Category Archives: health

Check Your Blood Pressure

For as long as I remember it seems I’ve had high blood pressure. It’s a combination of being overweight, a diet high in salt and of being brown.

I currently now take two pills every day to help control my blood pressure. It’s currently at a “healthy”  127/86. But it’s been much higher.

High blood pressure is ranked as the third most important risk factor for attributable burden of disease in south Asia (2010). That’s what I mean by being brown. And it doesn’t help that my dad has high blood pressure and has already suffered a heart attack.

I’m hoping to lose weight this year and boost my heart health. To do so, I’ll be attempting to log into My Fitness Pal everyday to log my calorie intake and my fitness activities. I use the words “hoping” and “attempting” purposefully because everyday can be a challenge and a struggle.

If you’re not aware of your blood pressure drop into your local pharmacy (Shoppers Drug Mart here in Toronto) and have it checked for free. You should also visit your family doctor at least once a year for a check up.

Image credit: Indian Express

getting ready for Africa

A few weeks ago, I started exercising.  I need to get in shape.  It’s a health decision as much as it is a “beach” decision.  Not only do I want to be healthy, but I also want to look good.

It turns out I need professional help.  So I sought out my friend Emil.  Emil has recently moved to Toronto from New York City.  No, he’s not crazy.  He did it for a girl.  Emil is the founder of as well as Fit 4 Life Kids.  We met in a park in the Yonge and Eglinton area.  And he put me through a workout.

It’s so simple really.  Anyone can do it.  Here’s the video footage:



What does exercising and being healthy have do to with marketing and social media?  Nothing and everything.  Nothing in that obviously there is no direct relation.  However, in this industry, the hours worked and the time spent in front of a computer screen can be long.  Not to mention all the events (social and professional) we get invited to that end late at night and then we have to get up early in the morning.  This does not make for a healthy lifestyle.  And I figure if I’m going to succeed in this industry, I want to enjoy the fruits (and wages) of my labour.  So, if you find yourself working in the digital industry, at whatever level, I suggest a workout schedule.  You may even want to give someone like Emil a shout (I’ve left his email address below).

You can follow my journey to lower blood pressure, 165 pounds (I’m presently 175), and more energy by visiting or visit my YouTube channel and search for the health videos.

If you want to get in touch with Emil you can email him at

Getting Ready

If the stars align, the gods agree, and all that good stuff happen, I should be in Mombasa with my wife to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary.  From what I’ve been told (I haven’t checked Google…yet) Mombasa is on a beautiful beach.  And my body is not beach ready.  By a long shot.

I’ve got just over a month to get ready.


Fit4lifenyc and the Fit4lifenyc Blog

Any tips or suggestions?  Comment below or on any of my daily health vlogs.

Ok. I checked Google.  Beautiful.

Sapna – guest post form Shereen Mir

A while ago I put out a request for topics for me to write about. A friend I’ve yet to actually meet, Bhupesh Shah (@ethnicomm on Twitter), suggested I write about South Asians (as I am one) and how their lifestyle and eating habits may prove to be fatal. My sister (@faizakanji on Twitter) also suggested I write something for Father’s Day.

So, this post is dedicated to the dreamers, the South Asians and Dad.

I hope you enjoy.

Why I decided to join SAPNA –My story, my sapna

I saw his pale face, wearing a blue hospital gown. My heart was beating rapidly, as my family and I gathered around him with worried faces. It was the first time I had ever seen my dad in the hospital.

What had just happened? My father experienced a heart attack. Although heart attacks are common among South Asians, my dad was unaware that his lifestyle and eating habits almost proved to be fatal.

Like many South Asians, my father loves to eat. Halwa, nihari, biryani, you name it and he ate it. As great as these popular South Asian dishes taste, such foods are rich in fats and oils and can cause serious damage to your health if eaten excessively.

In fact, many South Asian dishes contain ghee and fatty oils, which increase the level of LDL cholesterol and aggravate the tendency to develop insulin resistance syndrome – a condition that encompasses many illnesses, including cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes.

South Asians are predisposed to insulin resistance as compared to Caucasians due to having a higher central disposition of body fat, leading a more sedentary lifestyle, and eating food rich in oils. The best management and prevention of insulin resistance and its associated health conditions involve a change in lifestyle – eating healthier and being more active.

According to a 2006 study conducted in the UK that interviewed South Asians regarding undertaking physical activity as a part of their diabetes management, most South Asians were aware of the importance of physical exercise, but didn’t feel the need to engage in it because it didn’t fit their cultural norms and expectations. Some believed that their obligation to the home didn’t allow them enough time to exercise, or others believed that they were already active enough because they were engaged in a lot of physical labour or household work.

My father too believed that he didn’t need to exercise. His heart attack could have been easily prevented if he was more aware of the severity of its implications. Although I am lucky that my father is still alive, others have been unfortunate in losing their family members and other loved ones to a heart attack, diabetes or other health conditions commonly found in South Asians.

Thinking of my loved ones in mind, I sought an avenue where I could not only help my family be healthier, but help others and their families as well. That’s when I realized that my sapna (dream) could be fulfilled by turning to SAPNA (South Asian Professional Network for Awareness), an organization that strives to increase the awareness of health-related issues facing the South Asian community.

As a volunteer at SAPNA, I realized that I wanted to be a part of a community devoted to nurturing one of the greatest gifts of life – the gift of good health. At SAPNA, I strive to increase the general knowledge and awareness of two major health related issues facing South Asians – diabetes and heart disease.


Barnett, A.H. et al. 2006. Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular risk in the UK South Asian community. Diabetologia 49:2234 –2246

Das, U.N. 2002. Metabolic Syndrome X is common in South Asians, but why and how? Nutrition 18(9): 774-776.

Ehtisham, S. 2005. Ethnic differences in insulin resistance and body composition in United Kingdom adolescents. Journal of Clinical Endrocrinology & Metabolism 90(7): 3963-3969.

Lawton, J. et al. 2006. “I can’t do any serious exercise”: barriers to physical activity amongst people of Pakistani and Indian origin with Type 2 diabetes

Shereen Mir is a volunteer member of SAPNA’s marketing and communications committee. You can read her tweets @shereenmir!