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Eating right and playing well



Optimum performance in competitive sports depends on multiple factors and ‘guided diets’ play a decisive role if sportsmen and women are to shine in the international sports arena says, Dr. Ranil Jayawardena, Senior Lecturer and Consultant Clinical Nutritionist from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo and Visiting Fellow at the School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology, Australia, in an interview with the Sunday Island.

by Randima Attygalle

While training is crucial in competitive sports, along with the sport culture of a particular nation, additional support both mentally and physically shape an international sports star. Added to this are sports psychology, injury prevention recovering support and proper nutrition. “Unlike when indulging in leisure sports, competitive sports demand sophisticated meal patterns and proper supplements for best results which include quick recovery, injury prevention, weight management and general health and wellbeing,” says Dr. Ranil Jayawardena.

In the absence of specialized ‘sports nutritionists’ here at home, many naturally rely on the advice of their ‘seniors’ or online material. “However, each individual requires a personalized dietary schedule depending on his/her socio-economic circumstances, training schedule, body weight, age, gender and the event calendar. For example what a gymnast requires is very different to what a marathon runner needs,” says the Specialist who goes onto add that there is no one diet or supplement for everyone. “One simply cannot generalize advice,” he reiterates.

Getting one’s hydration right is one of the easiest and cheapest nutritional strategies to optimize performance, yet Dr. Jayawardena says it is still one of the commonly overlooked factors by sportsmen. “Hydration is essential for both physical and mental faculties and this involves pre-hydration, during hydration and post-hydration.” Properly corrected Oral Rehydration Solutions such as Jeevani or fruit juices with salt and sugar are recommended here. “One doesn’t need expensive readymade isotonic formulas for proper hydration,” points out Dr. Jayawardena who explains further that sportsmen and women indulging in intense training must monitor their pre and post training body weight to estimate the water loss which needs to be corrected accordingly. “Your urine colour is an indicator of the hydration status. If it is dark, you are still dehydrated. One kilo of body weight loss after a training session represents a need for 1.5 ltr of fluid to be replaced.”

What is traditionally accepted as healthy food may not work for those doing intense sports, notes the Nutritionist. “The body derives energy from carbohydrates, hence choosing the correct carbs is vital for best performance. For instance a pre-training lunch of unpolished rice, high fat meats and fibre-rich vegetables such as dark green vegetables can go against an athlete. These meals reduce the rate of absorption of carbohydrates. Abdominal cramps while exercising are often the results of unabsorbed foods in the gut.”

If a training session exceeds one hour, intermediate carbohydrate-rich food is recommended and post training meal too should contain right carbs to enhance recovering, Dr. Jayawardena explains. “While a simple breakfast of bread, jam and banana is recommended for pre-training breakfast, a lunch of white rice, dhal, eggs/chicken/fish without leafy vegetables is recommended for lunch followed by a sweetened fruit juice, banana, a bun or crackers after training for recovery. While vegetables rich in fibre are discouraged for pre-training lunch since they take time to digest, they are recommended for dinner or four hours before a training session.”

Proteins, as the Specialist remarks, are the ‘building blocks for muscle growth and repair.’ A constant breakdown and regeneration of muscle tissue occurs every day which needs to be fuelled by the dietary intake of protein. Although protein requirement depends on body weight, gender, sport etc, an average sportsman needs 1.2-2.0g protein per kilogram of body weight. However, not all proteins are the same, warns the Nutritionist. “While some proteins are of high quality with all essential amino acids, others are not so.”

Protein intake should also be distributed throughout the day instead of being ‘loaded’ with it only at night. “While meats, poultry, fish, eggs are rich in proteins, pulses and nuts have a high level of carbohydrates and fat contrary to the common belief that they have a high concentration of proteins,” points out Dr. Jayawardena.

