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Juvena Herbals: Stay Fit from Home Series. Part 2: Diet Hacks

25 Nov 2022.7:25 PM

There is a popular saying,” Health is 35% hard work and 65% diet.” Over the years, this statement alone has been propagated into the heads of almost every fitness enthusiast to a level that requires they need to calculate everything they eat, everything they drink. This obsessive calculation of one’s daily calory intake, most of the times, leads to frustrations, depression and not to mention, one’s mind is occupied throughout the day for food.

In this article, I want to go over a few food hacks, specially for vegetarians who for the lack of high protein meals, tend to either consume more calories than required or go about using supplements.

I don’t mean to say that supplements are not worth your time. It depends on a few factors that one should consider before taking them.

Currently, people have gotten busier with their work, their life, and their hobbies. One hardly has the time to prepare meals to his/her liking. This leads to ordering a lot of takeout. One of the biggest problems with a takeout meal is the lack of transparency on how the food is prepared or what kind of oil is used. Taking this into account, people tend to order salads. However, they often still complain about gaining weight on a salad diet.

Take Out Hack: Avoid ordering side dishes like rice/roti. Switch to salads and focus on the main course only. Also, try to steer away from curry items. Order baked, stay in shape.

Noodle Hack: Love noodles? They are high calorie low volume meals that are making you fat. However, the hack in your favour is to just use the tastemaker in the noodle packaging with Shirataki noodles that you can easily find on amazon. They taste great, extremely low on calorie and taste just as good as the maggi noodles we all love and enjoy.

How can you gain weight on a salad diet?
When you order a takeout salad, the restaurant mixes a good amount of salad dressing with the salad. Most of the salad dressings contain sugar syrups and high fat Mayo. Just a few extra grams of those result in a couple of hundreds of calories, without filling you up. This makes it easy for one to go over their calorie intake requirements and gain weight. Also, the sugar in the dressing is a processed sugar that also can lead to higher insulin tolerance of the body, reducing the ease of sugar processing and storing the extra energy as adipose tissue.

Salad Hack: Order the dressing separately so that you can control the amount of the dressing in your diet. This is an additive process and just a simple tweak like this can go a long way over a period of a couple of months.

How can you get enough protein on a vegetarian diet?

There are good protein sources even in a vegetarian diet. Yogurt is the first thing that comes to mind. Filled with the most naturally occurring form of WHEY protein, yogurt is an excellent pre-workout and a post workout snack, flooding your blood with proteins for sustainable muscle recovery. Cauliflower, grams, moong,spinach, broccoli also have good proteins along with iron, vitamin C, adequate amounts of sodium.

Milk is another source of protein and calcium. However, few of us are lactose intolerant. Hack: Almond milk. Soy milk is also a great option but one in a hundred people have been found to trigger an oestrogenic response on soy consumption, therefore its use is totally subjective.

With, if somehow, in your lifestyle, you don’t find time to consume the right things, you can go for supplementations. However, bear in mind the following hack:

  1. Whey supplement (Instant protein): After workout
  2. Casein supplement (Sustained release): 30 minutes before workout
  3. Stick to only one of the above.

Beginners often make mistakes in choosing supplements that raise the calorie intake by a huge margin. So please be careful in choosing and consuming them. Also, they may cause an allergic reaction to some, so always consult a physician before taking them.

Pre-workout supplements are expensive. Is there a natural alternative?

Like everything synthetic today, there are natural alternatives. Pre-workout supplements have green tea extracts and caffeine as main ingredients. So, having a cup of green tea or a cup of unsweetened black coffee serves the purpose. However, you can start building a tolerance towards these quickly because going natural gets rid of stimulants which are found in commercial/synthetic products.

Hack: Use coffee/green tea as a pre-workout for a week. Pause for the next week. Rinse and repeat.

This hack helps in the body not becoming dependent on caffeine.
The one thing that this pre-workout doesn’t have is creatine. That can be supplemented using the same hack of using for week and then off-loading it the next week.

How can you increase the effectiveness of the pre-workout above to incorporate fat loss?

Fat loss, for the layman, is the mobilization of fat molecules from the adipose tissue to be processed into glycogen for energy. This rate of this mobilization is higher in people with good metabolism. However, this can be further amplified using natural thermogenic compounds. For example, black pepper, green chillies, fenugreek. Coffee itself is a great thermogen andhelps in the process as well.

In conclusion, the basic formula behind gaining or losing weight is simple. Increase your calorie intake above maintenance (usually around 2000 kCal) by 200 – 300 kCal or vice-versa. However, a few hacks as mentioned above go a long way if incorporated in your diet plan and you won’t have to be so mindful about food all the time. You need to enjoy the diet if you want to stick with it. The hacks mentioned above are just a few ways to keep things interesting and avoiding yo-yo dieting.

Dhananjay Singh

Director: Juvena Herbals (

Co-Founder: TTeamBlends (Instagram: TTeamBlends_)



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