Tag Archives: health

Some Pink Lemonade ?

As I look back at the history of the lemonade only one thing flashes in my mind – fond memories of my moms kitchen  and practically every kitchen in India that  I sneaked into to watch the most popular sherbet  easily served ;our very own nimbu pani. As a kid somehow I always grew up with the idea that I could make enough money selling this refreshing drink at a fun fair stall a la characters of Archie comics.

Here’s the  variation to the Pink Lemonade.  This is a slight twist to what I enjoyed at my popular neighborhood cafe, then Tangy Tomato and now Chilies.

Recipe for 2

Making time : 7-10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 500 ml Water
  • 1 teaspoon Unsulfured brown sugar/jaggery syrup
  • 1 small Lemon
  • 5-10 drops of Beet juice
  • soaked Sabja Seeds
  • Rock salt (to taste)
  • crushed ice
  • Crushed mint leaves (optional)

Method

Soak sabja seeds in a bowl and let it rest for 10 mins to swell .

In the meantime take water in a bowl, add the sugar and stir it continuously till dissolved.

Add the lemon juice and lastly some salt  till the liquid is one.

Add  juice, extracted from the steamed beets and add to the lemonade for color. Even cranberry or raspberry can be used for color.

And Voila! Your alkaline refresher is ready to be sipped. At a party/post workout/at home on a hot summer day

Enjoy…..with some chilled ice and mint.

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Why I love Lemon -a sweet and sour journey

Anything Lemony would do for me !!  Why the humble lemon?

I love the color, fresh and sunny  coyly reaching out for attention when i buy my veggies . I love the divine smell, the refreshing tang it adds to my daily life ; a comfort ingredient  for me  ;as it always takes me back to memories of my life with my maiden family- the simple light me ups- Nimbu pani, the lemon rice , lemon pickle. Mom- I want more!

Citrus  limon as the binomial name goes  is also one of the top 5 alkalizing superfoods in my list and  plays  an important role to alleviate a lot of the health troubles for me ,my family and my patients some suffering  from Skin and Stomach disorders to Obesity to Diabetes. Its rich in  ascorbic acid(vitamin C) and limonene which has been extensively studied for its ability to combat tumor growth in over 50 clinical studies. 

Lemons have an acidic pH, which is attributable to their citric acid content. The acidity of a fresh lemon can vary between 2.2 and 2.4 on the pH scale, depending on the fruit’s state of ripeness. However the pH nature of lemons changes during the body’s metabolic process and they become highly alkaline-forming. Adding just 1 tbsp. of fresh lemon juice to a glass of water is an easy way to give your body that  boost of alkalinity. Just be  careful to avoid rubbing  it directly to your teeth as it does tend to discolor them.

It can be used in many ways :

  •  Rind/ Peel – Pickle it, Zest it, Candy it  (avoid the pith-the inner fibrous membrane just  below the zest)
  •  Juice it – The best way.                                                                                                        ” When life gives you a lemon…..squeeze it, mix it with six ounces of distilled water and  drink  twice daily “ –Jethro Kloss in his book Back to Eden .                                                                Drink it as a diluted shot, have a lemon tea, mohito or use it  with your creative culinary  flair in  your salads, staple and gourmet recipes
  •  Seeds-Lemon seeds do naturally contain salicylic acid which is the main ingredient in  Aspirin, though this is in small amounts. I have not done many trials yet to establish the  edibility/nutritional benefit of these seeds

This natures disinfectant also extends its benefit to my home as I use it for lightly bleaching the floors, in clothes ,on nails to keep them clean to deodorize bathroom, kitchen and garbage odors.Lemon is a also a natural mosquito repellent –  A tip: take a fresh left over lemon peel and rub it onto your skin. The smell of the lemon will keep away the mosquitoes. A saviour for my  son on his outdoor camps.

I Feel blessed this yellow fruit is indigenous to my country India- easily available and relatively reasonable 

Viva le limon.

