// How to Eat Healthy Indian Food…Without Insulting Your Mom
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jannah
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« on: Aug 25, 2011 06:51 AM »


How to Eat Healthy Indian Food…Without Insulting Your Mom
from Divanee magazine


After a few unsuccessful attempts at reaching my target weight, I’m finally considering that maybe I am what I eat. As a South Asian male who sometimes relies on a monthly shipment of home cooking for sustenance, balancing fitness goals with midnight servings of biryani and chicken makhani can be difficult. Since I can’t dismantle my domestic food supply without insulting my mother, I’ve been looking for a better solution to align with my health and wellness goals.

Desi food is tremendously popular because it calls on fresh fruits and vegetables, tender meats, flavorful spices and lentils among other unique ingredients. Unsurprisingly, Indians—and other South Asians—are proud of their national cuisine, love to eat and to feed others. In New York City, there are over 300 restaurants all serving a slice of a diverse ethnic cuisine that reflects a country with hundreds of dialects and numerous regional flavors. Unfortunately, genetics coupled with a diet that relies heavily on oil, sugar and salt contribute to India’s reputation as the “diabetes capital of the world”. In fact, Indians have a higher risk for heart disease than their Western counterparts. Physical activity and stress management help combat this, but those alone aren’t enough.

Luckily, we can make Indian food healthier. But doing so involves a careful food preparation and a willingness to sacrifice some samosas, pakoras, vadas, dosas and other fried “-as”.

Indian food provides several health benefits because it incorporates nutritious vegetables, calcium-rich yogurts and protein-filled lentils. The danger arises in the form of obvious culprits like deep-fried, highly caloric samosas, but also in the preparation of once-nutritious raw ingredients. In fact, frying not only increases caloric content, but also zaps the veggies of nutrients and vitamins. Moreover, nutrient-depleted vegetables are often served with a warm, white naan. Breads made with refined flour (versus whole wheat) actually promote fat storage within the body. Fortunately, there are alternatives to popular preparation techniques that can both preserve the flavor and enhance the nutritional value of a meal.

    * Choose healthier ingredients: Try whole-wheat flour for naan, natural sweeteners like honey and cinnamon for desserts, and spices and herbs like iron-rich coriander and mint leaves for flavor in entrées.
    * Limit portions: Minimize intake of fried foods and improve overall digestion.
    * Embrace lentils: Many are high in protein, soluble fiber, vitamins and antioxidants and keep you fuller longer.
    * Reduce consumption of red meat: Try leaner meats like chicken and fish.
    * Steam vegetables: Better than frying because steaming locks in nutrients and lowers risks associated with high blood pressure.

By taking my own advice, I can still enjoy home cooked meals and preserve a vital food distribution operation that’s kept me alive for years. Eating Indian food in a healthier way doesn’t require much effort (on my mom’s part), improves my ability to reach fitness goals and reduces serious health risks. Who knows? Maybe I’ll even start cooking for myself.

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« Reply #1 on: Oct 31, 2011 10:20 PM »

Here's some good tips for desi cooking from this article: http://www.desiblitz.com/content/foods-for-a-healthy-desi-heart?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+desiblitzrss+%28DESIblitz%29

HEALTHY COOKING HABITS

Healthy Oils – use healthier oils for cooking such as Rapeseed oil to cook South Asian dishes. It has a very mild taste and you do not notice the difference when swapping it with butter or ghee.

Real Spices – use real spices to cook your food compared to using pre-prepared sauces which a very popular for convenience but have extra oil added to them.

Garlic and Ginger – add plenty of garlic to your cooking as it is an excellent food for assisting with good circulation and does wonders for the heart. Use ginger in your cooking which is great for health and adds a lovely flavour.

Fry Less – grill, bake, poach or steam food rather than frying or roasting, so that you won’t need to add any extra fat.

Yoghurt – use low fat yoghurt instead of cream for rich creamy dishes such as korma.

Meat – trim visible fat and take skin off meat before cooking. Use the grill or griddle pan instead of the frying pan, for whatever meat you’re cooking.

Less Oil – use less oil in your meat curries and sabjis. Put more vegetables or beans in your curries, and a bit less meat. Skim the fat off the top of curries before serving.

Chappatis and Naans – Use wholemeal flour. Do not butter your fresh chappatis or naans. Lightly brush them with healthy oils if you do want them softer.

Salad – serve salad with your meals. Adding cucumber, tomatoes, onion and lettuce to your meal will make a healthier addition and may stop you from eating too many chappatis or naan.

Fresh is Best – cook fresh as much as possible with fresh ingredients using lots of vegetables. A basic curry for one person can be made within an hour and half.

EATING AND DRINKING HABITS

Fried Foods – Reduce foods such as fried samosas, pakoras, spring rolls, mithai (desi sweets), pastries, cakes, crips and biscuits and eat more of the healthier alternatives such as fruit and vegetables.

Saturated Fats – cut down saturated fats by reducing too many foods such as butter, hard cheese, fatty meat, processed meat products, biscuits, cakes, cream, lard, dripping, ghee, coconut oil and palm oil, which are examples of saturated fats.

Slow Release Foods – eat more starchy foods such as wholemeal chappatis, wholegrain bread, pitta, pasta, rice, noodles, quinoa, bulgar wheat and cereals. Foods which fill you up more and are of a slow release.

