Milking your money and health! Jan 30th

This starts pretty early in life.

Your grandma tells you – ghee is sacred. It is the gift of cows and food for gods.

Then your ma tells you – want lustrous hair and skin? Chupchaap take some ghee!

Then your doctor tells you – for easy digestion, make sure you get your share of dahi.

And then you will hear yourself thinking and saying things like – “I felt a little confused when some friends said such horrible things about having milk! Par kya hai na, I go by my gut feeling about these things – I need dairy – milk and all products of milk – to be healthy”.

Whatever role we may be in – grandmother, teacher, vice president, CEO, teacher, mother, sister, banker, whatever – ability to think flawlessly is a great asset. We can all agree that it will come handy in every situation of life. This requires that we go meta, and that means thinking and examining the process of thinking itself.

I’ll share the most commonly seen blocks to sound thinking that I encounter in my work.  

a. accepting inaccurate information.

b. making wrong inferences. 

c. tailoring the information and conclusions to suit one’s bias. 

d. Making unjustified assumptions.

e. Not staying open to listening to reasons.

d. Getting defensive and or resorting to indifference.

And when it comes to this particular topic of dairy, it’s common to see the ethnocentric type of mental blocks. For instance, we say ‘we north Indians,’ ‘we south Indians’, ‘we Hindus,’ and ‘we brahmins’ to justify our position.  

 

We protect and perpetuate our faulty thinking in many ways. Here are some common strategies we indulge in –

a. forming groups with others like yourself – ‘we the dairy lovers,’ ‘we the coffee drinkers’ kind of thing. In a room full of alcoholics, the lone sober guy is the oddball after all!

b. staying passive and unquestioning in relationships – there are many payoffs to believing, “my mother is my encyclopedia!” 

c. cut off or use excuses when critiqued – you become aloof or indifferent with people that don’t agree with your reasoning. Aloofness is one way of cutting off information itself. ‘This is how – I was raised /I am / it works for me – are some examples of excuses.

d. full-blown acting out – having an emotional outburst disproportional to the context or resorting to baseless ‘they shamed me’ stories.

In clinical and hospital settings, it is relatively common to see variations of these blocks and strategies unfold in real-life situations. The intention of sharing it with you is to alert you to your possible flaws of thinking that may come up in the reading and processing of the remainder of this post.  

There is absolutely NO pressure on you to change your behavior. It is entirely your choice IF and WHEN you want to address it. So, take a brief pause, relax, and read further. Read slowly. Assimilate the meaning of each statement in your mind before you read the next one.

Ready?

Let’s start.

The fat and protein content of mammalian milk varies significantly among the species.

It is inversely proportional to the rate of growth at which the baby animal doubles in size. This is to say that an animal that is fastest to double itself in size has the highest protein content in its milk. And it also has a comparatively shorter span of life.

Rat’s milk has 11.8 gm of protein per 100 ml – It doubles its size in 4 1/2 days and has an average life span of 2 years

Cat’s milk has 9.5 gm of protein per 100 ml – It doubles its size in 7 days and has an average lifespan of 2-16 years

The dog’s milk has 7.1 grams of protein per 100 ml – It doubles its size in 8 days and has an average lifespan of 10-13 years

Goat’s milk has 4.1 gm of protein per 100 ml – It doubles its size in 19 days and has an average lifespan of 15-18 years

Cow’s milk has 3.3 gm of protein per 100 ml – It doubles its size in 47 days and has an average lifespan of 18- 22 years

Horse’s milk has 2.4 gm of protein per 100 ml – It doubles its size in 60 days and has an average lifespan of 25-30 years

Human milk has 1.2 gm of protein per 100 ml – Human baby doubles its size in 180 days and has an average lifespan of 79 years

This is to say that a human baby receives a low-protein content food, such as human breast milk. Exclusively, that too – at the time of the highest growth spurt in its lifetime.

While we’re on this topic of milk, let me say this – you may have observed that the fat content of human breast milk is the same as that of cow milk. I only discussed proteins so far. But yes, it is the same or similar percentage of fat content, in the region of 3.7%.

