Elakeya I am a young Physician Associate by career but always love to write! I expertise in medical writing, nutrition, cooking, and even travel and food.

The Perfect Guide Of A Balanced Diet For A Penny Pincher!

8 min read

The word “Balanced Diet” may make you pissed off and say “oh man, not again…not the old sorts of things like low- carb, low- fat, keto, high protein, low-calorie diet, jogging, swimming, flying and switching to a whole plate of greens because I am not a cow!”

What Makes You Think This Much!

For instance, are you fond of pani poori? Stop picturizing them, dudes! Of course, many of us do! It has everything the taste buds prefer, tangy, salty, crunchy, and comes up with a blend of sweetness.

Firstly, these palatable foods do not make us full but make us fulfilled after a worn-out exhausting day. We don’t prefer them for making us healthy but for a quick refreshment!

What if I tell you the palatable food(foods which are high in fats, sugar, and salt) addiction for everyone is a contribution to the big obesity epidemic!

I accept that even if you are ready to lead a healthier lifestyle, food cravings can throw a wrench in your plan lol! How many of you are raising hands for “I want to look fit but on the other hand I couldn’t help holding my mouth !”

Furthermore, to understand food cravings better, let’s know what is going on in your brain?

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1. What Is Happening In Your Brain?

To clarify, you have two major centres in your brain-the the pleasure centre and the reward centre. These two thick pals work together with the memory centre which is responsible for food cravings.

  1. When you are down, depressed, annoyed, bored, or a meet-up with your friends, you seek pleasure to feel good.
    Let’s say, if you eat a samosa, it ignites the receptors present in the pleasure centre which in turn releases endorphins, serotonin (the happy hormone), and opioids which makes you pleasurable.
  1. This emotion is recorded by memory centre and remember and replays the scenario that it makes you feel like in the future when you are down again.
  2. , this memory centre stimulates the reward pathway (dopamine pathway) to look out for the particular food. When you obtain that food, it ignites the pleasure centre again causing a feedback loop and the scene goes like“this samosa taste better than yesterday!”.

This is completely normal. Food cravings also help us to recognize what our body needs indeed. For example, we feel thirsty when we feel dehydrated and have an electrolyte imbalance.

In the same way, girls get too moody and upset because of the spiking of cortisol(the stress hormone) and get cravings to eating chocolates which in turn increase endorphins which makes good and decreases anxiety.

So the next time, when the pleasure center gets stimulated Just tell these magical words to your brain, “Hey Champ! This is not gonna work!”. And notice that you did it! You have finally crossed the Rajasthan samosa shop without adding your calories and fat!

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Okay now, what next?

When I get into the research, it made me stuck! Millions of theories and controversies on low-fat, low-carb, keto, low-sugar, metabolic, vegetarian, high protein, and even water diet!

Many people leave out comments like “tried this schedule, this is effective, lost 10 kg in 3 months” and the next comment goes like “it’s not working for me at all! After the continuous effort, I am subscribing to the channel!”

2. Which Diet Works For Whom?

A diet and a body need usually depends on the climate, country, activity (let’s say if you are going to run a marathon), culture, genetics, pregnancy, career, culture, metabolic disorders (like diabetes), age (body requirements will be different for an elder and a teen) and deficiencies.

If You Want To Grow Muscles

You need a high protein diet. Including meat, dairy, eggs are enough protein sources.
If you are a veg bodybuilder, beans, legumes, lentils, rice protein does wonder!

If You Want To Loss Weight

Low carb and low sugar diet help with regular exercise. In fact, it’s easy to consume 500 kcal, but your body won’t take any effort automatically unless you exercise. The main thing to lose fat is that you should be a CALORIE DEFICIT (around 500-700 kcal per day).

Do You Want To Run Your Body On Ketones Instead Of Fats?

The diet causes the breakdown of fat deposits as fuel and creates substances called ketones called ketosis. At this time, the keto diet allows your body to use fat as your fuel for energy instead of carbohydrates. Moreover, this is also preferable for conditions like epilepsy.

Do You Want to Reduce Your Age Number And Look Beautiful?

What about a juicy fruitarian diet! It is a wholesome treat to satisfy your sweet tooth. But beware! There are disadvantages too.

Experts say that depriving yourself of fat and protein can lead to nutrient imbalances. Additionally, fruits also high in natural sugar which increases blood sugar levels and leads to diabetes.

