Snack time is the Best Time!

‘I spend a lot of time holding the refrigerator door open looking for answers’

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The human species have conveniently fallen into the humongous trap set by marketers of binge eating from packets that look like they have a load of deliciousness inside but in reality consist of all the wrong doings you could do to your body (even though everyone is completely aware about it).

And it is unfortunate that a majority of the world is convinced that snacking can only come in the form of these processed goods. And even if they do believe in other options, it is too time consuming to actually cook your own food (I mean why take the effort, when I can just run to the store next door? )

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So I thought why not do a post on something I often have a tough time working on myself?!

5 Snack options that will make you forget about junk food:

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  1. Sautéed Vegetables

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Ingredients:

1 chopped Carrot

1 chopped Red Bell Pepper

1 chopped Onion

1 Slice Tofu

Steps:

Prep Time: 15 mins , Cook Time: 10 mins

  • Cut the vegetables you need – I have used Tofu , Onion, Carrots and Bell Pepper. Sometimes I add steamed corn and broccoli. The choice is all yours!
  • Pour 1 tbsp of oil in a frying pan
  • Add some cumin seeds
  • Add the vegetables into the pan and Sauté them
  • Add a teaspoon of chilli powder, salt and pepper
  • Sauté until vegetables turn light brown
  • Add a pinch of tabasco sauce if you want more flavor

If possible cut the vegetables before hand (early in the morning) to save you some time.

2. Sweet Potato Wedges, Ranch Dip and Cheese Garlic Bread or Toast:

Screen Shot 2017-11-24 at 12.36.41 PM.pngNote: I don’t encourage processed foods, but you can consume the ranch dip in limited quantity or alternatively choose to make your own dip!

Ingredients:

Sweet Potatoes

2 teaspoons of Salt

2 teaspoons of Pepper

1 teaspoon Chilli Powder

Ranch Dip

Bread

Cheese

Prep Time: 10 Mins , Cook Time – 20 – 25 mins 

  •  Pre Heat the oven at (220 degrees C)
  • Cut the Sweet Potatoes either in circles or in the form of wedges.
  • Prepare a mix of the following in a bowl:

1-2 Tbsps of oil (depending on quantity of sweet potatoes),

2 teaspoons of Salt

2 teaspoons of Pepper

1 teaspoon Chilli Powder

  • Dip the sweet potatoes one by one into the mix and place them on a baking tray.
  • Place the tray in the Pre Heated oven at (220 degrees C) for 20 – 25 minutes until it can be easily pierced with a fork.

Cheese Garlic Toast: 

Ingredients:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Mix Parmesan cheese, butter, garlic powder, and parsley in a small bowl. Spread the mixture on top of the bread slices.
  3. Bake in preheated oven until butter is melted and bread toasted for 5 – 10 mins 

3. Hummus and Pita Bread:

This is easily my favorite Mid – Day meal!

If you live in India there are a couple of options you can follow:

  •      You can order the Pita Bread and Hummus from Big Basket

Pita Bread

  • You can also check out Snackible , they have some great healthy snack options!
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My recent loot from the store !

Alternatively, you can also choose to make your own hummus, you can find the recipe here.

4. Cut Fruits and Homemade Bhel! 

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Is your mouth watering yet?

Find the recipe for Bhel here.

5. Pita Bread Pizza 

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Ingredients 

1 Pita Bread

1 chopped onion

1 chopped bell pepper

1 cup of Corn Kernels

1 Slice of Cheese

Hummus

Prep Time: 10 Mins, Cook Time: 10 Mins 

  • Sauté the onions, bell pepper and corn in a frying pan for 5 mins
  • Spread the hummus on the pita bread and add a slice of cheese.
  • Once the vegetable are ready add them to the pita bread and place it in the microwave for 3 mins. And Voila you have found your solution for the Pizza you have been craving!
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Happy Snacking! 😀

Guest Post: Yesterday you said Tomorrow

“What you resist, persists.” -Carl Jung

Cibophobia is the fear of food, sufferers may feel anxious when they eat as they may worry that a certain food could poison them. If you aren’t suffering from this then you’re probably alive and you enjoy eating. It’s one of the top three survival essentials yet we harbor a love-hate relationship with food. You reach out to it to comfort yourself on a lonely night and then shit all over it the next day (pun intended) like it was a rebound fling. So you let yourself off the hook for a while, maybe it was a vacation, a stressful period, or you just flung the table across the room one day screaming…

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You ate anything and everything in your way and you made your peace with it because you consoled yourself that this would last a short time and you would start your so-called “diet” again very soon. Day on end you stuff your face comforted that you got this, that this is a phase and you’ll get over it.

