Meera Meera On the Wall

Like a fly, only Meera

Category: Health and Fitness

Health and Beauty Benefits of Green Tea

I recently read a great article on about green tea which I wanted to share. I’m such an advocate of drinking green tea that I’d recommend it to anyone as one of the best and easiest steps towards a healthier lifestyle.

The article tells us that green tea is said to possess anti-ageing, metabolism-boosting and cholesterol-busting properties that help to keep your body healthy and trim. I can’t tell you for sure if this is true – I’ve been drinking a lot (up to 5 cups a day) of green tea for over a decade, so I wouldn’t be able to confirm noticeable results from a comparative viewpoint. However, based on my natural and genetic predispositions towards a number of health issues, I surmise that green tea has made a huge difference to me.

Firstly, no one in my family is genetically blessed with a naturally fast metabolism – if you want to be slim, you have to work hard for it. I have a very healthy appetite and have always been a bit lazy on the fitness front, but up until recently I’ve got away with it. My family has always been baffled by my frame, which, genetically, should have let me down by now. In light of this, I attribute my metabolism to my regular green tea intake. As for anti-ageing, I’ve enjoyed respite from afflictions that have plagued many members of my family from a young age, and although I’ll be thirty in a couple of years I still get sternly mistaken for a teenager when I try to go to the movies or buy a bottle of wine. I’m also a fan of skincare products that contain green tea which, used topically, is a potent antioxidant and defends skin from environmental aggressors. My skin always looks and feels better when my skincare regime includes green tea. Aside from the aesthetic benefits, green tea also benefits the heart by lowering cholesterol and it strengthens bones, protects internal organs and will keep your mind sharp.

I couldn't fake this if I tried - a picture I took recently of a particularly happy cup of green tea.

Obviously, there’s only so much that leaves steeped in hot water can hold at bay and now I’m finally embracing a more active lifestyle. Even though I have a serious weakness for cake and something of an aversion to my running shoes, I’ve always believed that we have to be conscious about what we put into our bodies – and as far as that goes, green tea is an excellent choice. Here are a few of my own tips, which I follow for best results:

Tip: Add a slice of lemon to your green tea. Vitamin C aids the body’s absorption of goodies, whether from green tea, daily vitamins or any healthy meal. (Bet Popeye wishes he knew the difference a glass of OJ would have made to his can of spinach.)

Tip: To avoid the bitter taste green tea can have, don’t use boiling water – especially if you’re adding lemon. I always pour in a bit of cold water first then top it up with hot water.

Tip: Drink green tea with fatty food. The antioxidants in the tea will help to counteract the damage to blood vessels that occurs after consuming a high-fat meal.

Read more about green tea and its uses in the article, and get brewing!


Operation Bikini – Day D

So my friend/harbinger of doom brought me the wonderful news today that, apparently, it takes 2 weeks for the body to acclimatise to any changes to fitness and/or diet. I haven’t looked up what this means exactly but I surmise that, basically, my body will be finally bikini-ready precisely when I’m leaving Barcelona. In a nutshell, Operation Bikini was always going to be a big flop. It can’t be done, people.

That said, I do feel better for the past week of healthy eating and exercise (you know, aside from the debilitating cravings and all the self-loathing). Even if I don’t look all that different, I feel different – lighter, tighter and more comfortable. So I guess the objective has been achieved in some measure.

The actual measuring will have to wait as I didn’t have the foresight to record my current stats before I had my dinner – my full tummy might throw things off a bit, so I’ll take them tomorrow morning.

Today’s activities have comprised a long walk/hike and skipping; I’ll do some yoga before I turn in. My meal plan was going well today until I received a gigantic parcel from friends in Japan, containing all sorts of yummies :s I confess I helped myself to some karintou, a sort of brown-sugar cracker – totally delicious and not at all healthy. For dinner, mother dearest made some yummy and super-healthy dhal, and was very sweet to take my diet into consideration by swapping chapatis for fulkas (virtually the same thing but without the oil). I do believe filling up on lentils and wholewheat flatbread is an excellent diet plan 🙂

Breakfast: Oatmeal, banana, PB (yeah, it’s getting a little bit old)

Snack: Nectarine

Lunch: Soba noodles, miso soup

Snack: Karintou, almonds

Dinner: Dhal and fulkas

Dessert: Probiotic yogurt w/ blueberries

I’ll check in again tomorrow – from Barca, eek! Speak to you soon 😀


Final Stats:

