Diet Myths You Always Believed

It is the universal truth that is seldom acknowledged that everyone secretly aspires to have an amazingly toned and healthy body. While it has been proved beyond a shred of doubt that achieving that takes time, patience, discipline, combined with exercising and a healthy diet – sometimes we tend to take desperate measures to get to the results quicker. However, not everything you read about dieting is true. Some of them are just tales to make you think you’re helping yourself whereas; you might really be putting yourself in terrible danger.

Here are some diet myths that you always believed to be true but sadly are not –

Crash diets help in weight loss

It has never been a good idea to suddenly stop your regular diet and start eating as little as possible. We have written in the past about how fad diet is the worst solution for weight loss. Crashing dieting only makes you lose the water weight and sometimes you would gain more weight than lose it. It also leads to eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia. A healthy diet is often misconstrued as eating less but your doctor and your nutritionist will tell you otherwise.

Not eating at night helps

Skipping meals will not help you lose weight. Period. Blood sugar tends to dip due to not consuming food, and when you wake up the next morning, you would be craving food that is loaded with carbs and sugar. It is better to be following a controlled and balanced diet than trying these rather harmful to health ideas.

Bananas make you fat

A lot of people believe that bananas are fattening. But the truth is, bananas are low in fat and are packed with potassium. To be precise, there is only 0.5g fat and 95 calories in a banana! It’s an excellent pre-workout meal and, no, when eaten in moderation, it does not make you fat.

Protein bars and shakes help you lose weight

Unfortunately, the advertisements for protein bars and shakes are completely wrong. Not all of them follow all the health protocols and sometimes it is just better to invest your time and energy in a sit-down meal. Some of the popular protein bars might be using bloat-causing additives like carrageenan and be using artificial sweeteners in place of sugar. It is best to do your research before you purchase any protein bars and make sure you are not allergic to any of their ingredients. As for protein shakes, it is better for you to make those at home with a selection of fruits and vegetables that are good for health. Besides, homemade beats store-bought every time!

Eating big portions of healthy food wouldn’t affect you

Ever heard the saying that too much of anything is bad? It continues to be true in the case of healthy food as well. The idea of a healthy diet is to make sure you eat right and eat the amount that is filling. If you stuff yourself up like a Christmas turkey, you will end up feeling that way!

Coffee can help you lose weight

The myth is that the caffeine in coffee would act as an appetite suppressant and metabolism booster. However, the truth is, too much coffee intake would only lead to sleeping disorders and anxiety. If you plan on getting your coffee from your favorite coffee shop, remember that the add-ons would only lead to more calories. Drinking a cup or two of coffee or tea a day without cream or sugar, however, would be perfectly fine for your health.

Drastically cutting down on calories helps

As discussed before, drastic measures never end well for anyone. If you cut down your calorie intake drastically, you might lose weight, but you will end up gaining it back again. Psychologically, you cannot change your diet overnight. In fact, you would end up feeling deprived and hungry if such were the case. The best thing to do is consult a nutritionist and figure out a weight loss plan that works best for you.

Skipping breakfast helps you lose weight

This is far from true. If you don’t eat breakfast, chances are you will be hungry throughout the day and try to compensate by eating rather unhealthy meals. Whereas; eating breakfast helps you manage your hunger better. Opt for healthy food items such as oatmeal with fresh berries for your morning breakfast.

You don’t need a controlled diet if you work out

There is an idea that if you hit the gym often enough, it doesn’t matter what you eat. However, people forget that exercise is not a punishment for what you just ate. It is more of a celebration about what your body can do. In the long run, if you continue with an unhealthy diet, it won’t matter how long or how fast you ran on the treadmill. Besides, sometimes the calorie counter on the machines are off and might give you misleading records of your health.

There are plenty of other myths floating around the internet too. If you are planning on changing your diet, then consult your doctor and nutritionist and figure the perfect diet for you. Doing crazy things to get faster results often backfire and you might end up doing permanent damage to your health.

