Tag Archives: nutrition

Wise Breakfast Choices

We are constantly being told that breakfast is THE most important meal of the day. You cannot start your day without any fuel — eating breakfast improves your concentration, alertness and overall performance and keeps you going through the day.

However, all of the above apply only if you have a healthy breakfast that does not overload your system with excess carbohydrates or even the bad kinds of fat.

Making the right choices of food for breakfast is as important as the meal itself! If you start your day on a high-carbohydrate, high-fat meal you are going to end up feeling sluggish and lethargic in the morning itself.

What’s more, if the pattern of your breakfast is constantly that of high calorie foods, in the long run it is going to expand your waistline, show up a few more kilos on the weighing scale and negatively affect your lipid profile.

So in the following pages, we’re going to give you the lowdown on the worst, fair and best breakfast choices.

Puri Bhaji
Serving: 1 plate (4 puris)
Calories: 450
Fat: 20 gms

Medhu Vada
Serving: 2
Calories: 260
Fat: 15 gms

Batata Vada
Serving: 2
Calories: 320
Fat: 15 gms

Aloo Paratha
Serving: 2
Calories: 580
Fat: 21.5 gms

Potato Toast
Serving: 1
Calories: 368
Fat: 22.9 gms

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why the above rank as the five worst choices.

All are high on fat and very low on nutrition, ie they contain a lot of empty calories. These options are also very high on salt and low on fibre. Unfortunately, a lot of offices usually serve vadas and samosas as part of the mid-morning snack and most people end up having them as a second breakfast, so imagine the calorie overload early in the morning! Whether you are watching your weight or not, the above are options that should be in the category of ‘To be eaten once in a blue moon’!

Veg Upma
Serving: 1 mk
Calories: 180
Fat: 5.5 gms

Potato Poha
Serving: 1 mk
Calories: 185
Fat: 5.4 gms

Idli Sambar
Serving: 2
Calories: 312
Fat: 11 gms

Dhokla
Serving: 5
Calories: 110
Fat: 2.5 gms

Onion Pudla (salty)
Serving: 2
Calories: 350
Fat: 11 gms

As a nutritionist, I am asked nearly everyday — ‘Why can’t I include Upma or Poha or any of the above for breakfast?’

While all the above options are not fried and therefore not very high fat choices, they contain a lot of processed/refined carbohydrates and as a result, are low on fibre. Such foods affect and raise your blood glucose levels very quickly and also cause it to drop equally quickly, resulting in low energy and hunger pangs within an hour of eating. Whenever there are high levels of blood glucose in the bloodstream after a meal, some of this excess sugar may be burnt off if you are an active person — but most of it is converted to fat and stored in the body, causing weight gain!

Oatmeal Porridge
Serving: 30 gms
Calories: 250
Fat: 2 gms

Milk with Bran Flakes
Serving: 30 gms
Calories: 250
Fat: 2 gms

Egg-white Omelette with 2 slices of bread
Serving: 2 whites
Calories: 180
Fat: 5 gms

Daliya (salty) with veggies
Serving: 1 mk
Calories: 150
Fat: 5 gms

Brown bread sandwich with veggies
Serving: 2 slices
Calories: 250
Fat: 5 gms

Oats contain soluble fibre; this fibre is broken down slowly by the body, as a result of which energy is released into the blood stream gradually, keeping you going for the next two-three hours. The porridge can be made more nutrient-rich by adding two walnuts for omega 3 fatty acids & a few (three to four) raisins to add to the taste.

Milk with bran flakes is another ready-to-eat breakfast for people on the go, who don’t have much time to cook. You get good quality protein from milk and you get fibre from the cereal which keeps you full, along with several other nutrients which the cereal is fortified with. Add a fruit to this mix and you have a perfect start to the day!

Egg whites can be had boiled, scrambled or as an omelette. If you are watching your weight or your cholesterol, it is best to do away with the yolks and add veggies. However, if you are fit, exercise regularly and keep your meals low-fat, it’s okay to add one egg yolk twice weekly for Vitamin B 12. Eggs are a good source of high-quality protein and have a good satiety value. You can have high fibre or multigrain bread to go with it and can even add a fruit later to improve the overall nutrient value.

