Microwaved food is good or bad ?

white microwave oven turned off

 Whenever we talk of using microwave oven there is a certain group of people who say that

OH, that is not good for you

Well… why ?

I don’t know it’s an expensive and convenient piece of machine it must be bad for your health….

So why exactly do people think that microwave is bad?

 It uses electromagnetic radiations to cook our food. See that radiation word right there this can make all the things sound hazardous to your health.

Electromagnetic radiation is a wide spectrum of waves which are all around us. Its divided according to a unit of measurement called as nanometre which consist of visible light, X-rays, radio waves(used for communication) and microwaves which are used in or microwave oven. Of course, some waves of this spectrum can be harmful to us like X-rays but, most of them are pretty harmless and get work done for us.

And microwaves which are used in a microwave oven are not at all harmful to human beings.

 microwaves, fall into the spectrum of the electromagnetic radiations which humans can’t see or hear. So, what do these waves do?  they make particles inside microwave oven vibrate, collide, and  build thermal energy quickly.

Because of this it takes surprisingly less time to heat up food in a microwave than on stove or other cooking methods.

 These waves make polar molecules their target.

 What are polar molecules?

 Let’s look at our good old water. Water is a polar molecule as it is made up of two hydrogen molecules and one oxygen molecule. Remember primarily every atom is chargeless. when these atoms form molecules they give or share electrons with each other.  Hydrogen molecules have partial positive charge and oxygen has a partial negative charge in water. This is because oxygen is greedy and it attracts shared pair of electrons towards itself. Hence water gets heated up very quickly. These microwaves also heat up sugar, fats and other non-polar molecules to a little lesser extent.

Microwaves are designed as such that these waves generally don’t pass out of the oven. And this can be easily over-come by not standing too close to your microwave. So, they don’t generally cause direct harm to you. Now the question remains that the food which was inside heating up is safe or not ?

The answer is yes. Not all types of radiations are bad for you and the ones used in microwave oven are not harmful to us

what effect microwaves have on nutrient content

It is true that many nutrients in the food are lost in the cooking process. But that is true for all the cooking processes and not just microwave. As a rule of thumb, the less time and temperature it takes to cook the food less nutrients are lost.

 let’s take an example of Vit C, this vitamin is quickly affected by heat. That’s why we add lemon and coriander to our food after the cooking process is done. This way vit c in these foods is preserved.

According to our rule  the lesser time it takes to cook vit c the less of it is lost. Microwave does a great job when it comes to heating things quickly and that’s why many of these heat affected nutrients like vit C are preserved when we cook our food by microwave oven.

In a study about formation of harmful compounds during cooking, it was found that less harmful compounds were formed in food which was cooked in microwave. This makes sense as the food doesn’t reach as high temperatures as it does in frying and other cooking methods. Also, it does gets cooked in less time so the food is exposed to less heat.

as it turns out microwave cooking is not at all harmful but it also has some benefits to it. So, doesn’t it have any downsides at all ?

Let’s see how can microwaved food be harmful sometimes

Heating stuff up in plastic containers which are not microwave safe can leach some harmful chemicals from plastic like bisphenol A (BPA) into your food. This chemical is very harmful and It is carcinogenic which means it is a cancer-causing compound. And I think that it’s bad idea to put hot food into a plastic container as it can melt the plastic no matter what cooking method you are using.

As we stated previously that microwave oven uses microwaves for heating, Whichever containers absorb these kinds of waves can melt into your microwave oven because of  heat energy. Hence,  metal containers are not microwave safe as they absorb these waves.

And the materials like glass, ceramic and microwave safe plastic do not absorb these waves and hence, they can be used in a microwave oven.

The one advantage of microwave is that it heats up food quickly. This may or may not kill all the pathogenic and harmful bacteria present in your food. So, this advantage is also one of its disadvantages.

Also because of this very reason frozen foods can be heated unevenly.

You must be careful while heating liquids inside your microwave. There is a small possibility that the liquid can explode and cause burns. For this be careful and don’t open your microwave right away, wait for a little while and then open it up.

Whenever I heat my coffee in the microwave for a longer duration of time,  I always see at least some spill overs on the turntable inside, which I have to then clean.

So, obviously just like any other cooking method it’s not a full proof method of cooking it has some pros and some cons nothing is ideal in the world we live.

