Sustainable Living – Eating Habits To Sustain You And Our Planet

There have been numerous talks about sustainable living over the past decade and a half. The fast-depleting natural resources and the ever increasing burden on planet Earth are urging people to alter their lifestyles. The economists believe that if we continue living the way we are living at present, planet Earth will become unliveable in around 100 years.

A lot has been said and written about sustainable living, but there’s little to no attention paid to sustainable eating. Today, we are well aware of the lifestyle changes that we need to make to honour the sustainability of our planet but, what is sustainable eating?

What is Sustainable Eating?

Wikipedia defines sustainable eating or sustainable diet as “Eating habits with low environmental impacts that contribute to food and nutritional security and healthy lives for the present and future generations.

 Sustainable diets are known to be respectful of biodiversity and ecosystems. They are affordable, are nutritionally adequate, safe, and healthy.

While the concept of sustainable living focuses on reducing the impact of human lifestyle on the environment by adopting eco-friendly ways of living; the idea of sustainable eating focuses on the agricultural aspect of living. It includes the production and consumption of food along with the farming techniques and practices that help in conserving the natural resources thereby reducing the impact on the environment. It is about choosing foods that are healthy not only for our bodies but also the environment.

According to the EAT-Lancet commission (2019), if we want to feed the world’s growing population, there needs to be a global shift towards more plant-based foods than animal-based foods. The livestock production is one of the significant contributors of greenhouse gases accounting to 18% of total anthropogenic emissions which is 5% more than the transportation sector.

5 Simple Sustainable Eating Habits to Adopt

As established above, the impact of our dietary choices on the environment cannot be undermined. Adopting sustainable eating habits will not only help in saving the planet but also improving our overall health. Here are five simple and easy to adopt sustainable eating habits:

  1. Eat less and better quality meat

Animal-based food is the most significant contributor to the total environmental emissions especially red meat and dairy products. They are the most energy-intensive manufacturing processes that release harmful greenhouse gases. Reducing the consumption of animal-based foods on a routine basis can prove to make a huge impact on decreasing the carbon footprint. You don’t need to give up on meat completely. Practice flexitarian dietary habits, and you can contribute hugely to this cause.

  1. Curb Food Wastage

Food wastage is a global issue that needs our immediate attention. According to the Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) – 1.3 billion tonnes of food, which is one-third of the food produced for human consumption, gets wasted or lost per year. As per FAO estimations, 40% of the food produced in India gets wasted or lost per year. This loss costs a whopping 1000 crores every year. Food wastage can be curbed through simple buying and eating habits. Buy only as much food as required for consumption. Instead of throwing away the leftovers, consume them the next day or serve it to the needy. If every household consciously decides to contribute to this cause, the food wastage percentage can be brought down remarkably.

  1. Try Organic Farming and Eating

Farming and agricultural has resorted to unhealthy practices for producing food to meet the growing consumption demands. The use of synthetic fertilisers is deteriorating the soil quality thereby upsetting the marine eco-balance and human health. Organic farming prohibits the use of harmful chemicals and artificial fertilisers for the production of food. By adopting organic farming practices, one can add to the cause. Moreover, you can support this by buying organically produced food products.

  1. Eat Seasonal Produce

In today’s time, it is difficult to establish seasonal foods/fruits as everything is available around the year. Ever wondered how did this become possible? The year-round availability of foods and fruits is a result of unethical farming practices that meddle with the climatic conditions for production. Eating unseasonal produce is harmful to both human health and the environment. You can contribute to this cause by avoiding the purchase of unseasonal fruits and vegetables.

  1. Shop Locally

Shopping locally is one of the simplest and best ways to promote sustainable living. The local produce doesn’t require transportation which, in turn, reduces fuel consumption. By consuming locally produced food products, you not only help in saving the environment but your money also.

To make this planet liveable for the coming generations, we need to do our bit. Every individual effort counts in bringing this change. Adopt sustainable eating habits and urge your family and friends too to be a part of this cause.

