Diwali or guilt trip? 4 reliable Diwali tips to NOT disturb your fitness this festive season
Diwali’s almost here & your mind is already jamboree-ing over the shopping spree that’s going to be. Oh tell me about it; your heart is throbbing at the thought of relishing those irresistible Indian delicacies! Be it the mouth-watering sweets or Farsan (Indian snacks & savories), we’re all waiting, aren’t we? BUT, isn’t the last quarter of every year the BIGGEST HEALTH CHALLENGE ever for us? In India, it usually begins with the binge-marathon from Diwali. And as you draw closer to the year’s end, Christmas & New Year feasts are already rolling their sleeves up! What follows later is a typical flowchart of events that ends with the much evasive New Year health resolution. Well, this sequence repeated itself every year for me till 2015. And boy! I badly wished if a couple of Diwali tips could save me from piling up that unwanted fat which would take forever to lose!
If you’ve known me & my fitness journey from the beginning, you’d know that I only believe in eating habits which are SUSTAINABLE. I don’t even relate to the word ‘diet’ in terms of getting ‘healthy/lean/fit’. Honestly, I don’t call it a diet. It’s just lifestyle, man.
If a certain diet requires you to give up that every favorite food or ingredient of yours from the pantry, I’m sorry. It’s NEVER going to work for you! 🙁
I’m someone with an insane sweet tooth. And giving up sweets, chocolates & ice-creams would spell havoc!
But, there’s always a way out if you let your mind grab the strings of your stomach. Well, sometimes, it’s better to reaffirm things with your mind while listening to what your gut says. Pun intended, of course! 🙂
Oh, wait. Let me tell you that I completely quit using refined sugar in cooking or making beverages & desserts since this April. And for now, I mostly make my own ice-creams or occasionally relish some commercial ice-cream on a Saturday or Sunday.
I’m no certified expert into fitness or dietetics. Nevertheless, as somebody with a slow metabolism who could lose more than 14 kgs in 4.5 months, whatever I share with you here is purely from some wisdom that worked & has been working for me for over the past 4 years.
Having said that, I obviously don’t say that I never meandered along my journey. I DID have temptations. And I DID succumb at times too. But eventually, I found out how I could both satisfy my temptations & not regret later. Thanks to Simrun Chopra & Anastasia Sharova of Happy Bellyfish. I discovered some fantastic recipes & thought processes which led me into learning how to make mind-blowing sweets & desserts AT HOME! With all natural ingredients & NO REFINED SUGAR! They’re made from dry fruits, colorful vegetables & fruits & can even embarrass your favorite Halwai’s confectionery over the level of their ‘sweetness’ quotient.
And hey! Let me promise that I’m going to talk about it soon in my upcoming newsletter. In the meanwhile, watch out for some really easy-breezy Diwali recipes here next on the blog!
Before we head on to the tips, do you really think that it’s the festivities like Diwali that make you fat, lazy & regretful about your weight, health & fitness?
Diwali & similar occasions may have miserably sabotaged your diet & dampened your spirit to switch back to a healthy routine. But it’s not Diwali that puts before you a minimum threshold of sweet varieties or oily snacks that you have to consume in one go. Neither is there any immutable lack of time that doesn’t spare you even a few minutes to exercise as usual.
So, while I share these 4 HEALTHY DIWALI TIPS right now, you can expect my favorite & quick Diwali recipes to feature in the next posts.
1. Keep Hydrating
I know it gets a bit hard to keep track of how much water you’ve been drinking amidst all the cleaning, cooking & decoration chores that Diwali calls for. But there’s something you need to know. When you keep drinking water at equally spaced intervals throughout the day (at least 9 glasses), it prevents false ‘hunger’ alarms.
How else do you think we feel we’ve got so much empty space in our tummy to fill it in with any sweet/snack at any random time of the day?
So, when you’re hydrated well, there are fewer chances that you’d grab any high-fat or unhealthy sweet/snack when your house is probably full of it.
I’d personally recommend beginning your day (specially festival days) with turmeric tea / ginger tea/ lemon juice with only honey to boost your metabolism throughout the day. This would also help regulate your blood sugar level & prevent chances of sugar spikes in there.
2. Only 15 minutes of CARDIO!
This has to be one of the best Diwali tips, according to me.