Refrences

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/microwave-cooking-and-https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/microwave-ovens-and-health#:~:text=Microwaves%20are%20a%20safe%2C%20effective,the%20formation%20of%20harmful%20compounds. https://www.britannica.com/story/how-do-microwaves-work#:~:text=Inside%20the%20guts%20of%20a,cooking%20chamber%20through%20an%20antenna.

Immunity improving foods: which are backed by science

Turmeric

person pouring seasonings on clear glass bowl

This is something which everyone Indian swears by. Whenever you have any health problems the answer is turmeric.

Got bruised? Apply turmeric.

Have sore throat? Drink turmeric milk.

Want to add colours to your food? Screw food colours we’ve got turmeric.

Got skin problems? Apply turmeric and chickpea flour paste.

I know that’s a bit of an exaggeration but turmeric is a spice which has ton of health benefits.

It has curcumin which is the most biologically active compound in turmeric. Turmeric has very less curcumin but it’s absorption can be increased by eating black pepper with it.

It has antioxidants. Now what are antioxidants?

what?
what?

Antioxidants are reactive species just like angry people who fight with anyone, these reactive species react with anything and this happens to be our body cells. This causes damage to our cells and it is one of the reasons, why we age.

Our body does have some antioxidant capacity of its own but it’s boosted by eating antioxidant rich foods like turmeric.

Turmeric also has some excellent anti-inflammatory properties that’s why its applied to open wounds. It’s also a known antimicrobial agent. These properties help in wound healing.

Turmeric is best absorbed in the body along with some healthy fats so its best consumed in the form of turmeric milk. Hence it’s eaten in the form of turmeric milk and added in tadkas. If you want know more about tadkas I have an article just about it.

How to make turmeric milk –

In some warm milk just add 1/3 tablespoon of turmeric with a tablespoon of jaggery. This is the way I like to drink my turmeric milk.

 Some people go fancy and  add ginger, little black pepper and call it turmeric latte.

Tulsi leaves

Holy basil leaves, tulsi leaves

This is my personal favourite. Ever since I was little, I remember I loved eating Tulsi leaves.

This holy basil is different than the normal basil which is used by Italians in marinara sauce.

Generally, all Indians have holy basil planted in their houses. We planted just one sapling of tulsi last year and from that now we have seven new saplings at our house, without doing any work manually. This plant seems to be really good at survival.

There have also been claims that tulsi is a very good air purifier.

Best time to eat holy  basil leaves

This is 5am to 6am. And the reason is that there are different levels of alkalois  in the plant at different time so the highest alkaloids in tulsi are between 5am to 6am. that’s why for maximum benefits you should eat tulsi leaves at that time.

How to make tulsi tea –

tulsi tea, holy basil leaves tea

Just add 3-4 leaves in a glass of water. Now, boil it till you see water becoming green in colour. This tea has a bitter taste to it so, I would like eat my tulsi leaves raw.

Garlic

white garlic on black table

We generally never think of garlic as a healthy food.

 But, according to a study done on 970 individuals (very good number of individuals for trials) garlic can lower blood pressure for people with low blood pressure problems, can lower cholesterol level to a small extent and improve immunity by helping cells of immune system in their  function. (1)

A Greek physician name Hippocrates used garlic to treat many diseases. It’s well known that warm stuff which has garlic are used to treat common cold but, my favourite part is to eat warm soup with garlic in it when you have cold.

Garlic has antioxidants too and with very few calories, It has minerals like manganese and selenium. It also has vitamins like Vit B6 and Vit C.

If you want to add garlic to your dishes here is a technique which might help you out.

Lemon honey water

clear glass container with lemon slices

When it comes to this concoction its publicised like a mysterious witch soup which will get you in shape. If there was an award for health myths lemon honey water would have it. Well, let me tell you that this is not true, it doesn’t melt any fat away. I have been drinking it since at least last 3-4 months now, and believe me it doesn’t help with weight loss.

Also, all that detoxification stuff, that’s  a myth too.

In fact, it has 6g of sugar and a bunch of calories. if you want to know why sugar is bad for you checkout this link.

Even if it is not a magical drink, it does have some benefits.

It has a way fewer calories than traditional drinks. It has superfoods like lemon and honey this will help you provide your body with all the vitamins and minerals. Because of this it can improve your immunity.

It does help if you are cold.

It sometimes makes you eat less and that’s why you tend to consume fewer calories. This is where all those weight loss myths come from.

