GHAR KA KHANA = ENDLESS POSSIBLITIES OF GOOD HEALTH

Human body needs foods that yield energy, that fuel our systems, that provides us with proteins, fats & carbohydrates. To build up the body, repair the worn out parts and regulate the bodily processes, we need proteins, vitamins, minerals and water. Right food is the only key to good health. Most of the diseases are the result of wrong eating habits. By understanding the properties of food and if food is cooked properly and is taken in the season and in the right quantities, the likelihood of falling ill is minimal.

Adolescents are much inclined towards eating fast food and junk food which is a major cause of over weight and obesity. By guiding them properly and providing them with interesting home made food will reduce these health issues to a larger extent. A very easy home made wheat bread with sugar free apple jam tastes yummy which can be an excellent & nutirtious breakfast for the growing kids. Mothers need not buy the bread from the market everytime. Rather try this simple yeast free bread at home accompanied by sugar free apple jam.

IMPORTANCE OF INDIAN TRADITIONAL VEGETARIAN DIET

Diet plays very important role in our physical and mental health status. Many common health problems can be prevented or treated by consumption of a good diet.
Traditional Indian vegetarian diet mainly consists of legumes, vegetables, milk, curd/yoghurt & clarified butter (ghee). Apart from the ingredients used in cooking the different masalas used aids in digestion. Moreover the utensils used in cooking also plays a very important role which in turn has immense health benefits. In ancient times, people cooked in earthern pots which is still practised in temples in India. The porosity and natural insulating properties of clay helps heat and moisture to circulate throughout the clay pots. This causes the moisture and nutrient loss while cooking in clay pots to be much lower compared to cooking in metal or enamel lined utensils.

ABOUT THE INGREDIENTS USED IN FOOD :

1. Clarified Butter (Ghee) : Ghee can be stored for a long time without refrigeration. It is considered as purifier that absorbs and expels toxins from the body. It is far superior in properties & digestibility than any vegetable oil.

2. Dals (Pulses) : The main source of protein is dal in Indian diet. Therefore they accompany meals. There are many ways to prepare dal which varies from state to state. The diversity in cooking style is due to the difference in climatic conditions. The most popular and simple way to make dal in India is by simply boiling it in water adding salt and turmeric powder.

3. Flour : These are the cheapest source of calories. It contributes as much as 70 to 80 percent of the calories in the Indian diet. Flours are also good binding material and enhance the flavour. But refined flour should not be used in the diet as it sticks to the intestine and causes constipation.

4. Nuts & Seeds : Nuts & seeds are popularly used in Indian sweets and drinks. Nuts are excellent source of protein, fat & certain carbohydrates; they contain vitamins A,B,C and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and iron. The protein in nuts of high quality are even higher than that in milk, meat and eggs. This protein in easily digestible by the system as milk.

Spices : Spices makes dals easy to digest and removes the gas producing quality. Masala means any number of spice combinations. Cumin, black peppercorn, cardamom (black or green) are the frequently used spices. Garam masala means “spicy mixture”. It is used with other spices or in recipes which are oily and heavy.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE : WHEN TO EAT AND HOW MUCH TO EAT ?

This is the most common question for which most of the people are looking for the right answer. The concept of breakfast, lunch and dinner is taken from the west. Though it is important to consume 3 meals a day to maintain good health, but the question of the quantity to eaten remains unanswered. As per Ayurveda, the Jatharagni (digestive fire) is at its peak after sunrise and continues till 3 hours. So the best time to eat the first meal is before 9:30 am. One can eat as much as he wants including all his favourite food items because the food eaten before 9:30 am will be digested very easily, no matter how much quantity you have consumed. Also the properly digested and assimilated food will supply all the required nutrients to each cell of the body. The second meal should be taken between 1:00 pm – 1:30 pm and the quantity should be less compared to what was consumed in the morning. This is the time when the “Jatharagni” is slow and the digestion power is weak. Hence one should not over eat and burden the digestion process. The undigested food will start turning into toxins thereby giving rise to different health problems. Hence the afternoon food should be lesser than the morning food. Again the “Jatharagni” is at its peak during sunset. So it is advisable to eat dinner before sunset or maximum half an hour after sunset. Before going to bed one glass of milk should be taken.

