Showing posts with label health and wellness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label health and wellness. Show all posts

Friday, June 16, 2017

Why puffed rice aka muri is the ultimate survival food

There has been a major shift in health paradigm, from high carb to high fat and vice versa and we have seen it all over the past couple of years. What we thought was right for our health is actually a deterrent, what we believed we should be eating was manipulated by the big pharmas and the US government and people were duped into eating mashed potato, corn flakes, eggs without yellow, fruit juice etc. That's lot of carbs and very little fat. Now that the big fat lie is out, we have come to realize that fat is good and real and has extraordinary power to shape our health and that culprit sugar and is the new tobacco!

The Big Fat Surprise: The myth of High Carb Low Fat diet explained


Being an Indian and living in India we have just begun to realize the harm that has been caused to an entire generation over the decades. The ripple effect has come to shock everyone here and everywhere. The power of this kneaded falsehood is so deeply ingrained that it's no rocket science to understand the humongous task of back pedaling the credence of the populace. So, it is our minds that we are fighting everyday more than anything else and trust me, it is hard.

When my cardiologist boss asked patients to eat whole eggs or meat or butter or not to eat biscuits and bread they were in complete disbelief. They still are and this skepticism is something that's not going to go overnight. That said, we have been spending days figuring out the right and real food that is healthy, nutritious and delicious. Quite a bit of research work later, we found out that even with all the snags puffed rice is the best possible snacks we can fall for especially if you are an Indian or if you plan to live in India.

So what is puffed rice? (This of course is for my friends from abroad). Trust me it is the ultimate survival food! Muri is indigenous of South Asia and is prepared from rice kernels in a similar manner as popcorn is made from corns. Traditionally it is made by heating rice over sand filled earthen oven. It serves as an excellent cereal food and can be eaten just as we eat corn flakes or oats with milk and seasonal fruits. Muri is healthy and has immense likelihood of turning into a super food when tossed with assortments of veggies like cucumber, parsley, green chillis, tomatoes, boiled potatoes, onion, sprouts- you just name it! Bengalis love it with pure raw mustard oil (mustard oil is one of the best oils we can eat nowadays, so you can eat it guilt free) and hot green chillis and occasionally with "aloor chop" (potato fritters) and often with friends and family.

Another snacking food is flattened rice or rice flakes (chura/ chire) which is also a powerful comfort food. Nowadays we get lovely roasted chire which is not only tasty but also nutritious. If you are an Indian and have survived numerous homesick moments it's needless to introduce you to poha. You know how you can add lovely fresh veggies, sprouts, peanuts, raisins and more to cater to your taste buds making it hugely popular among desi and not-so-desi friends.

The benefits also are immense. If you are a weight watcher you can never go wrong with this super food. It's high on iron, carbohydrate and have low gluten content. Besides, it is a fantastic mood lifter and reminds me of camaraderie. Although the brown variety is hard to get these days but both muri (puffed rice) and chire (flattened rice) are better picks than suji (semolina) which is totally a white stuff. Having said that, be a smart buyer and a smart eater. Try not to look for stuffs that are glossy, inviting and too good to be true. The crude variety is less appealing, less puffed and are less cosmetic. And I know you are a smart eater and never go on binges.

Now, a takeaway. We went to the US last year and sitting there miles away we relived our Calcutta days merely by eating muri, chanachur (spicy snacks mix) and chai over bangla cinema on youtube (courtesy my lovely sister who rolled in a whole lot of bengali essentials in no time). So, no brownie point for guessing that I am insanely in love with muri. Although my family will disagree I can tell you that they too resort to this super snacks, aka muri, in times of nostalgic Calcutta moments.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Happiness in a storm


We have spent an inordinate amount of time figuring out the relationship between positive mindfulness  and its impact on our health, and today medical science has proven that positivism influences our brain cells and escalates our health. That explains why some patients with terminal disease live longer than others, or why with some people life seems easier than others. 

This is unarguably also the reason why my opthalmologist tells me to live stress free since negative emotion flares up health conditions. With each bout of stress my eye condition flares up and this leaves me extremely low and to a more stressful existence. Talking of which, now I know how my parents were being able to pull through extraordinary life circumstances inspite of being faced with some handsome health conditions in different phases of their lives. They have been fostering positive emotions all through, in the middle of all bizarre health crises and have had an extraordinary time fighting those.