It improves digestive health too.

How to make it :

It’s a very easy drink to make. just heat the water till it becomes lukewarm and not boiling or hot. Honey is not supposed be heated beyond 100 degree Celsius.  Add a quarter lemon’s juice to it with just a tablespoon or even half a tablespoon if you can tolerate the sourness of lemon.

And that’s it you’re done. You can add ginger if you like to have a little spicy. I tried it tastes good.

If It’s summer and you wanna enjoy it then just add some ice cubes to it.

Papaya

sliced papaya on green banana leaf

Papaya has to be the most under-rated immunity improving food.Papaya packs double the recommended amount of Vit C in a single fruit.

Now what’s all the fuss about this Vit C. well, Vit C increases the production of blood cells which fights of the infection. That’s why whenever we talk of immunity Vit C comes first. It also needs to be consumed daily in our diet.

 It also has a lot of potassium( otherwise also found in bananas) magnesium and folate. So, eat papayas.

Summary

There is a lot of myths when it comes to immunity improving foods so be sure whatever you are reading is a trustworthy resource. Foods like turmeric, tulsi leaves, garlic, lemon honey water and papaya are packed with nutrients which will improve your immunity and over all health.

Reference links

https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/146/2/389S/4584698(1)

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-proven-health-benefits-of-garlic#section10

https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/foods-that-boost-the-immune-system#papaya

How much protein do you really need?

Vgean Protein sources
Who needs eggs when you have peanuts

DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) says that you need 0.8g of proteins per kg weight of your body or 0.36g per pound per day, which means a 56kg person would need 44g of protein per day.

I was trying to count the calories I ate daily with an app named life sum. It was such a frustrating task to count each calorie you eat. With counting calories that app also tells you the number of macronutrients you consumed from your food. After some days I realised that I was eating very less protein. Although I am eating the DRI recommended amount I am not eating enough according to the recommended diet plan for me, also I was overdoing fats.

My calories count and mcronutrients for a day
My yesterday’s calories count

When we talk of protein intake there are two extreme school of thoughts one says that higher protein intake can cause kidney failure and others say that we are protein starved.

This is because people are going crazy with protein bars and protein shakes and simply ignoring the healthy protein sitting on your kitchen shelves. The high concentration in these protein powders causes problems like baldness, kidney problems in longer run and much more.

but not all scientists agree upon the value. There are debates on what is appropriate value for people who are recovering from surgery, people who work out a lot, athletes etc.

There is even a debate that the recommended value is too less for adults on an average.  As we pay attention to the number of cells which are replaced by new cells in our body,(even if our body has an excellent recycle mechanism) the DRI protein intake sounds like an underestimation.

I found a study on google scholar which says even after consuming double the DRI protein intake no kidney failures were seen(1).

How does that look on a plate?

 Everyday Indian food
Normal Indian vegetarian thali

Its easy to say that you need 44g of protein. But foods contain all the nutrients and not only protein so if you are  eating one cup of  gram flour (besan) it has

  • 20g of protein
  • 6g of fat
  • 53g of carbohydrates

And if we talk about practicality no one eats just one cup of gram flour. We make some kind of  edible food with other ingredients in it, those ingredients may or may not contain protein and we don’t really measure how many grams of food we are eating. This is what makes designing diet a science.

So, you should measure protein and not the whole intake.

Why protein is important

We all have read in school that proteins are building blocks of life. what they mean by that, protein is just everywhere in our body.

They not only make the muscles but also antibodies which fight the diseases, bone, skin, hair, nails, enzymes and a lot more.

Our body processes its own protein by coding amino acids just like a website is built by coding computer language.

 For that our body needs raw materials which are called as amino acids.

 There are 20 basic types of amino acids of which 10 can be completely made in our body and 10 cannot be made in our body.

The ones which are not made in our body are the amino acids which we are looking for in our diet.

Simple ways to deal with it the vegetarian way

Bunch of vegan protein sources
Just make them ahead of time and eat whenever you want

Just eat roasted chana  whenever you feel snacky it has 21g of proteins per cup.

Sprouts on an average have 24g of protein per 100g so eat a lot of sprouts.

Jackfruits are best of all the other fruits for protein intake as they give 3g of protein per cup, which is less than other stuff like sprouts but, high if we compare it with other fruits.

