Chocolate love.

Chocolate love.

 

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Hello, all, and welcome to #FlavoursomeTuesday!

SInce the past two days I have craved chocolates…the darker ones…like crazy! May be my ‘chums’ round the corner were the reason behind this sudden increase in my chocolate-craving. But, chums or no chums, chocolates are a girl’s best friends, don’t you agree, girls? One bite and all your bad mood evaporates and you are left smiling, contentedly! What magic lies hidden in there!

Metanoia is a health and wellness blog, but I do like to have fun here, because, well, what’s life without some fun, right? So, although I don’t have a lot many pictures of these dark brown pieces of heaven, I thought of sharing a few good things about chocolates and how they help our health. Basically, I just wish to find more excuses to eat chocolates, that’s all!

Benefits of dark chocolate:

Dark chocolate contains minerals like iron, potassium, manganese, zinc and phosphorous.

It is loaded with antioxidants like polyphenols, flavanols, catechins, etc. Antioxidants protect the skin from the damaging effects of free radicals and reduce the signs of ageing.

The flavanols in dark chocolates improve the blood flow and help lower blood pressure.

Dark chocolate (may) increase blood flow to the brain and improve brain function.

Dark chocolate also helps reduce the bad cholesterol (LDL).

And, finally, it helps beat stress and improves your mood, instantly.

I Googled the above information because, well, Google ji is Mr. Know-all! But, the one thing I do know, is anything in moderation is good for our health, chocolates, included. And, the darker the variety, the better, because it has more of cocoa (70% and above) and less of sugar. And, sugar, as you all are well aware, is the number one enemy of our health.

 

 

 

 

Yes, developing a taste for the bitter chocolates can take time, so all you need to do, is eat more of it, little by little, and soon you will be in love with it! A little practice is all it takes.  And, if it doesn’t appeal to you, then, well, I am here…you can courier it to me. I am very helpful like that, you see!?

Of course, dark chocolates are number one on my list of favourites, but I also love white chocolates, too. The milkiness of these just makes me go weak in the knees. Gosh, I am salivating even as I type these words! And, to share a little secret, my passion for chocolates is such, my lip balm is chocolate flavour as is my body lotion!

How about you? Did you drool while reading it? If you did, we are friends, already! If you did not, you really need to go, have a bite of this heavenly, healthy food and then let me know how you felt.

Until then…

Love,

SHILPA…

 

I am taking my Alexa Rank to the next level with Blogchatter. 

 

 

FlavoursomeTuesdays

Welcome to #Flavoursometuesdays! My friend, Sunita Rajwade came up with this brilliant idea of sharing a food post on the first Tuesday of every month. So, we both host this fun bloghop where we invite bloggers to share food posts, recipes, foodie tales and memories revolving around food, pictures of food, or restaurant reviews, in fact, anything and everything about food.

All you need to do, is write a post, add this cool badge and share it with the hashtag #Flavoursometuesday. Sunita has a linky on her blog where you add your URLs and visit as many blogs as you can and share some love! Simple, isn’t it? 

So, do join in and let’s have some fun!

 

10 super foods that help lower cholesterol.

10 super foods that help lower cholesterol.

Cholesterol  entered my world some years ago while I was researching healthcare necessary after the age of 35. A blood test (Lipid profile) would tell us if our cholesterol levels were good, bad or ugly. Suffice to say, the picture was rather ugly (for hubby), and we had to quickly get into battle mode to fight this enemy.

So, what is this cholesterol and is it really as bad as we think it is?

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found in every cell of our body.

Our body makes the cholesterol that we need. And, it does have a role to play: Our body requires cholesterol to make hormones, Vitamin D and substances that help digest our food. 

Cholesterol comes from our liver and our diet. 

There are two types of cholesterols carried by different types of lipoproteins: LDL, or the Low Density Lipoproteins which is the BAD Cholesterol and HDL, or the High Density Lipoproteins, which is the GOOD Cholesterol.

High levels of LDL can clog the arteries and cause heart disease.