Doctor – Heal Thyself. Here is How You Can Stay Fit (Easily)

Doctors may be called the saviours of society because they are the backbone of a healthy nation. Without proper health, all of the industries, services, and institutions would grind to a halt. Doctors are the reason that the average human being wakes up feeling ready to take on the day because, without health, nothing can be done. So it’s clear that we all owe our vigour and vitality to doctors, but what about the health of the doctor? We have a question for all the doctors – should serving others and making sure everyone else is fit and healthy come at the cost of your own health? Absolutely not! We believe that every single human being on this planet has a right to health, including the professionals who work around the clock to heal others. So why is it that doctors often find it hard to stay fit? The main obstacle that doctors face is their erratic work schedules. For a doctor, duty may call at any time so it is difficult to get into a proper fitness routine. That being said, there are ways where you can inculcate healthy habits and increase your fitness levels. If you really wish to be healthier but lack the time, MAKE time.

Of course, we are not the experts to guide the knowledgeable doctors about taking care of their health. Through this post, we just aim to put together a ready list of a few pointers on how doctors can stay fit.

Target your lifestyle, not just certain habits

We agree that being a doctor means that your lifestyle may be unpredictable but there are some things that will remain constant. For example, you will always be in control of what you choose to eat, even if you have a cook who prepares your meals, you have the power to shop for healthier ingredients, and that’s a great start. So instead of targeting certain, isolated vices such as quitting smoking or cutting out processed sugar, target a facet of your lifestyle, like your general, overall diet. Instead of making one healthy switch from sugar to jaggery, change your eating habits in general. Buy more vegetables, choose the oven over the frying pan and set alarms on your mobile which will remind you to eat on time. Change the way you eat in general, and you will find a marked improvement in your health, even on days that you miss going to the gym.

Carry healthy habits in your pocket

There are numerous apps that have been designed to cater to individuals who want to lead a healthy lifestyle. Such apps not only provide services such as calorie counters and BMI calculators, but they also send you push notifications to remind you to drink water and eat on time. Being a doctor means you must be a master at multi-tasking. Managing three to four tasks at a time almost always means that your own, personal needs take a back seat. This is when it’s handy to have an app that reminds you to drink enough water, and, eat on time.

Sneak in some stretches

One of the aspects of health that really takes a toll on doctors is incorrect posture. This is especially the case with surgeons and professionals who have to be on their feet for hours at a stretch. Most doctors suffer from stiffness all over the body and all this really takes a toll on you in the years to come. If they’re not on their feet, the doctor is at his/her desk conducting research and posture comes into play over here as well. The long-term solution to this problem is to join a yoga class since this form of exercise is targeted towards stiffness, increasing the elasticity of the muscles and creating space for your internal organs to breathe. A quick fix to stiffness is to do a couple of chair twisting exercises whenever you get the chance. Lift your arms up, interlock your fingers and stretch. Use your chair to help you twist to the sides and release any stiffness you may have in the neck. Stretching whenever you get the chance to will help keep your muscles and joints healthier.

Holidays should be holistic

Yes, after a long week you may want to take it easy and let loose but remember the advice you give your patients, health is the greatest wealth! It’s literally the best investment you can make in your life so make sure that you set aside some time for wellness and health on your holidays. This can be in the form of a guided meditation class to help you focus your energy on being present in each moment, or going for a hike or cycling. You can also set some time aside to plan the next weeks’ meals. It’s the one day of the week where you can focus on yourself and on your body and mind instead of worrying about the health of others.

Track your progress

Just like you track the progress of your patients, track your own personal progress so that you stay motivated and can actually experience and reap the benefits of your hard work. One of the most rewarding things about being a healthy doctor is that you get to lead by example. Can you imagine how motivated your patients will feel if they see you in the pink of health, despite your busy schedule?

Be a meticulous meal planner

When it comes to leading a healthy lifestyle, nutrition is the most important. How about taking out time on your holiday to make a timetable which contains meals for each day, these meals should include all the food groups so that each meal is a healthy mix of fibre, protein, carbs and healthy fats. Once this timetable is in place, meal planning will be effortless! There are also a number of mobile apps that can help you plan your meals so as to meet all of your daily nutritional requirements. Also carry a snack box to work, this can include snacks such as fruits, nuts, seeds and homemade granola bars. So if you have to head into emergency surgery but do not have the time to eat lunch, you can always snack on a banana and trail mix before heading into the OT. This will give you the energy you need to sustain the day.

Make healthy a habit

Your health regime does not have to be restricted to making time for the gym and eating right, there will be days where you will be too exhausted to work out because you were on call the entire night or you had an emergency procedure. On these days, small things like taking the stairs will make a big difference to your energy levels. So make healthy a habit, cut out processed foods, get into the habit of carrying healthy snacks and take the stairs because every choice we make can either nudge us towards good health or ill health.