Unlike me, you might be a gym person. Well, my usual workout routine consists of 3 alternate days each of Cardio & Strength Training. And most of these happen to be circuits balancing a bit of both. Sundays are my rest days & sometimes Saturdays also make it there! ;-P
Cardio helps you burn calories & doing weights helps you burn fat even after you’re done with them for the day. However, if you find that you aren’t able to focus on your form while lifting weights during the festive atmosphere, NEVER MISS YOUR CARDIO AT LEAST!
Just manage to make at least 15 minutes for any cardio form of exercise. It could be a really brisk walk, run, jog, burpees, jumping jacks, jumping squats, spot jog (if you can’t hit the park this time), skipping or any thing that makes your heart beat better. BREAK FREE from the lazy holiday attitude & feel guilt-free! NO MORE, NO LESS. Time yourself.
3. Try making at Home
As millennials, there’s no denying that unlike our moms who stacked the house with their home-made Diwali snacks & eatables, we usually prefer buying these from sweet marts or reputed stores to save on time & efforts.
That DOES save us a lot of time, but we all know how high on refined sugar/ flour (maida) & Sodium these are. To make matters worse, we often end up stuffing ourselves up with only these Diwali treats for our actual meals, thereby skipping them. Some of us don’t even bother to know or even guess the ingredients used in making the store-brought eatables. Tinned ones such as Rosogullas & Gulab Jamun with their sugar syrup or Farsans & ready-mix Bhujiyas contain preservatives to increase their shelf-life.
Not to really ignore, but every Diwali, we have a couple of exposes about the whammy of using adulterated or expired ingredients to make these Diwali sweets.
So this time on, try making your Diwali treats at home. Even 2 or 3 varieties of these would suffice for you to thoroughly enjoy them without guilt-tripping over having eaten something really unhealthy or unhygienic from outside. Because, homemade or not, overdoing will certainly not help you keep your fitness sane.
Stay tuned for my Diwali recipes shortly. 🙂
4. ALTERNATIVES aren’t boring
Does being ‘healthy’ during Diwali dictate you to have no sweets at all? OF COURSE, NOT!
At least I can’t do that! 😐
So what; if carbonated beverages & coolers cause you to bloat & gain weight? Sweet refreshments are not all about them. Never miss out on enjoying chilled Jal-Jeera, Kokam Sherbet/ Solkadi, natural fruit juices & shakes. Note that most fruits are naturally sweet & if you still want to sweeten their juices or shakes, use honey or jaggery instead of sugar. I seriously wonder why people add sugar to milkshakes made of fruits like Chikoo (Sapota) which are naturally abundant on sugar!
Replace the traditional dessert recipes with natural or healthier sweeteners for ingredients.
Use jaggery, jaggery powder or honey instead of table sugar.
I personally use & suggest the Organic Tattva jaggery powder for making sweets. When you have to make sweets of the kind of Laddoos, Pedhas, Barfis etc, which require the perfect soft & tough consistency in order bind together into intact balls, using grated jaggery leads to a thin consistency which makes it impossible to get the right binding level. Hence, using jaggery powder in such cases becomes a perfect choice.
I’d also want to warn you against using substances that say ‘ZERO SUGAR’ / ‘DIABETES-FRIENDLY’ / ‘SUGAR-FREE’ as taglines with their brand name. This is pure marketing prowess of food companies. Here’s what studies on artificial sweeteners tell us.
For the spicy snacks, you could try shallow frying or air-frying them instead of deep-frying methods. I’ve tried a couple of simple snacks with the Phillips air fryer that I recently purchased & have tried making apple chips & simple sweet potato chips so far. For some incredibly delicious recipes using an air fryer, you can check out Rachna Parmar’s beautiful cooking blog.
Disclosure – This post contains affiliate link(s). That means if you make any purchase through these links, I earn a tiny commission at no extra cost to you. If you do, I’m all thanks. I do not recommend any product/service that I myself used or experienced for myself. Read my full disclosure.
So, are you having a full-blown Diwali preparation at home? How about your plans on snacks & savories? Do you find these Diwali tips difficult to follow? Tell me in the comments!
And until then let me help you with healthy suggestions along with some more Diwali tips! 🙂