Two herbs that aid your digestive system.

Two herbs that aid your digestive system.

 


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Cumin seeds, or Jeera, and Carom seeds, or Ajwain, are common herbs used in many a recipes. I love the flavour cumin seeds bring to every dish I use them in. And, carom seeds too have their distinct flavour as well as taste.

Combine these two herbs in boiling water and what do you get?

Best drink in aid of digestion

A glassful of a health drink that solves your digestion problems, gets rid of flatulence, fights acidity, helps in weight reduction and provides iron.

It’s a drink I begin my day with ever since my bestie suggested it to me. A glassful of this–actually, two glasses of this drink– first thing in the morning helps relieve any kind of digestive problem, increases my appetite and thus helps me increase my food intake, that I so need.

Surprisingly, this drink also helps reduce weight by dissolving body fat. So, if you are trying to shed those kilos, do try it out. In fact, dissolving fat is one of its few main benefits.

Lightly crush a teaspoon each of these seeds in your palm and add these to the water that you have kept for boiling.  You may add ginger and honey, too. Once the water comes to a boil, switch off the gas and allow to cool. Strain and drink. Don’t gulp it down, though. Sip it slowly and feel it sliding down your throat, entering your system and working its magic!

You could prepare the brew with either of the herbs, or both together. But, a word of caution here: if you experience any discomfort, discontinue it immediately. Drinking plain, warm water with ginger, lemon and honey works well, too!

Did you know that the digestive process has a profound impact on our emotional and mental state? An increase in our stress levels and our anxiety affects our digestive system to quite an extent, and this in turn worsens our stress levels furthermore.

Keeping our digestive system in a good working condition is therefore a necessity if you wish to have a peaceful day.

To check if your digestive system is working well, take a look at your tongue. A light, thin coating reveals a good digestion and a thickly coated tongue reveals poor digestion.

Oh, also a bad digestive system often results in an irritable mood!

And, therefore, you begin your day with a glassful of warm cumin+carom seed water, with some ginger and a spoonful of honey. This is bound to keep your digestive tract happy as well as your state of mind!

Try it!

Love,

SHILPA…

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Peanut Butter Lovers’ Month. #flavoursometuesday

Peanut Butter Lovers’ Month. #flavoursometuesday


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Did you know that November is the Peanut Butter Lovers’ Month? I had no idea about it until I stumbled upon this really amusing concept that was started back in 1995.

I have always loved Peanut Butter. Actually, I love butter; just the word ‘Butter’ has me drooling, and that’s why I thought of doing this post on Peanut Butter. And, what better idea than this for our #flavoursometuesday, right?

So, peanut is actually a legume–and not a nut–which is packed with nutrients. There’s protein, fibre, vitamin B6 and vitamin E; minerals such as magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper, iron and manganese, all packed in the tiny peanut. I read that peanuts also contain reservetrol–the anti-ageing molecule found in grapes, as well as healthy fats that cut cholesterol.

A handful of peanuts a day are enough to avail of the nutrients found in them.

Roasted peanuts are my favourite. And, to add to their nutritional value, I eat a handful of roasted peanuts with some jaggery as a dessert post lunch or dinner. If you haven’t had it ever, do try it out. The combination of peanuts and jaggery is awesome in taste, too!

At times, I fry some peanuts and sprinkle those on the poha that we have for breakfast. This, too, improves not only the taste of the dish, but also its nutritional value.

And, finally, I love peanuts in the butter form the most! Be it the crunchy variety or the creamy, Peanut Butter makes for an excellent snack when spread on a chapati or bread when I suffer from hunger pangs in the middle of the day, or night, or evening, or whenever.

The chapati-Peanut Butter roll/Peanut Butter sandwich is not only filling, but also nutritious. It is reassuring knowing that this snack that I have is not just some junk that I stuff to satisfy my hungry belly, but food that my body benefits from.

Just dipping my finger to scoop out some Peanut Butter from the jar is one of the most satisfying experiences for me!

How about you? Do you like Peanut Butter? Are you a diehard fan? If you are, then wish you, too, a very happy Peanut Butter Lovers’ Month!

Love,

SHILPA…

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FlavoursomeTuesdays

Welcome to #flavoursometuesday!

On the first Tuesday of every month, Sunita Rajwade, of Mumbai on a High and I, host the flavoursometuesday, where we invite bloggers to share posts on food.