A recipe of the refreshing all naturel Pink lemonade in my subsequent blog https://kajalbhatia.wordpress.com/2013/10/14/some-pink-lemonade 

 

 

Super ChocoNut Boosters

( Glutenfree, Sugarfree, DairyFree, Grainfree , Stovefree )

After my long sermons on sugars , got many requests for sugar free desserts for both adult and kids alike. This energy dense bite is a great substitute for chocolate  or even a dessert. The dates are rich in iron and fibre and the nuts carry the healthy fat with fibre . Easy to make, store, convenient to carry and a must have in the fridge .

Making TIme : 8 mins

Makes 12 bites

Ingredients:

power of 5

power of 5

  • 1 cup  pitted ideally Medjool/locally available dark dates (10-12 large)
  • 1/4 cup soaked cashewnuts /walnuts
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 cup  mini dark chocolate chips (optional)

Process

1. Add dates into processor and process until a  paste forms.

2. Add in the nuts ,cocoa, vanilla, cinnamon. Process until thoroughly combined. Pulse in the chocolate chips. The dough should be sticky when pressed between your fingers. If it’s not sticky enough to shape into balls, add a small amount of water (a teaspoon at a time) and process until it comes together.

3. Shape dough into small balls (about 12) and freeze for 20 minutes or so until firm. .

Healthy delites

Healthy delites

 PS: The vanilla flavor can be switched to an orange or lemon zest.

Heres to an energetic week ahead !!

The Many Sins of Sugar

Sugar

Just A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down. Really?  The point is overdose of both sugar and medicine stay in your system and leads to nothing but toxicity and dis-ease.

Sugar and Glucose are not synonymous. Sugar is nothing but  empty calories  Glucose is the end product of all foods we eat mainly carbohydrates and also protein and fat. Our brain only 2% in weight uses 70% of the body glucose  Every Body needs glucose to survive and not sugar. More importantly sugar is highly acidic to the body

Where is sugar ? Everywhere, when it comes to food and drinks. Bread and breakfast cereals, tomato and barbecue sauces, fruits and vegetables, protein boxes and fizzy drinks, desserts and alcohol .

Many forms Of Sugar

  • White Sugar
  • Brown Sugar
  • Liquid Sugar
  • Sugar Alcohols
  • Sweeteners .

So Are you addicted to sugar? Answer these

1. Do you struggle to walk past a sugary treat without taking ‘just one’?

2. Does your daily  routine work around sugar consumption –  needing a piece of chocolate to         relax in front of the television?

3. Are there times when you feel as if you cannot go on without a sugar hit?

4. do you develop headaches and get irritable often and rush for that sugar treat?

If you answered ‘yes’ to one of the questions above, you are addicted

Dr. David Reuben, author of Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Nutrition says, “white refined sugar-is not a food. It is a pure chemical extracted from plant sources, purer in fact than cocaine, which it resembles in many ways. Its true name is sucrose and its chemical formula is C12H22O11. It has 12 carbon atoms, 22 hydrogen atoms, 11 oxygen atoms, and absolutely nothing else to offer.” …The chemical formula for cocaine is C17H21NO4. Sugar’s formula again is C12H22O11. For all practical purposes, the difference is that sugar is missing the “N”, or nitrogen atom.”

Why say NO?

Sugary ills are more than you can imagine starting with

  • Low energy
  • Bowel Disorders
  • Dental Decay
  • Mood Swings
  • Hyperactivity in children and Adults
  • Obesity
  • Underweight
  • Urinary Tract Infections
  • Diabetes
  • Hormonal Imbalances
  • Gout
  • Polycystic Ovarian Disorders
  • Leptin resistance
  • Candida
  • Cancer

Know your Hidden Sugars and switch to more natural healthier or lesser processed forms(Look out for a sugarfree substitution recipe in my next blog-Super Choconut Boostershttps://kajalbhatia.wordpress.com/2013/09/15/super-choconut-boosters/

 

Eat Walk Cleanse- Dadar Matunga Health Food Crawl

 

‘A Diet cum Lifestyle Plan on Foot ?- Are you crazy ??’ enquired a concerned  Gul.  ‘Taking a bunch of people on the streets of Mumbai is like chaos ‘. But the  cosmos works in funny ways and soon I was with my foodie buddie Sam  out on a nippy Saturday morning along with  a bunch of Health Aspiring Foodies.  Sameer. Mushtaq, Vandana, Dr Bakshi, Iva, Patrick, Kathrin ,Tejal, Vini Kavita Jinal . And we walked.

