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Showing posts with label health and wellness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label health and wellness. Show all posts

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Homemade Multigrain atta

While a whole lot of high-fibre products are flooding the markets, targeting those who want to lose weight or those suffering from diabetes, natural or homemade still remains the best. I have chosen to write about the so called fortified flours that re being marketed aggressively as rotis are an integral part of the Indian diet. For those who have checked the labels on the packets of multigrain atta easily available these days, the proportion of other grains remain quite low as compared to wheat.

Hence I decided to make my own version (tailor-made for my needs) at home. Used high fibre stuff like soya and oats. Calcium rich ragi is also added to fortify it further while flax seeds add a good dose of Omega-3 and minerals to it. One can also add more soya flour to further lower the GI value of this flour.

Ingredients -

  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat atta
  • 1/4 cup ragi
  • 1/4 cup soya ( used 99 % fat free soya granules )
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 tbsp flax seeds

Preparation - Take the ragi, soya, oata and flax seeds in a grinder jar. Buzz for a few minutes to get an almost fine powder. (Or take it to the neighbouring chakki if you prefer a very fine powder)

Take all the flours in a decent sized container. Close and lid and give it a good shake so that they get mixed. Store and use as required.

One can use this flour for making rotis/parantha/puri/dosa and even halwa!!

A super healthy lunch made with my special multi-grain Atta

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Oriya Thali For Diabetics/High B.P. (Detox Mondays)

Yes, Its Monday again. Time to makeup for the weekend sins/over-indulgences. But this time we will be sharing some real food instead of just a detox recipe. It is something that can be inculcated in our everyday diet for its long-term health benefits and not some one-off detox solution.

Oriya food is perhaps among the healthiest cuisines in the world. The emphasis on copious amounts of vegetables and the restrained use of spices and oil make it a delight for people suffering from various ailments. The only drawback seems to be too much of rice in our everyday diet. Though par-boiled rice which is consumed by most Odiya folks if better off than the polished raw rice consumed predominantly in Southern India, we need to include more whole grains in our diet. Making multi-grain rotis an integral part of our meal plans can easily address this problem.

Though almost all vegetables and pulses have their benefits, some are more beneficial for people suffering from diabetes and heart disorders (mainly high B.P. and cholesterol levels). For example, Chana dal is higher on fiber content and vegetables like cabbage and cauliflower are very low G.I.. Even the humble okra (bhindi) is known to reduce blood sugar levels. I have tried to include some of these in my thali (all of them are quite simple recipes that already exist on my blog but I have just put them together).

The items shown above are - Multi-grain rotis, Chana dal fry, Phula kobi kasa/santula (cauliflower curry), kalara bhaja (stir fried bitter gourd), bhendi bhaja (stir fried okra) and tomato-cucumber salad.

Monday, March 3, 2014

My 5 favorite foods for daily Detox

Detox is the process of cleansing or removing toxins and accumulated waste from the body. It has the advantage of improving immunity and resulting in higher energy levels. It also takes care of a number of minor ailments, improves the digestion process and results in better skin/hair.

While one should ideally go for a detox diet once every 3 months (this might vary from individual to individual as the amount of accumulated toxins vary in each case), some health/time constraints might prevent one from doing so. For such cases, the best option would be to include certain cleansing foods in one's diet.

These 5 foods are my favorite choice for an everyday detox. They are economical and easily available.

1. Aloe Vera juice - Start with less quantity at first. A single dose of 25 ml once or twice a day is the recommended dose for most folks.

2. Green Tea - One or two cups of green tea in a day, preferably without sugar. A little bit of honey added for sweetness is OK.

3. Garlic - Include 3 cloves of garlic in your meals twice a day. Its anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties are widely known.

4. Ginger - Add it to your tea or use generously in curries, an inch of this aromatic root is the daily recommended dose. It is known to increase feelings of satiety and prevents one from going on a binge.

5. Lemon juice - A glass of warm water with 1 tbsp lemon juice first thing in the morning, followed by another tablespoon more during the day is enough to keep your digestive system on a roll.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Parenting Fundas: Traditional Knowledge Natural Growth

Child is the father of man. And this child will determine the direction that mankind takes in the years to come. Hence it is very important that children should be given the right kind of nourishment.

Ayurveda or the accumulated 'life-knowledge' has been doing it right since ages. Maybe even before Charaka set about to document it. Our grandparents have relied on it to bring up our parents and in turn most of them (hopefully) have done the same. But it was the invasion of the West (sometime in the late 70's) that weaned away people from this traditional source of knowledge. The warmth of a mother's breast got replaced by a cold bottle. The customary massage and haldi-ubtan routine that was administered to babies was deemed uncool. Sweet smelling baby oils & shampoos became the rage of the day. Pictures of plump babies smiling enticingly on the cartons/tins of baby food seduced the eager parents who would willing give a hand and a leg to ensure that the apple of their eye turns out the same way. Instead of turning to home remedies, parents started turning to medication whenever their little had cold/tummy ache/fever.

While an ill child is every parents' nightmare we need to exercise caution while giving medication to children. The Allopathy system of medicines that most of us rely on only ensures that our little one is back on his/her feet at the earliest but it does not do any good for his/her immune system. Ayurveda or Homeopathy ensures that the root cause of the illness is identified and treated. While it may take a longer time, this not only prevents recurrence of the illness but also builds up a child's natural immunity.

I remember my mom giving with a concoction of  basil juice and honey to soothe my sore throat and it worked like magic. Similarly she used to give me 'Trikatu' or 'Triphala' powders depending on the time of the year and my health in general. The insistence of Ayurveda to balance all the three 'dosas', namely, 'vata', 'pita' & 'kaptha' to gain sound health holds true even today.

