No festival feels complete without indulging in sweets and fried savouries — so much so that at times most of us lose control and end up overeating. However there are still some people who practice restrain and are able to stop themselves from going overboard, others tend to gain weight in the process and then end up spending hours at the gym trying to shed those additional calories. Trust us, it’s a constant struggle, much like Union Minister Smriti Irani recently pointed out in her Instagram post.
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We couldn’t agree more. Surrounded by sweets like barfis, laddoos, soan papdi, kaju katli and rosogullas and variety of snacks, binge eating becomes a common phenomenon. By the time the festival season is over, it leaves us feeling bloated, unwell and not in prime shape.
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In case you too have eaten more than you should have during the week-long festivities and are now looking to shed those extra calories by eating healthy, here is what experts have to say.
Neha Pathania, chief nutritionist, Paras Hospital recommends a detox regimen after a calorie-high festival week. “During Diwali, it’s hard to be virtuous about your diet when you’re surrounded by mounds of laddoos, barfi and namkeen treats. Follow a detox regimen to get back to your healthy self. Detoxifying helps you cleanse your system of all the toxins imbibed from all the calorie-laden foods you’ve been eating. It also helps in speeding up metabolism and enhancing overall health due to the presence of antioxidants,” she tells indianexpress.com.
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So, what should you have? “Think of green vegetables, fruits, and whole ingredients. Detox foods include spinach, red and green peppers, tomatoes, and fruits like grapes, oranges, melons, apples, and bananas. Add cinnamon, ginger and grated garlic in your dishes. This would reduce the inflammatory chemicals your body has been producing because of too many mithais,” shares Avni Kaul, nutritionist, wellness coach, and certified diabetic educator, founder, NutriActivania.
However, experts point out that it is always better to take small steps to achieve a bigger goal. Detoxifying can be done by just changing your diet, such as eating more fresh salads, advises Kaul. “Consume raw vegetables and fruits like cucumber, carrots, radish, onions, tomatoes, oranges, papaya, apples before every meal. Raw foods will make you feel amazing and are known for eradicating toxins and healing your body quickly,” she says.
Since Diwali sweets are mostly made of milk and milk products, maida and sugar in high amounts, it is good to keep a check on consumption of refined products after the festivities are over, advises Dr Pramod Tripathi, founder, Freedom from Diabetes. “Since milk contains IGF factor (insulin-like growth factor) which does not allow insulin to work properly, it should be avoided by diabetics. It is also recommended that refined products like sugar and maida be avoided. All these products not only raise your sugar levels but also hamper your system,” he points out.
Dietician Shikha Mahajan, holistic nutritionist, Diet Podium, says that the ideal way to start with a healthy eating plan is to “cut all carbs from your diet, except some light fruits. This will help cut out the retained water and get you rid of bloating.” She adds that no intake of salt can “help flush out excess water and toxins in the body.”
However, if one chooses to detox for more than a day, it’s important to consume more protein, advises Mahajan. “If you do a detox for longer than a day, you must make sure that you get two portions of lean protein like chicken, fish, egg white or tofu every day. This will make your detox sustainable and help you follow through,” she explains.
The thumb rule is to drink more water, which is often not the case. “There is no point in doing a detox if you will forget to hydrate. Detox can be extremely dehydrating if you don’t have enough water. Also, the toxins can only be flushed out with water. Add lemon to warm water and drink it three-four times a day,” states Mahajan.
Remember these easy tips for a detox
Drink lukewarm water with lemon
Take a glass of warm water with half a lemon squeezed in. Have it on empty stomach; you can also sip that with cucumber cut into your water bottle throughout the day. Drinking lemon water in the morning helps flush out toxins and sugar from the body, which is good for weight loss. It also helps relieve problems like acidity, bloating, burping and heartburn.
Cut down sugar intake
Post Diwali your body is still coping with all the excesses, so try to cut down on your sugar intake, fats and processed carbohydrates. If you drink tea or coffee everyday, then avoid putting sugar into it. No matter how much you are craving for leftover sweets, try to have a slice of fruit instead. Eliminate all fried foods from your diet. Also, limit your intake of chapattis or rice and carbohydrates. Cut back on the portions of your food and try dividing your meals into 5-6 portions rather than three large meals a day. Consume more raw, steamed or sautéed vegetables.
Take out time for exercise
Don’t bother to join a gym or invest in fancy equipment to burn some calories. Walk for 30-45 minutes daily. Try taking the stairs instead of the lift. Do what you enjoy the most! If you enjoy dancing, get up and groove. The key is to do something daily which helps burn calories at a steady pace.
Eat only home-cooked meals
Restaurant and street food may be tasty but are loaded with oil, salt, starch and sugar. If you cook at home, you have control over the ingredients and cooking methods. You can easily prepare a nourishing meal like khichdi and chaach rather than ordering food from outside.
Include healthy fats
Healthy fats like nuts, seeds, egg yolk, avocado, coconut and ghee will enhance the results of your detox. These are especially helpful for those who are showing toxicity in their skin, hair, under-eye, etc, as they rejuvenate the dullest of skin.
Get at least seven hours of sleep per night so the body can recoup the damage and start healing from within.