How to boost your metabolism

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I swear I put in my best efforts but I still can’t lose weight because my metabolism is so slow.

I eat all these metabolic-boosting foods, but my metabolism refuses to budge.

Thanks to the internet, metabolism has become a buzzword for anyone on a weight loss program. And when they don’t lose the flab despite putting in their best efforts, they blame their metabolism.

First, let’s understand what metabolism is and what are the factors that affect it. Continue reading

Beat the heat with these summer coolers

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The scorching summer season is here. And to beat the heat, you’re always looking for a cool drink to hang out with. Now, you know that colas are not cool – they’re loaded with sugar, preservatives, pesticides, and what not.

Fortunately, you’ve got an array of natural drinks to choose.

From the luscious aamras to the refreshing kokum sherbet, nimbu pani, and sugarcane juice, these summer beverages hydrate and energize you. What’s more, these drinks offer an array of amazing health benefits.

So let’s get started on why you must sip on these cool beverages: Continue reading

Make your own diet chart that works for you

Every profession has certain trade secrets.

As a nutritionist, the complicated math and science of menu planning is the ace up my professional sleeve. And today, I am decoding all the mystery shrouding calories and nutrients.

Yes, I am spilling the beans, cereals, fruits, veggies, nuts, and eggs that go into chalking out a diet plan. My motive is that I want you to become a smart eater. I want you to choose a diet that is perfect for you; a diet that caters to your health goals. Continue reading

Your Holi delicacies have numerous health benefits

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For most people, Holi is the festival of colours, water guns, and mischief which marks the beginning of spring. For foodies, Holi is the time to gorge on mouth-watering delicacies.

Like every Indian festival, Holi is noshing down dahi wada, gujiya, malpua, and gulping down glass after glass of the famous cooling thandai!

But, what if we told you that apart from taste, there are numerous health benefits of these greasy and sugary titbits that you eat on Holi– only if you master the right portion size?

And the good news: you can savour these treats not just on Holi, but the year around.

Keep reading to know more. Continue reading

Be a smart carb-eater : Your guide to a low-carb life

“I want carbs off my plate”

That’s always the first input I get from a client when they sign up for weight loss.

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And I don’t blame them: websites and nutritionists have made ‘low-carb’ a buzz word for weight loss. Carbs are painted as the villain for those extra pounds. And lost in the haze of such misleading advice, people eliminate this vital nutrient and invite a mountain of troubles including – insomnia, constipation, mood swings and hair loss.

To avoid falling into this vicious trap, you must understand that carbs are your friends; they provide energy for every task you do. All you need to do is learn how to make the right carb choice and eat in the right amount.

Now bakery products and desserts, loaded with refined flour and sugar, are the carbs you should avoid. These foods have a high-glycaemic index i.e. they result in an instant spike in blood sugar levels, which causes the pancreas to produce more insulin. The excess insulin converts all the surplus sugar into fat.

That said opting for the healthier choices – rice, roti, multi-grain bread – can result in weight gain if you overeat. But if you drastically reduce your carb quota, you’ll feel hungry soon and end up gobbling much more than you would have in the first place. Also, it would be near to impossible for you to say no to chips or cookies on an empty stomach.

The bottom line is – you should not exceed nor fall behind your carb intake.

So, let’s tread a middle path – the smarter ways to relish carbs and still lose weight:

Continue reading

Decoding detox

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“You go ahead with your red velvet milkshake. I’ll sip this detox juice that I ordered online. It’s made of these amazing berries with magical weight-loss properties. Cost me a bomb, but I have lost three kilos.”

I recall this conversation between two teenage girls on the adjacent table when I was dining out last Sunday. Detox diets have become a trend these days, thanks to aggressive marketing on the internet. And at every gathering, you’ll always come across a friend or relative who promotes detox and can’t stop gushing about its health benefits.

But what exactly is a detox?

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Detox, shortened for detoxification, is a process where you aim to flush out toxins from your body. Toxins are the chemicals, pollutants, artificial ingredients, food additives, hormones, and pesticides that creep into your food. Over time, these toxins invite health problems – hormonal imbalance, impaired immunity and nutritional deficiencies to name a few.

Your liver, intestines, kidneys, blood and skin work round-the-clock to remove these harmful substances. However, given the pollution and adulterated food we eat, it’s impossible for the organs to keep a tab on all toxins.