Trans Fats – cut down trans-fats which are found in foods such as dairy foods and meats. They also are used to make processed foods, hard margarines, cakes, pastries, biscuits and crackers.

Processed Foods – reduce your intake of processed foods, take-outs with processed meats, too much high fat dairy high especially fatty cheeses. Swap them for healthy alternatives like cottage cheese, light spreads and real fresh meat e.g. chicken breasts.

Avoid fried chips, french fries, wedges, fatty burgers and heavy cheese and processed meat based pizzas. Swap for jacket potatoes, small portions of oven chips or wedges, grilled meats and oily fish.

Fast Food – cut down on how much fast food you eat in a week. Try healthy alternatives. For example, a chicken breast tikka cooked in a tandoor, served on freshly baked naan is better for you than fried chicken with the skin on it served with fries.

Asian Sweets – as yummy as it is, only have mithai and weets on special occasions. Swap these for healthier alternatives such as fruit salad, fruit smoothies and jelly.

Try Different Meals – experiment and try healthier meals as a change. For example, cook chicken tikka fresh on a griddle pan and serve with a large salad containing spinach, cucumber, tomateos, sun-dried tomatoes and olives with a light dressing of lemon juice and seasoning instead of having rice, naan or chappati with it.

Swap your meat once a week for soya such as Quorn. This is high in protein and tastes as good as meat when cooked in any South Asian dishes.

Omega 3- Aim to eat two portions of oily fish per week. It is a well known provider of polyunsaturated fat known omega-3 fats which help lower blood triglyceride levels and reduce the chances of heart disease. Mackerel, pilchards, herring, sardines, trout and fresh tuna are all examples of oily fish.

If you are vegetarian you can get omega-3 from rapeseed oil, flaxseed oil and some nuts such as walnuts.

Snacking stay away from fried snacks like chevda, bombay mix, crisps and swap them for a small handful of nuts like almonds, dry cereal, fruit like grapes and berries, and dried raisins.

Water – Drink more water. At least aim for 5-8 glasses a day.

Tea and Coffee – Have more teas especially herbal teas such as green tea which is high in anti-oxidents. Reduce coffee intake. Tea and coffee also include water.

Alcohol – limit how much alcohol you drink. Do not binge drink. Alcohol adds calories and sugar to your diet.

Sugary Drinks – cut down of full sugar drinks, especially fizzy drinks, and foods with high sugar content. Go for ‘No Sugar Added’ or ‘light’ versions.

Read Labels Carefully – nutrition labels on food packaging can help you to reduce the amount of fat you eat. Always check the label. High fat foods will have more than 20g of total fat per 100g and low fat foods will have less than 3g of total fat per 100g.

These are simply a few changes out of many that can help you maintain a healthy heart and reduce the risk of heart disease. However, it is not just changes to diet that are required; you must also ensure you are engaging in physical activity and exercise.

Doing exercise where you feel breathless for about 30 minutes a day is ideal and more is better. So, going to the gym, playing team sports, brisk walking, jogging, running and swimming are all good examples of exercise.

So, do not leave it to the point where you cannot change eating habits and ‘let go’ of yourself. Act now, do something that will benefit you, especially if you are overweight and help yourself to a maintaining a healthy Desi heart.
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« Reply #2 on: Nov 01, 2011 12:42 AM »

What good is desi food if it's not loaded with meat and ghee? Grin
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« Reply #3 on: Nov 01, 2011 08:34 AM »

What good is desi food if it's not loaded with meat and ghee? Grin

lol a road to heart problems, as most desi elders do have lol
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« Reply #4 on: Nov 03, 2011 06:15 PM »

Quote
What good is desi food if it's not loaded with meat and ghee? Grin
correction-Read this as hyderabadi food instead..

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« Reply #5 on: Nov 04, 2011 09:34 AM »

Quote
What good is desi food if it's not loaded with meat and ghee? Grin
correction-Read this as hyderabadi food instead..



lol...right!
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« Reply #6 on: Nov 04, 2011 03:28 PM »

Quote
Quote
What good is desi food if it's not loaded with meat and ghee? Grin
correction-Read this as hyderabadi food instead..



lol...right!
akhan my mom usually says this whenever I prepare any dish(I make it a point to use as less oil as possible...)-"Tumhare salan pe raunakh hi nahi hai!!, teil hi nai dale kya?!!"-Although she very well knows the benefits of using less oil and ghee Smiley
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« Reply #7 on: Nov 04, 2011 03:52 PM »

Quote
akhan my mom usually says this whenever I prepare any dish(I make it a point to use as less oil as possible...)-"Tumhare salan pe raunakh hi nahi hai!!, teil hi nai dale kya?!!"-Although she very well knows the benefits of using less oil and ghee

Awesome mom if you ask me Wink I guess whoever started this thread should take note of this - that you can't eat "healthy" indian food without insulting your mom Wink
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« Reply #8 on: Nov 04, 2011 04:21 PM »

lol I third that... whenever I "bake" instead of fry or use no oil or do something to make it more healthy I get the ole madauntie "this is tasteless!! what's the point of eating it!!" sheesh kababos... it still tastes ok... we just need to get used to less oil/ghee and frying everything I think. Then other stuff will taste good as well!!  pancakemaker
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