To snack or not to snack….?

Weight loss industry is a few billion dollars industry and every one feels that they know more about the diet and exercise. It is funny! You will not see a doctor or any medical professional giving advice about what could be the outcome of legal issues or engineering issues etc, but everyone thinks that they know about diet and exercise. Few people take crash course and become diet counsellor. Some people even do not need to take course. They go on the internet, google what they want, and become self-proclaimed counsellor. While seeing my clients, I come across this very frequently. Then I have to explain few things about the dietary pattern and why crash diet won’t work and why do you feel like you feel right now? Frequently questions that  I get are ( For those who want to lose weight),” should I snack , how many times should I snack and what should I snack?”Let’s address the issue, Shall we?

Typically a person eats 3 major meals and few times snacks. People take breakfast, snack , lunch, snack, snack and dinner and one more post dinner snack may be. Wow! Every couple of hours, we are eating, pushing something in the stomach. Majority type of snacks are fried foods, bread and cheese,chips, cookies, bars, sandwich, fancy snacks etc. Well, how many of people actually eat consciously? Let us look at our body as if we are looking at a third person. –

We have a stomach which holds and stores food and releases into intestine approximately 2-3 hours. Not completely, but major portion of it. When that happens and blood glucose starts falling, your stomach sends signal to your brain about food. When there is true hunger, your mouth starts salivating with the thought of food, stomach starts expanding. The stomach has muscles which needs to go back to the original size from time to time to function at optimum level. What happens if the rubber is kept stretched for long time, it starts losing its elasticity.Right?  Similarly when stomach is stretched for long time, it starts to lose its recoil and the stretch receptors (which give the signal that your stomach is full) do not function properly. This results in eating more food, because you don’t think you are full. It requires at least 15-20 minutes for stomach to send the signal that” I am full, ask the mouth to stop eating”.  As we are in hurry , we dump all the food in to stomach and expect stomach to digest it every couple of hours. The body has to work extra to fully utilize what has been dumped. How long is stomach going to suffer? It gets exhausted. It produces much more acid and when it occurs frequently, we get” acidity, indigestion, stomach upset etc” . Sounds familiar?  Good. Lets move further.

The type of snacks we eat are usually rich in carbohydrates, refined foods and artificial ingredients. No nutrition and lot of things to process, body then starts showing lethargy and weakness and dullness. “I feel tired at the end of the day” is the most common complaint. So what do we usually do? We get some cookies and coffee or tea and few tea time snacks and try to get out of the tiredness. Also by feeding our stomach continuously with these sugary snacks( Oh Deepti, but I do not eat sugar!! Well all carbohydrates get converted into glucose , you do not need to eat sugar to get glucose .) we continuously increase our insulin levels. Result? The weight gain-Both muscle and fat( more of fat) , then insulin resistance and then the breaking news- Ting ting ting! You have been diagnosed with type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. How did it happen? I don’t know!Ask yourself! Those with family history, if do not take measure early, have to suffer from diabetes at early age. Wake up nation! Time to change!!. Oh, but my ancestors used to eat a lot of snacks? Yes that’s true but they did more physical work too. Right?

All I am saying is take a break from eating continuously. If you are going to eat lunch within 4 hours of breakfast, then please do not have a snack in between.But what about increasing metabolism? I will lose my metabolism. 😱 No silly! Giving a break to eating in between gives time to prepare gastric juices which will help in proper digestion of food. We want optimal metabolism, not the excess metabolism. Excess one will burn you out. How to eat sensibly? Always add protein and good fat in breakfast. Same with post lunch snack and post dinner snack if required. We are supposed to keep a gap of 4-5 hours between major meals. When the gap is longer then have a snack which is usually vegetable/ fruit with protein and good fats like apple and cheese, carrots and hummus, cucumber and full fat yogurt or a glass of buttermilk or boiled egg or boiled chana/chickpeas. It should just keep you going through the time to have a proper meal. Drink a glass of water every few hours. We usually confuse thirst with hunger. So let’s do sensible snacking or UNsnacking ! 😉

P.S. – This advice is not for people who are on multiple dose of insulin or athletes. Check with your doctor and please do not follow any advice blindly.

