Monday, December 29, 2008

The Toast Diet- Quick and easy weight loss

Want to squeeze into a party dress for your big event?

A weight loss of 2-3 lb in a week is guaranteed.

Ideal for losing the bloat in a few days and losing fat from the abdominal region, the Toast Diet is something that I formulated and found with great success. Please try it out and let me know how much weight you lost.

Before embarking on this diet, please note your existing health condition and if need be, consult a doctor. Pregnant or breastfeeding women, people with heart ailments or special nutrition needs should not go on this diet.

This diet has been designed for women between the weight of 120 to 150lb. In case you weigh heavier or lighter than this, you might have to increase or decrease your consumption to see effects.

Breakfast: 1 slice of wholegrain toast with jam and 1 cup of tea

Lunch: 2 slices of wholegrain toast with low fat tuna chunks in water; 1 green salad

Mid-afternoon snack: 1 apple or 1 pear

Tea-time: 1 slice of wholegrain toast with jam and 1 glass of low-fat milk

Dinner: Vegetable salad with 1 chicken breast

Please drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water throughout the day. If you would like a snack or want to satisfy some sugar pangs, you can have a fruit or a small piece of chocolate. But under no circumstances should you have soda, even if it is diet and zero calories.

I designed this diet since I didn't want to starve like most diets do and I still wanted to get my helpings of veggies and fruits and eat nutritiously. Do try to incorporate 30 minutes of exercise every day like walking, cycling, etc.

This is a short-term diet and can be tried for 2 to 3 weeks. Let me know if you need any other information.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Lose belly fat!!

Ever wonder how to get that svelte waist you've been trying so long? I am not going to advocate fancy diets or strenuous exercise.

Remember how much of pleasure and bliss you felt when you ate that second helping of chocolate cake or how much you overindulged in spite of feeling full? Well, it works in the inverse also. You need to go through that much amount of deprivation to rid yourself of those excess pounds. First, low carb or low fat diets won't help if you continue eating the same number of calories as before.

First, you need to lose weight on the stomach to let your ab muscles show. And losing weight is best done in two ways- limiting calorie intake and doing exercise. Notice that I said both. Yes, it's hard work to lose weight- almost as how easy it is to put on weight if you are not careful.

3500 calories equals one pound. The safest amount to lose weight is not more than 1-2lb per week. Too drastic and it will be a weight rebound. To maintain your weight at the current level, try to cut 250 calories in your diet and do at least 250 calories worth of exercise every day. To lose weight, try to cut 250 calories in your diet and work out for at least one hour three times per week.

Lose water weight now!!!

The holidays are fast approaching but horror of horrors!! That dress you've picked out for Christmas is too tight for you.

Have you ever wondered why even if you are working out daily, the results don't show up on the scale? Or have you wondered how come your weight differs by even as much as 3lb the next day? Why does weight fluctuate so? The main reason is due to water weight. Water makes up 70-75% of your total body weight. When we are dehydrated, our body stubbornly holds on to every bit of water it has and causes water retention, which in turn makes us feel bloated and heavy. This is an evolutionary fact since the human body will try to maximize survival and this is a survival mechanism.

1) Drink at least 8 glasses of water. Not drinking water will make you feel dehydrated and your body will retain more water. Contrary to what would one expect but true!!
2) Avoid foods high in sodium. Most processed foods have a lot of sodium in it. Try and keep it natural.
3) Avoid caffeine (tea, coffee, soda) which has a diuretic effect but will also exacerbate your body to store water.

Here is a sure-fire plan to lose at least 2lb the first week of your weight loss plan! Drink at least 8 glasses of water and as much water as you can without feeling sick. This water will encourage your body to flush out the excess water. Limit your salt intake and intake of processed foods. And of course, continue to exercise to see results.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

How to kick-start your metabolism!!

The holiday season is approaching and tasty treats await...One year is reaching its end. How did you treat your body these last eleven months? Did you treat it like a high-end Maserati engine or did you treat it like a clunky pick-up truck engine, plying it with fast food and junk?

Time to get back to the basics then if your answer was the second. Eating without discretion makes your metabolism sluggish, piles on the pounds and leeches out your energy. Here are some helpful tips to kickstart your metabolism and rev it up!!! Soon you'll probably be brimming with energy and cruising along like that snazzy Maserati!!! Having a high metabolism allows you to burn more calories passively: when sitting, standing or sleeping.

