Healthy Me, Happy Me!

Its been quite a while since this corona pandemic started. And, let admit it, 2020 was a tough year! It has been a year where we remained isolated, away from social life and where our longing for our family and friends grew. All those yearnings and feelings of boredom could lead to one thing – a time for you to open your fridge, cabinet and drawers to indulge yourself with foods. Our appetite has been developing and for some, food is what’s always in our thought. Grabbing snacks during online lessons, having dessert after meals and crunching chips when watching TV. They all add up, while you might not even notice what effects it causing to your body. Everyone has their ideal, unique diet and our diets are all diverse. We consume what we like and everyone has different tastes. Nevertheless, I’m here to discuss what real food you have to consume and what you have to avoid, for a healthy, happy you!

Firstly, it is essential to eat nutritious foods and to eat in the right portion. Beneficial foods are what makes our body healthy and to function well. Don’t you remember the good old days, as a child, we learnt the “food pyramid”, to keep healthy? Observing the “food pyramid”, carbohydrates is what most needs to be consumed then vegetables, fruits, dairies and meats. But, it’s quite the contrary. We need to consume more greens, plant-based foods than carbohydrates and (healthy) fats are needed more than carbohydrates. A guide shown by “Harvard’s Healthy Eating Plate” for healthy eating, recommends us to consume mostly vegetables, fruit, and whole grains, healthy fats, and healthy proteins.

Furthermore, eating more than your body needs is harmful to the body. The body needs space for water and oxygen too, so it is vital to be aware of how much you eat. But, how do you know how much to eat and when to stop eating? Actually, It all depends on what you eat. For example, high-fibre foods make you full for a long time, as it takes some time to digest and high-sugar foods, quite the opposite. 

Taking your time when eating is the key to knowing when you have had plenty of what you are consuming and to keep you away from feeling extremely full. Once you have eaten at a slower pace, you would feel more blessed, nourished and would enjoy your meal more than when you ate at a faster pace. Our mind takes time to tell us when we have had enough of something, so, don’t forget that the slower you eat the less you end up eating. Did you know, researchers have observed that the average size of a dinner plate in the 1950s was 9 inches in diameter. By the 80’s it had grown to 11 inches and today the average dinner plate is a massive 13 inches! The increase in obesity rates corresponds almost exactly to the increase in dinner plate size. This is a massive signal to us to be alert of what we eat and in what quantity.

Secondly, destructive foods that are bad for our health, should be avoided. It is known that fats, oils and sweets are all unhealthy, but sometimes we eat too many of these without recognising them. A team of researchers at the University of North Carolina organised a detailed survey of the packaged foods and drinks that are purchased in American grocery stores and found that 60 per cent include some form of added sugar. Packaging can make your food look all good and healthy, but the reality is that it isn’t. No matter where you are or what store you go to, there will always be unhealthy options available and things like sugar can be hidden behind the labels. For example, cereal, a common meal eaten at breakfast, is labelled as something healthy that provides you with energies and vitamins. However, the average box of cereal generally contains 19.8 grams of sugar for every 100 grams of cereal (one serving). Per day, our body can tolerate 6 teaspoons of sugar (or 25 grams), however, having cereal for breakfast (depending which you buy), would account for more than half of your sugar intake! The word sugar could be hidden in labels and nutrition information like:

Some sweeteners can even be more dangerous to the body than sugar and have higher risks of getting diabetes.

Sugar is one case, but the other is fast foods. Consuming fast food once a week increases the chance of heart disease by 20% and consuming it 2-3 times a week would increase by 50%. Finally, if you eat fast foods more than 4 times a week it increases the chance of heart disease by 80%. We better beware of foods served from outside the house, as we don’t know what goes into the food. Home-cooked meals and plant-based foods are highly recommended. In addition, limiting sugar amounts or even forbidding unhealthy food consumption, would be a pleasure to your body. However, it would need strong will-power to put an end to unhealthy living.

Top Tips:

Do you want solutions and smart tips on how to eat healthy? Here are good examples of how:

Place healthy foods in front of the fridge, to keep you away from eating unhealthy foods.
Use smaller plates, so this would keep you away from eating massive amounts in a larger plate.
Craving for sweets, sugary snacks? Fill yourself with nature’s goods, such as fruits.
Look at labels when shopping and read the nutrition information.
To buy healthy bread, look at bread with few ingredients, like around 4 ingredients, (wheat flour, salt, water, yeast).
If placing sweets or snacks in jars, do not place it in translucent jars, as it would finish quicker than when it’s in a covered jar.
Distract yourself from unhealthy snacking by being involved in fun activities.
Look for healthy ingredients online and cook with your family.
Nuts are great for snacks in the morning, as they are packed with protein and fat which makes you feel full for longer than carb-dense snacks, so they’ll also help you keep away from feeling hungry between meals.
Eat 5-6 small meals a day and don’t forget your 5 potions of vegetables and fruits.

