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Saturday, 1 December 2012

I Crossed the Hump

“Dry-fit shirts, pace per km & proper mid-foot strike are things that run through my mind when I get up at 5:15am on a Saturday ready to tackle the 20km run at Lalbagh.”
I am sharing with you a transformation story of one of my client. I urged him to write this, as I believe that this can motivate many more corporate professionals to embrace adequate physical activity in daily chore.
“Roll back to last year this time, when I was leading a contented life unaware of gait issues, plantar fascia and more bewildering terms. I am thin, wiry (except for a small, cute paunch), most would ask me to rather put on weight and get healthier. But my blissful existence (or rather ignorance) was shattered when Mohammed told me that I was not active enough and even if I was thin, the danger of chronic diseases was quite high. I dismissed his pitch as that of a salesman for his new product – GetActive. But he persisted and was rather quite adamant that I record how many steps I was walking daily and gave me a pedometer device for that. A week later I was shocked to note that I had only averaged around 1000 to 1500 steps daily, while the requirement for an active body & mind was 7500 to 10000 steps a day.”
“I started walking and with the help of GetActive was able to track and measure how I was doing daily, adjust the amount of walking to make sure that I met the weekly targets. Mohammed then rolled it out to more people in our office and made it interesting by creating a virtual trek with competition between teams. From active walking, I slowly graduated to slow jogging and then running as well. The first mile that I ran without stopping was excruciatingly painful, but the tricks that the mind played were the hardest to overcome compared to the pain in every muscle in the body. I slowly overcame my inhibitions and joined a group of runners from whom I learnt all about stretches, how it was important to enjoy the run and do it injury free.”
“While my relatives and friends complain that I have become even thinner, I can make out the significant changes that have happened to me during the course of the last one year – graduating from doing no real active exercise to running the half marathon (the full marathon still seems a distant dream…how do they do it?).”
“Physically I feel more energetic, sleep well, more observant at work, and have not got any ailment in the last one year.”
“As a career professional, I have gained much more than good health. The sense of achievement, perseverance, winning over the battle with my own mind, focused efforts are all huge gains from this experiment, which are valuable life skills. This has been a great journey till now and there is no looking back.”
“I wish Mohammed & his team all the success in their endeavor to get more & more people healthier in both body & mind by getting active…rather to go & GetActive.”
Contribution: Mr. P. Rangarajan, COO, Appnomic Systems (P) Ltd. | Email: rangapersonal@gmail.com

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Metabolic Syndrome

You eat food to fuel your activity. Food is digested and converted into glucose, which is then transported through blood to every cell of your body. Cell opens door to accept this fuel supply. Door keeper for each cell is insulin.

For a normal (active and disciplined) individual, system works very well.

Your body is intelligent. When fuel supply far exceeds the requirement, acceptance for this fuel reduces at cell level. This excess energy in blood manifests in various disease condition and slowly disintegrates the whole system.

This is called metabolic syndrome.

Economists blame this for recession & fiscal deficit. CEO’s find it guilty for capital erosion and dwindling profits. Rich dread this for their life. Researchers keep inventing new techniques and medications to glorify its existence.

It surfaces in your waistline and slowly finds its home in your heart as hypertension, in your brain as stroke, in your blood stream as cholesterol & sugar, in your body as fatigue, and at night as sleep disorder.

You know why it has come to you. But you pretend to ignore the root cause. You love giving it fancy names and revel in its madness. You keep looking at quick-fix to hide the symptoms.

Wake-up friends! Why are you doing this? Ignorance has its place. But we cannot risk our existence.

Just GetActive! It is Simple, it is FUN, it is rewarding. Once you build the discipline of physical activity, other restraints will fall in place. 10,000 steps is a proven program. We have passionately designed GetActive for you. We will await your feedback and love to hear your transformation stories. Please click here to place your order for cash on delivery.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Medical Expense vs Insurance

Most of us are worried about our medical expense as we reach our prime age. Health insurance gives us some solace.

Do you know that hospitalized medical expense (covered under insurance) constitutes only 20% of your lifetime medical expenses? Much bigger portion is spent on out-patient, which includes doctor consultation, diagnostic tests and pharmacy.

Are you not worried about this expense, which trickles from your wallet every now and then?

Is there a way to insure this expense for lifetime?

There is a solution, but unfortunately it is too simple and very inexpensive. In today’s complex world, we are too evolved to accept anything that is not sophisticated. Simple things just fade away in the glitter and greed of new age approach.