If this all seems too overwhelming to you then start small and find solace in the fact that once healthy becomes a habit, the effort is effortless! Remember that as a caregiver, you must be in the position to care and treat others in the first place. Doctors must focus on their health the most because a fit doctor is the epitome of good health.

 

 

Organic is Not the Same as Natural – Know the Difference

Eating healthy seems hard, you can take all the efforts to cook a variety of foods from various groups, but you may still be doing damage to your health. This damage can be attributed to the production process of your ingredients. While browsing the aisles of the supermarket, you will be bombarded with terms within the health foods zone such as ‘natural’, ‘gluten-free’, ‘organic’ and so on. Some food items suspiciously have all three labels slapped on them which may make you feel as though you’re purchasing the healthiest food on the block but don’t be fooled, this is just a marketing strategy and has little to do with the adoption of processes and regulations. To understand this better, let’s zoom into two words in particular, ‘organic’ and ‘natural’. Are they the same? In short, no. Although these two processes may sound similar to a layman, there are a few key differences that you must consider before you decide which is better for you.

1) The definition itself

The very meaning of these terms used in the context of products differs. Organic foods refer to foods which are produced using calculated, artificial ingredients which enhance the quality of the food. For example, most vegan nut milk is fortified with B-12 because plant-based diets are lacking in this vitamin. This is a healthy addition that helps vegans and lactose intolerant people meet their daily nutritional requirements without compromising on their ethical and lifestyle choices. Organic foods must pass stringent quality checks which include evaluations of the machinery, processes, raw ingredients and environmental impact studies. You may notice some organic products may also have a label which says ‘fair trade’, this means that the product is organic, and the materials used to create it were sourced responsibly, sustainably and ethically. Natural foods, on the other hand, are those foods that are minimally processed and synthesized but have no guarantee of the manufacturing and handling process. So in a nutshell, organic products have a strict set of rules and regulations and are monitored by third-party organizations whereas natural products retain their natural form as far as possible, but have no guarantee in terms of the production process. You just have to take the brand’s word for it!

2) The ‘certified’, healthier option

What’s the healthier option- eating a store-bought, organic granola bar, or, consuming a handful or raw dates, almonds, figs, and oats? Most people would think that the natural ingredients may be healthier, but they overlook factors such as hygiene, the growing process and the sustainability. The granola bar may just be the healthier option, even though it may appear “unnatural”. Besides the loopholes in the production process, organic is better in this department because getting your product “certified organic” is a huge deal, and is extremely hard to obtain. Certification bodies exist in most countries, however, the most widely recognized, international body is the USDA, or the United States Department of Agriculture. When buying a product, look for the labels “USDA approved” and certified organic. The USDA takes on full responsibility for the authenticity of the products that it certifies so you can rest assured that what you’re consuming has gone through a top-notch production process. There are no such regulatory bodies for natural foods.

3) Hard-earned labels

If you look closely, organic food labels differ from natural ones since the processes are double-checked by a third party. You can’t say the same for natural foods. Anyone can put a label saying 100% natural because there are no governing bodies to monitor and verify these things. If you’ve studied nutrition labels closely, you may have noticed fruit juice brands which say ‘natural’ fruit juice, but if you read the fine print, you’ll always find a disclaimer that states “contains no real fruit”. This is how some brands are sneaky and market their products as “natural” because most people will blindly buy them thinking that they’re ‘natural’. In the case of organic products, it can take years to get certified, and once you are, you can expect surprise quality checks at any time!

4) The product itself

Experts suggest that organic foods are much healthier, more hygienic, and are safer to consume than natural foods. This is because of the production process. Organic foods follow processes which eliminate the use of toxic pesticides, GMOs, antibiotics and other harmful substances. In the case of organic fruits and vegetables, the soil used is absolutely safe and free from these harmful chemicals and growth enhancers. When you buy ‘natural’ products, on the other hand, you can never be sure about the production process. Did you know that animals are pumped with growth hormones, antibiotics and in case of dairy cows, estrogen and testosterone? Not only is this incredibly cruel from an ethical perspective, but this is also highly dangerous to human health. Organic meat production eliminates all this, organic meats are free range, grass-fed and are not pumped with any hormones or fatteners. Same goes with vegetables.

