Tag Archives: nutrition

Why I love the sun kissed life……..

Cause leave alone Health, life  and living aint possible without the Sun. As an earnest student of Nutrition I ask my teachers why Sunlight  has not been accorded the No 1 nutrient in our text books.  My early childhood memories though vivid often always take me back to sun kissed mornings on the beach ,in the park ,on the street. Is it a mere coincidence that my moments spent in the sun have largely  been happy and fresh.

Unfortunately I see now more and more people shy away from it under layers of tinted glares, sunscreens etc unless their Vitamin D or calcium levels are scanned .  Yes sunlight helps in improving both but Low or High D, sunlight is the constant element to vitality and growth. Just like a plant which needs the energy of the sun to grow,  all living beings need that ray of light caressing their bodies ;their thoughts ;their souls. Water itself glows best and becomes a living body when it basks in the suns glory .The Sun does embalm the true spirit of life- always back up again day to day tirelessly, unflinching in its role duty and purpose.

Talking about therapeutic effects , Hippocrates,  the father of modern medicine, built the sanitarium of Hippocrates on the Island of Cos with a large solarium attached to heal with sun rays. Anjali Joseph , Phd of Healthcare design has presented the effects of sunlight on hospital patients  well in her paper http://www.healthdesign.org/sites/default/files/CHD_Issue_Paper2.pdf.

Also a good read is by http://stanleybeamansears.com/2013/01/how-important-is-natural-daylight-to-the-recovery-of-hospital-patients/    both concluding the need for light in patients lives.

Edinburgh University research suggests sunlight helps reduce blood pressure, cutting heart attack and stroke risks and even prolonging life.UV rays were found to release a compound, nitric oxide that lowers blood pressure.Researchers said more studies would be carried out to determine if it is time to reconsider advice on skin exposure. Dr Richard Weller, a senior lecturer in dermatology at Edinburgh University, said: “We suspect that the benefits to heart health of sunlight will outweigh the risk of skin cancer.

 The same translates to our soil and my choice of foods. If sunlight aint caressed what goes into my stomach I would rather avoid it. There are produce that don’t need intense sunlight and may need some shade -Just like Us ! But its all good.

Its not only sunrise but even sunset has a similar calming effect. As the skies change color it gives us a a signal that our body s circadian rhythm has altered and it is time to bring down the curtains to the theatrics  of the day. Its time to Unleash the Melatonin the sleep hormone activated by darkness

Yes the scorching afternoon heat does bring its effects in harsh summers. A signal would be to shy away if the skin feels discomfort, head starts to ache , throat becomes parch- all signals given by the body itself.

Having also studied the excessive effects of sunbathing or suntanning into skin cancers and dangers related to its excess intake who better than Appollo; the glorious Greek Sun God of Medicine who has two inscriptions at Delphi giving the best advice on the Sun and its light  saying :

All things in moderation

Know thyself

So just like George Michael swoons ” don’t  let the sun go down on me “. Never Ever.


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


  • 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)


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.

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


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)


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


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/


  • 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)


juice of 1/2 lemon

1 cup olives


-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!!