 

Debunking the Most Common Myths About HIIT Workouts

HIIT, or High-Intensity Interval Training, is a form of cardiovascular training with short intervals of anaerobic exercise and increasingly lesser recovery period. HIIT helps burn a high number of calories in a very short period of time and is an important part of fat loss regimes as well as for athletic sessions. Though HIIT is not a very new concept, there are still many myths revolving among fitness amateurs. So today we try to debunk seven most common myths related to HIIT.

Myth: HIIT and Cardio are the same

While both of them involve following the same basic rule, i.e., to keep the heart-beat elevated during the entire workout, the workout session is made keeping many different aspects in mind.

HIIT may involve a variety of exercises like burpees, push-ups, squats, etc. with different variations done at maximum effort for a fixed time interval with a specific set rest time. The time interval is set to provide maximum workout time with decreasing rest time. During the workout, the active heartbeat is kept at 90-95% rate with rest heart-beat at 40-45%. At this rate, the exercise is more of an anaerobic type.

Cardio, on the other hand, involves a prolonged period of the elevated heartbeat with almost no rest period, done at an intermediate intensity. The main aim is to keep the heartbeat up and going with the exercise being mostly aerobic. Exercises can include jogging, burpees, etc.

The basic workout regime differs in rest periods and aerobic/anaerobic workout. If your aim is loose fat with muscle building, HIIT is the best option.

Myth: HIIT is better than steady-state cardio

This is a common notion that an intense HIIT session is more effective than steady-state cardio. It is not entirely true because the type of workout depends on your fitness goals. If you are aiming for fat loss, HIIT would definitely be the better option. Steady state cardio is done to maintain a heart rate up to 65-70% and is aimed at improving heart and lung health, as well as improve blood circulation and overall health. So design your work out depending on your health goals.

Myth: HIIT is enough

As much as HIIT seems to work, it is not enough if you want to lose fat as well as gain muscles. As the name suggests, HIIT is intended to work on shredding fat and losing calories. HIIT workouts help by increasing the metabolism of the body, but you have to include weight training in your session if you want to strengthen the muscle. Take it like adding more fuel in your tank if you want to go for a long distance, but if you want to carry the biggest load for the same distance, you have to have a bigger engine with more horsepower. So HIIT is for distance (fat loss) and weight training is for more horsepower (muscle).

Myth: Age is not a bar

While the name might not give you a feel of what strenuous sessions this might be, HIIT is not a walk in the park. While there is always a beginner level, it’s like going for a short marathon knowing that you cannot even run for a mile. So, if you are a total novice, or if you are restarting after a long gap, it is advised to build up your stamina for a couple of days with normal to intermediate cardio sessions before going for a full-fledged HIIT session. Consider it as a pre-HIIT warm-up session lasting for days instead of minutes.

Myth: The longer, the better

It is a common myth that doing more cardio can help burn more calories and hence more fat. While the former might be true to a certain extent, the latter is a total assumption. A prolonged period of cardio has shown to use some of your stored energy reserves and then turn to breakdown your hard-built muscles to supply energy. As for HIIT, it is a common saying that if you are doing HIIT for more than 3 times a week, you aren’t doing it right. A proper HIIT session, if done right, is too gruesome and takes a heavy toll on the energy reserves of the body and you need to take a good rest of at least one day before your next session. Also, there is a concept of EPOC (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption) which states that after an intense anaerobic exercise session, the body keeps oxygen to remove all lactic acid build up in the muscles. This process requires energy which is made available by burning fat and finally boosting metabolism. Therefore, keep the session short, intense and take proper rest for maximum benefit.

Myth: Any exercise can be included

HIIT is aimed at burning calories and rep up the heart, but the exercises chosen for that has a huge impact on the result. Try not to stick with the same set of repetitive exercises like push ups, sit ups, etc. Try to include more compound exercises that involve the whole body like burpees, bear crawls, squats, circuit training etc. Mix your sessions up, design new circuits and keep it interesting.

Myth: HIIT alone is sufficient for fat loss

Muscles are built in the kitchen, not in the gym. What you eat has probably more effect on your fat content as compared to how much you sweat out in the gym. So, make sure you analyze what you eat, count the calories you consume, and keep it a balanced diet. Break your 3-big-meals in five smaller ones so that you never feel full yet have a constant energy supply.