Protein..a little bit goes long way.

Well today’s topic is about an important part of our meal. As you read it right. It is about proteins. Today half of the world is obsessed with protein and half of the world has no clue about it. So what is it? Why is it important? Well protein forms an important structure in our body. To put it in blunt way if you do not have enough proteins and calcium then you won’t stand up straight. Yes, that is right! You won’t have ability to fight with infections, walk around with energy and be a happy person. Hmm? Something to think about?

On the other hand, some people overdo proteins. They want to bulk up in muscles and look like hulk! Athletes need more protein than general population. Kids and pregnant woman too. You know interesting thing about proteins – You do not need more than 30% of your daily calories from protein. If you eat more than 30% , body turns it beautifully into glucose and then excess glucose gets stored as triglycerides i.e. Fat. 🙂 So when people say I am not loosing weight despite eating protein, you know the reason. 🙂

What are the benefits of adding protein in our diet in terms of weight management? – 1. Increase in immunity.

2.Increase in satiety. Yes. That is true. When we add protein our hunger goes away for long time. When we eat daal with our meal, we feel full for long time. We can sustain for 3-4 hours easily.

3. It makes you look young. How? It makes the base stronger and keeps face tight. Protein helps in keeping you look younger.

How often should we eat protein? In every meal. Every major meal should have at least 10-15gms protein. Basically 1/4th of the 10 inch plate should be protein.Not more,not less.

How can we incorporate that in vegetarian meals – Include daal, sprouted pulses, paneer, yogurt, milk in the diet. Include nuts and seeds on daily basis. Other options are tofu, seitan, tempeh , soy milk etc. Even grains, vegetables have some protein in them.

Some of the vegetarian proteins are complete like chia seeds or hemp seeds or buckwheat. That is they have all essential amino acids in them. However most of the vegetarian source of protein is not. They lack in one or more essential amino acids. So how are we doing if just eat plain daals and sprouts and no grains? We can not live just on seeds too? Many people make mistakes in making good food choices. Our ancestors have thought of it. That is why rajma is served with rice and ghee. Khichdi ( moong daal+ rice combo) or pongal is served to ill person for a reason. No doubt it also has carbs in it, but it also makes complete protein.

When you eat right kind of food( protein) it keeps you calm and keep going with enthusiasm..:) Continue reading

Life experiences.

I had been through some tough times  that I did not want to do anything. I was told by my parents to write in my blog but I guess I needed to believe in me. How many times have you heard that nobody will believe in you unless you believe in yourself. I heard it. Lot of times! So why I was not believing in myself when I needed the most? I don’t know. I needed approval from others to tell myself that I am a good person. I was cranky and irritated to the extent that I wanted to punch someone if they were not obeying the rules. I was constantly angry. I was angry that I have failed myself and my family. Even though I was listening to the motivational talks and doing everything to get me happy , I was angry and jealous of everything. I was angry that I am not organised and what they will say if they see my home! I was constantly blaming myself about what I have done and I was living the past of torture.

           Did somebody say something sometimes that I got hurt? I guess. But they did not want to hurt me intentionally. Right? Then why I was holding to that and ruining my life? Why I would constantly dig into my past and would dig into “similar experiences that hurt me”? And then dwelling on them and tried to ruin my “present”? It is a present for me right? I would go over things that I left in the middle and did not complete till end. And would tell myself “I don’t complete anything”, ” I just gave up in the middle “, “I am not good enough “. And that would make me so angry I could not express myself. I would think am I worthy enough? Have I taken right decisions so far? Whatever I am doing currently, is this right? What others think of me? I should be good and presentable and all should like me and always speak nice of me. Can anyone relate to that? I was constantly in tension and frown became my friend. It was my self talk that was making things worse.

