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Metabolic Health Markers – What You Should Know?

Metabolic Health Markers – What You Should Know?

Metabolism is a term that has been in the limelight a lot these days. Since a lot of us are concerned with weight management, metabolism is what we equate with how many calories our body burns. In reality, that is only a part of what metabolism is. Metabolism is every chemical process of every cell in the body.

metabolic health markers

So metabolic health refers to the function of every cell in your body. Only when the cells function optimally can we expect to have proper endocrine function that leads to adequate secretion of hormones and good metabolic health. Metabolic health combines organs, hormones and enzymes working well together. Any dysfunction can cause a metabolic disorder adversely affecting your body. Good metabolic health is regulated by exercise, nutritionally balanced diet that gives your body adequate energy, good sleep and sunshine. You can achieve good metabolic health by looking at your body in a holistic manner instead of just counting calories.

Metabolic health markers measure whether the different systems in your body are working optimally.

Common metabolic risk factors are:

  1. Obesity/large waistline
  2. High Triglycerides in your blood
  3. Low HDL
  4. High Blood Pressure
  5. High Fasting Blood Sugar

By doing regular health checks, you can catch any problems in your body and do something to bring your parameters back to normal.

Here’s what I do for my family:

Exercise: Right from the adults to the kids and the dog, everyone exercises daily. Our bodies are machines that stay well oiled only when they are used regularly. As we age, our metabolism slows down. It is imperative to include weight-bearing exercise along with cardio to help exercise muscles, joints, organs as well as maintain bone health. Exercise helps our kids grow to their potential.

Diet: A balanced nutritious diet is of utmost importance. It goes hand in hand with exercise. Eat smaller meals spread throughout the day. Let each meal have a balance of protein, carbohydrates, minerals and fats. Fats are essential to assimilate certain vitamins and minerals and are important for us. Don’t shirk them. Just have them in moderation. It is also important to use good quality oils while cooking.  MUFA (mono-unsaturated fatty acids) oil are good for your health. Olive oil has high MUFA > 75%. They help reduce the bad LDL in your blood, whereas, they maintain the good HDL. They are also considered better for diabetics as they improve insulin and blood sugar control. They are plant-based oils egs. olive oil, etc. I regularly use olive oil-extra light for my stir fries, sautéing and xtra virgin olive oil for that burst of flavor and nutrition in my salads. Leonardo olive oil is a brand of choice for me as they are high quality and high in flavor and nutrition.

Limit empty calorie consumption: Food is much more than calories. Make sure that you make every calorie that you ingest count. I avoid processed food as much as possible. I cook regularly at home and incorporate whole grains, fresh veggies, legumes, pulses, fruits, eggs and meat in my family’s diet. I do not stock chips, biscuits, colas etc. and only buy them as treats once in a while. You are what you eat. Eating well will have a great effect on your body, skin and health.

Incorporate the lifestyle changes I have mentioned above to lead a life where your metabolic health stays good giving you enough energy for your daily activities and helping you maintain a healthy weight and a disease-free body. #IChooseHealth

Share what you do for maintaining good metabolic health for yourself and your family.

Pic courtesy: PhuShutter on Shutterstock.

Moms, Are You Ready for Your Child’s Second Growth Spurt?

Moms, Are You Ready for Your Child’s Second Growth Spurt?

As parents, one of the common complaints we’ve all had is how little our kids eat. I remember trying out innovative ways for them to eat their vegetables and fruits. But, I wasn’t paying too much attention to the protein in their diet hoping that the regular dal and milk will take care of their protein needs. I later realized that they needed much more protein during their growth spurts, and their diet may have been falling short.

second growth spurt

But then they crossed the 5-year mark and 10 and I relaxed. They had turned from fussy eaters to voracious eaters. I do crib about the large quantities of food that I cook these days. But you know my biggest challenge? It is to ensure that they do not ingest too many empty calories and to maintain a good protein and carbs balance in their diet. You know, how kids sneak in biscuits and snacks with their sweet smiles and persuasive honey-coated words. My younger son comes often with me for grocery shopping. And you should see his persuasive skills at work to buy the junk he likes. It takes me all my powers of patience to keep his demands at bay only giving in a little.

And then last year, the elder son turned 14. Suddenly the boy shot up in height. He had a huge growth spurt as we parents braced for puberty and teen tantrums. Now, I wanted him to have a perfectly balanced diet. I knew that his weight had to keep up with the changes in his body. Most parents are caught by surprise by what is called the second growth spurt which hits boys between 10 and 15 years of age and girls between 8 to 15 years of age.

