Category Archives: Indian Dietitian Online

Diet and Precautions during the Monsoons

After the long, hot summer months, the monsoon rains bring much needed relief from the heat. The rains, which are a welcome change, can spell the end for outdoor exercises for all health enthusiasts. The rains also tend to bring to the table steaming teas along with hot ‘pakoras’.

Fried Foods

So how does one take care of the diet during with all these hurdles?
Diet:
  • Avoid binging on fried foods (pakoras, chips, namkeens, samosas,etc) as far as possible. Moderation is the key word here.
  • Snack on the grilled buttas/makkai/corn that seem to pop up everywhere with the rains. Nothing smells better than corn being roasted over hot coals on a rainy day, besides the fiber makes it an excellent healthy snack.
  • Eat light meals and keep yourself hydrated by drinking loads of water.
Precautions: A word of caution as the monsoons also brings with it the dangers of waterborne diseases like cholera, jaundice, typhoid and diarrhea.
Here are some tips to avoid falling sick this monsoon:
  • Drink only boiled/ bottled water. Carry a bottle of water from home to avoid drinking water from unsafe sources.
  • All vegetables and fruits should be washed well in clean water especially those that are consumed raw. Avoid eating salads and cut fruits, juices,golas and chaats from the street vendors.
  • Eat home cooked meals as far as possible. If it isn’t feasible at all times, then opt for cooked meals like roti/chawal with sabzi/dal. Avoid sandwiches, raitas, salads, which can contain raw vegetables.
  • With these simple precautions you can prevent yourself from falling sick which will end up as another excuse for not exercising.
Here are some tips to help you continue your weight loss journey:
Exercise:
  • Outsmart the rains and join a gym/aerobics/yoga/dance class. Since these are conducted indoors, the rains are highly unlikely to hamper your fitness plans!
  • Invest in some exercise machines like the treadmill/elliptical/exer-cycle and burn those calories without having to leave your home (make sure to exercise otherwise you’ll end up using them to dry your wet clothes)!
  • If joining a gym/exercise class or buying exercise equipment isn’t too friendly on your pocket-then pick up some exercise DVD’s or surf the internet for exercises that you can do at home.
  • Keep yourself active-take the stairs whenever possible, jog inside the house, do simple home exercises.
Doing this will keep your metabolism from slowing down.
Healthy Snack Options:
Just keep in mind that the monsoon season is no excuse for NOT exercising.

No More Excuses-How to Exercise When the Weather is Bent on Being a Spoilsport

Weather has for long been the standard excuse for those who want to escape exercising. Whether it’s the rain, the snow or the heat- there is an excuse for every season!

Exercising in Winter

After the long, hot summer months, the monsoon rains bring much needed relief from the heat. The rains, which are a welcome change, can spell the end for outdoor exercises for all health enthusiasts. The rains or even the snow also tend to bring to the table steaming teas along with hot ‘pakoras’.

So how does one take care of the diet and exercise during with all these hurdles?

Here are some tips to help you continue your weight loss journey:
Exercise:
  • Outsmart the rains/snow/heat and join a gym/aerobics/yoga/dance class. Since these are conducted indoors, the rains are highly unlikely to hamper your fitness plans!
  • Invest in some exercise machines like the treadmill/elliptical/exer-cycle and burn those calories without having to leave your home (make sure to exercise otherwise you’ll end up using them to dry your wet clothes)!
  • If joining a gym/exercise class or buying exercise equipment isn’t too friendly on your pocket-then pick up some exercise DVD’s or surf the internet for exercises that you can do at home.
  • Keep yourself active-take the stairs whenever possible, jog inside the house, do simple home exercises.
Doing this will keep your metabolism from slowing down.
Diet:
  • Avoid binging on fried foods (pakoras, chips, namkeens, samosas,etc) as far as possible. Moderation is the key word here.
  • Snack on the grilled buttas/makkai/corn that seem to pop up everywhere with the rains. Nothing smells better than corn being roasted over hot coals on a rainy day, besides the fiber makes it an excellent healthy snack.
  • Eat light meals and keep yourself hydrated by drinking loads of water.
  • Healthy Snack Options:  Khaman dhoklas, Sweet Potato Baked Fries, Kale Chips,
Precautions: A word of caution as the monsoons also brings with it the dangers of waterborne diseases like cholera, jaundice, typhoid and diarrhea.
Here are some tips to avoid falling sick this monsoon:
  • Drink only boiled/ bottled water. Carry a bottle of water from home to avoid drinking water from unsafe sources.
  • All vegetables and fruits should be washed well in clean water especially those that are consumed raw. Avoid eating salads and cut fruits, juices,golas and chaats from the street vendors.
  • Eat home cooked meals as far as possible. If it isn’t feasible at all times, then opt for cooked meals like roti/chawal with sabzi/dal. Avoid sandwiches, raitas, salads, which can contain raw vegetables.
  • With these simple precautions you can prevent yourself from falling sick which will end up as another excuse for not exercising.
Just keep in mind that Summer/Autumn/Winter/Monsoon/Spring season is no excuse for NOT exercising.