The impact of positivist on health got reiterated only the other day ,when my boss, a renowned doctor himself, mailed me an article by Jane E Brody. "A Positive Outlook May Be Good for Your Health". The article wonderfully explains what happens to you when you are positive and sums up 8 skills to practice to stay happy and calm when your health is not going good. Quoting from the article:

An important goal of the training is to help people feel happy, calm and satisfied in the midst of a health crisis. Improvements in their health and longevity are a bonus. Each participant is encouraged to learn at least three of the eight skills and practice one or more each day. The eight skills are:

■ Recognize a positive event each day.
■ Savor that event and log it in a journal or tell someone about it.

■ Start a daily gratitude journal.
■ List a personal strength and note how you used it.

■ Set an attainable goal and note your progress.
■ Report a relatively minor stress and list ways to reappraise the event positively.

■ Recognize and practice small acts of kindness daily.
■ Practice mindfulness, focusing on the here and now rather than the past or future.


Thursday, April 20, 2017

The beauty of deep work


A note to my children (nephew and nieces)

Because you three are the best and because I love you 'deeply' I would like to share something that I am currently reading. 'Deep Work' is magnificent. When we do deep work we alienate ourselves from the peripherals and endeavour to perform that task alone. This also means that multitasking is largely a myth. Deep work as opposed to multitasking reiterates the fact that we end up performing better and bigger in less time.

So when you are studying, reading, dancing, playing or doing anything - JUST DO IT ALONE. Keep other stuffs at the back seat and do it passionately, deeply, with much love. Refrain yourself from the distractions, from all those pings in your gadgets, from the hangovers, the impending burdens etc.

I am not asking you to stop using your devices. Allot a time for that too, for your internet time only. Do one thing at a time and soon you will realize that the beauty of deep work is in the sense of completion, in the sense of a perfect satiated feeling that would make you so beautiful when you grow up. Deep work is in a way an answer to the much talked about work economy and the search towards inner peace. Trust me in no time you will understand the worth. Ping me then. Much love.


#DeepWork #CalNewportTop of Form

Monday, May 11, 2015

Why you need to confide in your doctor?


The power of good relationship between a doctor and patient is immense and the impact of this on treatment of diseases is extraordinary. The relationship can fantastically improve the mental health of a patient. A noncongenial relationship may lead to situations where the important health facts are missed making the diagnosis incomplete and misleading. As a patient you have to confide in your doctor, you have to ask him questions, share your problems and also sometimes take call of changing your doctor. It's simple, doable and a two way process. The compatibility factor is very important.

If your doctor shows you the door or cuts you short or is not keen on listening to you it's time you saw another doctor. No one in the clinic will ever going to tell you that your doctor is incompetent so you have to take the call. Researches have proved that the best doctors are not always the best relation makers. They have a signature tuning issue with the patients which could be attributed mostly to the lack of time.

On the flip side, this is true for the doctors as well. There are many instances where the patients visit a doctor just because the doctor is available, stays near his place or because his doctor in on leave. To top it, the trust factor is virtually zero. This is impeccably demoralizing for the doctor and may be considered as one of the many reasons why a doctor refuses a patient.

We cannot deny the fact that inspite of all the bad names that the profession has acquired over the years, the doctors are no better than a trapeze artist, trying to keep himself on the balance all the time.This probably is the reason why the doctors have to conduct series of diagnostics on patients who are supposed to undergo just a cataract operation! The evidence based on the clinical examination is not enough to keep a doctor off a suing. This is appalling but true.

Given such scenario, the relationship between the doctors/ medicos and the patients is of immense significance. It's not just about the doctor and patient but also about a whole league of medicos that constantly strive to strike a humane chord. An agreeable doctor-patient relationship enhances a lot of aspect that is not only medical but societal, economic, political etc.

Confiding in your doctor helps you immensely in getting the best medical help. Your doctor will tell you everything about the line of treatment that he is planning for you. You will be updated about your health issues very precisely. The transparency will help in eradicating many uncalled for hassles.

Once the trust factor is established your doctor will not go overboard with the tests and diagnostics. He will keep you in the frame always before conducting any test. If and when your doctor is convinced that you are not going to sue him he will be able to treat you more freely. Also, less and only justifiable tests will be performed on you resulting in less expense for your pockets.

Nothing like being able to confide in your doctor because he is the one who is supposed to know all about your personal stuffs. Once you know that your doctor is not going to divulge your profile you will find a friend in him. That should be the objective that every doctor and patient must strive for.

Photo credit ~ irishhospital

 

The Big Fat Surprise: The myth of High Carb Low Fat diet explained


NinaTeicholz's "The Big Fat Surprise" is all about everything we thought we knew about dietary fat is wrong. The book, impeccably researched, is a fascinating read and is full of wow moments. Through years of scientific researches and dietary experiments. the nutritionist and journalist, Nina comes out with the amazing fact of how more and not less fat – including the saturated animal fats (dairy, eggs, meat) actually leads to better health. She actually insists that low fat and high carb diet introduced in early 50 years ago in the US is actually a commercial connivance led by a top nutritionist and the federal government.