This is also the time when his academics require a lot of attention and he is also at the peak of his playing and other co-curricular activities. There have been days in the past year when he has had activities all 7 days a week. Just seeing the way he studies, plays and attends quizzes makes my mind reel. I don’t want his body and mind to burn out. Of late, he has started hating milk. He wants coffee or tea these days and there goes another source of protein. He does like curd or yoghurt though and hence that is a good option that he has daily.

Good diet and exercise plays a crucial role now.

According to studies, children in the second growth spurt need 2X Protein as per Recommended Dietary Allowance(RDA), as compared to protein intake during childhood years (4-6yrs).

It is no surprise that their demand of protein touches sky high, as it is the most important component for growth and repair of muscles, organs and bones which is important for a child’s growth and development.

Then I came across this chart from National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau report (India). As the chart above shows, both girls and boys are consuming much less protein than they require even before they hit puberty and this deficit only widens in their second growth spurt. This compromises reaching their optimum growth in terms of height and weight.

Another important point to note is that the best quality protein (that contains all amino acids) comes from:

  • Milk and milk products
  • Egg
  • Soy protein
  • Meat products

Since I became aware of this, I’ve incorporated more proteins in his diet to ensure that his mind and body stay sharp and fit. I also took a look at the protein component in my son’s health drink. It had only 7.6 gm protein/100 gm. That cannot be enough. I needed a protein supplement that had at least 50% more protein than this. I found out that Protinex Grow had more protein per gram, suitable for my child’s second growth spurt.

Eggs, chicken, curd, paneer, milk (morning cornflakes) and loads of lentils and pulses are now a part of his regular diet.

Do you pay special attention to the protein intake of your kids especially during this second growth spurt?

Pic courtesy: Pavel L Photo and Video by Shutterstock.

Perimenopause: A Tough Phase in a Woman’s Life

Perimenopause: A Tough Phase in a Woman’s Life

If you thought women did not have it hard enough with PMS, periods, getting pregnant, having a baby, nursing and having your body poked and exposed on umpteen checkups, wait till you hit perimenopause. This new baby knocks you off your feet. This is a period from hell when mood swings, hot flashes, body aches, fatigue, emotional outbursts and disinterest become like second nature. Suddenly, you don’t know yourself anymore. There are days when just getting out of bed feels like a chore. While you are trying to make sense of how topsy-turvy your life has become, there are other mid-life challenges knocking on your doorsteps. Many of us have children who enter into teenage years just about now. Hormones pitting against hormones does not make for a pretty picture. As mums struggle with patience, disinterest and even depression, tact and compassion are what is most required of them.



I wonder for the nth time, why did we deserve this? If you think, I am exaggerating, trust me I am not. I’ve heard of women who’ve had an easy transition to menopause. Let me tell you that they are an aberration rather than the routine.

What Can You Do?

You mean apart from cuss and grumble? Not too much. I have approached gynaecologists and apart from telling me that this is normal (I want to bash their heads in), they have precious little comfort to offer. Most docs offer you OCPs to ease the hormonal fluctuations without even asking if you have a history of stroke in your family. Callous doctors, really! When I volunteered this information and questioned their solution, they retracted it. So apart from giving me some evening primrose oil which hasn’t shown any help at all, I am supposed to try home remedies. Things like flax seeds, gulkand and what not. Nothing has helped substantially. I am trying homeopathy now.

Also know that this is the time when we lose bone mass and are prone to osteoporosis and brittle bones. It can lead to debilitating fractures. So pay attention to your Calcium and Vitamin D supplements and get enough weight-bearing exercise to keep your bones in good health.

Exercise and meditation helps a bit and consciously stopping myself when I want to bite off someone’s head just saves that other person’s head, that’s all. When I am going through a volatile cocktail of emotions, I take the conscious step to stay away from social media. People are all kinds of weird. They rave, rant, abuse, yell constantly on social media. And in my vulnerable state, I just don’t have the stomach for it. I can vouch for how calming it is. I am not saying that taking sanyas is a solution but definitely cutting down your online time and staying away from reading/watching inflammatory content does really help with the moods. It has, for me.

For friends and family, I will say that this is a very challenging time in a woman’s life. She does not have a handle on what she feels and how she reacts. It may seem like an excuse, but it is not. It’s not a good feeling to feel grumpy without a reason. A little empathy in dealing with her in this difficult period can make all the difference in the world. It can help her handle this tough period a bit more tolerably.