And you may be thinking to yourself – ” Dekha! main na kehti thi ..! ” Wait, I am not finished yet.

The cow’s milk is dominantly saturated fat, whereas human breast milk is not.

So having similar numbers doesn’t mean anything because they are of different composition altogether. This is to say, you can successfully make paneer, junnu, and basundhi out of cow’s milk. But nobody can make ever make paneer, junnu or basundhi out of human breast milk for this reason. Eewww!

You may decide whether dairy consumption is right for you or not right for you. And I sincerely hope your actions will be in alignment with what you think and feel to be correct.

 

 

 

“It’s V Hard When People Don’t Like Me .. Why Don’t I Just Go With Whatever They Say?”

Dear reader,

Now and then, it so happens, that I will be reading a book when some words, some guidance, some insights just leap out of the page! And ask to be internalized. Like, that voice inside is SO clear about this instruction.

And I wonder, why is it saying this now? Am I going to need this ?? And in what context??? The questions just pour out from inside! Over the years, I’ve learned to stay calm.

And then, in just a couple of days, the situation will present when the message contained in those words is like a perfect fit. And I’ll hear a faint voice that says – this is why.

Someone in a session asked – “it’s v hard when people don’t like me .. why don’t I go with whatever they say? And then I can do what I want when I’m by myself.”

Here’s what the book fairies had me read –

“who doesn’t prefer being liked to being disliked? The problem is where this desire stands in the hierarchy of your values. Does it stand at the peak, above integrity and self-esteem? The issue is not whether you want to be liked, but what you are willing to give in exchange. The more you surrender to the fear of someone’s disapproval, the more you will lose face in your own eyes, and the more desperate you become for someone’s approval. Within you is a void that should have been filled by self-esteem. When you fill it with the approval of others instead, the void grows deeper, and the hunger for acceptance and approval grows stronger. The only solution is to summon the courage to honor your own judgment, frightening though that might be in the beginning.”

Some insights need to be read, re-read … and above all else, need to be applied time and time again. I can sincerely say I’ve practiced it for a long time .. and continue to do so with this particular one, my reader friend. I hope you, too, will reflect on this gem of wisdom. Just sit with it and see what comes of it for you.

And let’s both send a heartfelt thanks to dear Dr.Branden, who has articulated this truth so eloquently.

Love,

Acceptance .. What Does It Mean?

Have you given this question a thought as to what acceptance may mean to you?

In the name of respecting each other, people sometimes require us to suspend our thinking faculties.

Let me share a story.

Someone I know happened to phone her dad to ask him to be careful. She shared with him how smoking was making people vulnerable to upper respiratory problems. And how with his age combined with many many years of smoking, it could expose him to deep trouble. Especially now, with all that is going on in the world with this COVID. Being so far away from him that she may not be able to help if things were to go wrong, she expressed her concern.

And what did her dad do?

He yelled back at her asking, do all five fingers look the same?? He angrily told how she should learn to be a little more accepting of people that are unlike her prim and proper self! Be respectful of my choices, he screamed at her.

Huh??

She was so stunned with that response that she did not know what hit her!

To her, it was her dad and his smoking habit, for a vegan person like myself, it could be my meat-eating friend, and with you, it may be a roomie that loves beer for breakfast every day – asking us to be accepting of them.

This is what acceptance means, folks.

Acceptance means not quarreling with facts.

Acceptance in this particular context means to accept that the dad is a smoker. And that he’s very likely addicted to nicotine.

Acceptance means that you make your own arrangements to deal with the reality of a smokey house if you were to visit him at his place. You don’t get to grumble and whine about his smokey house!

Acceptance means that you must be prepared to shell out some money and invite him to a restaurant for a meet ‘n’ chat – for yourself because you don’t want to endure being the passive smoker while you politely hang out with him in his smokey house.

Acceptance means you come to terms that he has all the freedom to buy his cigarettes with his money and smoke all he wants within the confines of his own house.