Do You Want To Reboot The Whole Body?

The water diet is the answer! This diet stimulates autophagy which is a process that helps your body to breakdown and recycles old parts of your body. Apart from restarting the system, they have huge benefits like preventing chronic diseases, increasing cognitive health, and loss of kilograms.

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3. What A Balanced Diet Should Contain?

  1. Micronutrients – (protein, carbohydrates, fats)
  2. Macronutrients– (vitamins, minerals, fibres, Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids etc)
  3. Water!

WHAT IS THE MOST AFFORDABLE BALANCED DIET? Yeah, I am not going to advise you on avocados and
Italian salads.

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4. Start Craving For Veggies:)

This headline sounds weird but you need to lose kilograms right?
Fruits and vegetables should generally make up the largest part of your meals! Decorate your balanced diet with lots and lots of plant-based products like

VEGETABLES

  • Carrots.
  • Beans .
  • Mushroom.
  • Garlic
  • Broccoli.
  • Cauliflower.
  • Capsicums.
  • Green leafy veggies.
  • Radish.
  • Beetroot.
  • Lady finger.
  • Bottle guard.
  • Brinjal.
  • Bitter gourd.
  • Cabbage.
  • Onions
  • Drumsticks.
  • Cucumbers.
  • Snake gourd.
  • Ridge gourd

FRUITS

  • Tomatoes
  • Gooseberries
  • Bananas
  • Guavas
  • Pineapples
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Grapes
  • Custard apple
  • Lemons
  • Watermelons
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Mango
  • Chikoo ( Sapota)
  • Palm fruit ( Nongu)
  • Tender Coconut
  • Pomegranate
  • Jujube ( Ilanthapazham)
  • Papayas

Come on, there are around 80,000 edible species in the Amazon rainforest, only around 30 species are discovered and eaten by humans and my list is just 0.5 % lol! Go for the seasonal fruit, to make up with your budget.

Don’t eat fruits after a big meal as a dessert. What you can do is try to eat them before a meal or in between a meal as a salad. (I eat chicken curry with cucumber slices and I love this combo!) Eating a full banana after a meal may mess up with your digestion and make you hungry again.

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5. Reduce The Portion Size Of Carbohydrates
To The Size Of The Fist!

I think this is probably not an easy tip for an Indian diet. But it’s worth it at the end.

  • Carbohydrates and starchy foods such as rice, pasta, cereal, and potato should be generally the size of your fist!
  • Wheat flour is a high carbohydrate ingredient in most baked foods like bread, muffins, and other cakes. Make sure to avoid them.
  • There are many vegetables high in carbs like carrots, beets, and sweet potatoes, so other tasty veggies are good beside them.

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6. Proteins Should Be The Size Of Palm!

  • Try to include at least two portions of fish or chicken, eggs, beef, lamb in your diet every week.
  • Use methods like stewing, baking, steaming, and boiling. Prefer the quality standard kitchenwares. Remove the skin of the meat and the white fat you can see.
  • The most common high heat cooking methods include grilling, broiling, frying, and deep-frying. These high heat cooking methods can form unhealthy compounds like heterocyclic amines, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons which have been linked to several types of cancer like pancreatic cancer.
  • Marinating meat in olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and red wine can reduce heterocyclic amines up to 90%.
  • Make sure you are not always eating muscle meat. For e.g., you should also take the liver which is rich in micronutrients like vitamin A, vitamin B, and iron.

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7. Add Sprouts To The Diet If You Are a Vegetarian Lover!

Cheapest With the highest amount of nutrition!

  • Eating sprouts at least thrice a week is beneficial for our health without any doubt. They are alkaline, whole, pure, and natural foods you can make at home and snack easily watching TV.
  • Apart from this, they are already in the predigested form(lots of digestive enzymes readily available) so they only a little digestion process, and the nutrients are easily absorbed into the blood.
  • They help weight loss, reduce blood pressure, and fight against diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
  • Green bean sprouts are easily available and are rich in antioxidants, proteins, vitamin C, and vitamin K and B Vitamins. They are helpful for bone building and helps to boost the immune system.
  • Chickpea sprouts
  • Bengal gram sprouts
  • Red lentil sprouts
  • Radish sprouts
  • Alfalfa sprouts

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8. Fats Are Not Bad, The Real Culprit Is The Type Of Fat :/

Remember any plant food has zero cholesterol. Humans do need cholesterol and the same is produced by our liver with the help of fats present in the food.

