• An oil for a healthy heart: “Doesn’t exist! How good it is depends entirely on the marketing budget of that particular oil industry... Avoid oil as much as possible.” Aim for 2-3 teaspoonfuls a day.
• A pinch of salt: “Take just enough salt so that the food tastes good.” Go low-sodium only if you have BP or heart problems. Otherwise, it can be dangerous to restrict salt.
• Seven hours’ sleep: “Is extremely important. But if you have a disturbed night, do not get upset.” Often, anxiety over lost sleep is more of a problem. “If you are not able to get that many hours, it is okay as you can catch up next day!”
• Live hearty: “Lead a spiritual life. Today the biggest disease is the stress and strain of daily existence. This simple strategy will reduce tension.”
Dr Devi Shetty is chairman and senior consultant cardiac surgeon, Narayana Hrudayalaya, Bangalore.
Lunch crunch: less plastic, please
Bisphenol A, a chemical found in hard plastics, is linked to problems from cancer to loss of fertility. Children are the most vulnerable to its hormonal effects. Plus, plastic prices add up over the course of time.
• Use tempered-glass feeding bottles or softer, opaque plastic ones (look for ‘2’ or ‘5’ in the triangle stamp all plastics have).
• Food-grade resealable bags can be washed and reused like rigid plastic containers.
• As for microwave safety, forget it. Reheating in plastic (even the “microwave-safe” variety) almost always leaves baked-in curry stains that simply won’t go. • Get an old-fashioned metal box for your children’s tiffin and microwaveable glass for your own lunch. Short of being dropped or crushed, they are almost indestructible, so you can reuse them, rather than recoup the higher cost of plastic (it’s cheaper, but the cost adds up with every replacement, which should be ideally once every few years).
• Do not reuse plastic soda bottles for storing water. They are meant for one-time use only! (That’s why mineral water has an expiry date: for the plastic, not the water or soda.)
Weight loss without breaking into a sweat
• Chewing gum after lunch can crunch your snack appetite by 36 calories (1.7kg lost a year).
• Drink several cups of green tea a day. It has a positive effect on metabolism and blood sugar.
• What’s really neat is “non-exercise activity thermogenesis”: small movements that make a big difference (350 calories a day, 1kg in 1.5 months). Watching TV? Get up and move during commercial breaks. Change position frequently while seated; keep hands busy, feet tapping. Even Web surfing counts!
• Take the stairs back to your desk after lunch. It burns more than a walk, raises metabolism all day and improves aerobic fitness.