Food, Lifestyle

How to deal with Winter Woes?

During winter, we like to relax over the holidays, play in the snow and enjoy the chilly weather. All this is subject to us being fit andhealthy and not being down with the seasonal flu, or having a cough, high fever or the painful achy joints.

Winter is the time when the earth is dry, days are short and nights are long. Most people feel sluggish and depressed as we see the sun less.

How do we improve our immunity and keep our joints supple? What foods and lifestyle changes do we need to embrace to keep us healthy andhappy through the winter?

During winters, our digestion is at a peak and is perfect for digesting fats and heavy starches that will nourish us. Even though, doughnuts, french fries, ice creams etc are fatty and starchy, they don’t nourish us . Hence they are not suitable for any season even if they fit into our macros.

Let us look at a few tips and easy ways to improve our energy levels and to keep seasonal depression at bay during the winter:

  • Time for Tubers – Just like summer are for fruits, winters are for tubers.

Starches and carbs have got a bad reputation and most ‘Diets’ avoid carbs except for sweet potatoes. There are many different tubers that are native to India and other countries.

Traditionally we have used tubers in several dishes during the winter (like puzhukku that is made in Kerala, thaalaga kozhambu in certain parts of Tamilnadu and Undhiyo that’s made in Gujarat).

Tubers are excellent for hormonal balance

This is significant now as we ave higher number of PCOS , fertility and reproductive issues than ever before. Tubers are excellent for hormonal balance.
Products like progesterone creams and bio identical hormone replacements for hormonal issues (like PCOS, PMS, endometriosis etc) contain compounds that are extracted from yams and other tubers.

 
  • Intensify your physical activity – Double the intensity of your Physical activity during winter whether it is running, hiking, biking,lifting weights, favourite sport or yoga. The reason for this is that in summer we get exhausted or tired soon and the same levels of exertion doesn’t exhaust us but will only energize us in autumn,winter and spring.
  • Include more seeds and nuts – Sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, chia and the liks are wonderful to keep our joints, skin, hair and nails healthy in winter. Unsalted nuts are also a rich source of essential fats and minerals like zinc, selenium, magnesium etc that are essential for immunity, blood sugar regulation and hormones.
  • Care for the citrus – Nature provides whatever is needed to protect ourselves during that season. When we ignore that and start eating other fancy foods (sometimes in the name of a diet), we weaken our immunity.

Winter is the time for citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, tangerines, grapefruits, mandarins, gooseberries, guava and other sour fruits that are abundant in Vitamin C. 

  • Be sweet and spicy–  Jaggery is another winter hero as It warms andnourishes the body . It is unrefined, wholesome and also a good source of Iron, phosphorus , potassium and calcium .  Stevia extract, time to go back to shelf !!! ( it is still refined and ultra processedwith virtually zero nutrients)

With the falling temperatures, it is natural to yearn for spicy food. Listen to your body and be generous with the spices. Ginger, pepper, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, clove etc helps in improving the digestion and immunity.

  • Self indulgence – Give yourself a warm oil massage with sesame or mustard oil and a relaxing bath. Massages are great stressbusters and a nice way of increasing hormones like DHEA , Serotonin and other pleasure hormones which are crucial to keep ourselves stress-free and happy.

 It is also evident from the fact that we become gloomy when the sky is grey and cloudy. After all we are not peacocks .

Each season comes with its own pros and cons. Winter is the time to rejuvenate metabolism, mind , immunity and use the stillness and chillness to our advantage with the steps mentioned above , rather than be indoors , binge watch and booze.

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Food, Uncategorized

Healthy Chocolate Ice cream in 2 minutes

If any mom realises a chocolate ice cream can be made at home within 2 minutes with just 4 healthy ingredients, she would definitely not let her child have a store-bought ice cream. Store bought ice creams are not just sugar laden, but also in additives such as artificial colours, flavours and preservatives which are known to cause health problems not just limited to obesity, ADHD, behavioural issues and cancer .

This recipe serves 3 and uses just 4 ingredients , more can be added according to your family’s tastebuds. The main ingredient avocado is nutrient dense and contains good fats . It is also rich in vitamin A, E, K, B6 , C , Folate and Magnesium.

