Thursday, July 9, 2015

Simple Living : Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani

Coke Peete, Whiskey Peete,
Bhool Gaye Nimbu Paani
Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani

Burger Khate, Pizza Chabate,
Bhool Gaye Dal Roti
Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani

So I got this mail from my manager last week and yes I had already seen this article the day it came out and it had motivated me to sign up for the Heart Study at the South Asian Heart Center  (the same study that I had my husband sign up for a year back)

Now I can hear you ask me -- what the heck are you talking about M? Get to the point. The point is K1  lost a 67 yo uncle to a heart attack on Tuesday (July 7th) and I lost a 43 yo cousin brother  to a heart attack on April 17th  and what this article is talking about is very real - we have an "Indian Heart" and with it comes the travails of an Indian Heart. I am a statistics kind of a girl, so here's what the article tells us -

  1. Indians have a 50-400% higher rate of heart disease  than other populations, regardless of geographic location.
  2. While most people think of heart disease as a “man’s disease", Indian women have an equally high disease rate as Indian men (yikes!)
  3. Being vegetarian doesn’t seem to protect Indians in the same way that it protects those of other ethnicities. Vegetarian Indians have a similar rate of heart disease as non-vegetarians. And maybe I am half glad I am not vegetarian ;-) ...kidding I am still at eating meat just twice a week.
  4. Being slim doesn’t protect Indians, either. Heart disease occur in Indians who have a normal BMI. I worked really hard to get my BMI to 20, so this is depressing !!!
  5. About one half of Indian men who have a heart attack are 50 years old or younger, and one quarter are 40 or younger. Yup #truth
What can you do about it?
  1. Advanced Testing - Conventional diagnostic tests are not enough. Advanced tests offered by the South Asian Heart Center are better indicators of the emerging risk factors (I just had my blood draw this week for the test)
  2. Understanding your RisksIf you are Indian and have high blood pressure, diabetes, an abnormal cholesterol profile, or a family history of  heart disease, or stroke, you may be at risk. 
  3. Personalized Comprehensive Heart Health Plan - Intervention, Medication, Diet, Exercise and Stress Reduction are mostly recommended depending on how your heart health is.
What did I do about it?
  1. Signed up for the heart health workshop (link above) - they run a very comprehensive panel of tests specific to gauge how your heart health is (my Lipid Profile & Sugar are better than normal but who knows what is happening inside...better safe than sorry!)
  2. Work out 5-7 times a week (non-negotiable with self)
  3. Read Ron Sinha's book - The South Asian Health Solution (highly recommended)
  4. Wear my fitbit - track my steps and sleep ( thanks Jen for adding me to the weekday hustle -- gets me to move more during the week)
  5. Cook 3-5 times a week at home and brown bag my lunch or eat a very standard lunch  (heart healthy) at the office cafe. I don't make any rice and very little grains (mostly quinoa and barley), lots of lentils and beans. We eat eggs regularly and a lot of veggies and fruits from the farmer's market. We lay off the carbs and stick to low fat on the dairy products.
  6. Practice Yoga and meditate regularly and read the Bhagvad Gita (gives me a different perspective on things...very grounding!) , take long walks with the family
  7. Practice Gratitude - it's so easy to ignore what we have and brood over what we don't. Listing what I have or what makes me smile that day is an easy way to be thankful. Try it - it really works !!!
  8. BollyX and Zumba every time the blues hit...maybe it's while I am cooking with Pandora blaring in the background...or it's a sweaty class with one of my favorite instructors.
  9. Participating in the American Heart Walk to help promote awareness  around heart health and volunteering for me is "getting back" ...feeling good about myself.
  10. Cook my son's favorite meals - an example below  (Quinoa with Lentils and Beans cooked Indian Style) , Matar Paneer (with low fat paneer), stir fried beans and a whole wheat chapati )

Are you having a great day -- Awesome,
Are you having a tough day...
Place a hand over your's still beating...
That means there is still hope...give your heart a chance!


  1. Well written and very informative post.

    1. Thanks Rajeev -- a lot of the tenets are from the Article Desi Nutrition Authority! I am really grateful for all the information and knowledge made available for us to make ourselves healthier!

  2. Number 7 is the best.

    1. I agree just changing our perspective to cup half full vs. cup half empty is winning half the battle :-)

  3. What does #2 include? I need to start....
    That chappati looks great!

    1. #2 includes Yoga (3 times a week), Zumba (5 times a week) and at least 1/2 hr walking every day. I built up to it over 3 years. I initially started with 1 yoga class and 2-3 Zumba classes...don't try to do too much too soon, pace yourself out. OK time for a confession - I have never made a chapatti in my life...this is from a neighborhood auntiji :-)

    2. Thank you! :)

  4. Dinner plate is inviting :)

    1. Thanks -- my son definitely thought so yesterday ;-)

  5. Yay! I'm glad I could play my small part :)

    1. Thanks Jen for motivating me to keep moving :)