My Observations with Dieting

23 02 2008

I have had my share of experimentation with all sorts of diets. Going through this GM Diet made me shed some years and revive some memories..

SSY

Guess my first brush with dieting came some ten years back, even before entering my Engineering College. I tried out the SSY programme in Rajamundry, as my mama was a fanatic that time and I had little choice. That’s a 14 day programme clubbing yoga, pranayama, meditation, raw vegetarian food, and community prayer which is followed by a 3 day external outing where you eat almost nothing, sleep not more than a couple of hours, take a mud bath, dance and play most of the time. Yet, that was a great experience at that time. I ate only raw vegetarian food, flavored with lemon, nuts and some masala for the whole of 14 days and guess it worked because of it being a community experience. I never knew that will power, and quality of life can draw strength from such little sustenence and yet leave you so energerised.

Yes, weight loss was noticeable, but then, it was not the goal of the programme. I became more peaceful, and could control short temper that was so typical of an adolescent kid.

What I liked about SSY

1) The Carefree atmostphere of the group, and the candid discussions
2) Interesting raw recipes which were easily edible. (Thats the first time in my life when I had raw greens)
3) I felt lighter and happier and I had my first lesson on restraint and patience.
4) My first and the only real meditation experience for an hour of their ‘So Ham’ meditation technique

What I hated about it

1) After 20 days of such diet, I couldn’t digest any cooked food at all. Even a little bit of it could fill my stomach. It took me 3 months to even taste or touch non vegetarian food as it used to feel so heavy!

Probably that was the reason why I left that lifestyle, as I forged my bond with Osmania University hostel for four years during which I had exposure to some real atrocious and lethal stuff cooked out of our mess. Yes, Hostel food really prepares you for the world!

Gymming and Exercise

This is a consistently inconsistent part of my life. Either I get my long walk of around 40 minutes on a daily basis or I head to the Gym for some chat, and exercise. But I can never combine gymming with dieting as that can lead to a fainting spell on a treadmill. (Speaking from experience). So far, I never had a noticeable change in weight due to exercise, gym or walk. They help me maintain my weight and make me feel fit. And yes. All those endorphines that spring to action due to physical activity make me happy.

Crash Dieting

I had to do it for one simple reason. Weight Loss. I became rotund and inactive and that did little to my ravenous appetite. Finally I ventured to discipline, when the things were getting out of hand, and my sedentary lifestyle did little to help it.

I started with an objective: To loose 8 kilos in the fastest way possible. One goal every day- to limit my daily calorie intake to 600 cal. One simple arithmetic. I pretty much counted everything I ate, did a lot of exercise and survived on lemon tea, water, curd and idly. And that helped big time. I lost around 7 kilos in a month and never regained them.

What I liked about it.

1) As it was self imposed, It was quite flexible. I could try a lot of variety of foods, like fruits, nuts, bread, tiffins etc. Since it was self designed, I allowed occasional binges, like a treat on weekend or a Chinese meal for dinner.
2) It had to do with a lot of mental training and will. Call it stubbornness or resolve, I felt no hunger pangs.
3) There was an instant gratification angle to it too. You can see a noticeable weight loss resulting in you due to the manipulations you do. Thats what I called experimenting with myself in true sense.

GM Diet

I tried it just for the sake of it. Mere curiosity. And probably the guilt of emotional eating and all that binging that I did during the past two months helped me hold on I guess.

What I liked about the GM Diet

1) I have become conscious of the water that I take, so much to the fact that I have started counting the no of glasses I drink.
2) Surprisingly there is no craving for sweets, namkeens or junk.
3) I feel lighter and smarter (*wink*)
4) I really learnt restraint. Resisting the temptation during the starting days was quite tough. :-)

What I hated the most about it

1) The signs of weakness that I experienced during the process (Headache on Day One, Nerves Pain on Day 3 and 4.)
2) No Inclusion of Yogurt or Nuts at all in the diet.

Bottom line of GM Diet is that it works. Its a quick and dirty way of loosing a couple of kilos in a week. And guess its easy to follow as the plan is already laid out.





Living Through The GM Diet..