If this principle of eating food is followed along with some physical exercise and breathing exercise then one can maintain a good health.

Remember “Health is an Investment” . So “Let’s Make Life Healthier And Happier”.

ARE YOU BOTHERED ABOUT YOUR KIDS NUTRITION?

Mothers are always bothered about their child’s health, nutrition & food. Most of the children are fussy when it comes to eating. Also as mothers we need to take care by providing them with all the micro & macro nutrients. Children need foods that yield energy, that fuel their systems, that provide them with proteins, fats and carbohydrates. To build up the body, repair the worn out parts and regulate the body processes they need all the nutrients. Diet plays a crucial role in the child’s development.

Apart from the diet follow the simple rules/things with your kids for healthy eating:

1. Environment: Your child should be eating food in a relaxed state. Give him/her fresh home cooked food.

2. Focus on Food: Do not give gadgets or phone or allow the child to watch television while eating. Rather tell him stories so that he enjoys food. Let the child concentrate on food rather than phone.

3. Use Your Kitchen Rather than Apps: Our own kitchen can create magic. Do not regularly use apps to order food. Instead create your own recipies for your kids. That’s what our previous generations used to do.

4. Going Back To Roots: Let the child go out and play and do some exercise. This will help him to build strength and will remain fit.

COCONUT : THE HOLY FOOD

Coconut is very popular in India and is considered as a holy food. It is also sent as a token of good luck in Indian marriages. Coconut is oily & smooth in nature and used in lot of food preparations especially in Southern parts of India. Protein found in coconut is regarded as high quality because it contains all the amino acids necessary for the body. It is also a good source of B vitamins and several minerals. When it is cold pressed, the oil is easily digestible. Coconut, green or ripe and coconut milk neutralizes or reduces stomach acids. Coconut milk is a refreshing drink because of its alkaline nature. Dried coconut (khopra) is good for the intestines because of its particular chemical content, the digestive residue serves as a brush to clean intestines. Coconut oil is excellent for hair growth, is cooling when used in sunburned skin, great for healing wounds, also moisturises the skin and is widely used in cosmetics & shampoos. There are many more amazing benefits of coconut. So start using coconut in your diet to lead a healthy life.

FASTING

FASTING
Fasting is defined as “complete voluntary abstinence from taking any kind of food for particular time, in order to give rest to the digestive system”. Fasting in a way is helpful to get rid of excess flesh tainted with toxic filth. This can be considered as one of the most hygienic practices that gives rest to the digestive system and can also help in curing diseases. It is also one of the cheapest and important mode of treatment.
Fasting can be classified into 3 different categories :
1. Short Duration : 2-5 days (with water and fruits)
2. Intermittent : 1-2 days (mainly with satvik diet)
3. Long Duration : More than 10 days
Fasting also depends on different methods :
1. Dry fasting : without drinking water
2. Water fasting : for acute diseases
3. Juice fasting : Acidic – for obesity & respiratory disease
Alkaline – for kidney disorders and diabetes
4. Fruit fasting : for weak person
5. Mono diet fasting : Only one type of diet in meal
Fasting (vrat/upwas) is a very old concept in Indian tradition. But in present day it has become a trendy fitness and lifestyle practice. In Hindu religion Ekadashi is said to be one of the most important day to observe fasting falls on the eleventh day of the fortnight. Apart from religious and spiritual significance fasting on Ekadashi also act as a preventive medicine. Maximum fasting is done during this period for the weather will aid in indigestion and also the quality of food is degenerative. Hence fasting is not only a part of worship, but a great instrument for self-discipline too.
Method of Fasting
Fasting is considered not from the last meal, but after the meal has been digested. One should drink water when ever he feels hungry. Daily from sunrise the faster should be without food for 6 hours or more, until natural hunger is experienced and then take a light meal with positive food. 2 meals per day is ideal. Chronically ill patients are not fit for fasting.
Preparation for Fasting
It is safe to prepare system for the fast through low protein diet, rich in positive minerals or raw food diet. For prolonged fast supplement in the form of dilute acid, acid fruit juices which have neutralizing effect on toxins and elimination effect. They are splendid tonics, antiseptics and life elements.

