Tag Archives: Indian weight loss diets

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How to motivate yourself to Exercise?

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Top 5 ways to beat workout shyness

 Are you one of those who keep putting off exercising to ‘tomorrow’? Do you start your New Year’s resolutions with ‘Start exercising daily’ but never seem to be able to ‘start’ or if you do start never are able to do it for more than a couple of weeks? We all know that we should exercise, but some days it’s tough to get moving: not enough time, too tired, no energy. Here are some tips to beat workout shyness:
1. The ‘Buddy’ system: get a friend/ relative/spouse/ neighbor to workout with you. Having a partner makes it more difficult to miss the gym when a spell of laziness hits you, and you are likely to work out harder once you are there. The best part of having a workout buddy is that after you complete, you’ll have somebody to cut loose and celebrate with! You’ll also have somebody to continue working out with in order to keep yourself in your best shape possible.
2. Buy a whole year’s package: basically pay up. Money is the ultimate motivator. A whole year’s gym package would probably cost you a bomb and you’ll find yourself being regular just to get your money’s worth (if not anything else).
3. Set a goal: To start with, set small attainable goals like exercising for five days a week for at least 45 minutes each time. Once you attain this, then you could go one step further by either increasing the intensity of training or by increasing the time for exercising, etc.
4. Find a workout that is fun: Exercise need not be limited to working out in a gym. You could find some fun activities like dancing, jazz exercising, aerobics, playing a sport that you love (like tennis, basketball, squash, etc). Sometimes the fun element in these can make you look forward to it rather than detesting the thought of it!
5. Reward yourself: Every time you achieve a goal, reward yourself-it could be going for a movie, meeting up with friends, a facial, a new dress, getting a new hair cut or buying yourself a gift certificate to a spa (go ahead and pamper yourself, you’ve earned it!)

President Obama makes time for exercise whenever he can-so what is YOUR excuse??

Along with these tips, don’t forget the health benefits of exercising:
• Helps manage your weight,
• Combats diseases like osteoporosis, heart diseases, certain types of cancers and diabetes,
• Improves your mood,
• Promotes better sleep and
• Boosts your energy levels.

So pack a bottle of water, wear a snazzy exercise outfit and hit the gym (or the dance floor/ tennis court, etc) and watch those extra layers of fat melt away. You may even surprise yourself by fitting into the pair of jeans from your college days!


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Collard Upkari (a Mangalorean style stir-fry)

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LoveToTakePhotos / Pixabay

Collard Greens

“Upkari”(or stir-fry) is a very simple vegetarian dish which is a regular in most Mangalorean households. You can make ‘upkari’ with any vegetable (cabbage,beans,radish, string beans,etc) or with any green leafy vegetable. ‘Upkari’s’ are traditionally made by adding the chopped vegetable/leaves to the tempering along with one or two slit green chillies and cooked till done. At the end, a garnish of freshly grated coconut(Mangalore is a coastal town in Southern India and has an abundance of coconut trees,and hence the use of coconut in almost every dish) is added which gives it the characteristic flavor.
I’ve modified the recipe for the collard upkari by adding some chopped onions, and a pinch of asafoetida(hing) as I like the flavor it adds to the dish.

Ingredients for Collard upkari:

  • Collard leaves (or any green leafy vegetable) : 1 bunch (chopped)
  • Green chilly:1-2(slit length wise)
  • Onion-1/2 medium (finely chopped) optional
  • Coconut: 2-3 tbsp(freshly grated/frozen)
  • Salt to taste

For the tempering:

  • Oil: 1tsp
  • Mustard seeds: 1tsp
  • Urad dal: 1tsp
  • Asafoetida/hing: a pinch(optional)
  • Curry leaves: 3-4 (optional)

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds and urad dal.
  2. When the mustard starts to pop, add the asafoetida and the curry leaves.
  3. Add the chopped ginger,slit green chillies and onions and saute till the onions turn translucent.
  4. Add the chopped collard (or any of the other vegetables/green leafy vegetables) and stir-fry for 10mins.
  5. Then add a little water, salt to taste and cover and cook till done.
  6. Garnish the collard upkari with the coconut scrapings. Serve hot with a dash of lime (goes well with dal and rice).
Note: You can add 1/2 cup of split moong(wash and soak for 15 mins-add at step 5 with the water) or cooked pulses(kabuli channa) to add some protein to the dish.

Q. Which is your favorite recipe with greens?


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Crispy and Spicy Kale Chips

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Kale is packed with vitamins A, C , E,K, calcium , fibre and protein. The protein in kale contains all the 9 essential amino acids and hence is comparable to the protein found in meat or poultry.