To my other women friends out there, take it one day at a time. This too shall pass. Hold your loved ones, dear. And never ever hesitate to pick up the phone and talk to someone close, when you are really down. There is no shame in seeking help.

Are you in your late 30s or 40s? Have you been through this phase?

Pic courtesy: Image Point Fr on Shutterstock

Is your Daily Diet Missing Something in Your Daily Homemade Food?

Is your Daily Diet Missing Something in Your Daily Homemade Food?

protein deficiency

I love homemade food. Everyone who reads my blog knows how passionate I am about food. As I read more about food, I have realized how important it is for us to consume a well-balanced meal all the time. Each meal should contain all the nutrients i.e. proteins, carbohydrates, fats, fibre, vitamins and minerals.

I often find that we in India consider carbohydrates to be our enemy and denounce them from our diet thinking that it will make us lose weight faster and help in maintaining body weight. But, there is a very important nutrient in our diet which we often miss. The nutrient that is ignored in Indian cooking is protein.

Think of poori sabzi, upma and some of our other traditional breakfast and meal options and you will find them rich in carbohydrates, but low in proteins. Furthermore, if you are a vegetarian, then it may be a bit difficult to completely satisfy your protein requirements just by eating homemade food.

Let’s try and understand protein a bit better:

Protein is very important for the growth and maintenance of our cells and tissues. Our skin, hair, nails, body tissues are made up of protein. Proteins are also essential for formation of hemoglobin, hormones, enzymes, muscles and antibodies (required to maintain a healthy immune system). Thus, our body needs adequate proteins on a daily basis to function appropriately. Hence, if your diet is low in protein, you may experience dryness in skin and your nails and hair may become weaker. It is said that our bodies need 1.0g of protein for every kilogram of bodyweight. Therefore, protein is considered as a wonder nutrient that is absolutely crucial for our bodies.

One other very important fact about protein is that it cannot be stored in the body, unlike carbohydrates. Hence, the body does not have any reserves to fall back upon in times of need. This is the reason why you must meet all your protein requirements from your diet every day.

Since I got to know these essential truths about protein, I have become more conscious of incorporating it in every meal e.g. boiled egg with upma or veg paratha with curd. I have increased the quantity of dal, pulses and lentils consumed in every meal. And of course, for those times after my workout or when I have not had protein in my food, a protein shake like Protinex helps take care of any protein deficiencies that might occur in my diet on a regular basis. I have read that protein supplements based on milk protein -whey are the best to consume.

Are you having enough protein in your diet? Check out this Calculator to see where you stand.

Here are my results

protein deficiency

Do let me know how you handle protein deficiency in your diet?

Pic courtesy: Africa Studio on Shutterstock

A Promise to Keep

A Promise to Keep


I hope you have enjoyed this fitness and health series that I did. I am no professional or claiming to be a fitness guru when it comes to health and fitness. All these learnings are what I have experienced and learned over time. I hope they benefit you as well.

Today, I wish you to make a promise. A promise that I made to myself a lot of years ago. Let me delve a bit into family history here. My maternal grandmother passed away at the age of 60 of a first-time heart attack. She suffered from walking issues. My own mother passed away at 53. She had multiple fractures due to osteoporosis that had her bedridden and in poor health for years. Just like them I am blessed with a slim frame and thinner bones. I made a promise to myself to make the most of those genes and work on stiffer joints, stronger bones and more flexibility.

I was the most unfit youngster. Scrawny and with really stiff joints, I was never any good at sports in school. But it was during my college and subsequently that I worked hard at my fitness. Now two children later and with a reasonably fit and healthy body, I feel very proud of myself. As I look ahead at the big challenge of menopause, I know that my body will continue to support me. I promise to support her as well.

Eating healthy and exercising along with taking care of my mental health is a part of my daily routine. I slip up sometimes but I promise to always keep going. Will you join me in making that promise as well to your health?

This is my entry for Day 7 “Promise”  prompt in Blog-A-Thon by Blog-A-Rhythm

weight not important

Main Pic courtesy: KPG_Payless at Shutterstock

Thank you everyone for reading and commenting!

Get Real with your Fitness and Weight loss Goals

Get Real with your Fitness and Weight loss Goals

wishful thinking

Wishful thinking is what most of us do when it comes to our weight, body shape, health and fitness. So how many of us have fantasized looking like George Clooney, Matt Damon, Deepika, Katrina and so on? Come on, out with it! It’s another thing that if we hear about their fitness regimens, we will faint. But of course, it’s the end result that is seen most often not the consistent hard work that is put in.