Thus, a detox diet helps you to give up on toxin-rich foods in order to ensure your health. From once-a-week to a three day or a week-long program, you can choose from a detox plan that suits you.

How does a detox work and what are its benefits?

Cleansing the body in the current atmosphere of contamination is the key benefit of detox diets.

Generally, detox plans revolve around juices, water, veggies, and fruits. A good intake of fiber and liquids speeds up the detoxification process through urination and bowel movement. Eating natural foods boosts your well-being.

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Another key benefit of such diets is weight loss. Most detox diets restrict the intake of grains, dairy, eggs, poultry, fish and meat which drastically cuts your calorie intake. Also, you have to give up on your bottle of booze and soda. Giving up on your favorite foods may be tricky, but the benefits are enormous.

The liver flushes out toxins, promotes digestion and regulates blood sugar, insulin, estrogen, and testosterone and cholesterol production in the body. However, eating processed foods, eating out too often and excess alcohol results in toxic build-up and inflammation in the liver. As a result, fat gets deposited around your belly. It’s next to impossible to lose this fat, even after restricting your calorie intake, unless you cleanse your liver.

Also, detox diets boost digestion and make your body efficient at soaking up nutrients and eliminating waste. So, the next time you hit a weight loss plateau, opt for a detox diet.

But don’t go overboard with the detox plan. You’ll definitely lose weight, but a detox is not the best method for permanent weight loss. Any diet that involves fasting or restricting entire food groups cannot be followed in the long run. A two-day detox plan is enough to blast the plateau effect.

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That said detox can be followed at home with easily available ingredients and a simple diet plan. No need to shop at the supermarket or online for those fancy ‘detox’ juices and teas that burn a hole in your pocket – like the girl at the restaurant.

All you need to do is stock up vegetables and fruits. You can juice them up or whip up a vibrant-looking salad. Be creative and colourful – that’s the trick to a successful detox!

And if you can’t come up with something fun and interesting, don’t worry. The bon happetee app is happy to help you. The app has a section where you can choose from a variety of options and plan your own cleansing program.

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So, are you ready to bask in the goodness of veggies and fruits?

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Vishruta is a nutritionist by profession and a writer by heart. Content writing and menu planning have become her passions over the past few years. Love food, love life — is her mantra.

Aachar & chutney – Magic foods for good health

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My grandmother’s thali is incomplete without home-made chutney and aachar. And that is the secret of her well-being. Even at 75, she walks for 5 kilometers a day, has no wrinkles. And also, she has never spent a day lying in the bed.

She firmly believes that our ancient Indian food and practices are the ideal way to solve the health problems we – the processed and packaged food generation – face. And looking at her health, I couldn’t agree more!

Indian food is rich in variety owing to its cultural diversity. Whether its spices or side dishes, every constituent of traditional Indian cooking brings along a bevy of health benefits. And today we are going to explore the magic and goodness that lies within them. Continue reading

All Things Cholesterol: The good, the bad & the truth

“I will have a packet of cashews!“ I placed my order. My friend who had ordered a can of diet coke for herself was shocked.

“That thing is full of fat and cholesterol! Aren’t you supposed to know that?”

However, I don’t blame her. Over the years, we have been made to believe that nuts are highly loaded with fats and cholesterol.

Yes, all the nuts are naturally fat rich. But are nuts high in cholesterol? And is cholesterol really bad for us? Despite, the negative press cholesterol that this fatty substance often gets, it isn’t entirely bad for us.

Basics of cholesterol.

What is it?

Cholesterol is a substance made in the liver and it is vital to human life. Only animal bodies can produce cholesterol. Thus, you can find it ONLY in humans and animal products like meat, eggs, and dairy.

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Yes, that’s right! There is NO cholesterol in cashews, peanuts, cooking oils etc. So, the next time a cooking oil flashes the below punchline.

XYZ oil – Live healthier, live longer with our 0% cholesterol free oil

Know better to not let your eyeballs drop in the shopping mart aisle anymore.

The liver, other organs, and other cells in your body produce about 75% of the cholesterol in your blood. And, the other 25 % of cholesterol in your body is affected by the foods you eat.

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Since we eat more foods including cholesterol, our liver compensates by reducing its own production of cholesterol and removing excess cholesterol.

We have got natural processes to take care of cholesterol balance in the blood. And we totally disturb this balance and interrupt cholesterol functioning when we chose any “low fat” or “fat-free” products.

