When we speak of variety and diversity, there is no other country in the world like India. India is a land of not just various languages but cuisine.
In this blog, we will throw light on South Indian cuisine for gaining muscle mass. It is easy to gain muscle mass with a few tweaks in your diet. Stay tuned till the end of the blog for a sample one week muscle gain meal plan.
South Indian food encompasses the food from the five states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh.
Every state has its specialties. The local spices, cooking methods, and ingredients differ in every state. But all states have an assortment of plant-based delicacies.
Gaining muscle mass is easy using common ingredients such as millets, grains, seeds and nuts.
Lentils used in sambhar, rasam, or chutneys are a rich source of protein, fiber, and micronutrients. A mildly sweet, spicy, and aromatic sweet potato dish like Thoran is dense in calories and loaded with proteins..
Coconut have high potassium content besides vitamin B or folate, and amino acids necessary for gaining muscle mass. Coconuts are also dense in calories, helping you maintain the daily calories required for muscle gain.
Here is a detailed version of what every state has to offer.
The cuisine in this state is known for using millets, broken rice, and sorghum. A healthy breakfast of sorghum dosa kick starts your day in the right direction. How? Sorghum is packed with proteins that helps with build muscles, regenerate cells, and repair body tissues.
The state lets you put on a veggie hat and enjoy delicious vegan delicacies. A hot steaming bowl of Pongal made from short-grain rice and split moong masala dosa with potato and cashew nuts is filling and power packed.
Kerala is all about the Sadya that comprises of Avial made from yam, snake guard, brinjal, raw bananas beans carrot, drumstick, cucumber, and coconut.
It is also famous for the appams, cabbage thoran, idli, beetroot kichadi, parippu made from yellow lentils and grated coconut. Kerala's is also famous for Olan made from ash guard, coconut milk, pumpkin, red beans, chilies, and coconut oil.
You must try the wildly popular ultra-thin polelus made from chana dal, jaggery, and coconut oil. Thunti Koora is a spicy vegetarian curry made from Red Sorrell leaves that are a store house of protein, vitamin C and A.
Give in to a meal comprising of neer dosa (thin rice crepes made from coconut paste and rice) and traditional Bisi bele bath comprising of lentils, veggies, and rice.
Try the healthy veg sagu made from veggies and roasted chana dal besides the famous Koasambari salad made with carrots, cucumber, fresh coconut, chana, and moong daal.
But what these states share in common?
The cultural influence and geography have a significant role to play in the cuisine of southern Indian states. Malabari cooking is a part of Kerala; the flavorful and rich Nizami cuisine comes from Hyderabad.
By and large, every state's cuisine is made with lentils, bananas, coconut, and rice. There is rasam, sambhar, and a host of coconut-based chutneys.
No South Indian meal is complete without a fermented rice batter used to make pancakes (uttapams) or steamed cakes (idlis).
The cooking method in south India revolves around fermentation and steaming instead of the deep-frying and broiling like in the north. Think about waking upto idly’s VS deep fried bhatura’s from the north. Cuisine in the south is naturally healthy.
The broiling and frying techniques mentioned above increase advanced glycation end-products (AGEs). There is nothing more dangerous than AGEs because these oxidants produce free radicals that damage the DNA. Read the below blog to know the effects of AGE's on the body:
They trigger inflammation throughout the body, speed up the aging process, and contribute to cholesterol. Result? Heart attacks!
The steaming and fermentation process of cooking followed in South India helps to build a resistant immune system. Fermentation of the lentils and rice increases the bio-availability of minerals present in food, helping the body absorb more nutrition.
What is your goal? Muscle gain OR Fat gain?
There's a significant difference in what you intend to acquire, muscles or weight (fat).
If you are eating a lot of butter, ghee, and animal fats to gain a bit of weight, then it is time to stop.
A lethal combination of meat + dairy can prove fatal as diets incorporating animal products are more acidic. Often times, excess proteins coming in from animal proteins are the leading cause to various types of cancer’s and tumours in the body. A plant- based diet is naturally alkaline and healing.
Animal-based diets are responsible for dietary cholesterol and a host of cardiovascular diseases. The fat from these diets harms your body as it gives you hypertension, diabetes, and heart diseases. But do plant's have enough proteins? watch this:
Aim for a lean body mass to boost vitality, improves metabolic efficiency and stamina. Since muscles are made of proteins AND carbs, derive your share of calories from plants.
