Category Archives: Food

Some of us live to eat, but all of us eat to live. You don’t need to eat tasteless food to remain healthy. Let your mind and body enjoy the experience of eating.

Red Kidney bean flowers–Indian Himalayas

While trekking to yet another destination in the Indian Himalayas, I came upon a leafy plant with delicate white flowers. It was a whole field of red kidney bean plants. The kidney beans grown in the mountains is one of tastiest and healthiest, The plant later produces pea like pods, laden with stacks of kidney beans, which are dried and opened to get the hardened, dark red beans,IMG_4305 IMG_4306 IMG_4307

It is not difficult to imagine that anything grown in these picturesque surroundings and in the rich soil in these areas would be of the best variety. 

 


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Idiot Proof recipe for any Indian vegetable or curry

Indian food varies from state to state, but the general principles of cooking remain the same. It should be cooked well, be nutritious and tasty. The most common ingredients are shown below. Each is added after the first has been cooked, vegetables or cooked lentils can be added to make a dry dish or a curry. Tastes vary, customs vary, but tomatoes generally taste good with all veggies.

  1. Basic ingredients. Chopped vegetables, ( two dishes are shown below, potatoes with beans and bottle gourd), onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic. cumin, turmeric, salt, chili powder/ green chilies, salt and vegetable oil/ ghee.

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  1. To a tablespoon of hot ghee in a pan, add cumin seeds. Within 5 seconds, add garlic, after 10 seconds add ginger.

  1. After 20 seconds, add chopped onions, roast well till golden brown (3-5 mins).

  1. Add chopped tomatoes, keep stirring until cooked well. Some people prefer to add green chilies at this stage.

  1. Add the spices and the vegetables. Stir till cooked (5-7 mins). In the case of the chopped bottle gourd, we prefer to the add the spices after the bottle gourd has been added.

  1. You can add green chilies at this stage if you want, and salt according to taste and stir well for 30 seconds,

Other spices like cinnamon, fennel, cardamom etc can be added for specific dishes.

The golden rule is to add the ingredients in the order mentioned above and to cook each separately before adding the next one.


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Roasted chickpeas

Roast chickpeas with salt, add chopped onions, tomatoes, a dash of fresh lime and rock salt. It is a yummy snack, while being nutritious and healthy.


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Day 4—–the fun begins

  • Glass of water on waking up
  • Turn on the television to a channel that has music with dance—and throw your limbs about for 5 minutes….a full length mirror and a fitting t-shirt and lowers works wonders for me…..my current song is Chndralekha from ‘A gentleman’….the lead pair is awesome….sing at the top of your voice as you fling yourself about the room!!!!
  • Eat 2 eggs
  • Shower, drink a glass of low fat milk with coffee
  • Mid-day-one glass of lime juice without salt or sugar, eat 6 almonds
  • Drink 6-10 glasses of water at regular intervals in one day
  • I am mentioning all the fruits and veggies growing around us in India right now….
  • Lunch—a cucumber, an onion ( eat a clove to remove the smell later) and a small bowl each of chana dal and colacasia (the first is boiled with onions, garlic, ginger, tomato, turmeric, salt and cumin, while arbi or colacasia is made with one teaspoon of ghee, a teaspoon of cumin onions, green chili. 
    • Evening—a cup of yogurt
    • Eat 10 peanuts, 6 walnuts and 4 pistachios 
    • After 15 minutes, get on a treadmill ( good shoes essential)
    • Start with 4.5 km/h for 1 min, go to 4.8x 2 min, go to 5.2 k/h with an elevation of 2 for 15 mins
    • Reduce elevation to 0, speed to 4.8 x 2mins
    • Re-increase to 5.2 k/h with an elevation of 2 for 15 mins
    • Reduce to 4.8/h for 2 mins, 3.5x 1 min, 2.0x 2mins
    • Stretch……Stand straight, lift your knee and hold with your hands, as close as you can to your body, twisting to the opposite hip, hold for 5 secs, repeat on both sides x 4 times. Bending forward gradually, lift the right foot off the ground, grasping it with your right hand, while extending the left arm straight in front, horizontally….holdx 5 secs , repeat on both sidesx 4 rimes
    • Dinner– one onion, one cucumber, a small bowl of dhuli urad dal and bottle gourd, 2 thin rotis
    • A glass of low fat milk
    • Are we having fun yet???….the exercise shall increase, arm exercises and yoga will be added!!!!
    • Prepare for tomorrow…sprout the lentils now!!!!!