Paneer is a source of protein but its not a lean source of protein it has lot  of fats. 40g of paneer has 7g of protein and 5g of fats.

Lentils(dal) are lean source of protein as they even contain fibre and other goodies. When preparing anything with lentils try to incorporate different kinds of lentils so you get different kinds of amino acids. They on an average have 9g of protein per 100g. The trick is when you eat rice take a small portion of rice in a bowl and take a lot of dal so we get most of the protein.

In nuts I found that peanuts have the  25g of protein per 100g which is really high. but remember they also have a lot of fats.

In seeds, sunflower seeds have the same 25g protein per 100g.

I know that quinoa and other fancy food stuffs are also high in protein but I just wanted to give everyone an idea that there is a lot of protein in the stuff we already eat which is not even that expensive, we just need to manage it well.

When we eat protein derived from plant sources it is harder for our body to absorb all the protein as compared protein coming from animal sources. So, when we eat vegan protein sources, we are supposed to eat a lot of it for our body to absorb it fully.

What is the maximum amount you can eat?

Yes, there can be too much of protein which can cause harm to your body.

 If you are not an athlete or a body builder and not heavily doing physical work you should not go beyond 2gm of protein per kg of your weight which is 112g of protein for a 56kg person as recommended by Harvard’s  educational website.(2)

Summary

There are a lot of debates on how much protein should you consume daily. It is a little difficult to obtain protein from a plant based diet but it can be achieved by good management. You don’t need of getting fancy diet foods to get healthy as those foods are often sitting on

Tell me what is your favourite protein source in the comments below.

https://rdcu.be/b4C4W (1)

https://www.health.harvard.edu/nutrition/when-it-comes-to-protein-how-much-is-too-much (2)

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-much-protein-per-day#:~:text=The%20DRI%20(Dietary%20Reference%20Intake,for%20the%20average%20sedentary%20woman.

https://www.house-foods.com/eat-happy/10-best-sources-of-plant-based-protein-by-whitney-e.-rd

https://www.health.harvard.edu/nutrition/when-it-comes-to-protein-how-much-is-too-much

https://truthbar.com/blogs/truth-and-health/top-10-nuts-with-protein

How keto diet works

A diet where you can eat 70% fat or more, sounds like a dream come true, right? Rest 20% is mostly protein and very less or no carbohydrates.

Why is that so?

How will you get in shape if you are eating that much amount of fats?

Dr. Russell Morse Wilder invented the keto diet. The basic idea of keto diet is to put your body in a state of ketosis. Ketosis is a metabolic condition where in your body uses fats instead of glucose.

Metabolism – generally, all the chemical reactions happening in the body are referred as metabolism.

Before we start talking about ketosis remember, our body loves glucose for energy generation. This is because our body easily breaks down glucose into pyruvate during glycolysis and then into acetyl coA to yield energy.

We have glucose stored in our body in the form of glycogen in liver. This is called as body’s glycogen tank. But as we stop consuming carbs these reserves run out of glycogen.

Rich results on Google's SERP when searched for 'how keto diet works'.

Thus, when we eat very little or no amount of carbs and a lot of fats our body has no other option but to compromise on using fats as a primary source of energy.

 Body breaks down fats into their simple form by digestion, these are called as triglycerides. These triglycerides are sent to liver as acetyl coA. Now, this acetyl coA is broken down into ketone bodies.

Why is it good for weight loss ?

These ketone bodies are sent into bloodstream where other cells convert them into acetyl coA and use them to form energy.

This way body uses fat for energy. Therefore, keto is considered good for weight loss.

Because we eat 70% of fats the feeling of satiety increases and we feel full. This is a big reason behind why keto got so popular, as you don’t feel like you are dieting and feel full.

This sounds too good to be true. How can you get to eat all fatty goodies and lose weight.

Why do we get Keto fever

Remember? we said that our body loves glucose?

 That is because brain is the fattiest organ and can use only glucose for energy. What happens when we stop consuming carbs and start eating a lot of fats, our brain is forced to use ketone bodies for energy production.

Body takes time to adapt to all these changes, and that’s when people experience the keto flu. This is not actually a flu. but, symptoms like headache and nausea can seen as body is shifting from using carbs for energy to using fats for energy.

Is it hard to keep up with ?

Our diet generally consists of 45-60% of carbs 20-30% of fats and 10-20% of proteins. So, most of the calories from our diet comes from carbs.

