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.

 

 

Your Most Common Nutrition Questions Answered Here

Staying fit and healthy is not an overnight task. It is a lifelong commitment. Exercising and eating right are two peas in a pod. A good exercise regime has to be backed by a good eating routine and vice versa. In today’s changing lifestyles and fast-paced lives, we often relegate health to the bottom of our need’s pyramid only to pay heed when the body reminds us, not so subtly, of lack of nutrition and healthy routine.

The most important ingredient for healthy living is eating right and consuming a nutritious diet. Inadequate intake of nutrients can cause various health issues like stringing aches in various parts of the body, fatigue, weak bones, poor concentration, etc. Most of the people think consuming nutritious diet comprises of going on a strict diet and ditching their favourite foods forever. But, that’s not the case. With so much of information available on the internet, one is bound to get confused.

Here are some of the most commonly asked nutrition questions that beginners often have:

  • I am new, where should I begin?

The question that muddles every beginner is where they should begin from when it comes to eating right. The first and foremost thing to do is to understand your body’s nutrition need. Each body has a different requirement depending upon their physical work, weight, height, age, and gender. As they say, an excess of everything is harmful. Any nutrient in excess can lead to harmful consequences. One needs to understand the right quantity of nutrients to be consumed for their body type. Don’t blindly follow something that a friend or acquaintance of yours is following. No two bodies work in a similar pattern. Something that worked for you might not work for a friend of yours. Always take guidance from a certified nutritionist before adding or cutting down anything in your diet.

  • Which diet should I follow?

Following a diet doesn’t mean starving yourself. Starving is the worst thing one can do to their body. A healthy diet comprises of foods that take care of the essential nutrients and minerals required by your body. There are various diets like Keto, Low Carb Diet (LCD), No Carb Diet (NCD), No Sugar Diet (NSD), Low Sugar Diet (LSD), Liquid diets etc. Choose a diet depending on your body and fitness goals. For example: If a person with low blood pressure opts for a NSD i.e. no sugar diet, she is bound to suffer fatigue and dizziness. Hence, it is essential to understand your body before trying out any diet. Consult your physician or a nutritionist before starting a diet.

  • How effective is high protein diet?

A high protein diet should be backed by a heavy and rigorous workout regime. Proteins take time to break down and digest. A heavy workout helps in faster ingestion of proteins in the body. If a person is not working out and consuming high protein diet, he is bound to feel lethargic as body’s maximum energy will be consumed in digesting the protein intake.

  • Should I opt for the no carbs diet?

Every nutrient is essential for a fit and sound functioning of the body. Completely eliminating any nutrient from the body is not advisable. Carbs are the main source of energy for your body. Moreover, following a no carb diet gets a little tough to keep up with. Completely eliminating carbs from your diet is a herculean challenge. A no carb diet will leave you drained out than usual. Don’t go for it unless it is specifically advised by your nutritionist.

  • How important is it to keep calories count?

Counting calories can be confusing in the beginning with various food items/dishes cooked and prepared in different styles. It is difficult to give a universal calorie count for any particular dish. On the other hand, when consuming fruits and nuts, you have a definite calorie count. If you are overweight to obese and looking forward to cutting down some weight, keeping a check on your calorie intake can be helpful. By counting calories, one is able to strike a balance between the calories consumed and calories burnt ratio thereby initiating faster and healthier weight reduction process.  You can take help of some smartphone apps for this.

  • What is nutrient timing?

Nutrient timing is all about what you are eating and when you are eating. Every nutrient has a different absorption period and until and unless you allow your body the time to absorb the consumed nutrients, it’s futile. You will only end up adding calories by not paying attention to the nutrient timing. One must be aware of the foods to eat before, during and post a workout. For example – Consuming proteins prior to workout helps in initiating faster and proper digestion since proteins take longer to digest and the rigorous body activity helps in speeding up the process.

  • How many meals a day should I eat?

More than the number of meals, the proportion of your meal matters. Eating small portions is the best practice to follow. Longer periods between meals make you feel hungrier and by the time you start eating, you end up binging and putting much more than what your body requires. This meddles with your metabolism leading to slower digestion process and bloating of the stomach. It is healthy to have 5-7 small meals in a day. By meals, we don’t mean full meals. Create a proper balance between your nutrients intake by adding a different kind of food products in your five meals of the day.

  • What should a healthy diet comprise of?