22 02 2008

15/02/2008

It all started with a seemingly innocuous lunch conversation yesterday. A lot of guys expounded on the benefits of dieting, GM Diet, cleaning system, and what not. I sat there listening to all arguments and thought of having a first hand knowledge. So here I am, going through an unlikely experiment of GM Diet. Its kind of a tough resolution for an emotional eater like me, let me see how it goes. :-)

Day ONE: (Only Fruits Except for Banana)

Had a couple of Strawberries in the morning and a fruit chat at 4 PM. My head is throbbing like hell in an hour and I resisted the temptation of the Cappuccino lingering around in the meeting. Had a china pear for dinner and that numbed my head ache. Like a true Andhrite, I promised myself a grand Hyderabadi Biryani, if I survived through this diet. See my gluttonous wishes haven’t changed much since college days. ;-)

So far, it feels easy. My tough challenge would be wading through the weekend.

Day TWO: (Only Vegetable with a cooked potato for breakfast)

So today is a vegetables day with a potato for breakfast. I hunted the kitchen to discover a tiny potato and steamed it to heart’s content. Probably it must be the first time in my life when I relished a cooked potato sans seasonings. Indeed a lifetime experience. Then tried to play the rabbit by munching on to the carrots and peas. :-) I felt that headache returning to me by evening. Had a lemon soda and saw that ebbing away. Silently I added Chinese Hakka Noodles to the self promises, I I stick around this diet till Day Seven.

I checked my weight today – 58.7 Kg

Day THREE: Fruits and Vegetables (No Potato and No Banana)

I woke up at 7:00 AM as hunger pangs hit my stomach. Man, what a self imposed misery it was! Thankfully I found grapes in the kitchen and almost finished half a kilo of them in the early morning for breakfast. Who called this diet, anyways? :-) Steamed Ridge Gourd, Tomatos and Garlic together with some spices and had it for brunch. Sipped lemon juice (no sugar) while watching Jodhaa Akbar and ate amla and fruit salad for dinner.

I checked my weight today – 58.4 Kg – - No major change from yesterday

Day FOUR: Bananas and Milk

I can claim myself a milk allergic. :-( So That leaves me with bananas. Am actually considering substituting Yogurt for milk. Lets see How it goes. Yesterday I shopped for the largest bananas ever found in the market and bought three of them. Had a nice cold badam flavored milk for dinner. I had a tough timing sleeping today, as I felt a tinge of nerve weakness. My entire lower body ached in minute ways and most of the sleep time went in discovering new postures for comfort. No Jokes, I hated this sign of weakness.

I checked my weight today – 57.1 Kg – Voila A Whopping change!

Day FIVE: Beef and Tomatoes.

I woke up early morning, with a gnawing hunger and looked at Tomatoes with revenge. Steamed five of them along with pepper and salt and had some real trouble eating them. Now that was a real proof for my culinary abilities. :-) I still haven’t figured out what can I substitute for Beef. I had around 50g of steamed chicken for lunch and by evening, my knees started aching. So I didn’t stick to rule book today. Had a couple of pieces of Guava fruit, one lemon soda, along with one phulka and 100 g of dal instead of the lean meat that was advised.

For those who are looking for vegetarian option, don’t plainly substitute rice for beef. Instead, to replace a 3 oz (85.05 g) serving of meat, use:

* 1 cup (236.59 mL) cooked dry beans, peas, or lentils.
* 3 oz (85.05 g) tofu (soybean paneer).
* 4 Tbsp (59.15 mL) peanut butter.

I checked my weight today – 56.9 Kg – No major change from yesterday

Day SIX: Beef and Vegetables

I experienced a fleeting sensation of fainting problem. Since Beef was out of question, I had a single phulka with steamed carrot in the morning. This time I am not going to miss my lunch at all. Had 10 oz. fried chicken for lunch. And I took a bowl of steamed and spiced carrots and peas for dinner. No Signs of weakness at all. I guess the worst is over by Day 5.

Day SEVEN: Brown rice, fruit juices and vegetables

Finally the last day and the easiest one too! :-) Had a bowl of vegetable rice cooked with Potato, Onion, Cauliflower for breakfast and lunch. Dinner saw me gulping two glasses of watermelon juice.

