| April 30th, 2007

* take a break, attain a healthy lifestyle!

The benefit of leading a healthy life at any age is recognized by everyone around the world. Yet, many of us fail to practice healthy habits in our day to day life. Among some of the unhealthy trends which exist among Bangladeshi women, weight problems after marriage, giving birth to a child, moving to a foreign country or while growing old are the most common ones. There are no quick answers to the question of why women gain weight on these occasions. The most we can do is explore some of the reasons and try to find healthy alternatives to the conventional trends of gaining weight.

We all have that one relative who migrated to a developed country and returned with excess weight on. In fact, some guardians expect their daughter or son who go abroad to gain weight (become healthy in their words). Change in food habits, nutritional value of food, lack of physical activity with respect to food intake, lifestyle changes, stress, low self esteem, loneliness and many other conditions can be identified for someone gaining weight. As someone who lost weight after moving to a foreign country rather than gaining, I think being conscious about one’s lifestyle definitely helps is maintaining a healthy body. Simple considerations such as switching to low fat or non fat items, eating in moderate helpings, being involved in physical activities and trying to adapt to the new surroundings in one’s own way can get one a long way as far as being healthy is concerned.

Then comes the question of those women who are married and have kids. We all know that none of these changes are easy for a woman to adapt to. Both situations cause obvious hormonal and physical changes within a woman’s body. Continuous consumption of birth controls for an extended period may cause a woman to gain wait. Again during pregnancy many women get an appetite and eat more than their body requires. Permanent changes such as a softer belly, slightly wider hips, and a larger waistline are inevitable after giving birth. Yet, within 40 to 60 days of child birth, a woman’s body is ready to undertake simple changes in food habits and activity to obtain a healthy lifestyle instead of maintaining the habits she grew while pregnant.

No strict diet is suggested for women at this stage. Breastfeeding mothers should eat a balanced diet and drink plenty of fluids. Switching to low-fat, high-fiber foods such as fruits (like apples & oranges) and raw vegetables (like carrots and red pepper strips) for healthy snacks and taking quick walks or being more active around the house can help in losing the extra weight she gained earlier. Yet, dietary needs of each women after child birth can be different and thus it is best to consult your physician before making changes in your food habits at this stage (especially when you are breastfeeding). A few blogs and websites on the topic may give one some idea on how things may work, but again nothing should be followed from websites until one consults her doctor.



Being away from one’s country and raising kids in nuclear families without any family help can be stressful for many Bangali women living abroad. Especially, working mothers find it even harder to make any time for them anymore. A supportive spouse, determination to make healthy choices and a positive body image may help in maintaining a wholesome lifestyle for many.

The most common associations for being overweight are detrimental imbalance between energy intake and output. In the past, there has been a stereotype that people only became overweight or obese by eating too much and being lazy. Especially Bangali women, home and abroad are still not accustomed to working out (exercising) regularly to remain healthy. Our kind of cooking and eating habits with so much carbohydrate, oil and spices require sufficient physical activity in one’s routine to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Although now, doctors are finding out that overweight problems may run in families and may be affected by many factors. It may not be caused just by your eating and exercise habits. An overweight or obese weight designation may be the result of a person’s genetics, metabolism, behavior, environment, culture, and socioeconomic status. Behavior and environment play a large role causing people to gain weight. These are the greatest areas for prevention and remedy as well. By actually having weight awareness, people may be able to adjust or modify the aspects of their lives that they can control.

Here is a website with dietary suggestions for South Asian women, which our readers may find useful.


Eating right and being physically active may reduce one’s risk for heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, certain cancers, and many other illnesses. What we the modern women need to ask ourselves is ‘what can I be at my best?’, physically, emotionally and socially. Targeting Shakira’s body is as foolish as trying to imitate her belly moves, while you are doing just as well as she is only at what you have chosen for yourself, and she at her profession.

I hope some affective ways of losing weight and being healthy after child birth, marriage or any other lifestyle change in a woman’s life come out through the comments to this article.


