Author: Sanjana Shenoy

Sanjana M Shenoy is a A dietitian from Mangalore, Karnataka, India. Having worked as a Dietitian for the Manipal Group of Hospitals namely KMC hospital Mangalore, India.She is also a consultant for corporate's like Infosys and others, conducting talks and presentations for various associations and local television shows.She consults at her Diet and Nutrition clinic "Nutrihealth" in Mangalore.Also is a visiting consultant to various hospitals in and around Mangalore and also runs an active online consultation.
Gaining Weight the Healthy Way

Gaining Weight the Healthy Way

While most people want to lose weight, there are some who want to gain
it. Although there’s a general perception that those who are
underweight are less prone to certain diseases, there are actually
risk factors associated with being too skinny. Among these factors is
malnutrition, which is the result of being unable to consume adequate
amounts of the nutrients that are needed by our body. There’s also
the risk of osteoporosis, which is more common among people who fall
below the average weight, causing lower bone mass densities.

Aside from the factors mentioned above, there are other reasons why
people need to gain weight. It could be for the simple reason of lack
of appetite, fueling the sports they are into, or building big
muscles.

Some say that gaining weight is much, much easier than losing it.
However, you can’t just go into a binge-eating spree just so you
could pack in as many pounds as you can. You need to do it the healthy
way, too, by following these tips:

Eat healthy foods

Just because you want to gain weight doesn’t
give you an excuse to go to your favorite fast food restaurant more
frequently. You still need to focus on eating healthy foods even
though you need more calories. Aside from being calorie-rich, the
foods you consume must have a lot of nutrients as well.

Eat more often

If you go for the regular three meals a day, you
can add more frequency with your eating. One sure-fire way of packing
in more calories is to eat food as often as your time and appetite
dictate. Try going for 4 meals a day for starters, and then when you
get used to eating more frequently, try increasing it to 5 or 6 per
day. Again, be sure to eat only foods that do not just load you up
with calories, but those that have nutrients, too.

Take weight gain supplements

– If you think supplements are only for
those who are in a weight-loss or bodybuilding program, think again.
There are actually weight
gainer supplements out there that are available both in pill or
powder form. There are even so-called ‘broad spectrum’ weight
gainer protein powder bodybuilding supplements that include creatine,
amino acids, complex carbs and hormonal support ingredients.

If you combine all of the above tips and include them in your
weight-gain program, packing in those pounds will become an easier
goal to achieve. Just be sure to consult with a health professional
the weight
gainer supplements that are ideal for you so you can be assured
that what you’ll take will be effective as they are safe.

Losing weight after having kids

Losing weight after having kids

mom-n-dad“I cant lose weight, I have kids!”. Well, Raising kids is not an easy task. Wake up early to pack them off to school, Prepare lunch, manage their activities, maid issues etc! It can be difficult.

I meet a lot of young moms and dads who are ‘trying to lose weight, but aren’t successful’ some reasons being lack of time, lack of sleep, stress, low energy levels, professional demands. My answer to this is “Do not give up”.

How do we deal with a situation like this?

  • Stop eating kids snacks please!- Well they are for kids, and its not meant for you and stress gives you no license to stuff it into your mouth.
  • Keep junk out of the pantry- Keep healthy foods around for kids too.
  • Get moving with the kids- Lazy parents equals to lazy kids!!! Yes its genetic(according to me). If you are active, your kids automatically follow your footsteps. Plan family activities which involves play, not food joint hopping. My mom always exercised, so I too exercise despite being a new mom(toddler on the tow). Find a sitter, take help from family and like minded friends, send the kids to any activity classes and you can zoom off to yours.
  • Exercise when kids go to school-  Most of the gyms have always planned to recruit moms, so flexible timings for ladies are around. Make good use of such timings. Exercising at home too is a superb option. But I vote for getting out of the house. The dads can workout once the kids sleep off.
  • Teach Kids to eat healthy- So you too have to cook and eat healthy.
  • Tame the party invites- Please eat and attend, rather than attend and eat. Party snacks especially birthday snacks are high in sugar and fat.
  • Eat and feed the kids before you go mall hopping- going on an empty stomach to the mall with a food court is gastronomically disastrous. Yes, no need to deprive the kids, but you can reduce the quantity and trim the choices.

So how are you dealing with weight loss after having kids? Did you change your eating habits?

Diabetes Diet Myths Decoded

Diabetes Diet Myths Decoded

Meeting diabetic patients on a regular basis, has made me aware of all the diet mistakes they commit. Although diabetic diet is not a very special diet, there are still a lot of confusions regarding rice, banana, milk etc. Medical professionals too give incorrect advise on the diets to be followed. This has left a lot of diabetic patients frustrated and confused. Most of them just give up and go back to their old diets. Many assume that if they consume oral hypoglycemics or tablets that promote insulin release and activity, they do not need to make changes in their diets. Well, you do not need to shop for new foods or change all the cooking methods at all. It is not difficult manage diabetes and eat healthy too.

So lets decode and simplify the Diabetic Diet myths

Myth 1: Rice is banned in diabetes (evil in fact) and wheat is good (eat chapathis/rotis only)!!!

Rice and wheat belong to the same family of cereals and have the same amount of calories. But  yes, white rice can increase blood sugars, so learn carbohydrate counting. Eat brown rice, parboiled rice and whole wheat products within your calorie requirement. Yes, you are allowed rice too.

Myth 2: Milk is bad for Diabetes

Milk and milk products are good for diabetes as it is a source of good quality protein and minerals such as calcium and magnesium which help lower sugars. Consume low fat milk products. Yogurt/ curds is a healthy snack for diabetics.