 Most of our foods have a large amount of carbs. when we follow keto diet, we must follow many restrictions on a lot of food stuff which was considered healthy otherwise, such as lentils, chickpeas, wheat bread, brown rice are not keto approved.

This diet is difficult to sustain. As everything around us has a lot of carbs, restrictions become hard to follow.

Unlike other diets if you cheat a little, your body can come out of ketosis and the diet won’t work.

As a lot of healthy fats are found in red meat and dairy products so, they become a go to food for keto dieters which is not good news for vegans and vegetarians.

The more the restrictions on a diet the less sustainable it is. As we go on adding restrictions on our diet, we also get less micro nutrients such as vitamins and minerals.

I talked to a friend named Omkar Patil who tried keto diet for himself. He says that, “keto is not the ethical way of losing weight, as you are eating a lot of fats, your body gets an overall greasy feeling which feels obnoxious”.

The diet can be done for a short time period to give yourself some weight lost boost. Also, it’s a debatable topic whether eating this much amount of fats is healthy or not?

Keto fever or flu is said to last for 4-5 days which appear to be very difficult for some people. It lasts longer for some individuals as everyone’s body is a little unique.

Meal preparation is difficult

Also, the meals are not easy to prepare. It is easy to say that we must eat 70% of fats but its difficult to get that much amount of healthy fats on your plate.

Rich results in Googl's SERP when searched for 'keto approved foods"
These are some foods which are keto approved – Olives, seafood, berries(not all fruits are keto approved), nuts and yogurt.

Because of this reason, something known as dirty keto has become popular, where people eat burgers from fast food chains and as they contain same compositions  as of keto diet. it is keto approved but not in a healthy way.

Good for some diseases

Origin of keto lies in diseases like epilepsy and type 2 diabetes. Keto diet is very effective in management of type 2 diabetes as it is caused due to inability of insulin production. In keto diet we don’t eat carbs and sugar so, no insulin is to be produced. This is a very good way of managing type 2 diabetes.

Epileptic seizures were reduced in patients who followed keto diet and it is proven to be very effective in epilepsy.

Summary

keto diet has been proven good for diseases like epilepsy, diabetes. It is also good for weight loss. But, it is difficult to follow all diet restrictions. Is it good to consume 70% of fats is a debatable topic. keto flu can become difficult to manage and last longer in some indivisuals.

References

https://rdcu.be/b4zAx

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ketogenic-diet-10

https://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb/keto

How to quit sugar without being miserable

What are natural sugar substitutes

rich results on Google's SERP when searched for 'how to quit sugar'
Eat lots of unprocessed whole foods

Natural sugar found in fruits and milk are considered better as they don’t just contain sugar but have fibre, vitamins, minerals and other nutritional contents. Fibre in the fruits makes us feel full and prevents overeating. Processed sugar doesn’t make us feel full and hence leads to overconsumption. Try eating whole fruits and not just the juice as it contains way more nutrients and fibre.

Honey has a lot of health benefits minerals and vitamins but it is still high in sugar and calorie dense. It has 64 calories in a single tablespoon so it may contribute to weight gain in high amounts.

Pure Maple syrup as a substitute is better than sugar as it contains more nutrients than sugar and has a lower glycaemic index but it still spikes up the blood sugar levels as regular table sugar. Sometimes corn syrup flavoured as maple syrup is sold which does not contain benefits of natural sugar and is just as bad.

Eat as much raw vegetables as much as you can. Fiber in them keeps you full and stops cravings.

Artificial sweeteners

I tried digging deeper on this topic and found a lot of articles which said that there is no research and evidence just yet which tells us that artificial sweeteners are hazardous for humans. The research done in 1970s on rats showed that it caused cancer in lab rats but many times research done on animals is not fully applicable to humans. Although we cannot ignore the fact that artificial sweeteners  alter gut flora, are way sweeter than sugar and hence are more addictive than natural sugar. This is a very controversial topic and as a precaution should only be consumed by diabetics and not by healthy individuals as a substitute. Always remember natural form of food is better than the artificial ones.

Try quitting added sugar for a day

We have been told since kinder garden that “one thing at a time is the golden rule”. Try having no added sugar days once every 15 days or so. I know how difficult it is I am a sweet tooth myself.