Oh and, accepting dad has NOTHING to do with accepting his actions. Acceptance is not a behavioral blank-check!!

So, acceptance does NOT mean that you have accepted smoking to be normal. Or correct.

Or that you would fund his habit or sit and smoke to keep him company!

With your friends and family, differences can come with any issue.

No one – no friend, no family – not even your own dad, can require you to suspend commonsense and your ability to think through things, in the name of acceptance.

Having clarity about matters like this is vital if you don’t want people in your life guilt-tripping you.

Love,

g

I’m NOT Teaching Any Recipes!

 

So many of you wrote in asking for healthy recipes!

A healthy way to make pakoras, chips, and sweets 😂 , and brand names of healthy oils. Oh, dear!

Folks, listen to me – here’s the first super easy and perhaps ONLY recipe you’ll need for health.

#1 Learn to eat ingredients.

If you want to lose weight, get over your health issues caused by insulin resistance, you must stop going after elaborate recipes.

Just steamed rice is a complete dish.

Cooked dhal is a complete dish.

Chopped vegetables and fruits are complete in and of themselves.

‘Oh Girija, what are you saying! Don’t you have any need for taste??’

They are all tasty on their own. To me, that is! And if you combine two or three of these, it gets even better.

And if it helps you eat more vegetables, grains, and lentils in their simple and pure form – you may use a little salt, some spices, and cook them minimally.

Above all else, learn to combine taste elements of ingredients elegantly.

Such as mixing the sweet carrots with salty greens and spicy onions and fresh, crisp cucumbers – it becomes tasty like any other elaborate dish, but only healthier!

Put a heap of this salad on cooked rice, salt to taste – it will become a filling pulao type dish.

You can combine colors, textures, tastes of plain vegetables, fruit, cooked pulses, and grains. Chopping a vegetable finely and mixing it with a little fruit makes it so much easier to eat as it becomes juicy.

With minimal cooking, it increases your options even more.

You know what eating this way does to you, dear reader?

a. It frees up your time, money, and mental space from traditional cooking.

b. The highly nourishing – zero nonsense way of eating will loosen your attachment to junk food.

c. You can eat this type of food to your fill without having to count calories or worry about weight gain.

One of my American friends went on a health resort stay recently, which was terrific, by her admission. She came back feeling so much lighter – both in body and mind – and sat down to reflect the one thing that may have led to the result. This is what she concluded – mostly eat what we count as ingredients. She spent upwards of 5000 dollars for this insight!

Love,

g

Do You Worry You’ll Look Bad If You Said That?

Have you seen your car mechanic sometimes tilt his head and listen to the car sounds intently? I think that’s the cutest sight because it reminds me of my sweet dogs.

I digress. Just like how dogs and mechanics slant their heads to catch any strange sounds, I look for particular words that my people speak when they come for a session with me.

One that gets my attention is this four-lettered word can’t.

‘ I can’t give up milk.’

‘ I can’t let go of coffee ever.’

‘I can’t do this diet thing. It’s too hard.’

After patiently listening to all they’ve to say, I smile and ask – ‘hey, is it can’t do or won’t do?’

‘Of course, I can’t say I won’t, G’ they retort.

Saw that? 

I ask why not.

And they give me some variation of ‘it will make me look like I am lazy/bad/resistant/disinterested.’

No no nooooo.

It will NOT make you look wicked or lazy or disinterested. It will make you seem honest.

And that, my friend, is a game-changer for you right there.

Being sincere about what you’re feeling about milk, coffee, diet, and just everything else in life, really – IS the first right step towards solving the problem – it will only help you arrive at solutions and move you forward, my dear reader.

Love,

g

 

The ONE Guidance I Look Up To When Am Not Feeling Good With Myself

Would it surprise you if I said, that most one on one consultations with me as a dietitian start off with ‘oh Girija, I’m not feeling good about myself in a while now’?

And they go on, ‘I don’t know why but I just don’t even feel like looking at myself anymore.’

At this point, I will considerately encourage them with ‘tell me more.’ And we both begin to see how there is an inevitable dip in the way they’re valuing themselves.