Source: Wikipedia

 

Unlike fat, cholesterol cannot be burned by your body through sweating while exercising etc. So, to avoid excess accumulation of cholesterol in the body, you  need to watch your diet. Your doctor will prescribe medicines to bring down the cholesterol levels, or the LDL levels. The drugs usually prescribed are STATINS. These lower the triglycerides (another type of blood fat) and also raise the HDL levels.

However, Statins do have side-effects like high blood sugar, muscle inflammation and intestinal problems. So, while it is advisable to take the prescribed drugs to bring down the levels of cholesterol, it is better to take a good look at your diet to do the same. That is a much preferred mode of bringing down the LDL levels. Along with exercise, of course!

Exercise on a REGULAR BASIS is a must  if you wish to see any positive results. We do begin working out with great enthusiasm, but seldom do we all stick to the routine and in a matter of days we fall off the track and go back to our old habits, don’t we?

We also need to take care of what we eat. We keep reading about the need to watch our diet and make exercise a part of our daily routine, so, what’s new, you might ask. Well, the fact that not all of us stick to our diets and our exercise which results in raised levels of LDL that cause more trauma to your arteries and consequently to your heart, much more than you think.

There are foods that help bring down the LDL levels. Foods that, if we make them a part of our daily diet, are sure to help us in the long run as well as get off the drugs. So, sharing with you all today, 10 of the super foods available locally and which help reduce the bad cholesterol.

First off, though, you need to consciously stay away from deep fried stuff like certain Indian snacks (samosa, batata wada, bhajiya) and include healthy foods which I will mention below. Trans fats found in vanaspati, are the number 1 culprit that cause the LDL to shoot up. So, keep that out of your kitchens, and switch to desi ghee, or clarified butter, which is heart-friendly.

FOODS THAT HELP LOWER CHOLESTEROL

Methi: I shared a post on Methi some time ago, where I wrote about the benefits of including sprouted methi , or fenugreek seeds. Fenugreek seeds help lower LDL as well as blood sugar levels if consumed on a daily basis. So, sprout some methi seeds, place them in an air tight container, in the refrigerator, and have a teaspoon of these sprouted methi seeds first thing in the morning.

Tomatoes: Rich in lycopene, tomatoes help detoxify the body and reduce the risk of heart disease by helping lower cholesterol levels. Add these to your salads, have these through soups and along with veggies, or juice them up and gulp them down!

Fatty fish: Now, this is good news for sea food lovers, isn’t it? Fish contain Omega 3 fatty acids which help bring down the level of triglycerides and simultaneously raise the HDL levels.

Garlic: Years ago, dad used to chew garlic cloves. I tried it, too, but the pungent flavour put me off it. It’s only after I grew up that I learned how beneficial garlic  is to the heart. The anti-oxidant properties of garlic help lower cholesterol levels, provided it is consumed raw, or semi-cooked. So, despite the bad breathe it gives, just chomp on a garlic clove. You can always use a mouthwash to drive away the smell!

Ragi:  Ragi, or finger millets, contain amino acids which help get rid of excess fat from the liver and bring down cholesterol levels. It also helps reducing blood sugar levels. Eating rotis (Indian Flat Bread) made out of ragi flour instead of wheat, will definitely help you in your fight against cholesterol. Ragi rotis are the most preferred rotis at my home and take lesser time to prepare!

Ladies finger: Ladies finger not only helps bring down cholesterol but also helps reduce your blood sugar levels thanks to its soluble fibre content. Slit a couple of ladies fingers and place them in a glass of water at night. Drink the water the next morning. Or, eat more ladies finger sabji! Either ways, it helps.

Nuts: Nuts, especially, walnuts and almonds help reduce the bad cholesterol (LDL) and raise the good cholesterol (HDL). Have a whole walnut daily and a few almonds, too, along with your breakfast.

Apples: Apples contain the same soluble fibre that you find in ladies fingers, which helps lower bad cholesterol. So, it isn’t for no reason that we have been taught that an apple a day keeps the doctor away!

Oranges: Including foods rich in soluble fibre helps reduce cholesterol. And, oranges are rich in soluble fibre, apart from vitamin C.

Cinnamon: Cinnamon is known to lower blood cholesterol levels significantly. Add a teaspoon  of cinnamon powder to your cup of tea while it boils. A teaspoonful of this powder is more than enough to do the trick, provided consumed on a daily basis. Grind the cinnamon and keep the powder next to your tea and sugar containers. That way you will be reminded to add it to your morning cuppa.