Finally I lived through the GM Diet schedule. Yes, there are slips in certain days, I do acknowledge humbly. But those slips did indeed make a positive difference. I lost around 5.5 pounds, but thats not all. My observations and cribs would call for another post as I don’t want to spoil the joy of this experience with analysis. :-)

Update: Looking at the tremendous amount of attention this post has received from people scouting for information on GM Diet, I couldn’t help but recommend these posts here. Worth taking a look.

My Experimentation With Different Types of Dieting

Some Food For Thought here for those who are forced to do this.





Calorific Values of Indian Food Items

17 11 2006

Even the title brought a smile to my face! Am no confessed fitness freak and added to that my big fault is that am an emotional eater. Yet, I wanted to two pence on diet choices. Especially in the IT field, it’s a big temptation at least for me to pull the rug over face and miss the beautiful sunrise as I came back home a little late in the night. It’s even easier to forget everything and grab a pack of lays or samosa at tea time. What starts off as a little laziness goes a long way in taking me through the chores of the day in little sluggish manner! Exercise sure gives a good high, and brings freshness of mind and thought. I realized the importance of fitness during the Camp Corbett trip and I don’t want to be ill prepared for my favorite trekking activities.

For all those who think they can diet, or who are forced to diet, or who diet for the favor of their parents.. Guess this will be useful. I have hunted long to know what I eat or rather how much I eat. Not that I can follow a strict diet regime, but knowing it always helps! :-) Found this table from TataWorld.com. Now don’t say I didn’t tell u before u munch on your favorite samosa!

Details Food Item Quantity Weight Calories
BEVERAGES & RELATED ITEMS Sugar One Tea Spoon   20
Tea One cup   52
Tea without Sugar One cup   20
Coffee One cup   90
milk (cow) One cup   67
milk (buffalo) One cup   117
Cold Drink 200 ml   92
BREAKFAST
Bread One slice 16 gms 39
Biscuits (Glucose) One 7 gms 25
Egg One 45 gms 85
Omelet One 55 gms 145
Potato wada One 41 gms 100
Medu wada One 30 gms 100
Shev 1 plate 50 gms 130
Samosa one 65 gms 207
Upma 1-1/4 bowl 160 gms 260
Shira/Halwa 3/4 bowl 100 gms 322
Idli Two 100 gms 130
Sambar 1 bowl 160 gms 81
Khichadi 1 plate 50 gms 182
Masala Dosa One 100 gms 192
MEALS
Paratha Two 100 gms 297
Phulka (Roti without oil) One 35 gms 85
Puri 3 75 gms 240
Rice 1 bowl 100 gms 111
Dal 1 bowl   100
Red Bengal Gram 1 bowl 135 gms 109
Potato Curry 3/4 bowl 110 gms 131
Brinjal Potato 1 bowl 130 gms 134
Ladies finger 1-1/2 bowl 140 gms 226
Cabbage 1 bowl 100 gms 131
Papad One   28
Curd 1 bowl   70
SALAD
Beet   100 gms 43
Carrot   100 gms 48
Cucumber   100 gms 13
Raddish   100 gms 17
Tomato   100 gms 23
OTHER ITEMS
Pav Bhaji One plate   775
Pizza One   225
Cheese   100 gms 348
Almond   100 gms 655
Cashewnut   100 gms 596
Ground nut   100 gms 567
Dates dried   100 gms 317
FRUITS
Banana One 100 gms 116
Mango One 200 gms 160
Water Melon   100 gms 17
Chikoo One 50 gms 25
Grapes   100 gms 71
Pomegranate One 100 gms 65
Apple   100 gms 59
Guava   100 gms 51
Papaya   100 gms 32
Orange One 100 gms 48
Sweet lime One 100 gms 43
NON-VEGETARIAN FOOD
Chicken   100 gms 109
Meat   100 gms 194
Fish (fried) One piece 42 gms 109




The One Straw Revolution..

11 03 2005

The book written by Masanobu Fukuoka discusses about the spiritual underpinnings of the natural farming and stresses on the issues like
¨ All world is a part of one central truth; we see dualities and opposites because of ignorance
¨ Living in harmony with the environment, life, people and ourselves.
¨ Unity of all things, or the philosophy of do-nothing.

Natural farming here means allowing nature to farm with little or no human intervention.