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You will be good from tomorrow, from Monday, from Jan 1, from fill-in-the-blank because there’s a will-power meter that refills it’s juice on these holy days. You wake up, today is the tomorrow you were going to be good, you do your daily grind, have a really healthy breakfast. You’re on your way to work busting them hip hop songs like a boss, you’re on a will-power high and you can feel it burning.. YOU’RE ON FIRE!!

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Then you go to work and see a bunch of mouth-watering cupcakes lying on the kitchen counter… a part of you DIES. You’re cursing everyone even the poor old janitor because why o why weren’t these cupcakes out yesterday when you hadn’t started your diet. Oh and thanks to your partner in crime who magically shows up to drain your will power right when you need it the most. “One cupcake never hurt nobody”, yeah thanks Jon Snow. Your brain says no, your heart says stuff your face in them cupcakes coz you deserve a cream facial. Nai, nai, nai, nai, dang you just had 2. Now that you’ve had 2, might as well continue eating crap all day because your diet isn’t perfect anymore and it can’t be so what’s the point.

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So that holy day ‘tomorrow’ flew by and you beat yourself about it but pick yourself up again because hey, there’s another tomorrow, another Monday right around the corner. And it goes on and on. You’re a 1 or a 0, there’s no shades of grey. Also, this isn’t the first time that this has happened, you were here before, right in the same symmetrical beauty of square 1 and your tomorrow came some day and you behaved yourself for a while until this happened again. Been there, done that. Welcome to the vicious cycle of the Game of tomorrows.

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One year later, 20 pounds heavier, you’re lying in bed wondering when this all started. Will I ever be fit? Am I really that weak that I can’t fight food, poor thing doesn’t even have limbs or a mouth (hey, words hurt more). Nobody’s shoveling it down my throat either, it’s all on me. You start to realize that there’s a pattern here, one step forward one hundred steps back. No matter how many articles you read and fad diets you try, you always end up falling off the wagon.

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Don’t even get me started on the self-inflicted wounds, treating yourself badly and blaming yourself for being weak. Round and round we go on this carousel, chasing after our dreams. And then you die. Okay that escalated, but have you ever stopped to wonder if you’ve been trying to read the book upside down. If what you’re after doesn’t have that one narrow-minded solution that you can see has been failing time and again for you. How come some people get there and you don’t, is there a magic weight loss potion that only a few worthy souls can get their hands on? I think not.

WHATIF

It’s time to try something new. Here’s a 2 week diet that guarantees you a 20 pound weight-loss along with social life-loss, happiness-loss and of course, hair-loss. NO! That ain’t what I’m talking about. What if I told you there’s a way to lose weight, get fit, be happy and enjoy a social life without counting every single calorie and losing your cool. Stay tuned for some mind blowing in the next post, meanwhile.. eat less sugar, you’re sweet already! 😉

waitforit

 

About the Author:

 meAishna Agrawal is my role model. I do not look at celebrity photos for motivation. I just need to look at her and talk to her. Aishna and I first met in High School back in 2010. Over the past two years, Aishna has fought flawlessly against whatever health problems that were thrown at her. There are certain things she is able to explain better than doctors because she has been a victim of disorders no one seems to have answers for. This is the reason she inspires me. There was a time when she would enter the battlefield not knowing which food type would be the new enemy. Never once has she given up. And today she begins to share her story with the world. Believe me, she has tried and tested every diet out there and even invented many of her own. You are going to want to keep listening to her. She is going to crack you up with her humor and encourage you in whatever journey you are about to embark on! I am so excited to be collaborating with her and sharing what fitness means to us and how we are trying to work on the concept for ourselves.

 

 

 

 

Where’s all the Food at?

“Omm Nom 

Nom Nom”

-Cookie Monster 

To begin with, I would just like to say a big ‘Thank you’ for following my journey so far.

I am so grateful for the support I have received over the blog and it makes me really happy when someone messages and says its helping them in some way!