HIIT is a very efficient fat loss and stamina building regime, as well as quite an efficient test for one’s fitness level. Just make sure you have your facts as well as planning right so that you can reap maximum benefits.

Easy Lifestyle Changes To Make You Healthier

‘Health is wealth’ – a very simple yet wise saying. No matter how successful you are in your career or how big your bank balance is, none of it matters unless you are fit and healthy to reap the benefits of your hard work. While people are becoming more selective and sophisticated in their lifestyle, more often than not, it’s all about the small changes you make which give results in the short as well as long run. Here we list out some simple changes which you could try to inculcate in your daily routine.

Get your biological clock in sync

Sleep is the best repairing mechanism of the body. A full night of uninterrupted sleep can give you enough energy and freshness to last a day, boost your productivity and maintain your immunity. Each person has his/her own biological clock, according to which the sleep cycle runs. Maintaining a correct sleep cycle not only reduces your overall sleep time but also keeps away lethargy and sleepiness away which you might feel if you have irregular sleep patterns. Listen to your body and its needs, as you know what is best for yourself.

Hydrate yourself religiously

There are many myths and advice floating around related to water consumption– one common thing you will find is that all of those recommend drinking ample amount of water. Keeping yourself hydrated keeps your body fresh and mind alert. It also helps in digestion and maintains the glow in your skin. So, start your morning with lukewarm water. Mix it with honey for added help in weight loss. Although there is no hard and fast rule on the amount of water to consume, listen to your body and keep the thirst at bay.

Break a sweat

There is always debate on the different types of exercises and their positive effects on the body. While how hard you go with your exercise regime depends on your body, the main motto of exercise should be to ‘break a sweat’. You should focus on getting your heart-beat up. Exercising for at least 30 min daily should be on your agenda – choose from cardio, yoga, pranayama, hitting the gym, or even simple jogging. Exercise helps in improving blood circulation, oxygenation, and lung capacity, which has a direct effect on your mental alertness, productivity, and your quality of sleep. So make sure you include some form of exercise in your daily routine.

Eat your veggies

With more and more nutrient deficiency related diseases coming to the limelight, one cannot ignore the merits of including vegetables and fruits in the daily diet. Fresh vegetables and fruits have tons of nutrients, antioxidants, minerals and have low calories and fat, making those an ideal part of daily diet. From fibres to different vitamins there are some essential nutrients which are only found in green vegetables. They are also easy to digest and help maintain a regular bowel movement. So keep your plate green and fresh.

Cut down on sugar and include more healthy fat

Keeping in mind that not all sugar is harmful, sugar mentioned here is referred to crystalline sugar. Processed sugar does the maximum damage to the heart and hence you should try to reduce processed sugar from your diet as much as possible. Try including more natural sugar like sweet potato, fruits, jaggery, etc. Also, try adopting monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat in your diet instead of going for a low-fat diet. A balanced diet is going to give you wholesome nutrition rather than a more specific diet. So watch what you keep in your plate.

Manage your meals

While eating healthy is important, it is not enough. Apart from what you eat, when and how much you eat also has a huge impact on your body.

  • Divide your two or three big meals in five or six small snacks. Eating stomach full makes you lethargic and slows down digestion and mineral absorption in the blood.
  • Try having your last meal three hours before bed so that you have ample time to digest your food.
  • Don’t drink too much water before sleep so that you don’t have to wake up for washroom breaks and you get uninterrupted sleep.
  • Also, make sure you have a hearty breakfast so that you make up for the intake between dinner and breakfast.

Plan your leisure time

A healthy lifestyle does not revolve around what you feed your body, but what you feed your mind also matters. So instead of working your fingers on that smartphone, start reading more. Make a target to read one book of your choice every week. Reading makes your mind more open to new ideas and helps boost your productivity. You can also opt to work on a skill, hobby or anything which helps you utilize your leisure time better.