Years of rigorous diet (low fat high carb) did not quite lessen the obesity and other health issues (cardio vascular disease, obesity, diabetes etc.) in the country. In no time the good fat is being replaced by high carb food resulting in atrocious toxicity in our health meters. The good fats are nutrient dense food as opposed to the empty and bad calories of high carb diet. Carbohydrate is nothing but sugar and we all know by now that toxicity associated with it. The factual evidence that the book is accentuated with is remarkable and believable. Even though the book has severe critiques in the medical practitioners, nutritionists and health gurus, it unrolls some serious evidence based health facts.  


Nina is critical of one man who she thinks is deeply flawed. In her own words: 


“Our distrust of saturated fat dates more than 50 years, and can be traced to just one man: a bullying, charismatic but revered pathologist named Ancel Keys, whose quest for fame caused him to run roughshod over basic scientific standards. His deeply flawed “Seven Countries” study was the “Big Bang” of all our nutrition recommendations today. In an effort to quickly address the terrifying heart-disease epidemic, Keys persuaded the American Heart Association and ultimately the U.S. government to subscribe to the notion that saturated fat was our chief dietary culprit. Fat generally — and saturated fat specifically — came to be blamed for causing heart disease, obesity and cancer. Eventually this unfounded belief became ingrained as our national dogma, and many of our most esteemed nutrition scientists today endorse this idea based on the same kind of soft science that originated with Keys.

The book, through austere diet trials, shows how high-fat, low-carb diet is better for fighting obesity, diabetes and heart disease etc. An amazing read and the book has been successful in addressing the basic dietary myths. This book documents how 'misunderstanding, misconduct and bad science' caused generations to be misled about nutrition.

"The Big Fat Surprise" is a pageturner and is available in Kindle, Paperback and Hardcopy versions. Buy your choice but do buy it. To begin with, you may get intimidated by the factual data and the citations (more than 100 pages) but trust me the intriguing story telling of Nina Teicholz will never fail you. 


Monday, May 4, 2015

How to prepare yourself before doctor's visit and make most out of it


I have been meeting patients everyday for several years and have noticed that there has been a striking shift in the delineation of the patients. Patients are more involved, interactive and informed than the pre-internet days. Also, as much as we revere the profession of a medical practitioner, the role of a doctor has been most discussed and often criticized.  What a doctor should do and what he should not, how he should and how he should not etc. have put their lives on perpetual edge. We are quick in passing judgments about their societal and tangible roles as in rendering proper, timely and cost effective medical treatment.

However, how many of us are aware about our roles as patients? Are we doing our bits as patients? What are our duties towards a healthy doctor-patient relationship?

This article is research based and I would hope that reading through this will help you understand your role as a patient. Aside this, you will also find this article helpful in organizing your medical data and coping with your medical condition. So, how to make most out of your doctor's visit?

What  you must do

Take the usual dose of medication before seeing your doctor

If the appointment is in the morning time you should not miss any of the morning doses. This, especially, is relevant for the hypertensive patients who are on regular anti hypertensive medication. If he the morning dose of medicine it gets difficult for the doctor to alter and correct the dose of medicines. 

Carry all the medical documents along

You, as a patient should carry his medical file, even the ones that he feels irrelevant. Let the doctors decide on that. This would make the visit so much smooth. The doctor gets to know the history, the medical conditions, the past hospitalizations in less time. Besides, the risk of missing an important information is averted.

Carry the medicines you are currently on

The doctor would most definitely want to know about the medicines his patient is currently on. This also may help him detect the probable side effects that the patient might be having from a medicine. You, as a patient, should keep records of the previous treatment. inform your doctor about drug allergies, supplements you are on, sensitivity issues, past hospitalizations, other illnesses that you are being treated for etc. 

Nothing wrong in being internet savvy but choose your source smartly

With the advent of internet life has been so much easier. From battery to books to medical conditions to their treatment - most of us are now self educated medicos. This may run us into grave things that we may not be able to reverse. Internet is great but we must not feed ourselves on the unauthenticated sources of information. At the end of the day, only a doctor, you heard it right, only a doctor will be able to treat you right - not the internet.

Bring along mags, books, ipods etc.

You should not equate visit to a doctor with visit to a friend's or with visit to the super market. You should come prepared with the probable waiting times. Let's face it - doctors are supposed to run into emergency anytime. 

Consider involving your friend/ spouse/ parent

Come along with someone with whom you are comfortable and may disclose your personal stuffs. Sometimes, patients are unwilling to share medical history with the doctor that may have played an important role in the diagnosis.