A healthy diet doesn’t mean completely cutting down on carbs and fats. There are good and bad fats. Before cutting down or adding anything in your diet, it is essential to gain knowledge about how the nutrition cycle works. For example – Cheese and ghee fall under good fats and are required by the body. But, it is important to know what quantity one is supposed to consume. Anything beyond the required quantity is going to create trouble for the body.

Again, when it comes to nutrition, there is no one-size-fits-all. Eating right is a lifestyle and one must adapt to it to stay healthy. Gain knowledge, talk to experts, and you will be able to make the right eating choices without necessarily cutting down on anything.

 

15 Food Combinations to Avoid at All Costs

We, Indians, love our food more than anything else in this world. Any occasion or celebration is incomplete without a huge spread of sumptuous and delicious food. And why shouldn’t it be? With a food culture as diverse as our country, there’s never a lack of options. But, do you know how the food combinations affect your digestive system and overall gastronomic health?

The changing trends in health and nutrition with humungous emphasis on healthy living and eating right, it is essential to know about the pros and cons of our food / food habits.

You would be shocked to see the most common food combinations making to our list of 15 food combinations that you should avoid at all cost.

  1. Consuming Fruits Just After a Meal

Many Indians still abide by the old saying – ‘Khaali pet jal, bhar pet phal’ which is the biggest mistake that we commit as per the nutritionists. Fruits are quick and easy to digest. However, combining them with food slows down the digestion process. Moreover, when fruits are consumed with a food item or immediately after a meal, it stays in the stomach for longer making it ferment and act like sugar. Fruits are best consumed alone either 20-30 minutes before a meal or an hour post a meal. 

  1. Eating Cheese and Meat Omelette

Combining two sources of protein in one meal can create havoc on your digestive system. Proteins are hard to digest and consume a lot of energy. Mixing two sources of high proteins can drain you out while being tough on your digestive tract as well.

  1. Eating Cheese Sandwich with Coffee

The carbs in your bread creates a hurdle in consumption of calcium present in the cheese. A cheese sandwich only adds to your calorie count without adding any nutritious value to your body. Coffee further aggravates the issue of breaking down fats present in cheese.

  1. Drinking Juices / Water / Any kind of Liquids with Food

Fancy a glass of orange juice with your breakfast or can’t push down the food without a glass of water? You should stop doing that right away. Consuming juices or any kind of liquids with meals dilutes enzymes in your stomach which slows down the process of breaking down and digesting proteins, carbohydrates and fats. It is recommended to drink water 10-15 minutes before a meal and to wait for at least 40 minutes after meals.

  1. Munching Salted Nuts with Alcoholic Beverages

Munching salty nuts and mixtures while drinking alcoholic drinks is a very common practice. Consumption of alcohol initiates dehydration of the body. Consuming high-salt foods is anyway harmful for the body and when combined with alcohol it further adds to dehydration of the body.

  1. Consuming Carbs with Meat / Animal Protein

Love your butter chicken and naan combo? Do we see you drooling already? Sorry to break this to you but you should never combine animal protein with carbohydrates. The different digestive juices produced when animal protein and carbs are consumed will nullify the effect of both thereby causing gastric reactions. The heaviness that you feel afterwards is the result of mixing these two.

  1. Consuming Salad with Meals

Mixing cooked and uncooked can be harsh on the digestive system. The digestion time and digestive juices required to digest cooked and raw foods are different. Mixing these two puts pressure on the digestive system. Moreover, salads are filling and a complete meal themselves.

  1. Consuming Fruits with Flavoured Yogurt

The bacteria present in yogurt acts with the sugar in fruits. The combination results in toxins and you end up suffering from cold and other allergies. If you can’t give up on this combination, then it is advisable to replace your flavoured yogurt with the plain one and top it with either honey or raisins.

  1. Consuming Cucumber, Yogurt or Tomato with Sprinkled Lemon Juice

Lemon, when combined with cucumber, yogurt or tomato causes acidic reactions. Avoid sprinkling lemon juice over your bowl of salad that contains cucumber and tomato.

  1. Consuming Beans with Cheese

This combination is native to the Mexican cuisine. Beans are believed to induce gas, but the truth is that beans alone aren’t as harmful as combined with cheese. This combination is a sure shot resultant of bloating and gas. If you have a weak digestive system, you should avoid this.

  1. Consuming Milk with Any Food and Fruit

Combining milk with any other food item like coconut, walnut, vegetables, and fruits cause disturbances of digestive enzymes resulting in acidic reactions. Milk is best consumed alone without any accompaniment.