Your food posts could be anything:

Memories about food, recipes, restaurant reviews, food pictures that you would like to share and make your readers drool, in fact, any and everything about FOOD!

All you need to do is, write a Food Post on your blog, attach this cool badge and share it on social media. Add your links to the Linky below, visit other blogs and spread some love!

Bon Appetit!

From thin to slim. #Bonhappetee.

From thin to slim. #Bonhappetee.

Get Fit Stay Fit

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What is, or has been, the number one wish on your health list? Let me guess, does it have to do with losing weight? I know, that must be it, because 9 out of 10 people consider themselves overweight, or “fat” (which is so wrong, let me tell you) and follow everything they can in order to lose a few pounds.

The world is not kind to people, either. The body shaming taunts must have wounded your spirits, and your self-esteem must have suffered badly, isn’t it?

I, too, have faced the barbs and the hurtful questions for the longest time. But, I belonged to the other “category” — I have been thin all my life. Thin as in never being considered slim and trim, but thin. And, people are not kind to people like me, too. I have heard it all–from “don’t you eat?” to “does your hubby thrash you if you eat more?”.

People fail to realise that there is a thing called metabolism – the process that occurs within our body that maintains life; a process that causes food to be used as energy, and decides how fast or slow our calories and fat gets burned.

I have a high metabolism, that means, the food that I eat gets converted into energy at a faster rate and hence doesn’t get converted into fat. So, however much I eat, multiple times in a day, it hardly shows!

Earlier, though, the thinness caused me to appear gaunt and stick-thin. Hubby encouraged me to eat all that I wished to and include all sorts of health tonics and stuff, but to no avail. I remained thin as ever.

Yoga: the best exercise regimen

It was only around three years ago, that I felt I needed to include a proper exercise regimen that would not further burn my calories, but help tone my body and help build some muscles. And, the best way to attain that, I felt, was through Yoga.

Yoga helped me understand my body. The areas that were flexible and also those that weren’t, and the aches and pains when I bent forward or backwards. Regular practice helped increase the flexibility in a body that had not had any kind of exercise for a long time.

We women are under the wrong impression that our household chores make for perfect workout sessions. It is really not so! We do burn calories sweeping floors and running around after the kids all day long, but, the flexibility that every other part of our body lacks can be achieved only by a proper workout.

The various asanas and the Suryanamaskars helped me achieve the kind of flexibility and suppleness I needed. I could feel my body getting toned, my skin getting healthier and me getting trimmer and curvier from being stick thin.

A balanced diet:

We learn right from our school days how important it is to follow a balanced diet in order to stay healthy and happy, but rarely do we actually follow it on a daily basis. Thanks to our busy schedules we treat our health as an afterthought.

I used to begin the day with a king-sized breakfast followed by a good lunch, too, but it was in the late afternoons that my energy levels dipped and I would feel tired soon. I realised the time gap between lunch and dinner was too big and I needed to add some snacks to fuel me through the evenings.

Most of us make do with a cup of tea/coffee and a couple of biscuits. Rarely do we stop to think where we will get the nutrients from that we require to function until dinner time. I mean, seriously, how are you going to benefit from a cup of tea and a few biscuits made from refined flour?

I added sprouts and vegetable juice for this particular hour in my diet plan. Sprouted moong and matki made into a bhel with tomato-onion-chillies and some farsan was the perfect savoury snack that kept me full and supplied the necessary nutrients to last me till dinner time.

Vegetable juice made from beetroot-tomatoes-carrots with some ginger made for the perfect drink to wash down the bhel. Either that, or buttermilk or lassi, that would aid in digestion and also keep my system cool.

Fitness matters:

Whether you are on the heavier side or the lighter side, what really really matters is how you are from within. I feel proud to say that almost all of my blood tests come out perfectly normal, except for Calcium and Vitamin D3, for which I take supplements. I feel energetic and happy knowing that sticking to a particular diet plan that I chalked out for myself as well as an exercise regimen has helped me stay in shipshape.

My body may not appear strong, but it is strong enough from within to fight infections quicker thanks to an efficient and a reliable immune system. I seldom fall sick (Touchwood!) and on the rare occasions when I do, I bounce back pretty soon.

Thanks to my Yoga practice, I don’t experience a lot of aches and pains. And, the bad lower back that does complain once in a while, gets taken care of through some gentle exercising.