Given how it is the day before Valentine’s day that you and I are having this conversation, it’s good to remind ourselves that the first love relationship that needs to consummate is the one we each have with our selves.

In all this, the first thing to remember is that love is a verb.

How we value ourselves is indeed a powerful thing that keeps changing, reflecting our actions of what we are doing to value ourselves. We can tell tall stories about wanting this and desiring that, but unless we do something about it, it doesn’t count to anything.

And my friend, we all fall into the knowing-doing gap from time to time. Meaning, we don’t do the things that we know to be good for us! This includes me too 🙋‍♀️

When this happens long enough with a particular area of our life, we lose our sense of pride. We don’t like ourselves for how we are behaving. This shows up as ‘I don’t feel good about myself.’

For all such times, I have these precious words of guidance from one of the best psychologists I’ve read in all my life. And I’d like to share it with you. Think of this as my Valentine’s Day gift to you, dear reader.

Here we go –

“Any time you admit a difficult truth, any time you face that which you have been afraid to face, any time you acknowledge, to yourself or to others, facts you have been evading, any time you are willing to tolerate temporary fear or anxiety on the path to better contact with reality – your self-esteem increases. When you persist in your evasions and contradictions, you undermine your self-esteem, because, at a deeper level, you know what you are doing.” Dr. Nathaniel Branden

These words speak to my very soul, dear reader. And it always gets me back on track. I hope you reflect along these lines and see what comes up for you.

Wishing you the best always,

g

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Hey G, What Does It mean To Heal Yourself?”

These last few days, I’ve been discussing paradoxes wherever I go, I don’t know why that is! I’m not complaining at all as these conversations are giving all parties concerned with some stunning clarity.

Let’s get right to the question someone asked me – “Hey G, what does it mean to heal yourself?”

Let me share the context a little bit – this person struggled around some seemingly small trivial issues for a very long time. Until it was no longer insignificant or unimportant anymore. And we were/are untangling it together and getting back on track. And they asked this question.

What do you think healing yourself means?

The moment I asked myself this, my inner girl shot back –

“It sure doesn’t mean that you can pull your own teeth and do your own surgery if and when that’s required, Girija.” 🙄

‘Oh my mooh phat is still active, huh’ I thought 😂 Jokes aside, what she said is correct! So, to that extent, ‘heal yourself’ is misleading.

Upon reflecting over this, here’s what I find ‘heal yourself’ to mean –

It means that you are the only person who can take responsibility to heal yourself. 

Only you get to decide to ask for help (or not), whether it is from a dentist, surgeon, dietitian, whoever. In normal circumstances, no healer will come knocking on your door, asking what part of you needs fixing.

But then, you must also remember that your trainer can’t make you fit any more than your bank can make you wealthy. Your growth, your learning, and your healing is an outcome of your own effort. It would help if you shouldered that responsibility.

See the paradox of it all, dear reader?

It would be best if you struck a balance between having the humility to ask and receive support. Without becoming a puppet in the hands of some doctor, teacher, guru, whoever – to the extent that you don’t even realize that they’re only saying the things you want and like to hear.

You must be able to listen to your intuition and receive constructive criticism and feedback.

So, all in all, you must be able to see and recognize opposing forces in action for any given situation. And above all else, deliberately choose to stay aware!

Thoughts? Hit reply and share it with me.

Love,

g

PS: If there’s any friend or anyone that you think would benefit from reading this post, forward it to them!

“I quit, G”

I was like, hey, wait! Whaat?

Very dramatic. Just then, the email takes a whole lot of time to load up. And finally, it did. It was the same person in the upma story from last week.

She wrote in to say she has quit staying stuck.

I was stunned by how she has taken action. Even more importantly, she came up with some critical pointed questions for our session. And that’s what I want to talk to you about today.

She asked me how to figure out exactly when she’s jumping the upma lane to end up in the cake territory.

What a fabulous question!
So, I asked her current situation – when does she realize it. And she replied, earliest is at least 2-3 weeks after going completely downhill and hitting rock bottom. And that too, just a fleeting feeling of ‘oh damn, I have fallen off again.’