What does cholesterol do in our bodies?

Our body uses cholesterol to make a few essential hormones, including:

  • Sex hormones such as estrogen and progesterone in women, and testosterone in men, which help the sex organs develop and are involved in reproduction.
  • Cortisol, which helps your body respond to stress.
  • Aldosterone, which balances the number of minerals in your body.
  • Vitamin D, which helps your body absorb calcium to strengthen your bones.

So why exactly is cholesterol bad for us? One might think.

The levels of cholesterol in the blood are not the problem but the type of cholesterol is. Cholesterol travels in the blood in packages called lipoproteins, which consist of lipids (fats) and protein. Cholesterol packaged in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is often called “bad” cholesterol because too much LDL in the blood can lead to cholesterol buildup and blockage in the arteries. LDL carries most of the cholesterol in the blood.

The high-density lipoprotein (HDL), often called “good” cholesterol, is another type of cholesterol package. HDL helps transport cholesterol from other parts of the body to the liver, which helps remove it from the body, preventing it from piling up in the arteries.

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The third type of lipoprotein is very low density (VLDL). This package transports triglycerides in the blood; high levels of VLDL and triglycerides can consequently lead to the risk of heart disease.

Some people with normal cholesterol levels get heart attacks while others with high levels do not—  the difference is in the levels of HDL and LDL cholesterol, their ratio and chronic inflammation in their bodies.

Inflammation and oxidation are interrelated processes. Inflammation is the body’s healthy response to injury, irritation or infection. It neutralizes harmful micro-organisms, helps repair wounds and cleans up debris. However chronic inflammation is an unhealthy condition which generates a constant supply of harmful free radicals (also called as oxidation) that panics our anti-oxidant defences.

  • We fearfully remove the full-fat milk and egg yolks; replace them with egg whites and low-fat yoghurt or fat-free butter.
  • We don’t get enough antioxidants (to fight oxidation) because we conveniently ditch the bowl of salad and a portion of fruit out of the meal plan.
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  • A biscuit packet (full of white flour and sugar) has become our go-to snack.
  • We make all possible excuses to miss the gym session or the jog outside.
  • Pulling an “all nightery” has now become the trend.

Such diet habits and lifestyle adaptations are the major components which are consequently making the cholesterol bad for your body!

Making Cholesterol good by yourself for yourself!

Don’t drink the fruit – eat it!

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Drop “juices” (canned) from your grocery list today. Because the processing takes out all the antioxidant from any fruit. And there’s a risk of toxicity due to the high dose of sugar and loads of preservatives, left in the can.

Rather have fresh and whole fruit. Minimize its contact with air and metal to maintain the antioxidant profile.

Manage your type of cholesterol!

Make sure you take dietary measures to control the bad type of cholesterol build up and increase the good type to help your body. Exercise often, eat a heart-healthy diet by including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and oilseeds, etc., maintain a healthy body weight in order to keep your good cholesterol working in your body. Limit the intake of red meat, avoid smoking, choose leaner cuts while picking your meats, avoid organ meat and eliminate trans-fat to keep your LDL in check.

Beauty sleep!

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Sleep is the most powerful tool of our body to keep cholesterol from oxidizing. Sleep is the time when the body uses the antioxidant defence at its maximum to detoxify our body. Good sleep is a great stress manager too. So, don’t underestimate this in-built detoxification process and get your sleep cycle back on track. A good diet and enough exercise are going to be of great help to achieve your sleep goals.

Nuts: small packet of big energy!

Fun fact about cholesterol: plants cannot produce it. So naturally, any plant sources including nuts will not have any cholesterol contents. High time we shift fearlessly to our traditional snacking option- Nuts.

Peanuts, cashews, almonds, walnuts, pistachios are in fact good sources of essential fats like MUFA and PUFA. They keep our body from exposing to chronic inflammation.

Get your heart racing!

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We all know that lack of exercise is one of the major factors contributing to illnesses. Now it’s the time to put this piece of knowledge to use. Walk, jog, run, swim, cycle, yoga, pilates anything you like – Just do it! Any exercise which gets your heart racing is going to keep your heart healthy!

So, don’t be a prey to “cholesterol free/ fat-free” media campaigns.

Welcome cholesterol in your meal plans and host it smartly!

