Simple Ways To Stay Fit & Active Well Into Your Silver Years
Invest in your health, says Sharadha Nair, 63, who believes in green living and eating. Here she shares some simple changes in diet and lifestyle that can go a long way in helping you stay fit & active well into your silver years.
I strongly believe we all need to be our own investment banker. Invest in your health and only then can you bank on yourself to get things done and lead an enriched life. Most of us know the true value of good health only when we lose it and sometimes its too late.
A Good Beginning
I start my day at 5 am with half a litre of warm water with a dash of lime. This is followed by some meditation and then a 45-minute brisk walk. Once back, I read the newspaper and spend half an hour on my terrace garden watering the plants and checking on my little herb patch. This is really therapeutic!
Never Skip Breakfast
I believe in having breakfast like a king and it is my most favourite meal of the day. Usually, it is a bowl of papaya with a squeeze of lime, two egg whites with either toast, multi-grain dosa or home made granola. At 11 am, I have a cup of green tea with a few walnuts and almonds or a handful of roasted flaxseed and pumpkin seeds.
Eating organic and getting rid of pesticide-laden fruits and veggies does show on your health. Though getting your hands on good organic produce is expensive it does reduce a lot of your health woes in the long run. With space constraint it is still possible to pluck your own easy to grow herbs and veggies from your own kitchen garden be it even in a balcony or terrace. So make a start with that. To know more about organic gardening, read our article on it here.
Have A Balanced Meal
When I cook I always make sure to cover all food groups and get the goodness of healthy protein, carbs, fiber and water in every meal. I have switched to millets instead of rice for lunch (see recipe below) and rice is reserved for Sundays and special occasions. One teaspoon of organic ghee takes care of the good fats required.
There are many nutritional reasons for switching to millets. Millets are free of gluten unlike rice and wheat and have low glycemic index. Also, fewer quantities of millets are required to get the same amount of energy to keep us working. Regular consumption of millets is beneficial for post-menopausal women suffering from signs of heart ailments, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. They help women to combat the occurrence of gallstones because they are rich in fibre. They also reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes because millets are rich in magnesium, which regulates the secretion of glucose and insulin.
Dinner is usually just grilled fish or chicken with a salad or soup. If you are vegetarian, you can substitute it with vegetables. I make sure dinner time is between 6:45 PM to 7 PM. And yes the last drink for the day is liquid gold or warm turmeric milk that helps me sleep better and wake up feeling refreshed.
Hormonal Changes Are Inevitable But Manageable
Life is not a downhill journey after 50 and menopause. The best way to tackle hormonal changes is to eat right and keep yourself active always. I make sure I am always up and about. I use the flight of stairs at home and do at least 10 sets of going up and down every day. A 45-minute walk in the morning and half hour walk in the evening along with very simple exercises and Pranayam done at home every day goes a long way.
Preventive Care Is Needed
Preventive care visits are a must in our silver years.I get regular health screening done to check for cholesterol levels and heart problems, schedule dentist visits and get my eyes checked annually to watch out for health issues if any.
Keeping The Mind Active
I love reading and you will always find me reading a book. Nowadays, in keeping up with the times, I have my headphones on and have hooked on to TED talks and podcasts. Every day is a learning and learning doesn’t stop at any age. It stimulates your mind and keeps you engaged with the changing world around you. Before I get to bed at night it’s a ritual for me to work on a crossword and Sudoku. It is my happy drug!
Don’t Forget To Indulge!
I love a good glass of red wine and dark chocolate. The tannins in red wine and polyphenols in cocoa powder and dark chocolate helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering bad cholesterol and raising the antioxidant capacity of good cholesterol. I treat myself to two pieces of dark chocolate every day and enjoy my red wine with my dinner.
Passing On The Baton
I try my best to make sure my daughter follows a healthy lifestyle too but I let her be. I know she is out most times and likes to live it up but growing up with a disciplined healthy routine right from her early years at home has made her make smart choices even while enjoying the fast paced, good life.
Here’s an easy to make a healthy recipe from my kitchen
Mutligrain Dosa – I buy readymade organic flour of different millets for my dosa batter. You can find them in many shops in Bangalore or even from online grocers.
1 cup Jowar flour (Sorghum)
1 cup Bajra flour (Pearl Millet)
1 cup Ragi flour (Finger Millet)
1 cup Maize flour
1 cup soya flour
1 cup powdered oats
Salt to taste (preferably Himalayan pink rock salt)
Mix all the above flour & oats in a bowl with water and let the batter set overnight. Next day add required the salt, mix well and the batter is ready to make your healthy dosa. If you are pressed for time and want instant batter, add a little curd along with the above mix and your instant dosa batter is ready to make.
How to switch from Rice to Millets
I use foxtail millet instead of rice. They can be cooked in the same form as we cook rice or wheat. Here’s how to make it:
Open vessel cooking (1:2 ratio – 30 minutes soaking)
• Wash Millet (Use a sieve to drain the water)
• Soak 1 measure of foxtail millet in 2 measures of water for 30 minutes.
• Cook on large-medium flame with a lid.
• When the water starts to boil, reduce the flame.
• When water evaporates (about 10 minutes), take it off the flame and firmly close the lid.
• Leave it aside for 5 mins for it to cool.
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