Dear reader, now please tell me something – do you ever remember watching the highlights of a cricket match? Or say, Wimbledon? Or any sport for that matter?

Do you recollect seeing the delicious s-l-o-w motion of a calculating Javagal-Srinath-160-kmph-swing that catches the batsman entirely off guard, he messily attempts to get it, and the ball flies beautifully into the waiting hands of the wicket-keeper?

This is precisely what you must do with the action of jumping upma lane to see how you unintentionally end up landing in the cake mess. This would be just like slow-motion replay to analyze a close run out or LBW. You know right, how these elite players studiously watch hours and hours of videos of their own innings?

While you may not need to do such an exhaustive study of your actions, you must bring similar diligence to assess yourself. This is the only way to get unstuck.

There you have it, my friend! Thanks to our upma girl, you got some insights too. Giving her these examples sure got me unstuck in one area of my life big time this month, more on this next time.

Love,
g

Do You Start With Upma Recipe And End Up Baking A Cake Instead?

I have a question for you.

What if, just what if, you get started with making say, upma in the kitchen and halfway through losing track with that! You get side-tracked so badly that you fail to see the vegetables you chopped for upma, the curry leaves and green chilies you kept aside, you even forget that you took out the salt and hing from the cupboard!

You get so carried away with the rava cake recipe that somebody is making on the youtube that you are watching on your iPad while cooking in the kitchen. And you ignore all the prep you had made for upma, and you end up baking the rava cake instead.

Has this ever happened with you? What if it does happen with you??

I asked this exact question to one of my clients recently. And she quickly said, ‘oh, that would never happen to me, Giri!’ So, I asked how come?

“Because, right from when I get started with making upma, my mind is set on it. I will see myself eating a plate full of upma while looking through my Facebook feed – in my head – long before it ever gets done!” she said.

This was the same person who was calling in to tell me how she forgot about her eating healthy plans and weight goals just two weeks into the new year. She was stunned that what she was doing was just that – starting with upma intention and ending up with a cake instead!

Here’s what I discussed with her and am going to share with you too, my friend – listen carefully. I told her that she must write down her healthy eating and weight goals 20 times a day spread over morning, noon, evening, and night.

And she has reported how that goal sentence keeps buzzing in her head at all times of the day!

Oh, you know what? I do this myself with my own goals. And I cannot tell you just how useful it is in programming your whole system towards your goals. It just doesn’t let you waver at all! It certainly makes it very, very hard to err. Try for yourself and tell me how it goes for you.

Until next time,
g

It Is A Custom, After All ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Today I am going to tell you a story. It’s from when I was within this Endocrine team that I would function like my boss’s assistant, sit through the patient consultations, take notes, explain the conversation in simple language to the patients later, and so on. When I wasn’t assisting him, I’d work as a dietitian and diabetes educator.

This doc had a charming way of making small talk with patients to put them at ease. But the thing that would most catch my attention is how he’d remember details of the conversation and even make notes – to use it at just the right time to drive home a point. Like, spot-on timing!

That day, we were seeing a man with diabetes who had come in with his wife. That particular day being a festival, my boss asked the lady if her husband had bought her any new saree. And she replied that he had bought one last month for her birthday and therefore gave this festival saree a skip.

We were seeing the man that day as he had injured his feet upon walking bare feet on a recent temple visit. So, understandably my boss was upset that such a well-informed man had gotten himself into this horrible mess – which was entirely avoidable in the first place.

And the doc went on pointing how this patient had received several sessions of diabetes education from me, and how I had already given him instructions on how to handle different situations as a person with diabetes – low sugar, foot care, eating out, adjusting insulin and so much more.

Thank goodness I had made my notes for all that I had covered in my sessions! The quiet man finally spoke up and said to the doc – “I could have very well walked with my shoes in the park next to the temple, all the while chanting my prayers. I am sure the gods would be happy. But I wouldn’t be. Customs, you see! Just how do I give up the custom of doing pradakshina, please tell me!!”

