How not to fall sick as seasons change!

To many of us, changing seasons are synonymous with falling sick, be it cold, headaches, flu or viral fever. This is almost assumed to be a norm  as the changing season itself. But should we really consider this a norm? Other animals in nature don’t fall sick as seasons change.  then why us?

When the season is changing from say, summer to the monsoon, our body is trying to adjust/cope with changes in the atmosphere. This is the body’s nature or intuitive wisdom, very much a part of our DNA.  to do this, it borrows energy that would otherwise be used for our normal functioning such as digestion, repair work and elimination. As a result, immunity goes a little low and digestion becomes a bit sluggish. At such a point, we need to help the body by making appropriate changes in diet /lifestyle, else we run the risk of falling sick.

What are some of these changes we can look at making ?

1. Slow down, make the time to relax and rest more. If possible sleep more. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t feel more sleepy than usual at seasonal cusps. This is our body’s wisdom showing us the way, and if we just listen, we’ll sail through. In any case if we fall sick, we are forced to pull the brakes, so is it not better to slow down before that, and prevent from falling sick ? If we just listen to the body, we’ll realize its not asking for much. A 20 minute power nap, or just a half an hour extra in the night can in fact work wonders.

2. Eat light. which basically translates to eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, especially seasonal ones. These take up less energy to digest, and energize the body to be able to adapt to change.

3. Cleanse the system.  Our body uses the maximum energy to digest food, and if we give it a break from that by fasting, we can actually free up that energy for many other useful functions. And if we simultaneously replace food with pure fruit and vegetable juices, flooding our system with essential nutrients, the effects for the rest of the season can be quite amazing! We can choose to go on a juice fast for a day, 3 days or 5 days, depending on various factors such as – age, health history and current lifestyle. If juice fasting is too extreme, one can at least support the system with one green juice a day, consuming cleansing foods such as Sweet basil seeds and Aloe Vera, or having warm herbal teas in the morning or during the day.

4. Consume anti bacterial foods. Some really common anti bacterials that already exist in our diet are ginger, turmeric, onion and garlic. Add these in generous quantities. A great immunity booster shot that you can have each morning is drinking a shot of Ginger -Turmeric Tea. Boil raw turmeric powder and fresh ginger in water, add jaggery syrup to it and your shot is ready.

That said, nourishment takes place over a period of time and immunity cannot be built overnight. Immunity building needs to take place throughout the year, along with changes in lifestyle that are more in rhythm with nature, so that we can be ready for change at any time:)

Salads that replace summer Lunches

I just find that the idea of lunch in summer to be unappetizing! And there’s a good reason why not just me, but many don’t feel up to eating Roti, sabzi and dal kind of food in the summer.

The first I figured is that we are receiving a lot of more of direct sun energy in the summer. Sun energy being the most primary and original energy source satiates us without us even realizing.

I first noticed this on a trip to the Himalayas, while staying with a group of organic farmers. These farmers would leave their home early in the morning to work in the field, do manual labour for hours before they got home and put even a morsel of food in their mouths. They would not even feel hungry. Where were they getting so much energy from? It had got to be energy from the summer sun that they were soaking in through their skin.

Of course summer is also a time when our bodies are willing to work out the most. In prehistoric times, people were busy gathering food for the lean periods in summer. They would also indulge in as much of the fresh available food (fruits, vegetables, sprouts, green leafies), which would give them the ready energy to gather more. Scientists believe that though times have changed, our bodies have not. Though we have all varieties of foods available to us year round, and we definitely have no need to gather, we still crave and relish light fresh food in the summer. This is what gave me the idea to come up with meal ideas that I could enjoy for summer lunches. I ended up creating Meal Replacer Salads, full of fresh goodness. Below are just some of the elements to go if you would like to create your own salads meal that will be renergising, flavorful, balanced and filling 🙂

Base – pick your leafy greens, lots of them. Good to rotate them on a weekly basis, and have a variety to get an entire gamut of nutrients. Micro greens ( if available)are a super idea too!