 

I have included those foodstuffs that are grown locally. Foods such as oats, or avocados, although available, aren’t locally cultivated. Eating foods grown locally makes a lot of difference to your health.  The reason being that these foods are picked as soon as they ripen and are packed and sold immediately, thereby keeping their nutrition intact.

So, that’s it from me today. Do share with me any other tips you may have for reducing cholesterol. I would love to know all about it!

Love,

SHILPA…

 

P.S.

I have been including almost all of the above in hubby’s diet since a long time now and his cholesterol levels have come down significantly. He stopped taking the drugs he was prescribed for cholesterol and depends more on the diet to control the LDL levels. Now, all he needs to do, is get back on that bicycle! I know he will. It’s just a matter of some time.

SHILPA..

 

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Foods that fight cholesterol

 

 

Mother’s recipe. #FlavoursomeTuesday.

Mother’s recipe. #FlavoursomeTuesday.

Mothers are special. What an understatement, no? But, really, everything they do has a magical quality to it that makes Life beautiful.  Whatever it may be–an outfit gifted by her, or a story narrated  during childhood; a perfume she uses and has gifted it to you, or even a recipe she secretly shared with you–each one of these, and everything else, has her love stamped all over it, the beauty of which stays with you, forever.

Sharing today, for FlavoursomeTuesday, a chutney recipe that has been mum’s speciality. It’s really a very easy one to prepare, doesn’t need a lot of prepping, but adds the necessary flavour to anything you have along with it. Yes, even the simple dal-chawal gets enhanced when you mix this chutney with it.

THE PUMPKIN PEEL, CRISPY CHUTNEY

Each time mum buys pumpkin to prepare the sabji , she prepares this chutney. She has always been against discarding the peel of vegetables.

Everything that nature has gifted us is useful. All you need to do is use your creativity, she says.

So, the next time you bring home the pumpkin, just grate the skin, or slice it off and keep it aside for the chutney.

 

FlavoursomeTuesdays

Ingredients:

Pumpkin peel – grated or sliced off and chopped fine

Dry coconut – grated – a small bowl

Garlic – 3 to 4 cloves, or more, if you love garlic.

Green chillies – 1 or 2, as per taste

White sesame seeds – 1 tsp.

Salt – to taste

Oil – 1 tbsp

 

Method:

After washing the pumpkin, grate to remove the peel, or slice if off and then chop it finely. Place the grated peel on a tissue and leave it to dry thoroughly.

Grate dried coconut, finely chop the garlic and the chillies.

In a pan, add a spoonful of oil and roast the sesame seeds till light brown. Then, add the chopped garlic and roast till brown. Add the finely chopped green chillies, grated pumpkin peel, and grated dried coconut. Roast all on low flame till it’s nice and brown.

Add salt to taste.

Take it off the gas. Once cool, store it in an air-tight jar. It stays well at room temperature for a few days. Actually, it won’t last for more than a day–the taste is that heavenly!

You can enjoy it with dal and rice, or anything that feels bland. The flavour of the garlic and the chillies grandly arouses the taste buds, so, most of the time it gets devoured straight from the jar!

So, wasn’t that an easy-peasy recipe? I like sharing as well as preparing such easy recipes that hardly require any time or effort. Well, I like things simple!

Do try out this chutney and let me know how you like it.

Love,

SHILPA..

 

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Pumpkin peel, crispy chutney

 

FlavoursomeTuesdays

Welcome to #FlavoursomeTuesday! Are you ready with your foodie posts? Or, is it your first time here? Relax, and, put on your thinking cap! Can you remember your first time in the kitchen? Or, perhaps, a recipe prepared by your mum or grandmum, or aunt, or even dad, that is your all-time favourite? Or, maybe, a memorable restaurant visit?  Or, anything else  revolving around food?

All you need to do is share it on your blog. Attach this cool badge to your post and share it on the social media platforms you frequent. That’s all! 

My friend, Sunita Rajwade, is the brains behind FlavoursomeTuesdays. We host this Linky every 1st Tuesday of the month. Do add your URL to the Linky below, visit others and share the love!