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Akansha is the Founder and Consultant at Beyond the Weighing Scale. With a wide range of expertise and skills, she is adept to speak about nutrition, health, lifestyle management and physical activity. She is a popular food columnist, a passionate foodie, a health enthusiast, an avid traveller and a happy yogi.

How I eat 2 rasgullas daily & stay fit? A guide to eating Indian Mithai guilt-free

Surely, you’ve read our recent post on how to eat fried foods without guilt. In this post, we’ll teach you how to befriend another of your favourite dishes that have been labelled as a villain by most nutritionists – sweets, our good ol’ desi mithai.

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Rasgullas, who doesn’t love them? These fluffy, white instantly-melt-in-your-mouth balls of sweetness! No wonder I can never stop at one rasgulla! And even if I dig into two rasgullas for the next 15 days, I will still not gain a kilo! My genetics or metabolism is not responsible for it. But, my eating habits are. My trick is – I relish sweets with a smile and smartness.

After reading this blog, I am confident that you’ll master this trick too! So, let’s get started!

Craving for halwa in the sweater weather? Go ahead and dig into it!

Seasonal mithais are a good idea. Similar to how aamras soothes your body in the sweltering summers, ghee and nut-based mithais in the winters keep your skin soft and supple. According to our ancient scriptures, there are cooling foods and warming foods. During winters, you need to eat foods that warm your body internally and keep the metabolic rate high. Fats keep you warm and also give you more energy. That’s why, this winter, reap the benefits of healthy fats through peanuts, nuts, sesame seeds and ghee. Dig into peanut chikki, gajak, carrot halwa and an assortment of laddoos – including besan ka laddo, gound ka laddoo, til laddoo and pinni – without any guilt!

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And you know what? Seasonal ingredients change the way mithais are prepared. Last week, I prepared gajar ka halwa at home. I took a small portion of it to my father for tasting. After he finished the bowl, he told me that it tasted great but was a little less sweet. That’s when I told him that I haven’t even added any sugar yet. The sweetness came from the all-natural seasonal carrots. Later, I ended up making the gajar halwa with almost 1/3rd the sugar of a traditional recipe. You see, that’s the power of using seasonal fruits and veggies in Indian mithais.

Here’s an interesting fact: Your maa ke “aate ka ladoo” with milk and a handful of nuts is one of the most traditional and nutritious Indian breakfast. This meal can give any breakfast cereal a run for their money.

Let’s say, you’re not into seasonal sweets and prefer grabbing a gulab jamun, rasmalai or a kalakand.

Our advice: savour it as a post-workout meal. Since our bodies require instant energy after a gruelling exercise session, the sugar in the mithai will be used for energy instead of getting converted into fat.

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Whoa! That’s an amazing reward for working out, isn’t it?

Alternatively, you can relish a small gulab jamun as a mid-morning snack along with five-six nuts to keep the sugar levels in check.

Some tips to keep in mind while preparing or eating mithais:

  • As with fried food, our best advice is to prepare sweets at home, instead of buying it at a nearby mithai shop.
  • Your preferred ingredient for sweetness should be jaggery over white sugar since it’s more nutritious. You can opt for dried dates or figs to up the healthy quotient of your mithai. But one thing you must avoid at all costs is artificial sweeteners. They are loaded with chemicals which create havoc with our health, ranging from bone loss to hair loss.
  • Adding condiments and spices like cardamom and nutmeg to your mithais boost the metabolic rate. A high metabolic rate lowers fat conversion.
  • The thumb rule to avoid weight gain with sweets is to eat sweets as a snack i.e. an hour or two after breakfast or lunch and not with it. That way, you’ll satisfy your taste buds and not dread the weighing scale.

Now, we are sure, a smart eater like you would look beyond the calories and get back the nuts, whole grains and ghee in the mithai. After all, these super-healthy ingredients brim with the goodness of protein, fat, and fibre. All these nutrients keep your stomach full for longer as well as slow down the digestion of sugar. As a result, you keep overeating at bay as well as lower the risk of sugar getting converted into fat. Now, that’s similar to eating two mithais for the calories of one!

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Sweets can be a delicious affair if you learn how to eat them the right way. And with our tips, you can give in to your sweet tooth and still lose weight.’

It’s time you became best friends with the much ‘maligned’ mithai!

bon happetee - diet download, diet plan app, best diet app, lose weight without workoutVishruta is a nutritionist by profession and a writer by heart. Content writing and menu planning have become her passions over the past few years. Love food, love life — is her mantra.