Simple diet and lifestyle tips for a healthy life


Dr. Indrajeet Tyagi and Iranna Hirapur

In order to lose weight, you need to understand the concept of what to eat and what not to eat. One thing to know for sure is that our body needs calories that come from food. If you eat low calorie foods that fill your tummy then, your body does not get the recommended daily calorie intake that is 2,000 calories a day for women and 2,500 for men. In that situation, your body starts melting your body fat and uses it for the deficit calories. Therefore, you should start eating low calorie foods that fill up your tummy and at the same time, they provides all the required proteins, vitamins, and minerals.

Low calorie food includes vegetables and fruits. In vegetables, you can eat some after cooking them and others you can eat them raw that we call salads. For making fresh salads, you can use cucumber, carrots, radish, tomato, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, spinach, lettuce and others. In fruits, you can use all kinds of fruits such as apples, papayas, oranges, pomegranates, pears, guava, watermelon, muskmelon, berries, peaches, grapes, except banana, mango and Chikoo. You can also make fruit juices and vegetable juices. You can eat these foods your tummy full in the entire day. Just remember to cook your vegetable with spices of your liking but very little or no oil at all. You need to cut your carbs by not eating any kinds of grains that is rotis, nans, chapatis, parathas, and breads.

A typical day diet includes a plate full of 1or two kinds of fruits or a glass of normal-temperature fruit juice for breakfast. A plate or bowl full of 1 to 2 kinds of either raw or stir-fried vegetables or leafy greens, daal, rajma, chana, black-eye-pea, whole moong etc.cookedwith very little or zero oilor, vegetable juicesfor lunch. For dinner, eat a plate full of either raw or stir-fried vegetables including leafy greens depending on the season and health condition.

You do not need to follow this low calorie diet for your life time but once you reduce you weight to the desired level, you can eat low calorie foods two times and one time some medium calorie foods and once in a while a few bites of high calorie foods. That way, your weight remains steady and never increases.

Exercise: Along with your low calorie diet, consider a 30 to 45 minute walk for at least for 5 days a week anddo some light exercises/aerobics such as jogging, swimming, skipping, cycling, and Yoga if possible for the best result.

When to eat what foods: 

Fruits: Out of all food groups, fruit digests quickest, therefore, it should be eaten alone. Fruit moves quickly through the digestive system, and adding other types of food to it delays the evacuation process. This causes it to ferment in the colon, and consequently, making you bloated and gassy.

  1. Avoid mixing fruit with milk
  2. Eat no more than two types of fruit at a time. Fruit ferments in the gut, and produce gas.
  3. Eat uncooked fruit in the middle of the day, when your digestive fire is strongest. Otherwise, cook it.
  4. Fruit is cooling for the digestive system, therefore should be avoided for breakfast or dinner when the digestion is weak
  5. Avoid eating raw fruit during winter, it will cool off your body heat and weaken your digestive system. Cook it and spice it up with chat masala, cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper, cardamom, cloves, funnel seeds, dry ginger powder etc.
  6. Not all fruits are created equal. Two fruits can be as different in their nutritional value and qualities. So, choose wisely
  7. Pomegranates can be eaten by anyone at any time, even when sick!
  8. Melon and watermelon should not be mixed with other fruits
  9. Avoid eating fruit for breakfast if you have seasonal allergies
  10. Fruit should be eaten before a meal, as an appetizer, not for dessert
  11. Mango is the only fruit that is ok to mix with dairy for your information. NOT recommended when you are on weight loss regimen.
  12. Sour and sweet-tasting fruit should not be consumed together in one sitting
  13. Bananas should never be consumed with buttermilk or yogurt. This combination is heavy,
  14. Mucus forming and can cause allergies. This is just for your information. NOT recommended
  15. When you are on weight loss regimen.
  16. Examples of sweet fruits: dates, figs, grapes, bananas mangoes, etc. (Please avoid bananas and mangoes when you are on weight loss regimen).
  17. Examples of sour fruits: all citrus fruits, pineapple, apples, kiwi, passion fruit, berries, etc.

Vegetables: Vegetables are divided into two categories, starchy and non-starchy, and each type acts differently when combined with other foods.Non-starchy vegetables combine well with everything. Starchy vegetables should be consumed with other vegetables only, not with proteins (no meat and broccoli, no meat and potatoes).

Examples of starchy vegetables: potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, etc.

Examples of non-starchy vegetables: leafy greens, cauliflower, zucchini, broccoli, mushrooms, cucumber, etc.

Proteins: Proteins, especially meat, take the longest time to digest. Pure proteins, such as those coming from animal sources, are considered the heaviest and slowest to be evacuated through the digestive tract. Generally, proteins combine best with non-starchy vegetables and fats. They also pair well with acidic fruits such as lemons and limes (the high vitamin C content in them helps break down fatty acids and makes iron more absorbable).

Avoid combining proteins with starchy vegetables such as beans, and grains. Combining different kinds of proteins in one meal is also not recommended (so no beans with cheese, eggs and meat, or dairy products and meat).

Grains and Legumes: Starchy grains and beans should only be combined with vegetables and fats. Avoid combining them with dairy products, or with other proteins.

Dairy: Milk products should only be consumed with vegetables or on their own. Combining milk with sour foods or fruit causes the milk to curdle and should be avoided. Similarly, avoid mixing milk or cream with salt or fish, this combination is known to cause skin disorders.  Always boil your milk and add spices like cardamom, cumin, or cinnamon to make it easier to digest.

Fats: Fats combine well with proteins and vegetables. In fact, consuming a small amount of fat with your food is essential for the proper absorption of nutrients in the body. Avoid eating fats and carbohydrates in similar quantities in the same meal. This 1:1 ratio is responsible for causing diabetes and weight gain.

Honey: Never consume equal amounts of honey and ghee or butter by weight, which is about 1 tsp of honey, with 3 tsp ghee). This ratio will result in the production of Ama (toxic matter) and will cause weight gain in the end.

Honey should never be boiled or cooked. The beneficial enzymes and nutrients in raw honey are lost during the cooking process, leaving only the sugars to circulate in the bloodstream. When cooked, the structure of honey becomes similar to that of glue, turning it sticky, mucus forming, and toxic.

Dr. Indrajeet Tyagi, Final Year Student, M. R. Medical College, Kalaburagi, Karnataka

Dr Iranna S. Hirapur, MD, DM (Cardiology) Interventional Cardiologist at Heart Foundation, Kalaburagi, Karnataka