         Fortunately I have my friends and family around me to support. I have my greatest cheerleader Sree with me. He told me, “Deepti , you are a fighter! Whatever happens, how many times you fail in your task, just get up one more time than you fail. You are a part of Deshpande family now and you know what Deshpande’s always finish their task whether it is good or bad. It may be extreme but I am not letting you quit till you finish. So whether the outcome is good or bad, finish the task you have. Don’t care about people judging you.” My dad always say this in Hindi – हाथी चाले अपनी चाल, कुत्ते भौंके हज़ार। That means “let the dogs bark but the caravan is moving on”. And one of our mentors Kulin Desai helped me to change my self talk. He also has written a book called ” Believe and Achieve “. It is available as an e-book in US as of now.

        I listen to motivational talks and read motivational books everyday. In one of the talks the person said ” don’t tell me your defeats unless you have a victory to tell at the end”. And another person said – ” If you get angry because of someone, you are letting him/her control your mind and you are the one who should control your mind”. So what if I am not acting according to what people says. I have heard people say many things about me- that I am different. I am emotional, I am not as smart as ___ is.  Old Deepti might have been hurt by this but new Deepti doesn’t care.

        So what if I care about environment, and being green, and being animal lover and I want people to get along well and I sometimes fall and take not so good decisions. Learning from those mistakes makes you smart. Whatever I learnt till now should be for our betterment physically, spiritually and mentally . I won’t write ,” Right ?”. Because I know it is right.. Hey I might be crazy but not stupid! 😉

Desserts in the Season for a Reason. :)

I was speaking to my husband about  different rituals and how they are related to particular season in India. All over India on the day of Sankrant/Sankranti/Sankrantri( People call it differently) usually dessert made with Sesame seeds and jaggery( raw brown sugar) is eaten. As this is my favorite ladoo of all the ladoos, I let myself eat it by controlling carbohdrates ofcourse. My husband does not like sesame seeds but he likes sesame ladoos. As I went for shopping for sesame seeds and jaggery from Indian store in New Jersey, I was explaining to my husband about special desserts for special season which is for a reason. As we had that discussion, he told me this is I think; followed in Maharashtra because I did not knew about this before you explained it to me. I was like, okay then! I should write it down in my blog for a reason! That to spread knowledge about why we have a particular dessert assigned for a particular season.

Most important reason is local availability. The food which is abundant in a particular season makes an entry into the plate. Even in US, you will find apple pies and pumpkin pies in the fall season and winter season and blueberry pies and peach cobbler in summer. Also in the season you will get most of nutrition using locally grown fruits and vegetables.

I am all of a sudden getting a feeling of writing an essay in exam. 🙂 Anyway where was I? Yeah so I will talk about Maharashtrian festivals with assigned desserts. 🙂  Let’s start from January. (Please note- I am writing about the festivals that I know and celebrate. There are many festivals other than these main ones that I have no idea about. Please let me know if you know about them.)

Makarsankranti- Sesame and jaggery dessert- ladoo/vadi- Essential fatty acids, anitoxidants and energy- Protects from seasonal change from cold into hotter season.

Holi- Color of festival- Puranpoli [a sweet roti made with chana(garbanzo beans) and jaggery and served with ghee]- with all the weather change and play with colors for long time we need energy and protein with fat.

Gudipadwa- New Year for the state of Maharashtra, India- Shrikhand( It’s greek yogurt/hungcurd with sugar and nuts and cardmom-nutmeg-saffron) – The season gets hotter and we need good probiotics to improve immunity. It keeps us calm and cool. Also neem leaves with jaggery and turmeric are eaten on the first day to improve immunity.

Chaitrapuja- Amba daal and panha- Raw mango along with raw soaked chana daal and raw mango drink- Abundant vitamin C, A, protein during summer in India.

Ramnavmi- Summer season- Sunthwada/ladoo- Dried ginger with other spices and jaggery/sugar. – Immunity, Antioxidants during summer.

Naralipornima/Rakshabandhan- Narali Bhat( Sweet coconut rice) – Locally grown rice with coconut( good fat ) and jaggery.

Ganapati and Gauri puja- Steamed Modak( Sweet rice/wheat flour dumplings with fresh coconut, jaggery and nuts) with ghee and also puranpoli- To increase good fat in the diet as the temperature is going to cool down.

Dasara/Dashahara- Shrikhand again.- Why? October heat demands something cold and high protein.

