गूळ खोबर ( Jaggery and dry coconut )

Snacking on Gul Khobra ( Jaggery and dry coconut ) has been a tradition in my family.

It’s quick, easy to grab and go, additionally has many unbeatable health benefits.

Jaggery is RICH in magnesium and hence keeps your intestine happy.
Coconut is high in fiber and slows down glucose absorption keeping glucose level in control. Hence it help keep you fuller for longer and also cuts down on the sugar craving while giving you a sweet treat for snack.

In my opinion consumption of coconut is great pre-workout too as it is loaded with fat and the medium-chain triglycerides gets absorbed in our small intestine providing energy to our body. The insoluble fiber helps in healthy gut.

The natural oil available in the dry coconut that may reduces bad cholesterol and improves good cholesterol. That means it may reduce our risk of heart disease.

This combination of snacking coconut and jaggery goes way back in time and help boost immunity especially in monsoon. When the weather changes this power packed combination will keep us warm and healthy.
Says my Mother.
Aanndd!… Mothers are always right.

Keep showing love.

References and Credits:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5044790/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5686931/

Hold on to your waste

As I hold on to my mother’s philosophy of root-to-stem cooking.

Little hacks come handy, and so I have decided to share these tips I have learned from my parents with you all.

Freezer them:
We often end up putting all the peels and the heads of the veggies we used in the trash. On the contrary, I saw my grandma storing leftovers and the waste of vegetables in the freezer to make vegetable stock.

Fruits for Fertilizer:
What do you usually do when you finish eating a banana, apple, an orange or a pomegranate?? Trash them?
Well, now you can store them in a zip lock bag with some water a few days and then use the water a plant fertilizer.

Onion and garlic peels:
What?!! How can one use onion and garlic peels?

Well, the outer skin of onion and garlic contains high antioxidant and a great source of vitamin A, C and E.

Tips to use onion and garlic skin

  • Pop in some onion skins in the rice cooker to add nutrients to rice.
  • Heat the onion skin or a few layers of onion with hair oil to stop hair fall naturally.
  • Use onion and garlic-infused water on the skin to avoid skin allergies and acne.

Can’t use them now? Alrighty! Store them in a zip lock or plastic bag or a container for later in the freezer.

Credits:

Aai, Baba and Aaji.

The 3Cs!

Capsicum Coconut curry!

Being a half goan, coconut has always influenced our meal preparations. There was never a day that we ran out of a coconut, and if that happened, my mother made sure I ran to the nearest supermarket to get one.

Coconut has been a significant part of my childhood and my pantry obsession.

Presenting to you a very simple capsicum coconut red curry that takes only 7 mins for preparation and 15 mins to cool. Can be batch cooked and stored for days to follow.

This vibrant and creamy curry is comforting, serves 5 and just 350 calories.

Ingredients:
Use sunflower or any oil that is available in the pantry.
Capsicum 500 grams,
Coconut Milk,
1 medium-large onion,
3-4 cloves of garlic, 1 spicy green chilly, and
Finely chopped 12/2 medium tomatoes.
Spices used – red chilly powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, mustard seeds, cumin seeds and salt to taste.
Garnish – Finely chopped coriander.

Method:
To a hot pot, in 2 tbsp oil, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, green chilly and garlic. As soon as the garlic turns a bit pink, add the finely chopped onion and let it cook till golden brown. Add the tomatoes and cook them until they are mashed and you see them releasing their own water, add the spices as per your taste*. Once the spices release the aroma, you can go ahead and add the chopped capsicum.
Stir the ingredients well and add the coconut milk as per the thickness desired. For the more liquidy curry, you can combine it with some water.
Put a lid on the container and let it cook for about 5 -7 mins. Later add salt to taste and garnish with coriander.

This curry is easy to make and goes will with wheat flat bread, white, sticky wild or brown rice.

*While adding spices, keep in mind the green chilly used in the curry. Green chilly can be optional if you have zero spice tolerance.

