Dietitian Lavleen Kaur Uncovers Super-Exceptional Benefits of 8 Ordinary Habits
Aren’t happiness and good health the only things that matter in the long run? If we are told to look for happiness in the smallest of moments, why not start looking at super-ordinary benefits behind some simple daily habits?
With so many options of “fancy” health and cosmetic products to choose from, we forget how natural ordinary food items and habits go a long way.
These habits are not extraordinary, they are common daily habits that both you and I are aware of. “Believe me or not, these not-so extraordinary habits have extraordinary benefits. Adopting them will not only benefit you in the future but help you lead a healthy and happy lifestyle”, says Lavleen Kaur.
Lavleen Kaur, a dietitian and clinical nutritionist, is the founder of Diet Insight, a diet clinic which she launched in 2014 in Chandigarh, India. With a master’s degree in Foods & Nutrition, master’s in Education, post-graduation in Health & Family Welfare, she is one of the most qualified dietitians, and the recipient of ‘Most Promising Youngest Dietitian in North India’ at the International Healthcare Awards held in New Delhi in 2016.
So, what are those ordinary habits that have extraordinary benefits?
The first moment that you are born as a baby, you start breathing. From that first instance of inhaling and exhaling, your body system starts functioning slowly. However, as you grow up and life becomes hectic with work and other responsibilities, we often forget the simple act of catching a breath. There is no time to relax in this fast-moving world. When we get a chance to relax, have you ever noticed the way your breathing process happens?
“Half of your problems will be resolved if you learn how to control your breath”, says Lavleen. Yoga is a great practice not because it improves mind-body awareness but rather because it helps you focus and control your power of breathing. She also advises a simple habit of practicing breathing before every meal. All you need to do is inhale and exhale before starting your food. Inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 6 seconds and then exhale deeply for 6 seconds. This ordinary practice of inhaling and exhaling helps in better digestion by targeting inflamed cells in your body.
2. Climbing stairs
It is an ordinary thing to climb stairs to burn calories, isn’t it? Climbing stairs is a great way to burn calories per minute than jogging. Other than a physical exercise to burn calories, it has other extraordinary benefits like strengthening of the spinal cord and increasing stamina. It also benefits by improving balance and toning your muscles. Being able to climb stairs shows overall good health.
If you have health conditions that do not allow you to climb stairs without holding the side railing, then this is not recommended for you. However, when climbing stairs, maintain a proper posture and climb the stairs without the help of the support where possible. Besides increasing your fat burning capacity and improving your spinal power, in no time you will see how this simple practice will yield extra-ordinary benefits.
3. Practicing gratitude and praying before meals
Praying before starting a meal is not only a way of being grateful but a sense of invoking positive spiritual energy. Being thankful for the food on your plate may not have a scientific value. But no doubt that practicing gratitude and appreciation does have extraordinary benefits. Even children in school are taught to be thankful for their food. So, what are these benefits, you may ask?
Lavleen assures that praying before a meal will help in good digestion. Being thankful before starting a meal focuses your attention on eating and this way prepares your physiological body to digest the food by increasing salvation.
Being raised in a diversified cultural Indian society, the proof lies in our holy books such as Gita and other spiritual scriptures. It is written that praying before a meal also means that our god blesses us and helps in a good digestion process.
Even though it is a remarkably simple act of gratitude, adopting this habit will improve your positive outlook towards life and aid in digestion.
4. Coconut oil – ‘the ordinary oil’
Coconut oil is one product that has flooded the market – from food to cosmetics. It has become extremely popular and for good reasons, of course! It has many health benefits and is readily available.
One habit to implement it in your daily life for extraordinary benefits is oil pulling. It is an Ayurveda dental practice that not only improves oral health but overall well being. Lavleen advises practicing oil pulling twice a day: once after waking up and right before sleeping. All you need to do is take a spoonful of cold-pressed virgin coconut oil in your mouth, swish it, and then spit it out after few mins. You can also opt for sesame or olive oil if you do not like the taste of coconut oil. She didn’t believe in this traditional oral technique but after trying it, she now shares her personal experience and tells us that, “The first time I tried oil pulling, it was very uneasy and weird but after months of continuously doing it, I witnessed improvement in my oral health and reduction of toxicity in my body.”
