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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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.

 

 

 

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…

BENEFITS AND USES OF FENUGREEK SEEDS

FlavoursomeTuesdays

#FlavoursomeTuesdays is all about FOOD. My friend, Sunita Rajwade of Bellybytes came up with this brilliant idea of sharing food posts on our blogs every first Tuesday of the month. Food is a topic everyone can bond over. We all could do with some flavoursome talks, isn’t it?

So, do share your foodie posts, memories about food, recipes, restaurant reviews, food pictures, posts on nutrition…anything that has FOOD as its focus. Oh, and do add the above badge on your post along with the hashtag #FlavoursomeTuesdays and share the word on social media!

Thank you!

Looking forward to some lip-smacking posts this week!

Bon Appetit!

 

Image

F – Food. #AtoZ

 

Food, as a category, was never on my mind when I created Metanoia.  It just happened one day, when at a restaurant I went crazy clicking pictures of the lavish spread before me and then wondered how to share them! That’s when I decided to create a separate category just for FOOD.

A place for restaurant reviews, recipes, posts on healthy eating and nutrition on my blog sounded quite exciting.  So, I first created an Instagram account dedicated to food – Foodiezms –  and then the ‘Food’ tag on my blog.

Then, last year,  I met a blogger friend and a brilliant cook, Sunita Rajwade of BellyBytes, who came up with the idea of  #FlavoursomeTuesdays.

If you have visited Metanoia earlier, you will know that on the first Tuesday of the month, we -Sunita and I – host the #FlavoursomeTuesdays, where we invite bloggers to share foodie tales, memories revolving around food, recipes, restaurant reviews…everything related to food.

We received a good response at our first  Linky Party and were encouraged to make it a permanent feature on our blogs.  Today, I take this opportunity to invite you all to join us with your foodie posts. It’s just a fun event to bond over food!

This is the badge you attach to your posts:

FlavoursomeTuesdays

Cool, isn’t it?

My interest in food and nutrition developed way back in college when as part of my B.A. curriculum,  I chose it as one of the subjects.

So, when the idea of having a category for food came to mind, I decided to make it really special. There would be not just entertaining posts on food, but also informative ones that would help my readers in making changes in their diet that would help them improve their health.

And, Metanoia being a Wellness-cum-Inspirational blog, inspiring others to look after their diet and giving information on food and nutrition seemed like a great idea.

If, as a newbie blogger, you wonder about a niche for your blog, and if you are a foodie, or a cook, then a food blog will be the best thing to do. I know, most of you are well aware of such possibilities, but for those who are clueless (like I was), do give it a thought.

You could share your personal recipes, restaurant reviews, cooking tips and tricks….oh, the list is endless about what you could do with your food blog!

Sharing some of the food blogs I visit for the recipes and also to gaze and drool at the food on display:

Rachnacooks  by Rachna Parmar

somethingscooking by Shalini Nair

happinessquotient by Bhawna and Jyoti

 

Do visit these blogs if you need the inspiration to begin your own food blog. It will be your favourite place after the kitchen!

 

Love,

SHILPA…

#FlavoursomeTuesdays

 

 

April 2018 A to Z blogging Challenge

 

My theme for the A to Z Blogging Challenge is all about my blog, Metanoia, and my blogging journey from the time  I started, 5 years ago. The lessons I learnt, the tips and tricks I picked up from fellow bloggers and the guidelines I could have used back when I began. 

You will find all of my A to Z posts here.