Do healthy and tasty go hand in hand?
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Lets talk some reality here, oven baked fries don’t taste half as good as deep fried once. Sure you can have a healthy quinoa base pizza but what dominos tastes like only dominos tastes like right?
Well true and not. I opt for cheeseless pizza only partly because I am on a plant- based diet. But more importantly because I genuinely love it that way. I legit like less oil dosa and even seeing ghee roast dosa makes me sick :/.
Research shows that it takes 21 days for your taste buds to adapt and once you choose healthy consistently long enough, you will want to continue making healthy choices not because you care for your health but because you actually enjoy healthy food.
But forget the greesy after taste that makes you sick on a ghee roast dosa. Does healthy food really have to be tasteless? The moment you use the word “diet”, most people get this very unpleasing image of a bowl of salad with no dressing on top and saltless, masala less food. In fact you should see some of my clients talk during nutrition counselling sessions, the things they say are exactly this,
“But I have given up dinner long back, still I am not losing weight”
“But I only have plain salad without dressing for lunch everyday, still I am not losing weight”
“But I have completely given up on sugar, fruits and sweets, still by blood- sugar level is not under control”
“But I don’t use any masala or oil in my cooking still I am gaining weight”
“But I am on a high protein diet and don’t eat rice at all still I see no difference”
I seriously want to hug them and say ‘there, there’. Since when have we started associating healthy food with always having to be tasteless or boring? Is using spices to our food really that bad?
Let’s talk spices! Spices could be the leaf, flower or bark of a plant used to ‘spice- up’ the flavour or colour of food. Most of them are very very low calorically but packed with phytonutrients (protects you against bacteria, germs etc), anti- oxidant (heals and repairs you) and most importantly, taste!
Spices also aid in digestion and some even reduce bloating, cholesterol, blood pressure, uric acid, gastric issues, belly fat, inflammation and even obesity. Its basically like natures band aid against anything. Except, makes your food taste delicious!
My agenda to maintaining a long- term permanent lifestyle modification with food instead of going on a diet is simple. Keep food exciting and flavourful! You will only give up ghee roast dosa happily if you find a better alternative to it right? And trust me, plain bland oats is not a better alternative. But chocolate flavoured proats (protein oats, yes there is such a thing) or vanilla and cinnamon flavoured pancakes is a much better option without the greesy after taste. Also for all my “but in india its not available” people, most of these are 2-3 ingredient recipe and all items can easily be found anywhere on earth. Want to stick to indian food only? Sure have you tried vegan omlettes (chilla’s) made with cilantro and peanut sauce (fancy word for chutney ;)) or masala millet khichdi with desi almond dahi (see what i did there ;D).
The point is use spices! Ginger, garlic, cinnamon, bay leaves, garam masala, mustard, shallots, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, sea salt etc all these will make you want to jump out of bed and make right choices over ghee roast dosa.
Some client told me that if their ‘diet’ food is tasty they will end up eating more of it. Sweetheart thats the point! Eat enough right food so you get enough micro nutrients so you are not craving for the wrong food. The only way to stop wrong food is to eat enough right food! And trust me, you WILL NOT gain any weight by eating enough right plant- based whole food. Same is not the story with meat. If you eat too much chicken or eggs in the name of health you will become fat ;/. Try the same with banana, after the third banana you will not want to eat more because of all the fiber filling you up.
Ok so now that I have convienced you healthy food MUST be tasty, head out to my YouTube channel to watch some of my fun recipes.
My top five MUST have in the kitchen spices:
- Tumeric: I always always always start my day with a huge glass of warm water and tumeric, ginger, lemon. One of the reasons tumeric is all ‘greatest out there’ is because it contains an active ingredient called curcumin. Effects of curcumin in reducing plaque from your blood vessels has been long known. Thus, this not only helps protect the heart but also might aid in healing people with diabetes. Tumeric is also a natural anti- septic and anti bacterial. Thus, good for self healing the body and improving immunity. Plus, it makes your curries vibrant yellow!
- Garlic: The flavour! Enough said. Ok if you want more reasons, did you know garlic was once used as a ‘performance enhancer’ by athletes. For real! Garlic helps fight fatigue and helps recovery. It also helps protect bones against calcium loss. Study with menopausal women shows garlic to boost hormones that protect bones. Garlic contains a compound called allicin that reduces the spike in insulin after a heavy meal. Thus helps in weight loss. So basically garlic bread is better than plan bread. Ok well neither is better since bread would not classify as ‘whole- food’ but if you had to choose one over the other.
- Cinnamon Powder: Because have you tried it with apples! But apart from the taste, even as much as smelling cinnamon has been linked to a boost in brain function. It also of course aids in digestion, thus a great benefit when added with your salads/ smoothies. Cinnamon tea aids in blood circulation so think of this as a natural blood thinner. It is not advisable to have green tea post your meals, but a cup of simple boiled cinnamon water works really well in aiding with digestion. It also is great with helping you sleep well if you are constantly stressed from work and have a disturbed sleep.
- Peppercorn: Salt and pepper on erreeetthhiinngggg. So try using different colours of pepper if you are used to only black. I recently bought pink peppercorn and it tastes so much different than the black one! Its a burst of flavour in your mouth and can spice up pretty much any food. I remember mom feeling us peppercorn mixed with ghee when we were young and caught a cold or something. I dont get the ghee part but peppercorn aids in boosting immunity and fight against cold. Its also great for skin health! You really have all you need to heal your body from plant- based food! If you eat well, hydrate, exercise and rest well, there is no diseases that requires medical intervention for.
- Tulsi/ basil leaves: Ok we have a tulsi plant growing in our kitchen garden! Tulsi tea is great in relieving stress and calming down. I don’t know how, but take my word for it. It also is a great tasting herb and can make any green smoothie taste like you are on a white sand beach sipping a mojito ;). Minus the alcohol of course. Apart form the healing and anti- ageing properties, Tulsi is very good for oral health. Its like a burst of freshness to any food you add it to. Tulsi plant is easy to grow and maintain. I highly suggest getting this plant in your kitchen garden.
Attached is a picture of sambhar- rice (my lunch today). I used garlic, pepper, sambhar masala and a bunch of other herbs in my cooking today. Remember, cooking always always has to be fun and food delicious. Let it leave a lasting memory for you. Fat- loss should be a fun journey and never a burden.
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