Are you lactose intolerant?

Are you lactose intolerant?


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Do you remember, as kids, being coaxed to drink up that tall glass of warm milk every morning and evening? I know, some of you couldn’t even tolerate it and so emptied the glass in the flower pot or the sink, right?  The smell and the taste can be off-putting, so I can understand.

But, there’s a reason why our parents wanted us to drink that glass of milk, you know?

Milk is a COMPLETE FOOD as it consists of every such nutrient that we humans need.

 

We have heard it since the time we were kids about how drinking milk will give us strong teeth and healthy bones as it is rich in Calcium.

But, apart from that, it also helps keep the heart healthy and the blood pressure under control.

Milk fortified with Vitamin D helps us sleep well and helps produce serotonin–our  ‘good mood’ hormone–which could keep depression away. Now, this is an information my doctor provided.  He said that a lack of Vitamin D results in all of the PMS related feelings like mood-swings, irritability, depression, fatigue, etc, that, if not taken care of, can only worsen with time.

And, yet, so many of us find it unbearable to even bring a glass of milk close to our nose! Well, if the smell puts you off, you could always add a spoonful of some nutritional powder, like Horlicks, Boost, Complan, or even almond/cardamom powder–there’s a wide choice of nutritional drinks available in the market. Choose the one that you like.

If hot/warm milk gives you nausea or gas, try chilled milk. I love chilled milk. I add a spoonful of Horlicks to it and have it for my breakfast.  My last post was on coughs and cures, where I failed to mention that my cough usually gets cured by a glass of chilled milk, instead of the usually prescribed warm haldi wala doodh (milk with turmeric)!

Lactose intolerance and food options:

When the body cannot digest the lactose present in the milk, it makes you lactose intolerant. One could suffer from nausea, vomiting, gas or diarrhoea and, hence, stay away from milk, altogether.

However, if not milk, then you can surely have other milk products such as curd or yoghurt, buttermilk, cheese, cottage cheese or paneer, ghee, butter and milk which is lactose-free.

Other alternatives are soy milk, coconut milk, almond milk.

Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach contain calcium as does Amaranth. Chia seeds, beans, lentils and tofu are other foods that also contain calcium in good quantities.

Milk products for the lactose intolerant:

Curd contains high amount of proteins making it a highly nutritional food. Add some fruits of your choice, some dates and other dry fruits and honey and you have a delicious and healthy bowl for a midmorning or evening snack, ready in no time!

You could also make a smoothie with curds and some fruits. Keep sugar out of these recipes, though. And, artificial sweeteners, too. Using honey, dates or raisins is a better alternative.

Curds go well with parathas, rice (curd-rice, any day!) or oats, too.

Buttermilk, when had after a heavy lunch, makes for the best digestive. Just add some cumin powder, rock salt (kala namak), some finely chopped green chillies and coriander and you get the best cooling, digestive drink, ever. You know that, don’t you?

Cottage cheese, or paneer, is another milk product loaded with calcium and proteins. And, it aids in weight loss, too. Homemade paneer tastes the best–soft and creamy–as opposed to the readymade one, which is often rubbery and lacks any taste. Just add a spoon of lemon juice to some warm milk and when the milk curdles and the curds separates, pour it through a cloth in a strainer. Gather the cloth, squeeze it lightly to drain the excess water and tie it up. That’s it. Perfect, soft, tasty paneer ready to be used in your recipes, or eat it as is.

Cheese provides calcium and proteins, vitamins A and B12, riboflavin, phosphorus and zinc. The best benefit of cheese, I read, is for the teeth as it prevents tooth decay. For those trying to gain some weight, you could add cheese to your diet. It helps improve the bone density and also strengthens the muscles.Opt for cheese with low salt content as otherwise it could affect your blood pressure.

And, finally, gheeor clarified butter, is another milk product that you can consume on a daily basis. It will help in maintaining your gut health, keep your joints healthy, your heart beating beautifully, your skin soft, and your weight under control. My post on Ghee has the method of preparing it at home. it’s really easy to make, or you could buy white butter from the market and use that to prepare the ghee.

So, if you have deleted milk from your daily diet due to lactose intolerance, do include it now through the various milk products.  You will be doing a world of good for your health–mental as well as physical health. Trust me!

Take care,

Love,

SHILPA…

 

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Herbs & Ayurveda to cure cough.

Herbs & Ayurveda to cure cough.

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Hello, people! How have you been? I was MIA on my blog for the past week or so. My winged babies chewed off the wire of my WiFi router…Yeah, that’s their favourite pastime–chewing wires–and, now that I have learned my lesson, I am going to get all the wires covered. Anyway, so, after we got a new wire and my wifi started working smoothly, I fell ill. Severe menstrual cramps, a UTI and fever…uff! I have never in my life suffered any such cramps, so I really felt like I was dying!

Thanks, though, for my gynaec friend who prescribed some meds and today I feel fresh as a lily! It helps to have doctor friends, isn’t it? Just one phone call and your issue gets sorted. So grateful for some really wonderful friends!