  1. Consuming Carbonated drinks with Food

Are you in the habit of guzzling down a glass of cola with your pizza or post a heavy meal? This is the worst thing you can do to your body. The high content of sugar mixes along with the sugar you consume in your food. This takes days to break down and digest thereby causing your body to consume a high amount of fats resulting in weight gain.

  1. Mixing Milk with Tea

India runs on chai and we love our cup of tea too much to give it up for anything. But, hey, consuming more than 2 cups of tea with milk can prove to be fatally acidic. It causes burning of the digestive tract. Tea is healthy and beneficial when consumed without milk.

  1. Consuming Chapati and Rice in one Meal

Combining two different types of grains in the same meal exerts pressure on your digestive system. The digestion requirement for these two is different and hence, when consumed together, it can result in constipation and gas.

  1. Consuming Cooked Ghee and Honey

Both ghee and honey are best when consumed raw. Heating them destroys the nutritious value and depletes them to nothing but a fatty food product. Ghee and honey in equal weight can be a poisonous mixture. Ghee is a cooling agent and honey’s a heating agent. The resultant mixture of these two opposite agents is poisonous.

 

What You Must Know About Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery, also known as weight loss surgery, is a procedure through which obese people lose weight by reducing the stomach size with the help of a gastric band or by removing a portion of the stomach or by re-routing small intestines to a small stomach pouch.

Owing to the fad of being small-sized, people feel bariatric surgery is done only to lose weight. However, that’s not the case. It also helps in recovering from Type II diabetes and minimizing cardiovascular risks thereby reducing the mortality rate. As per the U.S National Institutes of Health, bariatric surgery should be performed for obese people with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of at last 40. But recent researches suggest that bariatric surgery can be performed on any patient whose BMI is higher than 30.

Bariatric Surgery Procedure

There are three procedures through which bariatric surgery is performed namely:

  1. Predominantly Malabsorptive Procedures: The success rate of this procedure is derived from creating a physiological condition of malabsorption.
  2. Predominantly Restrictive Procedures: As the name suggests, this procedure is based upon restrictive measures like reducing oral intake by limiting gastric volume. The risk of metabolic complications is reduced with this procedure.
  3. Mixed Procedures: In this, malabsorptive and restrictive procedures are combined.

Following are the bariatric surgery procedures commonly performed in India:

  • Gastric Bypass Surgery

In this procedure, the stomach is divided into two pouches. The upper one is made into a small sized pouch and the remaining part becomes the larger pouch. The upper part of the stomach is separated from rest of the stomach by stapling and the small intestines are rearranged to allow connection of both sections of the stomach. This results in lesser food intake. 

  • Lap-Band Surgery

This procedure is also known as Adjustable Gastric Band. In this procedure, the smaller pouch is created placing a silicon rubber on top of the stomach. It is performed laparoscopically. Lap-Band surgery is touted to be the safest procedure of bariatric surgery.

  • Gastric Sleeve Procedure

Also known as Sleeve Gastrectomy, in this process, a significant portion of the stomach is reduced by creating a major curve. This is a permanent/irreversible process unlike Lap-Band or Gastric Bypass. This process is also performed laparoscopically and is generally recommended for highly obese people. 

Postoperative Rehabilitation

After undergoing bariatric surgery patients are put on a clear liquid diet for a couple of days after which they are shifted to a liquid diet for two weeks. The patient follows this diet until the recovery of gastrointestinal tract. After complete recovery, the patient can shift to normal diet but since the intake of food reduces due to the reduction in the size of the stomach, doctors prescribe a diet rich in proteins and lower fats.

While bariatric surgery is not a magic bullet for weight loss, by following the right diet and lifestyle, most of the patients are able to maintain their weight after the surgery without any issues.

Need vs. Fad

The obsession of losing weight and reducing size has made bariatric surgery a fad. The body undergoes major altercations after undergoing the surgery. The post-surgery life isn’t as easy or simple to lead on. There are permanent dietary changes that the patient has to adhere to. If you fail to do so, the consequences can be serious. The surgery isn’t a permanent solution to weight issues. People feel that once they go under the knife, they can live the rest of their lives enjoying eating and no exercising. This is a myth. One needs to have a healthy and regular exercise routine else the weight is bound to return.

Being overweight or obese has serious health issues. People should opt for bariatric surgery for medical conditions rather than aesthetics. The health issues such people face range from hypertension to cardiac arrest and diabetes.

