Monthly Archives: February 2010

The Oval Wonder

To Eat or Not To Eat

To Eat or Not To Eat

Eggs are something which I just can’t resist. In fact, I freak out over those lovely white (sometimes brown) oval objects. I am sure that there are many like me.

But we are scared to consume them! Scared that we would certainly die if we don’t stop eating them.

There are so many scary stories about eggs which we know since the time we started knowing.

But hey, all you egg lovers, there is light at the end of the tunnel!

Read the following lines and get to know some startlingly fresh facts about eggs.

OLD EGG MYTHS

It was previously thought that eggs raised blood cholesterol levels — one of the main causes of heart disease. The yolk in a single large egg contains five grams of fat, so it was quite natural for the doctors to assume that eggs clogged up people’s arteries, especially since they also contain dietary cholesterol .

Another myth was that fat is cholesterol. That is simply not true. Cholesterol is a waxy substance that resembles fat, but has little to do with it. Today, scientists know that cholesterol content in food and the cholesterol in our blood aren’t as directly related as once thought. So to know more about egg, one must have a look at cholesterol.

CHOLESTEROL

One has to understand that cholesterol is not necessarily bad. Humans need it to maintain cell walls, insulate nerve fibers and produce vitamin D. There are two types of cholesterol, dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol.

Dietary cholesterol is found in certain foods, such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and dairy products. The second type (blood cholesterol, also called serum cholesterol) is produced in the liver and floats around in our bloodstream. Blood cholesterol is divided into two sub-categories: High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL), and Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL). LDL cholesterol is considered bad because it sticks to artery walls.

What is bad, is the amount of LDL blood cholesterol in the body. Too much of it can cause heart problems, but scientists are now discovering that consuming food rich in dietary cholesterol does not necessarily increase blood cholesterol.

Evidence showing that eating a lot of dietary cholesterol doesn’t increase blood cholesterol was discovered during a statistical analysis conducted over 25 years ago by Dr. Wanda Howell and colleagues at the University of Arizona. The study revealed that people who consume two eggs each day with low-fat diets do not show signs of increased blood cholesterol levels.

So what does raise blood cholesterol? Saturated fat does. Of the three types of fat (saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated), saturated fat raises blood cholesterol and LDL levels. It so happens that eggs contain mostly polyunsaturated fat, which can actually lower blood cholesterol if one replaces food containing saturated fat with eggs.

Discarding Myths

Discarding Myths

DELICIOUS, NUTRITIOUS

Eggs are actually quite nutritious. They are not just fat (yolk) and protein (white). In fact, they contain a wide array of essential vitamins and minerals. Here is what’s in an egg…

Vitamins

A: good for the skin and growth.

D: strengthens bones by raising calcium absorption.

E: protects cells from oxidation.

B1: helps properly release energy from carbohydrates.

B2: helps release energy from protein and fat.

B6: promotes the metabolism of protein.

B12: an essential vitamin in the formation of nerve fibers and blood cells.

Minerals

Iron: essential in the creation of red blood cells.

Zinc: good for enzyme stability and essential in sexual maturation.

Calcium: most important mineral in the strengthening of bones and teeth.

Iodine: controls thyroid hormones.

Selenium: like vitamin E, it protects cells from oxidation.

BEST TYPE OF PROTEIN

If that wasn’t enough, egg whites contain the purest form of protein found in whole-foods. It is so high that nutritionists use them as the standard when comparing other whole-food proteins. Their “biological value” — a measurement used to determine how efficiently a protein is used for growth — is 93.7. Milk, fish, meat, and rice respectively have a biological value of 84.5, 76, 74.3, and 64.

The higher the value, the better the protein is absorbed. This is why many bodybuilders include eggs in their diet. When a person eats meat, for instance, all of the protein is not necessarily absorbed and used to rebuild tissue.

Protein is a complex substance, which is why bodybuilding protein supplement makers are constantly trying to refine the quality of their product and some protein shake brands boast that their protein is made from egg whites. Each large egg contains 6.3 grams of protein.

NUTRITIONAL VALUES OF EGGS

Chickens raised with lots of sunshine, fresh food, fresh air and room to move around produce eggs which are one of nature’s most nutritionally dense foods.

Grass-fed Eggs

Grass-fed Eggs

However, there are still some concerns with commercial egg production, due to scientifically formulated chicken feeds. Commercial production methods require hens to spend their entire life indoors, hopped up on antibiotics to prevent infections in crowded quarters. Chicken feed is altered to increase shelf life by removing spoilable nutrients from grains. Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) are also spoilable, so the linoleic and alpha-linoleic acids are replaced with a more stable and Non-Essential Oleic Acid. The result is an egg with the same amount of cholesterol, but less EFA’s to transport and metabolize it properly in the body. Plant sterols found in vegetables, which reduce the cholesterol content of eggs by up to 35 percent also are removed from the chickens’ diet. Commercial eggs therefore contain more cholesterol than home grown barnyard eggs or organic eggs.