Anyway, today, I am sharing with you all some remedies for cough that I have tried and tested during the few times I have suffered from a terrible throat infection. And, no, this is not a sponsored post because of the syrup and Ayurvedic medicines I will be talking about (which, I am sure, many of you must have heard of, already).

First of, I would like to share the herbal drink I made for myself a couple years ago, when I had had a really bad cough. And, miraculously, my cough was cured in just a few days! So, do try it out, if you haven’t already. It works like a charm and is extremely soothing.

REMEDIES FOR COUGH:

HERBAL DRINK:

As you must be aware, our kitchen cabinets hold in them spices that not only add flavour to our food, but also have medicinal properties that help in curing some ailments. So, using a few of those spices we are going to prepare the herbal drink for our sore throat.

INGREDIENTS:

A glassful of water

Half a teaspoon of fennel seeds

2 – 3 pepper corns

2 cloves

A tiny piece of cinnamon

Half an inch of grated ginger

A few Tulsi leaves

1 spoonful of honey

Keep the water to boil. Then, add the spices and ginger and let boil for a few minutes. Switch off the gas once the water changes its colour and you get the aroma of all the spices. Strain in a glass, add a spoonful of honey, stir well and consume it when hot. Take your time, though, lest your tongue gets scalded!

Having this drink twice a day –first thing in the morning and last thing at night–will definitely cure that cough in a matter of a few days. You won’t need to visit a doctor who will prescribe some cough syrup and medicines that will only make you drowsy and cost you a lot of money.

Gargling with warm salt water, or turmeric water, helps, too. It does provide relief from the itchiness in the throat.

 

TURMERIC+SUGAR:

Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties and is an antioxidant used for its medicinal purposes.

Gargling with hot water mixed with half a spoonful of turmeric gives great relief to the sore throat.

Another way to use it to cure cough is to consume quarter spoonful turmeric and half a spoon of sugar before bed time. Chew thoroughly and then have half a sip of water. This will ensure an uninterrupted sleep. It’s something my MIL always believed in and now, so do I.

AYURVEDIC MIXTURE:

India is the birthplace of Ayurveda, as you must know. It has been used since ages to cure ailments without any side-effects, provided prescribed by a knowledgable practitioner. However, the mixture I am telling you about is something that has been passed down to me by my mother. It’s something she always prepared for us when we developed a sore throat during childhood. And, this, too, works…trust me.

AYURVEDIC MEDICINES:

1/2 a spoonful of Yashtimadhu (Licorice) powder

1/2 a spoonful of Sitopaladi Churna

1 spoon Honey

1 spoon Ghee

The Ayurvedic medicines are easily available at your local chemist.

Mix well all the ingredients in a bowl and have quarter of a spoonful (of half a tiny spoonful) every half hour or so. Also, drink the herbal drink twice a day and you will feel better soon.

ADULSA:

Ayurvedic Cough Syrup

Adulsa is a medicinal plant found in Asia and is used in Ayurvedic medicine, specially for cough and cold. You will find it at your local chemist. All you need to do is, add 2 spoonfuls of this syrup to a glass of warm water, add some honey and drink this twice of thrice a day. It not only tastes good, but will give you quick relief from cough and cold, and will not make you drowsy.

BENEFITS OF HOME REMEDIES OVER OTC COUGH SYRUPS:

The ingredients used in the herbal drink are all used in our everyday cooking. These are spices that are also medicinal in nature and have zero side-effects.

Ghee contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that help cure not only dry cough but various other ailments. Did you know that adding a spoonful of ghee to warm milk and drinking this before going to bed can relieve you of constipation?

Honey, too, is antibacterial and helps in curing a throat infection.

Ginger has antibacterial properties that help fight infection and treat a sore throat effectively.

Tulsi leaves help fight infections and allergies.

Yashtimadhu, or Licorice, also has anti-inflammatory properties that help cure throat infections.

Sitopaladi Churna–an Ayurvedic medicine–is a commonly used cough remedy that has no side-effects. When added with Yashtimadhu, honey and ghee–all of which have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties–it’s the best cure for a sore throat.

The over-the-counter cough syrups and other drugs that people generally opt for when suffering from a sore throat or a runny nose, offer nothing except temporary relief and that, too, with side-effects. You feel drowsy all day and hardly find any relief despite consuming bottles of the syrups.

This being the season of coughs and colds, I thought of doing this post so that if any of you are suffering from a bad throat, do give these cough remedies a try. it’s all a matter of faith, really, which I am sure you will develop once you experience the benefits of these remedies as opposed to the OTC cough syrups.

The Ayurvedic products are all available online, so, if you fail to find these in the area you reside in, you can always shop online.

Do let me know if you found any difference after using the above tried and tested remedies.

Take care…

LOVE,

SHILPA…

ayurvedic remedies (3)

 

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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Herbs that aid the digestion

 

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: a storehouse of proteins

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 the easy way