High water content vegetables – cucumber, tomatoes, zucchini, peppers are a must in a summer salad. They are full of live enzymes and keep you hydrated as well as make you full.

Sprouts in the summer are a great addition. They are again full of live enzymes and simple amino acids, super satiating and energizing. Lentils, grains, seeds, nuts, can all be sprouted.

Do you think fats make you fat ? Not the healthy variety like raw nuts and seeds, just a handful. They can be thrown in, sprinkled on top or soaked and ground to make lovely dressings. Also they can be activated by soaking overnight and then using. In coastal areas, coconut is amazing to add too.

The filler – these we cannot do without, as they are what will give our tummy the filling feeling and keep us going for more than just an hour. The fillers can be starchy vegetables like potato and sweet potato, carrots, avacado or some whole millets like foxtail or quinoa.

And finally, whats a salad without a good flavor ? I am a big fan of natural flavour enhancers like lemon, herbs like parsley and celery, ginger, tamarind, as opposed to preserved bottled dressings. Look around your kitchen and you’ll find a world out there.

The last secret ingredient ? a sweet enhancer like fruit/ dry fruit pieces or jaggery can take your salad to another level.

So go ahead, experiment, try out some new stuff. Share your ideas. Look out for upcoming recipes on the Healthnut Recipes Blog 🙂 Happy Summer Lunches! 11145072_836753656404050_1041101988193534961_n

Post New Year System Reboot :)

I was on a week long holiday to Delhi and Ranthambore over the turn of the year! A complete switch off from work, a break from the routine, family time and connecting with nature, and wildlife.. It was a complete mental reboot!

However being in Delhi at the peak of winter, with family obviously lead to major food indulgences aka fried, spicy, processed foods, and gluten overdose ( thankfully stayed off dairy and alcohol). As we crossed over to Rajasthan for into the wild, a generous dose of spice and chilly were automatically added to this list ! It was a week of break for me – but an overload time for my stomach and it showed all the symptoms.

So once back, I knew I needed to give my system a restorative break or reboot. So here’s what I did.

I started right on the morning flight back to Mumbai. I skipped the inflight breakfast completely and opted instead for a few bowls of cut fruit.

Back at home, through the rest of the day I alternated between 2 glasses of green juice, 2 fruit smoothies ( strawberries, pineapples, bananas and dates),  apples, and a couple of cups of warm fresh herb infusion.

The juices cleansed, the smoothies gave energy, and the herb tea was soothing. They all alkalized my system in a jiffy!

I felt a little heaviness in the head for some time, and this could be because of sudden change in food regimen, but the fruit and smoothies helped counter that and also helped me feel full . How heavenly my stomach felt in less than a day. It was unbelievable 🙂

I ended the day with some lovely home cooked dinner with a friend – a salad, a lightly cooked coconut based vegetable curry and brown rice. We also had vegan raw brownie for dessert 🙂

There’s been no time to continue this way ( though I would have loved to), as I dived head long into work on Monday. So I did the next best thing. I incorporated a few changes in my daily diet for the week. I increased my fruit intake in the morning, my intake of vegetable juice in the day and a vegetable soup in the evening before dinner. These additions will ensure I get more fruit and vegetable in, than I ordinarily do. Little tweeking – but something that will go a long way to restore balance. Whats more, small changes over a period of time, create a big difference, and build not just healthy habits , but health, vitality, and immunity 🙂

When it comes to changing habits for better health, I’ve always seen – the bigger the scale, the quicker you fail. One small step is all we need to take. Decide on what that step is. Do it everyday. Make it sing. Declare victory. Move to the next step. Build good health 🙂 Resolve this year!

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mental reboot – feeding tiger birds at Ranthambore national park

Chikoo smoothie

system reboot – fruit only smoothies 🙂