Diet Mantras: Three Words to Eliminate to be Successful in Following a Diet….

How To Successfully Follow A Diet…

Diet Mantras…..

Almost everyone has tried to “go on a diet” or “is on a diet” or is planning to “go on a diet”! But very few are able to stick to it and reap the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Why does this happen? Why do people “stop dieting’? Why isn’t everyone able to succeed ?

Being successful in anything takes a lot of hard work, dedication and planning. The same goes with sticking with a diet or rather changing to a healthy lifestyle.
According to Bernard Roth, a professor of engineering at Stanford University changing a few words could be the answer to being successful.  Let’s try and put the same theory to being successful in following a diet or lifestyle change and maybe it might help you to be more healthy.
In his new book “The Achievement Habit”, Prof. Roth suggests two verbal tweaks that could change the way you think about the world and in doing so become successful in life.
He suggests that:

 Instead of Saying   Use the Word
 But  And
 Have to  Want to


Let’s try to use it in the usual ‘dieting parlance’:
1)Instead of saying : I have a party to attend, but I’m on a diet
Say: I have a party to attend and I’m on a diet.

According to Prof Roth-using the word ‘but’ just creates a conflict or a reason for something that actually doesn’t exist. By replacing it with ‘and’ you remove the conflict and simply find a solution to do both. Maybe you’ll chose to eat something before going to the party or chose wisely or control the portion size at the party. Here are a couple of articles that can help you to choose wisely and enjoy the party while still not going overboard as far as your diet is concerned:


2) Instead of saying: I have to eat right.
Say: I want to eat right!
Again, this subtle word swap helps in realizing that what you chose to do, even if they are difficult, are in fact what you have chosen to do for a healthier life.

3)Along with these two, it would also help is if you could swap the word “diet” for “lifestyle change”.
A ‘diet’ brings a mental image of a very restrictive, boring and unappetizing foods which doesn’t in anyway help you in sticking to it. A lifestyle change sounds so much better and incorporates not just changes in what you eat but also includes other factors like physical activity that will together change the quality of your life.
So instead of saying: I have to go on a diet.
Say: want to change my lifestyle.

Make these 3 swaps and you could be on your way to leading a healthier life!

Sweta Uchil

Online Indian Dietitian


Healthy North Indian Foods to choose when dining out…

Healthy North Indian foods to choose when dining out.

Published in Health India on 22nd May: Healthy North Indian Food Choices When Dining Out