Last week I was with the CEO of a well known hospital chain. And he nonchalantly explained to me that how advances in medicine has helped doctors to take proactive interventional steps to prevent heart attacks. Pharmaceuticals have allowed doctors to control diabetes without much restriction on individual lifestyle. I kept quiet. I knew my simple solution will be looked upon as Stone Age.

I am aware that you will also agree with my CEO friend.

But the truth is that some of the advance countries (Australia/UK) and some of the well known corporate in the world (Cerner, SKF, Sprint) have heeded to our simple solution. They have learned their lesson when so called advance approaches have skyrocketed their healthcare expense.

Today they encourage their citizen and their employees to take 10,000 steps every day to reduce medical costs by more than 50%. It is simple, it is doable and it is permanent. This is your best health insurance.

Get Active. Take your first step today. And gift your loved ones wealth of good health this festive season.

Click here to avail special offer and pay cash on product delivery.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

One Step at a Time

It is estimated that the worldwide death toll from lifestyle related health conditions, mainly diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, hypertension, obesity, cancer and cardiovascular disease is 36 million premature deaths per year, more than 60% of the total death toll. Further, 80% of the deaths from these non-communicable diseases are in developing countries. Statistics are pretty scary!!

However, solution is simple. As per WHO, just thirty minutes of daily physical activity will keep you away from these chronic diseases.

The bigger question is how to stay active and more importantly, when can I be called “active”?

Australia is one of the countries, which has made national level programs to help citizen get active. As per their research, if a person is clocking less than five thousands steps (5,000) per day, he/she can be classified as non-active lifestyle. Anything above that helps you move towards active lifestyle. Ten thousands steps (10,000) per day are ideal for an adult between the age group of 25-50 years. And people who are clocking 10,000 steps every day have 50% less chance of death from chronic disease.

If we can plan to add steps in our daily chore like walking from parking lot to office building, helping in domestic work, walk to our colleague’s cubicle for a discussion, catching a bus, take a short stroll during lunch time, climb the stairs at home/office, walking to a nearby grocery store etc., it is possible to cross 5,000 steps per day and then slowly increase it to an optimum level. Adding buddy(s) with you can help staying on course.

You do not have to make an unrealistic resolution, which hardly has a life. Weaving physical activity in your chore, measuring it and expanding the scope of each activity is a practical and smarter approach.

2mpower has engineered a simple and scientific program, aptly named as GetActive (www.getactive.in). It helps you measure your daily steps with a sleek & smart device, conveniently tucked in your body. Device transports your data on cloud, which can be viewed anytime/anywhere. Your personal dashboard engages you with your friends creates interesting challenges and rewards you for good work. This helps achieve desired outcome of improved health and energy.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Cholestrol - Good & Bad

Today among busy professionals, these two acronyms are well known. One is called BAD and the other is called GOOD cholesterol. In my last three years with clients, I have observed that fairly active individuals are also suffering from high total cholesterol. And this scares them, as our medical literature, internet and media has equated this with narrowing arteries, hence heart attack, strokes and so on.

Let me share some simple and powerful insight on this three letter acronym.

Cholesterol is an essential life sustaining chemical composition, produced by liver for healthy living. What we are afraid of is the dietary cholesterol, which enters our system through various food groups – dairy products, fish, poultry, meat etc. As density of protein reduces in cholesterol, it changes from High to Low Density Lipoprotein.

Liver has two important functions – first is the production of cholesterol and second is the regulation/elimination of cholesterol in blood stream. Dietary cholesterol is absorbed through small intestine into blood stream and then regulated/removed by LDL receptors in liver.

Liver capacity to regulate cholesterol is impacted by two important factors: first is the body weight, and second is the quantity intake of dietary cholesterol. Higher is the body weight (BMI>24), lower is the ability of liver to eliminate LDL from blood stream. If intake of dietary cholesterol is more than 50% of rate of cholesterol synthesis in our body, rate of clearance of cholesterol decreases drastically in liver.

It has been shown by research that decreasing dietary cholesterol intake quickly resumes the efficiency of liver in LDL management.

Reducing blood cholesterol through medication is like playing with the cement/sand ratio in construction of each and every membrane of our body cell. Unless you have a genetic predisposition to an alarmingly high cholesterol levels, use of such medications should be highly discouraged. Side effects are far greater than adopting simple lifestyle changes, which are sure to give good results.