Ingredients

  • 2 avocados/butter fruit
  • 250-300 ml chilled whole milk ( Raw milk is the best option)
  • Organic cacao powder( yes, cacao and not cocoa. more details on this at the end)
  • 4-5 tbsp of unrefined cane sugar or date syrup
  • Almonds, Cashews and Pistachios( Optional)
  • Cardamom Powder (optional)

Method

  • Cut avocados vertically into two halves. Remove the seed and scoop the flesh with a spoon.
  • Transfer all ingredients except the nuts to a blender , Blend it for 30-45 sec. ( Can be even mashed with hand and mixed in a vessel if you wish to skip using the blender)

Tada… The easiest and healthiest chocolate ice cream you can ever imagine is ready.

IMG-20170611-WA0011

Transfer the mixture into a bowl and serve at room temperature or chilled.

If you are adding nuts, add it at the end and blend once. This will add a crunch factor to the ice cream.

If you find the mixture too thick, add little more milk and blend again. If it is too dark or bitter for your taste, add a little more sugar or date syrup.

 

What’s the difference between cacao and cocoa powder?

Cacao is the unprocessed, powdered cacao beans. Rich in Copper, Selenium, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Zinc, Vitamins and antioxidants.

Cocoa is cacao processed at a higher temperature and with alkali and usually had added sugar. This changes its nutrients, and structure at the molecular level and doesn’t offer much health benefits. While you read about dark chocolate being good for heart, it’s the cacao that is actually meant. However, when it reaches the magazines and newspapers, it is modified to be read as chocolate. Forget about chocolate (dark/milk) you eat being heart protective, the way it is processed will just clog your arteries.

How about the chocolate milk that we give kids? Be it boost, bournvita , nesquik or milo; it is highly processed, loaded with sugar, salt , synthetic vitamins and chemicals which will harm kid’s health.

Read more about hidden sugar in processed foods here.

If you want to give milk to your child by altering the taste, try cacao powder, or home-made dry fruit powder like almonds with cardamom or fennel seeds. They are wholesome, nutritious, delicious and give the real energy boost.

If they don’t like milk, just chill. Milk is not the only source of calcium/protein in this world.

If you liked  this recipe, share it with your friends too.

Interested in sustainable weight loss through lifestyle changes and not crash diets? Check out our programs.

Food, Uncategorized

Dill Leaf – The Winter Green

 

Dill is a green leaf that is known for its health benefits. It is available easily in Indian, American and other markets too. The other names include Sabbasige soppu /Chatakuppa/ Soa-Kura  and Soa

Why should you include it ?

Dill leaf is rich in Flavonoids, Antioxidants, Folate, Vitamin A, Calcium , Manganese, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, Phosphorus and Fiber.
Gives the warmth and immunity you need for the harsh and dry winter. It is also a natural aphrodisiac.

What are the other winter foods you should include in your diet? Watch my video on Winter Diet .

Who should include it ?

  • If you have painful and irregular periods, PCOS – Helps in regulating the menstrual flow.
  • If you are nearing menopause – Strengthens bones and regulates hormones.
  • If you feel bloated, constipated or gassy often -Cleanses and deworms your digestive system, improves your digestive juice secretion.
  • If you are a lactating mom – The age-old tradition of giving new moms this herb is still prevalent to improve lactation and to strengthen bones.
  • If you have bad breath or mouth ulcers – Chew on its seeds.
  • If your little one is crying due to colic – Boil water with a few sprigs of dill and give them to drink.
  • If you feel depressed or struggle to sleep – Include it in your diet or drink water boiled with dill leaf .

How can you include it ?

  • Sprinkle on top of dosa or mix with dosa/idli batter – Easy even on a busy weekday morning.
  • Season your potato curry at the end with chopped dill leaves.
  • Mix  dill with wheat flour when you make chapathi or roti.
  • Make a concoction/tea by boiling water and adding a few leaves in it and drink it.
  • Season/Garnish hot lentil soup/Dal/Pappu with chopped dill leaves.

Make sure you use it when the leaf is fresh, else the flavour and properties diminish quickly.

 

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Interested in sustainable weight loss through lifestyle changes and not crash diets? Check out our programs.