Remember brain is the fattiest organ and uses most of the sugar. It will cause cravings and you may feel energy deprived as well. If you think you can’t handle at all being deprived of sugar and feel a way too anaemic consult your doctor before doing this.

I tried quitting sugar for a day and mind you I did that when I had delicious mango phirni in the fridge. I couldn’t snack on any of the readymade packaged food because all have sugar in them. You can’t even eat instant noodles that’s like my most favourite snack. So, you can only eat homemade food. There is practice where sugar is added in food to balance out all the spices…. yes, I am guilty of using that practice when I cook. I had to stop doing that too. But  I did not have any other symptoms like headache or uneasiness so maybe I didn’t have sugar addiction and I did it just for a day so it wasn’t long term. I should try to do that in future for some days at stretch. 

Read ingredients of food products

Don’t limit yourself to only reading calories on food products. Start reading ingredients at the back of the food labels. Read the percentage of sugar and other stuff used in it. Do this exercise even if you are not quitting sugar, just to be mindful of what you are putting in your body.

A research study which is linked below concluded that they found links between sugar consumption and diabetes were found which were not explained by obesity or physical activity.

Moderation

Rome was not built over night. Moderation is the key here. WHO (world health organisation) recommends 50g of sugar per day. Try to limit yourself to only that amount or less.

Drink a lot of water

This is true for everyone who is trying to get fitter. Remember the phrase 8 glasses of water per day which is about 2 litre. Grab a 1 litre bottle and make a goal to drink two of those every day. This will flush out the toxins, make your skin clear, do wonders to your body.

Fittest models in the industry “The Victoria’s secret models” drink a gallon of water everyday which is 3.7 litre of water.

Eat homemade savoury food

Try cooking your own food and make some delicious savoury recipes which will make you forget about those sweets.

Try adding different spices in the food so that you won’t feel like you are following a boring diet. I have written a post about adding spices in your food the right way https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/tutusediblelogic.food.blog/28.

Don’t overthink it just go ahead and be mindful about what you are eating.

Don’t be so hard on yourself

Don’t freak out if you gave in a little and had a bit of sweets. What happens often is that people cheat on their diet a little and then stop eating healthy altogether. Have cheat days every once in a while eat all the stuff you love and enjoy in moderation. Be happy even if you stayed on your decided sugar limit or didn’t eat sugar for just a day.

We are giving a monthly tailwind plus subscription if you’re interested comment below. Tailwind is the best scheduler to schedule your posts on instagram Facebook and Pinterest. It will surely surely help your social media presence.

Citations
https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0057873
Suez, J., Korem, T., Zeevi, D. et al. Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota. Nature 514, 181–186 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature13793
MR Weihrauch, V Diehl – Annals of Oncology, 2004 – academic.oup.com

Why sugar is bad for you

Should sugar be considered a drug ?

Should we ban food brands from using hidden sugars?

Why exactly is sugar in the blacklists of so many fitness enthusiasts?

I was recently trying to make some mango ice cream and decided not to add sugar and only use natural mango pulp for sweetness. No matter how much pulp I added in the ice cream it would not give the same taste as the added sugar in the normal ice creams. At  the end I had to add some sweetened condensed milk to make it taste better. This is how much we are used to having added sugar in our food.

Health hazards of sugar

  • When we eat processed sugar our blood sugar levels spike and we experience a quick height of energy. This quick increase in blood sugar level is not good for us in the longer run because as a reaction to increase in blood sugar levels, pancreas produce more insulin.
  • If we keep eating sugary goods all the time then there’s increased pressure on pancreatic cells (beta cells of islets of Langerhans) which will cause damage to them. This increases the health risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Just like us sugar is loved by microbes too so when you eat it you increase tooth decay in your mouth. When this sugar goes unused in our body it increases risk of obesity.

Why is sugar addictive 

  • More sugar should be consumed every next time to get same amount of sugar rush. This is the typical characteristic of an addictive substance and that is why some people are labelling sugar as a drug.
  • All of us love us love sugar because we are biologically driven to consume more calories as our ancestors in stone age preserved this energy through fats (excess glucose in body is converted to fats) and bloating is a mechanism to retain water in body after eating salty stuff. All these mechanisms helped us to live through famines and draughts throughout the history.
  • But nowadays we seldom starve ourselves and do fewer physical activities. As said in the book mindless eating This drive to consume more calories helped our ancestors but doesn’t help today’s dieters.

