Food for thought
Do you know that:
*The strongest muscle in the body is the tongue?
• When you sneeze, your heart stops for a millisecond?
• Or, when you sneeze really hard, you can cause a blood vessel
in your head or neck to burst?
• That the human heart creates enough pressure when it pumps to
squirt blood 30 feet away?
• That wearing head phones will increase bacteria in your ears
by 700 times?
Perhaps you’d like to check them out before sharing them with
By Carol Aloysius
My GP gave yours truly some useful tips on how to overcome one
of this country’s biggest Health problems: OBESITY. Considering
that Sri Lankans seem to be getting wider and fuller around the
waist and tummy, notwithstanding soaring living costs, (I just
read in the newspaper that 15 % of our children are Obese and
heading for Diabetes, among other serious health problems), his
tips could not have come at a better time.
Taking his advice to heart, I have since started on this great
diet of eating 100% local foods that are low in calories and
high in fibre and protein, and cheaper than eating imported
foods that are costly and often outdated. Foods such as soya
meat, mounds of fresh vegetables and fruits, lean meat, skinless
chicken and fish for a start. Instead of bread, local grains
such as cow pea, kadale or even porridge made of finely ground
local grain mixed with gotukola , and kola kende make up our
breakfasts. Butter is out. So are soft drinks and desserts
(except for fruits).
Getting the family to fall in line with this radical turn around
in our eating habits was not easy. But combined with simple
exercises such as walking, cycling, running, skipping, swimming
regularly, our new diet has paid off. We feel healthier- and
Browsing through my library the other day, I came across these
interesting ‘facts’ about our own bodies.
My friend gave me
this recipe for a savoury cabbage dish, when she learnt that I
was trying to lose weight. It’s inxespensive, easy to make and
good for the health.
You need: 2 or more onions thinly sliced; 1-2 tbs butter or
olive oil; 1 tsp turmeric; several whole cardamoms and cloves,
2-3 finely chopped garlic .
Shred the cabbage fine, sauté onions in butter or olive oil with
garlic and spices for about 8 mts, then add the cabbage and stir
till tender. Add salt to taste.
Cabbage contains plenty of essential vitamins such as Vit. C, K,
A, calcium, manganese, potassium,iron, phosphorous, fibre ,
folate with omega-3 fatty acids. It is a good protection for
free radicals and ideal for those wanting to lose weight, as it
has low calories. Also helps treat peptic ulcers.
The rat race to do ‘better than the best’ is on- and kids
everywhere are having a hard time meeting this high goal. The
result: Stress – and its host of attendant problems.
To help de-stress kids, a school psychologist has listed out the
following questions a child should ask himself, when he/she
feels stressed out:
What has caused such stress? Is it teacher induced or work
induced? Is it peer pressure? Does it get worse, when an exam is
near? Or, because there’s too much homework? Do your parents
have high expectations of you? Are you a victim of bullying or
sexual harassment in school?
My GP told me the other day, “Getting rid of stress is like
learning to lift weights correctly. If you prepare yourself to
handle it in advance, it can be managed successfully.”
Biriyani at Trans Asia Hotel
cuisine is a riot of colours, flavours and spices, and every
Indian state has its own unique culture-embedded taste bud.
Saffron Restaurant at Trans Asia Hotel experiments this electric
cuisine in a fare of Dum Biriyani this entire month!
Dum cooking, to those not acquainted with the term, implies a
very slow cooking process, in which, the ingredients cook in
their own juices and steam.
Saffron Restaurant offers eight remarkable varieties of Dum
Biriyani for lunch as well as for dinner, and the tang promises
a revisit for sure! Chicken biriyani served with mixed raita,
mutton biriyani with mint sauce, mixed seafood biriyani with
raita, prawn biriyani with curd, mutton biriyani with mixed
raita, vegetable biriyani with mint sauce, green peas biriyani
with curd, and last, but not the least, fresh button mushroom
biriyani with mixed raita makes up the amazing variety.