Overall, it is all up to us on how we want to eat. But, we may want to consider going healthier, since this world is changing and supermarkets are filled with processed, canned or packed products, keeping us away from eating fresh farm produce. Why don’t we value our body more than ever and be grateful to what nature has given us? And why don’t we push our desires aside and limit what’s unhealthy while enjoying the healthy options? Indeed it is your decision to do so and it’s never too late to embrace a healthier lifestyle.

Shayan Fareed

Shayan Fareed

Shayan Fareed is an Undergraduate Ambassador for StEPS who recently graduated from Warwick Business School with a BSC in Management. Prior to that, he completed his A Levels at the prestigious Aitchison College. During his time at the University of Warwick, Shayan cherished the vibrant campus life and considered it his home for the past three years, leaving behind fond memories as he moves on to new endeavors.

Faiza Omar

Faiza Omer

Faiza Omer has a Masters in Finance from Punjab University. She is a highly experienced Communication Coordinator with excellent leadership and project management skills. She is skilled in crafting engaging content for various platforms and managing internal and external communications. Faiza has received several certificates and awards, demonstrating her proficiency in teamwork, customer service, and administrative expertise. As Communication Coordinator at StEPS, she successfully leads and manages multiple client projects. Prior to this, she worked at DNATA Emirates Group, providing passenger services and coordinating flight operations.

Rida Fatima

Rida Fatima

With experience in education management and administration, Rida takes the lead in handling university applications and follow-up protocols.

Wasim Hashmi Syed

Wasim Hashmi Syed

Mr Wasim Hashmi Syed, Senior Advisor, Professional Development and Transnational Education.Mr Wasim Hashmi Syed has over twenty years of visionary experience in initiating and leading educational initiatives with tangible outcomes, creating international linkages, and providing development opportunities for Pakistani youth under the country’s vision 2025. He has been involved in various government and foreign-funded projects, including monitoring research and development projects in IT and engineering.

As an Advisor and Consultant at the Higher Education Commission (HEC), he managed programs aimed at increasing the number of PhD faculty, providing scholarships for students, and fostering collaboration with foreign universities. Additionally, he oversaw the monitoring of research and development projects and played a key role in policy development for higher education institutions. He established collaboration with  more than 30 international foreign universities and organizations. He played a significant role in launching and overseeing scholarship programs and initiatives related to information and communication technology.

He also served as an Advisor International Linkages at Pak-Austria Fachhochschule Institute of Applied Sciences and Technology Haripur, he had engaged in obtaining charter for Institute from HEC and PEC.

In his role as General Manager Monitoring/Projects at the National ICT R&D Funds (IGNITE), he monitored numerous technical projects funded by academia and local industry.

Mr. Hashmi obtained his Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering from University of Engineering Technology Lahore. He also holds MS in Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management, from the University of Louisville Kentucky USA, and a Ph.D. (in progress) in Transport Engineering University of Hasselt Belgium.

Zeeshan Riaz

Zeeshan Riaz

Zeeshan Riaz is an internationally experienced consultant with over 25 years of proven track record with comprehensive experience of advising corporate, higher education, consulting and training institutions.

Zeeshan leads the business development, international brand building and student recruitment initiative in the region for StEPS partner institutes.

Zeeshan has extensive experience in corporate strategy and development in Europe, Middle East and Asia, working in a range of industries with extensive involvement in Green-Field and Public & Private partnership development projects.

Which provides a unique platform with in-depth knowledge of the global job market to advice on career growth and educational pathways for professionals and students.

After primary education from Smedstad School in Oslo, Norway, he pursued higher education from Norway, Pakistan and UK in Computer Science with Business Management followed by MBA specialising in marketing.

He is a UK certified Clinical Therapist and British Council certified Trainer of Trainers (TOT).

Saima Asghar Riaz

Saima is a TESOL qualified Warwick Alumna, with over two decades of experience in student counseling, teaching, teacher training, and English language assessment. She has been representing her alma mater for international student admissions since 1998, and has successfully supported hundreds of students with their university, scholarship and job applications globally. As a certified DiSC and ‘How Women Rise’ coach, she supports professionals in bringing about workplace improvements through behavioral change.

Saima is a British Council trained and certified IELTS professional and has taught English at The University of Warwick, Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), Kinnaird College for Women, and the Virtual University of Pakistan. She has trained educational professionals at Kinnaird College, Lahore College for Women University (LCWU) and the Ali Institute of Education, and has been a consultant trainer for the Punjab Judicial Academy for development of soft skills of district judiciary and judicial staff of the Lahore High Court.

With extensive experience in education management and administration, Saima has been the Founding Director for the Directorate of Faculty Development & Internationalisation (DFDI) at LCWU, and successfully launched a Faculty Development Centre as well as Pakistan’s first university-level mandatory Citizenship programme in collaboration with the British Council. She was thus responsible for supporting the enhancement of teaching and research capability of Asia’s largest women’s university, creating linkages with local and international partners, enabling students in social entrepreneurship projects, and raising the university profile on an international academic platform.

She is a member of the board of Advisors at the Pakistani Schools in Fujairah and Ras Alkhaimah and of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital Lahore.