Breaking the Fast
Small quantity of light food, which can be digested easily like dilute fruit juices, tender coconut water, vegetable soups and thin butter milk should be taken. Later when digestive power increases, heavy foods can be consumed. After recovery always consume positive food (sprouts, salads, fruits, fresh juice) in the required quantity.
Try out this nutritious ragi porridge to break the fast. Its super yummy and super healthy.

NAVRATRI : KNOW THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF PRASAD OFFERED

A festival is a special occasion of feasting or celebration, usually with a religious focus. It helps us to keep connected to our roots, our culture, our values, our origin and to preserve it. It helps people come together and celebrate. Navratri is a post-monsoon festival which is dedicated to 9 forms of Durga. Navratri signifies a battle and victory of good over evil. Each day of Navratri is dedicated to different Avtaars of Goddess Durga. Devotees consider the fasts and festivals incomplete without offering Bhog. A distinct food and colour is attached to each day of Navratri. The different Prasad/bhog offered to the Goddess has different significance and health benefits as well. Most of us are not aware the benefits these Prasad. The Nine forms of Durga which is worshipped are Shailapurti, Brahmacharini, Chandarghanta, Kushmanda, Skand Mata, Katyayani, Kaalratri, Mahagauri and Siddhidatri.
Colour Blue is associated with Goddess Shailaputri. Devotees wear blue colour sabudana khichdi or rajgira laddoo is made for Prasad. Sabudana (sago) is a type of starch extracted from tropical palms like Metroxylon sagu. Sago contains antioxidants and resistant starch and has been linked to many benefits, including improving risk factors for heart disease and enhancing exercise performance. They are rich in carbs, an important source of energy for your body. It can be purchased in two main forms — flour or pearls. While the flour is pure starch, the pearls are small balls of sago that are made by mixing the starch with water and partially heating them. Naturally gluten-free, sago is a good substitute for wheat-based flour and grains in baking and cooking for those on restricted diets.
Amaranth (Rajgira) is high in protein and has an abundance of nutrients like calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. This is the only grain to have vitamin C. It also has lysine, an amino acid, that helps to absorb calcium. Since it contains more calcium than milk, can reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Colour Yellow is associated with Goddess Brahmacharini and Prasad offered is singhara ata halwa or raw banana burfi. Singhara atta is gluten free and high on fibre. It gives you the feeling of being full, thereby, preventing you to binge on other high-fattening foods. Raw bananas are rich in vitamins. They comprise most essential vitamins and minerals, great for diabetics, are rich in fibre, prevents stomach problems and also helps in weight loss.
Colour green is associated with Goddess Chandraghanta, the Goddess of Peace & Serenity. Prasad offered is makhana kheer. Makhana are low in cholesterol, fat and sodium. They are beneficial to those suffering from high blood pressure, heart diseases and obesity due to their high magnesium and low sodium content.
Colour grey is offered to Goddess Kushmanda, worshipped to get rid of pain and diseases. Buckwheat atta malpua is offered in the form of bhog. It is great for heart health , promotes weight loss, and helps to manage diabetes. Buckwheat is a good source of protein, fiber, and energy and also improves digestion. It is considered as super food and is becoming popular among the gluten free crowd.
Colour orange is associated with Goddess Skandmata. Ripe banana is offered as Prasad.
Banana is heavyweight when it comes to nutrition. It is loaded with essential vitamins and minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, folate, niacin, riboflavin, and B6. These all contribute to the proper functioning of the body and keeping you healthy.
Due to the high iron content in bananas, they are good for those suffering from anaemia.
Colour White is associated with Goddess Katyayani and honey is offered as Prasad. We are now very well aware of the benefits of honey. To add some more to it they are rich in antioxidants and helps in weight management. It is excellent for skin which helps in reducing wrinkles and fine lines on face. It helps to lower blood pressure and helps to improve cholesterol.
Colour red is associated with Goddess Kaalratri and jaggery is offered as Prasad. Generates heat inside the body, boosts immunity within the body. It also prevents constipation and enhances the production of digestive enzymes. Helps in preventing joint pain and detoxifies the body. Jaggery eases menstrual cramp pain and as it is rich in iron content, prevents anemia.
Sky blue is associated with Mahagauri and coconut is offered as Prasad. Coconut contains vitamin B6, iron, and minerals like magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese, and selenium. About half of the saturated fat in coconut comes from lauric acid, which can help raise levels of heart-protective HDL (“good”) cholesterol.
Colour Pink is associated with Goddess Siddhidatri. Dishes like halwa, puri and chana are offered as bhog as devotees break their nine day fast and worship all nine form of Goddess Durga.
It is important to go back to our roots and understand our culture, tradition, festivals, food associated to those festivals and the health benefits of every Prasad offered. In olden days people did not know what about calories or carbohydrates or nutritive values of food. Yet they lead a healthy, happy and disease free life. Today we are moving away from our culture and from roots, especially our traditional food. So this Navratri, let’s promise to go back to our roots and make our lives healthier and happier.