Speak up and ask

Feel free to ask questions to your doctor. You should know about your health conditions and what your doctor is planning for you. Ask about the medicines, plan of treatment, diagnosis etc. Also, make sure you can read your doctor's hand writing. Else you can ask for a typed/ legible prescription. 


What you must not do

Know your conditions and health issues. Respecting the value of time you should come prepared with all the questions you want to ask your doctor.  Also, keep in mind that not all doctors want to be asked. So:

D not interrupt your doctor. Value his expertise.
Do not take calls in between. Do not get distracted by your gadgets. Switch off your phone and gadgets before entering doctor's office
Do not digress too much. Come prepared with the questions that you want to ask your doctor. So, be very precise and crisp and choose your questions wisely.
Do not be repetitive. Some doctors do not indulge in too many questions. Keep it short and specific.
Do not pad your queries. Be open and matter of fact.

Do not record the session with prior permission. Do ask for permission. Else, most doctors going to shoo you off.



PS: I work in healthcare facility for more than ten years now. 

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Photo credit ~ AMD

Friday, April 24, 2015

How well you know your heart: A guide to various heart conditions

Today, everyone is familiar with the term ‘heart disease’, but not everyone is conversant with the spectrum of diseases related to the heart. What commonly referred to as heart disease is actually a bouquet of heart conditions with some connections and many differences. Heart ailment is a terrible thing to dwell with. It’s dreadful. As much as it sounds bizarre, it is heart-warming to know that this petite fist size organ can manipulate all rhythms of our lives. As a heart patient, caregiver, conceivable candidate for heart disease, as a healthy person we must initiate to know more about the most beautiful part of our body that works sequentially 365 days, nonstop.

Heart disease talks may get intimidating more so for a non-medic like me. Having said that, I have tried to demystify it, and so this article happened

Angina, atherosclerosis, heart attack

We come across many people who often say that they are having angina. What is this angina? Angina is simply chest discomfort, fullness, irritability that is caused by reduced blood flow in the body. Arteries are channels that supply blood with oxygen in the body. Arteries get clogged and taper due to calcium and fat deposits from bad food and sickly lifestyle. People with unstable angina show signs of discomfort on chest, neck, arms and even stomach and need to get immediate medical help. Since our whole body is like a fish bone array of arteries, they may get clogged elsewhere also. Likewise they are referred to as cerebral (brain), pulmonary (lung), peripheral (limbs), renal (kidney), carotid (neck) etc. These are all cardio vascular events. Heart attack (MI - myocardial infarction) happens when an artery is clogged completely (100% occlusion). Heart attack is a life threatening condition. After heart attack (if not treated immediately) the area gets dead requiring extra effort to keep other areas of the heart healthy.

Arrhythmias

Some people suffer from arrhythmias. Arrhythmia is abnormal irregular heart rhythms caused by erratic electrical system in the heart. Heart may go slow, race, skip etc. They can cause a variety of symptoms like dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath, blackouts, fainting and palpitations. Arrhythmias may feel like flutters in the heart and is a very disturbing feeling. If left untreated, arrhythmias can be life threatening. There are different kinds of arrhythmias, like, VT, SVT, AF (AFib), tachycardia, bradycardia etc.of which only your cardiologist can guide you with.

Heart valve disease

Heart valves are shafts that control the flow of blood in one direction only. The valves lie at the exit of each heart chamber and maintain one way blood flow without leakage. It is important that I go into little details here. It took me many years to understand how heart valves function but it is not that complex after all.

The heart has four chambers. Right and left atria and right and left ventricles. Blood flows from right and left atria into your ventricles through the tricuspid and mitral valves. When the ventricles are full, the tricuspid and mitral valves shut. This prevents blood from flowing backward into the atria while the ventricles contract. As the ventricles begin to contract, the pulmonic and aortic valves are forced open and blood is pumped out of the ventricles. Blood from the right ventricle passes through the open pulmonic valve into the pulmonary artery, and blood from the left ventricle passes through the aortic valve into the aorta and the rest of the body. This pattern is repeated over and over with each heartbeat, causing blood to flow continuously to the heart, lungs and the body.

Heart valve disease can develop at or before birth (congenital) or can be acquired sometime during one's lifetime.  Children often acquire inflammation of the valve, holes in the heart (ASD, VSA), etc. which sometimes remain undetected until adulthood. Valve disease is mostly caused by untreated rheumatic fevers caused by bacterial infection in childhood. Valve problems are characterized by weakness, extreme lethargy, shortness of breath swelling of ankle, joints, feet. .