If you make this curry, please tag me on instagram, I would love to see your versions too.

Until we meet… Much love!

Post workout smoothie!

Being underweight all my life was a struggle for me. And for my mother to keep feeding me right to gain weight.


For many of you, weight gain is just as simple as breathing air. I get it, and it is equally painful for a person like me with a high metabolism.

My mother used to incorporate veggies like kale, spinach and beetroots to my regular food. Today, adding greens to my meals comes instinctively to me.


This smoothie can keep you full for long hours due to its balance of macro and micronutrients—one of the reasons why I like to have this smoothie post-workout.


One can consume this smoothie before a meal, and that may prevent overeating.


To a smoothie maker;
A banana, 1/2 orange, some semi-cooked beetroot, some raspberries 3/4 cup yoghurt or milk of our choice and blend with 1 tbsp of almond butter and flax seeds.
Sprinkle some cinnamon and serve with love! (serves 2)

Nutritional banana contains vital nutritious values that help weight loss. Vitamin C helps prevent tissue damage; Vitamin B6 helps produce red blood cells, and potassium supports brain growth.

Raspberry packed with antioxidants fight against cancer, heart and circulatory diseases. Tannin content controls blood sugar.

A study in 2012 has suggested that consumption of beetroot juice boosts physical performance. Beetroot also contains many other nutrients like iron, potassium, selenium, copper and the list goes on.

The most popular fruit helps with several benefits. Orange contains Vitamins B6 that help boosts the making of haemoglobin. Helps to keep blood pressure under control because of magnesium. Alkalises the body and keeps the eyes healthy with the help of carotenoid present.

Enjoy this version of smoothie and comment down or tag me on instagram if you have ever tried it.

Tips and Tricks: Store the peels in a ziplock bag with water and use the water as a fertilizer after few days.

References and Credits:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26501271/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22248502/

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/diet/why-you-should-eat-oranges/articleshow/4662391.cms

Minty Avo Shake

Lockdown is no longer applicable in Dubai, yet people are not too sure of stepping out and availing the restaurant services.

Here is a simple version of an avocado shake that will instantly add a cooling impression to Dubai summer.

Stay Home and enjoy healthy freshness with this easy and hearty recipe. (serves 2)

To a smoothie maker, add;

  • 1 Avocado,
  • 3-4 Mint leaves,
  • 2-3 soft dates (deseeded) or sugar as per taste,
  • One glass of milk,
  • 1 tsp chia seeds,
  • 3-4 ice cubes.
Serve with love!

Nutritional Facts 

Avocado– This popular fruit is also known as a buttery fruit embraces sustainable amount of monounsaturated fatty acids providing en-number of nutrients and minerals. 

It is associated with reduced inflammation and shown to have beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer and is rich in soluble fibre.

Mint– Mint has a profoundly fresh and vibrant flavour. A vitamin A that not only helps with night vision but also a potential source of antioxidant that will help and protect the body from the stress that is caused by free radicles. 

An avocado shake with a twist of mint will bring instant freshness with vehemence through the rest of the day. 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10997544/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17168666/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16484595/

Jaggery – Friend or Foe?


I am emotionally attached as I have been consuming jaggery ever since I was a baby. It is packed with several nutrients and has been a tradition in India for decades.

I personally call Jaggery an Indian superfood!

What Is Jaggery?

Jaggery is an unrefined sugar prepared from sugarcane juice in Asia and Africa. It is also known as “non-centrifugal sugar,” because the sugar cane juice is boiled and evaporated to attain fine granules which are packed with many minerals and vitamins ~ Iron, potassium, Manganese, Calories and countless more. Mostly, good quality jaggery is lighter in the shade (said my mother, and mothers are always right!) with over 70% sucrose, 10% fructose and other minerals. Jaggery can be a sugar substitute, however, must be monitored.