5) Shelf life

Do you associate the shelf-life with the quality and health of a food? This is a rookie mistake. Just because some foods have a very long shelf life does not mean that they’re unhealthy, and vice versa. Organic foods have a higher shelf life due to the presence of the permitted preservatives and packaging practices. These processes do not affect the overall health and nutritional value of the food, they only help preserve it. Most natural foods are perishable, but this is not a sign of freshness because one can never be sure of the production process itself. What’s the point of having a super fresh vegetable if it was pumped with chemicals in order to grow? One can also never be sure of the storage conditions of natural foods. All this is eliminated with organic food because of the third party regulators.

6) Legal implications

Did you know that there are legal repercussions for misusing the ‘organic’ label? Brands must be certified by a regulated body to be able to call themselves ‘organic’.  This is not the case with natural foods, anyone can slap on a ‘100% natural’ label on a product since there are no active governing regulatory bodies to rectify this.

So which is the healthier option for YOU? A healthy, well-planned, balanced and informed diet can consist of both, organic and natural foods, as long as they are responsibly sourced. When it comes to things like vegetables, growing your own food is your best bet, but that may not be plausible for everyone. If you can, try to opt for organic vegetables and meat as far as possible because these are the foods that contain the most toxic elements such as pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics and getting the organic variant ensures that the food you buy is free from these harmful chemicals.

5 Healthy Summer Snacks for Your Kids

It’s summers and holiday season is here! It’s that time of year when kids are at home, mostly playing outdoors with mothers asking them not to play in the harsh sun. Well, we aren’t taking away anything from the moms but hey, kids gotta play! The summer heat can be harsh for your child’s skin and health especially from mid-April to June. Playing in the sun for long hours can cause dehydration and it is difficult to ask kids to keep themselves hydrated with water or liquid intake during their playing hours. To get rid of this problem, we are going to talk about super summer foods that will not only make your kids enjoy their meals without any fuss but will also help in keeping them hydrated.

Drinking water or consuming liquids is not the only way to stay hydrated during summers. You can eat your water too! Yes, you read that right. Give your kids foods that have high water content like melons and cucumber. Such foods will keep your kids hydrated as well as provide them with energy so that they won’t feel drained out by the end of the day’s play.

Here are give healthy summer recipes to keep your kids energetic and you, stress-free.

Fruit Popsicles

Summers are incomplete without gobbling down popsicles. Instead of letting your kids indulge in the roadside ice popsicles, make healthy fruit popsicles at home. You can try fruits like watermelon, muskmelon, lemon, kiwi, oranges etc. The homemade popsicles won’t just be healthy but also nutritious. Fruit popsicles will help in keeping your kids’ energy levels high.

Vegetable Cheela Rolls

This is the simplest recipe to feed some veggies to kids. The chana dal is high in proteins. Add as many veggies you can to meet the nutrition requirement of your kids. If your kid is still fussy about eating veggies in a roll, grate a cheese cube over it. Cheese is the most delicious way of consuming healthy fats.

Healthy Sandwiches

We all love sandwiches, don’t we? Now you might be thinking how a sandwich can be a healthy snack, isn’t it? Well, replace your regular white bread with a healthier option. You can opt for whole wheat bread or multi-grain bread. These breads are healthier than the regular bread. Replace the mayonnaise with hung curd. Sandwiches are easy and quick to make as well as to eat. This is one no fuss snack that we vouch for. Add vegetables or corn or cucumber or anything that your kids like. Add some cheese and ketchup and voila!

Raagi Cookies

Kids love munching on chocolate cookies and cream biscuits which have high contents of sugar and are unhealthy. Replace those cream biscuits and unhealthy cookies with raagi cookies. You can bake either butter raagi cookies or add choco chips for kids.

Fruit Smoothies

Summers are the time where one can simply live on a liquid diet. Summer provides with many options for beverages. If your kids don’t like to eat fruits, make them a smoothie! The best part about making a smoothie is that you can use any fruit that you like or is available in the kitchen, grapes, bananas, mangoes, strawberries, watermelons, muskmelons, et al. If the fruit is sweet enough, skip adding extra sugar. Watermelon, mango, orange, lemon, and berries are the best fruits to have in summer.