For competitive sportsmen and women, supplements are essential says the Nutritionist. These supplements however should be carefully selected on proper guidance either by a nutritionist or a sports physician, as some may contain banned substances for which they are tested nationally and internationally, he says. An overdose of them could also result in weight gain. “There are very safe Protein supplements including Whey protein, Casine protein, BCAA proteins, Amino acids capsules etc. If they select the correct product, they can be used to supplement and achieve daily protein requirements and help build muscle mass necessary for performance.” Reputed brands and reputed suppliers of the supplements are keys to safety, he adds.

The supplements as Dr. Jayawardena explains, should be gradually introduced to a budding sportsman or woman, starting with very basic ones around the age of 16. “We don’t prescribe them at a very young age as this will impede their increase in performance at a more mature level. However, multi-vitamin mineral and iron supplements (latter especially for menstruating girls) are recommended depending on the individual requirement.” Vitamin D supplements are often recommended for those involved in indoor training (ex: squash, badminton, table tennis etc) to improve both bone and muscle health. “The urban Sri Lankan population is reported to be having Vitamin D deficiency as their exposure to the morning sunlight is minimum unlike the agrarian community of the country.”

He also warns of high doses of vitamin supplementations. “Very often we see them taking several multi-vitamins as well as high doses vitamins in isolation. Vitamin E is commonly abused since is no recognized deficiencies”

For vegetarians and vegans, pursuing an intense training sport could be a tough journey, observes Dr. Jayawardena. “Since their natural intake of proteins is very low, such people will have to rely on a very high intake of quality protein supplements. Maintaining body weight could also become challenging for vegetarians who tend to be partial to milk, curd, paneer and tofu rich in fat.”

Fats from healthy sources such Omega 3 which is found in oily fish is highly recommended for those pursuing competitive sports. Moreover, Monounsaturated fatty acids are healthier compared to saturated fats. “Olive, avocado are also recommended provided there are no concerns about the body weight,” explains Dr. Jayawardena who urges to watch all fat types as they all contain a certain amount of calories.

Understanding what and when to eat on a daily basis will have a huge impact on performance, mood, sleep, health and energy levels which should never be underestimated, says the specialist. Adding a variety of fruits and vegetables to the daily diet (at least two fruits and three vegetables per day) and two dairy products is essential.

Dr. Jayawardena, with his global exposure to sports nutrition, lobbies for both academic and professional intervention in this field locally. Voicing his concerns over the lack of ‘sports nutrition education’ in the country Dr. Jayawardena remarks: “it is still not part of our local medical curriculum. We only deliver it as a voluntary module which should not be the case,” Citing the Australian experience of a qualified sports nutrition education system complete with exercise physiologist, sports nutritionists and sports psychologists, he calls for intervention at national level at a time when the demand for such professionals is overwhelming to take the Sri Lankan sporting talent to the next level.

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Define your style with cargo pants



You are unlikely to miss someone wearing cargo pants in a crowd of people. Cargo pants are loose or baggy pants with several large pockets originally designed for outdoor activities and rough work routines.During the World War era, military uniforms were needed to allow soldiers to carry more personal belongings and amour, hence the need for an outfit with a lot of deep pockets, ‘cargo’ pants.

The pockets at the side of the pants are what distinguish them from other pants as well as the quick-drying synthetic cotton material.

Other names include cargo trousers, combat pants or combat trousers. They come in different sizes and shapes. The mantra of wearing these pants is ‘as long as the waist fits, the rest does not matter’.

However, there are several types including jogger pants, which like any other cargo pants contain numerous pockets, but some of these pockets are just decorative, not functional.

Slim-fit cargo pants are designed to be fitting and are tapered at the ankle, while EMT ones are loose since they are designed for comfort and durability.

Other types include tactical, denim, hiking and high-end cargo pants.

Gents can achieve a casual official look with a polo shirt and slim-fit cargo pants. The other types match well with a t-shirt, fitting or oversized, and can give a ‘hot’ casual outfit.