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Day 3 of the easy diet

  • Glass of water on waking up
  • Stretch….for 3-5 minutes
  • Eat 6 walnuts, 6 almonds, 6 pistachios  and 4 cashews
  • After 15 minutes, get on a treadmill ( good shoes essential)
  • Start with 4.5 km/h for 1 min, go to 4.8x 2 min, go to 5.2 k/h with an elevation of 2 for 15 mins
  • Reduce elevation to 0, speed to 4.8 x 2mins
  • Re-increase to 5.2 k/h with an elevation of 2 for 15 mins
  • Reduce to 4.8/h for 2 mins, 3.5x 1 min, 2.0x 2mins
  • Stretch……Stand straight, lift your knee and hold with your hands, as close as you can to your body, twisting to the opposite hip, hold for 5 secs, repeat on both sides x 4 times. Bending forward gradually, lift the right foot off the ground, grasping it with your right hand, while extending the left arm straight in front, horizontally….holdx 5 secs , repeat on both sidesx 4 rimes
  • Eat 2 eggs
  • Shower, drink a glass of low fat milk with coffee
  • Mid-day-one glass of lime juice without salt or sugar, a tomato
  • Drink 6-10 glasses of water at regular intervals in one day
  • I am mentioning all the fruits and veggies growing around us in India right now….
  • Lunch—a cucumber, an onion ( eat a clove to remove the smell later) and a small bowl each of black dal and bitter gourd (the first is boiled with onions, garlic, ginger, tomato, turmeric, salt and cumin, while bitter gourd is made with one teaspoon of ghee, a teaspoon of fennel seeds, onions, green chili. 
    • Evening—a cup of yogurt
    • A green apple and a banana
    • Dinner–dhuli masoor dal and baingan ka bhartha, 2 thin rotis
    • A glass of low fat milk
    • We are at the start of the fitness trip….the exercise shall increase, arm exercises and yoga will be added!!!!


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Day 2 of the weight loss

  • Glass of water on waking up
  • Stretch….by this age we know how to do the basic warm-up
  • Eat 6 walnuts, 6 almonds, 3 figs and 4 cashews
  • After 15 minutes, get on a treadmill ( good shoes essential)
  • Start with 4.5 km/h for 1 min, go to 4.8x 2 min, go to 5.2 k/h with an elevation of 2 for 15 mins
  • Reduce elevation to 0, speed to 4.8 x 2mins
  • Re-increase to 5.2 k/h with an elevation of 2 for 15 mins
  • Reduce to 4.8/h for 2 mins, 3.5x 1 min, 2.0x 2mins
  • Stretch……Stand straight, lift your knee and hold with your hands, as close as you can to your body, twisting to the opposite hip, hold for 5 secs, repeat on both sides x 4 times. Bending forward gradually, lift the right foot off the ground, grasping it with your right hand, while extending the left arm straight in front, horizontally….holdx 5 secs , repeat on both sidesx 4 rimes
  • Eat 2 eggs
  • Shower, drink a glass of low fat milk with coffee
  • Mid-day-one cucumber 
  • Drink 6-10 glasses of water at regular intervals in one day
  • I am mentioning all the fruits and veggies growing around us in India right now….
  • Lunch—a cucumber, a tomato and a small bowl each of chickpeas and okra (the first is boiled with onions, garlic, ginger, tomato, turmeric, salt and cumin, while okra is cooked by by stir-cooking onions and green chili with one teaspoon of ghee). 2 thin rotis accompany these. 
  • Evening—a cup of yogurt
  • An apple and a banana
  • Dinner–dhuli moong dal and cauliflower florets with peas, 2 thin rotis
  • A glass of low fat milk
  • We are at the start of the fitness trip….the exercise shall increase, arm exercises and yoga will be added!!!!