Eggs contain all the essential amino acids in the exact proportions required by the body for optimum growth and maintenance of lean, metabolically active tissue.

HOW TO EAT EGGS

Experts advise that despite being low in saturated fat, one should not eat more than two eggs a day on a low-fat diet. Egg yolk is mainly fat, so even though it doesn’t raise blood cholesterol levels, it can cause other problems if abused.

Contaminated eggs kill up to 5000 individuals each year. One egg in 10,000 is contaminated with salmonella, so you should never eat undercooked eggs or swallow them raw.

It is advisable that grills should never be set higher than 250F. Anything above that will leave the interior raw while burning the outside. To get a proper hard boil, an egg should be boiled for at least ten minutes. If an egg has runny parts, it means it is not cooked properly.

So, now don’t be scared and let the oval wonder cast its spell upon you.

Vaishali Parekh

www.indian-cooking.info

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Colors in my room

My last post dealt with the effect of colors on our lives. 

We might laugh at this but this is no mumbo jumbo! This is science with proven facts (I know at least one lady who shares my views). 

I have tried to color up my living room and my bedroom with a few of my own paintings. 

A very humble and modest effort but an effort all the same. 

 SWAN 

Swan

Swan

 

It’s a glass painting with stain glass colors, inspired by a crystal swan I came across at a Swarovski store (couldn’t afford to buy one, came up with a painting instead).   

Ball of Fire 

Ball of Fire

Ball of Fire

 

A geometrical design on wood with oil paint.
 

Women with pitchers 

Women with pitchers

Women with Pitchers

 

An acrylic painting on canvas. 

 Not necessary that you too have to paint but you can use any colored objects for similar effects.
 

Vaishali Parekh 

www.indian-cooking.info 

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Colorful Health

We inherently have natural reactions to color—a clear blue sky can make you feel peaceful; a bunch of daffodils can give rise to optimism. So there is every possibility that the colors in our home can have an impact on our mood, too. Red, for instance, tends to be stimulating and blue, calming.

Here’s how you can tap into the power of color to feel happier, calmer or more inspired—without a huge paint job.

RED

Red makes us feel more energetic, outgoing & positive.
It nourishes our reproductive system, the cells in our blood stream and muscle fibers. Physical symptoms of blocked Red energy are:

  • Weakness
  • Reproductive Problems
  • Poor circulation
  • Anemia
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Low Blood Pressure
  • Tiredness

 

ORANGE

Orange is stimulating and instills enthusiasm & zeal.
It nourishes the organs of assimilation and the distribution processes of our body. Physical symptoms of blocked Orange energy are:

  • Disorders of the kidneys
  • Bladder problems
  • Spastic or sluggish colon
  • Some forms of arthritis and rheumatism
  • Constipation
  • Digestive disorders
  • Disorders of the spleen

 

GREEN

Green generates a calm and soothing atmosphere.
This color promotes harmony and balance. Green has a mild astringent effect and aids in the elimination of toxins. It assists in the building of muscles, skin and tissues. It is particularly beneficial for the sympathetic nervous system and  is useful for cell restoration.
Our heart and lung condition are directly related to its energy. Green also dissolves blood clots and relieves hardening of cells. Physical symptoms of blocked Green energy are:

  • Lung Disease
  • Cysts
  • Growths
  • Claustrophobia
  • Diseases of Connective and Muscle tissues
  • Heart Disease
  • Cancer
  • Angina
  • Chronic Bronchitis

 

TURQUOISE

Turquoise encourages clarity in thought and communication.
It has a constant vibration which neither overpowers nor intrudes in any way.
It resonates to the thymus and thyroid glands of our Endocrine system.
Physical symptoms of blocked Turquoise energy are:

  • Viral and Bacterial Infections
  • Cysts
  • Hay Fever
  • Mental Fatigue
  • Skin Disorders
  • Leukemia
  • Psoriasis
  • Immune System Deficiencies

 

BLUE

Blue promotes values like loyalty & honesty.
Blue nourishes our throat region. It has an overall effect of calming, soothing, reducing feverish conditions and headaches. Physical symptoms of blocked Blue energy are:

  • Nervous Tension
  • Insomnia
  • Migraine Headaches
  • Coughs
  • Sore Throats
  • Hoarseness
  • Laryngitis
  • Vocal imbalances

 

YELLOW

Yellow encourages open-mindedness & observation power.
It strengthens the nervous system and helps in stimulating various organ functions, such as the action of the liver, the gallbladder and the flow of bile. It promotes the secretion of gastric juices, therefore assisting proper bowel movement. Physical symptoms of blocked Yellow energy are:

  • Nervous Disorders
  • Muscle Related Disorders
  • Diabetes
  • Calcium Deposits
  • Arthritis
  • Poor Digestion
  • Liver Problems
  • Poor Memory

 

PURPLE

PURPLE generates feelings of self-respect and dignity
It is a royal color and is associated with the emperor, extravagance and wealth. Purple normalizes and balances all hormonal and glandular activity. It resonates to and nourishes the Pituitary gland. Physical symptoms of blocked Purple energy are:

