Beauty 101: Food

I hate to sound like a glutton but I love to eat. I wake up hungry for breakfast and then look forward to my mid-day snack of roasted makhana (lotus seeds), after which there’s lunch, and then my delicious fruit yogurt, then mango, then a block of chocolate…you get the drift right? I love to cook and I love to eat. I love the fact that I have shed a lot of weight but I also accept that I will never be super skinny. But because I will never be skinny I’m not afraid of getting wrinkles as they don’t stand a chance against the chubb in my cheeks. Still, when it comes to food there needs to be a fine balance. Too often I find that people go into extremes – they’re either counting calories or eating for pure pleasure. In my opinion it has to be a mix of both. Here’s how:

– Choose a pattern. Either you eat three square meals a day and don’t snack in between, or you eat six snack-y meals in a day. Most people eat three square meals and also snack in between. The energy created by this much food can only be consumed if you’re Tarzan swinging off trees. For normal, urban citizens all this excess energy turns into fat.

– If you, like me, love food, then choose snacking. Even your main meals must be tiny, fist-sized portions. Pick your snacks wisely combining taste and nutrition. I love makhanas roasted in ghee, or slices of fruit with peanut butter, or nuts roasted with a sprinkling of Himalayan pink salt, a few blocks of dark chocolate, dates, amaranth laddoos, and of course fruit.

– Empty calories must never be a part of your daily diet. That bag of chips, carbonara pasta, rashers of bacon, sponge cake – they have no nutritional value. Your body is not a dust bin, so don’t shovel junk down on a daily basis.

– Ensure that every bite has nourishment. Sprinkle seeds into kheer, olive oil on toast, ghee into dal. Use raw cacao and coconut flour to make cakes. Eat Greek yogurt with honey and dates for dessert. Don’t eat mindlessly, don’t count calories, but keep a tab of the nutrients in your food.

– Reduce refined sugar, flour and dairy products. They cause inflammation, which is the leading cause for poor health and bad skin. Eat  grains like millets and brown rice, eat honey and stevia instead of sugar, drink preservative-free almond milk to replace dairy.

– Indulge in your favourites. The keyword being indulge, in small portions. The satisfaction you get from a slim slice of chocolate cake also makes you all aglow.

– Don’t give up on a food group. A lot of people don’t eat carbs, but did you know that they are essential for the health of your heart? Not eating carbs also gives you bad breath. Eat everything, don’t count calories and ensure 99% of your food is bursting with nutrition – that is the key to great skin.

Lead image: Photographed by Philippe HAltman for Life magazine in 1943.

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