In Kenya, the prices vary depending on where you want to buy your clothes. If you are ordering them locally from Kenyan online sites, be ready to part with Sh1,500 to Sh2,500.Cargo pants have made major comeback among the fashion conscious.

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Life style

Corridors of Time : Artistic narratives of Heritage and Nature



Royden Gibbs and Dillai Joseph Rodrigo inspire a spirit of conservation to aid efforts of WNPS.

Experience the captivating beauty of Sri Lanka’s heritage and nature through the exquisite fine art of Royden Gibbs and Dillai Joseph Rodrigo in the upcoming exhibition, “Corridors of Time.” This remarkable showcase promises to transport art enthusiasts on a journey through time, archaeology, architecture, history, human form and culture, with an exploration of the intricate narratives that bind heritage and nature in this enchanting island nation.

The “Corridors of Time” exhibition will be held at the Harold Peiris Gallery, located in the heart of Colombo. The grand opening is scheduled for 2nd November 2023, and the exhibition will run until 5th November 2023. Art enthusiasts, collectors, and anyone with an appreciation for the beauty of Sri Lanka and its cultural heritage are encouraged to attend. Visitors will have the opportunity to engage with Royden Gibbs and Dillai Joseph Rodrigo, gaining insights into their creative processes and the inspirations behind their exhibits.

The “Corridors of Time” exhibition is a collaboration between two visionary artists, Royden Gibbs and Dillai Joseph Rodrigo. This unique partnership brings together their distinctive artistic styles, blending contemporary interpretations with deep-rooted Sri Lankan traditions. Their artistry harmoniously converges to depict the rich tapestry of Sri Lanka’s heritage and the awe-inspiring beauty of its natural landscapes.

Royden Gibbs, a Sri Lankan artist, exhibited locally and internationally and is celebrated for his mastery of intricate details and subject matter, showcases his profound connection to Sri Lanka’s cultural heritage in this exhibition. Through his paintings, Royden captures the essence of ancient temples, historical sites, and traditional rituals, inviting viewers to delve into the heart of Sri Lanka’s past.

This one-of-a-kind exhibition will showcase Royden Gibbs finest, unseen works. He is renowned as one of Sri Lanka’s top watercolorists, who also works in diverse mediums, receiving well-deserved awards and recognition.

Several structures painted by Royden have regrettably ceased to exist at present. These artworks hold significant historical value, and their recognition has been duly acknowledged by the esteemed institution, the Post Graduate Institute of Archaeology. Royden’s use of watercolour and acrylic brings vibrancy, drawing inspiration from light. Capturing essence, this shift expands the creative palette.

Dillai ‘s ethos fosters a renewed connection with nature, beautifully conveyed through her paintings, which inspire a profound love for the natural world. Her bold use of colours and innovative techniques breathe life into her work. Dillai discovers the extraordinary in everyday scenes, employing palette knives and textures to emphasise and exaggerate her unique perspective.

“Art has the power to evoke emotions, provoke thoughts, and inspire action,” says Royden Gibbs. “Through ”Corridors of Time”, we hope to ignite a sense of pride and responsibility among our audience, urging them to protect the cultural and natural treasures that make Sri Lanka so extraordinary.” Each piece tells a story, inviting viewers to embark on a journey of discovery.

“We believe that art should not only be admired but also understood,” says Dillai. “Through our conversations with visitors, we hope to foster a deeper connection between our art and the stories we aim to tell.”

Fifty percent of proceeds from the exhibition will be dedicated towards conservation efforts driven by The Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS), the third oldest non-governmental organisation of its kind in the world, and the oldest conservation body in Sri Lanka. With a heritage spanning over 129 years, the WNPS is deeply intertwined with the rich natural history of this captivating island nation and continues to work alongside communities to safeguard the unmatched beauty and diversity it offers even today.