Other than making sabzi’s, smoothies and salads with kale, here is a quick and simple snack recipe with kale. Crispy and Spicy Kale chips can be eaten as a snack or in lieu of papad/pickle with your meals.

Ingredients for Crispy and Spicy Kale Chips:

  • Kale: 1 big bunch (wash and dry)
  • Salt: to taste
  • Red chili powder: 1/2 tsp (add more if you like it spicier or omit entirely if you want just salted)
  • Cumin powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Olive oil: 1-2 tbsp

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 275F  (135C).
  2. Dry the kale leaves thoroughly. You can use a salad spinner for this
  3. Remove any large stems from the kale, and tear the leaves up into bite-sized pieces.
  4. Put the kale in a salad bowl and add the olive oil, red chili powder, cumin powder,  salt and toss well until the leaves are evenly coated.
  5. Spread the leaves out on a baking tray in a single layer (do not overcrowd, make a second batch if there is more) and bake for about 20-25 minutes (till they get crispy). Keep a watchful eye on your batch to prevent burning.
  6. Cool and enjoy as a snack or as a crispy side with your meals.

Here are other Healthy Snack Ideas:

  1. Baked Sweet Potato Fries/snack
  2. Baked Carrot Fries/snack
  3. Fruit Chaat/ Fruit Salsa 
  4. Khaman Dhokla
  5. Handvo
  6. Fish Cutlets/Patties

 


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Alasande Kalu (Lobia) Gasi (Black Eyed Beans in a thick coconut gravy)

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Black Eyed Peas are high in Vit A, fibre, potassium and folate and is known to help in relieving constipation, keeping sugar levels in check and in lowering cholesterol levels.

This is a Mangalorean recipe and is served with rice. It can be made with Indian yam /potato or even with Mangalore sautekai (mangalore cucumber).

Ingredients for Alasande kalu gasi :

  • Black Eyed Beans (Alasande kalu) – 1/2 cup (Soak overnight)
  • Tomato – 1 large (chopped)
  • Grated Coconut – 1/2 cup fresh/desicated
  • Red chilli powder: 1 tbsp
  • Coriander powder: 1 tbsp
  • Potato: 2 small cubed or Indian Yam(Suran/Suvarnagadde): 1/2 small, cubed (OPTIONAL)
  • Cumin/jeera powder: 1/4 tsp
  • Salt: to taste
  • Coriander/ cilantro leaves: 3 tbsps chopped (for garnish)
  • For Seasoning:
  • Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
  • Urad dal: 1 tsp
  • Channa dal:1/2 tsp
  • Dry Red Chilli: 1
  • Hing/asafoetida: a pinch
  • Curry Leaves : 10
  • Garlic: 4 cloves (crushed)
  • Oil – 3 tsps

Method:

  • Pressure cook the black eyed beans ( the beans must be tender, but still firm and hold shape).
  • Meanwhile grind the coconut, red chili powder, coriander powder and jeera powder with a little water till you get a fine paste.
  • Heat a kadai, add a tsp of oil, add the potatoes/yam (optional) and fry for 2-3 minutes.add the tomatoes and saute. Add some water and close and cook the potato/yam and tomato .
  • Add cooked black-eyed beans and salt.
  • Add the ground paste to the cooking beans. Adjust the consistency of the gravy by adding water.
  • For seasoning, heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds,urad and channa dal. When the mustard starts to pop, add the dry red chillies,  curry leaves, hing and crushed garlic.
  • Fry for a minute, then add this to the gravy. Mix and close the gravy and let it sit to infuse the flavours of the seasoning.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve with rice or even phulkas.

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Sabut Masoor ki dal (Whole Pink Lentil Soup)

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In a move to popularize the use and intake, 2016 was declared by the United Nations as the ‘Year of the Pulses’. The aim of this was “to heighten public awareness of the nutritional benefits of pulses as part of sustainable food production aimed towards food security and nutrition”.

Dals, pulses/legumes are a staple in the Indian diet for years, but it has not a popular food item internationally. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO): “In a balanced and diverse diet, the nutritious seeds can be consumed every day alongside fruit, vegetables, herbs, cereals and other fresh foods. Pulses provide an affordable alternative to animal protein. Additionally, they are rich in dietary fibre, vitamin B complex, and minerals, such as calcium, zinc, and iron.Food and nutrition education can promote the consumption of pulses.Food and nutrition education programs are crucial for teaching adequate pulse consumption in order to maximize the absorption of nutrients: For example, matching pulses with cereals to obtain a complete protein, consuming them with vitamin C (e.g. ascorbic acid) in order to increase iron absorption and avoiding to eat them with tea or coffee which, in contrast, would limit it “. Researchers have shown that eating whole pulses and lentils can lower cholesterol levels.