Kojagiri- Warm milk spiced with nutmeg and cardmom and safron with nuts- abundance of dairy and spices for immunity.

Diwali- All fried foods like chakli, sev, anarsa, karanji- Abundance of food and good fats for body’s increased demand to fight cold weather.

There completes the complete circle of main Maharshtrian festivals along with particular desserts! 🙂 Now you will ask, what about people’s favorite gulab jamun and jalebi? They were not prepared as a routine in any festival. They had place in weddings. I think too many people , so sugar syrup soaked desserts could stay for long time. Another thing that I came to know about Indian desserts is that they are served at the time of rest of the lunch or dinner and not after the meal like in Western method of serving. What this does is knowingly or unknowingly we have a portion control over our food intake ( Ok I am not talking about people who do not chew food but gulp food). Any extra carbohydrate load after a meal gets converted into fat. Aaanyway! Too long post! I know! But I hope this spreads knowlwedge about why “we ( Yes I call myself oldfashioned or in my dad’s language- I am music asia) insist on eating local foods and making local desserts at local festivals.”

 

 

Kojagiri ( Who is awake?)

                         This is a Maharshtrian festival that is not known much outside of Maharashtra. It is actually 16 days festival which ends on the full moon day in the month of October or November. ( month of Ashwin in Indian calendar) You can say it is similar to navratra in Gujarat or West Bengal. I am not totally sure about this festival, how it is performed but all I know is in Nagpur we used to see idols of shiv-parvati aka bhooloji and bhoolabai. I remember when I was staying in apartment complex in Nagpur, I had lot of friends of my age group. We used to play from evening till night in the small area in front of our apartment. During this festival all aunts and mom would go down their memory lane ( just like I am in right now) and enjoy their childhood games. They even tried to reach us their games which they specifically used to play in this festival. Let me see how much I remember.

                        It was girls festival/married women festival. All the newly wedded women would be at their parents house from Raakhi festival till Diwali festival. This bhoolabai festival would be an opportunity to meet all the friends and relatives in the evening everyday and have some fun. It would start with pooja of elephant on the first day and the pooja( offering ) of bhooloji -bhoolabai . Then games would start. At that time , they did not have any special mind games or race or competition. ( this is my interpretation) So it was kind of folk dance and it would have games of langdi( different methods of hopping on one foot), fugdi ( I can not explain it) , then playing with sticks( like navratri) and with supli .( Again I can not explain how to play with supli and what it is.)  The ladies used to sing songs which would mostly say how good are my parents as compared to in laws . They are funny songs. I still remember few lines of the songs that were taught by my mom and her friends. Few that I remember are akkan mati, karlyacha vel, yadavraya rani rusun baisali kaisi, zippra kutra soda ga bai, etc. Listening to these songs still bring smile to my face. I still remember my fight with my friend Snehal over how to end the  song Yaadavraya. The basic song is that everyone in the in laws come and asks the newly wed to come back to home. They offer different things but the newly wed does not want to go from her parents place. Finally her husband comes and asks her to come to “her home” and she agrees. That was the time me and Snehal would fight. She would say, if the girl is not listening, then husband is going to beat her to come home and she goes because of fear of getting beaten and my point was that husband is very nice and he says you are love of my life and as a token I am offering you mangalsutra made of pure gold. Newly wed is thrilled with her husband’s gesture and goes happily. And our fights would start. That was fun! 

                 After playing for sometime , then it would be time for snacks. Somebody would make small snack and would keep in a box and then everybody had to guess which snack  it would be . On the last day i.e. Full moon day, there would be masala doodh/ coffee with some snacks. And everybody would be staying late looking at the sky. Have you ever looked at moon on this full moon day? It looks amazingly beautiful. If you get a chance look at the sky. This year it is on 27th October. The masala doodh( spiced milk) is cooked in open space with all of the family sitting around and chatting. ( whole family not just girls/ women). It is said that those who are awake on the night of this full moon day are blessed with health and wealth by shiv-parvati. According to folk story they go around and bless those who are awake. That’s why it is called Kojagiri( who is awake). I don’t believe in it but I like the whole atmosphere created around this time of the year. It is little cold outside, there is a pot of boiling milk in the open area and all family members and chatting and singing songs. No loud music or songs. Artist in everyone would come out and there is love and laughter around . It is magic ! Special campfire I would say! And I love it till now.
       Even after going to Mumbai for post graduation , we resident doctors posted in one hospital had celebrated Kojagiri at night. That is another sweet memory pearl in my memory pearl collection.

