New Normal//

Caring for Yourself is the First Step towards Caring for Others

A peek into a corporate Thrive webinar during the COVID-19 enforced lockdown. Learn the truth about drinking water, eating the right kind of food and more.

Breakfast is indeed the healthiest meal of the day, and beware of brown bread as it has caramelised sugar. Photo by Freepik
Breakfast is indeed the healthiest meal of the day, and beware of brown bread as it has caramelised sugar. Photo by Freepik

Science has repeatedly proven that we have more control than we realise when it comes to building healthy habits and resilience. At Thrive, we also conduct regular webinars with corporate houses to drive awareness and power participants with tools and strategies to prioritise well-being. In a recent session with the team at Verticurl, the focus was on ‘Thrive in the New Normal’. With all the stress, anxiety and isolation that individuals are experiencing these days, the need to prioritise the self is more important than ever before.

The session explored ways to Thrive today with the help of latest science and research on nutrition, hydration, movement and exercise. Here are some common questions from participants with solutions from Dr Marcus Ranney.

Hunger pangs, beverage addiction

Ragavi had a problem that most people face at work. “When I go to the office, I feel like eating or having coffee or tea, but when I work from home, I don’t feel so, why is it so?” Dr Ranney explained: “Life is about rituals and now is the time to break rituals you have always wanted to, or start new ones. Make your choice and set the Microsteps to help get you there.”

“I have three to four cups of black coffee and feel addicted now,” posed Sushant Arvind. “It is unlikely that you are physiologically addicted,” said Dr Ranney. “There is plenty you can do to break that cycle. Try cutting back a cup every day and replacing one with something else. Ensure your last cup is by 4pm.”

Refuelling options

Praveen Kumar wondered if bread was good for consumption. “Different people respond differently. Beware of the brown bread trap, which is caramelised sugar. Opt for either good, freshly baked multigrain or try a gluten free substitute.” 

Veena shared that she liked to drink ginger tea with jaggery every morning. This was given thumbs up by Dr Ranney. “I also drink coffee with sugar in the evening.” The advice was to limit the last cup of caffeine to 4 pm.

Here are some of the other questions and their answers:

Pushpal G: Do suggest some healthy evening snacks. 

MR: The options are many—fruits, nuts, dry-fruits, and cereal bars. 

Suresh G: Good time to have breakfast and dinner?

MR: Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper. Last meal by 8 pm or at least two hours before you go to sleep and keep it light. 

Jayakumar A: How are vegetables and fruits better for health than meat, as nowadays all vegetables and fruits contain pesticides?

MR: All our food is contaminated. Meat too is full of hormones, water and chemicals, plus the animals are fed unhealthy feed and kept in stressful environments increasing their cortisol levels. Slant towards plants and try and limit meat to twice a week, mainly white meat or fish. 

Praveen Kumar: When is the ideal time of the day to have fruits?

MR: All the time! Unless you’re diabetic, in which case check in with your doctor. 

Ravikumar: 1. Eating fruits in the night, good or bad? 2. Can we eat fruits during cold and cough? 3. What do you think about eating oats with nuts in the morning? 

MR: 1. That’s good, unless you are diabetic. 2. Yes, especially those with lots of vitamin C. 3. Great!

Anand Raj: I have heard about intermittent fasting recently. What’s the objective of that diet? Would you recommend it?

MR: I am not in a position to suggest or recommend any particular diet. I am always a fan of balanced and moderate eating habits, which will lead to good health and well-being. 

Parveen: Can you suggest some weight loss diet chart for a breastfeeding mother?

MR: Whilst breastfeeding it is important to fuel yourself properly in order for the milk flow to be well maintained. Eat healthy and eat what you enjoy. Ensure you get some exercise. Don’t worry too much about your weight loss for now. 

Fiona Roberts: Why is red meat not recommended regularly?

MR: Because of its mix of fats and proteins and our body’s (in)ability to break it down. White meat is generally healthier. 

Rosalyne: Which food is the best source of vitamin D?

MR: The Sun! 

Charle Legrand: What is the goodness of having mild hot water with cumin seeds added?

Cumin, a spice made from the seeds of the Cuminum cyminum plant, is used in many Indian dishes as a flavouring agent. It has also been used in traditional medicine. Even modern studies have confirmed health benefits of cumin in promoting digestion and reducing food-borne infections, for instance. New research also indicates other benefits such as in improving blood sugar control and cholesterol. It is also a rich source of iron besides being loaded with plant compounds that have antioxidant properties.

Mayilsamy: Can we drink tender coconut with an empty stomach?

MR: Definitely. I am going to have one now! 

Be a smart worker

Srivathsan: We have employees with different roles, so naturally they have different stress and anxiety levels at work. Does the food suggestion work for everyone across every role? Will it change depending on their working style?

MR: We are all the same mammal at the end of the day, same machinery and same operating processes. Try and find a pattern that works for you but the basics remain the same. 

Get moving

Mahes: I do 20 minutes of exercise on an empty stomach in the morning, is that okay or do I need to take some fuel before?

MR: Best to get some fuel in before and you may also notice you will be able to do more and last longer. 

Jenish: Is playing football at night good or does it affect our health because we have to run harder!

MR: Great! Play more and invite your colleagues to join you once the WFH lockdown is over. 

Sivasowndhari: Is it okay to skip rope after 25 years of age?

MR: Yes, unless you have some pre-existing muscular or health issue. If so, consult your doctor. 

Drink more water

Praveen Kumar: Is it okay to drink water the first thing on waking up before brushing teeth?

MR: Of course, any time of day or night is okay to drink water. 

Pushpal: Why is it always recommended to sit and drink water?

MR: To help aid digestion, particularly for those who suffer from regurgitation and acidity. The human body is amazing and you can actually drink upside down. Try it, I have!

Sivasowndhari: Can we mix the boiled water with cold water before drinking? Is this recommended?

MR: Sure, no harm at all. 

Nitya Rani: When at the office, I tend to walk a bit and drink water but at home I tend to drink less water.

MR: Let’s change that cycle and start a new habit formation process using Thrive’s Microsteps

Parveen: Will drinking hot water help in weight loss?

MR: No, I’m afraid not. 

Jenish: What happens if we consume plenty of water, exceeding the normal limit?

MR: Yes, water toxicity is a medical condition for those who consume greater than 5 litres of fluids each day. If you are concerned about drinking too much water, then please consult your doctor. 

Sivasowndhari: Can we have a lot of water just before bed, after dinner?

MR: Best to have at least 15-20 minutes before sleeping, especially if you are someone who suffers from indigestion. 

Enosh Peter: What about having lemon juice with basil seeds?

MR: Great, both lemon and basil are known to have antibacterial properties. Lemon and basil are excellent antimicrobial agents too.

Jayakumar: Is it advisable to drink water without feeling thirsty?

MR: Yes, each of our body’s responds differently. For many, hunger can mask itself as thirst. 

The enlightening session stressed the fundamental truth that the better we are at taking care of ourselves, the more effective we’ll be in taking care of others. Watch this space for more extracts from other interactive sessions.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- Marcus Aurelius

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