Healthy Diet

Outline of the Conversation:

Pooja is a student from Cochin, India, who visits family in the United States once a year. She has a close friend named Courtney, who is a student in Houston, Texas, where her family lives. It has been a year since the girls last saw each other, and Pooja notices that Courtney has lost weight and greatly improved her figure. While having lunch at a health food cafe, they discuss what they can do to maintain a healthy diet.

The Conversation:

Pooja: Hi Courtney! It is nice to see you again. How are you?

Courtney: I am doing very well. Welcome back to Houston! Did you have any trouble finding the cafe?

Pooja: Not at all. My cousin lives close by and offered to drop me off. Wow, this place looks like it is for people with very strict diets. Are you sure the food is going to taste good?

Courtney: Yes silly, you are going to like it. I know the menu looks funny and all of the items are health-conscious, but eating here has helped me follow my diet and stay in shape.

Pooja: Yes, as soon as I saw you, I noticed that you shed some pounds and really improved your appearance. You look fabulous girl! Did you get these results by eating here and exercising every day?

Courtney: Well, yes and no. I eat here when I feel like treating myself after working hard to obey my new healthy diet.

Pooja: Healthy diet? So you finally decided to go through with that plan. Remember we used to joke that we could eat all the gulab jamun and vanilla ice cream we desired, and would not gain a pound?

Courtney: Yeah, what were we thinking?

Pooja: I think that was a bad joke, because lately I have been feeling a little heavy and need to lose weight. Can you tell me about this special diet?

Courtney: Of course I will. I started it about two weeks after your last visit to Houston. I felt so guilty after that week we spent celebrating my twentieth birthday by uncontrolled gorging, and was not happy when I looked in the mirror.

Pooja: Oh, I remember. We went out to a different cafe every morning for breakfast and a different restaurant every night for dinner. The stacks of pancakes, fries, pizza, and desserts... We were really pigs! I felt guilty looking in the mirror too.

Courtney: So the first part of my diet consists of eliminating those fatty foods, and replacing them with healthy foods that are low in fat, and high in vitamins and nutrients. I strive to maintain a well-balanced diet.

Pooja: Do give an example. This should be interesting.

Courtney: Let's start with breakfast. Ok, think about what we gobbled down those mornings during my birthday week. Pancakes and waffles with piles of butter and different flavours of syrup, king-size omelettes with cheese, breakfast pastries, sound familiar?

Pooja: How could I forget?

Courtney: We do not eat like that every day, but that week was somewhat representative of our eating habits while hanging out with each other; we hardly used any discrimination at meal times.

Pooja: Well you can just cut the first meal out of your day. That will surely help you lose weight, right?

Courtney: You know better than that. Did you forget that breakfast gives you energy to begin your day? You should always have a large breakfast, a smaller lunch and an even smaller dinner. Alternatively, you can choose small portions of food six times a day. Remember when your aunt said to us: Eat BREAKFAST like a king, LUNCH like a prince, and DINNER like a pauper.

Pooja: That's correct; your memory is so good. It sounds like you just recited that verbatim.

Courtney: I guess. So I tossed the pancakes and waffles out of the window and now enjoy a bowl of corn flakes and sliced bananas and mango. The cereal is plenty sweet and does not need sugar or sweetener.

Pooja: I love corn flakes. I just forget to eat cold cereal.

Courtney: Looks like I'll have to send you email reminders. Instead of those elephant omelettes, I eat egg white omelettes with vegetables like spinach, tomato, mushroom, and green pepper. They are nice and healthy.

Pooja: I've never had an egg white omelette. How is it?

Courtney: You will be surprised. Egg whites have no fat or cholesterol and are high in protein.  This can be a very enjoyable, guilt-free breakfast. You should try one with fresh fruit or toast.

Pooja: I remember when you visited me in Cochin and fell in love with the South Indian breakfast. Do you still eat South Indian food sometimes?

Courtney: Absolutely, I eat a South Indian breakfast once, sometimes twice a week, especially with my new Indian friend Deepali. She is from Chennai. We have become close, and she invites me out for Indian food every week.

Pooja: Very nice! I would like to meet her.

Courtney: Yes I will arrange that soon.  Idly and dosa are quite healthy, as you already know. They are rich in protein and carbohydrates.

Pooja: Definitely! I need all the carbohydrate energy I can get to earn good grades in all the difficult pre-med classes I'm taking.

Courtney: That's right. You know I do as well. My classes are getting tougher by the week. I know that you usually eat a healthy breakfast, but have you been snacking on vada and vegetable cutlets lately?

Pooja: You know I have. They are my favourite snacks.

Courtney: Pooja, as an aspiring medical professional you know how loaded with calories and fat those deep fried snacks are.

Pooja: I know I know, but you know how available they are in India. Everywhere you go, they're in your face.

Courtney: Yes Pooja, but if you are worried about your weight and want to trim it down, you know what you have to do. Do you know how many calories and fat one little vada contains?

Pooja: Yeah I've read that one has about 295 calories and nine grams of fat.

Courtney: I think that's right. I looked it up after my visit with you in Cochin.

Pooja: One good thing I did when I got back to India after our binge on fatty food was some exercise. I got tired of feeling at fault so I started riding my bicycle every morning before class. I also did some yoga exercises in my room, but unfortunately, this routine did not last long. I guess I got lazy. 

Courtney: It's ok, you can start again. Here's what I do. I like to exercise in the mornings as well as evenings. Both times are beneficial. A morning workout provides an energetic sense of accomplishment and an evening workout helps me unwind after a long day of schoolwork.

Pooja: I will never forget the yoga sessions we did in India. You noticed how one can get an excellent workout, and wanted to keep it up as often as possible. Have you started yoga again?

Courtney: I haven't done yoga in a while but I would like to start again. I've actually been playing tennis with Deepali and other friends. We play for an hour and this really works out my upper and lower body. I have managed to play tennis three days a week and walk in the park twice a week.

Pooja: Wow that is quite impressive! You have already given me enough incentive to start exercising again. I'll be here for a month. I could start soon.

Courtney: I'm going to the tennis court tomorrow morning. Would you like to join me?

Pooja: I think I will. So a well-balanced diet and disciplined exercise schedule is how you made all this progress over the past year, it all makes sense.  I guess as future nurses we should set a good example in being healthy.

Courtney: I agree.

Pooja: Ok, I think I'm ready to order, how about you?

Courtney: Let's do it.

Pooja: Yes sir, may I please have the deluxe veggie sandwich with easy mayonnaise and extra cucumber and sprouts. Instead of fries, give me fruit salad.

Courtney: Well it looks like your diet has already started. Way to go!

Pooja: I guess it has. I think I'm really going to enjoy these next few weeks.


Health-conscious - Describing an attitude in which one has an awareness of the healthiness of one's diet and lifestyle; describing a product aimed at people with such an attitude.

Gorge - To greedily consume food.

Well-balanced - Nicely or evenly balanced, arranged, or regulated.

Representative - Serving as a typical or characteristic example.

Hanging out  - Slang for spending time together.

Discrimination - The use of good judgement when making decisions.

Alternatively - To offer or express a choice.

Verbatim - In the exact words: word for word.

Aspiring - Seeking to attain or accomplish a particular goal.

In your face - Slang for catching your immediate attention.

Binge - To excessively or compulsively consume something.

Beneficial - Conducive to personal or social well-being.

Keep it up - An idiom meaning to provide encouragement to continue in a like manner.

Incentive - Something that incites or has a tendency to incite to determination or action.

Way to go - Slang for offering congratulations. 

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