Hidden sugars

There is a way too much sugar in your protein bars, the Nutella you just ate out of the jar, granola bar, yogurt, oatmeal, cereal with which you started your day and a lot more food stuff. Sugar is a great preservative and hence hidden in a lot of products marketed as no artificial preservatives such as jams, pickles, marmalades and juices.

What if I don’t eat sweets

Sugar is no more limited only to desserts and sweets on the last course of the meal. Even if you are not a sweet tooth and don’t eat desserts and sweets at all, sugar find its way into your mouth by some sneaky ways.

Before start of industrialization sugar was very expensive and not much people were able to buy sugar. it was expensive to make crystalized sugar from sugar cane. After industrialization sugar is comparatively inexpensive and it is added in foods which are considered savoury.

Here are some savoury foods containing sugar per 100g

  • Ketchup – 22g
  • Coffee liquor – 44g
  • Salad dressings – 17g
  • Mint sauce – 25g
  • Mustard sauce – 13g
  • Barbeque sauce – 33g

Sugary drinks

It is very easy to consume large amounts of sugar through drinks as we don’t even realise it. There is 10g of sugar in just 100ml of coke and similar sugar content is found in all carbonated drinks, to top this up coke also contains a lot of caffeine which in itself is not as bad but can cause problems when consumed in excess and disrupt your sleep cycles when consumed before bed time. Energy drinks   have the highest sugar and caffeine percentage. Even lemonades, juices of different fruits, so-called healthy drinks contain a lot of sugar.

In the book called mindless eating a girl just started losing weight by quitting her weekly 6 cans of coke, a trick many of us should consider trying.

To find out ways to quit added sugar and what research says about sugar, stay tuned for my next blog. Follow me to get an email notification when I post.

Don’t we all love a nice piece of cake

Refreshing summer recipes

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Today I am sharing my most tried and tested recipes during summer. I make these all the time and they are very easy to make. You can always add new things to make the recipe better and substitute them with available ingredients as they are some of the super flexible recipes.


Aam panna


Ingredients
2 Raw mangoes (kairi)
1 small cup of sugar
1 small cup of jaggery
1 tablespoon Jeera powder(cumin powder)
Half a tablespoon Cardamom powder (Elaichi)
Pinch of  Saffron
Sea salt and black salt as per taste.


Procedure
Boil the raw mangoes until cooked. To take pulp out remove its skin and scoop out the pulp from skin and mango seed. Don’t waste any of this goodness. and smoothen it with a hand mixer or any kind of blender available.
Cook this pulp on a medium flame add sugar and jaggery, one can be substituted by other but for best flavour add both. Cooking this will increase its shelf life.
Add cumin powder, saffron, sea salt, black salt. After cooking this mixture cardamom powder for its aroma and flavour . I like this drink to be a little saltier so I add one tablespoon of sea salt and Himalayan black salt to please my taste buds.
All the spices mentioned are not necessary. Add the ones available and any spice can be skipped. We just need raw mango pulp, Sugar and salt for classic taste.
Turn off the heat after everything is dissolved and cool this concoction. This can be stored in the jar. Three tablespoon of this panna can be added to a glass of water to make Aam panna and enjoy it cold.
I like this drink to be a little saltier so I add one tablespoon of sea salt and Himalayan black salt to please my taste buds.


Pduina aam panna
All the ingredients are same just don’t add cardamom powder.
While adding all the spices add half a cup of pudina puree in it. This will add a great hint of taste and make your drink a little spicy.


Health benefits
Adding pudina will boost up the health benefits it masks bad breath and helps patients with irritable bowel syndrome(IBS).
Unlike other drinks we don’t get rid of the fibre in the drink so it’s a well-known laxative.
Different spices and vitamins in the raw mangoes help neurotransmitters in performing their functions.
raw mangoes are a great way to add antioxidants and taste both to your diet.
It has vit A,B1, B2,B6,C,niacin, and iron.
Maintains electrolyte balance, rich in nutrients, rehydrates your body.
We have replaced half amount of sugar with jaggery which has minerals and vitamins along with sweetness.
Although keep in mind anything in excess is not good for you. Aam panna has a lot of sugar and it’s a laxative so be sure you don’t overdo it.