Taking care of your diet despite a busy schedule and following a particular exercise plan goes a long way in giving you a healthy body. Accepting yourself as you are and being proud of how well you care for yourself is what matters.

Fitness matters more than size!

Love,

SHILPA…

Thanking Anshu Bhojnagarwala for this opportunity to share my fitness journey for Bonhappetee.

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I am participating in the ‘Get Fit, Stay Fit’ blog party with Bon Happetee!

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Pack in those proteins.

Pack in those proteins.


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I remember the tag line of the advert by NECC (National Egg Co-ordination Committee) that said,

Sunday ho ya Monday, roz khao unday!”

Since a long time now, NECC has encouraged us to eat an egg everyday, be it any day of the week. And, they have a good reason to do so.

I had never been an egg-lover and would just eat a boiled egg on some days, or an omelette.

However, with age and wear and tear, I experienced not just exhaustion, but also severe mood swings during PMS. Also, thanks to some really stressful period that I went through, I lost a lot of weight. Lack of sleep, no Yoga, erratic eating schedule had all taken its toll on my body and mind. Everyone could make out the change in me that was really not very appealing.

Instead of going to a nutritionist for some special diet plan that I knew I would never adhere to, I decided to make some changes in my diet and see how that helped.

Begin the day with a proper breakfast:

To begin with, I changed my breakfast. It used to be just a chilled coffee and a banana or some other fruit, and sometimes poha, upma, or omelette and toasted bread.

The new breakfast included a mug of milk with Horlicks, a boiled egg and a banana. And, I divided the breakfast in two parts. The egg-milk-banana is part one and whatever else I prepare for hubby–poha, upma, dosa,idli, sambhar– the second part that I have a couple hours later.

On days I don’t prepare poha/upma, I have a bowlful of yoghurt with a couple of dates, some almonds and walnuts.

Why eggs:

Eggs are a storehouse of nutrients. They consist of more than 10 vital nutrients in the form of vitamins, minerals and a large portion of high-quality proteins that our body needs on an everyday basis.

One boiled egg contains:

Calories: 80

Proteins: 6.3 gm

50% of our daily requirement of B-12

Vitamins A, D, E, folate, iron, zinc and choline.

The proteins present in egg provide you with the energy your body requires at the beginning of the day. A hearty, healthy breakfast ensures ample energy until lunch time to fight the lethargy that arises out of lack of nutrition, as well as an alert and an active mind.

Proteins contain amino acids that are called “the building blocks of proteins”. Proteins help our body to repair, build and strengthen and hence need to be given the importance they so deserve. One of the essential nutrients our body requires, proteins are created in our body with the help of amino acids present in certain foodstuffs. So, it is very necessary that we include as many foods as we can that consist of these magicians called, amino acids.

Proteins not only provide us with energy, but also…

help us fight infections

maintain healthy muscles

repair body tissues and cells, and,

keep nails and hair strong

I began this breakfast in the first week of July (I saved the date in my phone diary) and have been following it religiously for the past three months now.

The difference I noticed in myself:

My mood swings reduced considerably.

I hardly experience any weakness now.

I don’t feel very depressed and low, as I used to feel before I began this new diet.

My body is able to fight infections better (my cold and cough vanished in four days).

My skin feels better than earlier.

These were the main areas I wanted to work on. I haven’t been able to put on much weight, as yet. Proteins will not help me put on weight. But, an increase in energy levels, better concentration and a peaceful mind will suffice.

The irritation and anger that I used to experience prior to my periods has reduced drastically. And, all the credit goes to the egg. Or rather, the new and improved diet plan.

Eating a boiled egg has become a habit. Coffee no more figures in my daily diet. The focus is now on including foodstuffs that supply all the essential nutrients and improve my health. Some weight-gain will be a welcome by-product that will make me appear less like a stick and more like the “khatey-peetey ghar ki” (well-fed). But, until that happens, I am happy feeling good from within than just looking good!

All it needs is to boil an egg first thing in the morning and the most important part of my breakfast is ready!

Do you include eggs in your daily diet? If you don’t, I urge you to begin now. We need those proteins a lot more than we care to know.

Love,

SHILPA…

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Eggs are packed with more than 10 nutrients
Do you eat eggs?
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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Fight cholesterol with locally grown foodstuffs.