Healthy fats are present in

  • Fatty fish like mackerel, salmon, fresh tuna
  • Nuts like cashews, almonds, pistachios, badam.
  • Yogurt- full fat, natural yogurt contains good probiotic bacteria that support the gut function. Enjoy yogurt with nuts, raisins, fruits, etc.
  • Dark chocolate – Eating 28 grams of dark chocolate can even suffice sweet cravings and provides a good amount of 9 g of healthful fat as well as potassium and calcium. Additionally, They are also very rich in flavonoid antioxidants and also improves brain function in elders with cognitive disabilities.
  • Cold-pressed Oils- As I have earlier said, oil is not bad for health, the culprit is the type of oil we use. What is cold-pressed?
  • The cold-pressed method is the method of crushing the oilseeds at a very low temperature. This retains the nutrients and minerals in the oil itself. This doesn’t take place in refined oils. They are purified and the term purified means bleaching with acids and alkaline removing nutrients and minerals completely and adding preservatives so that it stays for longer shelf life.

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Are you with me? Great, then!

9. Are You Sure That You Can Really Prevent Overeating?

1. Don’t Look At Junk Foods!

Actually, our brain is wired to refined carbs and sugar which makes you even hungrier. Train your brain and try not to even catch sight of them like your ex lol!

2. Eat Breakfast!

Skipping the morning meal can confuse your body’s rhythm between fasting and eating. Not also, it can cause weight gain, irritability, mood swings, osteoporosis but also heart disease due to the insufficiency of nutrients for the body’s needs. It should be noted that you are having your dinner 2 hours before bed!

3. Take Your Own Sweet Time To Eat!

Our stomach takes 20 minutes to tell the brain that it is full. Obviously, we have a chance to overeat when we eat too fast.

4. Avoid Unnecessary Talks While Eating!

Eating while stressed out is unhealthy because we don’t digest our food properly and stress hormones slow down the metabolism along with promoting fat storage especially the belly fat. So, relax and enjoy every part of your meal!

5. Eliminate Alcohol!

Cutting off alcohol can eliminate additional sugar calories and prevents you from overeating. Actually, alcohol releases inhibitions and that’s why the majority of star restaurants offer a drink before the starting of a meal.

6. Stay Away From Trigger Foods Which Make Us Eat More!

Like sweets, baked foods, soda drinks, and refined carbohydrates. Especially, artificial sweeteners present in food makes us crave more, so refuse them.

7. Get Sufficient Sleep!

Furthermore, a study has mentioned that even if you lose a bit of sleep, it promotes insulin resistance and even leads to prediabetes which makes you hungrier and even craves sugar. Get 8 hours of sleep every day!

8. Exercise The Right Way!

Exercising the right way promotes weight loss and even control your appetite so that you don’t overeat. So walk for at least 30 minutes a day. Stay Active! Build a friendship with your locality friends, jog, and make fun!

Are you thinking “no, I hate being with people because I am an introvert!” C’mon dude, it’s time to grab your headphones as they are the best companions ever!

9. Water,Water,Water!

The study has mentioned that the sense of thirst is actually been confused for people as a sense of hunger. Whenever you feel hungry, drink a glass of water, and see how you feel.

And it’s also very very important to stay hydrated all the time. Drinking water early morning make mind-blowing wonders and promotes weight loss! Not believing me? Check it out through your own search dude. You’ll definitely find that it’s a worth tip.

10. Last But Not Least,
Don’t Eat Because You Are Bored!

Remember! When you are bored (actually feeling a blank space of emotional fulfillment), eating is a quick and dirty way! Therefore, every time you eat, filling your tummy, it releases dopamine which makes you excited again and again. So that’s why, we all feel happy when we eat during dealing with a boredom movie, book or a talk!

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To conclude, I’m probably going through a hard balancing journey as a fitness enthusiast as well as a foodie. Eating a slice of a pizza once a month doesn’t do much but eating the whole cardboard box does! Eating some pieces of jackfruit doesn’t do much but imagine eating the whole jackfruit. That’s the worst possible outcome.

Implementation of the above rules will get you to a smaller percentage of people who lead a healthy life. And that’s more than good enough!

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Reference Links:

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Elakeya I am a young Physician Associate by career but always love to write! I expertise in medical writing, nutrition, cooking, and even travel and food.

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