Take into consideration the overall factors before undergoing such a drastic step until and unless your doctor has suggested you to take this route due to your health concerns. Consult a reputed bariatric surgeon to help you know the needs and effects of the surgery on your body.

 

You Have Just Started Working Out – How Should Your Diet Change?

Joining a gym or exercising more often/regularly is the most common New Year’s resolution across the globe. The fitness brands’ sales surge in the last fortnight of December when everyone starts gearing up for the New Year. However, people forget that exercising is not the only way of getting fitter. You need to eat right as well. And, by eating right we don’t mean simply replacing sugar with honey. You need to back your workout regime with a healthy and nutritious diet.

Effect of Food Choices on Your Workout 

The right kinds of food can help you in many ways. Your stamina, weight loss, muscle building et al. depend upon the type of food you eat. There are pre and post workout foods that provide thorough support to your body. Start your day with a food high in protein like nuts and almonds. A handful of it soon after you move out of your bed will keep you energized through the day. Adding healthy foods in the right proportion and consuming them at the right hour of the day can be beneficial.

Pre and Post Workout Foods

Every food has some nutritious value and it is good to know/learn about it. If you are a novice, don’t rely on anyone but a certified nutritionist. Balancing the nutrient intake is quintessential for the body. Here are some foods that you can include in your routine:

Pre Workout Meal

If you’re starting your day with a workout, never do it on an empty stomach. An empty stomach workout will force your body to store fat to keep itself fed and, in turn, makes you lose lesser calories. Ensure that you have a balanced combination of simple and complex carbs so that the release of energy is slow throughout your workout. You can imbibe these pre-workout meals in your regime and make sure to consume these at least half an hour to forty minutes before hitting the floor.

  • Oatmeal
  • Bananas
  • Hardboiled Eggs
  • Nuts and Almonds
  • Yogurt
  • Granola
  • Fibrous Fruits
  • Fruit Smoothies
  • Whole wheat toast with sliced bananas
  • Smoothies with berries

Post Workout Meal

After the workout wear and tear, the body needs replenishment. Rather than depending upon artificial foods, consume food that naturally replenishes the body. Get the right nutrients after your exercise to help your body rebuild the muscle proteins and glycogen stores.

  • Muesli
  • Fresh Orange Juice
  • Boiled Eggs or Omelette
  • Paneer in any form
  • Grilled Chicken
  • Fruit Salad
  • Wholegrain Bread
  • Spinach Soup
  • Chocolate milk
  • Sweet potato

Supplements vs. Food

The first and biggest mistake the beginners commit is adding supplements to their routine as soon as they begin working out. Remember, not everyone requires external supplements. If you are working out for 30 minutes to one hour and having a balanced diet, you may not need any external supplements at all. Always consult a certified nutritionist or your physician before adding any supplementary food or drink to your diet.

You can always rely on natural resources for your nutrition requirement and here are some foods to ditch those supplements:

Vitamin C

  • Citrus fruits like orange, mosambi and kiwi
  • Tomatoes
  • Lemon juice
  • Guava
  • Papaya
  • Green and Red pepper

Calcium

  • Chia seeds
  • Yogurt
  • Broccoli
  • Watercress
  • Water Chestnut
  • Kale

Vitamin E

  • Almonds
  • Peanuts
  • Hazelnuts
  • Spinach
  • Sweet Potato
  • Avocado

 Iron

  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Cashew
  • Soy

Protein

  • Seafood
  • Whole Eggs
  • Chicken Breast
  • Quinoa
  • Chickpeas
  • Kidney Beans 

Good Fat vs. Bad Fat

Shunning out fat completely from your body is not going to help you lose weight, build muscle or stay fitter. For your body to absorb vitamins and nutrients, fat is needed. Not all fat that you consume is harmful for the body. One needs to know the difference between good and bad fat. Imbibe good fat and get rid of bad fat from your diet. Here’s a list of foods with good and bad fat:

Good Fat

  • Dark Chocolate
  • Whole Eggs
  • Full Fat Yogurt
  • Red Meat
  • Ghee
  • Cheese

Bad Fat

  • Butter
  • Beef and Pork
  • Dark Chicken Meat
  • Fried Foods
  • Processed Food
  • Bakery Products like cakes, pastries and cookies

Dietary needs vary for every individual. Each body has a different requirement. No two people can have same or similar results with same dietary habits. Nutrients are essential for a healthy body but overconsumption of anything can have adverse effects on the body. Working out is just the tip of the iceberg. It won’t bear fruits without a healthy and adequate nutrient supply to the body.