I have had loads of friends who have given up – some within a month, some in 3 months, some in 6 months and some others who lasted a year. Forget friends, there were times when I felt the same before I understood that my approach was all wrong.

I can’t think of an epiphany when I modified my approach. I just remember that being interested in health and nutrition, I read a lot. I learned through trial and error. I also consulted real dieticians and trainers and did some online courses and that is when I actually understood more about our bodies, the food we take in, the exercise we need to do and the myths around dieting.

Diet as a word means your food intake. How truly sad then that we associate ‘dieting’ as starving or greatly reducing our food intake. While a balanced diet is quite the opposite of that. In fact, why should you punish your body at all? If she has gained on a lot of weight or looks unseemly, is it her fault? Remember how she has made you sail through every crisis in your life – all those late nights, binge sessions, drinking, partying. She put up with your excesses and gave you the best of what she was capable of. And now you want to curse her and also deprive her of food while expecting her to give you an hourglass figure or a muscular body. Tch tch

It is only wishful thinking that leads us to set unrealistic goals when it comes to fitness and health. You took some years to pile on that weight so how can you magically expect to lose it all in a few weeks? If a trainer or dietician promises you that, steer clear of them. We all know that weight lost in this manner will almost always be gained back.

So, get real. Seek professional help and guidance for any weightloss/health related goals. Also be ready to be in this for the long run. An organized, realistic and regular approach will see you transform wishful thinking into tangible results.

This is my entry for Day 6 “wishful thinking”  prompt in Blog-A-Thon by Blog-A-Rhythm

weight not important

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Tiny Shoes — Their Partners in Fun and Fitness

Tiny Shoes — Their Partners in Fun and Fitness

tiny shoes

The fondest memory that I have of my children was when they took their first steps. You know that cheer and excitement you feel when suddenly their tiny bodies balance themselves miraculously and stand and walk. So much so, that if the husband was not around, I called him with squeals of laughter. Remember those tiny shoes that made that annoying sound with every step and also flashed kitschy lights. My younger son could not bear to part with those shoes even after he had outgrown them. His first partners in crime as he played in the sand pit, climbed and hung upside down from the swings and got into impromptu races with his toddler friends.

Those shoes that are their first companions when they skip, walk, sprint and jump. My sons have been going up a size or two every year and their shoes are no longer tiny. The elder son has touched size 12 and his footwear is punching big holes in our wallet. 🙂

For the longest time, evenings for them has meant outdoors. Their father has ensured that they go out and play every evening. It helps that the parents also go for their walks outdoors at that time. You know something to do with imbibing what they see.

As we battle with rising obesity and weight issues for children in the times of gadgets replacing outdoors, it is a struggle for parents to get them to play and do more physical activity. It must start from childhood. Encourage the tiny feet to play, cycle and do sports. If you can join your kids or at least be physically active yourself, it is even better.

Good habits set in the childhood will hold them in good stead when they are older. Let’s all aim for the physically active next Gen.

This is my entry for Day 5 “tiny shoes”  prompt in Blog-A-Thon by Blog-A-Rhythm

weight not important

Main pic courtesy: Elvira Koneva at Shutterstock

Tracking Helps Keep your Fitness Goals on Course

Tracking Helps Keep your Fitness Goals on Course

food log

A broad smile lit up Mahesh’s face. Actually a sheepish grin! Finally the mystery was solved. The culprit had been caught red-handed. He was sure that his plan would work much better now.

Mahesh had started a new fitness regimen. He was exercising with sincerity. Though he felt his flexibility and stamina had improved, he felt deflated that his body wasn’t showing any changes. It had been 3 months now. Baffled, he went over what could be going wrong. He was eating healthy, exercising regularly and sleeping well. He was paying attention to his water intake. He had also consulted his doctor and got all tests done to ensure that his body could keep up with this new schedule.

He brainstormed with his trainer. That is when his trainer suggested to him to maintain a food log even though he insisted that he was eating healthy. Every little detail must be recorded, the trainer stressed, including water intake. Two weeks into the food log and he realized what was sabotaging his routine. He was having way too many ‘one-off’ treats. His mind wasn’t even registering them because he felt he deserved them for working out so hard or that they were way too minor. But 2-3 treats in a day were doing harm. Exercise is definitely not a free pass to let go. If anything, it should egg you on to adopt even healthier food choices. His good work was being negated by him, and he did not even know. Strange but he caught his own slip ups red-handed.

His fitness regimen was now back on track.