“Art is universal; it transcends the power of the written word and serve as a powerful medium that drives conservation. We are confident that these outstanding portrayals of our natural world will communicate the importance of conserving these vibrant and life-giving resources and help us create new avenues to protect them for the posterity of future generations,” stated Jehan CanagaRetna, the President of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society.

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Whipping up the best cakes in town!



It’s the creative aspect of cake making that attracted me to the cake world. I have always enjoyed being creative and liked using my hands to make things said Buddika Sri Nissanka Fernando

She is known for her commitment to high quality cakes with innovative designs and ethically sourced ingredients . Her cakes are also renowned for their pretty designs that are elegant and understated with an emphasis on skilled craftsmanship and most importantly luxuriously delicious. Dedication to perfection, good taste and understanding of what people want and the skills to translate tingredients to sugar are her trademark.

Q Tell us about your background and why you started ?

A I come from a family where cooking and baking have always been a big part of our lives. My father inspired my love for baking, and we often spent quality time experimenting with new dishes and perfecting our baking skills. This passion eventually led me to start my own journey in the world of cake making.

Q What is your area of speciality?

A My specialty lies in creating custom-designed cakes for special occasions, especially weddings. I love the challenge of turning a couple’s vision into a delicious and visually stunning cake that adds a magical touch to their celebration.

Q Where did you get your inspiration and idea from?

A My inspiration primarily comes from my family, especially my father, who instilled in me a deep appreciation for the art of baking. Additionally, I draw inspiration from nature, art, and current trends in the culinary world, which help me come up with unique cake designs and flavours.


Q What do you find the most challenging aspects of cake making?

A The most challenging aspect of cake making, in my opinion, is achieving perfection in both taste and aesthetics. Balancing the flavours and textures while creating intricate designs can be quite demanding, but it’s also what makes the art of cake-making so rewarding.

Q Which cake is your favourite and/or your preference?

A It’s tough to pick a favourite because each and every cake I create holds a special place in my heart. However, if I had to choose, I’d say I have a soft spot for classic vanilla bean sponge cakes with fresh fruit fillings. They’re timeless and universally loved.

Q How has your journey been since then until now?

A My journey in cake making has been incredibly fulfilling. I started as a hobby and gradually turned my passion into a profession. Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of creating cakes for numerous weddings and special events, and the positive feedback from my clients has been a driving force in my career.

Q What is the hardest thing about being a cake maker?

A The most challenging aspect of being a cake maker is managing the pressure that comes with creating something so significant for someone’s special day. The expectations are high, and any mishaps can be devastating. It’s a constant quest for perfection.

Q How do you stay up to date with the latest trends?

A To follow trends with the latest cake trends, I follow industry blogs and social media accounts, and network with fellow cake artistes. I also experiment with new flavours and designs to keep my skills fresh and innovative.

Q Cakes for weddings? What are your preferences for the magical making?

A When it comes to creating wedding cakes, I prefer to work closely with the couple to understand their vision and style. I love incorporating personal touches into the cake design, such as elements from their love story or cultural traditions. It’s all about making their day truly magical and memorable.

Q Any cake disaster stories?

A One memorable cake disaster story involved creating a multi-tiered cake for an outdoor wedding on a scorching hot day. Despite our best efforts, the room temperature soared, causing the cake tiers to shift and the fondant to droop. It was a frantic race to rescue the cake, and we had to do some last-minute repairs. Thankfully, it all worked out in the end, but it was a nerve-wracking experience.

Q What are new wedding cake trends that you have seen in 2023 in terms of cake designs and flavours?

A In 2023, we’ve seen a trend toward minimalist and elegant cake designs with a focus on natural elements like floral and botanical motifs. Couples are opting for unique flavour combinations, such as vanilla, and lemon, and experimenting with more exotic flavours like passion fruit. There’s also a growing interest in eco-friendly and sustainable cake decorations and packaging to align with the overall theme of environmentally conscious weddings.

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