  • Pituitary Gland Dysfunction
  • Cerebral-Spinal Meningitis
  • Epilepsy
  • Mental Disorders
  • Visual Disorders

 

PINK

Pink is the color of compassion.
It generates feelings of tenderness, gentleness, kindness, affection and love. It is the color of ‘Manifestation’ and transmutes desire into its physical equivalents. It’s subtle and refined vibration increases blood flow to the brain and stimulates the sympathetic nervous system. Physical symptoms of blocked Pink energy are:

  • Pineal Gland Dysfunction
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Nervous Breakdown
  • Disorders of the Sympathetic Nervous System
  • Chronic Tiredness
  • Weak Memory

 

Vaishali Parekh

www.indian-cooking.info

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Eat less to live more

 

Eat less to Live more

Eat less to Live more

   

Crash dieting is not possible for all of us for different reasons and is not advisable either. But maintaining good health is important for all of us. So, what’s the solution? Let’s adopt the middle path. Less eating can help us achieve our objective.    

Since ancient times when medical sciences came into existence, diet assumed great importance. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, was the first man to establish that unbalanced diet and improper food are the causes of diseases.   

Dr. Samuel Hannemann, the father of Homeopathy, discussed effects of diet on a healthy body as well as on patients.  

Anything which is fully-loaded has some disadvantages. For example, just try to visualize a fully loaded bus or a fully packed luggage bag and how clumsy they are. For optimum performance there should be a little bit space in everything.  

Stomach, gall bladder, small and large intestines, rectum and the anus constitute our digestive system. These body parts expand and contract and help move the food forward. However, food taken in large quantities and gulped in forcefully, create dumping in the system. This drastically lowers the digestion efficiency. The quantity of digestive juices and acids are not enough to digest the voluminous food intake and indigestion results. This leads to stomach colics, flatulence, loose motion and vomiting.   

The stomach remains loaded with undigested food which begins to rot and this definitely is detrimental to the body. This is an invitation to many disorders. Ayurveda says that minimal diet is easily digested and as a result vital nutrients are supplied to the body for health and vigor.   

Food should be cooked at very low temperatures so that the nutrients are preserved, and eat only that much as is required by the stomach. One should never stuff or gulp morsels of food and dump the digestive system.  

Many would tell you that they do not feel energized after eating so much. The more you eat before you go to bed, the more tired you will tend to feel the minute you wake up. What is the reason for feeling so fatigued after eating? Isn’t eating supposed to give you more energy? The reason you feel so tired right after eating is because digesting food consumes so much energy. Unfortunately, only animals and babies retain their natural instinct when sick and they choose to refuse food.   

Here are some tips for you:  

Eat enough calories but not too many. Maintain a balance between your calorie intake and calorie expenditure—that is, don’t eat more food than your body uses. The average recommended daily allowance is 2,000 calories, but this depends on your age, sex, height, weight, and physical activity.   

Eat a wide variety of foods. Healthy eating is an opportunity to expand your range of choices by trying foods—especially vegetables, whole grains, or fruits—that you don’t normally eat.  

Keep portions moderate, especially high-calorie foods. In recent years serving sizes have ballooned, particularly in restaurants. Choose a starter instead of an entrée, split a dish with a friend, and don’t order supersized anything.  

Drink more water. Our bodies are about 75% water. It is a vital part of a healthy diet. Water helps flush our systems, especially the kidneys and bladder, of waste products and toxins. A majority of Americans go through life dehydrated.   

And finally,   

Don’t be the food police. You can enjoy your favorite sweets and fried foods in moderation, as long as they are an occasional part of your overall healthy diet. Food is a great source of pleasure, and pleasure is good for the heart – even if those French fries aren’t!     

Vaishali Parekh 

 www.indian-cooking.info  

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Let Love Flow

River of Love Let us all make a solemn pledge this Valentine’s Day that we would love unconditionally. It is extremely difficult, mind you. We all love our parents don’t we? Well some of us don’t, but there are always exceptions. Our parents deserve unconditional love from us, but do we give it to them… without any strings attached? Maybe they did something wrong due to which you suffered. Would you still love them? Ok, you forgave them and kept on loving them but after sometime they repeated the same mistake and you suffered once again. What would you do? If your love for them does not diminish, you are on the right track.

I agree, sometimes during certain situations, it becomes very difficult to keep up the intensity of our love. Most of us are unable to take the pressure and the relationship cracks. But few of us carry on brushing aside all negatives. They stand out from the rest. Be very selective who you love and once you decide upon somebody, then that relationship should last a lifetime. In the process you might suffer a lot but at the end of the journey of life there would be a tremendous feeling of satisfaction and achievement.

When you look back you would feel that your life was worth living. Let your love flow like a sparkling, swift and singing stream of water flowing downhill. The stream knows nothing else other than the fact that it has to meet the ocean and accordingly it carries on.

Yesterday I came across a very meaningful post on similar lines. It’s definitely worth a reading.

Let us make this V-day memorable.

Vaishali Parekh

www.indian-cooking.info

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