Monday, November 3, 2014

The GM Diet Plan

(*all images taken from google)

So one evening over dinner we were talking about healthy foods and the crap we eat. Rohan mentioned about General Motors having a special diet plan for its employees which has now apparently become world famous. It’s called the GM Diet Plan and is aimed at shedding anywhere in between 10-15 pounds in 7 days. Yeah.. you heard it right. I did not believe it either and obviously googled. So apparently it is a legit plan (I don’t know how many of my friends working in GM know about this). And just for kicks.. Keeping aside all the well known, advertised diet plans from famous nutritionists, I decided to follow this.
I am not obese, neither do I need to shed 10-15 pounds in a week. I did not believe in what they quoted about weight loss. What made me decide to do this is the nature of the plan and the self-control I would have to keep during all these seven days. That was something challenging. The plan says you can eat how much ever you want, but have to eat only what is mentioned for that particular day. Being and Indian (and a Punekar) self-control on food is something very difficult to do. When you smell butter chicken, paneer butter masala or have shrikhanda and ras malai in your plate, there is no way that you are not eating until you are stuffed. So, this was going to be a good test for my self-restraint and I embarked on the seven day adventure.
The plan is basically designed to give all the necessary nutrients spread over seven days. The first day was all fruits (except bananas ..these will haunt you on day 4) and the second day was all veggies. I was continuously eating loupes, melons, apples all day one and lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers etc all day two. I was excessively craving for some savory taste to my mouth. Whatever I was eating was either juicy or had no taste whatsoever (picture yourself constantly chewing on  lettuce all day!). I had a mild headache, my legs felt weak.. my body would be thinking “Saala aaj kal “khana” milta hi nahi hai!! Jo ata hai andar, sab fibre me chala jata hai”. I could see Diwali sweets, pastry’s in my room and could smell delicious Indian recipes cooked by my room mates. It felt like hell. I kept reminding myself that it was for a greater good.. and kept my control.
After the 'power play', day three was a bit easy. I had to consume both fruits and veggies that day and I kind of expected what I would be feeling all day. This day, I kept on thinking about day four, which sounded worst. Day four was all about bananas and milk. Yeah.. only bananas and milk!!! This is apparently to make up for all the sodium and potassium you have missed in last three days. The idea of having bananas all day itself gave me vomiting sensations. I didn’t know how I was going to survive day four. The plan said that this day will pass easier than I would expect. I started with one banana and a glass of milk for breakfast and made my way up to seven bananas till dinner. Surprisingly the day did do easier than I expected, except that it was Friday and I had to keep myself away from the delicious barbeque we have at work and all the Halloween festivities. Office was full of candies, but today, to my surprise, I had very little cravings. I guess my body was getting adjusted to not having sugar and oil intake. My cravings for sweets went down drastically after day four.

The next day I had to go to a party where I was offered a pastry. Usually I would gulp it in no time (and ask for more!). Today as I took every bite, I was thinking to myself how that is going to deposit everywhere inside me giving me a sugar coma. I was like.. “aah.. what junk am I eating.. this is no good.. just throw it away.. it’ll kill you!!!” Yeah.. I myself do not believe I would have such emotions with pastries. The worst part of that day was that I had to eat eight raw tomatoes. Yuck!. I could barely eat five full tomatoes and made up for the other three by having tomato soup. (Hmm.. I cheated a bit.. I eat the bread crumbs too!) I was able to consume chicken (baked, not butter chicken) that day which was my source of protein. The last two days were milder. I was allowed to eat a burger, sprouts, soups and veggies along with juices. Well this would have sounded like a torture if I had to do it without going through previous five days. But now, it was a feast for me. I could eat variety. I could enjoy a full meal, but now in a healthier fashion.

Looking back, It was tougher than it sounded. But I was able to do it. I am glad I did it. I feel lighter from inside and feel motivated to eat good, balanced food. Not that I will keep continuing this diet continously, but I will definitely try to have salads, soups and boiled veggies for atleast one meal every other day or go on a liquid/ all fruit diet for once every week. (But first.. tomorrow I'll have Kitkats and Bear Naked nutri bars! :P)
(Well, and I also lost ~4 pounds (2kgs). Not bad!)

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Family Bonding!

It may be some nine years since I would have spent more than almost two whole months with my parents. Busy growing up, getting 'life lessons' (and degrees on the way) I had almost forgotten how awesome it is to be with parents. Everything got revived when a home away from home was painted by Mom and Dad right here in Boston, MA.

Mom arrived first followed by Dad a few weeks later. I was too excited to host both of them and wanted to give all my time to live those moments that I am missing all these years. I wanted them to experience various flavors of my lifestyle here in US, and having a car helped.

