Motivating ourselves towards a healthy diet
Most of us do not really pay heed to what goes into the stomachs until a little late in our lives. Usually, it goes like this- is there will have it kind of approach. Whenever we are struck by the pangs of hunger we decide to have a grab at the first available option, it may be healthy or otherwise, the immediate need is to fill our stomachs and satiate hunger and get onto more important chores for the day.
Much later when the body cannot take the onslaught any longer, it cries stop and also starts giving out signals in the form of diabetes, cholesterol, blood pressure, thyroid and a host of other modern day maladies. And we are forced to scramble towards healthy dietary habits. But by then many habits are formed and it becomes difficult to prevent ourselves from having the so called unhealthy choices.
So is there any way to break out of this cycle?
Leveraging social influence
We are social animals by nature. If we start having discussions on our social groups on the necessity of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, switching over to a healthy food plan and so on we will be able to veer the discussion towards the task and it would be easy to follow it. According to Science daily.com, ‘Researchers from the University of Birmingham have found that exposure to social-based messages promoting healthy eating can increase consumption of fruit and vegetables and reduce consumption of high-calorie snacks. It has been known for some time that people adapt their behavior to what they think is socially expected for that situation and food choices are no exception. If we are told that other people in our social group eat lots of fruit and vegetables then we may try to do the same.”
This is an interesting finding as we can make use of social groups as a powerful agent to change our dietary choices.
There is something called priming effect, due to the association of some words, our brain can visualize images even before we complete reading the words or sentences. We can use this to good effect even while wanting to switch over a healthy food pattern.
Just write down these words on a chart or board which you can see frequently during the course of the day and put the following words
As you keep seeing the words, the image of a healthy person primes up in the mind’s eye and we become used to the thought so much so we start making wiser choices without much effort. Similarly, you can also prime yourself with associations to certain foods
The images that form due to this priming effect are enough to dissuade you from eating flesh based food. These are a few sure steps to motivating yourself towards healthy choices.
Easy Recipes for you
Cottage Cheese n Chilli
- 1medium size capsicum thinly sliced
- 1 onion medium thinly sliced
- 150 grams Cottage cheese cut into pieces.
- 1 tbsp Soya sauce
- 1 tbsp Tomato sauce
- 4 Garlic pods cut into very tiny pieces.
- Red chilli Flakes or Red chilli powder according to taste
- Salt according to taste
- 2 tsp oil
- 2 or 3 of the greens of spring onions cut into small strips (optional)
- In a pan sauté the cut cheese in oil. Keep it aside.
- Then put garlic pieces, when slight brown put onions, sauté till light brown in medium flame.
- Put the capsicums and keep sautéing till half done.
- Then put soya sauce, tomato sauce, salt and chilli powder. Cook for a sec and last put the cheese.
- Finally if you want, add the greens and mix for a sec and switch off gas.
News from the Veg World
Healthy diet boosts children’s reading skills
A healthy diet is linked to better reading skills in the first three school years, shows a recent study from Finland. Published in the European Journal of Nutrition, the study constitutes part of the Physical Activity and Nutrition in Children Study conducted at the University of Eastern Finland and the First Steps Study conducted at the University of Jyväskylä.
The study involved 161 children aged 6-8 years old, and followed up on them from the first grade to the third grade in school. The quality of their diet was analysed using food diaries, and their academic skills with the help of standardised tests. The closer the diet followed the Baltic Sea Diet and Finnish nutrition recommendations – i.e. high in vegetables, fruit and berries, fish, whole grain, and unsaturated fats and low in red meat, sugary products, and saturated fat – the healthier it was considered.
The study showed that children whose diet was rich in vegetables, fruit, berries, whole grain, fish and unsaturated fats, and low in sugary products, did better in tests measuring reading skills than their peers with a poorer diet quality.
The study also found that the positive associations of diet quality with reading skills in Grades 2 and 3 were independent of reading skills in Grade 1. These results indicate that children with healthier diets improved more in their reading skills from Grade 1 to Grades 2–3 than children with poorer diet quality.
“Another significant observation is that the associations of diet quality with reading skills were also independent of many confounding factors, such as socio-economic status, physical activity, body adiposity, and physical fitness,” says Researcher Eero Haapala, PhD, from the University of Eastern Finland and the University of Jyväskylä.
Parents, schools, governments and companies can improve the availability of healthy foods. A healthy diet seems to be an important factor in supporting learning and academic performance in children. By making healthy choices every meal, it is possible to promote a healthy diet and enhance diet quality. Parents and schools have an important role in making healthy foods available to children. Furthermore, governments and companies play a key role in promoting the availability and production of healthy foods.
The study was funded by the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation and the Päivikki and Sakari Sohlberg Foundation.
Kenya Vegetarian Club
PO Box 1390, Obote Road, Kisumu 40100, Kenya.