Rustomji our friendly neighbourhood hero and his wife Freny Aunty were there to introduce us to the Parsi colony and its famous landmarks.As we glided through these unreal classics the crowning glory of it all, the Majestic Five Gardens soon stared right at us.. Green is Beautiful. Green is Life. As I outlined the health philosophy of foods and relationship between Food and Disease, Bankim the yoga expert  calmed our bodies in the best effortless way. Usain bolting we soon were !!.All ready for the adventure that lay ahead  .Jagat my juiceman welcomed and served us all monos -Neem amla adrak carrot bael -therapeutic booster shots to ensure a good cleanse each for a different ailment.

This experiential soujourn led us next to the band of boys and girls young and old led by Mr   Makhija  who escorted us through the virginal gulmohar laced bylanes. Hey! was that a World war  II tanker right here in the central suburbs .As we ate a little more of home made energy bites , good health continued its journey with us  to the glorious Kings Circle We wound our way through various eateries and food stores. So is oats too glutenfree ?asked one enthusiast and then the  health related QnA began. Tasted Kutto idli, Neer dosa, some more Green Juices , bypassed the effervescent flower Market- a riot of unique colors au naturel and pure just like the highly alkaline Natural Spring Water Mulshi we were carrying- Thank you Mr  Navin

The finale pit stop Shree Sunder served us a meal the dynamic owner Sachu was very supportive in helping me design. Panki in turmeric leaves laced with cardamom- Delicious. Pessarattu dosa –the protein dense mung chilla , idi appams- all healthy delites.. With one pit stop still pending we set off to explore the hidden jewels of Matunga veggies and fruits- all giving the perfect finish  to an enriched  Saturday morning

All food served during the entire tour was low calorie, gluten free, dairy free and low glycemic index dressed in minimal oil and salt however  tasty to invigorate all 5 senses.

Turkish Delights Part 2- Memoirs of An Indian Health Forager

Continued Fromhttps://kajalbhatia.wordpress.com/2013/08/25/turkish-delights-part-1-memoirs-of-an-indian-health-forager/

Contents

  • Health Bites  : Get Street Smart in Turkey
  • Health Cab    : Healthy Turkish Vocab Tips
  • Recipe           : Dishy Dolmas
  • Turkish Street Smart Health Bites

Fruits and Dried Fruits  – Turkey is  famous for its Cherries (kiraz) Apricots (kayısı) Turkish watermelon (karpuz), dried sultana raisins, apricots and figs. Guven is the first dried nuts and fruits shop in Turkey with an official quality standard .They have recently opened a big flagship store in Kemerburgaz.

Orange juice – everywhere again. There is the sour turunç, a Turkish citrus variety, which is joined by the Seville and sweet Portuguese, or portakal oranges,

Traditional chai : a milk less tea ; healthier if you substitute the cube sugar or avoid it completely.(please note :Tea does contain tannins and is a stimulant. Use with care

Winter drinks are: cinnamon flavored sahlep, a drink made from powdered iris root, and boza, a  fermented barley drink.  Sour cherry juice, turnip juice, rose tea and elma çay, apple tea

Simit Turkish bread- I found very few eggless and doubtingly butter less versions

Pilaf– Rice and beans  look out for the veg one and chuck the yoghurt on the side

Olives–  over 50 in all.  Grown in the Marmara, Aegean, Mediterranean and Southeast Anatolia regions. The key varieties are the Memeli, Donat, Ismir Sofralik, Ayvalik, Ekiste, Elebi, Erkence, Gemlik, Memecik, Trilya, and Uslu.