Ingredients for Sabut Masoor ki dal:

  • Whole pink lentil (sabut masoor): 1 cup (washed and soaked for an hour)
  • Onion: 2 medium (diced)
  • Tomatoes: 3 nos.
  • Ginger: 1 ‘ piece
  • Garlic: 3-4 nos.
  • Green chili: 1-2 (as per your heat tolerance)
  • Coriander/cilantro leaves: 3-4 tbsp chopped
  • Garam masala: 1 tsp
  • Chole Masala: 3 tsp (or as per your taste)
  • Oil: 2tsp
  • Jeera/cumin seeds: 2 tsp
  • Bay leaf: 1no.
  • turmeric: 1tsp
  • Hing/asafoetida: a pinch
  • Salt: to taste

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a pressure cooker, when it is hot add the jeera/cumin seeds, bay leaf, turmeric powder and hing.
  2. Add the onions and fry till they start turning brown. In the meanwhile, puree the tomatoes with the ginger,garlic and green chilies.
  3. When the onions start to brown, add the puree, the garam masala, chole masala, salt and stir till the oil leaves the sides.
  4. Drain the soaked sabut masoor and add them to the masala. Mix well, then add two cups of water.
  5. Close the lid of the pressure cooker and let it cook for one whistle. Switch off.
  6. Let the pressure drop, then open the lid, check for spices, salt. If it’s too thick you can add a little water and simmer for a few minutes.
  7. Garnish with chopped coriander and serve with rice or rotis.

To make a soup– Follow the same method but add a cup of seasonal mixed vegetables (green beans, carrots, cauliflower, etc) and chopped spinach when you add the sabut masoor/pink lentils (Step 4). Then close and pressure cook for one whistle. When you open the cooker, add water to make it into a soup consistency  and let it simmer. Garnish with freshly chopped coriander leave  and add a dash of lime. Serve hot. Makes a very filling soup.


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Lima Beans curry (Double beans masala)

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Lima Beans/ double beans (or butter beans) are rich in folate, thiamin as well as vitamin B6. It is also a good source of fibre, iron, manganese, potassium and magnesium.

This is a recipe using the same recipe that you would normally use for making chole (chickpeas in a tomato gravy) or rajma. You could also add cooked double beans to different sabzi’s to add a different flavour to the sabzi while also increasing the protein content of the dish. I don’t precook the double/lima beans but cook it with the gravy.

Ingredients for Lima Beans Curry:

  • Lima/Double beans: 1 cup (if using dried, then soak overnight)
  • Onion: 2 medium (diced)
  • Tomatoes: 3 nos.
  • Ginger: 1 ‘ piece
  • Garlic: 3-4 nos.
  • Green chili: 1-2 (as per your heat tolerance)
  • Coriander/cilantro leaves: 3-4 tbsp chopped
  • Garam masala: 1 tsp
  • Chole Masala: 3 tsp (or as per your taste)
  • Oil: 2tsp
  • Jeera/cumin seeds: 2 tsp
  • Bay leaf: 1no.
  • turmeric: 1tsp
  • Hing/asafoetida: a pinch
  • Salt: to taste

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a pressure cooker, when it is hot add the jeera/cumin seeds, bay leaf, turmeric powder and hing.
  2. Add the onions and fry till they start turning brown. In the meanwhile, puree the tomatoes with the ginger,garlic and green chilies.
  3. When the onions start to brown, add the puree, the garam masala, chole masala, salt and stir till the oil leaves the sides.
  4. Drain the soaked lima/ double beans and add them to the masala. Mix well, then add two cups of water.
  5. Close the lid of the pressure cooker and let it cook for one whistle. Switch off.
  6. Let the pressure drop, then open the lid, check for spices, salt. If it’s too thick you can add a little water and simmer for a few minutes.
  7. Garnish with chopped coriander and serve with rice or rotis.

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Pineapple Rasam (Pineapple Mulligatawny Soup)

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Pineapple is rich in fibre ,vitamin C and manganese.  Bromelain is an enzyme that is found in pineapple that can be helpful in healing tissues, reducing inflammation, and treating cancer because it helps restore the immune system. 