Realization and the Beginning

The book starts with the realization of Mr. Fukuoka that humanity knows nothing at all. He feels that there is no intrinsic value in anything and every action is a futile, meaningless effort. Here when he says that humanity understands nothing, he recognizes the insufficiency of the intellectual knowledge. He feels that understanding nature is beyond human intelligence and that science has served only to show how small human knowledge is. He announces that Nature doesn’t change, only the way of viewing it changes. He believes in allowing the natural pattern to evolve rather than remaking nature for the benefit of mankind and sets himself to observe how the nature maintains the natural balance among the natural habitant.

Process of Natural Farming:

Then he moves to state the four basic principles of natural farming as
1. No Cultivation
2. No chemical fertilizers or prepared compost
3. No weeding by tillage or herbicides
4. No dependence on chemicals

He talks about the uses of scattering of straw in the form saying that straw enriches the earth maintaining the soil structure. As germination is best at surface because the grain gets exposure to the oxygen, he says that sowing seeds when the preceding crop is still on the field minimizes the damage caused by sparrows. Next comes pelleting of seeds, where in seed is mixed with clay and made a pellet so that it wont become food for rodents before it germinates. He talks about the natural lifecycle of the plant and advises strongly not to kill the natural predators. He calls the modern agricultural practices of weak and improved varieties, addition of copious quantities of Nitrogen to soil, addition of too much of water as wrong practices.

He criticizes the modern scientific method and says that the modern research divides the nature into pieces and conducts tests that conform neither with the natural law nor to the practical experiences. He realizes the limitations of the scientific method and hence he sets himself on an experimentation course to find a method closest to the nature.

Implications of the current farming practices:

He talks about the ramifications of using the pesticides; chemicals, which destroy natural balance and result in food contamination. All the human measures we take proceed from limited scientific truth and hence cant really lead to a true solution. He urges to tackle the source of the problem and calls attention for the need of modest solutions to tackle difficult problems.

He questions the need for the values, which care for size, appearance rather than quality, like external beauty of the fruit, and calls that as a result of unnecessary modernization. He says that natural food should be cheaper and claims that commercial agriculture is a failure. He questions the validity of research with fragmented understanding.

Food crisis is not caused by insufficiency of nature’s productive power but by the extravagance of desire. He calls for serving nature through spiritual awareness. It’s all right not to understand. Basis of human life is to live here and now in awareness of nature. He ridicules the concept of work for the human beings and says that a life of simplicity means work as doing what needs to be done.

Various Schools of Natural Farming:

Mahayana Natural farming: Unity of man with nature. It believes that if individual abandons his will and allows himself to be guided by Nature, Nature provides everything. Here farming goes nowhere and seeks nothing.

Hinayana Natural Farming: It believes in pursuing the way of nature; itself consciously attempts by organic methods etc, to follow nature. Farming is used for achieving a given purpose.
Here there is a distinction made between both the ways of natural farming. One believes in techniques undertaken in conscious pursuit of given objective where as the other relies on spontaneity as an expression of a person’s harmony with nature as he goes about his daily business, free from the domination of volitional intellect.

Here he says that one looses happiness in an attempt to possess them. Ultimate goal of farming is cultivation and perfection of human beings.

Fukuoka feels that people nowadays eat with their minds and not with their bodies. When one no longer wants to eat something tasty then only one can taste the real flavor of the food. He says that the food culture originates in partnership of man and nature.

Four Classifications of Diet:

1. Diet dependent on habitual desires and taste preferences, which he says as self-indulgent and empty eating
2. Standard Nutritional Diet, a materialistic and scientific eating process,
3. Diet of Principle, based on spiritual principles and idealistic philosophy
4. Natural Diet or diet of non-discrimination following the will of heaven.

He calls for “Right Food, Right Action and Right Awareness”

His View of Knowledge:

Here Mr. Fukuoka distinguishes between two paths of knowledge, i.e. the discriminating and the non-discriminating knowledge. Discriminating knowledge is realized by intuition derived from analytic, willful intellect in an attempt to organize experience into a logical framework with limited scientific truth and judgment. Where as non-discriminating knowledge arises without conscious effort on the part of the individual when experience is accepted without interpretation by the intellect.