Given various names in different parts of the world:

  • Gur in India
  • Kokuto in Japan
  • Piloncillo in Mexico
  • Gula Melaka or Gula Merah in Malaysia
  • Kyan Tha Kar in Burma

How old is a tradition to use Jaggery?

Used by Ayurveda in India for about 5000 years to solve many problems like Blood purification, Migraine, Anemia, Constipation and control PMS!!

Jaggery has been a significant part of my family diet for the longest of I know.

“The gritty brown sugar of India is guda in Sanskrit, gur in Hindi, vellam in Tamil and jaggery in English,” ~ food historian K.T. Achaya in A Historical Dictionary of Indian Food. 

It was recognised by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), United Nations (UN) only in the mid-’60s as a unique solution to empty calories = Table Sugar.

What are the benefits?

Jaggery maintains electrolyte balance and helps prevent water retention due to the presence of potassium. Sugar makes it difficult and spikes up blood sugar level that is not good for health.

Sweets such as Tilgud Laddu were made from sesame seeds and Jagger during a prime winter harvesting season to control body temperature.

Adding jaggery in tea will result in a great detox drink. It acts like a cleansing agent.

Ginger in tea, when combined with jaggery, will help to improve immunity and keep you away from the common cold and allergies.

A common practice in India is to consume a small piece of Jaggery after a meal is to promote digestion.

Being a thalassemia minor, my parents always encouraged me to consume Jaggery with dry coconut to boost the Iron in the blood that gets absorbed faster through Jaggery than plant sources.

Some picture of the jaggery available in the house.

Is Jaggery bad for health?

Though Jaggery is considered an alternative and has a few shreds of evidence to be better than sugar, it is recommended to read the label carefully and purchase the right quality product.

Overconsumption of any food has adverse effects on the body such as Obesity, Type-2 Diabetes and Heart Diseases. One must remember that Jaggery is after all a sugar and must be considered using in proportion.

Credits and References:

https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/sweets/5592/2

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20200263/

https://www.healthline.com

https://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/replace-sugar-with-jaggery-in-your-tea-for-these-miraculous-health-benefits-6104453/

Omega Fats for Vegetarians.

This photograph is fetched from internet.

One thing that comes to mind when talking about Omega 3 fats is Fish.

It can be challenging to get enough Omega 3 fatty acids for vegetarians. Especially, if one does not consume fish or seafood. 

In my opinion, it’s just a mindset.

So let’s get a brief about what it is and how you are going to benefit from your vegetarian diet.

What is Omega Fats?

Omega 3 fatty acids are the Polyunsaturated fats that our body does not make on its own hence, it needs to be outsourced from the diet. An important component that surrounds each cell of our body. They are those good calories that the body needs to function efficiently.

Where do we get Omega Fats from?

Famously, people believe that Omega fats come from cold-water fatty fish and thus can be obtained by only its consumption.

Fish like Salmon, Mackerel, Tuna, Sardines, Caviar, Cod liver oil.

Hence, I have noticed people who prefer vegetarian or the ones who follow a vegan diet reach out to Omega 3 supplements. However, in my opinion, one can fulfill a daily requirement on Omega 3 fats even without having to eat fish or supplements.

Where do vegetarians get Omega Fats from?

If you are a vegetarian, you can also enjoy the benefit of Omega-3 fats by consumption of several Vegetables, Nuts, Seeds, and Plant oils.

Vegetables such as Brussels sprouts are one of the best plant sources of omega 3 fatty acid proven to reduce blood triglycerides, reduce insulin resistance and decrease inflammation.* Avocado contains a good amount of monounsaturated fats that lower cholesterol and helps improve heart health.

Make the most of the Nuts and Seeds with Walnuts, Flax seeds, Chia seeds and Hemp seeds. They contain a high amount of Omega 3 fatty acids along with Manganese, Selenium, Magnesium and great fiber. Hemp seeds also prevent formation of blood clots and help the heart recover from an attack.

Quite a famous oil in an Indian household, Mustard oil is also a good choice to include in a regular meal prep.