There are so many versions of the famous “Mulligatawny Soup” (the literal Tamil translation being just “pepper water” ) that I decided to add my own version-a pineapple  flavoured mulligatawny soup. The addition of the pineapple makes this soup a perfect soup for summer or winter.
Ingredients for Pineapple Rasam:

  • Pineapple: 1 cup (chopped)
  • Onion: 1/2 medium (finely chopped)
  • Garlic:2 cloves(crushed)
  • Ginger:1/2 ” piece(finely chopped)
  • Pepper: 1-2 teaspoon(freshly ground)
  • Turmeric: a pinch
  • Curry powder or Sambar/rasam powder:1/2 to 1 teaspoon
  • Green chillies:1-2(slit lengthwise)
  • Water/vegetable broth/dal water: 2 cups
  • Oil: 1 teaspoon
  • Salt: to taste
  • Jaggery (gur): 1 teaspoon(optional)

For tempering:

  • Mustard seeds: 1/2 teaspoon
  • Zeera/Cumin seeds-1 teaspoon
  • Peppercorns:3-4 nos.
  • Curry leaves:2-3 nos.
  • Hing/Asafoetida: a pinch (optional)

Method:

  1. Puree half the quantity of the pineapple into a fine paste and keep aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the mustard seeds,cumin seeds and peppercorns.
  3. When the mustard starts to sputter,add the curry leaves,turmeric and the asafoetida/hing(optional).
  4. Add the chopped ginger and the crushed garlic and stir-fry till slightly brown.
  5. Then,add the chopped onions,green chillies and salt and saute till the onions are golden brown.
  6. Add the pineapple puree along with the rest of the chopped pineapple pieces,curry or sambar/rasam powder,sugar/jaggery(optional) and stir continuously for about 5-6 minutes on medium heat.
  7. Add about 2 cups of water/vegetable broth (or you could also use the water after boiling dal) and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.
  8. Serve hot with a dash of freshly ground pepper.

Question: What is your favorite “summer” soup?


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How To Stay Fit While on Vacation/Work Travel

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‘The World is a book, and those who don’t travel read only one page’

To travel is to live-so whether you travel for work or for a vacation, enjoy every minute of it. Everyone deserves to take a break and come back refreshed. But weight watchers rarely are able to enjoy a vacation for the fear of putting on some extra ‘holiday/travel pounds’! Here are some tips for those who want to stay in shape even while on a vacation:
Diet: While it is very difficult (sometimes impossible) to stick to a rigid diet plan while on a holiday, weight watchers can still enjoy a variety by ‘eating smart’:
Avoid tucking into unnecessary fried foods like chips, fries, namkeens-these not only add on unwanted calories, but also make you feel sluggish and lethargic (the last thing you want while on vacation)
Eat a wholesome breakfast-anything from cereals and milk, oats, idli, sandwiches along with fresh fruits. Keep the Belgium waffles, chocolate doughnuts and muffins for the occasional indulgence. Eating a hearty breakfast and then stepping out to explore the place will keep you going till lunchtime.
Be adventurous-try out the local cuisine. You don’t have to stick to the tried and tested menus. Holidays are all about exploring and what could be better than exploring the local cuisine. Besides they can be a lot healthier than the fast-food joints that you would otherwise end up at.
Stick to portion sizes– You just need to know when to stop. Don’t eat till you feel stuffed and not able to move. Avoid eating at the buffets on a daily basis.
Keep yourself hydrated-with natures ‘zero-calorie’ drink, WATER! Avoid the sodas/aereated drinks and ice-cream sodas. Choose fresh fruit juices or tender coconut water instead.
Check out the local markets-If you don’t want to shell out exorbitant rates for fruits and salads at the hotels/restaurants, then check out the local markets for seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Exercise: Most hotels are equipped with a gym so make sure to pack your exercise shoes and some workout clothes. If working out in a gym is not your idea of a holiday, then you can still burn the extra calories by:
Walking/jogging– explore the nearby areas by going on a walk/jog in the morning or late evening.
Swimming: Cool off by taking a splash in the pool/lake or ocean.
Try out adventure sports-like rock-climbing, snorkeling, deep sea diving, water skiing, surfing, white water rafting. These are not only fun, but will also make sure that you are keeping yourself active.
Cycle/hike– instead of taking a tour bus or renting a car on all days, chalk out places that are close to where you stay and you can rent a cycle or go on a hike and get a feel of the place.
Dance: Check out the local hot night spots and have a ball dancing the night away.
Don’t stress out too much if you aren’t able to follow any of the tips-after all the whole idea of the vacation is to unwind, as Cliff Richards’ classic oldie ‘Summer Holiday’ goes:
“We’re all going on a summer holiday,
no more working for a week or two.
Fun and laughter on our summer holiday,
no more worries for me or you,

for a week or two”
You can always get back to your diet and fitness routine once you get back home!


