Diwali Sweets – To eat or not to eat?

Most of us have grown up eating many homemade delicacies made by our mothers, aunts and other ladies, in our case dad and husband too. Indian food and festivals are inseparable. My mom used to have specific delicacies on festivals. She never made anything mismatch to that season of the festival. Say for example, for Nagpanchami ( It is a festival where we pray to the Snake God) she used to make naivedhya of Sakhar Bhat ( Sugar Saffron Rice). On the last day of Ganapati, that is on Ananta Chaturdashi, she used to make Banana Pachadi ( Kelachi Koshimbir) which she used to call as “ Anantachi Koshimbir,” these things were seldom repeated as may be those festive days would be perfect weather-wise to have this all. After her, I have never seen anybody so thoughtful with regards to food. Come rainy season and we used to refrain from Brinjal, Onion completely, and Garlic, the simple reason would be that rains make the digestion sluggish, if we eat something like onion, we would need a good digestive power, as the winter approach, the digestion gets back to normal and after Diwali, we can actually start eating Brinjal, Onions, and Garlic. There is a specific day called “ Tulasi Vivah” when one can start eating everything. Diwali sweets were made well in advance and were allowed to be eaten only on the Abhyangasnan Day ( Narakchaturdashi) the tradition which continues till date.

Why this much thought in eating?

Because our food science is very well advanced and it is as per the season. Seasons affect the gut and digestive power of the stomach. If we eat as per the digestive power, we are never to fail. I totally believe in eating seasonal food. Diwali is meant for eating. Good food and Good times equal Diwali. Diwali Palaharam is a matter of great interest across India. With the talks of diet and nutrition in place, life has become difficult.

How the supply in the market changes our perception of food.

7 to 8 years ago, PepsiCo introduced oats in India. The campaign was making India heart healthy. The campaign was successful and slowly other companies like Britannia, Kellogg’s also rushed to bring in the most healthy cereal of the world “ Oats.” Looking at the facts, it is apparent that slowly with these types of campaigns India has become 200 crore market for cereals which is nothing but packaged food presented wonderfully and advertised really well. Same goes with other packaged goodies such as Wafers, Noodles and so on. The question on my mind is why would we give up our food and go ahead to eat something which does not even taste a bit like Indian food. The answer is the power of ADVERTISING and BRANDING.

How colors, advertising, branding, and campaigns change the food scenario?

Nobody branded Poha, Upma, Idli, Dosa the way we are bombarded with Pizza, Noodles and Masala oats advertisements. Same goes with Diwali Snacks. After Navratri, you can watch Cadbury advertising about how to gift Chocolates ( Cadbury Chocolate Pack) this Diwali to your loved ones, neighbors and so on. I mean really? When did the warmth of homemade ladoo, murukku, shankarpali was replaced by something made in the factory with many other products with loads of preservatives?

Oats Chivda, Ladoo Without Sugar and Gluten Free Chakli

There cannot be Chivda without Poha, Corn Poha, or Sabudana Poha period. There cannot be ladoo without sugar ( palm sugar or jaggery are good replacements of sugar), and there cannot be chakli without gluten as Chakli wouldn’t happen if there is no Gluten in the mix. So, the gist of all the above is, as we always say, eat in moderation. Have those long walks every day consistently to feel good and fit.
No million dollar company can be worried about your heart, and it’s health though they claim. Ultimately, you are the only person who knows your body and its needs. So, eat homemade, think homemade and seasonal. Whether should you have all the sweets? Please have as you wouldn’t get the warmth and thought with which it is conceived and made.

Happy Diwali.

A New Beginning and A New Experience

A new beginning is very exciting, it becomes more meaningful when shared with family and friends.

As our dear blog readers you all are our extended family members and we could not wait further to tell you about our new venture and the kind of experience it has been since last month.

Around a month ago, I had severe headache radiating to right shoulder to fingers. It was so severe that I could barely talk. One such afternoon when all the pain was getting settled, I went to Shrilekha’s place over a tea. We stay just a couple of KM apart so occasional tea is always welcome besides we consider it as a quick huddle over looming matters.