Heart failure

Heart failures are extreme conditions when our heart slows down and fails to pump good blood to the whole body. Heart failure is a chronic, progressive condition in which the heart muscle is unable to pump enough blood through to meet the body's needs for blood and oxygen. This can be due to thickening (hypetrophic cardiomyopathy), restricting (restrictive cardiomyopathy), enlarging (dilated cardiomyopathy) of the heart, heart muscles or the heart sac. Heart failure is a serious condition that needs long term treatment and in many cases inspite of optimum medical help patients do not survive.

Heart conditions are triggered by uncontrolled blood pressure, chronic diabetes, kidney disease, high levels of bad cholesterol (low HDL), unhealthy eating habits (binge eating and excess sugar, high carb and less nutrient dense diet), smoking, obesity, sedentary and erratic way of life. Although by modifying these we may achieve a heart safe body, we can never be sure.  



Photo credit ~ irishfoundation


Friday, October 12, 2012

In pursuit of congenial patient care and justifiable returns

The lady, frail and petite, was admitted amidst a lot of twists and turns. She was heavily investigated and diagnosed normal a few months ago. She wasn’t symptom free though. She was having shortness of breath all the while. The company, her son works with, sent the patient to our hospital – supposed to be one of the best in the town. So, there she was getting admitted in the hospital for coronary angiogram followed by double valve replacement.

The lady belonged to a remote village, and looking at her you would know how she was not familiar with the urbanity.  She was scared to death as she was wheeled to the ward. She cried out her lungs when the nurse made IV lines, she tore the hospital suit when she was asked to wear it. She was indescribably paranoid by the syringes, injections, pills and the white dresses. The son requested me to spend some time with her before the OT. So, I managed to take out time to be with her. She looked horridly paranoid. Her face was a question mark. She was pale, white and the petite figure diminished to an immovable body of flesh. However, as we talked she gradually got better. She folded and lifted her hands and asked for forgiveness for her behavior. A lumb in my throat restricted my vocal chord. I got emotional.

The next day was the D-day and as the lady was taken to the OT, she looked apparently composed. I came down to my office to catch up with the backlog. A while later I was surprised to meet the sister-in-charge in the out patient dept. She was supposed to be in the OT!  She walked up to me and told me that she came down to get herself the tetanus injection!

The lady got so fearful looking at the equipments around that she bit the sister! The patient was ridiculed and being laughed at. Later, I went to see the lady once before leaving for the day. She, with tears in her eyes held her hands up, gesturing apologies and asking for forgiveness. I returned home with a numbed heart.

This is not a singular incident. I completely empathize with the ordeal the lady went through. As a matter of fact, the hospital care we are rendering today is something we should not at all be proud of. Everyday we meet various people coming to the hospital for medical aid. They are sick, distressed, depressed and fearful. They are worried of the treatment, care, expenses and hospitality that they would receive. They are not sure if they would get the proper and desirable treatment, they are not sure if they would be ‘looted’ by the hospital, they do not know if they would be guided properly and rightly. The hospitals should not intimidate the patients but aim at all round congenial care-giving services.  In an endeavor to generate maximum revenues, hospitals should not be cruelly commercial and just an instrument of money making. The objective should be to render ‘happy and congenial’ health care to the patients through an organized infrastructure that justifies the returns. .

Monday, May 7, 2012

Snack on with healthy and yummy aloo chat

One of my favorite office time snacks and something which all of us agree on all the time is the famously aloo chat. We just love it, so much so that it has become our favorite lunch time option. With colleagues like ours, we are never short of enthusiasm and ingredients to attract more. However, having said this, this special item is solely franchised by one of our colleagues who most diligently selects, gathers, prepares and serves aloo chat ( potato mix) for us. He is our aloo chat wala in suit and tie.
Aloo chat needs several easily available ingredients that have to be picked with love - not everybody's cup of tea. You will need perfectly boiled ( not over cooked) potatoes, squarely chopped tomatoes, finely chopped coriander leaves, fresh lime juice, sprouted chana (soaked overnight) tamarind pulp, salt to taste, bhujia, roasted peanuts, chopped onions and ginger julienne. But the most important of all is the masala that is the USP of this snack. You have to roast coriander, cumin, red chili and aamchur powder on light flame and grind it. Seasoning the aloo chat with the right proportion of the masala needs experience and with time you will develop skills that will help you become the favorite chat wala as well!

These are just the basic ingredients. You can go creative with yogurt, pomegranates, sprouted green dal, grapes, muri (puffed rice) etc. Aloo chat is very healthy with lot of vitamins, energy giving healthy carbs, protein and vitamin C.


