Fresh air no despair

It is a coincidence that my post today was to be about the beneficial effects of exercise on us. When I checked the November daily word prompts for today, the Fresh air no despair was fitting in perfectly.

Stepping outside into the fresh air, you instinctively take a deep breath. Just to take in all that wonderful  fresh air. Going for a run or jog in the fresh air has an uplifting effect on us. Exercising and doing workouts releases a brain hormone, called endorphins.

What are Endorphins? These are chemicals released in brain when we exercise for a certain amount of time at a certain intensity.

Also known as feel good hormones, endorphins are great mood elevators. After about twenty minutes of exercise of moderate intensity, our brain starts to release endorphins. This is the cause of a euphoric feeling or the runner high.

These chemicals are produced in our brains to relieve stress and pain. The euphoric and analgesic effect are the main reason why people become addicted to exercise, running or jogging. These chemicals also have a sedative effect and that’s why a good run ,walk or workout gives us a good night sleep.

Endorphins not only have a relaxing effect on our bodies but also trigger a positive and uplifting mental outlook. It chases away the anxiety, despair and depression.

Psychologist and psychiatrist also recommend physical activity for a certain time every day to keep depression and anxiety at a minimum.

So let’s put on our running/ walking shoes and go out to enjoy the fresh air that is going to blow away the cob webs from our minds , chase away the blues and energize our body and brain. It will also stimulate our thinking and bring fresh ideas about writing!

So, Endorphins, anyone?

Let me know how you like my post.

Waiting for your feedback and comments.

#Keepitalive

#Freshairnodespair

#Novemberwrittingprompts

Photo Credits: Google

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Walk your way to better physical and mental health

This reads like a banner for a marathon! Nonetheless, it’s a solid fact of life.

I don’t know about you but I was always a very reluctant walker. All my family would love to go for long walks. The idea of a good Sunday would be an outdoor activity, including a walk or hiking. And among these active people, I would be trying to find excuses to stay put. Walking was not my cup of tea. I would love to lounge around and spend my time in a sedentary activities. In short I was a perfect couch potato.

So why I am advocating WALKING?

The reason is simple. Necessity! It dawned on me that if I was to enjoy even average health, I need to get off my couch and step it up. So I started to walk. I would say to myself that I need not walk for long, just 10 minuets. Gradually I increased my walk and lo and behold!! I was walking up to 30 minuets a day. Admittedly it took longer to get to 30 from 10 minuets than I care to acknowledge. But , though I was walking , it was not bringing me any joy!

I would be looking at my daily walk as a dreaded chore. Then I discovered the joy of indoor walking. And what is that? You may ask!

I discovered that if I walk inside my home, I don’t have to be dependent upon the time of day, I can do my walking any time. I wouldn’t be concerned if was raining out sunny outside. And it wouldn’t matter if it was a hot day or a cold one . I would walk around the house at a brisk (ish) pace and while listening to music on my ear buds, I could walk for up to an hour and not even realize it. The other trick was to have long conversations with friends and the time would fly. I didn’t need to put on my sneakers/ walking shoes or be respectably dressed as there was no one to see me. So now I walk daily. I look forward to my daily walk and enjoy it too.

Walking, not only is good for my health but is also a mental relaxer. I can start my walk in a stressful mood or in anxiety about something but at the end of it I am totally relaxed and happy, even.

These are my personal preferences, you can walk wherever you feel comfortable. But since I found a good thing, I wanted to share it with you !

I can enumerate many health benefits of walking but I am sure that you all know them. So if you want to live a good life and want to be independent even in your old age, it’s time to start walking.

Please let me know how you are liking my posts. Would love to hear from you.

#walkingforhealth

#keepitalive

#mentalhealth

A weighty issue

In my tag line I have mentioned obesity. I have been at war( regular armed warfare!!!) with the weighing scale most of my life. Being a chubby and cute baby really didn’t help me when I grew up into a teenager. My weight would fluctuate a lot. I would gain weight and after some effort, would get it off but not for long. This continued till my marriage and first pregnancy. With my first pregnancy, I put on a whooping 60 pounds.This yo-yo’ing went on for a lot of years till , finally at the age of 38, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism.

I thought that now , at last, my weight troubles are over! Well not exactly! I did loose about 35 pounds after the start of treatment but not for long. Apparently, people with hypothyroidism have a tough time taking and keeping the weight off.

I tried Atkins diet, low-fat high carb diet, southern beach diet and any number of variations of these and many other diets. The result was more weight fluctuations and very little satisfaction.