As we were discussing different things, Shrilekha being her usual very enterprising self came up with a thought that Chennai has very poor quality of Phulkas and we should certainly do something about it.

There was no further thought before we decided that we should do Phulkas.

Initially it just started with Phulkas and slowly, as per the demand we started serving dinner. Word of mouth was our main ally when it came to spreading word. We cannot thank enough to our friends who spread the word so quickly. As we were doing dinners which included One gravy and Phulkas, we slowly started getting requests for lunches too. All office goers needed a home cooked lunch, so that requirement was fulfilled. Recently, we completed one month of this endeavour called “Joshi Caterers”

The main mission of this venture is to reach out to people who need home cooked food. As people love pizza, they also love to eat Puran Poli. It is just about the right taste and on time delivery.

Most of the customers which we came across never ate outside because one can not eat food without onion garlic outside. Similarly, food we should eat when we are fasting like Sabudana Vada or Sabudana Khichadi is never served in any restaurant in Chennai.

We served it and people liked it very much, we are so grateful to each of them who encouraged us with their amazing feedbacks.

Having home cooked food is a bliss. I was outside for 8 long years of my life and I have always felt the dearth of good home-made food so much so that in the last 2 years I started cooking on my own. Even if there was food, it was not made with quality ingredients which is even more harmful to the body.

As every business has its challenges, we too come across some difficulties every now and then. But when priorities are set right and as a team when we work towards getting a solution it all falls back in place.

Apart from Shrilekha and Me, there is a team of 5 people who are constantly working at making this experience better with every delivery. Our families have been extremely encouraging, without them we could not have pulled it up.

Meal planning was being done at the micro level and now it is done at Macro Level. We think and plan all our meals carefully so that they are nutritious and include seasonal varieties of vegetables.

I would always say that nothing can be accomplished without collaboration.

My people Khaleel, Kamakshi, Vignesh, Murali Mama, Mr.Joshi have been an integral part of the whole process. They encouraged us to take a step ahead and are with us in this satisfying yet challenging journey. Deliveries and procurement is entirely looked after Khaleel, Vignesh and Murali Mama. Culinary doubts and issues are quickly sorted by Baba. Kamakshi is an efficient cook and an amazing help. These people are my people and as a close knit family would stand by each other in the ups and downs of the life, they have been there just behind us as pillar of strength.

Well begun is half done..the journey so far was satisfying and god willing, it would be so in future.

 

Have you heard of Shankarpale – Indian Biscuits..

Have you heard of Shankarpale – Indian Biscuits..

These were never my favorite things to eat. I have never cherished eating Shankarpale. First thing about them was their different name (Shankar in Marathi Means – Shiva ) and Pale means small vessel so there was no connection between Shiva and the Small Vessel and the sweet.

I was never enthusiastic about the whole thing because may be Aaji or Aai used to make it mostly during Diwali and it was just one of the savouries that they used to make so my attention was diverted to other tasty things like Chakli ( Murukku), Chivda, my favorite for 35 years 🙂 I think I was born to love Flattened Rice and all the recipes made out of it. More on my love of flattened rice later. So, this odd named savoury called Shankarpale were never in my list of favourites until somebody presented me with a very crunchy, mushy and sweet version of it.

I was spellbound to eat those small pieces of a wonderful snack which could be relished with a cup of tea or coffee especially in the afternoon. Post meal 2-3 hours is the time to eat something which you can munch on. It can be puffed rice, chivda or my newfound love Shankarpale.

Instead of giving into those sugar laden donuts, tea cakes, biscuits, it is better to savour 3-4 Shankarpale, I realized it late and felt that this is the most sustainable snack I can ever have. We can also replace maida to wheat flour in due course to make it better. But deep frying should never be avoided ( I mean baking something which needs to be deep fried takes the whole concept and nutrition out of it ) Instead of eating 10 we can munch on 5 but the Shankarpale need to be deep fried.

Me and Shrilekha were brought up in a Orthodox Brahmin household where FOOD was EVERYTHING. It was nutrition but more than that Food was a Soother. My mom was a fantastic cook, she was naturally good at making everything. I do not think she has learnt any recipe from anybody. It was her quest of providing her children and her family authentic and nutritious food which made all her recipes special.