Note: I have tried to eat aloo chat at home, even ate it but it's not the same. You need to eat aloo chat with friends, family and loved ones for fun and happy eating experience. However, if you are not privileged you should still eat it just for the simple fact that aloo chat is healthy and is never a burden on the stomach.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Ethics and yogurt

Looking at the atrocious heat outside, the only thing I could think of is the cool untreated yogurt - fresh from the refrigerator. Extreme heat was not unexpected but my out of the card holiday today has left me with some hungry me-time and a few questions to ponder on. Not quite letting go of the thoughts, I took care of the gurgling tummy with some healthy snacks just in case that subsides the jittery thoughts too.

Was thinking a lot these days. about people, their duplicity, diplomacy, love of work and money, about the degrading work ethics and ethics in general and our role as healthcare personnels. The overall degradation in the work ethics has let down the handful of good people left today. They are now outcast with uncalled for hassles, misunderstandings and undeserved humility. Good people will be good everywhere, everytime, at home and workplace, all through their lives, bad will be bad no matter what ; and cool, virgin yogurt will continue to recharge you to get you along the persistent dilemma that will continue to bug you today, tomorrow and forever.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Prepare bengali fish curry in just a few steps

Bengali fish curry is distinctively delicious and an awe to many. It has typical bengali spices that are different from northern or southern Indian cuisines. The lovely aroma of the spices and the ingredients make bengali fish curry very special indeed.

The easiest way to start off with bengali fish curry is to get a few common ingredients in your kitchen. This includes:

Freshly done onion, garlic, ginger paste
Coriander, cumin, turmeric and red chili powder
Whole cumin seeds and garam masala dust
Freshly chopped parsley/ coriander leaves, green chilies
Oil, preferably mustard oil

These are the very basic ingredients rich in authentic bengali flavor and are of immense health benefits.

Clean and cut the fish (rohu, katla, boyal, tangra, pabda etc.)under running water. Season the fish with turmeric powder and salt and set aside. Fry the fish in mustard oil, keep aside. Add 1 tsp of cumin seeds for 1/2 sec and allow it to exude flavor. Quickly add the onion, garlic and ginger paste, red chili powder, turmeric powder, little sugar and salt. Keep stirring till the blend starts to give out the oil. Sugar is for caramilization and color. Add the fish and add little water. Sprinkle 1 tsp of garam masala powder. Cook for 5-8 minutes and remove from the flame. Add fresh coriander leaves and green chilies for flavor and cover the lid again to retain the flavor.


Serve with steamed rice and fresh lime cuts and lots of love. Eat it slowly, appreciate, relish the authentic flavors of the bengali fish curry and love it.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Less spicy, light mutton curry not just for sick times

Some days are just too drab and monotonous and some days are full of spices when you have had a lot of empty calories as in junk foods. You come back home - tired and not quite hungry yet want to eat something and not skip the dinner altogether. On such days settle for something like mutton stew - less spicy, with lot of broth and refreshing. Allow the meat to cook in whole onion, chopped garlic, ginger julienne, fresh pepper, red chili powder, little turmeric-coriander-cumin powder and garam masala powder. Add farm fresh potatoes nicely diced and salt, close the lid, put it on pressure and you are done with!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Reward yourself with good shoes

Show me your shoes and I will tell you who you are. Of late I have developed a strange love for shoes. Flip flops, tiptoes, platforms, not so highs - you just name it. I love to reward myself with good shoes. Trust me, it's not just a lavish but a utility you would love to pamper yourself with.

Having shopping for the right kind of shoes, (this keeps changing with seasons and mood), I have realized one thing. Shoes are damn pricy and the ones that keep your eye balls rolling will keep your wallet upside down as well.

The fact that I wear most of them, most of the times in the workplace and that they should be comfortable on feet, I keep a few things on mind while shopping for the ideal ones.

Comfortable on toes and heel

I am lucky that I do not suffer from any physical problem, like heel spur, bunions etc., but for those who do it's advisable to buy shoes with cushioned and roomy bed. Go for the ones that you are comfortable in considering your body weight, work status and nature of work.

Chic and trendy or timeless

I usually go for timeless shoes that do not expire with seasons' fashions. I like flip flops that are always in vogue. However, it's just fine to have a few party pairs like stilettos and high heels in your collection.

Durability

Good shoes are expensive but most are long lasting. I prefer shoes belonging to brands of repute. I use them everyday, all the time, everywhere. I get the best deal from the good brands at the end of the day.

Have less, wear more often and buy often

Shoes tend to lose the sheen and wearibility if kept unused for long. Keep alternating and keep wearing the pairs regularly. Ransack your shoe rack for the ones that are not worn for long. Try to match your dress with them and keep them rolling. After having lost a lot of money, I am wiser now. I have a few pairs of good stuffs now and keep them rolling all through the week. This gives me a chance to go on shopping spree more often as well.