   So what does it has to do with the health , you might ask. These festivals were startegically placed to enjoy and meet family members and friends. These create special bond and helps reducing stress. The folk dance also creates sense of unity and also helps in burning calories together so that one can enjoy nuts and seeds and special foods at night. 

I know, I have a dream. My kids when they will go to school( yet to be conceived, even though) , I am going to invite all of their friends and their parents for Kojagiri sleepover party. I am going to teach them about these games that tests strength and flexibility and also they will know how to be together . They will know about folk dance. And I know one day my kids would say -” those were wonderful games that my mom taught me. There were fun, laughter and love all around . I love those festivals”. 

Carbohydrates counting Part -2.

Sree said after reading my first part of carbohydrate counting is that I am inspired by Bahubali to write in two parts. Basically if I tell you everything in one part you won’t be able too grasp it.

Let’s start with counting.. Shall we?

Like I mentioned before 1gm of carbs will give 4 Calories. Also 60% of  protein will be converted into glucose usually after 2 hours of eating. If the food is rich in carbohydrates and proteins is bit lower then you don’t have to take account of protein but if you are not at all eating carbs and eating lots of protein ( I would say more than 15 GMs usually, but for me it is more than 6 GMs, so it varies with person) then protein is the factor which is going to determine the blood glucose level.

One rule is – do not eat more than 45 GMs of carbohydrates at any meal for woman and 60 GMs in males. Again it depends on the amount of activity you have done before and about to do in next couple of hours).

And snacks should be 0-15 GMs per snack time.

Now I am going to tell you about second meal effect. It is the effect observed when your previous meal has an effect on the next meal. For example if you eat low carbs ( and complex carbohydrates like whole grains) with protein and fat combination in breakfast, it will have a positive effect on the post lunch blood glucose. We can take advantage of it. How ? If fasting blood glucose is the challenge, try having early dinner and less amount of carbs (<30) in the dinner and not to have any carbs post dinner. Again please take it with a pinch of salt. ( Not literally!) My advice is about the person who is on insulin pump and can detect hypoglycaemia by themselves. Are we okay with this? Let’s move ahead.

If we are planning to eat Indian square meal- that is  roti, rice, daal, vegetable and dahi and salad, how to make around 45 gms carbohydrates meal? Fill half of your plate with vegetables ( cooked and raw), 1/4 th plate carbohydrates and 1/4 th plate proteins.

1/3rd cup cooked rice/ soji/ pasta- 15 gms carbohydrates.

30gm roti/ bhakri/ paratha/ bread – 15 gms carbohydrates each.

1/2 cup thick daal -15 gms carbohydrates and around 8-10 gms proteins.

120 gms paneer( 4oz) will have 16 gms of proteins.

1 cup dairy milk- 12-15 gms carbohydrates and 8 gms proteins.

Potatoes- 1 cup -26gms carbohydrates including skin and flesh .

Non starchy vegetables like cucumbers, leafy vegetables- 5 gms per cup.

Peanuts and other nuts- 30 gms(1 oz) – 5 gms carbohydrates.

When we eat chicken or fish- 1 piece of chicken or fish weighing around 120gms ( 4 oz) has around 28 gms of proteins! That’s a lot in a small piece. Here we would need to count carbohydrates in the chicken and the bolus would be dual wave/ multiwave bolus as blood glucose will remain high till 6-8 hours post eating.

I think this pretty much wraps the carbohydrate counting. Now you would ask what about fruits ? Aren’t they important part of life providing vitamins and minerals? Yes they are important. But on purpose I am not putting them. Why? I want you to search and measure and count for yourself. We learn and understand when we do it practically. Like I said I am health coach and not a health map. Coach guides student and shows the way but students have to play the game. Coach does not replace student and says I will do it instead of you since I had done it in the past. So my point is use your tools , use these guidelines and remain healthy. Best wishes from my side.