As I remember, she was discovering a different way to make the Shankarpale more crispy, ultimately she did and we were excited to have her new version of small biscuits. She even made it with cumin and salt, for people who wanted cracker type Shankarpale.

Why I am reminiscing all this is because yesterday I was making Shankarpale for Joshi Caterers and I slowly slipped into the past. The whole process of making the dough, rolling it, making it into perfect square and frying it was therapeutic.

Mom used to make all snacks either pre lunch/dinner (main cooking ) or post lunch/dinner when there is no disturbance of serving other things. I used to call this as her “Udyog” means business. 🙂

As per her guidelines, I completed everything yesterday and started making Shankarpale post dinner, till around 9 PM. How was it? If you ask, it was heavenly.

With food I have strange equation, now a day, more than eating food, I have started enjoying the process of making. My sincere confession is that I never enjoyed cooking, I am still very reluctant enjoying it but yesterday was different.

In childhood one just eats whatever is served with a bit of tantrum, during teens one can chose what is to be eaten but with very less knowledge about food, during twenties we realize the process behind cooking and most of us try to survive, in thirties, we have a choice whether to eat a lot or make people relish the food made by you..I have chosen the later. 🙂

P.S. I am taking my Alexa rank to the next level with Blogchatter. This is my first post.

I failed – In my no sugar challenge :)

I failed – In my no sugar challenge :)

It is ok to fail, many people have told me but I seldom have failed in my many many pursuits if I ignore the surprise math test in 11std. Failure to do something does not feel great, it feels sad to not to have accomplished something.

No sugar challenge started when me and my colleague Vignesh who is a sports person were discussing about how no sugar has helped him.

He was talking about refined sugar and how completely stopping it helped him.

I was impressed and thought let me start it at once. It was exciting..no sugar..whatsoever with a resolve.

Next day I woke up to banana as always and some time later I tried having the no sugar tea. One sip of it was not great but overall it was fine. May be my taste buds were happy with the sweet taste of banana already so they did not complain much about the no sugar tea. I generally take one coffee around 11 pm, so my dear cook Kamakshi had to be told specifically that I am having this “vratam” please don’t indulge yourself in giving your akka (that is me) a great cup with a good quantity of sugar.

She was surprised because I am the one against all possible fad diets and fad rules about food.

Her coffee is out of the world but having it with no sugar was 🙁 never mind. I was ok with it. 6th day was Sunday. Little Ms. K is fond of chocolates and kulfi so is her dad. Both love sweets to the core and they indulge as they please. This Sunday, I really refrained from all types of indulgences deliberately. I was the topic of discussion at the breakfast table and everybody was condemning my resolve of no sugar.

I am not a foodie and I do not crave for sweets too but still people felt like I am depriving myself from my free will of having sweets.

Around 10 days of no sugar I started feeling as follows:

  • I was more alert
  • Slept well through the night
  • I felt that my oral cavity was healthy and fresh
  • No sluggishness throughout the day
  • My overall energy was constant without a slump.

It was around 12th day that I got a call from one of my friends. She invited me as a sumangali for Varalakshmi Vratam and I had to indulge myself in the naivedya that she served. It indeed had sweets and I did eat everything she served. That day we attended an evening food award function where dinner spread had an amazing variety of sweets which I have not tasted or had..I tasted around 5 sweets that day…TASTED (not indulged). So, my vratam actually failed that day and my belief that none of the fad rules work got reinforced.

Though I am back to my no sugar routine, there is practically no point in refraining from anything. Balancing is the key. You got to balance everything, your food, sugar intake, rice intake, salt intake and workout to maintain healthy lifestyle.  

I have failed in my resolve but I like my no sugar coffee. Kamakshi is also used to no sugar coffee for akka..that is more than enough at this point 🙂

How I Lost 5 KGs In A Week

How I Lost 5 KGs In A Week

GM Diet (General Motors diet)

GM Diet, while some of you might be knowing about this, some may be totally unaware. Many people must be even wondering,” Wow, that sounds great! When did General Motor (An automotive giant) venture into the food industry”? Some may be frowning on the very mention of the diet (as expected)! And many must be really patient enough to read now further about it!