Myth 3: Zero fat diets help control blood sugars

No, they dont. Fat helps in improving the glycemic index or in simple words, the rate at which the sugar travels in the blood. So fat slows down the rate. So please consume healthy fats such as nuts such as almonds and walnuts, seeds such as flaxseeds, fish etc as this keeps you fuller and cuts down on carbohydrate rich snacks. Do not replace carb rich snacks for fat. Do not stop adding seasoning to your dals and curries.

Myth 4: South Indian breakfast Idli and Dosa are bad for diabetics

Wrong again!!! These dishes contain dals which provide protein and as well as fat is added and combined with fiber rich sambhar and chutney, which again improve glycemic index. Aim for smaller portions or quantities.

Myth 5: Go vegetarian if you are a diabetic !!!

Vegetarianism is assumed the best diet, but I have noticed a lot of vegetarians go low on protein. Before you become a convert, please understand meat, fish and eggs do not increase bloods sugars, in fact help in lowering the blood sugars. Vegetarians too should add milk products,dals and nuts to maintain bloods sugars.

Myth 6: Fruits are banned completely for a diabetic!

I partly agree as fruits can spike sugar levels and mess up with insulin sensitivity. It is assumed that eating a lot of fruits is good for health and some call themselves fruitarians. Diabetic or not, eat only 1-2 fruits per day for their benefits, not for the sugars.

Myth 7: Potatoes, beetroot etc are a no-no for diabetes!!

We Indians eat a lot of carbs from cereals such as rice and wheat products and also include starchy vegetables. In an exchange list, one serving of any cereal and starchy vegetable provides 15g as per the exchange list. Hence cut down cereal servings, if you do want to include starchy vegetables. For eg. 2 rotis + potato sabji(with skin) 1/2 cup instead of 3 rotis. Please leave the skin on the veggies to improve fiber intake.

Each individuals diet has to be tailored as per their requirements, age etc. So please meet a dietitian who can guide you the right way.

Diet to treat Infertility and boost fertility

Diet to treat Infertility and boost fertility

secondary-infertility-454Infertility has become a rampant problem after obesity and other. Several patients referred to me by obstetricians and gynecologists are those undergoing treatment for infertility. Recent studies show that poor diet and lifestyles have a very high impact on infertility.Infertility can be a troublesome and upsetting experience.

Reasons for infertility:

  • Poor eating habits resulting in obesity/ overweight or even underweight conditions.
  • Hyperthyroidism and poly cystic ovarian diseases which show that hormones definitely have an influence on decreasing charges of infertility.
  • Poor sleep-wake habits or you can say “corporate lifestyle” which includes excessive caffeine intake, late nights, cafeteria foods etc
  • Lack of or no exercise.
  • Alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking

How can we boost fertility?

  • Lose weight- Conceiving is a major problem if the body fat percentage is high. This disrupts the hormonal balance as oestrogen imbalance can affect fertility. Now you know why the gyno says “lose weight”. Odds are higher if both the partners are overweight. Males can have lower testosterone levels affecting fertility again. Hence planning couple exercise routines and diet plans can be motivational.
  • Quit alcohol intake and smoking- Alcohol can cause fat deposition in the abdomen again messing with the hormone levels. So a bottle of wine will never help to heat up things. Alcohol intake and smoking can cause the production of free radicals thereby disrupting fertility.
  • Exercise please- exercising can help to reduce fat and normalize hormones.
  • Followup with the treatment- Regular check ups and treatments should be followed strictly.

Diet for boosting fertility:

  • Get fishy- Yes, fish helps as it is rich in good fats boosting sperm motility and providing antioxidants( the good guys) to remove the free radicals(the bad guys). The omega 3 fats help in boosting fertility. Vegetarians can have flaxseed powder 1-2 tsp/day to meet their omega 3 fatty acid intake. Fish oil capsules derived from oily fish such as salmon, sardines too can be used.
  • Cut down fats- Eating healthy fats from nuts such as walnuts and almonds, seeds such flax and cutting down transfats and saturated fats from baked and fried foods should be beneficial.
  • Include food sources high in zinc include beans such as rajma, moong; nuts, whole grains, fortified breakfast cereals and dairy products to boost male fertility.
  • Selenium too is an important mineral which prevents birth defects and miscarriages. Sources are fish, mushrooms,nuts, seeds such as flaxseeds, sunflower, chia, sesame etc.
  • Eat all the bright coloured fruits and vegetables.
  • Eat whole grains such whole wheat breads, oats, brown rice etc to get the boost for B group vitamins. Strictly avoid maida and other refined foods. Bye Bye to junk foods. Refined foods can spike insulin levels and cause hormonal imbalances which in turn cause infertility.
  • Eat foods rich in folic acid such as green leafy vegetables, citrus foods etc. Folic acid supplements too can be beneficial.
  • Cooking with spices such as cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, garlic etc can boost your antioxidant status.
  • Eat foods rich in beta carotene and vitamin A such as green, yellow,red fruits and vegetables and milk.
  • Add vitamin C rich foods such as coloured capsicum, citrus fruits such as orange, sweet lime,lemon etc
  • Use Vitamin E fortified oils for cooking. 3-4 tsp will be enough.
  • Get sun exposure to improve your vitamin D content in the body.
  • Add a multivitamin to meet all your daily requirements.

All the more, be positive and relax. Eating healthy, maintaining a good weight and exercising can help the storks to fasten the deliveries…