Dining out need not be taboo for health freaks or those who are on the proverbial diet. You don’t have to stop socializing or be stuck with a salad when the rest of the gang is polishing off the food like there is no tomorrow. With a little information, some smart choices and the determination to stick to portion sizes, you too can enjoy a healthy meal while dining out.
While every cuisine has its unhealthy quota of foods, there also are foods that can easily fit into the ‘healthy’ list. Regardless of which restaurant you choose, here are some general guidelines by dietician Sweta Uchil-Purohit to make healthy choices when ordering North Indian food.
Ask for water instead of juices, mocktails, aerated or alcoholic beverages. There’s no point in adding extra calories when you can drink nature’s zero-calorie drink – water.
Avoid fried foods, desserts and food made of refined flours: Pass on the pooris, bhaturas, pakodas, naans and roomali rotis and look for healthier options like whole wheat rotis or phulkas. Desserts are loaded with both sugar and fat and are best to be avoided.
Go for plain rice: Since most restaurants don’t serve brown or semi-polished rice, your only option is to ask for plain rice. This is definitely a better choice than biryanis or pulavs.
Ask for your food to be made without oil, butter, ghee and malai: Since most restaurants are now familiar with the health conscious crowd, they are more than willing to make changes to their dishes to keep their clientele happy. Be firm and put in your request while placing the order and hopefully your food will be cooked with less oil if not with ‘no oil’.
Always order a non-creamy soup and a salad (no dressing): This is an age-old trick used by weight watchers. Fill-up your stomach with non-creamy or thin soups and salads (without the mayonnaise dressing) and you won’t be able to eat much during the main course.
Choose items that are baked, grilled or steamed: These are healthy methods of cooking that don’t add extra calories to the dish. Tandoori items, shashlik, grilled kebabs are all healthier choices than fried items.
Choose tomato based curries: These are lower in calories than themalai or cashew based curries. Rajma, chole and even fish or chicken cooked in tomato gravy is a better option.
Once you are familiar with these guidelines, you can easily pick out the healthy items from any menu. For those who love eating North Indian food, here’s a sample meal plan of what you can order:
Course
Veg
Non-veg
Beverage
Water
Water
Soup
Mixed vegetable soup
Tomato soup
Appetiser (optional)
Tandoori paneer/ Paneer Shashlik
Chicken tikka/ Tandoori chicken
Salad
Green Salad/ Raita
Green Salad/ Raita
Main
Roti /Phulka/ Plain rice
Roti/ chapati/Plain rice
Side
Chhole and Bharta
Methi chicken and gobi mattar
If you have to choose an appetiser/starter, pick something which is a protein based, non-fried item (like tandoori paneer/hara bhara chickenkebab or prawn shashlik) as protein tends to fill you up and will leave you with little space for the courses to follow.  Eat slowly and try to relish every bite (mindful eating), stick to your portion size and if you feel that you are full even before the main course arrives, then ask for your portion to be parceled so that you can enjoy it in the next meal. If you do get tempted when the desserts are being served, then go ahead and take a spoonful from your friend’s plate. Cheers and happy dining!

Kimchi Fried Rice (Korean Style Fried Rice)

Kimchi also called the ‘Korean Superfood’ and is a must have side dish for all Koreans. It is made from fermented vegetables (most often cabbage) and has a unique salty and spicy flavour. It is rich in probiotic strains (including Lactobacillus plantarum and Lactobacillus brevis) and hence scientists give it equal status to yogurt when it comes to probiotic foods. It is also packed with antioxidants and contains vitamins A, B, C and K. It is also loaded with vital minerals like potassium, calcium and magnesium.

Kimchi being a fermented food has loads of health benefits. To read more about the benefits of fermented foods and for a list of Indian Fermented foods read my article: Benefits of Fermented foods

My Indian Dietitian

Kimchi

I bought Kimchi in bulk from Costco, and since I have a lot-have been experimenting with some Korean dishes that incorporate kimchi. Try out this Indo-Korean style ‘Kimchi Uttapam‘ which is my twist on the traditional Korean Kimchi Pancakes.

Kimchi Fried rice is a quick and easy dish made mostle with leftover rice. You could add any meat/chicken/seafood/ mushroom to it if you wish.