Bon Appetit!

 

 

5 ways fenugreek seeds help care for our health.

5 ways fenugreek seeds help care for our health.

I discovered the goodness of fenugreek seeds some time back while experimenting with hair masks. I had heard about how fenugreek, or methi, could help combat hair fall and add shine to dull, lustreless hair.

I ground some methi seeds and added the powder to the henna that I applied to my hair. That’s one benefit of using henna instead of chemical colours! Okay, I digress.

So, after a couple of hours, I washed my hair, oiled it after it had dried and left it at that. The next day, after the hair wash, I noticed my hair fell significantly less while combing. And, that’s when I realised it had been the magic of the fenugreek powder I had added to the henna.

Fenugreek seeds not only benefit our hair, but also our skin. However, it’s how these little ochre yellow gems help our body from within that matters to me the most.

Hubby was diagnosed with diabetes. His cholesterol levels had shot up, too. The LDL levels–the Bad cholesterol– that need to be kept under control had risen at an unhealthy level. Prescription drugs do the needful in bringing down the sugar and cholesterol levels, no doubt, but, how long does one depend on them?

So, I researched into the benefits of fenugreek that I had heard/read about and have made it a part of our daily diet. These seeds aren’t really great to taste. But, there are always alternatives one can work on to make something a priority for one’s health.

So, listing below, the benefits of fenugreek and also how one can include these seeds in one’s daily diet program.

Benefits of fenugreek;

Helps control diabetes:

Fenugreek seeds are high in soluble fibre which slows down digestion and absorption of carbohydrates resulting in the lowering of blood sugar.

Helps lower the bad cholesterol:

According to studies, the flavonoids in fenugreek prevent the absorption of cholesterol.Now, frankly, as long as fenugreek helps bring down the bad cholesterol level, I don’t want to bother how it manages to do so. For as I said, I graduated in Arts, so the scientific angle of these studies won’t make sense to me as much as how the foodstuff helps our bodies!

Helps reduce arthritic pain:

The anti-inflammatory properties of fenugreek help alleviate the pain that one suffers from due to arthritis. That’s another reason I have begun having these seeds, too. The aches and pains in the joints need to GO!

Helps in weight loss:

Being rich in soluble fibre, fenugreek helps in digestion and weight loss. It helps fight constipation, too.

Act as vitamin & mineral supplement:

Fenugreek leaves contain Vitamin A, C and folic acid and are rich in calcium, potassium and iron. The seeds are rich in Vitamin K. So, instead of popping a multi-vitamin, why not chomp on a spoonful of fenugreek seeds every morning, or make the leaves a regular part of your diet?

Ways to include fenugreek in your daily diet:

You may soak a teaspoon of fenugreek seeds in water overnight and eat it the next morning on an empty stomach. But, make sure you eat just a teaspoonful. And, do drink a glassful of water after you have chewed the seeds well. Or, you can also sprout them and have a spoonful of the sprouted seeds every morning. The sprouted seeds taste much better than the soaked ones, which are rather slimy and bitter to taste.

Adding the seeds to vegetables or daal while tempering adds to not just the taste of the recipe, but also ups its nutritive value. And, if the bitter seeds find no takers at your dinner table, then you can always grind the seeds into powder and add the powder to your recipes!

You could also dry roast fenugreek seeds along with flax seeds to munch on. The crispy seeds give an awesome taste and also help in ways more than giving you fresh breath!

Using the fenugreek leaves for preparing parathas, theplas or sabji, is a common practice. But, you may also sprout the seeds and add them to your salads, or veggie recipes.

Using fenugreek seeds for hair and skin

Grind the seeds and add a spoonful to henna just before applying it to your hair. As I mentioned earlier, it not only arrests hair fall, but also adds shine to your hair.

Heat coconut oil in a pan and add some fenugreek seeds to it. Heat it till the oil changes colour. Once cool,store it in a bottle and apply this oil on a regular basis.

Using the powder in your face packs also helps in giving a well-moisturised skin. Add some to a tablespoon of yoghurt and apply it to the face for about 30 minutes. The slightly coarse texture of the powder helps in exfoliating your skin to get rid of the dead cells leaving your skin feeling smooth and pampered.