And what better than a South Indian diet to gain muscles as you consume good quality proteins without any toxins.
We all must remember that a balanced plant- based diet that includes plant-based proteins is enough for muscular development.
Ditch the conventional belief that eating meat is the only way to gain muscles. No Steak Required!!!
Key point's to keep in mind for Muscle Gain.
Staying in a caloric surplus.
What is a caloric surplus? Let me give an example: Say if you are eating 2900 kcal of food and burning 2500 kcal, you are in a 400 calorie surplus.
Many factors determine the size of the calorific surplus. They include training volume, gender, age, and how close you are to your genetic limits.
Use an online BMR calculator to see what your maintenance calories are and increase it slightly to start gaining muscle mass.
Please keep in mind that the caloric surplus is different for different people.
For men:Keep it somewhere between 100-400 calories above your maintenance intake. Anything more can skew toward fat gain.
For women: Keep it between 100-300 calories above your maintenance intake. Anything more will cause fat gain.
Determine macronutrients (carbohydrates, fat, and protein): To ensure you gain as much lean muscle mass as possible, stick to eating 55% carbs/ 25% proteins and 20% fats. Work with a nutritionist to help you figure this out and make a meal plan catered only to your body type and requirements.
Subject your muscles to weights and resistance training that makes them stronger. Continually expose your muscles to increasing weights.
Progressive overloading will increase the length and diameter of your muscles. Incorporate training sessions that involve compound movements and work on multiple joints.
Build muscle mass by indulging in bench presses, pull-ups, deadlifts, and squats that work for multiple groups of muscles.
Rest and recovery (reduce cortisol).
We have our diet and exercise regimen sorted, and now it is time to sort our relaxation regimen. Rest is vital if you want to recover from exercise-induced stress. That is because too much pressure from exercise increases your cortisol levels and depletes your glycogen levels in the body.
If your muscles remain un-replenished, then you experience fatigue and soreness. Give ample time to your muscles to refill their glycogen levels to be prepped for future workouts.
Solution: Aim for seven hours of uninterrupted sleep to tame the cortisol levels. That is because cortisol is the evil hormone in the body that hates muscles and loves fat.
Do not jump to fifty kilograms straight on the first day of your weight lifting, as that will increase the cortisol levels. Do not let this hormone destroy your bone density, muscle tissues, and promote the infamous abdominal fat. Sleep well; build well!
Sample meal plan for muscle gain.
NOTE: While the above meal plan ensure you get the right ratio of carbs and proteins essential for gaining muscle mass, it is best to work with a nutritionist to know the exact quantity of food you should be consuming.
Q. Is South Indian food good for muscle gain?
A. Yes, a well planned south Indian food is inevitable for muscle gain because lentils used in sambhar and other dishes contribute to our body's protein demands. Also, unprocessed fat from cashew nuts, peanuts, fox nuts, and coconuts used abundantly in South Indian cuisine helps adding calories effortlessly into your diet.
Q. What are the everyday items of the diet of South India?
A. The everyday items used in a South Indian diet include coconut, rice, lentils, tamarind, fenugreek seeds, peanuts, cashew nuts, mustard, curry leaves, and chilies.
Q. Is the South Indian diet healthy?
A. Yes, the south Indian diet is probably the healthiest. That is because south Indian cuisine comprises an array of healthy delicacies made from fermented batters. The steamed idlis iddiappams and uttapams made from fermented batter promote weight loss. The dishes are rich in probiotics and are a boon for gut microbes. Besides this, the use of green leafy vegetables in the south indian cuisine is abundant.
Roshni Sanghvi is an Indian plant-based sports nutritionist and body transformation specialist. She is the first Indian to represent on a national bodybuilding stage being on a 100% plant-based diet. Roshni is a holistic nutritionist, graduated from the prestigious NutraPhoria college of nutrition in Canada.
She is also an ACE-certified personal trainer, certified PlantFed gut coach, certified Bodyshred, and Animal flow instructor with a specialisation in disease reversal through food and lifestyle modification.
Her approach is more focused on helping you in adopting a healthy lifestyle. With her result-oriented holistic methods, she has managed to transform and reverse lifestyle diseases such as PCOS, Thyroid, Diabetes etc for 12k+ clients worldwide.