Bust: 82.5 cm (1 1/2 cm)

Hips: 86.5 (3.5 cm)

Butt: 99 cm (2 cm)

Thighs: 56 cm (1 cm)

Waist: 68 cm (approx 1 1/2)


Yes, there was a loss, however slight, and yes, I felt better after just a week of a healthy diet and fitness regime. All variables considered the Rodial Crash Diet Sticks weren’t – predictably – worth £50 for a week-long weight-loss plan. The rest of it, the no-brainer part, was worth it so I’ll stick to it as diligently as I can. I’ve noticed that my tendency to snack has reduced considerably, and I’ve been putting more thought into what, and when, I eat.

The hardest part will be maintaining it – as the colder months close in, so does the hankering for comfort food! And the prospect of exercising outside becomes ever more un-enticing :s Must keep reminding myself that a slammin’ bod is not just for Barcelona, it’s for Christmas too!

Operation Bikini – Day 8

This sorry behind finally saw some gym action today! I was feeling well enough in the morning to give it a try – I avoided running because I’m not a total masochist, and stuck to the rowing machine and bicycle. It didn’t kill me, so let’s hope for the other thing. I certainly feel better for my new diet and (loose) fitness regime – definitely leaner, if not meaner! I’ll take my final measurements tomorrow so the proof is in the pudding, as it were. (Maybe I should have done away with the measuring tape in favour of a pudding-ometer. That basically comprises a stick, or a similar poking-device.)

Speaking of pudding, I’ve been having some wicked bad cravings this evening – I’d hoped I was done with those, but they were back with a snarling (not to mention drooling) vengeance tonight. In fact, my appetite throughout the day was greater – probably a result of the workout, but it also makes me question my meal plan. I had more carbs (incl fruit) than I’d normally eat, so perhaps that triggered the cravings. I’d thought I would be safe with wholewheat, slow-release carbs for dinner, but evidently I should stick to veggies and protein in the evening.

Breakfast: Oatmeal, bananas, PB

Snack: Guava, grapefruit, Ryvita w/ light cream cheese

Lunch: Ham, egg and lettuce pita pocket

Snack: None

Dinner: Spaghetti bolognese

Dessert: Watermelon; yogurt and blueberries; 1 square dark chocolate

My appetite today was by far the most erratic it’s been so far. Will be making a last-ditch effort tomorrow for more balance, and then all will be revealed! Unfortunately for me, that will quite literally be the case.

WTF Kitty knows what I’m talking about. This is me today upon realizing I’ll be in a bikini tomorrow:


Operation Bikini – Day 7

So it’s Day 7, which I suppose technically means that my week is up – but I’ve got a couple of days left till my holiday, and I think a couple of days from this past week to make up, so I’m granting myself an extension. I’m a little bit concerned at the moment because my chest is actually hurting, as if I over-did it filming that video. I’ll see how I feel after a good night’s rest. I just love it when things go to plan. 😐

My appetite has been diminished today, so I’ve been rather forlornly picking at my food. Today’s sad little menu:

Breakfast: Oatmeal, banana, PB

Snack: none

Lunch: Ham and lettuce pita pocket

Snack: Probiotic yogurt, peach

Dinner: Celery with cream cheese, turkey and a tomato

I think that half the battle to recovery might be won by convincing the boyfriend to switch the fan off at night – definitely felt worse for it this morning, but talking someone out of a habit might be one of this week’s more difficult challenges!

Operation Bikini – Day 6

I’ve just got a minute to update so I’ll make it brief! A more comprehensive report tomorrow.

I got in my exercise today, though not the gym as planned. (Logistical difficulties – it seems these boys are very precious with their schedules, especially on a Sunday.) So I worked out at home, mostly skipping and some resistance exercises. I love skipping, which is great because I lack the stamina and coordination for most forms of exercise. I used to be a good runner, then I got hit by a series of bad chest infections and now running even a block makes me feel like I’m dying. Skipping, however, is something I’m actually very good at, and the boyfriend watched me in total bemusement while I made like Rocky. I kept it up for a while til I was totally pooped – I know I’ve had enough when I start whipping myself with the rope, which by my standards is enough punishment for one day.

I wasn’t very stringent today with the diet – finding myself having to choose between the integrity of my regime and the sanctity of Sunday dinner, I fear the choice wasn’t very hard. I erred on the healthy side though – while we went for Chinese takeaway, I stuck (mostly) to steamed dishes and had only a little of my favourite noodles, and resisted ice cream for dessert.

