Breakfast…… a good start to your day  

        By Shahnaz Husain

Many of us spend most of our day trying to meet the demands of work in a way that helps us to realize our goals and ambitions. There is no doubt that physical and mental well-being contributes towards success. A person, who is physically fit and in good health, has energy and stamina, performance levels are high and there is the ability to cope with stress. In fact, physical, mental and emotional well being allows us to use our personal qualities and creative talents to our best advantage.

The lifestyle has a great influence on health and fitness. If the lifestyle goes against the natural cycle of the body, it takes us further away from nature and good health. It has been seen that a lifestyle that is close to nature helps to increase our level of physical fitness and sense of well-being. A natural lifestyle means living in harmony with nature. We have seen that the further we go away from nature, the more we suffer.

Let us have a look at our modern lifestyle. We go to sleep late, so getting up early becomes a real problem. Inadequate sleep leaves us with feelings of fatigue and lethargy. Already behind schedule, we somehow manage to get through the morning chores. We find no time to exercise and we have no time for breakfast. We somehow gulp down a cup of coffee and rush to work, battling through traffic and then dealing with the consequences – like stress and anxiety, fatigue, aches and pains. Then, we meet the hectic demands of work, have endless cups of tea or coffee and somehow manage to grab a bite of lunch, perhaps consisting of a hamburger, or a samosa and coffee, or aerated drinks. Such foods are most inadequate in terms of nutrition. After work, we face rush-hour traffic again. Then there is socializing. People drop in, or we are invited out to dinner. While eating out, dinner is served late; we eat rich, spicy food and heavy desserts. By the time we get home, it is late and we are exhausted. We somehow manage to get to bed on a heavy meal, to catch up on some sleep. The next day, this whole cycle begins again.

First things first – never skip breakfast. You can have a light lunch, but breakfast is a must. You need the energy for maximum efficiency for the day. So, what foods should constitute your breakfast? The processed foods and cereals that are available nowadays should be chosen with care, because they may be high on sugar or salt and low on nutrition. Canned juices may also be loaded with sugar, essences, colour and preservatives. While these foods may provide you with energy, one must wonder about the nutritional values of such breakfast foods and their long term effects.

It would be much better to have freshly extracted fruit juices. In fact, fruit and vegetable juices, freshly extracted, not only ensure a supply of valuable nutrients, but are assimilated and absorbed by the body very easily. They also help to cleanse and purify the system and prevent the accumulation of toxic residues. Fruit and vegetable juices are best taken freshly extracted and diluted with water. In fact, its a good idea to reduce consumption of tea and coffee and instead, have freshly extracted fruit and vegetable juices, lassi, buttermilk and clear soups.

We should supply our body with valuable food elements that are absolutely necessary for good health. Cut down your intake of sugar, starch and fried foods and increase your intake of natural foods, like fresh fruits, raw salads, sprouted grains/dals, seeds, unsalted nuts, cottage cheese and curd. Keep to unprocessed and unrefined cereals, like whole-wheat, unpolished rice, broken wheat (dalia), millets, oats, and unprocessed ‘sooji.’ Have fresh fruits, whole wheat breads, or make upma or poha out of sooji, dalia or oats. If you can have a bowl of sprouts, there is nothing like it. Sprouts can be mixed with cottage cheese (paneer), cucumber, tomatoes, mint, lemon juice, seeds, nuts and even chaat masala to make a delicious breakfast salad.  

Its interesting to note that Ayurveda advocates a diet that contains whole grains and enough fibre, so that it provides enough bulk to keep the digestive tract cleansed of toxins and wastes. Constipation and accumulation of toxins and wastes reflects on the skin, in terms of congestion, dull skin, blackheads and eruptions. According to Ayurveda, the daily diet should not contain refined sugars, which may give the body an energy boost, but it has a devitalizing effect in the long run. The diet should be high in minerals, which provide energy and vitality. Minerals also help the skin and hair. Ayurveda says that we should keep to a diet that is low in animal protein, but high in vegetable protein. In fact, proteins are extremely important for the strength of the body. They not only nourish the body, but help the efficient elimination of wastes. It also says that we should keep to a low salt diet. Excess salt leads to retention of fluid in the body and slows down circulation. Sometimes, it can make the face and area around eyes look puffy. For congested skin, a low salt diet is advocated. Fresh, organic foods are recommended by Ayurveda, so that the body is supplied with nutrients. They not only provide a good start to your day, but contribute to good health and fitness

About Shahnaz Husain

 Shahnaz Husain, pioneer of the Ayurvedic beauty movement, heads the Shahnaz Husain Group, with a global network of franchise ventures and 375 Ayurvedic formulations. A Case Study at Harvard for Brand Creation, she is now a Harvard Subject for “Emerging Markets” She was honored with the Padma Shri Award and is the first woman in 105 years to receive the World’s Greatest Woman Entrepreneur Award from Success, the U.S. business magazine. Indeed, Shahnaz Husain is a leading international beauty icon.’

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