So, that’s all the information about fenugreek seeds that I have gathered and put to good use. Like all things natural, it takes time for the kind of results you expect. So, it’s best to follow the new regimen regularly and have patience. Do enquire with your doctor before you begin using the seeds, especially if you are on meds for your diabetes.

Do try it out for yourself and let me know your experience. Also, do share any more information you might have about these wonder seeds!

Love,

SHILPA…

 

 

 

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Fenugreek seeds--the miracle seeds

What’s your ‘poison’ ? #FlavoursomeTuesdays

What’s your ‘poison’ ? #FlavoursomeTuesdays

Hello, people, and welcome to FlavoursomeTuesdays!

May just flew by, didn’t it? The heat, the humidity, the vacations, and oh, the mangoes, too — all of these making an exit, for the monsoon is here! But, that’s Life…days and months passing by, in the blink of an eye.

So, let’s get on with our foodie talks, shall we?

As I asked in the title above, what is your poison?

Okay, poison here means what is it that you like to drink…IN THE MORNING!? As in TEA or COFFEE? What did you think was I asking? What alcoholic drink is your preference? Oh, come on! This is a health and wellness blog, guys! 😛 And, I am a good girl. Well, sometimes!!! *wink wink*

Okay, so, about that poison I asked.

Mine is COFFEE…always has been, except on the rare occasion when I feel like having a minor change in my daily schedule and I reach for TEA.

Hubby gets the Davidoff coffee for me (lucky me!) which is simply out of this world! The moment I open the jar, the aroma hits me and transports me to a Wonderland, or should I say, Coffeeland!? Have you tried this brand? Do try…it’s awesome!

There is something about coffee–the aroma, the taste and the sound of the word ‘coffee’– that arouses in me a feeling of happiness not many things do. My day doesn’t begin with coffee, as such, but my breakfast does end with a mugful of chilled, sweetish coffee. I like two spoonfuls of sugar to one of coffee, and some cream, too, to make it nice and frothy! Calories be damned!

Every sip of this heavenly brew mesmerises me and I find myself feeling buoyant and energised as it enters my system. I so wish the mug was a tad bigger in size, with a larger holding capacity–like, maybe, a litre, at least!

However, there are some rare moments, like the chilly winters (a rarity in Mumbai) when I reach for a cup of warm tea to soothe my sore throat, or maybe, just for a change of taste. Of course, such occasions are really really rare, for I am so not a tea person. I am too much in love with my coffee!

I prefer the light Twinnings Earl Grey tea, which I prepare without milk or sugar. Just dip- dip a tea bag in a cup of hot water and my tea is ready! The commonly preferred ginger tea, or adrak wali chai with loads of milk, sugar and extra tea leaves isn’t, ahem, my cup of chai! My family, though, is full of tea people. And, I learned the art of preparing the perfect cuppa from mum, the taste of which I know not, to date. I never drink the tea I prepare for others. 😛

So, how about you? What do you prefer?

Chai, or coffee?

Oh, and I almost forgot to add…I love having a few banana chips after my coffee, because as much as I love the taste of coffee, the aftertaste feels, mmm…not very pleasant. So, this is my favorite combo, in case you invite me to your place some afternoon for coffee. Chilled coffee and banana chips. That’s all. I don’t need any biscuits, or cakes, or any other accompaniment for my coffee.

Just a heart to heart conversation with you along with the coffee, and you will have made my day!

Do share with me about your ‘poison’, will you? Would love to know, and also make notes, just in case you drop by at my place, someday. Would love to have you over!

Love,

SHILPA…

Affiliate disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links, which means I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you should you click on the image and use it to make a purchase. 

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Coffee or Tea?

FlavoursomeTuesdays is held on the first Tuesday of every month. Sunita Rajwade and I invite bloggers to share their foodie tales and just have some fun.

You may share:

Recipes

Restaurant reviews

Foodie memories

Posts on food and nutrition

Or, even foodie pictures

Simply add the badge to your post and share it with the hashtag #FlavoursomeTuesdays on your blog and other social media platforms. And, oh, do visit as many blogs in the Linky, as you can, and share the love.