My mouth fell open upon hearing how this man did not think anything of his diabetes. For him to have walked bare feet around the temple doing a pradakshina in the hot summer sun, all in the name of custom?? I was stunned.

My boss turned to the man’s wife, looking her straight in the eye he said, “it is absolutely a custom that he must buy you a new saree for Gowri habba ( festival of the day). So what if he bought one for your birthday last week! Oh and! Make sure it’s a festive silk one – not a paisa less than 25,000 Rupees. And definitely remember to get one each for Dasara and Deepavali too. It is absolutely customary to do that.”

Both of us ladies gleefully laughed! The husband was stumped. And my boss had delivered the lesson perfectly, along with a dash of humor.

I remember this story especially around festival times when people tell me, ‘oh Girija, and I just had to make milk payasam or ghee something-else and have it as a family .. after all our customs no!’

I think it was the great George Bernard Shaw who once said – am paraphrasing, in the name of custom, one can get away with any atrocity. True, isn’t it?

Now my dear reader, will you take ten minutes to reflect and see what absurd things you may be doing in the name of custom?

Want Freedom From Procrastination?

Firstly, happy Independence Day!

On most special days, holidays, and weekends – pretty much on all the days when I can laze back in bed for an extra ten minutes – I ask myself, ‘how can I stop being lazy.’ 😂

Ten on ten for the irony of it all!

It looks like I am not alone at all.

Someone recently said to me, ‘Girija, if I am so smart, why can’t I get this crap done once and for all??’

They are trying to lose 20 kilos.

And another friend said of her cousin, ‘I dunno why she drinks so much – she’s way too intelligent for that.’

In both cases, they are saying – ‘yeah yeah, we’ll get to it one of these days’

Familiar huh?

I know I do it all the time! All I’ve control over is, to do less of it, that’s all.

What it is that you are procrastinating doesn’t matter – whether it is starting to eat healthily or learning some skill, or whatever it is, the dynamic of procrastination is the same.

When you sense that other people’s assessment of you is much higher than your evaluation of your talent or skill to get that specific job done, you will not like to risk losing your value in their eyes.

Therefore, in running the cost-benefit analysis of things, your brain will decide it is much better not to ruin that false but favorable assessment of the world (she’s way too intelligent).  And our brains are always running cost-benefit analysis on everything. Or sometimes it could be your self-assessment albeit a distorted one (I am so smart) about your “talent.” And therefore, it decides that it is wise to postpone doing or even starting the damn thing indefinitely!

This is what we call the ego trap in evolutionary psychology circles. And this is precisely what you must learn to recognize and choose to take the counter-intuitive step if you want real and lasting freedom from procrastination.

Ask me why.

It’s because that is where your opportunity to earn precious self-esteem lies hidden!

Love,

g

What Two Of My Fav Writers Say About Tracking

Depending on where in the world you are, it’s the last day of July.

Already??

Phew!

Yes. It just flew by us, no? All of July, I discussed Leela’s story with you. Even in bits and pieces, it gave you a glimpse of how tracking is a useful habit. Today, I’ll share two of my favorite writers/influencers and their insight on the topic of monitoring.

My lovely friend, whether you’re learning to add a salad to your meals, trying to lose some weight, or looking to fit in some exercises into your routine – you just got to track whatever it is that you are doing. And then, in tiny increments, steadily improve upon the metrics.

See what this eminent surgeon and author Atul Gawande and productivity expert James Clear say about tracking.

Today, take a 30-minute break to be by yourself.

Just you .. with your thoughts, notebook, and pencil. Tomorrow is the beginning of a new month. Ask yourself what you’d like to accomplish – it doesn’t have to be some mega big ambition. Even that desire to wake up 10 minutes earlier is a valid goal to go after. You know, five months is a l-o-n-g time to get stuff done. Okay, at least long enough to get it started and get some traction.

You can’t ask for better mentors than Atul Gawande and James Clear for what you’re setting out to do. I hope you’ll check these links out.

Warmly,

g