Diet, exercise, weight loss are some of the trending words of today’s generation.

Despite its name, GM diet is nowhere related to the General Motors as confirmed by its spokesperson.

But this is the real story when I tried out this diet in the year, yes 2009! My weight loss journey started on 24 Februar,2009. I remember the day, date and the situation, then, because this was more than DO-or-DIE situation for me. Quiet understandable for a person who has always been fat!

That time it was a craze to follow this diet which ensured a loss of 5-10 kgs in a week’s time.

Wow! Doesn’t that sound great? Did I follow it meticulously and the results? Well, after this diet plan.

The diet plan for 7 days!

Day 1:- The first day is all about “Fruits”.  Yes! Only fruits and lot of fruits except bananas and high sugar fruits which include Mangoes, Strawberries, Lychee etc.

We have to understand that the diet plan is aimed to reduce weight so avoiding certain fruits could be beneficial.

Include watermelon, musk melon for their hydrating properties.

Day 2:- Having successfully consumed a variety of vitamins and minerals only through fruits on day 1, if you are committed this day will be easy for you.

Yes! Day 2 means you can consume all vegetables only! Raw or cooked vegetables can be eaten on this day. Make you platter as much colorful as possible.

Leafy greens, tomatoes, or cucumbers. Ensure that you keep hydrating throughout the day.

You can add a baked potato to it if you really crave for carbs in breakfast. Make sure to limit the potatoes though.

Day 3:- Bingo! Welcome to the day where you can consume together all the vegetables and fruits (except the potatoes, mangoes, etc). Yes! You are midway and so don’t even think of opening that fridge for that cake/chocolate!

Day 4:– If you have reached till here, then success is just a few days away! On this day you can eat 6 bananas and 6 glasses of milk. Space it at your eating hours and you will be filled throughout the day.

Day 5:Beef (284 grams)& 6 tomatoes or Brown Rice (One cup uncooked)& 6 Tomatoes:– You can have 6 tomatoes equally spaced as 6 meals and make 3 servings of cooked brown rice. Make sure you keep drinking lots of water.

Day 6:- Beef/Chicken/Fish(284 grams) or  Brown rice and vegetables:- Meat eaters can eat any combination of the specified meat while the vegetarians can take up any vegetables and brown rice.

Day 7:- Brown rice, fruits, vegetables (No potatoes) :- Yay! You are finally here. You have done a good job at cultivating a disciplined attitude for eating!

You can additionally have green tea and black coffee and yes whenever low you can always go on for the GM diet soup which can be prepared from six large onions, three medium-sized tomatoes, one cabbage,two green peppers,a bunch of celery,half a liter of water.

Whenever you have a hunger pang ensure you take a bowlful of the soup. Prepare it and refrigerate it or cook it whenever you feel hungry.

Advantages of GM diet:-

  1. If the soup mentioned is consumed before every meal,then you tend to eat fewer calories at the meal which follows. Facts also state that subjects eat 20% less at lunch when they take the soup before the meal.
  2. The GM soup also aids the weight loss.
  3. Consumption of fruits adds to the necessary fibrage which you don’t eat otherwise.
  4. Vegetables are power packed with vitamins and minerals. This diet ensures that a person consumes all the other vegetables. Especially, the ones who like only potatoes are the best fit for this diet.
  5. Brown rice is a complex carbohydrate with low fat.
  6. Chicken, Fish,beef ensure you consume good amount of protein.
  7. Eating bananas means you take your intake of sodium and potassium.

Many people get successful in reducing their weight and many find it hard to follow the diet itself. It also doesn’t advocate any exercise.

Writer’s and GM Dieter’s perspective:-

At that time, when the “health and fitness industry” had just started this diet was relatively new and looked very lucrative.

I felt this diet will flush out the toxins and cleanse your system.

Yes, I could overcome my plateau then. For me it was mind over matter. It meant I can keep a check on my mind and tongue. In addition to this diet, I could exercise as per my plan.

Thanks to Talwalkars Nagpur!I feel for a person who is stationery for the whole day and has no control over his tongue, this diet can be useful.