Meditation

The secret to a healthy body is a fully functional mind. Meditation is one of those precious tools whose merits are unattainable from any other means. A 30 minutes meditation every day is scientifically proven to increase the grey matter in your brain; the part which is responsible for intelligence. Meditation also has been known to control your blood pressure along with breathing pattern – this, in turn, helps you control your emotional surges and stay calmer and composed.

Keep away from bad influences

It’s an already known fact that smoking, drinking, etc. are injurious to health. But in spite of that, people become victim of these addictions. Try to stay away from addictions as well as any triggers that provoke you to get involved in these, especially if you are a recovering. It takes big willpower to control your temptations but just a moment of weakness to get plunged in it again.

Make healthy decisions

A healthy lifestyle is not just a part of your routine but is the routine itself. Apart from all the given points, a healthy lifestyle includes making healthy decisions like taking stairs over lift, choosing healthy snacks over junk food and fruit juice over a beer. Every small decision collectively makes up what you are. Remember, every choice matters!

10 Habits of Healthy Couples

It’s February – the month of Valentine’s day. I am sure your social media feeds must be full of all sorts of mushy posts. If scrolling through these posts and looking at all those cute and cuddly happy pictures of couples with ‘hashtag #couplegoals’ is making you wonder about the secret of their relationship, then read this.

Every relationship is unique and demands different things to strike a healthy balance. Behind every #couplegoals, there is a story and struggle that are not depicted in those social media posts. A relationship is just like a tree that requires constant nurturing before it begins to bear fruits. There are no set rules for a healthy relationship. However, relationship experts maintain that couples who develop certain healthy relationship habits tend to lead happier lives.

Now, what are these healthy habits? Here are a few healthy habits that will help you in rekindling love with your partner this Valentine’s Day:

Communicate

Communication plays a vital role in every relationship. You should be able to put across your feelings to your partner without any inhibitions. Vented up emotions can harm your relationship. Bridge the communication gap and talk about everything from good to worse.

Workout together

According to research, 94% of couples stick to their fitness regime when working out together. Taking up a physical fitness activity will not only help you in achieving your fitness goals but will also allow you to spend some quality and fun time with your partner. Enrol yourself for some dance lessons or get a couple’s gym membership.

Mark your boundaries

Being around your loved one or having your loved one around you all the time can be overwhelming. Identifying and being at peace with your individuality is as important as being a couple. Talk to your partner and mark your boundaries concerning your alone time. Being able to spend some time alone is as essential as being together with your beloved.

Take up a mutual hobby

More often than not, people underestimate the power of sharing a mutual interest or hobby. In a relationship, people tend to overlook this aspect, but the relationship experts think otherwise. Having a mutual interest or hobby helps the couple connect more intimately. It allows you to spend some time away from the domestic issues and discussions.

Divide responsibilities

Every relationship comes with specific responsibilities, and it is vital to divide the load equally. If the burden of responsibilities is either more or entirely on one person, the person will crumble sooner or later. This can result in emotional outbursts in the form of frustration or anger. Dividing the load implies both the persons putting in the equal amount of efforts to make things work smoothly.

 Appreciate and celebrate

The celebrations do not always mean grand. Bring in some joy by celebrating every small little feat of your partner – it can be something as simple as being complimented or appreciated by the boss in the office. Make a conscious effort to appreciate things in and about your partner. Don’t stock up your appreciation for special occasions. Make every day special.

Express love

No matter how long you have been into a relationship, saying an ‘I love you’ shall always be magical. Don’t let the mundanities of everyday life take over the romantic in you. Form a habit of expressing love every time you walk away from each other. A gentle reminder can go a long way.

Be clear about what you need and how you feel

You might believe that if your partner loves you, he/she would know how you feel. Love should never be judged on this parameter. Irrespective of how much your partner loves you, they wouldn’t know what’s going on in your mind until and unless you tell them. Develop a habit of talking about the hard stuff – the stuff that bothers you. This sort of communication helps in strengthening the bond between couples.

Couple time

Take out some time from the everyday hustle for yourselves. Spend some quality time talking, discussing or doing things that you both enjoy. It could be a movie date; a dinner date or simply after dinner walks every night. Devote this time to yourselves by keeping aside your domestic life.