HEALTHIER & HAPPIER DIWALI

ALTERNATIVES TO REFINED SUGAR
Happiness is in air since Diwali is approaching. Sweets are integral part of Diwali celebration. It is hard to imagine celebrating Diwali without thinking about giving sweets. From your neighbour to best friend, it is the must have gift that you buy to celebrate the occasion. Why are Indian sweets mandatory to have for celebration ? In olden days it was said that all ingredients in mithais, that is, sugar, milk and ghee are considered to be “sattvic” which means pure and can be eaten by everyone, even spiritual leaders and vegetarians. Since they are pure ingredients, mithai is offered to the gods and distributed to the devotees in temples. Mithai is also used to break fasts or eaten during a fast bering in mind that the term mithai has no religious significance. This old tradition has been kept alive for centuries and mithai will always be served at times of celebrations. But at the same time we also need to understand that in olden days the mithais were not made out of refined sugar. Today refined sugar is used in preparations of desserts which is the root cause of 60-65% health ailments. We get so much addicted to sugar that it becomes extremely difficult to stop eating sweets. Apart from gaining weight consumption of large amount of sugar can also lead to wrinkles on skin, acne on skin & digestive disorders as it is acidic in nature. It can increase the chances of Type II diabetes and tooth decay.
This article will help you to understand the alternatives that can replace refined sugar and will supply nutrition to your body as well.

1. DESIKHAND/KHADI SAAKHAR/MISHRI

This is available in rock form. Do not buy crystal sugars as they are not natural sweetners. Mishri works as cooling agent in our body and hence it is used to prepare ayurvedic medicines. So instead of refined sugar we can use mishri to make sweets and even use for making hot and cold beverages as they are nutritious which supplies calcium, magnesium, iron and dietary fibre. This is easily available in local markets.

2. DATE SUGAR

You can either make date sugar at home or can buy from market. It you want to make it at home then remove seeds from dry dates and cut it into pieces. Roast these pieces in a pan on low flame and churn it in mixer to make powder. This can be stored in an air tight container for 2-3 months. You cannot use this for beverages as date sugar has different flavour and it won’t get dissolved in hot or cold beverages. You can use date sugar to make any dessert right from kheer and halwa to cakes and cookies. It is the healthiest option as it is loaded with vitamins, minerals and fibres. Regular intake of date sugar can reduce cholesterol and helps to strengthen bones. For people who cannot digest food easily and who feel very tired easily date sugar is very helpful.

3. COCONUT SUGAR

Coconut sugar is unrefined and free of chemicals. This property makes it healthier and a great alternative to refined sugar. Though the calorie content of coconut sugar is similar to refined sugar but the advantage over refined sugar is it can be easily digested. It is very light and contains mainly iron, potassium, zinc, calcium. It is easily available either online or in departmental store.

4. JAGGERY

Jaggery contains more nutrients as compared to mishri, coconut sugar or date sugar as this is available in the most unrefined and raw form. Sugar is acidic in nature whereas jaggery is alkaline in nature. If you follow more alkaline diet then you remain healthy and free from diseases. Jaggery even helps to cleanse the liver.

