The Quintessential Tadka

How do you increase the antioxidants in your food? How do you increase the flavor, fragrance and taste of your food? How do you increase the therapeutic value of your food? The answer to all these questions is the same: ‘Tempering the spices’

Tadka a.k.a thaalippu/thalimpu/oggarane in different languages is the tempering of spices in heated oil. This can be done either at the start or at the end of cooking. I have always loved the sizzling sound of my mom’s tadka while making rasam and sambar, not to mention the aroma that fills the house. The smell and sound also indicates that the food is now ready to be served, which increases the enzyme activity in mouth

 Is this relevant in an era of cutting edge modern nutrition science? Our ancestors knew, several thousand years ago, that when added to hot oil/ghee, spices release  their essential oil and flavonoids.  Additionally, the oils are an easy medium to extract and carry these. It increases the flavor and the therapeutic value of the food. Spices like cumin, fennel, turmeric, ginger, asafetida etc increase the digestive power and immunity, whereas the herbs like cilantro, dry fenugreek leaves(methi), curry leaf etc increase the nutrient and antioxidant value. The properties of each and every spice used in our cuisines cannot be detailed in a single post. This explains why traders crossed oceans, several centuries ago, to buy these spices.

The tempering with oil and spices, also reduces the GI (Glycemic index is the rate at which glucose is released into blood) of the food, which will aid in fat loss and increase our immunity.  This is a main reason, why you shouldn’t eat plain boiled vegetables/salads and other bland food for the sake of weight loss.

Care should be taken to not burn the spices as it will spoil not just the taste but also the therapeutic value. The oils used for the tempering plays a big role. Some of the oils that are new to our cuisine, such as olive oil, should not be heated to such high temperatures. Using oils that were traditionally used in our native cuisine (example coconut, sesame, peanut, mustard oil) are the best oils for this purpose.

Spice up your food and your Life.

Do you love the smell of tadka?

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Food, Uncategorized

The sour truth about Red wine and other drinks

It’s the year end, time to party and celebrate the year and the moments that passed by.

Most of us do not celebrate without alcohol or the more superior ‘Red wine’. Most people justify having wine over traditional alcoholic drinks saying  that it has anti aging, anti oxidant rich, heart healthy properties.

Is Red wine really worth that hype? Probably most of us don’t know that it was stripped off all those ‘health-benefit’ tags several years ago. May be the spirit industry doesn’t want you to know. The component in red wine ‘resveratrol’, is attributed to all the health benefits associated with wine. Unfortunately, the amount of resveratrol in wine is so minimal, that in order to get all the health benefits mentioned in the earlier studies, you must drink it endlessly (at least 100 bottles a day)

However, wine also contains alcohol, which is a known carcinogen (causes Cancer). Not only will it start damaging your liver, but also your pancreas, heart, brain and kidney. Awaiting you will be a host of diseases such a liver cirrhosis, heart problems, diabetes and kidney failure. The effects of alcohol on women body are worse than that on men as it hinders hormonal balance, worsens PMS, PCOS symptoms and causes fat gain.

 Any amount of alcohol is bad for your liver and other organs in your body. Even though it may not affect you in one day, your liver will give up when the toxicity goes up beyond a limit.

The above-mentioned resveratrol and other flavonoids in wine are also present in peanuts, pistachio, Jamun/jambola and other small berries like wonderberry apart from grapes.  Anti-oxidants and flavonoids can also be found in most plants and fruits. This will also ensure you get the desired benefits without the carcinogens.

Instead of going on a detox diet post new year party, prevent those toxins entering your body in the first place. Think about the potential consequences before you decide to drink.

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Lifestyle, Uncategorized

3 things that slow down Metabolism and ways to fix it

pablo (22)Metabolism is the result of all the processes in your body working together to create the energy that keeps you going. When it slows down, your energy levels will reduce and fat storage will increase. There are several factors that influence one’s metabolism. Age, diet, activity, habits, environment are a few of those. There are some things that we do on daily basis that slows down metabolism that we may or may not be aware of.

Inactivity– Heard of ‘Sitting Is the new smoking’? We sit at work, traveling to work, while we watch tv, and when we eat. Even if we workout for an hour a day, sitting for more than 6 hours a day will slow down metabolism and predispose us to heart disease, diabetes, BP and even cancer.

Fix it : Walk around for 5 minutes every half an hour, and stretch your muscles every one hour. Watch this to get more tips on how to move often.

Sleep – Our sleep quality determines our workout and food choice the following day. Simply put, when we  don’t sleep well, we won’t be energetic enough to work out the next day as our body doesn’t  recover enough. Being tired and low on energy the whole day, will not only slow down our metabolism and productivity, but will make us reach out for  wrong/junk food by evening.

Fix it : Following your circadian rhythm/body clock, will help you burn fat better. The adage ‘ Early to bed and early to rise ’ says it all. Sleep better with these tips.

Not eating when hungry – Ever got caught in meetings that go on forever while our tummy is grumbling? Left with no other choice, we reach for that coffee, tea, soda or nothing. When we are hungry and do not eat  food, the body goes into starvation mode and starts storing everything as fat rather than burning it, as it is unsure when the next meal is. Consuming stimulants when you are hungry, just worsens this situation.

Fix it : Eat , not drink when hungry. Keep some nuts or fruits handy to save yourself in such situations. Learn how to eat mindfully here.

Do you eat, move and sleep well? Let us know in comments.

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