In the end, Omega 3 fatty acids are vital and one must consume fatty fish 2 times a week, however, if you are a vegetarian make sure to emphasis on a Healthy lifestyle to follow with slight modifications in our daily life with regular intake a vegetables, walnuts and seeds listed above. There are several benefits listed with valid studies also on Helathline with references.

Credits and References:

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/17-health-benefits-of-omega-3#section18

https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-Consumer/

https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2363/2

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18418423/

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10681-004-4811-6

https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/175168/nutrients

Snacks for Noon Hunger

“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”

Michael Pollan

 I am a big foodie, and I keep munching all day long.

Nevertheless, it is not accessible to keeps weight managed with this habit. Real with you too?

Most often, I find myself standing to stare at my fridge with its door open thinking, what next to eat? Hmm!

Thought of sharing 2 of favourite hunger games ideas as I call it to overcome afternoon hunger.

Yoghurt, Seeds, Nuts, Fruits

It is as simple as it sounds. One does not have time to sit and make things from scratch, read next.

  •  Greek yoghurt is known for its many health benefits, mainly improving gut health and for its protein content.
  • Consider Seeds like Hemp, chia or ground flax seeds for extra fibre and Omega-3 content.
  • Nuts (add any of your favourites) they are a great source of many nutrients and antioxidants.
    • Hey, walnuts have a higher capacity to fight free radicals than fish! 
  • Fruits can serve as a natures candy, and that means the natural sweetness will need no addition of sugar.

Nutty & Fruity 

 Fruits and vegetables are essential for a healthy lifestyle, and diversity is equally important as quantity.

You don’t need to eat the old fashioned way.

Here is what I often end up doing.

I have taken apple with almond butter with chia seeds and leftover celery sticks.

Fruits and vegetables have a variety of health benefits; one must eat a lot of them.

You can play around with this snack recipe, endless options of fruits like Banana, Pear, Avocado, Pineapples, Melons. In vegetables, you can use a combination of Carrots, Cucumber, Radish.

Excess of sugar is harmful, and this does not apply for whole fruits, they provide en number of nutrients and keeps you full for longer. The natural sweetness of the fruit will also avoid your craving, and that will help you to maintain a perfect balance with a healthy diet.

Tip: The easiest way to enhance your fruit intake is to keep them easily accessible and in front of your eyes. Put that bag of chips and cookies somewhere hidden, so you avoid them automatically.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23130505/

Chia Magical Seeds

Chia is an ancient word for ‘strength’. Recently hyped into the western world as a superpower due to its many medicinal properties. 

Don’t doubt these tiny little seeds, they are packed with high fiber and essential omega-3 fats.

A one-ounce (28 grams) serving or 2 tbsp of chia seeds contains:

  • Fiber: 11 grams.
  • Protein: 4 grams.
  • Fat: 9 grams (5 of which are omega-3).
  • Calcium: 18% of the RDI.
  • Manganese: 30% of the RDI.
  • Magnesium: 30% of the RDI.
  • Phosphorus: 27% of the RDI.
  • They also contain a decent amount of zinc, vitamin B3 (niacin), potassium, vitamin B1 (thiamine) and vitamin B2.
  • Digestible carbohydrates: 1 gram
  • Calories: Around 135 gram.

Let’s play some logic. 

28 grams of chia seeds contain 12 grams of carbs in total. 11 grams of which is just fiber. Wow!

Now, the best thing about fiber is that the spike in blood sugar is gradual. Chia seeds absorb lots of water and thus  keep you full for longer. Even though chia seeds belong to a carbohydrate family, it is a healthier option compared to starchy and sugary starch.  Studies also suggest that consumption of bread that contains chia seeds may lower the post-meal rise in blood sugar. 

And my favorite reason to love chia seeds is that they help me enjoy a good gut.  

They are loaded with Antioxidants:

Antioxidants fight the production of free radicals, which can damage cell molecules and contribute to aging and diseases like cancer. Epidemiological data also suggest that antioxidants may have a beneficial effect on many age-related diseases: atherosclerosis, cancer, some neurodegenerative and ocular diseases. 

