Friday, August 10, 2012

Whole Grains ......Part 1

     My journey with whole grains started when I moved back to Bangalore in mid - 2009. I was inspired by my Aunt's implementation of a completely whole grain regimen (no white rice) at her home. In our circle, several families including my own are now completely on whole grains. Anyway, back to Bangalore - I was excited at the idea of cooking for myself and experimenting with whole grains. Dinner was no problem. I was creative and what I cooked was low fat, filling and nutritious, not to mention really tasty.

     Breakfast and Lunch were usually at corporate cafeterias and therefore I consumed mostly refined grains - white rice. Breakfast was almost always Idli and then along with the 2 chapathis at lunch there was rice too (I wasn't aware of the consequences). I was closer to 50 kilos during this period. I wasn't exercising - I didn't have the energy for it at the end of the day and I justified this by saying that I walked all over the various campuses that I visited, anywhere between 2 - 5 kilometers a day (including distance from desk to cafeteria / kitchen). 

     Early in 2011, I met Mr. Right, we set a date and then one and a half months before the big day, my Father passed away. There was shock and grief - I wasn't really watching what I ate (and loads of fried stuff is usually made at those ceremonies that follow). Then after that, my wedding - I was trying to be healthy at this point but still. I was in a funk for around 3 months where I just had nothing to really motivate me to eat better. I was adjusting to life in a new city (Chennai), unclear about what the future held, holding on to my grief .

     The wake up call came around November last year when I underwent a complete medical check-up. I did this more so that my family would get it done too but was secretly worried about my health. It turned out my total cholesterol levels were clinically defined as borderline - 206mg / dL (to me that's high). Accompanying this worrying number were my abnormal liver enzyme counts. This indicated that something was wrong with this vital organ. What probably had occurred (I didn't get an ultrasound done) was accumulation of fat on the liver. In the beginning  this is not serious but, as the deposition of fat continues, interferes with it's normal functioning hence the abnormal liver enzyme results. Unchecked, this leads to other complications and even liver failure can result. It's called Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease.

     That report was exactly what I needed at this point - we never realise the value of our health till we are threatened with the loss of it. Eating refined grains, eating out and injudicious consumption of other unhealthy foods (also, mainly made from refined flour) was the source of my health breakdown. 

     I said to myself 'Enough of being irresponsible, I've got to walk the talk' - discussed it with my Mother-in-Law and Husband (who have been extremely supportive and interested in their own health) and started procuring organic whole grains from a nearby eco-outlet. There's been no turning back - we are now in love with the earthy flavour of brown and red rice, millets and whole pulses and wonder how we could have ever thought white rice so delicious. We procure other organic kitchen staples like spices, dry fruits and honey too. 

     The creative effort that both of us (myself and Mom-in-Law) put into the whole thing has been richly rewarding. We've been experimenting with traditional Tamilian recipes made with whole grains. My cholesterol was down to 160 mg / dL this May. Her cholesterol also was lower when tested shortly after and the biggest victory was when my husband recently went through the check for the first time ever and his lipid levels, blood pressure and everything else were in the 'healthy' range. 

     I had been exercising on and off for the last 6 years - it was back 'on' regularly after this. In fact I now work out at least 5 times a week and do a mixture of cardio and strength (at home and our neighbourhood park). I weigh in at 47.5 - 48 kilos (my ideal body weight) and my fat percentage has come down as well. All in all, I'm eating nutrient dense foods, exercising and loving my life!

Click on this link,

Look at the 'Videos' column on the left of your page. Click on the image of whole grains and view the video.


Go to the link, click on the 'Articles and Videos' Link at top, click on 'Videos', click on the title  'Switching to whole grains' and view.


click below for the direct link to vimeo

It takes a long time to load so just let it load fully while you're doing other stuff. Let me know what you think.

     My own impression is that I was incoherent in this video, I've typed out above what I would have actually shared had there been 5 - 10 mins instead of 2.


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