Vegetarian biriyani is priced at Rs 600 + taxes per portion and
non-vegetarian biriyani is priced at Rs 700 + taxes per portion.
If you are up for a famous “Hyderabadi” delight, do stop over
and re-stop over!
Meal planning made simple
He’s too heavy and she’s too lean, but
it doesn’t take separate meals to meet everyone’s nutritional
By Keecha Harris, Dr. P.H., R.D.,
for MSN Health and Fitness
Q: We just got one of those new scales that tells body-fat
percentage. My husband and I are opposites. He has too much fat
and I am underfat. How do I plan a family menu to help both of
A: Scales that report your body fat are good triggers for
thinking about your overall wellness. They can signal it may be
time to make changes for your health and well being. However,
your scale readings do not translate into markedly different
nutrient needs for you and your husband, beyond a few
gender-specific dietary guidelines. Your differences in body fat
don’t mean you need vastly different food options for meals and
I don’t have a way of knowing how to interpret your husband’s
body fat without the actual percentage. But here are ways you
can assess his body weight. First, does his weight tend to
concentrate around his waist? If he has an apple body shape, he
is at increased risk for diabetes, heart disease and high blood
pressure. Second, if his waist measures greater than 40 inches,
he is at increased risk for these conditions as well. Also
measure the circumference his waist at the top of his hip bone
and divide it by the circumference of his hips at the broadest
point. If the ratio is greater than 0.95, you need to be
Your husband’s high proportion of body fat suggests that he
probably needs to exercise more, decrease his portion sizes and
increase his intake of more filling foods like fruits,
vegetables and whole grains. He should also eat lean cuts of
meat and decrease “hidden calories” that come from sauces,
spreads and beverages including alcohol, fruit drinks and
regular soft drinks. Snacking may also be an area where he could
cut back on extra calories.
Regardless of your body fat, you can likely benefit from the
same. Approaching each meal as an opportunity to explore a vast
array of colours and flavours is good for everyone (barring
allergies and some health conditions). At the same time, as a
woman, your body has some special needs. Iron is one of them.
Food likes meat, poultry, beans, enriched grains and fortified
cereals are excellent sources of iron. In your reproductive
years, you need more iron than your husband to account for blood
losses during menstruation. The recommended dietary allowance
for women age 19 to 50 is 18 milligrams per day. If you are
pregnant, the recommendation increases to 27 milligrams. If you
have gone through menopause, your needs are equal to your
Also, menopause increases your need for calcium due to changes
in hormones that regulate bone health. If you are not taking
estrogen, you will require more calcium— 1,500 milligrams each
day. If you are taking estrogen, you will need the same amount
as non-menopausal women—1,000 milligrams. Foods like milk,
cheese, yogurt and sardines with the bone in are excellent
sources of calcium.
So, what does this mean in terms of meal planning? Well, you
need to go a step further to find out what each of your specific
needs are. The body fat readings on the scale don’t tell you
enough. Since one size doesn’t fit all, www.MyPyramid.gov is an
easy way to determine what real differences exist in your
nutrition needs from your husband’s.
Go to MyPyramid and enter your activity level, age and gender on
the first page; do the same for your husband. You’ll get
detailed information on how much from each food group you both
need every day. As for meal planning, two separate meals aren’t
necessary. You should prepare meals to include a variety of
foods from each group, with an emphasis on vegetables, fruits
and whole grains. Include lean meats and low-fat dairy as well.
Be sure to include favourites that you and your husband both
enjoy. Each of you should choose portion sizes of these foods
that meet your needs. Remember that a lower proportion of body
fat doesn’t mean you get carte blanc to eat whatever you’d like.
And your husband’s higher level of body fat doesn’t signal the
end to occasional desserts for him. However, you both should
learn to enjoy fruit more often as an after-dinner refresher.
Still need guidance on meal planning? Meet with a registered
dietitian. She or he will be able to help you come up with
specific menu plans to fit your nutritional needs, appetite and