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Losing 10 pounds in a 100 days….the easy way for the pre/ peri/ menopausal Indian Woman

Before you try to lose weight, you should know why you are doing it. Most women I spoke to were doing it for the following…

  • Is it because the partner/ child/ society wants you to???
  • To feel healthier and look better for yourself???
  • Medical indications??
  • An event???
  • To feel more energetic??
  • For the dresses in your closet??? !!!

Please get your baseline investigations done, consult a physician/ psychiatrist……this journey is purely for those who want to be fitter, leaner ….while they realize that they will not look like supermodels….realistic expectations and lack of a Body Dysmorphic Disorder are essential. 

Let’s begin:

Day 1

Drink a glass of water on waking up 

Breakfast

6 almonds, 2 eggs, a glass of milk ( you can add coffee or tea to the milk)

Mid-morning

A glass of water and a glass of low-fat buttermilk

Lunch

ALWAYS eat locally grown, seasonal vegetables. 

A cucumber 

A small bowl of pulses, (boiled with finely chopped onions, garlic, ginger, turmeric. tomatoes, green chili, roasted cumin, salt and turmeric. 

A small bowl of ridge gourd, to which the a teaspoon of ghee has been added and the spices have been cooked in that. 

2 phulkas ( very thin chappatis, made with the least amount of whole grain flour). 

Evening

A small bowl of low fat yogurt to which tomatoes and roasted chickpeas have been added, with salt and roasted cumin, 

If you have not been working out…..

A walk for 30 minutes ( this will gradddduuuaalllllyyyyyy increase) ..on the treadmill, at an average of 4.5 Kms an hour ( told you this was for the easy-going women)!!

A glass of low fat milk

Dinner-

same quantities as lunch, eat bitter gourd and pulses with 2 rotis.

Keep drinking water (6-10 glasses in a day)

Meanwhile grow your own wheatgrass and sprout lentils ….this has been covered in previous blogs….

Before the workout, eat a green apple and a pear ( the workout is hardly anything at this point) 

I use green chili, as I love spices…and I add a dash of freshly squeezed lime to all the pulses….


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White oats

Health and nutrition are an obsession for most. Oats are popular, but most people find eating them a torture due to the lack of taste, If one adds milk and sugar, the dish isn’t as healthy. I’ve found that adding low fat buttermilk with a pinch of salt and roasted cumin powder makes it a tasty dish while preserving the nutritive value.

They are easy to cook, and are available all over the world with simple instructions. Add the spiced buttermilk and enjoy!


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Spice up yogurt

Yogurt is one of the healthiest foods…..especially if you make your own from milk. Take full cream milk , boil it, cool and refrigerate. After 6 hours, remove the thick layer of delicious cream, heat the milk, add a dash of yogurt and cover for 5 hours….your healthy yogurt is ready!! Considering the health benefits of yogurt, one can spice it up for added taste and health. Add boiled and shredded bottle gourd to yogurt. Mix well and add a mixture of salt, roasted and ground cumin, black pepper and red chill flakes. Enjoy!!

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Himalayan Herb

I had written earlier about Himalayan women climbing cliffs and mountains in high altitude areas without any special equipment or training. Apparently, they do so in search of herbs which can be added to food to add a flavour that is out of this world. They call this herb ‘pharan’. It is dried and coarsely ground before use. It is found exclusively in high altitude areas and is considered an exotic spice/ herb, which is sold at astronomical prices. The picture below shows the process of drying the herb in the sun on a rooftop in Mana Village, India.

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The stone ‘grinder’ is placed in the open in the village, accessible to all for grinding the ‘pharan’ before use.

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