Talk about the proteins dude:

We all know the importance of proteins. They get broken down in our body and reform new proteins to fight infections and help cells divide. Every time I think of proteins, I love to get involved in the amino-acids. Chia seeds contain all essential amino acids. A high protein intake lowers appetite and has been shown to reduce obsessive thoughts about food by 60% and the desire for night time snacking by 50%.

Studies have proven that consumption of chia seeds for breakfast have reduced a desire for food intake for a short term. 

 A real food diet with some yogurt for breakfast and a healthy lifestyle will help one to lose or maintain weight.

Prevents Heart disease:

Studies show that consumption of chia seeds may avoid several heart related risks, like lowering inflammation, tryglycerides, belly fat and also may raise good cholesterol. Significantly reduced blood pressure and gives happy smiles. 

Solution to Lactose intolerance:

If you are a lactose intolerant and struggling to get enough calcium? Chia seeds for breakfast or even as an evening snack with fruits will give you around 18-20% calcium in 2tbsp of serving. 

I mean, how much cooler it’s gonna get!

My few favorite ways to enjoy chia seeds:

  • Blend it with a smoothie.
  • Sprinkle it on fruits with your favorite nut butter.
  • Add seeds to muesli, granola, flakes or even scrambled eggs.
  • A spoonful of chia in warm water with honey and lemon will boost metabolism.
  • Make a jelly type consistency with almond or chocolate milk, toss some of seasonal fruits to enjoy sweet cravings of chia pudding. 
  • Sprinkle chia seeds onto your favorite ice cream or any sweet dish like Mango sticky rice, Ras malai, Kheer or even shrikhanda. 

To end it,

My recommendation to consume chia seeds will always be in the top 10 foods. They are worth superfoods. 

References:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12192730/

/https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC47258/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16002798/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20847729/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28989578/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17356263/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18492301/

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1541-4337.12423#:~:text=Chia%20seeds%20contain%20all%20essential,histidine%20is%20the%20least%20present.

Travel Essentials for Parents with Babies

I have been travelling for almost 9 years now. I have witnessed the best and nervous travellers over many years of my career. I started off working for a low-cost airline and now working on a full-fledged airline. This has taught me various ideas about travel, which now I am pleased to share with you.

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This is Zoe. My friend’s daughter.

The more you travel, the more prepared you are for the next trip. I have often seen parents struggling with the kids on board. Worry not, because I’m here to help parents who are travelling with babies. This list of things will help you. This article may also be helpful to you as you may take tips from here for your travel too.

  • Milk/ Baby Food

whaaaat? Milk?! Trust me on this. Not all the airline provide milk or baby food onboard. Especially, on a low-cost. If you are travelling a full- fair or low-cost, it is ideal to carry milk that your baby is consuming. Also because the brand provided may not be the same that your baby is used to.

  • Diapers

Self-explanatory.

  • Blankets/ Scarf

Aircraft and Airports are chilly. It is a good idea to wear warm clothes or carry a warm blanket to keep yourself comfortable during your travel. most low-cost airlines do not provide blankets.

  •  Extra Clothes/ Ear Buds

The idea is to travel comfortably. If you ask me, on a long flight I carry a set of pyjama which help me  to stay cosy on my seat. Similarly, you must carry an extra pair of clothes for your baby as they may/will make a mess.

  • Little Snacks

If you think your baby needs special food like nuts, chips or fruits, feel free to carry a few. small airlines don’t carry extras.

  • Allergy /Medications

Prevention is better than cure. If you are on a special diet, don’t forget to book your meal well in advance. Medications are vital, its a must to carry meds that are prescribed to avoid unforeseen.

These are a few things that I can suggest to make your travel easier. Comment down if you agree or follow these. If I missed anything, feel free to bring it to my attention.

I shall see you soon. till then,

Much Love!