22 Responses to “* take a break, attain a healthy lifestyle!”

  1. Phantom says:

    Good Topic.Very useful for many at home and abroad.In addition to all yr useful points I would like to add that THYROID disturbance creates some hormonal changes and is also responsible for weight chnages and therefore it should be checked by a Doctor-many over look this factor.
    Weight gain often leads to cholestrol and or Diabetes problems too.
    I am fully in agreement with you that any attempt for weight control should be done under DOCTOR’S ADVISE;preferably family doctor and next is to check with a good DIETICIAN to plan your diet–Remeber the saying -“What is good for the Gander is not good for the Goose”- food likings, allergies and abilty for intake varies- unplanned food control can lead to Gastric problems.Website carries a lot of useful information too and one can keep notes to discuss with Doctor their usefulness.
    However one can be sure that the following advise will be definitely highlighted for benefits:
    1.Most important is water intake; 6/8 glasses each day(take care not to have water just immediately after food-leads to stomach gas- wait for a few minutes)
    2.Breakfast:Most important- have a good breakfast with cereals and non-fat milk- Muesli/ quaker oats/Corn Flakes Brown bread in place of white bread etc with chicken sausages/or any other preparation and preferably yr teak should be Black tea with “Daru-Chini” with very little or no sugar(it will take a while to adjust with this type of tea.
    3.Skip all snacks except perhaps low qty peanuts,almonds or non-fats diary products.
    4.Lunch- preferably light using items like Fish,preferasbly salmon,Sardines Macarel- within Dhaka can use Pangash- its oil absorbs body fat n is a good protein, then there is aiier mach- n small fish -avoid the BIG PRAWNs-(high Cholestrol fat)
    5.Dinner same light use chickens but not the Legs as that carries Fat
    6.RED Meat should not b used or used in small quabtities -depending on fats/cholestrol/diabetes problems-Check with dietician.
    7.Yogurts,fruits are very essential- snacks made from whole Milk should b avoided
    8.Medicines as advised by Doctor after full physical examination
    9.Excercise should include walking; start by some light stretching of the body as you all did during PT at school-walk first slow than increase speed gradually to pace that you can hold for about 30-45 minutes then again gradually decrease speed until u come to yr original speed that u started to walk– then again do the stress before u finish off.
    Remember to do the stretchings-its very important -many dont than they wonder why they have pains on legs n body- all walking plans should be as per what the individual trying can tolerate but then increasing walking from start of 15 min to 60 min is the magical formulae.Also Ladies can add or say replace walking by doing some areobics-Tapes are available in foreign countries-twice a week n later increase this also to be added after walking–depends on how yr body will tolerate.
    The Walking I mentioned here for thoise who dont have access to Gym to take advantage of equipments–though free walking in the parks is better.Areobics u can do in Gym n gradually you can also use very light–repeat very light weights– its difficult to describe it here unless someone is already on to that(some sports girl etc)-so check it with Gym coach.
    Finally its alwaays best to remember that whatever you eat -the proportion should be small or reasonable- for deserts prefer fruits to diary items.
    Best of Luck for all those who wish to keep a healthy body that would help prevent heart trouble,cholestrol,diabetes etc.

  2. Samara says:


    Hmm, what will happen to our traditional bengali style RUTI-BHAJI or PARATA-BHAJI breakfast?

    For lunch and dinner our family eats rice (white) and fish or meat (curry type chicken, goat or beef), BHAJI and DAAL, isn’t that good?

    Why should I cut snacks, specially for BIKALER NASHTA, Samosa, Piajoo with tea.
    Looks like you are suggesting all BIDESHI type food in here.

    If I am preparing all the Bengali food for my family how will I have time to make those “healthy food” for myself. Also those are not that tasty at all.
    It is easier to say:).


  3. Orangie says:

    hahahahahaha! I have not seen a Bengali woman who even dares to sweat while doing a workout yet.

  4. Tonima says:

    Actually, on the contrary, it is very possible to have delicious healthy deshi food. Cutting down on rice and potatoes (eating rice at only one meal instead of both lunch and dinner) and substituting rooti (especially wheat)is a big help. You can make deshi-style wraps with rooti, bhaji, fish filets and lean meats (like chicken breast). Eating more veggies and fruits also helps. By eating healthy 5 days a week, you can definitely afford to splurge 1 or 2 days with bikaler nasta or an extra plate of rice:)

  5. Phantom says:

    Refyr#2-Ruti/Paratha Bhaji:-White Flour though we also took is not good for health and that is particularly true for those above 40 which is age that is prone to Cholestrol or Diabetes.Those younger between 20-to 40 dont feel the difference because they do remain busy besides body metabolism helps burn fat.For all ages Ruti/Chappati can be also made from “Lal- Ata” now available in all markets(previously was difficult to get)- Bhaji is definitely good but many dont like vegs that early.However Ruti/Bhaji can also be alternated with the siggested breakfast in my #1.
    Same for Lunch- instead of white rice that produces no benefit but fills the stomach you shoud use coarse rice and mostly Dheki-Chata(red/brown rice) which is difficult perhaphs to find abroad.Chicken is definitely healthy but not the legs and that youngsters can have because of fact that they burn fat faster than older age groups- Beef/Mutton in grilled form-like Tikka or kabab is safer for older age groups than the younger age- however whatever age group- if the proportion consumed is less and not too frequent – it shouldnt pose a threat for health.
    Dal-Pulses id good as protein content is high n you can cook it thick or whatever way u want but ensure that use of spices is controlled.
    Bikaler Nashta– those items are fried in heavy oil and is good material for indigestion/gas-(not if taken in controlled qty).
    Bengali Food: definitely tasty -however you can use safety precautions in use of oil n fry and too much chillies – same reason for gas/indigestion and if remain in body increase cholestrol.
    Thank you for reminding about our deshi food.The youger age group is more or less free from fats/indigerstion.gas problems but that doesnt mean they cannot b affected specially if larger number within a family are diabetic or have cholestrol problems all leading to UNHEALTHY LIfe Style(food habits) that can lead to heart problems- and our aim in this topic is to provide the opposite- a Healthy Life style-food habit which can save you from expenses from medical care and prevent heart aches/stroke- blood pressure etc.
    Now a days there is no Deshi or foreign Food– what can save yr life is important and all these are available in plenty in all department stores in Dhaka and definitely expatriates have access to them too.
    We need to take care considering the fact that oil we get is presumed to be good provided u get from good shop -Soya Bean though best is Canola,SUn Flower oils but then those r very expensive in Bangladesh-therefore the most common use is Soya Bean.