Pumpkin/sunflower seeds-The pumpkin seed is a treat to munch in the busy streets of Istanbul

 Gozleme The turkish crepe- My favorite the spinach.

Cig Kofte  : çiğ köfte is a spicy spread made of fine bulgur, tomatoes, and red pepper paste. To avoid meat version order as a durum (wrap ) instead.

Nuts-all especially hazelnuts and pistachios

  •  Healthcab Alert Like  the French the Turks are very proud of their mother language and very few speak English but Surprise Surprise  a lot of parallel words to Hindi as the origin is Urdu eg chai, hisaab, kitab, har, hafta, mehshur, dushman and more..

-No fish  :Balik siz

-No meat :Et siz

-No dairy:sutlu mammuler.  This  was a tough one even for the all veg breed so trust your instinct there- avoid creamy as most contain yogurt and order your own meal

-Little oil:az yag Though I was in olive country  I knew a lot more was coming on my plate than I bargained for so would have to say this often. –

-Little salt:az tuz  

  • Recipe

Traditional Turkish Dolmas : Dolma is a verbal noun of the Turkish verb dolmak, ‘to be stuffed’,  It is  a vegetable that is hollowed out and filled with stuffing. This applies to zucchini, tomato, pepper, eggplant, wine leaves and the like. This is a healthier version of a recipe my Turkish friend Hulya helped me source for our Dolma trial from Burcu’s Turkish blog. http://almostturkish.blogspot.in/2007/07/vegetarian-stuffed-peppers-zeytinyal.html. I have used date sugar instead of white and brown rice instead of  white.

pepper dolmas

Ingredients :

10 small green bell peppers

1 cup brown/unpolished rice

2 medium size onions, finely chopped (you can use a food processor)

3 tomatoes, grated

1 tomato (this one is for covering the tops of bell peppers after stuffing)

1/3 cup pine nuts

1/3 cup currants

1 tbsp all spice

1 tsp ground black pepper

1 tbsp mint flakes or ¼ cup fresh mint, chopped finely

½ tsp date/brown sugar(sulfur free)

salt

juice of 1/2 lemon

1 cup olives

Process

-Mix well all the ingredients (except for peppers and 1 tomato) in a bowl.

-Wash peppers and take out the top part and the seeds.

-Stuff the peppers with the rice mix with a spoon or your hand.

-Cut small pieces from 1 tomato to cover the top part of peppers. Press the tomato slice down a bit so that it won’t come out.

-Place the dolmas in an oven dish which is as tall as dolmas. Pour on top 2 cups of boiling water.

-First let it boil for 5 minutes on stove. Then, bake it in a preheated oven at 400F for 35-40 minutes until rice is cooked and tops are browned. Check them regularly if you don’t want to burn the tops.

-Can be served warm or cold

Happy Healthy Cooking!!

copyright@kajalbhatia  

Turkish Delights Part 1 – Memoirs of an Indian Health Forager

Resonating sounds of Merhaba, Merhaba made it clear – “I’m in Turkey!”  The start had been a good one- the well serviced Turkish Airways flight with its new and improved menu had won me over. The  potato salad wrap was definitely something to write home about and the fresh greens almost made me forgot I was eating them mid-air. 

As I enter the Eurasian land, memories of my previous visit are quickly conjured up. I wonder,  will the Turks now know  me as one of their own, albeit from the Asian side ? . Yes! Evet ! When we met our friend Ergun. he was quick to indulge me with the national obsession, the Turkish chai, and I was reassured . The tea for me though a very rare occasional social drink was  a treat in itself, stylishly served and sipped as the Turkish do, thankfully sans milk in their beautiful glasses.

My first brush with the country 3 years ago left me wanting more. The blue green waters, the stone work, the Turquoise overload, the culture, the food , the architecture, the people, but since then a lot has changed for them and me. As the Turks look for better governance and me for better health, will it be different for me in the land of the feta? Well, that’s all I can remember eating earlier in the name of so called good health. But life has taught me better. This trip I was introduced to a paradise of fruits and veggies in Turkey –  it is a delight for the true  health seeker, not only for its pro med diet but also for its vast array of vegetarian and dairy-free mezzes variety.

