As we usher into the New Year, this is the best time to talk about health and food together, and as such ‘being healthy’ is in fashion – more from celebrity chef, Sanjeev Kapoor .
Food is the most happening trend in the world at any point in time. There is a past, a present and a future and all sorts of cooks, from amateurs to professionals are inspired greatly by all. Change is constant and for every new product that we see in the market there is a product we are ready to get rid of! Evolution is the name of the game and with this evolution has come the very clichéd and over-used term ‘healthy.’ Yes, food can be healthy if made the right way and not just add to calories. As we usher into the New Year, this is the best time to talk about health and food together, and as such ‘being healthy’ has suddenly come into fashion again, even amongst Indians.
Getting back to basics
The good old dal-chawal-roti-sabzi is resurfacing as good health awaits at home. Simple food, using fresh ingredients cooked with steaming method, and no oil cooking are some of the health mantras that are in vogue again. People are switching to brown (bread and rice) and saying no to rich sauces and sugar, and this way it is reassuring to them that they are consuming the good old Indian khana with a healthy twist added to it.
Healthy without dieting
People want to eat healthy. They prefer not to ‘diet’. High protein diets, low carbohydrate diets and omega rich diets are a few on which food experts worldwide are working. There is an emergence of health promoting probiotic foods as also the awareness about macrobiotic diet using whole and unprocessed foods. This diet emphasizes locally grown, organic whole grains and fresh vegetables, and avoids heavily processed foods containing chemical additives and most animal products.
Anti-ageing foods are in…
This is something that a lot of professionals as well as amateurs in the culinary world are getting into. In this fast paced life of today, one really wants to look their best and somehow stop ageing (even if that’s impossible to do!) at all times. And the simplest way to achieve this is to invest in the group of foods that fall into the category of ‘anti-ageing foods.’ It is rightly said that ‘what you eat is what you are.’ So, it becomes really necessary for all of us to avoid as far as possible the intake of foods that cause harm to the body and lead to various problems including ageing in an unnatural way. Not only physically, but these can add to an individual’s mental and psychological tension as well and can lower their confidence and morale.
Ageing is unavoidable, but it should be at proper time and in the proper way and not just because of some other reasons. Here’s a list of some great anti-ageing foods that will not only help you retain that vitality and vigor but also help you age gracefully and help you live a longer and healthier life.
1. Water: One of the best options to fight ageing as well as having a healthy and glowing skin. It is also useful as it helps the body to get rid of the toxins and provides fluidity to the flow of blood. For best results, one should consume atleast eight glasses of water a day.
2. Ginger: Not just a good anti-ageing food stuff, but also helps in proper digestion along with keeping the bowel movement in shape.
3. Garlic: Prevents unnatural ageing as it is an excellent antioxidant that helps in retarding growth of abnormal cells. Also prevents cell degeneration, heart diseases and keeps blood thin.
4. Green vegetables: The vegetables like salad leaves, lettuce, spinach, broccoli, etc. are good sources of Vitamin C and are great antioxidants that help prevent fine lines and contain lycopene and beta-carotene, that help block ultra-violet rays which ruin ageing. Also good for keeping the weight under control.
5. Avocado: Rich in Vitamin E and hence essential for shining hair, glowing skin and prolongs skin ageing. Good source of potassium that prevents high blood pressure and helps fluid retention.
6. Melons: Besides providing the body with great water content and Vitamin A, B, C and E, melons like watermelons and muskmelons are one of the best anti-ageing foods.
7. Nuts: Almonds, cashewnuts and walnuts are known to be energy providers and help fight ageing and laziness.
8. Yogurt: Great source of minerals like proteins, calcium and potassium and contains useful bacteria that helps in absorption of nutrients in the intestines and makes the immune system steady and is great for skin.
9. Salmon: This is for Non vegetarians, . It’s best to change to salmon as it is rich in proteins, omega-3 fatty acids that help make the skin healthy and is just perfect for the overall body.
Besides talking about some general things related to health and food, let’s just have a look at some healthy options that can be used as additions or alternatives to our normal diets. After all, good eating habits come from following a regime that includes such healthy choices.
Giving here a few tips:
1. Olive oil: Replace butter on the bread with a dash of olive oil. Even mayonnaise can take a back seat as salad dressing, because olive oil is endowed with a high proportion of monounsaturated fatty acids which help lowers total cholesterol.
2. Soya: Soya milk, which is readily available, is a good idea on breakfast cereal. It is a better source of protein than cow’s milk. Tofu or bean curd, a cheese preparation of soya milk, might taste bland on its own but is good in stir-fries and kebabs. Chickpeas, green gram and lentils are other good sources of protein that need to be included in the daily diet.
3. Starchy carbohydrates: Starchy foods, fruits and vegetables, high fibre foods should have a dominating presence in the plate. Remember, potatoes in their jackets are good to eat but with butter you would be increasing the calories.
4. Oily fish: Oily fish features largely in the cuisines of Japan, Thailand and Mediterranean. The omega-3 oils in oily fish help in controlling heart disease, eczema and arthritis. Having two oily fish (sardines, salmon or mackerel) meals a week is recommended for full health benefits. Besides this, as spoken before these are good as anti-ageing foodstuffs as well.