    Refyr#3,”hahahahahaha! I have not seen a Bengali woman who even dares to sweat while doing a workout yet.”– this was true until upto two years back- things have drastyically changed in most big Parks you will all Bengali woman coming in as a family-even young girls too-for walking in the park both in the morning and evening.This doesnt mean all have diabetes or cholestrol problem- both that can lead to Heart problem- but many have become health and figure concious and that is great. Hopefully you will also wake up to the realities.
    Most Expatriates are safe because there level of activity within the house is high,they have safer food available( no formalin, colors,and most are checked and there is process for complaining-)plus now a days there is sugar free,cholestrol free and fat free items to choose during yr marketing.
    0ur Deshis are prone to all sorts of unhealthy food items- plus our activitiy is less within the household and therefore we need to be more careful than the expatriates.
    Eat all you want-BUT Choose the right items- and choose the right methods of safe cooking- that keeps the whole family HEALTY WEALTY n WISE.

  6. Nandita Mitra says:

    I agree with Tonima. According to me doing exercise regularly is a very good and helpful habit. When I came to the United States I was also afraid of gaining weight. But fortunately so far I am doing good. I didn’t gain weight. Though it is true sometimes I cannot do exercise even if I want to because of time constraint. I myself think it is a lame excuse :)..But I have a lot of physcal movement as I walk from one classroom building to other. Less carbohydrate consumption is one of the best ways to cut some weight. Using less sugar/no sugar in tea/coffee is helps. So few small deduction can make a big difference.

  7. Shaila says:

    This is very interesting because most of us here in US struggle with weight problems. I have not had any problem during my college years while I lived in Boston and walked all over. As soon as I moved to Chicago and other cities where I stopped using public transportation, I started gainining weight.

    From my personal experience I find it very hard to diet when I have bhaat-maach-daal in front of me. I can’t control my portions and enjoy the food a lot. With our busy lives in US, I would also suggest what Tonima said, trying to cut down deshi food during lunch while you are at work and may be try to eat Salad/Sandwich etc. and later during dinner try to eat an early dinner (by 6 or 7 if possible) and you can enjoy rice then.

    It is not helping me much since I am very fond of food and enjoy eating out with friends and family and I don’t like to diet during weekends. But I think it is important to see what your likes and dislikes are first and then make a diet based on your own personal traits rather than trying to stick to a general diet which might work temporarily but it won’t change your habit in the long run.

    My tips (don’t know if it will help any):

    1. Try to follow what Tonima suggested
    2. Park your car a little farther from the entrance of work, school, mall etc. and walk the rest.
    3. Try shoveling snow or help your hubby in the front yard (great excercise)!
    4. Find a partner for excercise, I can’t do it by myself, I am never motivated enough.
    5. Go to a park with kids or just go for a walk with hubby. Get out of the house!!

  8. Phantom says:

    For Healthy Life style a good amount of Sleep is also required to avoid stress.Here are ten good tips for getting good sleep that I found from the webMD-(this is a good site to check):-
    10 Tips to Get Better Sleep
    Reviewed By Ann Edmundson, MDBy Michael Breus
    WebMD Feature
    We all have trouble sleeping from time to time. But you can make it easier to get a good night’s sleep every night with these simple steps.

    Cut caffeine. Simply put, caffeine can keep you awake. It can stay in your body longer than you might think — up to about 14 hours. So if you drink a cup of coffee at noon and are still awake at midnight, caffeine might be the reason. Cutting out caffeine at least four to six hours before bedtime can help you fall asleep easier. If you have already had too much caffeine, try eating some carbohydrates like bread or crackers to help reduce the effects.

    Avoid alcohol as a sleep aid. Alcohol may initially help you fall asleep, but it also causes disturbances in sleep resulting in less restful sleep.

    Relax before bedtime. Stress not only makes you miserable, it wreaks havoc on your sleep. Develop some kind of pre-sleep ritual to break the connection between all the day’s stress and bedtime. These rituals can be as short as 10 minutes or as long as an hour.
    Some people find relief in making a list of all the stressors of the day, along with a plan to deal with them this can act as “closure” to the day. Combining this with a period of relaxation perhaps by reading something light, meditating, aromatherapy, light stretching, or taking a hot bath can also help you get better sleep. And don’t look at the clock! That “tick-tock” will just tick you off.

    Do you have trouble sleeping? Take this quick quiz.