Ingredients for Quick and easy Kimchi Fried Rice: Serves 4

  • Kimchi: 1 cup (finely diced)
  • Kimchi juice/liquid: 1/4 cup
  • Leftover rice –3 cups (if it is freshly cooked, spread it in a tray to cool or put it in the fridge for at least 1/2 hour)
  • Eggs: 4 , (cooked sunny side up for garnish)
  • Garlic: 1/2 tsp minced
  • Sesame Oil: 1/2 Tbsp
  • 1/2 Tbsp cooking oil
  • Oil: 1/2 tbsp
  • Spring onion: 1-2 finely chopped(optional for garnish)

Method:

  1. On medium high heat preheat a pan/wok and once heated and add the garlic, stir it fast for about 10 seconds. (if you want to add any meat/chicken/seafood-add it now and stir-fry till it is cooked).
  2. Add the Kimchi and stir-fry till almost cooked.
  3. Add the rice and the kimchi juice. Mix together till all the rice gets coated with the kimchi juice.Add the sesame oil and mix them well. Remove from the heat.
  4. Serve hot garnished with the egg and spring onions.

Also try:

Kimchi Uttapam (an Indo-Korean fusion dish)

Bon Appetite or as they say in Korean Mashike Mogo 🙂

Sweta Uchil-Purohit

Online Indian Dietitian


Kimchi Uttapam (Indo-Korean Fusion dish-Kimchi Pancakes with a twist)

We are familiar with Indo-Chinese dishes (Chinese dishes made with Indian flavours), well this is my attempt at making an Indo-Korean dish 🙂

If you’re a regular follower of this website-you would also by now know that I try to add my own healthy twist to dishes, so that my family and clients can get the best of both worlds!

So here is the favourite Korean dish called Kimchi pancake with an Indian and healthy twist. The original recipe calls for ‘all purpose flour/maida’, kimchi, onions, salt and sugar. To make it healthier-I substituted the maida with rava(semolina/farina) , rice flour(to make it crisp) and a little besan(to bind it). For those who are not familiar with Korean cuisine, kimchi is a staple and a must have accompaniment of meals. It’s basically a fermented dish with different vegetables and spices. The most popular is the made with napa cabbage. Buying kimchi would probably be frowned upon in Korean families. They make their own kimchi and each family is supposed to have their own recipe handed down from generation to generation. Some families have an entire fridge stocked with just different varieties of kimchi and nothing else-that should give you some inkling as to the importance of kimchi in Korean cuisine. Kimchi is not just eaten as a side with meals, but there are various dishes made with it like Kimchi Fried Rice, Kimchi stew, Kimchi dumplings, Kimchi wraps and so on.

Kimchi being a fermented food has loads of health benefits. To read more about the benefits of fermented foods read my article: Benefits of Fermented foods

Coming back to the recipe, since I have not been handed down the kimchi recipe, I did the next best thing- I bought it in bulk at Costco! If you have a Korean neighbour or friend do try and get a foolproof recipe (also try and get an invite to watch them make it). Or else try out your favourite Korean restaurant and see if you can buy their in-house kimchi. Here’s my Indo-Korean Kimchi Pancake recipe:

Indo-Korean fusion Kimchi Uttapam

Ingredients for Kimchi Uttapam:

  • Rava/semolina/Farina: 1 cup
  • Rice flour: 1/2 cup
  • Besan/chickpea flour: 2 tbsp
  • Kimchi: 1- 1.5 cups (chopped fine)
  • Kimchi juice(water from the kimchi): 3 tbsp
  • Onion: 1/2 medium(finely diced)
  • Salt:to taste
  • Oil/ghee: to cook
  • Coriander(optional): 3 tbsp (chopped)
  • Carrot (optional): 1 small (grated)
  • Red chili flakes(optional): 2-3 tsp
  • Curd/yogurt(optional): 2 tbsp

Method:

  1. Mix all the ingredients together (the optional items are not added in traditional kimchi pancakes, so it’s upto you) with some water to get a thick consistency batter. It shouldn’t be a flowing consistency. Check for salt.
  2. Heat an cast iron tava/dosa tava on medium high heat. Add some oil and spread it with a cut onion( a trick my grandmom used to do to make the tava non-stick).
  3. When it is hot(sprinkle some water on the pan, and it should sizzle), take a ladleful of of the batter and spread evenly onto the tava.
  4. Cover and cook for a few minutes, add some oil to around the edges.
  5. When you see the edges browning, flip over and let it cook on the other side on medium heat for another minute. Flip over once more and let it cook for another 30 seconds.
  6. Serve hot as is. You don’t need any chutney with this as the uttapam itself is very flavourful-tangy(from the kimchi) and spicy.
  7. You can end the meal with some yummy Korean Cinnamon Tea.