He says that people think that they understand things because they become familiar with them. He calls it superficial knowledge and says that foolishness comes out looking smart. Words would never match the wisdom of keeping silent. Concepts of duality originate in mind. Love and hate are not separate things. Love gives substance to hate. World is neither based on principle of cooperation or competition. The word of relativity doesn’t exist. This idea is a structure given to experience by the human intellect. Other animals live in a world of undivided reality.

One can proceed questioning “what is nature?” in two ways
1. By examining nature in connection with man, which leads to philosophy and religion
2. By examining nature apart from man which leads to path of nature.

Scientific truths are concepts of relative world. Eventual human goal is to transcend the world of relativity, to play in a realm of freedom. He says that the patterns of life must form a union with nature, which would help in attaining a no-mind state, a state where there is no distinction between individual and the external world. As Buddha echoes that mind and the matter are the same through “Form is emptiness and emptiness is form”.

My Take:

I loved this book as it takes a holistic view of the entire approach towards the man’s understanding of food. Though the theme of the book is natural farming, the book stresses on man’s relationship with the nature and farming. The book is strives to bring in a philosophical change in the whole process of man’s understanding of farming and questions the validity of fragmented understanding and scientific approach. Its interesting and engaging to understand the philosophy of a man who walked his talk.

Finally, I know that the post has become very long, but can’t help myself as I wanted to observe the chain of his thought process and the pearls of his wisdom!





The Hidden Persuaders…

28 02 2005

I just finished reading a book called The Hidden Persuaders written by Vance Packard on American Advertising world. The book realistically depicts the motivational research activities in the Advertising world to understand the irrational side of the consumers and the hidden meanings in their actions. The book brings forth a few startling facts about the new kinds of research which are carried out to sell the products. Being a Marketing student I can understand that when people buy a Nike shoes or a Harley Davidson bike, they are not just doing it for the shoe sake or for the bike, but then when I ponder over the hidden meanings I wonder how much of that is what consumer has always wanted. These meanings are created and nurtured over years by some brilliant adman and we follow them like a culture. Aren’t we being puppets when we are dancing to the media influence? The book even questions the validity of these research and the morality of prying into the mind of the customer to sell things which he has never felt the need for. Yes the book answers the questions it rises by saying that the consumer develops a recognition reflex when he realizes the hidden needs the products want to target, but what about the less unfortunate consumers who fall prey to the fabulous media and buy products from which they find little use? Its a real good book which throws light on the depth of the studies conducted to understand the consumer behavior and how these studies are used to subconsciously influence the purchasing decisions of the consumers.

Here is an interesting passage about the emotional reasons for eating, excerpted from The Hidden persuaders by Vance Packard, reprinted in “Health Is Wealth” in an article called “Hidden Meanings in Food.” “A lot of infantile people never get any farther than having fun with their mouths and the oral gratification field is rich in merchandising possibilities. The deeply ingrained need for intake through the mouth remains as a primary impulse and need all through adult life. People suffering from oral deprivation, because of inadequate early opportunities to gratify oral cravings, find comfort in just being surrounded by the sight of plenty of food. The craving for milk can clearly be seen in many cases to be related to the meanings of milk rather than to nutritional value or use Milk in many ways expresses the comfort, security, and contentedness of life as it was at home. Drinking it brings back memories of life that are reassuring, and offers a kind of comfort that is totally unrelated to calcium content However, those of us who scorn security, and insist our own busy, independent lives tend to find milk not particularly appealing.





Being Health Conscious..

5 12 2004

I believe that a person’s health depends on the environment, what he eats and how he lives. I have seen practically how the kind of food I take alters my behavior. During my intermediate days, I was on a raw food diet for two months, and it really made me much peaceful and energetic. It was an another issue that I had difficulty digesting cooked food later on. I stopped the diet as its simply unmanageable for a person in Osmania Hostel. Even the difference food makes can be felt when I consume non vegetarian diet. I feel heavy and tired to work which is not the case with light food. What I have to say is that one has to keep a watch on the kind of food which enters one’s system, to check if it’s going to make any positive difference or you are just tempted because of taste. This kind of check helped me in self-control. I hope it will make a difference to you too.








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