Malika Kabra Rathi

Clinical Nutritionist & Food Therapist

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Don’t eat with your eyes!!!

Don’t eat with your eyes!!!

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My friend once shared her idea of eating , ” I have big eyes , I like to see a plate filled with good food! ” Which leads me to ask , can or do our eyes control how much we eat or choose to serve ourselves.

This can be true , for example : lets think about the last time we went to a buffet and the kinds of food we served ourselves.

Did we eat the starters , YES !!

Did we eat the soup, YES!!

Did we eat the main course , YES !!

Did we eat the Dessert , HELL YES !!

I ll skip the question about the variety of items selected in each section to save ourselves from being guilt ridden….

Surprisingly if you were to be at an ordinary restaurant for lunch, ordering Ala Carte would you be eating so much. The answer here is a very simple NO.

What happens when we see so much food made available or so many products available, we go crazy for choice and don’t want to miss out on any item.Similarly, when we go shopping at A Food Mall or SuperMarket on an Empty stomach (applicable for some people on fuller stomachs too) we end up carting more foodstuffs(especially junk) than we need. We get spoilt for choice and our brains stop functioning due to an amygdala hijack ( this isn’t something that I made up ) and we end up serving ourselves mindlessly.

Yes , we do eat with our eyes and to a large extent without any sensory control. The idea is to be aware of this and “Eat mindfully”.

A very easy excuse all my patients come up with, “Its Festival time, i will gain weight so Kindly Excuse me for my burgeoning weight. ” India is always beaming with some or other festival each Month. Festivals are meant to celebrated and unfortunately celebration equates Eating “Hearty” meals not meant to be good for heart or health either. What pleases the Eye may or may not please our health. A Wise man Said A moment on the Lip, Forever on The Hip. (Though i think it may have been a woman)

Conditioning yourself to consume just as much food as necessary is important and also difficult to achieve though as a start one can avoid being at places where your brain can go numb at the sight of food or always make the choice to eat at humble food joints 

Here are some steps that may help you Eat Mindfully:

Eat the Desserts First:

Yes you heard it right.. When you have a sweet tooth and you know you can never skip the dessert, go Ahead and Surprise everyone by asking for it first(control your portions to just 1 or 2 ). This step saves a good portion of carbohydrates being converted to Fat if the desserts were eaten in the end. It also helps in alkalizing your stomach.

Follow it up with a Salad

Helps to keep your teeth clean post a sweet and ensures lesser bingeing as fills your stomach with the necessary fibre

Time to Eat High Protein Starter

Paneer, tofu, chicken, fish Tikkas are the best. Paneer or Dal Tikkis kebabs, hummus, falafels, tandoori Potato, Gobhi or Seekh kebabs, mini moongdal paneer chillas, Tofu or chicken filled Momos or Steamed dumplings, instead of all the fried starters.

Main Course

Stick to Either Indian or Pure Continental or World Cuisine. Mixing cuisines is a big no no. Garden fresh vegetable with a Dal or Chicken minus the curry and Tandoori Roti or Vegtable Biryani with Raita instead of Dal makhni(if eaten should be clubbed with plain steamed rice) is always a smarter option. For World Cuisine, Thai or Vegetable Curry With Flat Noodles or Steamed Rice. Italian Food Connoisseurs must stick to Pasta or Pizza loaded with colourful veggies and yes don’t skip the cheese in it. Avoid Lasagnas and ensure quantity of plain boiled pasta is lesser than the veggies and cheese.

Please don’t end it with Tea or Coffee. Even though you feel it helps you digest. It really doesn’t.

The worst thing we can do to our stomachs is by drinking tea/ coffee post meals. The Anti nutritional Factors in Tea/ Coffee inhibit essential vitamin and mineral absorption giving rise to feeling bloated, Acidity and Heartburn and that’s how we blame the food for all the wrong food choices we make in selecting our meals. Often People gulp down bottles of soda or Fizzy Drinks praising them to be digestive Aids where in reality they are more of Disturbing Aids as they may temporarily make you feel good but in the long run they disrupt the normal PH balance of your stomach causing havoc with your gut friendly bacteria and in turn Immunity.

So go home and sip on a mild Chamomile or Green tea or just plain hot water with ginger and turmeric and see how every single cell of your body thanks you for it.

And that folks is how you consume a buffet in a healthy manner.

Next we shall discuss how to survive an Indian wedding without much damage to your health.

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