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Pomegranate, Carrot and Dill raita

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Dill known as ‘sabsige soppu’ in Kannada and ‘soa saag’ in Hindi, is a delicacy especially in Karnataka. It’s added to ‘dal’, upma, rice rotti’s and adds a distinct flavor. Pomegranates on the other hand are a good source of antioxidants, vitmain C, vitamin K, B vitamins, copper, manganese, potassium , phosphorus and fiber. 
The raita is a quick and simple accompaniment to a meal.

Ingredients for pomegranate raita:(Serves-4)

  • Yogurt(non-fat)-1 1/2 cup
  • Pomegranate seeds- 1/2 cup
  • Dill leaves- 2 tbsp (chopped)
  • Carrot: 1/2 grated
  • Salt-to taste
  • Red chilli powder- a pinch
  • Roasted cumin- a pinch(powdered)
  • Chaat masala- a pinch (optional)

Method:
1)Mix the dill leaves, pomegranate seeds, grated carrot, yogurt and salt together.
2)Chill for about an hour before serving.
3)Sprinkle the red chilli powder, roasted cumin powder and chaat masala just before serving.


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8 Commonly Heard Myths about Exercising

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There are a number of myths associated with exercising. Here are some of the commonly heard myths still doing the rounds in India:

Myth 1: I don’t want to start exercising as I’ve heard that I will put on more weight when I quit!!
This is obviously someone who is looking for reasons not to exercise! When you exercise you burn fat which brings about weight loss. Moreover people also tend to be more conscious of their diet since they are putting in so much effort to exercise. When you quit, you also tend to get back to your old eating habits. This increase in calorie intake and no means of burning those calories will ultimately make the weight creep back.
Solution:  Don’t Quit!! Exercise is not a short-term means to achieve your goal of weight-loss. Make it a daily routine and it’ll help in maintaining the weight you lost (along with a host of other health benefits).

Myth 2: Women should not train with weights otherwise they may end up looking like bodybuilders.
Both men and women can benefit with a little strength/weight training. Weight training has shown to help make your bones stronger and can also help in shedding weight faster by maintaining muscle mass and reducing the percentage of body fat. As for the fear many women have of becoming bulky-relax! Women don’t have enough testosterone (the hormone needed for building muscles) like men to end up looking like bodybuilders!
Solution: Work out with less weights at least once or twice a week.

Myth 3: Don’t drink water during your workouts.
This is a myth that I’ve heard ONLY in India. It probably originated in gyms where the trainers had to show instant weight loss after a workout! Water should be an essential part of your workout routine. You lose a lot of water from the body in the form of sweat and water helps in hydrating your body. Watch any sport and you’ll see players(cricketers, tennis players, basketball players, gymnasts and such) grabbing a bottle of water whenever they can to avoid cramps due to dehydration!
Solution: Try to sip a 1 liter bottle of water  during your workout.

Myth 4: Crunches will help get rid of belly fat.
Spot reduction is a myth. You need to reduce the overall fat in the body to see some difference in the belly fat. Crunches can help in tightening/toning the abdominal muscles, but it cannot convert the belly fat into muscle.
Solution: A balanced diet and a regular exercise routine will help you over a period of time.

Myth 5: Don’t workout during your periods.
Sounds more like an excuse to get 3-4 days off from exercising! Unless you have severe cramping/pain, working out during your menses can actually help in reducing the discomfort.
Solution: Try doing lower intensity workouts like walking or yoga on those days.

Myth 6: I’m not overweight,so I don’t need to exercise!
Exercise has many health benefits out of which weight-loss is just one of them. Lack of physical exercise can increase the risk of obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes, cancer, strokes later on in life.
Solution: Exercise should be as important to you as brushing your teeth. Even low intensity workouts like walking 2-3 times a week will help you in the long run.

Myth 7: You need to workout in a gym to see the desired results.
Any kind of exercise/physical activity whether done in a gym, in a park,on the beach or in your house is enough to see results.
Solution: Aim at exercising at least 4-5 times a week for 30mins-1 hour.

Myth 8: I don’t have time to exercise!
I don’t have time either-I make time!! Just remember someone busier than you is exercising right now!!
Solution: Take inspiration from the President of the United States who is known to exercise regularly!