Moral of the story: Don’t just say you are eating healthy. Document it! Perhaps there are some surprises in there that are derailing your fitness regimen.

This is my entry for Day 4 “caught red handed”  prompt in Blog-A-Thon by Blog-A-Rhythm

weight not important

Main pic courtesy: Shutterstock

The Silent Afflictions

The Silent Afflictions

elderly osteoporosis

She was hale and hearty. A bit overweight but all women of her age generally were. A happy and friendly soul she was. In her late 40s, she was in the prime of her life. It was a routine morning. The children were off to college and the husband was getting ready to leave. She went for a bath after hanging her clothes just like it was her regular routine.

The bucket had already been filled with water. As she bent forward to pour a mug of water, she slipped and fell. She tried to hold on to something to break the fall but apparently she must have not succeeded. She cried out in pain as she lay on the bathroom floor unable to move. Her husband carried her onto the bed as she was unable to stand.

A trip to the hospital later, it was found that she had fractured both her femur (thigh bone) and her radius and ulna (bones in the arm). They were not only fractured but shattered in multiple places. With rods fitted and heavy casts on the arm and leg, she came home in an ambulance. Yes, I am talking about my mother.

It was after this incident and the prolonged recovery during which she lost her father that had a spiralling effect on her health that went downhill from there. Depression was one of the by-products. She did recover but not completely and it took her years. What had kick-started this decline was the silent killer called osteoporosis which also means brittle bones. Apparently my mother was suffering from it and none of us had any clue of it.

Unlike today, we did not have health checks back in those days. Mums hardly ever exercised, forget weight-bearing exercises that arrested the loss of bone mass which afflicts women post-menopause. In those days, women did not care much for their own health, eating at odd times, putting the health of everyone in their family above their own.

We found out the hard way that she had a calcium deficiency and lack of Vitamin D (I got that some time back and it was horrifying) that aggravated her stagnating bone health. It was a disaster waiting to happen.

You will find the elderly especially women very prone to fractures and other bone-related issues due to osteoporosis. Please do monitor the health of your elders especially your parents and grandparents. Get them regularly checked and ensure that they get adequate supplements.

After all, we need to preserve these precious, fragile lives in their twilight years.

This is my entry for Day 3 “Fragile Lives”  prompt in Blog-A-Thon by Blog-A-Rhythm

weight not important

Featured Image courtesy: A and N photography at Shutterstock


Your Weight is Not Important

Your Weight is Not Important

weight not important

Baffled by the title, aren’t you? So let me explain. As we slip into our 30s and 40s, suddenly the realization dawns that our nubile, slim bodies are not staying that slim anymore. Those excesses like chocolate bars, sinful cheesecakes, pizzas and delectable cocktails are now becoming more and more difficult to burn off and almost always end up on our midsections. And then begin our struggles with keeping slim where most often we forget to nurture our bodies.

Our bodies are much more than calories in, calories consumed and the remaining turned into fat. We have hormones that dictate how much energy we utilize. We have our emotional state especially stress or boredom that makes us turn to food for comfort. While we do nothing to address these factors, all we go after is starving ourselves and feeling miserable. We sometimes take to fad diets in a rush to lose weight. But in my opinion, weight lost is not important! Yes, there I said it. I have not weighed myself in over a year now or perhaps more and I’ve not felt better.

Unless you are obese or are following weight loss goals, weight is a meaningless measure.

Here’s why:

  • Your weight will not budge if you have gained muscle and lost fat. But this is desirable isn’t it?
  • Your weight will not show any change even when you find that you are more flexible, have more stamina, feel happier and more in control.
  • Your weight may actually go up when you struggle with issues like bloating at the end of the day, during PMS and at times when you are stressed. You will keep worrying about this ‘weight’ while you will have to take a closer look at what is causing this water retention.
  • Your weight may not show that your body is now looking more toned and that your clothes fit better.

Yes, truth is stranger than fiction. Weight is quite meaningless on its own. It’s overall health, fitness, stamina, flexibility, stronger bones and other factors that you must work on. And yes, when you adopt a healthy lifestyle that involves eating healthy, local, fresh produce at regular intervals and exercise regularly, your weight will drop as well. But let it not be the only parameter that drives how you lead your life. Please also consult your doctor and learn any exercise regimen from a professional before doing it on your own.

Here’s wishing everyone a bounty of health and happiness.

This is my entry for “Stranger Than Fiction” in Blog-A-Thon byBlog-A-Rhythm. Do join in and also read other entries here.

weight not important

Main Pic courtesy: Fuzzbones on Shutterstock

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