Physical intimacy

As the years pass by, couples tend to overlook the importance of physical intimacy in their relationship. The physical touch is comforting and consoling. Give a hug while bidding a goodbye or while getting back home after the day’s work, or make an effort to snuggle to sleep every night.

This isn’t an all-inclusive list. Every couple could have their own needs. As a couple, find out what works best for you and put it to practice. The key to a healthy relationship lies in understanding your partner. Hope these habits help you in finding that balance in your relationship this Valentine’s Day.

The Wellness Trends That Will Rule 2019

As the New Year kicks in it bring in new hopes for millions of people around the globe with new plans to make life better – both personally and professionally. It is a well-established fact today that more than 75% of the New Year resolutions across the globe revolve around physical fitness and wellbeing. Statistics show a steep rise in the gym and other fitness clubs’ memberships in January every year. The place catches up the vibe with people swarming in to keep up with their New Year resolutions but barely a couple of weeks into January, and the crowds begin thinning. Do we see you smiling guiltily to yourself?

If you are into fitness (even if not a fitness freak), you aren’t oblivious to the changing trends in the fitness industry over the past couple of years. Today, the term ‘physical fitness’ has replaced the age-old ‘losing weight’. The onus of this change lies on the revamped notion of fitness and wellbeing. Being physically fit doesn’t imply being skinny. Skinny is no longer considered being healthy or fit. The true essence of physical fitness lies in training your body to be disease free, and this is what is going to set the wellness trends in 2019.

Here are the top wellness trends this year that you might to keep a watch on and perhaps follow:

Holistic Approach to Fitness

We have invested decades of time and an insurmountable amount of money in a skewed perception of fitness that focussed on being slim for women and having abs for men. Today, the fitness has taken a holistic approach towards improving a person’s physical and mental health. It is no longer about spending hours in the gym alone. A good fitness regimen includes everything from your exercise routine to what you are eating to how you are sleeping. Trainers and peps are making people aware of this holistic approach my emphasising on lifestyle changes required to achieve the fitness goals.

Eating Right and not Dieting

The word dieting has been so overused in the last few decades that fitness trainers and nutritionists across the globe have bid adieu to it and for good. To stay healthy, one needs to eat healthily. You cannot merely starve yourself and expect to be healthy. Dieting was meant for people whose only aim was to lose weight (though that’s too not recommended anymore). The mantra today is to eat and eat healthy.

Home Workouts

Oh yes, you don’t need to have an excuse anymore. We understand it is difficult for you to leave your home or find time to go out to a gym or a fitness centre, but these are not acceptable excuses anymore. Home workouts are cool again. There is a range of home trainers and virtual trainers that help you in achieving your fitness targets right in the comfort of your house.

Mental and Physical Fitness are Inseparable

Yes, the focus on mental fitness is real and for good. Fitness no longer implies putting in long extraneous hours in physical workouts. It is all about achieving the right balance by catering to your mental wellbeing as well. If you are not mentally at peace, no amount of workout hours can put you in good shape. To be truly fit, you need to focus equally on mental wellbeing and physical fitness.

Virtual is the new Digital

Digital technology has changed the way the world worked, and now virtual reality is giving it a whole new dimension. Big names in the industry are investing their money in creating virtual games aligned with a person’s fitness requirements and goals. The fitness centres are welcoming this move, and people are elated more than ever to make physical workout fun this way.

Face Workouts, Anyone?

You read that right. We were just as baffled as you are. Workouts were always focussed on arms, legs, biceps, triceps, abs and hips but the new member to make an entry to this frenzied club is the face. You might have already invested, and perhaps still spending a filthy amount of money every month to make your face look radiant, fair, glowing, youthful, wrinkle-free et al. You can get rid of all that by investing in a trainer having expertise in face workouts.

The paradigm shift in the fitness industry from simply aspiring to have a revered figure or body to being fit in the real sense of the term has changed the way the industry works today. If you are the one who loves staying fit or somebody who is new to the fitness world, these are the trends to look out for in the coming year.