So, where am I now heading? I have not given up. No sir! I mean to keep on trying to lose this excess weight , not because I want to just look good( BTW, who doesn’t), but now it’s a matter of being healthy.                                                                                                                                       appetite apple close up delicious

So the battle continues! I will tell you about my new strategy in my next blog post. Till then , please like and comment

I have reposted this blog.

#Weight

#weightloss

#iamalwaysonadiet

#FOWC

#Keepitalive

My secret addiction!

Games, puzzles and words games, I am addicted to them all. I have different passions at different times. Nowadays, it’s Jigsaw puzzles( the ones you play on you phone or tablet). Before I started to write my blog, this was a major time kill for me. I would be sitting at home, on the airport, in the bus or at a get together where I didn’t know anyone ( I know it is very rude!) , I would take out my phone and start working on my puzzle.

How my addiction with computer/ phone games started?

It was about 15-16 years ago, that while talking to my brother, who is a doctor, the topic of occupation ( mine) came under discussion. I haven’t had a proper job since I completed my studies. Being a home maker and full-time mom didn’t leave much time for a whole time job! So he told me that it was essential to keep my mind active to prevent early dementia ( my grand father suffered from it) . He suggested word games and other ” mind games” ( the literal ones) . I started playing Solitaire and FreeCell on my PC, ( we had a PC for the whole family in those days).

From there I progressed gradually to phone/ laptop/ tablet. I played games to while away my time, to amuse myself and to exercise my mind. To say that enjoyed this pastime would be an understatement. I loved it!

But my family was not happy about it. They termed my harmless hobby as an addiction. There were a lot of representations made to me about sitting with my phone or laptop, staring at the screen and being blind and deaf to everything going around me was not good for me!

So to respect the wishes of my family, I tried to cut down on my games addiction. I would give myself a timetable for playing my favorite games, an hour in the morning and/ or an hour in the afternoon, was the time I allowed myself. The resultant withdrawal was not difficult to manage. And then I came to the stage where my kids were all on their own, working and / or married! I suddenly had a lot of time on my hands. I was free to do whatever I wanted with my time. Also I discovered a new obsession, Jigsaw puzzles.

It was interesting and challenging. I gradually increased the level of difficulty I could handle ( the maximum is 400 pieces). I got pretty good at it too.

But one day, my very good friend Dr Tanya@ Salted Caramel told me that she had started writing a blog. She encouraged me to do the same. Her encouragement and support from my family, finally made me bold enough to take this step. Now most of my time is spent either reading the blogs of people I follow or writing my own posts.

My family is happy that I have found a constructive way to spend my time. I am happy to have found something positive to do and love the feedback and encouragement that I find here in my blogging world, so everyone’s happy.

But one thing I haven’t told anyone is that I still do my daily Jigsaw Puzzle! I also play my card games daily challenges while no one is watching!

Phot Credits:Google ans Pixabay

Let me know through your comments and feedback, how you like my post!

#Mysecretaddiction

#Preventingdementia

#Computergames

#Keepitalive

Foods allowed in ketogenic diet.

In my last post I gave you a list of vegetables which can be eaten without restriction on Keto diet.

Here I will talk about all the other food groups that can be eaten on Keto diet.

1. Proteins:

In Keto diet, you should be eating a controlled portion of protein. The ideal amount is between 3-6 oz of meat, fish , poultry and eggs.

Grass fed organic meats, like Beef, Lamb, pork and best of all organ meat which have high fat content are ideal.

Fatty fish, like Tuna, Salmon, Sardines, Trout, Halibut and other high fat fish. Seafood like Oysters, Shrimp, Squid, Scallops , Lobster etc.

Eggs, preferably free range eggs are excellent for Keto diet . Eggs have the perfect macros for Keto.

For people who don’t want to eat Animal Protein, Vegetarian protein can be subsituted.

Vegetarian proteins:

Organic fermented Soy products like tofu and tempeh in smaller amounts. Lentil, Seeds like pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds. Sprouted berms, Mushrooms are some of the veggie proteins you can have.

2. Fats:

The most important and unusual part of the keto diet are the fats.

Coconut oil and butter, avocado oil, olive oil, almond butter , peanut butter ( with no sugar added). Grass fed butter are all the good fats that can be used. The ratio of fats consumed keeps on changing as you progress with ketosis.