Another extraordinary benefit of coconut oil is witnessed by applying coconut oil on your under-eyes and face. Best results are found by rubbing coconut oil during the night, before sleeping. Instead of using chemical filled beauty products, adopting this ordinary habit will help you get a natural radiating glow on your face without any side effects!
The ordinary habits of incorporating coconut oil through oil pulling and rubbing will help in natural liver cleansing in the morning and for a skin glow during the night.
5. Isabgol (psyllium husk) in your diet
Isabgol is an Indian home remedy that is used to treat constipation and diarrhea, and for weight loss. It is a probiotic, so the extraordinary benefit of Isabgol is that it helps enhance fiber intake in your daily food. It is recommended to take Isabgol directly but if you do not like the taste of it, there are other ways to include it in your food. You can take a spoonful and add it into Chapati to act as a binder.
Not only does Isabgol helps with constipation but it is great for maintaining blood sugar levels. This can be done by taking Isabgol and mixing it with a glass of water along with a pinch of cinnamon. You can drink this before bed for best results.
6. Consumption of leaves
Leaves like neem, tulsi and curry leaves that we see around us, have more health benefits than we might realize.
Curry leaves are used in many Indian dishes as it is a rich source of iron. For people suffering through anemia or low levels of hemoglobin, curry leaves are a natural remedy towards a healthier lifestyle. Curry leaves are also beneficial for the reversal of grey hair.
Here is a simple home remedy for reducing grey hair by Lavleen:
Mix curry leaves powder, fenugreek powder, coconut oil, and mustard oil and apply on your hair like a conditioner before washing your hair.
Neem leaves are used to treat hair and skin problems because of its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. It also helps with menstrual imbalances. However, the consumption of neem is not advisable during pregnancy.
Our Indian food makes the most extra-ordinary use of these leaves by adding it into our daily food. We should, therefore, try consuming neem, tulsi and curry leaves to lead a healthy life.
7. The Indian ‘tadka’
Yes, that is right! Besides leaves, Indian ‘tadka’ which can be found in any Indian kitchen has its extraordinary benefits that you might have not realized yet. Cumin is the basic ingredient in a tadka and is useful for treating digestive problems. The ingredients of a tadka are amazingly simple and ordinary which are found in every kitchen, but did you know that they are a great immunity booster?
Lavleen says, “Indian Kitchen is a complete pharmacy in itself.” Salt, black pepper, asafetida, carrom seeds, turmeric, and ginger, amongst many others are great immunity boosters. Other beneficial spices available in every Indian kitchen are cinnamon, star anise, cloves, and green cardamom.
8. Counting the basics, not just calories
Calorie counting has become a daily habit as we progress towards weight loss or healthy eating. However, we should also focus and keep a count of usage hours of gadgets, and other things like:
- Keep a count on your salt intake. You should not eat more than 6 grams of salt in a day which is almost a teaspoon. Excess salt can affect your heart, blood pressure and kidneys.
- Keep a count on how many times in a week you consumed non-veg food. It creates toxicity in the body. Consuming it twice a week is acceptable. The plant-based diet is comparatively considered healthy. It also helps removes the toxins from the body making one feel lighter.
Also, Lavleen mentions that after drinking tea, our body goes on a dehydration mode. Therefore, it is important that after an hour of drinking tea, you should make sure you drink as much water as possible.
“Simple habits start showing extraordinary benefits once you change your outlook. It is basic human nature to look at the negative aspects first. You can start making an extraordinary change starting now. My advice is to start by swapping negative thoughts with positive ones, to lead a healthy and happier lifestyle. I am just an ordinary human who is sharing some ordinary information that has extraordinary benefits” concludes Lavleen.