5. RAW HONEY

This is a natural sweetner which is also beneficial for health. It is important to pick raw honey as there are adulterated honey available in the market. Try to buy honey where in the packet it is mentioned either “unrefined” or “unprocessed” or “raw honey”. It is excellent to get rid of any skin problem and also helps in weight management.

WHY EAT FINGER MILLET (RAGI) ?

Finger millets are best food grain collection, which are rich in proteins, fibres and minerals and also other form of vitamins and minerals. This is the traditional grain which are used less in our daily diet. This is mainly because of not knowing the nutritional values of the grain. The usage of finger millet will help to grow healthy avoiding all health problems caused due to lack of vital proteins, vitamins, minerals, fibres and other components. Most importantly its gluten free and adds mild flavour.
Since finger millet is not an acid forming food they are soothing and easy to digest. They are considered as least allergic and most digestible grains available. Also are the richest source of calcium, about 10 times that of rice or wheat. It releases lesser percentage of glucose and hence lowers the risk of diabetes. Dietary fibre which is present as soluble and insoluble form in finger millets is proved to play an important role in the management of metabolic disorders like diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidemia, improve bowel motility and in turn reduce the incidence of colon cancer.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF FINGER MILLETS

1. Lowers the risk of diabetes

It helps to lower the blood glucose levels and improves insulin response. Besides the magnesium present is a co-factor for more than 300 enzymes, including enzymes involved in the body’s use of glucose and insulin secretion and metabolism of glucose in the body. Since it has low glycemic index it increases the satiety by decreasing hunger because it slows the rate of digestion. Type of starch (amylose/amylopectin) also influences the Glycemic Index. They have high amylose content which is why they are slow in absorbing and sustainably release sugar to our blood and enable to work for long durations.

2. Heart Protective Properties

Finger millet is a grain that should also be included in the list of heart healthy choices because of its status as a good source of magnesium. Magnesium has been shown in studies to reduce the severity of asthma and to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks. Magnesium also lowers high blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attack. Niacin (Vitamin B3) can be of help in lowering high cholesterol. A cup of cooked finger millet provides 19% of the daily value for magnesium.

3. Development and Repair of Body Tissue

The phosphorus provided by millet plays a role in the structure of every cell in the body. In addition to its role in forming the mineral matrix of bone, phosphorus is an essential component of numerous other life-critical compounds including adenosine triphosphate or ATP, the molecule that is the energy currency of the body. Phosphorus is an important component of nucleic acids, the building blocks of the genetic code. A cup of cooked finger millet will give you 17% of the daily value for phosphorus.


4. Other Benefits

a. Since its alkaline, it gets digested easily
b. It hydrates the colon and keeps away from constipation
c. Prevents Gallstones
d. Substantially Lower Type 2 Diabetes Risk
e. Excellent in case of jaundice
f. Its gluten free and hence non allergic
g. Finger millet tops in Antioxidant activity

BROKEN WHEAT : DALIA

What are millets?

Dalia has been a part of the Indian cuisine since ages. Made with broken wheat, it is easy to digest and is full of nutrition. It is high in fibre and is believed to be one of the best foods for weight loss. It can be made in several ways and is one of the healthiest options for breakfast/lunch and dinner. Here are some reasons why you must include it in your daily diet.

Rich In Fiber: Dalia is very rich in fiber content. This is why it cures constipation and increases metabolism.

A Complete Meal: Just like milk, Dalia is also a complete meal. It has loads of nutrients which make it apt as an ideal breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a dish for an evening snack.

Weight Loss: Dalia is ideal for those who want to have a flat tummy. Consume it prepared in hot milk or fried Dalia prepared using vegetables, Dalia in any form is a very good source of macro and micronutrients.

Good Source of Minerals: Dalia is a good source of the daily requirement of fiber and manganese.

It Keeps Your Tummy Full: Dalia is slow to digest, so it keeps our tummy full for long and does not let you get hunger pangs.

Low-Fat Diet: Dalia is extremely low in fat content. Thus, it is very good even for those who have any issues with the fear of putting on weight.