Being a mother to a 20 month old son, I have always relied on the knowledge handed down by elders.Soon after my son was born( normal delivery without epidural...I think I can give myself a pat on the back ) I started with the traditional oil massage with Gingelly oil that was further fortified with herbs. Elders say that this massage release the tension in the limbs of the newborn who had been living in cramped quarters (i.e., Mother's womb ) for nine months. I immediately saw its benefits as it helped my baby to sleep better. In due course of time it also helps strengthen their tender bodies and build immunity.

As is the normal practice in Orissa, I switched over to mustard oil (boiled with garlic & nigella seeds) during the cold winter months. This ensured that my little one did not catch cold as frequently as some of my neighbor's kids. While I had opted for exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months, I made sure that the first solid food that enters my little one's mouth had no preservatives or artificial agents in it. A home made mix of roasted and powdered channa dal, wheat, ragi and beaten rice became his staple. Mashed bananas or some light khichidi was next on the menu. Slowly, one at a time, I introduced boiled & mashed vegetables in his meals. This ensured that he got accustomed to variations in taste and started enjoying his meals. I am sure most babies would prefer this to the bland packaged baby foods.

As we already know packaged foods have their own pitfalls. The synthetic substances present in them lead to hormonal imbalance especially in kids. This results in disorders like onset of early puberty, attention deficiency, childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes to name a few. While the fast paced lifestyle leaves us with few choices, we must stick to wholesome and unprocessed foods whenever possible.

Most of our elders would frown at what we eat these days. They were used to eating fresh food with all its nutrition intact. No refrigerators or microwaves for them. Slow cooked food made on charcoal/wooden stoves that did not heat up to very high temperatures was not only appealing to eat but also high on nutrients.

But the tide is once again turning in favor of traditional knowledge. Most of us new-age mommies are armed with a load of information freely available thanks to internet. We are fully aware of the risks associated with this consumerist lifestyle and are gladly turning to more traditional ways of child rearing.

Hence the importance of Ayurveda with its holistic view/treatment of the human body. It not only helps us in developing a better understanding of the human body but also makes us refrain from the abuse that we are putting ourselves through.

This post is written for Dabur Lal Tail. Contest open on Indiblogger till 10th November.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Regulating Diabetes/Weight : Getting the Basics Right

Embarking on a healthier lifestyle is easier than we think. Awareness about the right kind of foods ( ie., those with a low to medium GI ), how they drive our blood sugar levels and switching to whole grains help us make a move in the right direction.

Glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how fast the blood sugar levels rise after consuming a particular carbohydrate ( starchy food ). Glucose having a GI of 100 is the benchmark against which all foods are rated. High GI foods cause a sudden spike in the blood sugar levels and consequently a sudden drop. While the former puts pressure on the pancreas to secrete more insulin , the latter is responsible for causing hunger pangs. As a result, high GI foods make us eat more. In comparison lower GI foods are digested slowly and hence raise the blood sugar gradually without causing any sudden drop and hence result in a better insulin response (sensitivity). That makes us feel satiated for a longer duration. A diet that comprises mostly of low GI foods with a small portion of medium GI foods is considered to be the healthiest.

Starchy foods and foods that are refined, polished and processed are generally high GI foods. As a thumb rule, all (well almost)that is white ( bread/rice/flour ) is bad. Unpolished or hand-processed grains with their high fiber content and all naturally occurring nutrients are a healthier option. The fiber helps in slowing down the absorption of the sugar, swells up in the tummy and makes us full.

Since rice and wheat form a large portion of the Indian diet, we need to be aware of their GI values. Most of the popular Indian rice varieties have very high GI values, for example GI values of Sona Masuri ( 72.0 ), Kolam ( 77.0 ) and Ponni ( 70.0 ). Switching to brown rice ( it has the germ and underlying nutrients intact)or par-boiled rice ( it is boiled before being milled which forces some of the nutrients into the endosperm ) having low to medium GI values are advisable. Some of the rice varieties that have low/medium GI values are :
Basmati ( 46-69)
Par-boiled Ponni (27-45)
Par-boiled Sona Masuri
Jirasar ( )
Khani Paka
Moolgiri ( 54.1 )

( The individual GI values for each rice variety may vary from crop to crop, cultivation method, age and processing method. )

Bottomline : Though brown rice is the healthiest option followed by par-boiled rice, go for Basmati (aged grains are better) only if you have a very discerning palate. I however prefer the par-boiled sona masuri and ponni rice which goes well with Oriya cuisine unlike the former which stands out like a sore thumb among the mustard flavored curries.

Another factor to be considered is the increase in volume after cooking. Basmati and Ponni are good examples of rice that swell dramatically during cooking. Such a variety will make one satiated while consuming a lesser amount of rice.

Similarly whole wheat which is high in fiber is a healthier option as compared to refined flour or processed wheat flour. However, the mass produced whole wheat flour has the bran and germ removed before grinding which results in a white flour stripped of its fiber and nutrient content. It is later recombined with some of the ground bran and germ to get whole wheat flour.

While in case of 100 percent stone ground wheat flour, the intact (bran, germ and endosperm) wheat grains are ground resulting in a little coarse but nutrient dense flour. This type of flour contains Vitamins B1, B2, B3, E, folic acid, copper , magnesium and manganese which are essential for the proper functioning of the human body. Consuming whole foods helps prevent weight gain and the onset of Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases in the long run.

Hence it is advisable to ditch those refined flour items like bread, biscuits , cakes and polished white rice, and switch over to whole wheat bread, cookies, muffins and brown/par-boiled rice.

Remember the Golden Rule for leading a healthy life: Eat in Moderation.

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