3. Dairy:

Small amounts of cheese ( up to 3 oz) can be taken in a day with meals. Feta, Brie, cream cheese ( not cream cheese spread) heavy cream and Sour cream can be a part of your daily diet. Greek yogurt or hung yogurt can also be used.

4. Nuts:

Some nuts are very high in fat and are good for inducing the body into Ketosis . But since they are calorie dense ( have a lot of calories) eat them in small quantities. Pecans, Macadamia , almonds Walnuts, Hazelnut and Brazil nuts are all good. Other nuts like Cashews, peanuts and pistachios have a higher carb content and should be used sparingly.

5. Fruits:

Unfortunately, most fruits being high in carbs are not allowed on Keto diet. Only berries, like Blackberry, Blueberries and Strawberries can be eaten in small amounts. Lemon and lime can be used freely. Avocado can be used daily. But not too much. An avocado a day should be fine.

For further help, please look up my previous posts on this subject,

Here and Here

Hope that this post helps to some degree in choosing what to eat on KETO Diet.

Waiting for your comments and feedback.

#KetoDiet

#KetogenicDiet

#Healthyliving

#Keepitalive

Do’s and Don’t’s of Keto diet

Most people who try to follow Keto diet are confused as to what they should eat and what to avoid. Here I have complied A list of do’s and don’ts of Keto diet.

In one my previous post, you can read it here , I gave an outline of my initial daily food intake.

Now I want to help people who have started Keto diet and haven’t much information about how to go about it.

1. Meals and their timings:

It is a vital part of Keto diet to eat your meals according to a fixed schedule. Now don’t get the idea that this would tie you to an unreasonable routine. By a schedule, I mean that the time between each meal should be around the same, daily. Now if you have breakfast early in the morning, you don’t have to have it at the same time every day, but make sure that the time difference between dinner and breakfast stays (almost )the same. And apply the same principle to lunch and dinner.

2. If you are not hungry at a meal time, don’t eat. The idea of 3 meals a day, or short frequent meals is not good for health. Frequent eating releases Insulin, which will hinder you weight loss and can make you Insulin resistant.

3. Appetite management:

It is natural to feel hungry initially, when you start on Keto. The Macros of Keto as I explained in my previous post are:

FAT:70%

PROTEIN 25%

CARBS 5%

You can add non starchy vegetables to this.

Vegetables allowed on Keto: 

Eat as much as you want:

Green leafy vegetables like ;

Spinach, Iceberg, Rocket( Arugula), Mustard greens, Collard greens, Kale. Lettuce

Cruciferous vegetables like;

Cauliflower, Broccoli, Cabbage, Brussels sprouts.

High water content vegetables like;

Squash ( all types), Peppers( all types ), Cucumbers, Eggplant, Turnips, Zucchini, Celery, Asparagus. Mushrooms, Olives

Eat less of these:

Tomatoes, onions, green beans, okra, carrots

These vegetables will not only fill up your tummy, but will also provide essential nutrients like Potassium, iron vitamins, specially vitamin B and C.

Start your meal with a large plate of salad. The daily recommended amount of vegetables/salad per day is around 7-10 cups. Divide it in two servings one with lunch and the other with dinner. If you find it difficult to eat that much vegetables, then you can try a veggie smoothie.

     Avoid completely

Potato, peas, lentils, beets, yams, corn.

All the products made out of potatoes and corn also must be avoided.

4. No snacking:

This is a difficult habit to stick to, specially in the beginning. But to get you body into ketosis,you must stick to this important rule. If you feel hungry in between meals:

a. Increase your intake of fat in your meals

b. Have a glass full of water with a tablespoon full of Apple cider vinegar in it. You can also add some lemon juice to it. It will lower your urge to eat.

Hope that these tips will make it easy for you to follow Keto Diet.

I will follow up with another post of foods allowed on keto!

Thanks for visiting.

Please let me know how you like my post.

#KetogenicDiet

#KetoDiet

#Weightloss

#Keepitalive

My fitness tracker.

Fitness trackers are all the rage these days. The question is: Do I need one? I will be honest with you! The answer is a yes and a no!!! If you are a creature of habit, with discipline ingrained in your character, the likelihood is that you won’t need the added push which a fitness tracker provides towards gaining good physical health and regular habits. But if , like me you are careless about personal goals or have a lackadaisical approach towards health and fitness, then my dears, this gadget is a necessity!