    Exercise at the right time for you. Regular exercise can help you get a good night’s sleep. The timing and intensity of exercise seems to play a key role in its effects on sleep. If you are the type of person who gets energized or becomes more alert after exercise, it may be best not to exercise in the evening. Regular exercise in the morning even can help relieve insomnia, according to a recent study.

    Keep your bedroom quiet, dark, and comfortable. For many people, even the slightest noise or light can disturb sleep like the purring of a cat or the light from your laptop or TV. Use earplugs, window blinds or curtains, and an electric blanket or air conditioner everything possible to create an ideal sleep environment. And don’t use the overhead light if you need to get up at night; use a small night-light instead. Ideal room temperatures for sleeping are between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures above 75 or below about 54 can disrupt sleep.

    Eat right, sleep tight. Try not to go to bed hungry, but avoid heavy meals before bedtime. An over-full belly can keep you up. Some foods can help, though. Milk contains tryptophan, which is a sleep-promoting substance. Other foods that help promote sleep include tuna, halibut, pumpkin, artichokes, avocados, almonds, eggs, bok choy, peaches, walnuts, apricots, oats, asparagus, potatoes, buckwheat, and bananas.

    Also, try not to drink anything after 8 p.m. This can keep you from having to get up to use the bathroom during the night.

    Restrict nicotine. Having a smoke before bed — although it feels relaxing actually puts a stimulant into your bloodstream. The effects of nicotine are similar to those of caffeine. Nicotine can keep you up and awaken you at night. It should be avoided particularly near bedtime and if you wake up in the middle of the night.

    Avoid napping. Napping can only make matters worse if you usually have problems falling asleep. If you do nap, keep it short. A brief 15-20-minute snooze about eight hours after you get up in the morning can actually be rejuvenating.

    Keep pets off the bed. Does your pet sleep with you? This, too, may cause you to awaken during the night, either from allergies or pet movements. Fido and Fluffy might be better off on the floor than on your sheets.

    Avoid watching TV, eating, and discussing emotional issues in bed. The bed should be used for sleep and sex only. If not, you can end up associating the bed with distracting activities that could make it difficult for you to fall asleep.

  9. Phantom says:

    Here is another info for the benefit of all:-

    10 steps to better blood pressure
    It is almost certain that you or someone you know has high blood pressure, known medically as hypertension. An alarming one in three American adults has this disorder. If you are among them, you can take steps today to protect yourself from the damage it causes.
    High blood pressure isn’t usually something that can be cured. Like an in-law who comes to stay for good, it’s something most people need to learn to live with. Drugs offer an easy fix, but most also cause unwanted side effects. Making healthful lifestyle changes is harder, but it yields benefits far beyond better blood pressure. That’s why it makes sense to start with these, and add medications only if needed. Here are 10 steps that can help you lower your blood pressure and keep it under control:
    1. Check it. You can’t do much about your blood pressure unless you know what it is. Your doctor should check it at every visit. Measuring it at home is even better. Relatively inexpensive home monitors are available in most pharmacies.
    2. Get moving. Regular exercise, even something as simple as brisk walking, improves blood vessel flexibility and heart function. It can lower blood pressure by 10 points, prevent the onset of high blood pressure, or let you reduce your dosage of blood pressure medications.
    3. Eat right. A landmark study called Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) showed that you can eat your way to better blood pressure. The DASH diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, poultry, fish, and nuts, and downplays red meat, sweets, sugar-containing beverages, and saturated fat and cholesterol.
    4. Control your weight. If you are carrying too many pounds for your frame, losing weight can lower your blood pressure. You don’t need to become rail-thin — losing 10% of your current weight, or even 10 pounds, can make a big difference.
    5. Don’t smoke. Nicotine constricts small blood vessels. Smoking a cigarette can cause a 20-point spike in systolic blood pressure. Quitting is tough, but there are now more aids to help.
    6. Drink alcohol in moderation. A drink a day for women and one or two a day for men is good for the heart and blood vessels. Going beyond that can contribute to higher blood pressure.
    7. Shake up your salts. Too much sodium and too little potassium boost blood pressure in people who are sensitive to salt. The imbalance is so great that the American Medical Association is calling for food makers and restaurants to cut the sodium content of food by 50% by 2016. Aim for less than 1.5 grams of sodium a day, and at least 4.7 grams of potassium.
    8. Sleep is good. Burning the candle at both ends night after night can contribute to high blood pressure, not to mention increase the chances of developing heart disease or a sudden cardiac arrest. How much sleep is enough? At least six hours a night, though eight hours is probably more like it for most people.
    9. Reduce stress. As surely as mental and emotional stress can raise blood pressure, meditation, deep breathing, and other stress-busting activities can lower it.
    10. Stick with your medications. Taking pills to keep your blood pressure in check won’t make you feel any different. But it can keep you from having a stroke, heart attack, or other problem.
    Dozens of drugs are available for lowering blood pressure. They come in a range of regimens (once a day to several times a day) and costs, and have a range of effects on other conditions, interactions with other drugs, and potential side effects.
    Which drug is best for treating high blood pressure is one of the major controversies in medicine today. Current guidelines as of 2006 say that the first choice should be an inexpensive diuretic (water pill). Some experts argue that an ACE inhibitor or a calcium-channel blocker is a better place to start. In reality, what’s best for you isn’t necessarily right for someone else. Most people need more than one medication to get their blood pressure under control, and one of these should probably be a diuretic.
    High blood pressure, like almost everything else in medicine, is a highly personal condition. Preventing it, and keeping it from doing you harm, requires careful, individualized evaluation from your doctor and focused commitment on your part.