In addition to these, make your kids drink salty lassi or chaas. It helps in keeping the kid hydrated during long outdoor play hours. Imbibe chaas or lassi in your daily lunch menu. If the kid doesn’t want to have chaas or lassi, make cucumber raita for them. It has same effects as chaasor lassi has. Besides this, give them a glass of aam panna every time they move out in the sun. It helps in keeping fatigue away.

Limit direct exposure to sun and keep your children indoors. Apart from this, in our this blog, we also share some tips to avoid heat strokes in summer.  Summer can be a beautiful season for kids – you just have to take a little care when it comes to their health and food.

How Doctors Can Leverage Mobile Technology For Patient Retention

The mobile wave has engulfed the world and its impact on healthcare has been nothing less than overwhelming. According to a research conducted by Markets and Markets, the mHealth technology market is expected to grow by 33% to cross USD 60 billion by 2020. Another survey by GreatCall showed that 93% of physicians believed that mHealth could contribute greatly to improving patient health. As mHealth cements its place in healthcare, let’s evaluate how doctors can leverage mobile technology for patient retention.

Reduce Wait Times

Long wait times could be listed as one of the biggest banes that patients face when going for a doctors’ appointment. Even with prior appointments, most patients have to wait endlessly to meet their doctors. And often after a seemingly endless wait, the patient is informed during a consultation that they have to come back after conducting a certain battery of tests. This is not only a waste of time for the patient but the doctor as well. With the consumerisation of healthcare, doctors can now leverage mHealth apps to take a look at patient history and intimate them of the tests that need to be done before they even meet them. Further, using mHealth apps, doctors can avoid appointment overlaps and post-appointment confirmation and notifications which ensure a smoother interaction with the patient during his/her physical visit.

Effective Communication

The right mobile apps can play a great role in making the doctor-patient communication more effective. Patients can easily store all their medical records and health history on comprehensive mobile health apps and access them anytime and anywhere. This solves the problem of the missing documents that we ever so often face when meeting with a doctor. With all the information stored in a central repository, doctors can spend the face time with the patients more productively and promote better interactions to manage the patients’ health better. This also leaves the patient more satisfied and less likely to shop around for another doctor.

Better Patient Management

Using mHealth doctors can improve patient management and become more proactive with their patients. Proactive patient management in the form of timely communication regarding patient appointments, important notifications, and updates, post-appointment messages etc. can be delivered to the patient using an app to ensure that the patient does not miss out on any vital piece of information needed to maintain their health. Along with this, doctors can centralise all patient-related information in a central data repository that can be accessed anytime and anywhere which can be of great help to manage a patients’ health remotely.

Pre and Post-Operative Care Management

One of the biggest pain points that patients have is regarding pre and post-operative care. While information is provided to them both regarding pre and post-operative care, it is usually disseminated in one session making it hard to retain the information. Using mobile apps, doctors can send out relevant information to their patients at the right time so that the patients can take the measures both pre and post operation. This not only helps in better health management but also reduces readmission rates and helps in reducing healthcare costs for the patient.

Better Transparency

Patients today demand greater information access. While the healthcare sector has adopted digital technology, they are still trying to play catch up with other sectors such as retail. Patients today demand faster information access regarding their health. Research shows that a majority of healthcare consumers prefer using digital technology to visiting a hospital to get clarifications regarding the care that they are receiving. A 2017 study by American Well states that 26% of patients are likely to change healthcare systems to find a provider offering tele-visits. Doctors leveraging mHealth can help their patients access all the health information they need and proactively answer all questions that go into better health management.

Pre-emptive Care

mHealth applications also provide a treasure trove of data that physicians can leverage for pre-emptive healthcare. Leveraging data analytics, doctors can plan better service delivery dependent on the patient requirement, and analyse and predict health conditions based on the patients’ health records to enable preventive healthcare. Further, doctors can upload tutorials on preventive healthcare and give practical advice to their patients on how to manage their health and health conditions better. All these things help in keeping the patients, the current consumers of healthcare, happy and satisfied as they find doctors becoming more invested in their health.

As they say that numbers do not lie, and going by the adoption rate of mHealth it is becoming clear that this technology trend is not only here but is soon on its way to becoming the enabler of better interactions and better patient outcomes. Using mobile technology doctors can create greater engagement with their patients and enable better outcomes. Patient retention then becomes an automatic consequence of this effort.