Adopt & enjoy balanced diet of 50% whole grain based carbohydrates, 30% of assorted vegetables | seasonal fruits | beans | legumes | nuts and remaining from dairy, poultry and other meat groups.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Dilemma of Cooking Oil

Cooking oil, which is a basic and almost indispensable ingredient in every Indian kitchen, has in the last decade become synonymous to chronic lifestyle disease.

Unfortunately or fortunately, we Indian cannot do without this ill either.
Then what is the recourse!
Our smart marketing brains have effectively exploited this weakness (I call this fear of ignorance or health- apathy) by creating variants called HEALTHY HEART OIL!
How something which is blamed for nurturing ill health in our society can suddenly become heart friendly? This is the “commercial exploitation” of capitalism.
Let’s face it, cooking oil from any source, be it rice bran, sunflower, soya, canola, groundnut, coconut, sesame, mustard or corn has high calories (one table-spoon is 120 cal). And it has mix percentage of saturated and unsaturated fats. For your metabolic activity you need all three of them.
Apart from this, oil is a good source for some beneficial nutrients like Omega-3 & Omega-6 fatty acids and vitamin-E
None of the oils have a so called dreaded substance – CHOLESTEROL.
Now in this anatomy of oil, tell me which is that substance feared so much for chronic illnesses.
Comparing this with a one cup of 2% fat milk – Calories: 122 | Fat: 5g (mostly saturated) | Cholesterol: 19mg | Protein, Vitamin C and Calcium.
Personally, I will be more scared to drink a cup of milk or eat a scoop of ice-cream then a tablespoon of oil every day.
Now coming back to oil, just like multi-grain flour has become the norm of health conscious household, it is a good practice to use combination of oil for cooking. This helps in balancing the ingredients and enhances the good properties.
Bottom-line: You have to limit your fat/calorie intake from all food groups (milk, cheese, butter, oil, sweets, nuts, and other fried items) to less than 10% of your total intake.
So shop wisely, without falling into marketing trap. And keep yourself physically active every day for good health forever…

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Fun & Health

In the last three years with 2mpower, I have learned one simple human nature. Anything you make a Play or Fun, it will click and sustain with human beings. Regimented and boring activities, irrespective of their critical nature, will fall wayside. I think, keeping this in mind our ancestors have had invented sports to keep us physically fit, without telling us that.

Today sports is no more an integral part of our life. Less than 0.5% adults continue playing sports as they reach in their late thirties or forties. Keeping this in mind, we are once again harnessing this human nature to keep them physically fit.

Fitness centers, yoga classes, aerobic sessions etc. have failed to attract sizable population. Attrition rate in such programs is more than 95%.

Get Active program from 2mpower is an innovative way to keep people walking, engage then in competition with their peers, reward them for hard/smart work and all this without eating time from their precious daily activity.

Keep tuned, we are launching this shortly...

Friday, 1 June 2012

The King of Nuts

You may have read many articles which gives you information on nuts as an essential component of your diets. You may have also read number of articles which warns you to stay away from them to shed that extra pounds.
I agree that nuts are notorious. Most of them have 80% of fat contents. This is a lot of calories! And to add fuel to fire, most of us consume nuts which are heavily coated with salt, sugar or chocolate.
This article aims at throwing light on basic facts about nuts, how to choose them to get the maximum health benefit and highlighting the importance of walnuts.
Let’s look at the typical key composition of nuts:

  • Unsaturated fats (mono or poly) | Omega-3 fatty acids | Protein | Fiber | Powerhouse of antioxidants | Vitamin E


Each of these components is essential for a healthy metabolic process. It keeps organs healthy, improves immunity and provides protection against cancer and other degenerative diseases. Nuts are cholesterol free and hardly have a trace of sodium. Hence they are a good source of healthy fat and can substitute for other alternatives as fried food, cream & chips. All nuts are friendly when consumed in its natural form. It is recommended to include them in morning breakfast.

  • Walnuts are revered from ancient time as a symbol of intellectuality since its kernels resemble like brain. Beyond that it has the highest (72%) content of poly-unsaturated fatty acids which lowers LDL and improves HDL thereby preventing strokes and coronary artery disease.



  • Walnuts have highest levels of antioxidants than any other edible nuts. Eating 5-6 average sized nuts a day could help scavenge disease causing free radicals from the body.