Good for Diabetics: Those patients who are suffering from Diabetes, can eat Dalia and remain healthy for a longer period.

Lowers Risk of Breast Cancer: Women those who consume Dalia on a regular basis, have a lower risk of acquiring breast cancer.

Good For Growing Children : Dalia is a natural source of B-vitamins, minerals, fibre and protein and is much healthier than packaged foods as it has no preservatives. You can also make interesting dishes with it and hence it is an ideal food for growing children.

Easy To Cook : One reason why dalia should be a part of your daily diet is that, it can be cooked easily and can be made into a number of recipes. You just need to boil it and add milk, veggies or tempering of your choice and enjoy.

Easy To Digest : Dalia can be digested easily and hence is given as primary diet to patients who are recovering from prolonged illnesses and older people who suffer from digestion issues.

AMAZING BENEFITS OF MILLETS

What are millets?

Millets are cereal crops and small seed grasses. They are widely used in African and Asian countries. Millets are majorly cultivated in the semiarid tropical regions of Africa and Asia, around 97 percent of world’s overall millet production happens in these regions. These are now known as super foods all over the world. In olden days, Indians used millets to prepare variety of dishes. These have incredible nutrient rich composition.

Also gluten free millets can play a pivotal role in preventing and curing several health issues. Enriched with the goodness of nature, millets are a rich source of fiber, minerals like magnesium, phosphorous, iron, calcium, zinc and potassium. Millets are extremely nutritious and good for health and they can be stored for years, as they have a long shelf life. Millets make for a perfect healthy meal. In fact, it is often advised to prepare millets in the form of porridge for growing kids and aging adults.
Millets are not only healthy but at the same time they have a unique taste. With various culinary innovations, millets like ragi, jowar and bajra are used to prepare several snacks and dishes like Ragi Idli, Millet Khichidi, Apple Ragi Halwa( healthy for toddlers), Ragi Cookies etc. Moreover, millets can make meals palatable and visually appealing. Some of the health benefits of millets are :
1. Rich source of magnesium, which helps in stimulating the level of insulin, thereby increasing the efficiency of glucose receptors in the body, which further helps in maintaining a healthy balance of sugar level in the body. This helps in reducing the chance of diabetes type 2.

2. Rich in fiber, millets make for a healthy cereal, which can help in digestion and can relieve bowel issues. It helps in gastrointestinal problems and can ease in other diseases related to the liver and kidney.

3. Millets are loaded with certain components which further help in removing foreign agents and free radicals and balance the enzymatic reactions in the body. These can naturally detoxify the blood.

Types of millets

Jowar (Sorghum)

Sorghum is commonly known as Jowar in India. Traditionally, jowar was used as a grain to make flat breads/ rotis. Enriched with the goodness of iron, protein and fibre, jowar can help in reducing cholesterol level.

Ragi (Finger Millet)

Ragi is used as a healthy substitute for rice and wheat. Ragi is undoubtedly a powerhouse of nutrition. It is rich in protein and this gluten free millet is good for brain development in growing kids.

Bajra (Pearl millet)

This millet is known for its umpteen health benefits. Packed with the goodness of iron, protein, fibre, and minerals such as calcium and magnesium; the daily consumption or inclusion of this millet can work wonders.

Samvat Ke Chawal (Barnyard millet)
This nutrient dense millet has high fiber content, which can effectively help in losing weight. It is a rich source of calicum and phosphorius, which helps in bone building and its daily caonsumption helps infighting bone diseases.

Chena (Proso millet)
This millet can effectively help in balancing blood sugar level. Its low glycemic index has made it a fad among weight watchers.

Sama (Little millet)
Packed with the goodness of B-vitamins, minerals like calcium, iron, zinc and potassium, little millets can provide essential nutrients, which further help in weight loss. It is a part of many traditional dishes in south India. What’s more, more than anything its high fiber content makes it a healthy replacement for rice.

Kuttu (Buckwheat)
The name buckwheat causes some confusion as it is related to wheat. But this gluten-free seed is unrelated to wheat, although it can be used in place of wheat grains such as bulgur, wheat berries, spelt using the same cooking method. It is comparatively inexpensive source of high-quality protein.