Counting carbohydrates for people with Diabetes mellitus- part 1

I know it is a boring title and the message in it is cliché. Sometimes it gets on my nerves to read even a line with nutritional advice in it. I get it. Especially from those who know nothing about body composition, biochemistry and physiology. Sometimes I want to scream at them!  But then I try to calm myself and Sree has to bear everything. Poor him! The story behind this post is my mother told me one day that there are people in India who are on insulin pumps but they have no idea about carbohydrate counting and managing insulin. I won’t call myself expert in it, I am still learning about carbohydrate counting. Whatever knowledge I have gathered being a person with type 1DM for 25 years, being on insulin pump for 8 years and being a Medical Doctor specializing in managing patients with diabetes, I am going to explain here in parts.

Why carbohydrate counting for patient with Diabetes Mellitus? Because major impact on blood glucose is by carbohydrates or starch that we eat. Proteins and fats also get converted into glucose too. Shocked? It is a reality. Let me put it this way – 1 gm of carbohydrate will get converted 100% into glucose.Out of 1 gm of protein that we eat 60% will be glucose in next 2-8 hours and out of 1 gm of fat, 10% of it into glucose in next 2-8 hours.

People with diabetes mellitus basically have a lot of fluctuations in blood glucose and that extra spill of blood glucose also causes our body to convert the glucose into triglycerides as a storage form in presence of insulin. Increase in blood glucose by eating more, followed by taking insulin for keeping blood glucose in control leads to increase in triglycerides and increase in weight. That is one of the reason people put on weight when they start using pump. I went through that and I don’t want you guys to go through it!

How much carbohydrates should we eat as a person with diabetes mellitus( also normal people who do not want diabetes.) – Less than 150 gms a day. Also it depends on how physical is your work. If the person is doing all the manual labor work then 150 gms would be low for him as he/she needs more carbohydrates for instant energy. If it is a sedentary work I would say go as low as possible without going into hypoglycemia. For in general carbohydrate counting you will need measuring cups at least 1/3rd cup and 1/2 cup, measuring spoons, small food scale. I know this is a lot, but trust me it is worth it. Remaining we will see in next blog post.

Naivedya/Naivedyam.( Offering to God).

According to Indian calendar it is the  month of  Shravan  where everyday of every week has a festival and some pooja for GOD. For example Monday in Shravan is for Lord Shiv called Shrvani Somvar and then Tuesday for Mangalgauri and so on. From childhood I used to love this month of the year because our school used to get over early and also we used to meet our cousins and have fun. The raakhi festival or rakshabandhan festival also comes during this month. It was fun to pick raakhis and get gifts from brothers. This is also month where almost all Hindu people will be purely lactovegetarian and all foods will be without onions and ginger and garlic and eggplants. Not just a day or two but a whole month!! When I looked into the reason about this tradition being followed from ages, I found out that during this rainy season( It is rainy season in Indian continent in month of Shravan) all these vegetables or condiments get either fungus on them( in India) or there is a high chance of  contamination with parasites. To avoid getting sick, this tradition started. Wise people!

This was also the time when I used to dread eating foods at home. Please don’t get me wrong.. I love the taste of these delicious , fried savory as well as loaded sugar foods but I just hate getting food coma and more importantly getting my blood glucose raised and that is not a good feeling to me.

                          In traditional marathi home, when there is a big pooja, and naivedya thali which of  course will be made without ginger-garlic or onions and would be loaded with carbohydrates in savory or sweet form. Take a look at this traditional marathi thali.

Naivedya Pooja

This image is from the google. Delicious looking thali made by  the blogger supriya from http://queenofmykitchen.blogspot.com/. And this is the diagrammatic representation of the traditional marathi naivedya thali.

Marathi Naivedya Thali

I took this image from pinterest. If I start counting carbohydrates in this thali it is easily more than 200 gms. That is more than a days worth of carbohydrates for an active atheletic adult!! That too in one meal!

So what is the solution? If I want to eat naivedya thali?

