The annual blood test reports were strewn on the dining table in front of me. We, as a normal Indian family are fond of eating, drinking and socializing. But all these years of fad dieting, neglecting sleep and binge eating were now showing up on everyone’s collective health profile. Things were less than satisfactory for me, my husband and my in-laws. High blood pressure and escalated cholesterol levels were ringing a loud alarm bell.
As a concerned mother, wife and daughter it was imperative for me to establish some long-term health and wellness habits that were more than ‘a flash in the pan’ fad. Change is always an ongoing process and not a onetime event. My children were bound to follow whatever they saw the adults doing. Knowing this, I put on my thinking cap to focus on some realistic short and long term healthy lifestyle goals for my family.
The first thing to rectify and focus on was the nutrition part. We are what we eat. I had recently eaten an enjoyable meal at my sister-in-law’s house and she had mentioned that the tasty rotis were made with multigrain Atta. She also mentioned that she used the same flour mix to prepare interesting tacos, muffins and tiffin rolls. I was suddenly curious as to what multigrain in India meant.
My research showed that there are various varieties of Atta mixes in our local neighborhood market. How to know which was the best? Interestingly ITC’s Aashirvaad atta with multigrain is a well-known brand that also adds soya, channa, oat, maize and psyllium husk(Isabgol) to their whole wheat flour to make their multigrain Atta. These wholesome grains have potential health benefits such as more protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. So, it’s more heart healthy and adds to the overall strength and fitness.
I am also familiar with the soluble fibre properties of Psyllium husk which my in-laws take regularly. For those who don’t know, Isabgol also aids in weight loss and cures most stomach related problems. It also aids in absorption of certain nutrients.
Going back to my childhood, my grandmother used to get freshly ground multigrain Atta from the neighborhood chakki and tell us about its benefits. At that time, we kids found the final roti too thick and the taste too bitter for our liking. But at the back of my mind I always felt that mixing grains was a healthier option as each of the grains has its own composition and nutritional value. The overall fibre content is also more that way.
Finally, now was a chance to get that same great nutrition which was also tasty to our taste buds. Plus, it was now readily accessible to add to and further enrich our Indian diets.
1) I quickly shifted to ITC’s Aashirvaad Atta with Multigrain for all the family meals. Not only were the rotis softer and fresher, but multigrain snacks and tiffin meals appeared more appealing. Better nutrition boosted all energy levels. My kids stayed satiated longer and stopped craving unhealthy snacks at the school canteen.
2) I also made it mandatory to switch off the television and all cell phones during family meal times. This ensured that all the focus could be on mindful and healthy eating.
3) Cutting down on my own caffeine and restricting my husband’s alcohol consumption were also further implemented by me. Small lifestyle changes go a long way in curbing lifestyle diseases, heart problems and unhealthy weight.
4) I made it a point to add more colored fruits and vegetables to the family palate at regular intervals. Apart from being healthier, this also made our collective metabolisms much more active.
5) My kids were earlier consuming multiple energy and aerated drinks that led to obesity and lowered their intake of fiber. So, I made them cut down on refined sugar which was empty calories and devoid of any vitamins or minerals. More emphasis was laid on hydrating with water and healthy juices instead.
6) Sleep times were regulated for everyone by me. Erratic sleep patterns can lead to lifestyle diseases such as stress, insomnia and even cancer. My in-laws and I also took some deep breathing classes that pumped our energy levels and boosted our concentration.
7) I encouraged everyone in my family to write down any goals and mottos they had and to work towards their goals. This builds commitment and enthusiasm towards achieving something. You bond better as a family which is also a positive wellness goal.
8) Discouraging sedentary couch potato behavior, everyone was motivated by me to get more physical activity into their routine. I led by example by running to burn more calories, improve stamina as well as tone up my muscles. My kids copied what I did.
These minor lifestyle changes have continued rewarding me in many ways. Past indiscretions have been corrected; healthy food habits inculcated; and daily physical activity has been adopted. My husband has a flatter belly and is more productive, happier and healthier now. My kids are less picky eaters and enjoy their daily snacks much more than before. My in-laws feel more satiated and happier with the overall nutrition. Consequently, I feel less stress and have reason to smile more now.
Hopefully my wellness vision would let my family function optimally for the next few decades. Do you have any healthy lifestyle tips of your own that have positively affected your family life? Please remember to share them below.
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