  • In addition to this, walnuts are an excellent source of Vitamin-E, which is a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant, required for maintaining the integrity of cell membrane and prevention of plaque formation.


Just one precaution – being a king of nuts, it needs to be consumed either fresh or should be stored in zero degree Celsius in low humidity. Never consume stale walnuts as fungal infested walnuts produces aflatoxin, which is a potent carcinogen.
Add nuts in your daily diet and enjoy the benefits of good health forever…

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Oats or Not

In the last few years, this new cereal has discreetly entered in Indian breakfast. With a strong lobby of nutritionist and medical experts backing this as a healthy alternative, we have to see how it makes its permanent seat in our grocery list. For sure, it has a host of good daily nutrients like complex carbohydrate, soluble fibre, phytochemicals and protein.

Oats has its origin from Northwest Europe. It is a staple diet of Scottish people. Unlike other cereals, it has better tolerance for cold wet climate for cultivation.

Is oats a must for a healthy heart?

Indians are traditionally eating variety of cereals in the form of roti, upma, idli, pongal, payasam, dosa, paratha, ragi-mudde etc. Wheat, jawar, bajra, ragi, soya, sorghum, barley, rice, maize, rye, other millets were important part of our diet based on season. And we have always looked at breakfast or tiffin meals as yummy & spicy.

So, why this new twist of a healthy oats! Were we missing something, which now west has discovered and enlightened us?

Oats is marketed initially by powerful international brands like Kellogg’s and now it has effectively copied by Indian brands like Saffola, Horlicks and Britannia.

Today, modern Indians are in some way losing its heritage of rich, diverse, wholesome dietary pattern. We can blame this to developing economy, nuclear family and time constraints. Oats surely wins here, as it is almost ready to eat.

Genetically, we have better tolerance for Indian grown cereals and millets. Oats can be added as an additional cereal in our daily diet. It can also be effectively mixed with Indian cereals to prepare our traditional breakfast.

So enjoy this journey of globalization in food behaviour. Just keep your roots intact, while flirting with international variety.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Health & Wealth

Health(y) is a state of wellbeing of soul, mind and body, which translates into harmony and bliss.
Wealth(y) is a state of happiness resulting from the fulfilment of worldly need and desires.
There is a synergy between management of health & wealth.
What do we mean by healthy individual? Today, we get confused between body building and good health. Most of us relate physical fitness to good health. Good physical endurance and strength can be a component of good health, but not a mandatory requirement. Physical training and health management are two completely different aspects. Former deals with muscle strength of organs & tissues. Latter deals with mandatory physical activity, balanced nutrition and an evolved thought process for welfare of society at large. One is transient and other is permanent.
Now let’s look at the other side of the coin. What it means by a wealthy individual? Once again quantum of asset is the yardstick. Asset accumulation is like building muscles. Any individual with proper or improper means can build assets. And these assets are once again transient. Hence, asset accumulation and wealth management are distinctly different. Accumulation leads to greed and selfishness. Management leads to allocation of asset wisely to meet the need of self, family, community and society at large.
A healthy individual in holistic sense will be able to manage his wealth wisely.
Unfortunately, our understanding of health and wealth management is very shallow. We look at quick fixes in our every approach. Hence, our success in managing them is temporary.
Both disciplines require structured long term approach with clear conscience, regular monitoring and measurements.
Health management is managing health risks by allocating time to mind, body and vital in a balanced and systematic fashion. Time component is non-negotiable. Health parameters are measured & reviewed periodically.
Good wealth management includes interest of self, family, community and society at large. Similarly good health management benefits society as it foster responsible and aware citizens.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

The Stress-Weight Menace

So why exactly does stress make you stuff yourself silly??

Your body and mind react to all stress in the same way, regardless of whether the stress is physical, emotional or mental. If you are having a stressful day at the office or home, your brain perceives that to be equivalent to being chased by a tiger through the jungles of South East Asia! The brain now instructs the body to release two hormones: adrenaline and cortisol. It is the job of the latter to replace those calories used up as you deftly escaped that tiger or DIDN’T use up as you sat in your office getting a horrible annual review from your boss. So you see, regardless of the stressful situation you get very hungry and stay that way as long as the cortisol continues to flow through you.