So I thought that I would do a quick write up on my meal plan in case you are having a hard time figuring out what to eat and what to avoid.

Note: Since I am not a qualified nutritionist, I am only sharing what I follow; you can always consult a nutritionist before you embark on this journey as that will definitely be more useful and will cater to your needs.

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I try my best to stick to the above, with variations depending on: 1) availability of items and 2) time I have to cook (eg: having Bread Omelette instead or Avocado Toast).

As you can see I have not added Sunday, because I know its that one day we all want to go out and have fun. And we must! Just stay in your limits. Go enjoy your Sunday Brunch, but do not convert your cheat meal into a cheat day.

Here are a few recipes that I hope will help overcome ‘Let’s Eat Out or Order In Cravings!’

   1. Sweet Potato Wedges  instead of French Fries 

       Recipe:

  • Thoroughly wash and then cut 2-3 (increase if you need more serving size) sweet potatoes
  • On a rimmed baking sheet, toss sweet potatoes with garlic, oil, and salt and pepper   Roast until   you see crispy brownish sweet potatoes! (Approx: 30 mins)
  • Serve with shredded cheddar cheese if you want some more flavor!

                 Perfect snack after a long day at work, or your Netflix Binge!

Sweet Potato
The one on Google looks better than mine!

2. Makhana(Fox Nut)  instead of Pop Corn 

Well this isn’t really a recipe, I usually buy the packet from a local store and then roast  it.

  • Add 1 tbsp oil into a vessel
  • Add Cumin
  • Add the store bought Makhana
  • Add 1 tsp of Chilli Powder and 1 tbsp of Chaana Masala or Pav Bhajji Masala

raw-makhana

Mix it until it turns a little brown!

You are good to go!

3. Mixed Vegetables with Homemade white sauce and Brown Rice – when you are tired of Roti Sabzi 

   This is easy to make and will save you a lot of time if you cut vegetables the previous        night

   Recipe:

  •  Chop – onions, capsicum, carrots, mushrooms, broccoli (you can even add corn to this)
  •  Toss these into a pan with oil and mix well until it turns golden
  • Add some flour to this, and then milk – (there is no fixed ratio, I just add either depending on the thickness I want)
  • Add some garlic!

And Voilá!

P.S. Don’t forget to cook your rice! (I sometimes do this!)

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You can do the same with whole wheat pasta  – just add the boiled pasta to the mixed vegetables.

4. Nice Cream instead of Ice Cream! 

The hardest craving to curb is dessert cravings! If you aren’t too fond of flavored yoghurt, I hope this is a good alternate for you!

Recipe:

  • Freeze Bananas overnight
  • In the morning, toss the frozen bananas into a blender – add a tsp of coco powder and some milk (avoid adding too much – as this might reduce thickness)

(This recipe is courtesy of my dear friend Prerana)

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I added crushed peanuts – you can add whatever you like – maybe walnuts or strawberries or kiwi!

I am trying my best to experiment with different foods so that way I don’t have to rely on eating out. However, there are a few problems that might come up

  1. Cooking is time consuming!

         This is the biggest drawback, so to make things easier, try and have a few things ready the previous day – chopped vegetables, Atta for your roti, frozen bananas for your dessert 😉

2. Thinking of what to cook

         I think this is more tedious than the actual cooking. To address this – I have a chart on my refrigerator, and depending on the day and ingredients available I fill out my meals the previous night. So in the morning, I know exactly what to cook.

3. Resorting to Processed food as an easy way out!

There will be instances when you need to add a particular sauce to your dish – just remember there are plenty of recipes online to help you do the same; try avoiding processed food as much as possible.

4. But everyone is eating out!!!

   And so can you, just restrict it if possible and if you really want to eat out – choose the healthier , wholesome options! (Or call everyone home and treat them to your awesome food! 😀 )

My Meal Plan does not cover everything I eat, like I said, there are variations. I may try new dishes, sometimes I go overboard, but when I do – I try to religiously follow portion control.

The thing about cooking is it can be stressful and at the same time be a stress buster, the key is to make the process easier so that you can always experience the latter!

Happy Cooking and Happy Eating!