First of all, take a good hard look at yourself. Be objective. Note down what food you take in every day (yes, that tiny bite of chocolate and that giant bowl of popcorn at the movies count too!!) and notice how your energy levels are.

Always eat breakfast!

Drink 8-10 glasses of water a day! Water helps your metabolism function at full efficiency rather than sugar-laden fruit juices or sodas and dehydrating drinks like coffee, tea and alcohol.

Eat smaller meals throughout the day rather than 3 large meals! This provides a regular supply of energy and keeps you active rather than eating a large meal. When you eat large meals, more blood is directed to your digestion which in turn makes you sleepy and lethargic.

Exercise for at least 3 times a week! Exercise ups your metabolism even after the actual workout. It also keeps you toned and supple.

Reduce carbohydrate intake! Reduce your intake of starchy carbohydrates like spaghetti and rice and try to avoid processed foods. When you eat too much carbs especially those with a high glycemic index, your blood sugar spikes and the extra carbs get stored as fat.

Monday, November 17, 2008

How much water is enough?

There are so many conflicting reports out there that say either you have to drink 8 glasses of water or you don't. And each is more vociferous than the other.

There are times when I forget to drink water. Odd but true. But I see the effects on my skin which becomes dull. Besides, your mouth becomes extremely dry. So now I have countered this by keeping a glass of water by my desk always and I keep sipping water throughout the day.

I would say how much water to drink is up to you. Some people would require more than 8 glasses of water according to their level of physical activity. But trying to achieve 8 glasses as a benchmark is good for the rest of us. One good reason to drink water- to prevent kidney stones. Dehydration increases the chance of having more kidney stones.

Drinking water also keeps you full so that you don't end up eating more. Try drinking a glass of water before your meal.

Dehydration also causes fatigue, decreased blood pressure,constipation and even unconsciousness

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Health fads that will kill us

How many times do we have conflicting "solid scientific evidence" and then after some time, "evidence to the contrary"? The number of times that scientists make sweeping statements and retract them and reissue them is stupendous. Here are some of those.
1) A normal human being requires eight glasses of water a day.
2) Vitamin supplements improve a hundred million things.
3) A glass of wine prevents heart disease.
4) Dark chocolate is good for you.
5) Three cups of tea prevents strokes.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

8 Ways to burn 100 calories

(For a 120 to 150 pound person)
1) 20 minutes of aerobics (medium intensity)
2) 15 minutes of brisk walking
3) 15 minutes of skipping
4) 20 minutes of fast dancing
5) 15 minutes of climbing stairs
6) 30 minutes of ballroom dancing
7) 40 minutes of ironing clothes
8) 1 and 1/2 hours of sleeping

Here is the number of calories you need per day

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Is MSG good or bad?

This is one of the confusing issues in health. One would think that after all these years of research, people would have resolved this but it has become one of those unsolved dilemmas that persist on and on. Kind of like the mysteries of Stonehenge :-) One day, it is a burial site and the next day, it is a sophisticated astronomical observation site.

MSG (Mono sodium glutamate) is a sodium salt of glutamic acid (an amino acid, one of the building blocks of protein). This was isolated by a scientist in Japan in 1907and then marketed as "Aji no moto" or "the essence of taste". In Japan, MSG is supposed to give "umami" or a "savory taste" when used in cooking. This company went on to become a money spinner and entered various markets across the world. So when you want to step into a Chinese restaurant and wonder why your home-made Chow mein does not taste the same, it's probably because they add MSG as a flavor enhancer.

Now there was a furore caused in the 1960s that MSG was bad for health, claiming that it is an excitotoxin or neurotoxin which has degenerative effects on the brain and the nervous system. According to scientists, MSG has been linked to degenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, and also causes migraine headaches, asthma attacks, heart irregularities, etc. Excitoxicity basically means that it allows Ca2+ to enter cells and the infiltrated Ca2+ causes the production of enzymes which in turn destroy cell components such as the cytoskeleton (structure within the cytoplasm that maintains the cell structure), cell membrane and DNA.

But I can't help wondering how these effects are shown in Asian populations, especially since MSG is an integral part of the Asian diets such as Japanese, Chinese cooking, etc. This becomes all the more strange when you consider the fact that Glutamate is found naturally in sun-dried tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, Shiitake mushrooms, certain types of seaweed and various meats and fish.

Please give me your two cents on these.

Monday, September 29, 2008


I know I am going to take a lot of flak for this!! But let me get it off my chest. I hate Starbucks coffee. There! I said it! Now have I become the social outcast?

