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How to Enjoy Food While Staying Fit and Healthy

    Rashmi Uday Singh
Is this your ultimate dream: to love food, enjoy it, and still remain fit and healthy? For most of us, that’s what it remains: a dream. So how do you eat your way to health?

I am and have always been passionate about food and fitness. Even the most intelligent and perceptive amongst us are convinced that these two passions cannot coexist together. “You do not look like a food critic,” I am told, as though I have to look like a samosa or cream-puff to look like a food critic.

The truth of the matter is that I am passionate about food, it excites me! I cannot resist sinful desserts. Or chocolate. I love restaurants and eat out all the time. I am passionate about fitness and health too because that is what enables me to respond with all my senses to food. And so I’ve developed an endless appetite for finding out more about how to eat my way to health. 

Through the years, I have been struggling to make it a reality. It becomes tougher, since I eat for a living. In other words I live to eat. In spite of having written 18 books dedicated to eating, and countless restaurant columns, I still retain my passion for food and (believe it or not) for fitness.

I was blessed enough to be able to research and study and meet leading experts and doctors during a three-year period of research for a TV health show which I scripted, directed, produced and presented. I questioned them relentlessly; chewed on every single answer they gave and digested it.

Nutritionists, heart specialists, ayurvedacharyas, oncologists, naturopaths, homeopaths ... my cameras recorded every single nuance as I digested every single word. The good news is that it’s not just about WHAT you eat but also about HOW you eat. The great news is that it is easy, fun and delicious. Is It Harmful? If ignored, yes it is. Hypertension puts a considerable strain on the heart and blood vessels and is often referred to as a silent killer, because it displays no clear symptoms. Untreated hypertension is the leading cause of stroke, heart attack, heart failure, kidney damage and severe eye damage. About 20 percent of our population is affected with High Blood Pressure which is categorised either an Essential Hypertension or Secondary Hypertension.

CHEW ON THIS ONE: THE APPETITE MECHANISM
Did you know that bad eating habits don’t just mean calorific and junk food, but also being out of harmony with the way you eat? Ever wondered why eating and emotions are linked? Our appetite is coordinated in an area called the hypothalamus, and it is this area which controls a lot of our emotions. The ‘feeding’ centre is divided into ‘hunger’ and ‘fullness’ centres. The number of signals reaching these centres dictates whether you feel hungry or full. It’s important to feel pleasantly full after a meal, because you are less likely to binge in between. Basically, you need to get tuned in to the ‘satiety’ value of eating. These ‘satiety’ signals are sent back in different stages.

Chewing
Nobody ever told me why I should chew my food well and slowly. Sure, it helps in the production of saliva and digestion, but what it also does is send signals of satiety to the brain. So, the more you chew, the more time you take over eating, the greater the perception of satiety. This is because within the jaw are stretch receptors which respond when you chew.

Exciting the taste buds
Foods that turn you on are called organoleptic foods, which smell, look, taste and feel good in the mouth. The great news is that organoleptic foods are actually good for you. They register satisfaction quicker and they increase the production of saliva and digestive juices. If you have exciting flavours, varying temperatures and textures within a meal, your mouth has a far greater opportunity to send satiety signals.

Lifting the arm
It may sound really strange, but the more you lift you arm to eat; the greater will be the feeling of fullness. That’s because you give your brain the time and the chance to register those signals.

Trust your stomach
Within the stomach wall are stretch receptors, which send signals of fullness to your brain when there is food in your stomach. When you eat sugary, refined or fatty food they pass through your stomach quickly and satiety signals are not sent back to the brain. So, you tend to eat a lot more than you actually need to. But, when you eat high-fibre food (fruits, veggies, whole grains) they stay in the stomach longer and send satiety signals to the brain. So, taste almost everything, but concentrate on the high-fibre foods.

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