If you were indeed in the jungle, you’d reach out for some delicious, healthy, wild berries and replenish your calories that way. But for most of us food loving Indians, the easiest and most tasty options are those delicious fried snacks, mithais, chocolates etc. The euphoria-inducing effects of these high fat and sugary ‘foods’ allows them to quickly become associated with tension reduction in our mind. So we reach out for them every time something feels wrong and they become our comfort foods. And that, of course is very bad if you are trying to stay healthy.

Steps you can take to handle this menace:

  • Do some quick exercises when you feel stressed. This helps to flush the cortisol out of the system, curtailing hunger while relieving stress.

  • Meditate: this reduces stress, helps you to be more mindful of food choices. With practice, one maybe able to pay better attention to the impulse to grab a fat and sugar loaded comfort food and inhibit the impulse.

  • Don’t be so strict when it comes to dieting: strict dieting causes decrease in blood sugar which the body perceives as stressful. This causes cortisol increase making you ravenous and your self control goes out of the window.

  • Visit or call a friend: social support seems to have a buffering effect on stress.

  • Get enough shut-eye: the body perceives loss of sleep as a major source of stress which results in increased appetite and weight gain.

  • Avoid boredom: it attracts unwanted eating. Identify a hobby to indulge in order to distract the mind.


So, please take charge of yourself and your health. You are your best doctor!!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Fruits

Constituents: 80% of fruit is water. This keeps our body well hydrated. Second important component is soluble and insoluble fiber. This provides the smooth passage of food through a long intestinal tract by conserving moisture and increasing the mass. This plays an important role in effective digestion process. Thirdly, fruits are rich source of anti-oxidants. This prevents the body’s cell by neutralizing the free radicals. Free radicals are known to alter DNA, thereby causing fatal diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes and many others. Apart from this, fruits are a rich source of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, which are essential for proper growth, immunity power and longevity.

Right way to eat fruits: As fruits are most natural, easily assimilated, hence it is preferred to consume good quantity of fruits in the first half of the day. Fruits are most effective, when consumed on empty stomach, and giving another thirty minutes of gap before taking rest of the food. It is advisable to soak fruits (which are eaten with skin) in vinegar and then wash thoroughly before consumption. This cleans it effectively from pesticides and other chemicals.

Never eat fruits after meal, as it gets completely destroyed by strong gastric juices, which are present to digest rest of the meal and prolong its stay in stomach. Fruits should never be taken in juice form, as it loses its antioxidant property, moisture, fiber and most of the vital nutrients and vitamins. Fruit juice is just a sugary drink. Any claim of preserving the natural benefits of fruits in juice form is a myth.

Natural unsweetened low fat curd is an ideal combination, as it improves the assimilation process of fruits in small intestine.

Enjoy eating variety of fruits for a healthy, disease free life forever…

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Live Life Kingsize

Live Life Kingsize

First I was dying to finish high school and start college
and then, I was dying to finish college and start working and make plenty of money
and then, I was dying to marry and have children
and then I was dying for my children to grow old enough and be on their own
and then I was dying to retire and now I am dying and suddenly I realize that I forgot to live - (Author is unknown)

This saying is so true with most of us. We live our life in transactions, one after the other, just like a robot. Each day is exactly as the one before. We hope that once we are out of these transactions, we will live our dreams. Slowly these tasks become our life goals. And we really forget our dreams.

Societal pressures and expectations define the trajectory of our transactions in life. Our life is spent in trying to achieve different levels set by society to prove that we are successful.

Let’s look at some of the simple steps, which may help us relook and focus our energy in areas, which are our real lifeline.

Identify your Spark
Each one of us has some unique quality which distinguishes us from the rest. In the race of climbing the societal ladder, we often forget to identify and hone this natural talent. Nurture this into your hobby or make this your livelihood. Your true bliss will come in spending time and energy towards this God’s gift.

Set your Priority
It is critical that you define your priorities balancing self, family, work and society. Once it is defined, you need to allocate time based on the importance you have allocated to each of them.

If family and health are high on your priority, then allocate and spend time to achieve those objectives. If you would like to work for betterment of society, then do not wait towards the fag end of your life. Start contributing in small way and slowly increase your efforts. It is important that you articulate these objectives to your family members and friends.

Be Accountable to Yourself
It is very easy to blame the current situation on your failure to achieve your stated objectives. We are all very good in that. But this is your life. If you want to live this on your terms, you have to learn to swim upstream. Take unconventional decisions, and follow your heart.

Life is incredibly short, so forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that made you smile.

Have a wonderful New Year!