  10. Phantom says:


    Absolutely the best chart seen in years…

    apples Protects your heart prevents constipation Blocks diarrhea Improves lung capacity Cushions joints
    apricots Combats cancer Controls blood pressure Saves your eyesight Shields against Alzheimer’s Slows aging process
    artichokes Aids digestion Lowers cholesterol Protects your heart Stabilizes blood sugar Guards against liver disease
    avocados Battles diabetes Lowers cholesterol Helps stops strokes Controls blood pressure Smoothes skin
    bananas Protects your heart Quiets a cough Strengthens bones Controls blood pressure Blocks diarrhea
    beans Prevents constipation Helps hemorrhoids Lowers cholesterol Combats cancer Stabilizes blood sugar
    beets Controls blood pressure Combats cancer Strengthens bones Protects your heart Aids weight loss
    blueberries Combats cancer Protects your heart Stabilizes blood sugar Boosts memory Prevents constipation
    broccoli Strengthens bones Saves eyesight Combats cancer Protects your heart Controls blood pressure
    cabbage Combats cancer Prevents constipation Promotes weight loss Protects your heart Helps hemorrhoids
    cantaloupe Saves eyesight Controls blood pressure Lowers cholesterol Combats cancer Supports immune system
    carrots Saves eyesight Protects your heart Prevents constipation Combats cancer Promotes weight loss
    cauliflower Protects against Prostate Cancer Combats Breast Cancer Strengthens bones Banishes bruises Guards against heart disease
    cherries Protects your heart Combats Cancer Ends insomnia Slows aging process Shields against Alzheimer’s
    chestnuts Promotes weight loss Protects your heart Lowers cholesterol Combats Cancer Controls blood pressure
    chili peppers Aids digestion Soothes sore throat Clears sinuses Combats Cancer Boosts immune system
    figs Promotes weight loss Helps stops strokes Lowers cholesterol Combats Cancer Controls blood pressure
    fish Protects your heart Boosts memory Protects your heart Combats Cancer Supports immune system
    flax Aids digestion Battles diabetes Protects your heart Improves mental health Boosts immune system
    garlic Lowers cholesterol Controls blood pressure Combats cancer kills bacteria Fights fungus
    grapefruit Protects against heart attacks Promotes Weight loss Helps stops strokes Combats Prostate Cancer Lowers cholesterol
    grapes saves eyesight Conquers kidney stones Combats cancer Enhances blood flow Protects your heart
    green tea Combats cancer Protects your heart Helps stops strokes Promotes Weight loss Kills bacteria
    honey Heals wounds Aids digestion Guards against ulcers Increases energy Fights allergies
    lemons Combats cancer Protects your heart Controls blood pressure Smoothes skin Stops scurvy
    limes Combats cancer Protects your heart Controls blood pressure Smoothes skin Stops scurvy
    mangoes Combats cancer Boosts memory Regulates thyroid aids digestion Shields against Alzheimer’s
    mushrooms Controls blood pressure Lowers cholesterol Kills bacteria Combats cancer Strengthens bones
    oats Lowers cholesterol Combats cancer Battles diabetes prevents constipation Smoothes skin
    olive oil Protects your heart Promotes Weight loss Combats cancer Battles diabetes Smoothes skin
    onions Reduce risk of heart attack Combats cancer Kills bacteria Lowers cholesterol Fights fungus
    oranges Supports immune systems Combats cancer Protects your heart Straightens respiration
    peaches prevents constipation Combats cancer Helps stops strokes aids digestion Helps hemorrhoids
    peanuts Protects against heart disease Promotes Weight loss Combats Prostate Cancer Lowers cholesterol Aggravates
    pineapple Strengthens bones Relieves colds Aids digestion Dissolves warts Blocks diarrhea
    prunes Slows aging process prevents constipation boosts memory Lowers cholesterol Protects against heart disease

  11. Samara says:

    I might get lots of advice for this comment.

    I had my inlaws visitng us for six months. They didn’t like any low carb, low calori food. They didn’t even liked the idea of low fat milk, becuase it doesn’t taste good. At some point I gave up but tried to keep my diet on.
    They were not at all happy saying I am not eating the food they are eating:).

    Guys, its not easy when you have two genrations living in the same houshold. It is not always feasible even to make two kinds of meals (unless you have multiple helping hands).

    Many BD ppl says veges are needed only to help you from constipated:).

    Those always advice to have “understanding” and “to adjust” can you give some good example on how you maintain “healthy” eating habit while being a good wife in a joint family? Note that if you don’t use enough oil and spices, you will be known as someone doen’t know how to cook:(.

