Why I Continue to Happily Eat Carbs At Night
About the Author
Shvetha Jaishankar - Mom, Author & Miss India International 98'
Miss India International 98, author & a mom of two girls, Shvetha Jaishankar is an advocate of balanced and passionate living. Her book 'Gorgeous - Eat Well, Look Great' published by Harper Collins is a cookbook with a difference and addresses the challenges of fitting in the right food and the right amount of fitness in our everyday lives. She dips into her own experiences and that of others to help accomplish a life of nourishment for our body, mind & soul. Shvetha among many other accomplishments, runs an NGO called A lot of Dreams, a trust which supports education, specifically supporting high performing girls from low income backgrounds with college fees, materials and additional tuition classes.
Nothing has cemented the importance of looking good like Instagram has. While I have nothing against looking good and sharing that feeling with friends and followers, I do feel a twinge of joylessness if that has to come at the price of giving up eating what I truly enjoy.
The question of what one should eat remains on many people’s minds and comes up, amusingly so, during prolonged conversations over coffee, cake and more potent concoctions.
So how should one walk the fine line between good food and great looks? After marrying an incurable romantic foodie (a person whose first love is food!), delivering two babies, putting on and then patiently losing 15 kgs over two years, I can say that finding this balance is possible irrespective of your genetic destiny. But before I go to the few simple rules I follow, I must mention that one size does not fit all- there are diets and fitness regimes that suit every lifestyle.
Intermittent Fasting for one is growing in popularity and although seems scientifically authentic does not fit my lifestyle. The thought of not eating/drinking anything except water till afternoon while also having to exercise and get two kids ready for school before heading to work gave me the shivers.
The “warrior” diet of grazing through the day and eating well at night holds more appeal and although I do not call it by this term, my book Gorgeous : Eat Well, Look Great has a “red carpet ready” diet plan based on this principal. Imagine eating carbs at night and still looking your best! Actually, you do not have to imagine it, you can do it because it works. I have seen it work on scores of people of different age groups, sizes and metabolic rates. Eating carbs at night helps us sleep better and wake up feeling energetic. Best yet is that it promotes weight loss even though most people I know are used to accepting the idea that eating heavier during the day and lighter at night is the best way to maintain one’s body weight. Anyone who wants to see results- in weight loss, energy and confidence levels should try the “red carpet ready” plan unless they are on insulin medication in which case they have to consult their doctor before changing their eating plan drastically.
Other diets such as the Ketogenic diet (too extreme for me) and going gluten free (in this I see benefits, although I have not given up gluten myself) are popular too. In my belief, diets like religion offer a path. Knowing which is best for you is a matter of faith and having a sense of personal progress. Every time I feel the need to shed a kilo or so, I adopt the “warrior” strategy but otherwise it is the “my way” diet- a tried and tested coterie of foods I love and that give me a feeling of familiarity and comfort. Most of my meals comprise something that is locally grown and as much as possible seasonal, although I do indulge guilt-free on berries, Australian oranges and a few other treats from afar!
If I had to distil what I do to strike a balance in this age of food, I would remind myself of the thoughts below. Tweak them to suit who you are and ease into them so that your rules last and over time you will begin to see some amazing results.
Eat what you enjoy
When the quinoa craze set in some years back, I tried to replace my beloved rice with it. After a point, I missed rice so much that I went back to it with a bigger appetite than before as it was comforting to me (and unfortunately to my waist line). I reached a compromise- quinoa features in my diet once in a while but rice does every day. I now have semi-brown, red or brown rice while white rice is kept as a treat.
You come first
Those with kids will agree that raising them in this generation is somehow more taxing than when our parents raised us. Our innocence has been dashed by news stories of children being kidnapped or worse and we feel the need to protect them far more than we were protected. This takes more time and mental effort reducing the acts of taking care of ourselves a privilege rather than a necessity. Take care of your needs first and see the energy you will have to tackle the rest. This includes eating what is good for you- foods that are easy to make, make you feel good and definitely the occasional indulgences at home or out. It also includes time for any form of exercise you like including dancing or playing with your kids, preferably outdoors!
Experiment or don’t
I get bored with the same routine so I mix it up with a combination of stretching, walking, jogging and an occasional game of tennis or a swim. Even then, there are days when I would rather watch Amazon Prime in my limited downtime. As long as there are more days when you exercise even for 20 minutes and less days of binge watching at the expense of movement, you are on the right track. There are those who simply love one form of exercise over all else and I admire them. They end up pushing their limits, joining a group and travelling to pursue their interests. That’s a great way too.
So, experiment or don’t experiment, that’s up to you- just know that there is more than one way to find the fine balance between food, fitness, family and everything else.
Gorgeous: Eat Well, Look Great featuring recipes and conversations with India's top models on the best way to stay fit and beautiful, is published by Harper Collins India and is available on www.amazon.in.