Let me explain:

A fitness/ exercise/ step tracker is a device often worn on the wrist ( though there are arm and pendant versions also available) of a person (that maybe you!). The purpose of this device is to measure the physical activity that is done by the wearer. As new technology is coming into play, the trackers can monitor your steps, heartbeat, sleep and any exercise that you do. It is done basically by measuring your heartbeat and movements. The tracker cannot be 100% accurate but most devices have a pretty good tracking rate. As a person wears the tracker, all the physical activity done by him/ her is recorded. The number of steps taken, floors climbed and aerobic exercise like walking, running and cycling etc are also recorded automatically. It also tells you how long you have been sitting around and how long you slept. Usually there is an app ( both for android and iPhones ) which links your tracker to your device ( usually the phone) and analyzes the data collected.

You are further encouraged to log in the food and water intake via the app into your account, that you create when you start using your tracker.

So this is how your tracker works!

Now, the question: why should anyone go to all this trouble?

I am going to cite my own example to make it easy for you to decide. I was a lazy person who disliked to do any exercise or physical activity, voluntarily. Then a few ( 3 or so) years ago, I realized that if I wanted to have a chance of aging gracefully with my dignity intact, I better reform my indolent ways. So I got myself a fitness tracker. After a few frustrating day, ( learning how to use the device and the app) I started my journey towards a better physical health. The pre-set limit on my tracker was 10,000 steps. Now this was an impossibility to me at that time. So I tweaked it and reduced the target to 3000 steps. Slowly and gradually I increased my capacity to walk and finally was able to do the 10 k.

So long story short, now it’s not only a habit but sort of compulsion for me to complete my daily quota of steps. I also log in my food/ calorie intake and water intake.

The conclusion:

As I said earlier, if you are concerned that you are not getting enough exercise or are not doing enough for you health, get a fitness tracker which suits your requirements. It will remind you to move, get your daily quota of steps and in general be more active. The latest research has equated being sedentary as having the same risks as smoking. So it’s time to invest in a bit of technology to help you on the road to being more active and healthy.

Let me know how you like my post. Share your questions and give your feedback.

#fitnesstracker

#Goodhealth

#Keepitalive

Ladies, let’s talk about breast health, mammograms and need for self exams.

October is the breast cancer awareness month. Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in the world, affecting the women in both the developed and developing countries alike and it’s the single most common cancer in women. Last year there were 2 million reported cases of breast cancer. The aim of this post is not to scare you but to point out the necessity of giving your health and specially breast health some serious consideration.

WHO NEEDS IT:

It’s an extremely vital issue, specially for women after they turn 50. If they have a family history of cancer, or if their health is vulnerable due to risk factors they have been exposed to, then a very serious thought should be given to getting yourself tested for any lumps etc in breast tissue.

SELF EXAM:

I am putting below a link that explains how to and how often the women should do the self exam at home.

https://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-self-exam

It’s a simple procedure and can be performed in a few minutes.

MAMMOGRAM:

Mammograms are non-invasive X-ray based test which takes all of 10 minutes. It is a bit on the expansive side but far cheaper than the cost of hospitalization etc if things get serious. There is a lot of misinformation regarding mammograms. some say that it is painful, others describe it as a messy or inconvenient . It is none of those. The only inconvenience I faced was the fact that I had to book an appointment a month before as they were very busy.

PAP SMEAR:

While we are talking about women health, getting a pap smear test after the age of menopause is a good idea too. I know that most women ( myself included) find doctor visits cumbersome and a waste of time. The long appointments and the expenses of these investigations are also a cause of concern .But health is after all of paramount importance, so we must swallow the bitter pill and get our checkups on time. Wishing good health and long happy life to you all!

Let me know what you think of my blog. Please like and comment.

#MAMMOGRAM

#BREASTHEALTH

#BREASTCANCERAWARENESS

#KEEPITALIVE

My Keto journey!

I started on my Keto journey almost a year ago. It was a chance read article on the net, that made me take this decision. There was lot of resistance and criticism from family and friends. But looking at my health stats, I decided to at least try it for a while.

How it was in the beginning:

When I started my Keto journey, it was a case of learn as you go. I searched many websites and bought a couple of books to get to know the in’s and out’s of this diet.

The start:

The beginning was not very auspicious. There were a couple of false starts, till I finally got in my stride. This diet meant changing all my previous concepts about food. I had to un- learn a lot of food facts that I had been practicing all my life. I also had to learn to like a few foods that weren’t my favorite before I started.