Simple- Like the my food plate mentioned by choosemyplate.gov

I will increase  size of vegetables in my plate to half of plate.- More of green chutney made with coriander, a big portion of cucumber salad.( I will make  it with roasted peanut powder and greek yogurt/hung curds – my dairy part will come in it too). Also a big portion of non starch cooked veggies like green beans or cabbage or cauliflower instead of stir fried potatoes. I will also keep traditional spinach vegetable made with daal. ( Some of protein will be from daal.)

Then a phulka roti with ghee( applying little ghee or oil reduces spike in blood glucose and increases satiety) and 1/4th-1/3rd cup rice with ghee for grain part.

And a cup of kadhi or saar to drink.

One serving of fried papad/gilke bhajis.

Dessert would fruits and remaining yogurt from allowed serving with nuts and elaichi.

Tadaaaa! See! It comes to around 45-60gms.( Depending  upon how much fruits and which fruits you eat.) You are happy and God is happy since you took care of your health! Enjoy!!

Low Carbohydrate Kande Pohe – Modification of Famous Maharashtrian Breakfast.

In Maharashtra India, one of the favorite and popular breakfast is Kande Pohe. ( Onion sauteed flattened rice.) You will hardly find anybody in Maharashtra State who does not like Pohe. The first meeting of the arranged marriage was called chaha-pohyancha karyakram in olden days. Personally I love eating kande pohe made by my mom. My mom is a great cook. She is like annapurna ( the Indian goddess who loves feeding people good food. ) She makes so many tasty dishes and my favorite one for the breakfast is her pohe.

Before I had CGMS on me, weekly once or twice I would eat pohe and upma like any other hard core Maharashtrian person. Since I had CGMS( Continuous Glucose Monitering System) , I started noticing early rise in my blood glucose. Then I started experimenting with my breakfast to have stable blood glucose. I stopped buying pohe and making pohe. But I was missing my beloved pohe. You really can not stop at one or two ounces of ready pohe. And then dealing with after effects of high blood glucose is frustrating to me. Long story short, I accepted low carb breakfast as a part of my life for maintaing blood glucose. I accepted eggs as one of my principal breakfast foods. And just two days back, I discovered low carb version of Pohe! Yes Pohe and low carb! I mean they are not real pohe obviously but my husband and my sister in law’s husband said it was good substitute for health freaks who want to enjoy pohe without carbs.

Now I have to tell you the exact story behind low carb pohe. – Here it goes… I was making my usual 2 eggs omelette breakfast with veggies. This time I sauteed onion and green chilies and then I was about to make omelette. I started craving something nutty. I added few peanuts in sauteed onions and fried them. I remembered this was the first step of making pohe. I reluctantly added my egg mixture to eat and scrambled it. When eggs were cooked and there was no moisture , I removed it from the gas stove and added a dash of lemon juice. It tasted just like kande pohe! 🙂 I was shocked. Really!! So I prepared it two more times and had my husband and sister in law and her husband tasted it. I even made regular pohe on the side just to compare. ( A researcher in me could not sit still.) Then I realized that pohe by themselves are bland. The sauted onions, fried peanuts, green chillies and dash of lemon juice is what gives the taste to pohe. So here is my recipe for low carb pohe.

LOW CARB KANDE POHE: Makes for two

iNGREDIENTS: 1. Diced Onions.- 1/4th cup. ( You can add as much or as little as you want.)

2. Green chilies- 3-4( again your taste)

3. Peanuts raw.- 1/4th cup.

4. oil- 2 tsp

5. mustard seeds and cumin seeds- 1/4th tsp.

6.  Turmerice powder – for the color.

7. salt to taste.

8. Four large eggs- beaten.

9. Curry leaves – 3-4.

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METHOD: Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds to it. After they are cracked, add cumin seeds and peanuts. Fry them until the peanuts are nicely fried. Add onions and fry them till they are translucent. Add green chillies and curry leaves. Saute for 2-3 minutes. Meanwhile add little salt to beaten egg and make scrambled eggs. The mixture should be dry and well done. IMG_0249 IMG_0250

If the egg mixture is large lumps like shown in the above picture, then break it down into small pieces.