Every weekend was already tightly scheduled in visiting various places. We started off with attending Boston food festival the very next day my Mom arrived. The following weekend I drove her to Philly to visit one of our family friends she hadn't seen in years. That trip was followed by visits to local scenic places around Boston.. like Rockport, Walden pond, Mystic lake and Castle Island. Ben-n-Jerry's icecream factory and Smuggler's Notch state park in Vermont was a must see if you are so close to it. Driving all the way up there and stopping hundred times to click pictures of fall colors was an unforgettable experience. The Head Of the Charles regatta was right in that period and seeing so many physically fit sportsman was not only exciting but also motivating :P.

Sunrise @ Cadillac
Dad arrive just at the right time when New Hampshire and coastal Maine was peaking in fall colors and I had the Columbus day off. A trip to Acadia and White mountains was a no-brainer! We took a coastal route to Acadia National Park. The scenic beauty of the fall colors was just mesmerizing. Dad and Mom wanted to stop near every single tree and capture it in camera. After a few thousand stops, they decided to capture all the Reds, Oranges, Yellows, Greens, Maroons in their memory instead! Getting up early and seeing the sunrise on the Cadillac mountain (the very first place which gets sunlight in the US) was the high point in the trip. 

That followed by driving up Mt Washington (which includes coming down from half way to fill gas and again going up.. damn incorrect fuel level indicator!!). Mt. Washington, a hell of a mountain. Here the weather changes from full visibility to zero visibility any second. Wind speed has set a world record here. Well.. there is still a souvenir shop on the top though!! (American tourism!). We stayed in the middle of nowhere, we had seafood in small shacks along the coast, had burgers in a sports bar and pancakes at an local American breakfast place. Experiencing such varied cuisines and way of living was something new to my parents which they wouldn't have experienced in tourist locations and hotels or business trips.

Even though the Diwali smell was not in the Boston air, we had the same festive atmosphere at home. I did not miss physically being present in India during Diwali. Home cooked sweets (faral, chiwda, laddu etc), home made diyas, lanterns and decorations, Laxmipoojan (with $$ this time), inviting friends over for Diwali dinner.. I enjoyed my Diwali to the fullest.

Diwali Dinner
The selfless love that parents shower upon you is priceless. Now I am again spoilt in 'asking' for the morning coffee, coming home for lunch everyday to eat readymade food and home cooked rotis (and then resisting the temptation to take a nap!!), having my clothes washed and ironed twice a week, going on long drives every evening with someone with you in the car to talk with, sharing India stories (means Pune stories!), teasing mom when she starts watching Zee TV Marathi on laptop and dad when he keeps repeatedly listening to Barkha Dutt or Arnab Goswami in full volume on his tab... it's going to be a few tough days until I get back on track after they leave.

It was a quality time well spent. I am sure they enjoyed all the moments we shared together after so long. I did. Next time they visit me, who knows, I might have a significant other sharing these moments with me, doubling the joys of life.

Ek Selfie to banta hai!!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Visiting hometown at 27!

It was after two years that I planned a trip to Pune for a month. I visited home for almost a month beginning from the New Year’s. I was super excited to see family after such a long time. The feeling was mutual. Mom, dad, grandparents, cousins everyone had planned variety of things for welcoming me.

One thing that slipped out of my mind which family never forgets, that I was returning at an age of 27!! Well for an Indian guy.. this is THE age. You know what I am getting into. You just have to look at your facebook wall and every other day one of your pals leaves the bachelor cult and puts a ring into someone’s finger! You can pretend to overlook this but your family won’t. Esp now, when even your parents are on facebook, you do not have any excuse.

So from the very first day people started indirectly asking me about my plans, about the girl. I tried to dodge the questions but couldn’t hold the fort for too long. It was the moment when my maternal uncle/ aunt asked me point blank.. “Dude.. it’s the age.. when are you getting married”. I had no answer! Grandparents added to the fire.. “We are ok with anyone, need not be Marathi, or Indian for that matter (haaw… ajobanche vichar pudharlele ahet). Just tell me if you have anyone in mind, or should we start searching for a match”. Then mom gave a bummer that her friends had already given patrikas of a couple girls for a potential match. Oh my God.. this means even the people from my housing society know that I am of THAT age. (Yeah.. In india.. if you don’t take any steps at the right age.. your family and even the society will put all their efforts in the ‘right’ direction. Jab saari kayanat use milane mein jud jaati hai.. that’s what we call as “arranged marriage”).

I don’t know how to answer these questions? You talk about not dating anyone, they will pull their contacts to find a match. You talk about career, they will tell you how your dad managed it after marriage when he was of your age. You talk about “not being mentally ready for this next step”, they will tell how everything falls in place after marriage. So basically.. they have all the strength to put the ball back into your court until you concede.

It was a fun experience. I am still not engaged or married and I am back to the US. So.. I can now postpone all such talk until next year. But probably I should do my homework before facing my family again! :) 

(image from google)