Progress:

I started by adding extra fat to my meals, specially my breakfast. I still do that on occasions ( one has to change the amount of fat one takes as our bodies adjust to fat burning) . My breakfast now had either eggs, 2-3, boiled, fried or in omelette form. Using butter with a lavish hand. Coffee or tea with cream in small quality. Or I would have ” Bulletproof coffee “ for my breakfast. This is black coffee in which you add a tablespoon of butter ( grass-fed butter, if available) and I would add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin organic coconut oil. Mixed with a teaspoon of cream and blended to give a frothy texture to the coffee. This was a calorie rich drink and would tide me over to lunchtime easily. The aim of having a fat rich breakfast was to put the body onto fat-burning mode from the start of the day. Another advantage was that after having so many fat calories, one didn’t feel hungry for quite a while.

My first meal of the day used to be quite early as it was my habit previously.

Lunch:

By a method of hit and try I discovered that a salad worked best for lunch. It needed to have a small amount of chicken ( I am a chicken-tarian person! ) lots of green vegetables like iceberg, capsicum, cucumbers, arugula etc, a bit of tomato and lots of mayonnaise. An important fact about mayonnaise: most of the store-bought brands of mayo have either corn syrup or sugar added to them. So it’s better you make your own mayo or look closely at the ingredients when buying ( I found that Hellmans mayonnaise had no sugar added). Mustard and olive oil were okay to use in the salad. But avoid ketchup and other sauces.

I am posting a link that I found on the internet that makes good mayonnaise. Instead of using a whisk, use immersion blender ( Stick Blender)

https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/homemade-mayonnaise-241868

Ceaser salad was good but leave the croutons alone.

Dinner:

Dinner was easy, just any form of meat ( I would prefer chicken or maybe fish, of course) with vegetables. These vegetables would be the green leafy kind ( Salad greens) or the watery kind ( like zucchini, eggplant, squash etc) . Cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli are also a good deal. The meat should not be coated with flour, breaded or drenched in sauces containing cornflour, flour etc.

Calorie counting was not playing a major role here, so I would eat till I felt full, ( but not over stuffed!).

From this way of eating, my #Keto Journey started.

In my next post, I will tell you about how my journey continues.

Please if you have any questions or comments let me know.

# Ketogenicdiet

#Ketodiet

#keepitalive

#Myketojourney

# Iamalwaysonadiet

An introduction to Ketogenic diet.

Now -a-days most people have heard about ketogenic diet. Keto for short. What is it? And who should be doing it.

what is ketogenic diet?

Ketogenic (Keto for short) diet is a diet where our body is deprived of carbohydrates ( carbs ) and is hence forced to burn fat for fuel. This fat can come from our food or it can be the fat stored in our body. The biggest challenge in this diet is to restrict our intake of carbs/ sugars to a minimum. I will talk about this in a while.

Who needs to go on a ketogenic diet?

Normally if a person is overweight, he/ she can reduce the excess weight by either calorie restriction in his diet or by burning the extra fat by increasing the amount of exercise one does. Simply put, we can either eat less than our requirement or burn more than we eat by increasing our physical activity. This method works of most of healthy and moderately overweight people.

Then there are people who have broken/ dis-functional metabolism. These are people, who have been on a diet for a long time. I am one of them. The cycle of loosing weight and then gaining it back, also called yo-yo dieting, makes it harder and harder to lose weight after each time. So for people like us, the notion of eating a balanced diet with caloric deficit does not work. Our bodies have gotten to the stage that they refuse to shed the extra weight willingly.

In this scenario, the diet that usually can give satisfactory results is the Keto diet.

There is another category of people who can benefit from Keto diet. These are the people who are declared as pre-diabetic or are suffering from type 2 diabetes. For such people, restriction of carbs can reduce the need for medicines and improve health to a greater degree.

I will discuss the do’s and don’t ‘s of Keto diet in my next post.

But before anyone with any health conditions can start Keto diet they should consult their medical caregivers to get a go ahead.

The purpose of this diet is two-folds, One, Get your food cravings and hence weight gain in control and Secondly, to reduce weight by reducing the insulin produced in our bodies.

There are many books and websites where you can find tips about #KETO DIET. I plan to make it easy for anyone wanting to follow this way of life ( YES, IT IS A WAY OF LIFE, NOT JUST A DIET) but combining my own knowledge of this diet with my experience of practicing this life style for last one year.

So keep on reading about #Keto diet in my future posts.

Please if you have any questions or comments do share them with me.

KETODIET

#Keepitalive

#KETOGENICDIET