Breakfast: Oatmeal, banana, PB

Snack: nada

Lunch: Roast pork and veggies

Snack: Plum compote, yogurt and, uh-oh, some chocolate buttons and a biscuit :s

Dinner: Dim sum, small portion Singapore noodles

Dessert: Pear

Even if I wasn’t planning to stay on a healthy diet, I would highly recommend the virtues of a food diary. It reminds you of all the extraneous snacks you eat throughout the day that you’d otherwise forget about, and it also trains you to be more conscious of what you’re eating, which is a great help if you’re a “grazer” like me. I was talking to a lovely girl the other day who said keeping a food diary helped her lose the 40 lbs she’d gained after having 2 kids, v inspiring and a great testament to the efficacy of writing down everything you eat.

Til tomorrow, my lovelies 🙂

Operation Bikini – Day 5

I can’t believe it’s Day 5 already!! My week is almost up, this is terrible! That said, I saw my boyfriend’s mum today and the first thing she said was “You’re losing weight” (in a disapproving way, natch! :)) – and the last time I saw her was Monday, so I guess that means Operation Bikini must be working. I also saw a guy apparently checking out my thighs earlier today – while more than a little creepy, it also made me think perhaps they are looking a little bit leaner. I can acknowledge, however, that this isn’t the best yardstick for my progress, so moving on swiftly…

Spending the next couple of days with my boyfriend is going to be a challenge – as I write, he’s sitting in front of me eating a bag of candy. I’ve already given into a cookie (one of those huge, fat chewy ones – it was pretty awesome) but – overlooking the SNAFU – I didn’t finish it. I could easily have polished it all off, but I handed it over once I’d had as much of it as I would really enjoy. This is a bigger step than it sounds, so hear me out : because I’ve got into over-indulgent habits of late (greed, eating my feelings, whatever you want to call it), pushing away my plate when I’ve had enough is something I haven’t been able to do for a while. So what I’m saying is that even though it was just a cookie today, the cookie is really symbolic of ALL FOOD. I’m not just trying to justify my weak will. Honest.

More power yoga today, followed by power walking (a couple of miles with luggage, in a hurry – IT COUNTS!) – followed by the cookie. I’ll be compensating tomorrow by going to the gym with my boyfriend and my brother, both of whom are gym bunnies (not their term of choice, I’m sure). As I said yesterday, having company/a judging audience makes me work harder, so I’m looking forward to a good workout. My cold is much better today so I’ll make these last few days count!

Breakfast: Oatmeal with banana and PB (it doesn’t get old, it’s so yummy)

Snack: none!

Lunch: Mediterranean Omelette

Snack: Watermelon

Extra snack: Cookie :s

Dinner: Ryvita with light cream cheese+turkey

Dessert: Plum compote with probiotic yogurt and honey

Operation Bikini – Day 4

I just realized I forgot to include my waist measurement at the start of this week – whoops :s I’ll add it to the stats I posted yesterday and re-measure at the end of the week, doubt it’ll change all that much.

I was fairly stiff yesterday and thought I could do with some stretching out, so I opted for power yoga which fairly wore me out although I didn’t feel like I achieved that much. I think I just hit a wall where I had to stop rather than overdo it. I’ll pick it up again today and see if going gently gets me further.

With regards to diet, I’m realizing that I do best throughout the day when I start with a filling and energy-packed breakfast – yesterday’s oatmeal and blueberries didn’t quite cut it for me and my appetite was erratic throughout the day, so I’m back to the banana and peanut butter variety today. As I mentioned in my video, I’m really feeling those cravings at the moment and there’s a box of brownie mix I’m trying very, very hard to ignore (I swear I can hear it knocking against the cupboard door). The deprivation is getting to me, so I treated myself to a big, fat, sweet – date. Like the dried fruit, not dinner-and-a-movie. Unsurprisingly, it was quite underwhelming.

So, today:

Breakfast: Oatmeal with banana and PB

Snack: Almonds and a date

Lunch: Brown rice, mackerel, steamed veggies and edamame.