I find Starbucks coffee overrated, overpriced and most of all, overcalorific!!
When I drink their coffees, I need to add a a lot of milk and sugar to make it palatable. And needless to say, adding a lot of milk and sugar is like saying "Bring on the calories!!".

One Starbucks everyday will probably add another 300- 500 calories of overload to your system. That is, if you manage not to be tempted by the muffins and other desserts on display.

Of course, there are the lite versions of beverages also. It's all about choice, ultimately but if your will power is not strong enough, you might find yourself heavier on the scale.

What I find appalling in restaurants or in places where people prepare your food, other people do not have any considerations in respecting your body!! If I order a grilled fish sandwich, the guy slathers the butter on and on. If I order a Starbucks coffee, they give me extra whipped cream and chocolate in it as a gesture of goodwill!! When you notice how other people prepare your food, you really understand why home cooking is the best since you would probably take more care in preparing your food!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Brown bag it!!

A recession usually brings out the culinary staple in many!! Which is the ubiquitous Brown Bag Lunch!!
Brown bagging it not only goes easy on your wallet but will probably leave you lighter on the scale as well. In fact, bringing lunch to work puts you in the driver's seat to control what food you eat unlike going to a restaurant where oil is used in excess, probably cooked in reused oil ( a common cost- cutting strategy in restaurants is reusing cooking oil which ups your blood pressure) and not cooked hygienically to boot.

Brown bag lunches don't have to be boring. Here are some tips to make your lunches healthy yet exciting!!
a) Tuna salad with cucumber and tomato
b) Cold pasta salad with Chicken and vegetables
c) Tortilla wrap with chicken or cheese and tomato
d) a bowl of oatmeal with bananas and milk

Friday, September 26, 2008


I love having fresh food. Freshly prepared food with fresh vegetables and fruits, brimming with (what else)"freshness"!!

And do you have any idea how difficult it is to find fresh food? So much of food that we consume today is full of preservatives, colorings, synthetic ingredients. Even your apples are suspect as they are coated with wax to prevent them from spoiling.

In our quest for convenience, we have lost our taste for good food. No wonder people binge on "comfort foods" like a bag of chips or cheese pizza!! Our tastebuds have become so simplistic that we like foods which are either sugary such as doughnuts, sweets or salty such as chips and pretzels or meaty such as burgers. I was surprised when someone asked me why I was drinking milk without sugar. Why do I need refined white sugar to mask the natural, inherent sweetness of milk? We need to get back to our basics and not cloak foods with additives.

A freshly prepared meal with salad and natural flavors will probably overload our tastebuds!! Mediterranean and Japanese diets, which do not smother food with spices but rather let the natural flavor of food speak for itself, are unsurprisingly the healthiest diets to follow.

Best Cholesterol-reducing food!!

Which food has the potential to reduce your cholesterol and LDL levels?
Which food has the capacity to add fiber and a rich content of protein?
Which food can suppress hunger better in comparison to other foods?

That's right! It's the very humble porridge! Before you pooh- pooh on why, how and what this miracle food can do for you, let me personally assure you that this is true.

Oats is really a miracle food that reduces your cholesterol levels when taken one cup a day and the result in your LDL (bad cholesterol) levels is seen in within 30 days. This is due to an ingredient called beta- glucan present in oats.

Oats has so many benefits such as being chock-full of fiber, having a rich content of protein (second only to soyabean protein in vegetable protein ranking!!) and is a whole-grained food.

Besides, for all you weight-watching warriors, this might just be the food to fill up your tank for a long, long time as it has a low glycemic index. Which in plainspeak, means that after eating oats, it takes a longer time for the glucose to wind up in the blood levels. So you feel fuller longer and will help control your hunger pangs!

So cut out the refined foods in your diet like bread and pizza and substitute it with oats. And instead of wasting money on synthetically prepared milkshakes or other supplements, consider having one cup of oats a day. Oats can be dressed up with milk (low-fat) and bananas or other berries.

100g of dry oats contains 390 calories with 62g of carbohydrates, 11g of protein and 8g of fat. One serving can be considered as 50g of dry oats since one cup of water is added to one cup of oats in cooking.

Update- Oats is a rich source of inositol, also known as Vitamin B8. This is a known anti-depressant which is used to treat depression, anxiety and stress- related disorders. It truly is a miracle food!!

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One Deep Breath before we embark on a journey of fitness, health and good living!!