It’s Diwali night, and the clock has struck 10. I’m squirming in my bedroom, trying to resolve a tug-of-war in my head. Part of me is prodding me to dash to the refrigerator, binge on either one of the six large tubes of Toblerone or the box of Ferrero Rocher. And then there's the saner voice that wants to know if I'm bidding goodbye to my bikini-bod plans just because the multicoloured kaju katlis are begging to be demolished?
I have to decide soon. What side do I choose?
Let's start from the beginning
A couple of weeks before Diwali arrived, I had started preparing for a healthy, no-sugar Diwali challenge by consulting a nutritionist. I wanted to come up with a fool-proof plan that ensured I steered clear of candied, sugary treats. But is there one? “Let’s face it: you are going to eat. Even if you don't buy them, you will be gifted sweet treats,” Dr. Minal Surve, a Mumbai-based nutrition consultant, had warned me days ago. At that moment, I dismissed the worry. I had already requested my father to discourage my U.S.-based uncle from sending us briefcase-sized dabbas of chocolates, mithai and namkeen. Following a nugget of advice by Dr. Amita Gadre, director, Holistic Nutrition by Amita Gadre, I had asked Dad to tell my uncle to gift us dried fruit instead. Dad nodded in agreement.
Imagine the shock when my father told me he had “forgotten” to pass the message along to my uncle, and now it was too late! Noooo! I could see my plans come crashing. Just then, I heard my inner voice say...
“Kill the demand to kill the supply.”
I immediately resolved to abstain from the sweet treats that would arrive home. My family members were free to savour them. Hopefully, they’d take my healthy diet plans seriously and eventually convince my uncle for healthier alternatives. Until then, I had to battle those temptations on my own.
Dr. Gadre had encouraged me on email to “give the mithai away to household help the very same day,” something that become a bit of a task in the presence of a food-loving family.
I had to think outside of the box.
Dr. Gadre had recommended enjoying “homemade goodness than store-bought mithai”. In line with that advice, I cooked my own Diwali savouries. Doing so not only helped me experiment with the usual fare, oversee what went inside my food, and give it a wholesome, nutritional twist. I made everything in small portions.
Since I don’t have an oven or air fryer, I included only one deep-fried item on the list. The besan methi mathris turned out so crispy and flavourful, we planned to turn our Annakoot into a ‘nacho party’, with the mathris as tortilla chips! This couldn’t have been more fun!
I then made multigrain chivda mostly with oats. The chivda tasted divine with just a smattering of oil, and was a hit in the family. The container was empty before we could even click a picture!
Dr. Surve had encouraged me to eat plenty of multi-coloured fruits, given their high vitamin C and antioxidant content. (“Think detox in Diwali itself!”) I also thought of making a sugarless pineapple or strawberry sheera (halwa). But since both fruits were unavailable, I mixed apples with oats to create a thick kheer, sweetened with honey. I cannot forget that look of pride in my mother’s eyes when she tasted a spoonful.
Body knows best
Did all this homemade goodness kill my cravings for the mithai, namkeen and chocolates stocked up in the kitchen? Not entirely; I’d be lying if I said had achieved meetha Nirvana, which is how the Toblerone moment happened. But like a good samaritan who saves you from a speeding train in the nick of time, my inner voice reminded me of something more important.
My love for my body.
It is this love and motivation that helped me avoid those sugary, deep-fried, chatpata snacks; that makes me pick the brains of three nutritionists who have helped me through my weakest moments, and encouraged me to cook my own fare as far as possible. This love for my body prompts me to exercise five to six days a week, meditate every morning, and summon every ounce of willpower to stay the course.
And then what I do next, is not a response to temptation. Rather, it is a well thought out choice.
I go to the fridge and pull out the dreaded Toblerone. I break off just a single unit and, following Dr. Gadre’s comfopearls wise words, savour it slowly and mindfully. The result? I don’t feel like having another piece. My body has had its fill.
Also Read: The Truth Behind That Sugar Rush
I now feel confident about the other goodies that are lying in wait. I am not threatened by them anymore! My piece of chocolate will now be a mindful choice, a luxurious indulgence, not a temptress waiting to derail my healthy goals. Are you reading this, my lovely family?
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