The global pandemic outbreak has all of us cooped up inside our homes, practising social distancing. From cooking, eating, working to working out, we are bound by the four walls. This can be detrimental to one’s physical and mental health and so it is imperative that you find comfort and adapt to this new lifestyle. And while you do that, here’s how you can stay at home and stay healthy.
The importance of four main meals and stresses on eating every two-three hours. “The earlier you eat the better it is for your metabolism. If you eat late, stay awake for at least two hours after your last meal.” Since you’re homebound, your energy expenditure has reduced significantly hence mindful eating is the key here. It is crucial that you focus on maintaining a balanced diet with a mix of proteins, complex carbs, fibers (veggies), fats (ghee, nuts) and salads in each meal. We suggest adding eggs, oats, nuts, fruits, lentils to your diet to attain this balance. “An easy way to do this is treat yourself to a healthy sweet (like jaggery/homemade halwa) at the end of the day, almost like a reward”.
Given the ambiguous circumstances we are living in, it is a good idea to equip yourself with non-perishables that can help you in the long run. Starting from pulses, lentils, flour, rice, spices to certain seasonal vegetables (vacuum packed and frozen). We recommend opting for healthier alternatives in this case: replace wheat flour with gluten-free flours like jowar, bajra, amaranth, millet, quinoa and unpolished, wild rice. Storing dry fruits, nuts and oils (ghee, olive, mustard, avocado) are also recommended. “As far as possible, avoid processed foods, vegetable oil, high starch meals, fried food, and lactose products as these increase inflammation in the body and compromise your immune system.” The expert tip is while you stock these at home, be sure to include amla, vitamin C tablets, citrus fruits, turmeric (in hot water, milk, in lentils), lime too to boost up your immunity.
Staying at home all day can involve dangerous amounts of binge-eating or snacking. To get a hold of this, ensure you have healthy snacks lying around at all times. Here’s a list of easy to get/easy to make snacks you can binge on:
• Roasted chana
• Jowar puffs
• Carrot/cucumber sticks with dips
• Nuts/Dried fruits
• Murmura with chopped onions and tomatoes
• Egg-white bhurji on toast
• Millet dosa
• Scoop of iced protein shake
• Protein pancakes
• Egg-club sandwiches/roti roll
• A small fruit bowl
“Even though you’re indoors at all times it is important to consume at least two-three litres of water every day.” Staying in with an air conditioner on can cause dehydration which can result in a loss of immunity and cause overeating in some cases. Here are something you can do to remind yourself to stay hydrated:
• Keep water bottles at different places in your home: the more often you see them, the more likely you are to drink
• Try to flavour your water with lemon, lemongrass, thyme, sage or other herbs and fruit you may have.
• If you are really bad with this, you can download an app from the app store (Drink Water, Daily Water) which gives you regular reminders to sip water through the day
Work Out And Stay In!
“Whatever you do, wherever you are, make sure you move.” 40- 60 minutes of any activity in a day is ideal but at the same time, if you do not have a regular workout routine, don’t fret. “Start slow but be consistent. Since all the gyms are closed, it’s better to start with body weight exercises at home,” A variety of exercises like pushups, squats, lunges, core exercises like planks, burpees. You can also engage in dancing as a means of cardio, with the tons of free workouts online.
While you stay physically active don’t forget exercising your mind. A global pandemic and a lockdown can cause a lot of mental stress and you need to help yourself cope. Mindfulness is the practice of holding your awareness and intention on a single object, thought or emotion.
Use time productively: cut down on screen time, engage in activities like playing cards, carrom, quiz sessions, arts/drawing and dance sessions. Spending more time with your family, having meals together are great means of keeping mental peace in these stressful times.
With small steps everyday you can dwell into this new lifestyle, make yourself comfortable, find peace and most important of all stay healthy and stay home.
(Advice from celebrity nutritionist Pooja Makhija, sports scientist and psychologist Shayamal Vallabhjee and international athlete Sonali Swami)