This diet if followed by the same bad food habits can lead to weight gain.  You may even lose only water content as weight. Always consult a doctor/ nutritionist before starting this so called fad-diet. Yes, it is rightly a fad diet , so what if I gained results?

But the other side of this diet is quite scary. This diet plan has no research to back it up!

Though it causes calorie deficit in a way, it also makes you dehydrated, lose muscle mass, makes you feel low on energy and nutrient deprived.

Today after 8 -9 years of religiously following up on a healthy balanced diet, if I look back, I feel,” What made me take up such a quick fix”? What made me fall for this “5kgs in 7 days package”? There is indeed no such thing called a “quick fix”! It is never about weight loss. It is always about your dedication, discipline and most important your religion. That is fitness!

Note:- I had undertaken this diet under the counselling of my nutritionist.

 

List of Terrible Food Combination As Per Ayurveda

List of Terrible Food Combination As Per Ayurveda

Food that causes aggravation of doshas, which is the main reason for disease , is called viruddharam (incompatible food). The effect of this gets accumulated in the body and gives rise to diseases. It should be considered similar to poison and artificial poisoning (Gara Visha). Here are some of the examples, which so many of us take as regular food.

In our Sastras eating food is just like performing the yagna into the fire in the belly.  Now the aahuti which we put in the yagna has a lot to do with the well being of the body. There are some rules which should be followed while cooking and eating food.

Do sizzlers,  brownie Ice creams,  Milk Shakes invite you? Well, here is what you should know about it.

Milkshakes and Smoothies:

All sour substances are incompatible with milk.So are all the fruits.

Now a day most of the people are taking milkshakes, thinking that it is very nutritious, but in contrary it is a causative factor for many ailments like skin diseases.

Packaged Cereals With Milk

Milk and salt are incompatible with each other and yet we add milk to the packaged cereals. In case you are wondering about the ingredients of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. Here they are: Corn (88%), sugar, salt, barley malt extract, vitamins(vitamin C, vitamin E, niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, folate), minerals (iron, zinc oxide).

Green Leafy Vegetables and Milk

After consuming leafy vegetable drinking of milk should be avoided. Many fitness enthusiasts swear by the green smoothies. But

Green Smoothies is an example of blending incompatible food.

Horse gram with milk

Horse gram is the next superfood. Drinking horse gram porridge with milk is not advisable.

Mixture of hot & cold things

We all love sizzling brownies. Mixture of hot and cold things should be avoided as they are incompatible with each other by nature. Even adding cold water to hot water to make it drinkable should be avoided.

Heating of curd.

For many recipes, curd is the important ingredient.  For example, to prepare morkuzhambu, people use curd instead of using buttermilk. It is always better to use buttermilk instead of curd for preparing curd based food.

Banana with curd or buttermilk.

Overnight oats are the greatest example of combining incompatible foods.

Soaking oats in curd or milk and topping it with banana and fruit of your choice is something people love to eat as a breakfast in the morning. It is easy to make and ready to eat but it should be avoided given the ill effects of incompatibility of these ingredients.

Wheat + Sesame oil, Wheat + Hot water.

Wheat with hot water and with sesame oil should not be used.

Fish with Dairy, Sprouts, Black Gram, Honey, and Jaggery.

Those people who have been non-vegetarians and have been eating fish all their life would always say that fish with dairy is not a favorable combination. So if you are eating your fish with curd rice, please eat it with rasam rice going forth. 🙂

Radish with soup of black gram.

Radish with black gram is a bad combination and should be avoided.

Ghee kept in a bronze vessel more than 10 days.

Ghee if kept in the bronze vessel gets poisonous, so it is better to avoid it.

A mixture of the equal quantity of ghee & honey.

We should not only avoid consuming processed & packed foods but also food with a bad combination because it is one of the main reason for all lifestyle diseases like BP, DIABETES OBESITY & also CANCER.

Author Bio:

Dr.Prabhakantham

About me – I have been practicing Ayurveda for the past 18 yrs in a traditional way, I have experience in all Panchakarmas, I’m part of an NGO – AVAS, where I’m educating & treating underprivileged children.