Thursday, March 31, 2011

Food Coloring causing health issues

Food coloring - Finally this is getting some attention. Better late than never though. I read food coloring is one of the reasons for AD. I think coloring of food should be completely banned. Maybe it will be an answer for many other health issues.

Hmm. I wonder how it would be if regulations are not just for food but people too. By people I mean hair coloring. I have wondered what the world would be like if nobody colored their hair. No artificial anything on their face like the way it was when I was growing up. I think most of my friends would be completely grey and probably look a lot older.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Kadai Paneer - Lightly spiced, exotic cheese preparation

Taste the recipe of the week - Kadai Paneer. Also test other recipes here.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Spring Soups

Around the beginning of January I got into the 'soup fever'. So, every week there was a different soup that my family absolutely enjoyed. Now that it's spring, at least officially, I am onto spring soups. I call them spring soups due to the types of vegetables I use to create them and their consistency. My spring soups are a bit lighter than winter soups.

Here is one made from fresh asparagus, celery, and sweet Roma tomatoes.

Lightly steam cook the vegetables. Puree in a blender to a thin consistency. You may use the same water from steaming. Add a cup of vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and cook for about 45 minutes in a pot. Add fresh minced ginger, some lemon zest, bay leaves and chopped coriander right before serving. Used fresh crushed black pepper and salt at the table.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Biggest regret. What is yours when it comes to food?

My biggest regret is not having travelled to Egypt. Especially to taste the 'fruits of the Nile'; I mean literally. I have heard from a close friend who has lived there several years that the vegetables and fruits in Egypt are the best. I've heard the size of a tomato is about as large as a huge melon. Hopefully, there'll come a time when things will get to normalcy and I can visit the country and taste it's splendid fruits and vegetables.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Mint, for the breath of freshness

I can't believe the universality of mint. I once had it grow wild in my backyard and used it on almost any Indian dish I prepared. Mint is the best garnish on pulav. My husband swears by the Indian preparation of mint chicken that this one restaurant serves. But, it is such a potent addition that we have to be very careful with it. Mint chutney of course is all mint but a great side dip if you are having samosa, Bhajias, cutlets, or anything similar. Mint raita is fabulous. However, if you try mint in a regular vegetable/gravy preparation, it can kill the dish.

Talking about universality, it is of course a great breath freshner used in gums, mouth wash, tooth paste, and oils. It is also used in insecticides on the one hand and aromatherapy on the other. I have known of people using it for insect bites, rashes, colds and sores.

I will try to incorporate mint into my next recipe of the week. Look out for a mint based Indian preparation. You're going to love it.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Domino's new baked sandwiches

Sorry, I do not like them. I tried their veggi sandwich a month ago. Was not too crazy about it. I forgot to bring my lunch in to work. It's probably sitting on my kitchen counter. Was so ravenous that I needed to get something quick. So once again tried the Domino sandwich and it scored even worse than the first time. Would not recommend it!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Quinoa, the super food

Quinoa is one of the best finds in the area of food. It's not only packed with nutrition but an attested food for diabetics and blood pressure patients. I know of households that have substituted Quinoa for everything from breads to soups to making it the main staple of their diets.

Some of my older relatives swear by it since use of Quinoa in their diets regularly has improved their overall health by a huge measure. So, now I have also started to substitute quinoa where ever my recipes call for wheat or rice or oats. I really like it. My family has taken to it except for one who is hard to please, especially when it comes to food. Still working on it.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Broccoli Rabe with Mushroom

Enjoy this week's recipe - Broccoli Rabe. You can have plenty of this on the east coast, but not in the mid-west. I am yet to find a market that carries broccoli rabe around where I live in the mid-west. Haven't tried the Italian market though!

Friday, March 18, 2011

An apple a day...

Have you heard of this? I am sure you have. 'An apple a day keeps the doctor away'. It's a new fad of mine. I bring an apple to work everyday. Well that's the first step is it not? Actually buying it and taking it to work? Now ask me what I do with the apple? I ate it the first day. The second day, I told myself well, 'I will have it for lunch', forgot about it, and decided maybe for a snack. It got too busy and forgot about it again. The next day brought another apple to work. Same story. The next and the next ditto. Now I have 4 applies sitting in my drawer. It's the weekend. I am wondering if I should take them all home and start all over again,or just leave them inside the drawer for next week.

Decided. Will leave it at work. I'll come back to discover their state on Monday.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sshhh, there's a new diet program nobody's is heard about until now

The Dukan diet - Quite similar to Atkins but introducing different types of foods in stages.

Read this - Dr. Dukan from whom this diet program originated is as follows-

His low-fat approach is organized into four phases: "attack, cruise, consolidation and stabilization. The first encourages dieters to eat as much as they want of nonfatty, protein rich foods, including oat bran (a key component) washed down with oceans of water. The second stage introduces vegetables, but no fruit; the third brings with it two slices of bread, a serving of cheese and fruit and two servings of carbohydrates a day, with two weekly “celebration” meals with wine and dessert (the diet is French, after all); and the final stage six days a week of “anything goes” and one day of reversion to strict protein-only stage one — for the rest of your life".

The only must-do daily physical exercises are a 20-minute walk and total elevator avoidance, fine in a city like Paris where five-story buildings are common.