Next experiment will be:

  • to make it gluten free (no rava/semolina)
  • to increase the fermented benefits by using fermented dosa batter.
  • to try out a low-carb version

So stay tuned for these recipes. To read more about the benefits of fermented foods read my article: Benefits of Fermented foods

Do try: Korean Cinnamon Tea

Sweta Uchil-Purohit

Indian Dietitian Online

 

 


TYPE 2 DIABETES??? Add this common Indian vegetable to lower your sugars

Diabetes is a condition that occurs when the body cannot maintain healthy levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood. Type 2 diabetes develops when the body does not make enough insulin or does not use it well. This type of Diabetes can be easily managed with a healthy diet and physical activity and medication.

Recent studies have shown that a low-carb diet can be extremely beneficial for Type 2 Diabetics in controlling the sugar levels and in some cases even reversing the disease. A low- carb diet is a diet which has absolutely no refined carbohydrates, like added sugar, cakes, soft drinks, maida, biscuits and sugary drinks etc and very little grains(depending on individual blood tolerance). A good dietitian can plan a low-carb diet based on your eating patterns. If you are looking for a Desi/Indian Diet plan for Diabetes leave a note on our CONTACT US PAGE: Click HERE

There are a lot of foods that can help in lowering the sugar levels. That being said it should be mentioned here that these are not ‘Miracle Foods’ that can reduce your sugar levels after you have eaten sugary foods! One such vegetable is the humble Bhindi(ladiesfinger/Okra).

Okra/Ladiesfinger/Bhindi

Studies have shown that Ladiesfinger/Okra may benefit diabetics by reducing the rate of glucose being absorbed by the intestine. This may be primarily due to the slimy mucilage that is in the vegetable. It is also high in fiber which is an important component for controlling diabetes symptoms by keeping you full for a longer period thereby reducing hunger cravings. It also contains other nutrients like antioxidants, folate, potassium, calcium and vitamin K. Many people soak a cut ladiesfinger in water overnight and drink the water in the morning along slimy content.

Bhindi is a commonly used vegetable in every Indian household and each family probably has it own favourite bhindi recipes. Here are a few recipes that you can include:

  1. Bhindi in Peanut Masala
  2. Dry Bhindi Sabzi
  3. Palakkad style Bhindi Sambar
  4. Bhindi Fried Rice

Other foods that have been known to lower blood sugars are:

  • Karela(bittergourd),
  • Jamun fruit(Java fruit)
  • Bhindi (ladiesfinger/Okra)
  • Methi seeds (Fenugreek seeds)
  • Cinnamon (Ceylon)

If you are looking for a Desi/Indian Diet plan for Diabetes leave a note on our CONTACT US PAGE: Click HERE

Sweta Uchil-Purohit

Dietitian


Korean Cinnamon Ginger Tea (for Blood Sugar control)

Cinnamon tea is a popular drink in Korea and is called ‘SuJeongGwa’. It is usually served on festivals or special occasions. I first tried it years ago at a Korean restaurant and it was served as a cold dessert drink after the meal. It was delicious and we were told it is normally served chilled but can be had hot. It is actually served with sugar, but I have omitted that and used stevia as a sugar substitute.

What makes this drink (without added sugar) a great drink for diabetics and pre-diabetics as well as those looking to lose weight is the cinnamon. Several studies have shown that cinnamon is effective in reducing blood sugar levels as well as the HbA1C levels. Some researchers also found that it could lower the total cholesterol levels.