If you prefer an Indian-style option, daliya with added veggies is a good choice. Wheat cracks or daliya are nothing but broken wheat and contain a high amount of fibre. While it is not a source of high-quality protein, it helps keep you full for a longer time. If you want to improve its nutrient content, add a cup of milk with sugar and eat it as porridge.

Brown bread/multigrain sandwiches are also a good choice for people who have no time to cook. This high fibre sandwich can be further fortified by adding two or three teaspoons of cottage cheese or just one slice of low-fat cheese. Make sure you add a lot of vegetables — put in more of coriander chutney and less than a teaspoon of butter if you are watching your weight. Having a glass of milk with the sandwich will make it a more wholesome meal.

Vaishali Parekh

www.indian-cooking.info

Bookmark and Share

14 Comments

Filed under Food & Diet, health, Healthy LifeStyle

Cure Yourself

Nature & Us

Nature & Us

Since a long time I wanted to write this one, but could not bring myself to focus on the task. I knew I would do it someday, but at the same time I also knew that the task was a huge one and it would take many months, for me, to complete the book. I used to get overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the project.

But, goaded on by my family and friends, my online readers and my website team, I finally decided to begin. Thus began a long and arduous journey. I started collecting my thoughts and put them down on paper. After I managed to get the blueprint ready, began the process of collecting information. Hours, days and months were spent on this task, which resulted in a huge volume of data, which had to be scrutinized and edited.

My team and I spent many nights going through reams and reams of info and deciding what to retain and what to reject. After the content was finalized, my technical team swung into action to compile the entire content into a well designed e-book, which I could present to you.

This e-book is all about natural health and natural remedies, and my intention is to stop you from running to the doctor at the slightest sneeze or rumbling in your stomach. Why not try and find out how to take care of minor ailments with whatever is available in your kitchen and refrigerator?

The natural healing powers of some common vegetables, fruits and spices are simply amazing. Mother Nature has gifted us with so many things which we are not aware of. This book is my humble attempt to bring you closer to her.

Vaishali Parekh

www.indian-cooking.info

Bookmark and Share

2 Comments

Filed under Food & Diet, health, Healthy LifeStyle, Recipes

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

Bookmark and Share

24 Comments

Filed under Food & Diet, health

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  

   Bookmark and Share  

298 Comments

Filed under Food & Diet, health, Healthy LifeStyle

Stop Stuffing!

We humans are basically greedy in nature. We never seem to get enough. Out of instinct we just keep on accumulating.

Stop Over-EatingTake the case of food. We go berserk if there is delicious stuff in front of us. Even people who are normally very disciplined, find it absolutely difficult to resist the temptation to hog. It is very difficult to explain but something strange happens in our head and we throw all caution and resolutions to the wind. But as soon as the job is done we are hit by pangs of guilt and feel like kicking ourselves.

To compensate for the effects of binging, some of us go to such extremes as going on a fast, thinking it would negate the impact of indulgence. But alas, that does not happen. Most of us are not aware that the negatives are very difficult to reverse. What actually happens is that as soon as the fasting sessions are over, people tend to binge once again out of sheer craving for food.

I ask people to eat by providing them with recipes, but obesity is turning out to be such a menace that nowadays I ask people not to eat much. You can even go on a fast once in a while.

Our focus should be on providing our body with balanced nutrition. Whatever and whenever we are eating something, it should always be kept in mind whether the food is providing vital nutrients.

DISCIPLINE is the key.

Be it breakfast, lunch or dinner our tummy should never be absolutely full. At least one fourth should always be empty. A stuffed belly consumes maximum energy for digestion and as a result other body functions suffer. Whereas if our consumption is limited and balanced then energy is evenly distributed all over our body, making us feel light and sprightly.

Make up your mind that from the next meal onwards you would eat light and won’t stuff.
Make this resolution and stick to it, no matter what!
You would soon notice the difference in you.

 
Vaishali Parekh

www.indian-cooking.info

Bookmark and Share

1 Comment

Filed under Food & Diet, Healthy LifeStyle