Recycle your shoes

If you think that shoes cannot be recycled, think twice. I give up on my shoes not because they are not wearable any longer but because I don't like them anymore. I give them away to house helps or to the nearest shoe shops.

One last word, shoes make you look and feel beautiful. Reward yourself with them more often.

Picture credit: wedmd

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Chinese noodles with lots of farm fresh veggies and soupy love

As much as I love Chinese food I have developed strange taste buds for all kinds of Chinese variations and extensions. Soya sauce, vinegar, worcestershire sauce, chili sauce, garlic, ginger, onion and lot of farm fresh veggies like carrots, french beans, cauli flower florets, spring onions etc. - prove to be a great platter with metamorphosed Chinese flavor.

Chinese noodles is easy and fast to cook. Dip the beautiful long strands of egg noodles in hot water to make it tender and just rightly soft. Saute the freshly cut vegetables, sprinkle the sauces, add semi boiled shredded chicken, shrimps etc and plate it immediately. Chinese food is cooked even as you eat it. So relish it while eating and allow the flavors to melt into your mouth.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving wouldn't be complete without thanking her

There lived a princess in the heart of the city of Calcutta in the eastern part of India. She had all the things in life – a loving father, 3 loving sisters, nephews, nieces, brothers, a big house, lot of books and the money to buy more and most of all the love of everyone around – everything that would make someone classically happy.

Then one day as she was getting ready to join her lovely sisters for a movie, she felt numbness on her legs. She fell down. Things followed rapidly there after. After several top doctors in the city were consulted, investigations procuring humongous bills were taken care of and after never ending sleepless nights, the top neurologists came to conclude that she was suffering from a rare type of neurological disease - Moyamoya disease(MMD).

In a matter of one year, she started to feel enormously weak and numb. She succumbed at home several times and had to be hospitalized few times. She was ventilated and weaned off after stormy periods. On all occasions, she was hassled, humiliated and treated like a vegetable. Now, she rests in an ICU facilitated bed at home, cared by her father, sisters and full time expensive and expert nurses. The room has suction tube, syringe pumps, ryle’s tube mechanics, all that a proper ICU must have.

A lot could be said about the medical mal treatment, mis diagnosis, lack of medical expertise and callous practices. We all know how it goes. Maligning is easy. Today however, I want to thank her who is living it all numb, unaware, yet not dead. Her fleeting smile (that’s once in a blue moon on seeing her father) is the reason her father is still fighting it along with her. He has stents to take care of his clogged arteries, he has a lot many instructions to abide by and he is not left with much money now. Still, he never does miss his dose of medicine so that he might not miss his daughter’s dose. He spends nearly 50K per month for her beautiful daughter. He is failing now with aches and pains catching up every now. But, he should never give up on the hope. That’s what has made both father and daughter so much more alive than many of us and so painfully beautiful.


Moyamoya disease was first identified in Japan. It occurs most frequently in patients from Japan and Korea. Moyamoya disease is a rare vascular disorder characterized by the progressive narrowing of the blood vessels in the circle of Willis (the ring of arteries at the base of the brain). The result is irreversible blockage of the carotid arteries to the brain as they enter into the skull. Moyamoya disease primarily affects children, but may also occur in adults ages 20 to 40.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Soy Sauce Eggs: Easiest, fastest and yummiest eggs you have ever tasted!


Mahogany eggs dipped in luscious soy sauce - have you ever tasted something like that? If not yet just save yourself 7 minutes before your pack your lunch box for the next day and see how sumptuously you are served for the day. Besides, the taste is uncompromising. Soy sauce eggs are wonderful as snacks because they don’t need any additional seasoning.

Use super quality authentic soy sauce, which is darker in appearance and richer in flavor than regular soy sauce. One trick to note–when peeling your hard boiled eggs, peel carefully, trying to avoid nicking the surface of the egg whites. If you do nick the surface, the eggs will still taste delicious, but they just won’t be as pretty.

You will need:

Hard boiled eggs
Authentic soy sauce

Preparation:

Pour the soy sauce into a pan and heat it on slow flame. When the soy sauce starts foaming up, add the eggs. Roll the eggs around in the soy sauce to coat them, and continue rolling them around the pan until the eggs are a dark mohagony color and the soy sauce has been reduced to a thick sludge.

Remove the eggs, letting any extra soy sauce drain off, and place on a plate to cool.

And you are done with nice pretty and healthy mahogany eggs!


Learned from Malaysia Rasa.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Decoding Milk for kids by Wendy Donahue

Q: Why milk is important for children?