Add scrambled eggs to the peanut and onion mixture. Mix well. Add salt to taste, turmeric powder for color and cover it with lid for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the stove and add lemon juice according to taste. Serve hot.

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NOTE:  If you do not like egg smell, you will not like it. It does not taste good when cold. The total carbs in a serving is around 10gms.

If you want you can add half quantity of pohe and half of scrambled egg to make high protein low carb pohe. Enjoy!

Let me know what do you think.

Right tools for Healthy Cooking.

Like I mentioned few posts earlier, I am getting better at procrastination. I am reading books, and most importantly getting into habit of acting on those ideas immediately.This is one idea that is coming in my head regularly. It is about which type of material used for cooking so that nutrients are preserved. I love to find out what was the idea for using a particular utensil for a particular type of food. When I was in India for my sister in laws wedding, I educated the cook at home ( Yes, almost every middle class home has a cook, cleaner and a driver now a days.) about dangers of cooking typical Indian curries in aluminium. Most of the Indian curries have tomatoes, tamarind pulp, lemon or yogurt in them. When curries containing any of these acidic substances cooked  in aluminium vessels, aluminium enters in the food. Reheating food again and again in the same pot also increase the chances of eating aluminium. People might say, we do not use aluminium pans and pots. We use non stick cookware. That way we reduce fat intake and eat healthy. Well have you seen what are these made of ? There is non stick coating on the aluminium!! What can I say about those so cute rice cooker or ice cream makers? The inner pot in which the food is cooked,  is made of aluminium!! Even if you are not using these materials, do you use canned foods? That is a source of aluminium! What about using bake-wares, foils for baking? Do you like to make breads, cakes or try different cuisines? A very famous TV show demonstrating how to beautifully “oven bake” all deep-fried food stuff and make it “healthy”.

Currently what I have observed is  that we are running so much that we have forgotten about using food as a healer. Ayurveda has always taught us to use food as a healer. I am not someone who has an authority on Ayurveda. But I know why certain traditional practices methods are right in everyday practices. I know what are the ill effects of eating aluminium or using plastic for everything. Plastic is another thing that annoys me. Frankly I do not get the taste of food in plastic plates and plastic spoons/forks. I hate them. Cooking food in aluminium utensils and then eating in plastics is the worst thing you can do to yourself and to the earth. Of course this is my opinion. What are the side effects of aluminium Early symptoms of aluminum toxicity include flatulence, headaches,colic, dryness of the skin and mucous membranes, tendencies for colds, burning pain in the head relieved by food, heartburn and an aversion to meat. Later symptoms include paralytic muscular conditions, loss of memory and mental confusion. Reference:  ARL : Aluminum Toxicity www.arltma.com/Articles/AlumToxDoc.htm . I am sure now many people will think about using these aluminium utensils for cooking.

Now the question is which materials to use for cooking. I love iron. stainless steel, glass and bone china. The traditional iron griddle used for cooking roti or using small iron pan for making fodni/baghar help in absorbing elemental iron and making food rich in iron. Just making flavored oil/ roasting peanuts in small iron kadhai  will up the iron content many times. One can sauté green leafy vegetables in iron pan without acid and increase iron content.IMG_0010(My Iron griddle and small kadhai with homemade flavored oil.)

I use stainless steel pressure cooker and pots for rest of the cooking on the stove top. Cooking on the low to medium flame also helps in preserving nutrients. For that I love icook pots for cooking gravy. Amazing steel and vitalock technology ensures preserving nutrients.IMG_0244 (My pressure cooker on the left and icook pots on the right.)
In the past I had a lot of  plastic containers and microwave safe plastics. I still have them at my home but I do not use it that often. After  replacing plastics with glass, I know I made the right choice about my health. There are people like me also love to make many things at home like yogurt or pickles. There was a reason that it was kept in the bone china or glass and not in plastic boxes. On this auspicious Earth Day, let us make other people aware of health benefits of eating nutritious food in proper plates made of steel, glass or bone china and reducing load of plastics in day-to-day life. I hope it makes sense to you too. Have a healthy life ahead. 🙂