    BTW in the US you can find brown rice very easily, it is like that DHEKI CHATA CHAAL.


  12. Sharmin says:

    Healthy living is not just to prevent being overweight, it is to stay fit as well.
    Once I do maintain my workout and food right makes me feel great as well.

    As Mom’s we should be very careful how we are helping our children to attain a healthy habit as well, if we allow them to eat unhealthy it will be hard for them to change that once they are grownup.

    As Samara raised concerns about keeping a healthy diet when in a joint family I also do have questions on what to do about that, if anyone has any good idea please share.

    I have seen that new bride sometims opposes that the Mom in law is health conscious as the Mom in law is discouraging fried food. This caused lots of tension, now that they are living in different house its not too much an issue anymore.


  13. Shahnaz says:


    unless you want to build a track record of ‘meye/bou khub bhalo radhey’) be deaf to your critics and grow a thick skin:)… now here are few steps you may find helpful when you expect visitors to stay with you for long period of time, and want to maintain a healthy eating habits

    •if you don’t have a child, or your husband dear can compromise the deshi ‘khandani’ meal…then before the elderly relatives come to visit you for a long period of time, then plan ahead and shop diligently, it’s much easier in US to make choices since the grocery shops carry various brands and options to choose from… for example when you buy a tea-biscuit – check the salt level or the calorie… stop buying those mukhorochok chanachur (full of salt) or traditional mishti 🙂 (chini)

    •if you have a kid, it becomes difficult to plan …cause your child may need that extra cheese in her/his body, but it may not be suitable for an elder person who is advised to take anything fatty…

    •don’t let ‘ekdin khele kicchu hobey na’ become everyday meal :), but also set a realistic plan, overlook few slips  cause most likely they will be invited to your friends/extended family and bangalee kaidai they would be expected to try every item on the table…

    •find someone sensible in the friends/family network and invite them to your house – who wouldn’t mind to swap stories of how small change in diet has controlled the blood pressure, or that sugar level… because they would be swapping health worries anyways:)

    few steps mentioned here helped me and my mother when she was re-covering a major health set-back and staying with me… she is one of the best cook I know (unbiased opinion:), and she loves to cook.’deshi’ food – bhat, mangsho, daal, khichuri, polao:), so it was challenging for me to change my diet, but to give her support we started buying grocery with extra care…

    Now about the article that Nazia wrote, I would like to know how the girls who are trying to look like a model are dealing the pressure from their peers and also the diets they are following. I see many girls who are exceptionally thin (yes bangalee girls:)), few exercise, eat healthy and gradually loose weight, but then few starve themselves to near death, in US media we do hear about support or network for Anorexia or bulimia, wonder how much we talk about that in our culture, is there a need for it?


  14. Nazia says:

    I c some others like me r concerned about leaving out all the good foods in order to be healthy or rather thin! I was shocked to hear from my mother that her doctor told her anything that tastes good when u put it in ur mouth is not good for u anymore!!!! This is why in my article I keep referring to ACTIVITIES. I think we Banglai women gain weight & find it harder to lose is because we r not used to working out. Regular exercising will allow u to have most of the food items u like (in moderate helpings). Moreover, age is also a consideration; while young ladies can eat certain things and work it off easily older women may find it harder to get away with it.

    I know what Sahnaz Apu means when she talks about extremely skinny girls who r widespread in Dhaka. Discussion on Anorexia and Bulimia is yet to come out in the open. But I know so many who starve themselves to be like the media personalities. Dove’s advertisement using everyday women in their undergarments gained much popularity sometime ago for promoting average American female bodies. My reference to asking urself “what can u be at ur best” was to point that it is not necessary to look like smone else when it is easier to look great by looking like YOU.

  15. Phantom says:

    Refyr#11-“I had my inlaws visitng us for six months. They didn’t like any low carb, low calori food. They didn’t even liked the idea of low fat milk, becuase it doesn’t taste good. At some point I gave up but tried to keep my diet on.”
    About in-laws or yr own parents who would b within the same gae bracket-surprisingly they during their time time had oppurtunity to eat fresh food more than what we have(now in foreign land thats a reality);plus many have good digestion ability and this combination have lessened their proneness to diabetes or cholestrol problem and therefore run no risk for heart problems.I DID STRESS THAT FIRST U NEED DOCTOR CLEARANCE IN RESPECT OF THIS PROBLEM.So for them you can cook normal.Living abroad you know that servasnt help is compensated by the useful utensils that you can get there n cooking takes less time than what is required here in DESH.The in-Laws would love you to tell that they r very lucky to b healthy but unfortunately you have lots of body Fat problem therefore you need to work the diet as per advise of DOCTOR.Pleasing yr in-laws would give you added points for Paradise-why deprive yrself of that???
    A small amount of extra time is needed for that additional preparation- that small time spent would enable you to win the hearts of the elderly too.
    Cheese-Cottage cheese is safe and available in plenty abroad-at home deshi white cheese made from cow n buffalow is safe- others used in small proportion will not b a danger.
    In any case you have to use yr intelligence to see that your health is not compromised- yr husband living with you abroad would certainly be aware of present trends and would support you as long as yr In-laws get their own brand of supply-if they insist just give it-Yr duty is to inform and advise not to force feeding.