Not sure for how long each stage is but doesn't seem like a difficult one to follow. Hmm maybe easier said than done!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Obesity in Mexico

Obesity kind of goes hand in hand with the country's poverty state I guess. I was in Mexico just a year ago and one thing that did strike me as odd was that the children there were all more or less obese. I feel sad for Mexico since it does have a lot of potential. However, lack of education is a big drawback in its path to advancement. Education means in turn understanding of health and nutrition which that country is lacking big time.

But there is hope. Looks like the government there is working with the interests of its youth, particularly children. They are banning or working on regulating school cafeteria food. No fried foods, only baked chips and, no sodas. An aggressive change, but a great beginning. I am sure it will make a big difference.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Is it really a sin to be poor?

I have read about it and can't remember that particular book from which this statement came about, 'It's a sin to be poor'. Many a times I have blogged about obesity and the lack of nutrition awareness in people that leads to that obesity. The poor can't help it though. When they have no medical insurance, no access to farmers' markets where fruits and vegetables are grown naturally, when choices are extremely limited, constrained or nil.

Forget obesity, but what about for eg. diabetics in low-income neighborhoods. If survival and every meal is in question, nobody is going to worry about insulin or whole grain foods. It is heart-wrenching to hear stories of people who go to emergency rooms at the very last minute because they have not been able to afford precautions or treatments in the first place.

They all point to money or the lack of it. The poor are not sinners but being poor can be as difficult and bad as sin.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Dieting with the help of hormones, that's scary

I believe any kind of hormone treatment that is unnatural is risky.

I just read about a new hormone injection that curbs appetite and also helps women lose a pound a day. Also, lose the extra weight in all the right places. This is even available through prescriptions. The hormone generally given to women for infertility is now legally available for doctors to prescribe to women for weight-loss. Doesn't all this sound twisted in some way? That's because it is in many ways. For one, the F.D.A. recently received a report of a patient on this hormone who had a pulmonary embolism. The hormone carried risks of blood clots, depression, headaches and breast tenderness or enlargement. Isn't that enough?

Despite these reports why do women torture themselves and risk their lives. That's because they can lose the weight in all those unwanted place, not feel hungry, not obsess about food, have their body or think they can be in control, and, look fabulous. Who could want for anything more?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Food labels

I think most people read labels. It has even become one of my favorite aspect of shopping. I look at the list of ingredients. Drop whatever I am holding if I see corn syrup, high sodium content (which usually is only in canned foods which I don't buy unless they are some thing like black-eyed peas, or garbanzo). And if I do buy them, I rinse them out completely and then use them. But after the sodium, I look at carbohydrates, sugar, then additives, saturated and unsaturated fat. Then move on to protein content. By now if the label hasn't passed of course it is back on the shelf. The product gets into my cart if they are fresh fruits or vegetables for sure, or if they are un-modified breads, natural juices and things like that.

When I buy desserts, I just look at the fat and corn syrup part of it. If those are okay then I get them. Nowadays we have to worry about GMO, the genetically modified foods. I think the government should pass a regulation to list them out as well. I will then try to avoid it too.

My family is usually very eager to check out my grocery purchases and most of the time get turned off when their favorite junk foods are not there. They usually are never there. Any complaints about no junk food usually results in NO JUNK food. If somebody wants them then they should go to the store to buy them. After it comes to the house they usually disappear within a day. They can then find it in the trash and by the third day they are usually forgotten because they think somebody has finished it off.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

What is the verdict? Good or Bad?

It's nothing serious if you are wondering what this is about. Hmm. Actually it could be. As long as you watch it, it'll be okay. It's all about coconut oil. Is it good or bad to use them in your regular diet? Can regular use of coconut oil actually lead to heart disease or clogging of your arteries?

If your ethnicity is Indian, i.e. if you are from India,you'd know that certain areas do their entire cooking using coconut oil. I use it extremely sparingly in mine. Only certain dishes call for coconut oil anyway. Some years ago I read it is high in saturated fat and bad all around. Then, I read that fresh coconut if used in chutneys is okay as long as it is not cooked over heat. Well, so I started making chutneys off and on. Next piece of tidbit on that was it is high in HDL and not so high in LDL. That's good news. So, I started using a little more of it and never worried about coconut chutneys in restaurants.

The latest is use it sparingly since it increases both good and bad cholesterol. If it increases bad cholesterol then it definitely is not good. So I am going to now back off and stay there!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Exercise can make you look young!

There may be some truth to it.

Check out this article. Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

We are out worst critic

I have heard it several times and it's true. I am my worst critic be it work or cooking or looks or something else,... I tend to berate myself quite a bit. Latest on self image studies say it is a healthy thing to be kind of one self. People who are easy on themselves are happier and more content.

I don't know if setting high expectations for oneself would equate to self-esteem or lack of and in turn relate to contentment. However, studies say that self-compassion actually promotes everything that is positive in life. It is interesting to see how this translated to food.

One group, was given a lesson in self-compassion with the food. “I hope you won’t be hard on yourself,” the diet instructor said. “Everyone in the study eats this stuff, so I don’t think there’s any reason to feel real bad about it.” Well some out of guilt stayed away while others ate it because they were told not to feel bad. It turns out that people who did not eat actually engaged in 'emotional' eating later on, while others who actually ate some of the unhealthy food earlier on did not do any binge or emotional eating.

Actually I don't know where this study is going. What I gathered was it is better to be kind to yourself and this translates to a more positive happier individual.