Cinnamon Ginger tea

Ingredients: (makes approx 5 litres)

  • Cinnamon Sticks (Ceylon cinnamon): 70g
  • Fresh ginger: 100gms , skinned and thinly sliced.
  • Water: 22 cups (1 cup=250ml)
  • Stevia(a natural sugar substitute)

Garnish:

  • Lemon juice (optional)
  • Mint leaves (optional)

Method:

  1. In a large saucepan put in 11 cups of water and the ginger, cover and boil it on medium heat for 40 mins.
  2. At the same time, put the cinnamon sticks into a separate large saucepan. Add 11 cups of water cover and let it boil on medium heat for 40 mins.
  3. After 40 mins, strain the ginger water and the cinnamon water into one large pot.
  4. For those who like it hot- pour a cup of the hot tea, add some stevia (you can garnish it with mint or lemon juice if you want).
  5. Otherwise, chill the batch of Sujeonggwa and serve cold after a meal with some stevia and garnish(optional).

It can be stored in airtight glass containers for about a week.

Note:

  1. Use Ceylon Cinnamon (found in Indian Stores) and not the Cassia Cinnamon found in regular grocery stores (in the US)
  2. Have it after your meals to aid in controlling sugar levels after meals (post-prandial).
  3. It is not a substitute for medications/insulin prescribed for diabetes.
  4. It is not a miracle drink to reduce your sugar levels after feasting and eating sugary snacks.
  5. Both Cinnamon and ginger are warming spices according to Ayurveda and this drink can also be used when you have a cold. Those prone to mouth ulcers should avoid taking it too often.
  6. You will see better results if you are on a prescribed diet for your condition and take these after sticking to the diet.

For getting a personalized Online Diet Consultation: Click on -> ONLINE DIET CONSULTATION PACKAGES

Also Check out our Indo-Korean recipe: Kimchi Uttapam


The BRAT Diet for kids(for Diarrhea and various Stomach issues)

The BRAT Diet is basically a short term diet which is bland and easy to digest food used for those who have nausea, vomiting, loose stools (diarrhea) or gastrointestinal infection/stomach upsets.  The BRAT is an acronym which stands for:

  • Bananas
  • Rice
  • Applesauce
  • Toast

The BRAT diet is recommended especially for children when they are recovering from a bout of illness and ready to start on solid foods. Once they tolerate these foods you can slowly introduce regular food as and when tolerated.  The BRAT diet is not something that is recommended to be eaten for a long time as it is nutritionally not balanced.

A few more foods that can be added to the BRAT diet (which makes it BRATTY)

  • light Tea is also known to help and
  • natural Yogurt, to heal the gut bacteria

Note: This diet is to be introduced after the patient is tolerating liquids well and is ready to start eating and should not be used for more than a day .

 


Thai Basil Chicken (with vegetables)

Thai basil is different from the regular basil seen both look wise and flavour-wise. Thai basil has a sharp taste compared to the basil used in Italian cooking.

This is a quick and simple Thai recipe. Those who are regular visitors to this website will know that I try to make every recipe more nutritious especially when I don’t have time to make a separate vegetable dish. So here’s how you can make your favorite Thai Basil Chicken more nutritious- by adding seasonal vegetables and sesame seeds. You can add different vegetables like cabbage, green beans, carrots, broccoli, etc. Or if you have the time, you could make it the authentic way with just the basil leaves and serve stir-fry veggies on the side.

Here’s the recipe for Thai Basil Chicken (with vegetables):

Ingredients:

  • Chicken (thigh fillet): 250gms (cut into bite size pieces)
  • Scallion/shallot stem: 1 ( cut into 2″)
  • Mixed vegetables: 1 cup cut (like cabbage, broccoli, carrots, green beans, bell pepper)
  • Garlic: 5-6 large cloves (finely chopped)
  • Thai chili: 1-2nos. (slit lenthwise)
  • Oyster sauce: 1 tbsp
  • Light soy sauce: 2 tsp
  • Dark soy sauce : 2 tsp
  • Sesame seeds: 2 tsp (optional)
  • Salt: to taste (optional)
  • Oil :2 tbsp
  • Thai basil leaves: 1 cup loosely packed 

Method: