Today’s show was all about afternoon snacking. The special guests were Achsah – a Sports Nutritionist, and Dr. Nirmala Jesudasan, a Nutrition expert.
Jane poses a question to her guests, asking what’s the afternoon meal trend in Chennai.
Achsah says that it’s mostly carb rich and doesn’t contain much fiber. Most people load up on rice & veggies or chicken.
Dr. Nirmala agrees, saying that she mostly sees people who bring a big box of rice and sambhar to work. Even those who go out for lunch often end up eating a rice-heavy meal.
Jane points out that some people have grown a bit health conscious and choose to substitute white rice with brown rice, millets or Ragi and other healthier options, which seems to be the trend even at her office. But this doesn’t always include the IT crowd and many other industries these days which have long working hours and people have the tendency to resort to fast food. She asks if there’s a way to substitute that with something healthy.
Dr. Nirmala says that the surest way is to ensure that whatever you’re eating, limit the quantity. For a midday snack, she advises against consuming biscuits, juices & soft drinks. Instead, she says, snack on about 30gm of nuts, or fruits. Eating whole fruits is better than fruit juice as it retains all the healthy fibers. She advises us to avoid artificial sweeteners and diet soda. The healthiest juices would be tomato or amla.
The first caller of the day – Krishka, is a health freak who was in the UK for 2 years. She notes that people there were always very health conscious, but lately she’s noticed that it’s catching on here too. She says that she takes steamed sweet potatoes for a midday snack and a khati roll made without any oil for lunch. Additionally she also takes some mixed boiled beans with pepper and oregano and lime for an evening snack.
Achsah says that often, when one person takes this step towards healthier eating, people around them get inspired.
Krishka adds that she tries to exercise but she’s not able to maintain a routine. Instead she tries to walk every morning for 15-20 minutes or at least as much as she can during the day, even if it’s around her office campus.
Jane asks Dr. Nirmala about the sudden fad of detoxing. Many people go on detoxes with things like green tea, spas, etc. She asks, is it medically proven?
Dr. Nirmala responds that the liver does the detoxing for us, so she’s cautious of detox regimes that are fads. But green tea, she agrees, is full of antitoxins and is very healthy.
Achsah says that 3-4 cups a day of green tea is ideal but overdoing it will dehydrate you.
Jane asks how do you bring some colour into your lunch box?
Dr. Nirmala says salad would be the best way to go. You can also have boiled vegetables like broccoli and carrots. Seedless grapes are also very healthy. Salads can have low calorie dressing, lime juice or vinaigrette with mustard, red wine vinegar, etc.
Jane now throws an open challenge to listeners, asking for men to call in and talk about their roles in the kitchen!
The next caller – Siaram handles Sales and Marketing for a company. He helps his wife cook everyday, even if it is just cutting vegetables and prepping for the actual cooking. He makes it a point to take a salad everyday with his lunch. He says it’s a pleasure to spend time in the kitchen with his wife and that children also enjoy it.
Jane congratulates Sairam and his wife Radha for the great dynamic they’ve got together!
The next caller says he doesn’t cook his own meals nor does he like to. He says he just wasn’t raised that way. His wife cooks for him, and only when he’s alone and without a choice, does he make something for himself. He says that he is overweight at the age of 63 and wants to change his lifestyle to lose weight and get healthy.
Jane suggests, that the first thing for him to do is to get into the kitchen and help his wife!
Dr. Nirmala says that there are only two ways to lose weight – control food intake & exercise. She advises him to visit a dietitian. Rice intake should be limited to no more than 1 or 2 handfuls and more vegetables should be included in the diet. Chapathis are also a good alternative. She says soft drinks, fried food and sweets are a big no-no!
The last caller – Shalini proudly says that her husband Shyam helps her everyday in the kitchen and that she really appreciates him for it! She says it’s a very happy time to be in the kitchen with the hubby every morning. They usually take vegetables and seasonal fruits for snack time, whereas for lunch, it’s rice followed by a banana & homemade fruit juice after they come home in the evenings. As a family, they also take soaked almonds in the evening with tea or milk. They make it a point to keep switching between different nuts and dried fruits to keep it interesting.
Dr. Nirmala has a French sun in law, so Jane asks her how different snacking habits are in Paris. The Doctor says lunch is a very light meal in Paris. Parisians also walk everywhere, which helps them keep fit. They’re more particular about adding seasonal foods in their diet. They support local fresh and organic produce.
Achsah concludes saying that the healthiest meals should have less carbs and more protein. All three emphasize that men should start cooking or helping out in the kitchen at least to know what goes into the food, and help keep it healthier.
Jane closes with an inspirational quote by the Dalai Lama – “The various features and aspects of human life, such as longevity, good health, success, happiness, and so forth, which we consider desirable, are all dependent on kindness and a good heart.”