5. Coloured vegetables and fruits: Luscious red tomatoes, tangy plump oranges, fresh green vegetables and peppers with plenty of carotenoids mop up on free radicals. These harmful molecules cause cell damage, wrinkles and ageing. Carotenoids may also help protect against heart attacks, cancer and age related degeneration of the retina. For full effect, take five servings a day of colourful vegetables and fruits.
6. Garlic: The French have low levels of heart disease because of their overwhelming use of garlic in their cooking. Regular intake is thought to lower cholesterol levels and reduce blood clotting. Garlic also has immune boosting anti-bacterial, decongestive, anti-cancer properties and is a good anti-ageing food.
Of late there has been a major shift toward health juices. There is no limit to the range of juicing ideas available to us. Traditionally the juices would begin and end with apple, tomato, watermelon, carrot, pineapple, grape, orange, cucumber and sweet lime juice. One would have to wait for the fruit or vegetable to be in season and in abundance and then have the juice for its multiple health benefits.
It’s a good thing that while juicing make use of stems and leaves too. But, remember the exceptions like carrot stem and leaves which are toxic and celery leaves which are bitter! The not so new but back in fashion are fondly called health juices and they really do not have to be in ‘season’ or in abundance to be juiced.
Popular ones include:
1. Neem juice: Considered excellent for diabetes, fever, cough, dysentery, skin diseases, it is also a liver stimulant and purifies blood. Neem has plenty of benefits.
2. Bitter gourd (karela) juice: Good for diabetes, indigestion, fever and stimulates the pancreas. While karela juice is not a “cure” for diabetes or high cholesterol, it is an excellent complement to medication for the same.
3. Tulsi juice: Tulsi is a popular home remedy for a number of ailments. In fever, tulsi leaves boiled with powdered cardamom in a cup of water and strengthened with sugar and milk brings down the temperature. Tea prepared with a little ginger and leaves of tulsi, while alleviating body ache, also gives a fresh feeling. In acute cough and cold, taking half a teaspoonful of dried leaves of tulsi and black pepper, added with a little of honey, works well.
4. Ginger lemon (adrak nimbu) juice: Ginger and lemon both aid digestion and flatulence.
5. Indian gooseberry (amla) juice: Rich with Vitamin C, it helps the eyes, hair and heart. It is a good appetizer and helps in cases of acidity.
6. Kokum juice: This juice provides relief in summer skin diseases as it keeps the body cool.
7. Jamun juice: It is a good digestive drink. It controls the burning sensation due to boils on skin. Wonderful for diabetics.
8. Fresh wheat grass juice: Good for cancer patients, high or low blood pressure, acidity, asthma, piles and anaemia.
9. Carrot juice: Rich in Vitamin A and good for the eyes.
So, now we see that health and food can actually go hand-in-hand. Eat right, exercise and have a peaceful mind to avoid fear of not living a longer life! Health is definitely wealth!
STEAMED FISH WITH GINGER
2 whole pomfrets, scaled and cleaned
2 tablespoons thin strips of ginger
3 spring onions
Sea salt to taste
1 teaspoon sesame oil
10 spring onions with greens, sliced
1 teaspoon soy sauce
¼ teaspoon crushed black peppercorns
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander leaves
1 teaspoon chilli oil
Heat sufficient water in the bottom half of a steamer. Place the perforated top over it.
Slice the spring onions and spread on the perforated top.
Make a few slits on the pomfret fish. Sprinkle a little sea salt over them and keep them on the spring onions. Sprinkle half tablespoon of ginger strips. Cover the steamer and let the fish steam till done.
Heat the sesame oil in a non-stick pan, add the sliced spring onions with greens and sauté.
Add the soy sauce, remaining ginger strips, salt, crushed black peppercorns, one-fourth cup of water and cook for three to four minutes.
Transfer the fish onto a serving plate. Pour the sauce over them. Drizzle the chilli oil over them. Place the steamed sliced spring onions on top and serve immediately.
GAJAR, KISHMISH AND BLACK OLIVE SALAD
4-5 large carrots (gajar)
½ cup raisins (kishmish)
6-8 black olives, stoned and sliced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
5-6 black peppercorns, crushed
1 green chilli, finely chopped
1 tablespoon honey
Salt to taste
¼ teaspoon black salt
6 walnut kernels, crushed
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
6- 8 fresh mint leaves
Thickly grate the carrots. Refrigerate till required for use.
Combine the lemon juice, crushed black peppercorns, green chilli, honey, salt, black salt, walnuts, raisins, black olives and extra virgin olive oil to make a dressing.
Just before serving add the dressing to the grated carrots and toss. Serve garnished with mint leaves.
200 grams yogurt
200 grams sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons fresh cream
Red currant jam as required
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F.
Whisk together the yogurt and condensed milk. Add the cream and whisk again.
Place shot glasses in a baking tray. Fill them upto three-fourth with the yogurt mixture.
Drop a dollop of red currant jam into each glass. Keep the tray in the preheated oven and pour some water in it.
Bake for fifteen to twenty minutes. Cool down to room temperature and then chill in a refrigerator.