    Refyr#12-The above also answers yr query abt advise to deal with in-laws/parents.If all start to live separtely there wont be enough accomodation in this world–and then the spirit of a United Family is gone.
    “As Mom’s we should be very careful how we are helping our children to attain a healthy habit as well, if we allow them to eat unhealthy it will be hard for them to change that once they are grownup.”- a Very correct statement that should be followed by all.Many parents tend to over look this thinking growth would be affected- a proper rich protein diet would take care of that-but fats/oils n fried/fast food etc wont.Recent information from different medical sites definitely stress that children diet should be also well planned to avoid obesity etc.

    refyr#13 last para.Yes even in Bangladesh some teen agers tried to be specially careful about getting fat and did try to starve till they needed to b hospitalized and given IV Saline to recover.They realize now that Starving helps to add to health problems not to fight the problem-I am very shocked to see that so many teenagers are allergic to fresh cow milk and eggs without realizing their values for their health.Many take the Milk mixed with choco etc- and for eggs many prefer omlette without realizing that all value is lost n all they r getting is oil.
    During my UN assingments in East Africa I have come across our Bangladeshi families n other Asian families all complaining that their children hardly eat and then are quick to grab all fast food,Macs,Kentucky etc– they are fed up and cant seem to change them– Reason I discovered that these parents have from the beginning allowed their childrens to go their own style hoping they will learn themselves about their health etc since they r all educated and mixing with different elite social people- so wisdom would automatically catch up with them- None have ever bothered to discuss with their children the basics of health and healthy eating.
    Luckily we had a seminar about food n values jointly sponsored by our UNHCR,UNICEF n WHO and I obtained special permisiion for these families to attend with their children so that they would learn. After the seminar I took these children around the refugee camps for these children to realize how lucky they were to have oppurtunity for better living and healthy lifestyle and that their habit of starving – for diet control – results in same problems that these refugees have.
    Many of the Parents have learned a lot from this seminar and I was informed that many children were begining to have changes in their food habits.

  16. Phantom says:

    Here is another set of tips useful for all:-
    16 Facts About Getting Fit Safely
    Physical activity is a great way to get healthier, provided you do it safely.

    Exercise is key to heart health, but it’s important to follow some sensible guidelines. Try these tips for safe physical activity.
    Stop your activity right away if you:

    have pain, tightness, or pressure in your chest or left neck, shoulder, or arm
    feel dizzy or sick
    break out in a cold sweat
    have muscle cramps
    feel pain in your joints, feet, ankles, or legs. You could hurt yourself if you ignore the pain.
    Talk to your healthcare provider to find out how to manage these symptoms and safely continue your fitness program.
    Try these techniques to maximize the benefits of your session:

    Slow down if you feel out of breath. You should be able to talk during your activity, without gasping for breath.
    Drink lots of water before, during, and after physical activity to replace the water you lose by sweating (even if you’re doing water workouts and cold-weather activities).
    Do not do hard exercise for 2 hours after a big meal. (Taking a walk is fine.) If you eat small meals, you can be physically active more often.
    Dress for the occasion. Here are some pointers:

    Wear lightweight, loose-fitting tops so you can move easily.
    Wear clothes made of fabrics that absorb sweat and remove it from your skin.
    Never wear rubber or plastic suits because they can hold the sweat on your skin and make your body overheat.
    Women should wear a supportive bra.
    Wear supportive athletic shoes for weight-bearing activities.
    When you are active outdoors during cold weather, wear a knit hat to keep you warm.
    For outdoor pursuits in warm weather, choose a tightly woven, wide-brimmed hat to help keep you cool and protect you from the sun.
    Wear sunscreen when you are outdoors at any time of year. Look for waterproof, water-resistant and sport formulations, which will stay in place better as you sweat.

  17. Nazia says:

    I see that we have found a devoted reader who is not only extensively aware of health issues but is also providing advices on relationship maintenance & so much more!! An expert in every issue perhaps?

    I just had to acknowledge Phantom for taking up the trouble of promptly replying to EVERY comment here with his own solutions & to many others throughout the site:) Trying to take off a lot of responsibilities from the authors I c 😉

  18. Phantom says:

    If you read my #1:First line starts by appreciating your idea and next all statements made are in addition to your valuable comments/points thats very helpful.I participate here because I believe that by sharing/debating points you help people to gain and as well learn myself-Education is a ongoing factor- we also learn from others. You still remain the main author n am not not a deshi politician trying to settle for yr CHAIR/AUTHORSHIP- this is 0ne reason why I was lucky never to be involved with DESI organiuzations –Always with Interenational organization both at home and abroad-

  19. Phantom says:

    If the helpful tips(additional to the discussions) are occupying too much space please do let me know frankly- I felt the more points/ideas given here supports the TOPIC started by YOU.Perhaphs I should have enquired before posting. Hope my good intentions are not misunderstood.