Snack: Nothing that will satisfy me

Dinner: Baked sweet potato

I’ve been advised by a dear reader (thank you, Asif!) not to work out today – tempting, so tempting! I’m reluctant to limit myself to yoga again, but it’s been raining all day again so I may not have a choice. All the more reason to sit here hugging my hot water bottle…

Update: Well, I caved. I can’t tell if I was just craving or actually hungry, but either way I had to have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (in a wholewheat pita pocket, so it’s not a total bust). I really can’t work out today either, I’m feeling too under the weather – will still attempt some gentle yoga later. Oh, this is a disaster 😦 I hope tomorrow will be more productive (or reductive, as it were).

Operation Bikini – Day 3

Well, this is interesting. My stats as of this morning, with cm lost in brackets:

Bust: 83.5 cm (1/2 cm)

Hips: 87 cm (3 cm)

Butt: 100.5 cm (1/2 cm)

Thighs: 56 cm (1 cm)

Waist: 69.5 cm

It might not sound like much to you, but it’s progress to me! I’m a girl with humps a la Black Eyed Peas, so I wasn’t expecting to lose much around my backside; the most important thing is that it’s looking perkier and feeling firmer. As for my lady lumps, I’d be happy if I didn’t lose too much more… Why are they always the first to go and last to come back?!

Also, I can actually move today, which is a pleasant surprise. It’s raining again so I guess that means it’s back to Zumba and Tracy Anderson (girl is CRAZY, fyi – I almost threw up yesterday). I’ve developed a head cold, which my boyfriend tells me is common when you start working out more – apparently the effort reduces your immunity, or something. And here I was thinking exercise makes you healthier.

I forgot to mention that I start each day with a cup of hot water and lemon. I’ve done this every day for over 10 years, and I can’t recommend it highly enough as a cleansing start to your day. Also add a slice of lemon to your green tea for added benefits (see Beauty Booster from July 5, below).

On the menu today:

Breakfast: Oatmeal with blueberries

Snack: Banana and peanut butter

Lunch: Roasted vegetables and hummus in pitta bread

Snack: Watermelon

Dinner: tbc

Dessert: Probiotic yogurt and nectarine

Seriously, I need to go get a tissue. I’ll catch you guys later!

Operation Bikini – Day Two

Yesterday was a pretty good start, but I’m feeling pretty sore today. It was raining yesterday so I had to forego the run for Zumba followed by a leg workout and yoga. I stopped when my glutes were shaking! Despite my slip-ups earlier in the day, I actually noticed a decrease in my appetite, which I’m not sure is an effect of the Diet Sticks or of my improved approach. After a too-heavy lunch, almonds and rice crackers, I stayed full all day and had no appetite for dinner. Even after an intense workout, I wasn’t remotely hungry and I had to force myself to eat some fruit and cereal (because like I said, I won’t starve myself!).

I’ve tried to keep it more balanced today:

Breakfast: Oatmeal with banana, peanut butter and honey

Snack: Almonds

Lunch: Soba (buckwheat noodles) with mackerel and edamame

Snack: Peach

Dinner: Mediterranean omelette

Dessert: Probiotic yogurt with blueberries

I haven’t noticed a decrease in my appetite today, in fact I’ve been craving cake like crazy. Torture! I guess this is just what happens when you go cold turkey :s Makes me wonder how much I was eating before!

So anyway, it’s the end of day 2 – I’m jonesing for cake and feeling pretttty stiff from running, skipping and an ab workout. I’m not great at stretching down so I hope that doesn’t end up biting me in the butt tomorrow – literally. We’ll see. Good night!

Mixing It Up

I cook every day and I love it almost as much as beauty and writing, but I’ve never shared my recipes because I have a very haphazard cooking style – I make it up as as I go along and I don’t measure, and improvisation doesn’t translate well to recipes :s That said, my dinner was yummy, healthy and easy and I didn’t want to keep it to myself! So if you don’t mind throwing in ingredients without precise measurements, here it is:

Mama’s Mediterranean Omelette

Roughly chop: Garlic; Onions; Tomatoes; Mushrooms; Aubergine; Anything else that goes. Wash and set aside a handful of spinach.

Soften garlic, onions, mushrooms and aubergines.
Add tomatoes and a splash of water.
I add ketchup to intensify the flavour; you can also throw in chilli flakes, paprika and herbs.

Once heated through until all the ingredients and flavors have blended together to a nice consistency, take off the heat.
Add the spinach to wilt, and stir in a spoon of low-fat crème fraîche.

Once the filling is ready, make a one-egg omelette.
Spoon filling into the omelette and fold over.