Easiest way to make any ice cream
Remember this is a very indulgent recipe and has lot of empty calories. Meaning it adds calories without any nutritional value. We are not getting rid of any fibre from the pulp and adding fresh fruit pulp in this recipe so it is still better than store brought ice cream.


Ingredients
Any kind of  whipping cream – half litre
fresh fruit pulp – 2 cups or 250g/ substitute – any essence
3 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk


Procedure

Take whipping cream in a big bowl. Make sure to fill it only till 20% capacity of the bowl. Whipping cream gets doubled in volume because of all the air incorporated in it and we don’t want any spilling.


Start whipping the cream with hand blender or whisk. If you are doing it with a whisk god bless your hands.
When some air is incorporated into the cream start adding the pulp or essence slowly and keep whisking. Add sugar in the pulp to make it sweet if you are skipping condensed milk.
Whip the cream until you see hard peaks forming. After this stop whipping don’t over mix it.
Add condensed milk at last and gently fold it in. this will add a rich taste to your ice cream. Fold in some freshly cut mago.
Keep this in the freezer. To make sure that your ice cream gets extra creamy keep stirring it after every hour also keep it in an airtight container and add plastic wrap over the ice cream. This stops water crystal formation.
If you don’t have any patience like me you can also eat it after an hour because we just added only cream and not whole milk so it gets to ice cream consistency fast.
Tip– keep tasting while adding pulp to make it taste better according to your taste.

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Indian History of Tadkas

Satisfying sound of mustard seed splittering


Ever since I first started cooking in a typical Indian kitchen, I wondered why are tadkas so important in cooking. It turns out that every style of traditional cooking has its own basis like Italian cooking has sauces, most of Asian countries have curries and we Indians have tadkas. We love them so much that even our salads have a dash tadka on them, everything is incomplete without a tadka.
Adding simmering hot oil to a dish of raw vegies reduces its microbial count without cooking it so that they can be enjoyed with their fibre and all the nutrient content.


Basic ingredients in tadka


• Mustard seeds – packed with vitamins minerals and fibre great for digestive health. Mustard oil is known to have less cholesterol and good for cardiovascular problems. They have selenium which is good for bones, gums, hair and nail health. It is also good for skin and delays aging process.
• Cumin seeds – great for digestive health, rich source of iron and contains antioxidants.
• Chilli powder – although it is said that too much of chilli is not good for health in moderation spicy food increases your metabolic rate which means more calories are burnt by your body. This spice also contains vitamin C and surprisingly enough it is an anti-inflammatory agent.
• Turmeric – vey well known for all its health benefits it is a spice strong enough which caused a lawsuit between an American company and India for its discovery.
• Asafoetida(Hing) – very useful for improvement of digestive health, it is a well-known laxative.


How to make tadka


It is also called as tempering of spices where the spices are heated in hot oil to give its best flavour into our dish. Traditionally the oil is heated at medium heat and then mustard seeds are added now wait for them to make splitting sounds (very satisfying to hear) after it stops making that sound add cumin seeds. At this point if you are making your tadka in a small vessel turn of the heat to stop it from burning as shown in the video and then add other ingredients. Do not let it burn or else it gives a very bad burnt taste in your dish. Now add Hing(asafoetida), turmeric and lastly chilli powder add this tasty concoction to your salads, dal, lentils or anything you wish to. Garlic, onions and tomatoes are added to improve the taste as well. We can also make this tadka in big pot and then add our veggies to it and let it sauté in the same pot for the flavours to get incorporated.
The ingredients mentioned here are very basic as the ingredients differ, based on the recipe that we are cooking. We can also add fennel seeds, cloves, pepper, curry leaves , urad dal, fenugreek seeds, anything which your imagination allows.
As a rule of thumb, the order of ingredients added in tadka is decided on which ingredient requires more cooking time, they are added first and ones which requires less time are added later. Mustard seeds are almost always added first.

About the nutrients lost


Now we know that along with adding flavour to our food tadka provides nutrients, but aren’t they lost while cooking in oil? Well because they are cooked in oil which is a fat it increases the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A,D,E and K but decreases the absorption of water-soluble vitamin like vitamin C. As we only use one or two tablespoons of oil for a big pot of dal, lentils and vegetables only a healthy moderate amount of oil consumed.
Oils like coconut oil, clarified butter(ghee) can be used to make the food healthier. Olive oil at high temperatures breaks down to give unpleasant taste so its not ideal for a good tadka.

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