  20. Shahnaz says:


    As Nazia mentioned, ‘I just had to acknowledge Phantom for taking up the trouble of promptly replying to EVERY comment here with his own solutions & to many others throughout the site:)’

    I am also assuming you are a ‘he’, and that you don’t have any kids, and possibly single:)… if you are wondering why i am assuming you are single or don’t have any kids…because few of your comments sounds like – ‘adorsho prithibi/utopia’ – where people (kids and adults) behave how they are suppose to and not how they do :)… then I could be totally wrong in my assumption…

    And from your recent comments, I am also assuming – you are a compassionate person and sincerely want to help with your experience and knowledge…and we do want discuss and learn from everyone, that’s why we are here…

    We all may have great ideas to share with each other..but we preferably want to share ideas based on experience, or helpful suggestion (like you are providing in this blog)…but dont’ just stop there as ‘people’ should behave…tell us for instance how you have overcome a difficult relationship when you are posting comments… otherwise it is all ‘talk and ‘ideal’ and nothing real.

    If you have ideas/topics in mind that we should discuss you can also share here:


    for examples from your comment at this post you can suggest we write on the, food allergy in child, diabetes, heart disease, how much sleep one need…

    And even though we are geographically scattered all over the world – we have one thing in common – one of our common identity/strength is that we are deshi:)…hope that doesn’t discourage you to participate:)


  21. Phantom says:

    Refyr#20-” one of our common identity/strength is that we are deshi:)…hope that doesn’t discourage you to participate:)”-Its precisely the reason why I share my knowledge earned through education and professional experience working for UN at home and abroad-Relief n Rehabilitation and Refugee Multipurpose Projects- besides as a good sprtsman of my time I learnt values of a Healthy Life style- which is the topic.
    You are right in assuming that I am a “HE” and that I am single- but a single parent and have been so for a while;I have a son n a daughter both maried and settled and presently God has blessed me by making me a double Grand-Father.I have plenty of niece and nephews- and though I am the eldest Chacha/Mama they are very friendly and confident with me.
    I realize this a women’s forum therefore have never suggested topics for discussion for I feel that YOU ALL know best the topics needed for you- all through; what I did is volunteered information and knowledge which could be useful.This is what I should here-You choose and I give oyu the support of knowledge.
    I had also difficult time with my son and daughter in raising them to be healthy,intelligent people- but by the Grace and Blessings of God have done so succesfully.The daughter/son IN-Law feels comfortably with me and finds me more a friend than a Father-in-Law.
    By the grace of God I had oppurtunity to learn (from early student life) and practise Healthy Lifestyle,Food Values and that helped me to maintain a good health necessary for a good sportsman and later in life, had been succesful in rasing the health status of Refugees in East Africa.
    For yr suggestion of practical experience I have already narrated you this experience in East Africa- Children need to be educuated in evrything and in some cases forced (rare cases)if you want them to have right values n knowledge that will help them to be intelligent,halthy,wise and later independent to understand that some of their decisions were wrong and that parents helped them to get on to the right track-this way respect for Parents also develops.
    As for my own experience let me tell you that during student life as a sportman was a non-veg and diet was high qyty red meat,milk,eggs- not even fish-I loved(the family did) good food-and tastety deserts. However since the beginning of my Professional job I had less time for physical activity which remained centred on squash/Tennis and occasional gym work- but even this activity lessened during assignments abroad-and high quantity of rich food was absorbed during 0fficial Dinners which was compulsory for us to attend since these were occassions to socialize with our Donor countries representatives n other foreign dignitaries.So some years later I wwas diagnosed as having high cholestrol-exremely high and has pressure problems due to this cholestrol problem- however with the help of the Bumrungrad Hospital(Bamgkok) doctors-endocronologist and dietician plus my own determination I brought all under control- Medicines as per doctor advise,Diet as per dietician advise and with clearance from Doctor I chalKed out my walking and physical activity including gym work and within three months(Doctors mentioned one years time)I am in normal system- during this time I realized the importance of vegs and Fish- specially Pangash and small fish-Pangash has 0mega-3 which absorbs Fats- so fish and vegs is part of my NEW diet.
    I hope all will be a comfortable with this information and we can continue sharing our knowledge–I am also learning from this forum-None is an absolute expert in life.

  22. Renee says:

    I like to read adhunika’s blog comments. This is a great discussion. But some comments are getting so long, I lose interest to read them. I am suggesting that we get more to the point, precise comments than huge essay type blog comments. That might help people like me to get more out of it.

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Adhunika blog is launched with a mission to share knowledge among women from every walk of life. Sometime it would be in the form of sharing experience to find a feasible solution of a problem; sometime it would be in the form of professional consultation, which Adhunika group will arrange for its bloggers. Nevertheless, the intent of this blog always remains the same - to help and empower women through a common web-based platform....read more



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