A: It contains so many nutrients that children need to grow. Calcium is obvious, but milk is also high in potassium — it has more than bananas — phosphorus, protein, vitamins like B12 and D and magnesium.

Q: What is the right milk for what age?

A: Birth to age 1 is breast milk or formula. Age 1 to 2 is the only time that whole milk is necessary; the fat content is needed for the brain when it's developing rapidly.

Q: If fat helps a brain develop, would it make sense to give a child higher-fat milk if obesity isn't a problem?

A: It's better to choose plant-based sources of fat or low fat milk. Try to get fats from olive oil, avocados and peanut butter rather than saturated fat from animal products, ice cream, butter and cream.

Q: Some older kids aren't getting enough milk?

A: The recommended amounts are 3 cups over age 9, 2 cups for ages 2 to 3. Kids aren't getting enough potassium, calcium and magnesium. Two ways the teens get to drink milk are in smoothies and yogurt parfaits, with low-fat granola and fresh fruit.

Q: Do we reduce liquid milk in their diet if they eat a lot of yogurt and cheese?

A: The trick with yogurt is you have to look at the nutrition label. If the calcium and vitamin D are equivalent to a cup of milk, go for it. But some have a lot of gelatin, which means less calcium, and some have added sugars or artificial sweeteners.

Q: Milk also has sugar. Is it good sugar?

A: Unfortunately the sugar grams on labels do not differentiate between added sugar and natural sugar, or lactose.

Q: What are the best substitutes for cow's milk?

A: For some ethnic groups that do not digest lactose well, there are lactose-free milks. Soy milk is very similar to cow's milk in the calcium content, because they add it.


(C): wdonahue@tribune.com

Friday, November 11, 2011

The easiest snack to prepare: Healthy and spicy chickpea salad

This dish is surprisingly good and easy to prepare considering that the ingredients are so simple and easily available. Cooked Chickpea salad is very healthy and makes an excellent item to snack on. It also makes a nice accompaniment to many major dishes.


What you will need

teaspoons olive oil (any other oil will do)

diced onions, freshly chopped green chili and coriander leaves

turmeric, whole cumin

par-boiled chickpeas, drained and rinsed

lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste

How to make

1. Heat a sauté pan large enough to easily hold the beans over medium heat. Add oil to heat, then add the onion and sauté until transparent.

2. Add the turmeric, cumin, coriander and pepper and continue to sauté until the spices are aromatic and a bit toasted, about 3 minutes.

3. Add the chickpeas, lemon juice, salt and pepper and cook for another 5 minutes to blend the flavors.

4. Serve with freshly chopped green chilies and coriander leaves.


Photo credit: NYTimes

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Surprise your guests with delicious Fish ball curry (Machher Kofta)

Koftas are essentially meatballs with lot of interesting Indian spices. There have been several innovations on the ingredients, shapes, texture etc. on the making of koftas. The most exciting of these possibly is the intrusion of vegetables which replaced the minced meat. A vast population of India eat vegetables and the meat is happily replaced by various seasonal vegetables to make delectable koftas. This is certainly a smart culinary move since that managed to include the whole veggie populace in no time.

Koftas are delicious. This is particularly so in India. You may have seen Malai Kofta on the menu at your local restaurant served in rich creamy gravy. In other regions Koftas are served steamed, poached and grilled on skewers.

Last week, when my mother bought bhetki fish, I literally snapped at her. Oh no, not again! The fish, mostly over hyped, doesn't seem to have any taste of its own. My mother knows this and to calm me off came up with this recipe. Later, in the evening, I was awed by the delicacy. I thanked her and she gave me a signature look that only we, three sisters, would understand. To others it is undefined and to us it is our mom.

For the preparation, she par boiled the fish and took out the bones and separated the skin. Added flavorings such as onions cubes, parsley twigs, garlic paste, pepper powder and the boneless fish are mixed with lentil flour for tightening the mix. You can mix with soaked bread, rice powder, egg whites or any other binding agent also.


She then deep fried the fish balls in refined oil to make perfect golden brown snackie fish balls. For the gravy,  in a wok she heated white oil and sprinkled whole garam masala, bay leaves, onion ginger and garlic paste. She added red chili powder, salt and turmeric powder and continued to stir in slow heat till the oil starts to leave the wok. She then added the fish balls/ koftas, added little warm water and cooked till the gravy thickens to a nice spicy red gravy.

She served the fish kofta with gravy with steamed basmati rice and lots of love.

Tip:

The fried fish balls can also be served on mini skewers and served as snacks and appetizers. Koftas can also be an exciting addition to alfresco dining and the perfect finger food complemented with yogurt dip.