscles, lowers the heart rate, and helps the body to recover from the stress of a workout.

Don’t starve yourself

It’s important to determine a healthy weight and stay there, because studies show that people who repeatedly gain and lose a couple of kilograms have a higher risk of chronic illnesses like heart disease.

Do de-stress (establish anti-stress strategies)

It is important to have an outlet to de-stress and get away from the strains of modern living. Whether you jog, walk, meditate or do yoga, it’s important to find a way to slough off stress regularly.

Don’t push an injury

Listen to your body. If you feel pain, stop. Muscle and joint pain can mean many things — pushing a small hurt can lead to big problems later on. If pain persists more than a few days, see a doctor.

Do start gradually 

Any exercise programme should be structured, systematic and progressive. If you exercise too much, too fast and too hard — you are prone to injury. So build up from a moderate beginning.

Don’t ignore your footwear

Wearing appropriate footwear can significantly reduce the risk of injury. Find comfortable shoes, appropriate for your activity, so that you can get the right kind of support that you require for your foot.

These are just a few tips on how the body works, what fitness entails and how to keep going once you’ve started your active lifestyle. Everyone can exercise, but it must be enjoyable and should fit in with your daily routine so that you are motivated to keep it up.


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