The land of the magical Bosphorus  and the Sultan ehmet offers much more than the usual fare of Italian, Chinese and Indian that I am usually used to seeing overseas. Food is not an issue in this land and given an option health food is at arms length if you forage . In the smoldering June heat the excitingly over juicy watermelon and the  succulent rocket leaves became my morning staple of choice. And surprisingly, my 14 year old was also lapping this combo along with his super juicy peaches cherries and olives!!

. As I bustled my way through this land exotica, I especially loved my day trips. Day 2 to the supermarket and the Spice  bazaar with its endless display of spices and herbs both were a food crawlers delight. The latter, a gastronomic paradise since 1664 .Coriander, cinnamon, sumac, cumin ,paprika,   curry powder, Iranian saffron, several types of pepper and more competing for display space . The Grand Bazaar served up more than I had anticipated- unknown, promising ingredients and other delights along with a variety of alluring carpets (check out Cinar right outside Grand Bazaar ), glass mosaic lamps and uniquely crafted jewellery.

The  Cappadocian soujourn east of Istanbul  and in the heart of Anatolia took me through amazing terrain, underground cities, cave cafes and hotels , and the best grapes in the country , the wine  there rated by most connoisseurs as first grade. Their  grape seed oil  – an antioxidant   used as therapy for various ailments. Tried borek a local snack made  with patatas instead of cheese but could not Take down  – super super oily stuff. Our desi samosas far edible A dip in the salt lake sea on my way back was a good pedicure for my weary feet. Nature provides the best luxuries….

Next, my Turkish friend Hulya led us to a small local town, Altinoluk. It is off the tourist map, down the the Aegean sea and before the uber hip party town Bordrum I had visited last trip. We went to meet her family- a patriarch retired grandfather and his litter running all around the place. I was enthralled with the idyllic setting- picturesque, a real wonderland. People old and young cycling everywhere- tricycles bicycles two seaters, copy segways . Women with children tied to their backs running home style cafes making the most delicious gozleme– a Turkish style aloo paratha  along with turkish chillies– it was my main  hot accompaniment on this trip. The beach market there surprised me too as I met a cafe owner couple who had opened their smoothie outlet with an all veg cafe – a first in this town. Their Turkish style Falafel a 9/10. At night, the pier transformed into a carnival. Oh! I never wanted to leave.

Back in Istanbul I met up with old friends; Levent, a first class home style chef who introduced me to a Turkish farmer style market and cooking- pilaf, bean staple, artichoke delite, dolmas, gozleme all gently simmered in olive oil. Oh how differently Indians  use oils! Interestingly the Turkish call pasta -Macarana and cake -pasta. Dolma  Recipe put up in my subsequent Turkish -2 installment.

As we scurried through the various by lanes of the hip Galata Beyoglu Taksim square munching zinc laden pumpkin seeds (most alkaline of all oilseeds), I also sensed a vibrant energy through the locals, just like in New York’s Times Square and Madison square Gardens. It seemed a peaceful protest was underway in Taksim square; candles lit everywhere in memory of the bravehearts who lost their lives

flashes off; candlelights on

flashes off; candlelights on

My experience at a turkiye bar again reinforced why I love this land. They love their music – men & women ,young & old danced and swayed to melodies new and old; rock pop sufi subconsciously bringing in the dervish element .

A must do is the Turkish hamam- give the spa a miss but do not miss the hamam, it is a revelatory experience. Detox here is at its best, go ahead and shed the skin for the new and get scrubbed by the old knit cloth pese in style . The local Hamams are a great bang for your lira though the Calagoglu (only for women) while the Ayasofya hurem sultan Hamami are the notable and more expensive versions .

Our final destination the Prince Islands was a delight in itself, beautiful roads, seaside cafes, quaint homestays, opulent villas  and delectable  date cakes.

What can I say ? This country  surely deserves its nazar bonju !!