Flab to Fab with a Dysfunctional Leg

“I don’t know what lies ahead, but I want to keep going forever…”
Fuyumi Soryo

A few days ago, I was watching Denzel Washington’s Acceptance Speech at the NAACP Image Awards 2017. It was so beautifully put, I am sure he managed to connect with everyone in the room and millions across the globe: “So never give up. Without commitment, you’ll never start, or more importantly, without consistency, you’ll never finish………………Ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship”

It is so important to maintain consistency when trying to achieve a goal. I remember, before moving to Abu Dhabi, I had multiple failed attempts on “eating right”. I would occasionally have Green Tea instead of Coffee and imagine the former doing its magic and detoxifying my body, and continue to eat what I wanted, completely ignoring the fact that diet accounts for 80% of the goal I was trying to achieve (I did not know this until much later).

Weight loss like any other goal requires immense perseverance, determination and CONSISTENCY. Why am I stressing on this so many times?

Because:

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January 2016                             January 2017

So how did I go from that to that?

No, it was not easy. But was it worth it? Every bit of it.

There are some extremely crucial points I would like to bring out here:

  1. Begin somewhere already! 

        It does not matter if you can’t do a 100 push ups on day one. What matters is that you make a decision to change your life. You make the decision to start leading a healthier life, no matter how small the change, start doing it. And if that means you are going to start going to bed early and wake up early, then be it. Whats beautiful about these small changes is that they are all interconnected. When you start sleeping early, you will automatically start eating your dinner early (recommended: two hours before you sleep), and as soon as you wake up: EAT! Have that banana or that slurrrpyyyy Mango! When you consistently do this for a week, your body will start feeling good, and to keep that alive, you will want to eat only good food and look after yourself. Try it! If it doesn’t work – you can always drop me a message!

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2. Celebrate the little things

   You woke up at 6 am everyday for a week and went for a walk? Pat yourself on the back! When I first started on my journey, I made a list of things that I would reward myself with.

Goals

We as humans tend to perform better the minute there is some reward attached to it. And that is exactly what I did! I celebrated each milestone because I knew I worked for it. (Feel free to put in anything, try and avoid writing Brownie or Pizza 😛 )

3. Maintain a Journal! 

  This is absolutely essential. At the end of everyday, write down what/how much you ate, how many hours of sleep you got, your work out, basically everything that affects your health. I started using the app My Fitness Pal  which is a great way to track your food intake (please focus on the nutrients and not the calories) and Under Armour for my work outs. The two applications can be synced, and this helps calculate your calorie deficit. As much as I love using both of them, nothing gives me the satisfaction of actually writing these things down.

Besides writing down all the right things you did, its important to note down your deviations, that way you will prevent yourself from doing it again. Its ok to fall off the grid at times, but like I said, consistency is what will help you get there.

4. There will be Good days, there will be Great days and sometimes there will be “I don’t want to do any of this” days. 

Lets focus on the last one, we all are human beings and not machines. Its ok to take the day off when you are not feeling too well. Its ok to not exert yourself when you are genuinely tired. Its ok to eat that ice cream occasionally. But this is not your ticket to discontinue the journey of healthy living, it just means you needed a short break! (Like the one’s we had in school – your recess and then lunch). Think of it as your recess, the minute you think it is your lunch break, you are entering the danger zone.

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5. Set yourself some realistic goals. 

When you are starting out, don’t be overly ambitious. Give yourself and more importantly your body the time to accept change. Change is hard to deal with. So take it one step at a time. Always start with baby steps and the bigger picture will follow.

Make Charts! Put up motivational quotes in your room! Constantly visualize achieving those goals!

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6. This is a lifestyle change and not a short – term goal

“I lost 20 pounds! I can go back to eating whatever I want!”

No, that would be a crime on your body. I honestly have not reached my goal weight yet, but maintaining what I have already lost is a challenge in itself. Do not forget that this is a choice you are making for a lifetime, a choice that guarantees to keep you healthy and happy! And who doesn’t want to feel good about themselves?

7. Do your homework

Before you start on this journey, consult people. Get a nutritionist, see what your body requires. Get a physical check up too if needed so you know the activities you take upon do not cause damage. Do not take this lightly, the kind of work outs I do are extremely restricted because of my leg. So if you need to do some light exercises rather than HIIT, then do that.

Here are some links for seated cardio workouts:

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xC9khisFPA&t=477s&index=1&list=PLr1nGBfj5ne5EFFroGllXMbNZV6Dr2AUs
  2. https://youtu.be/videoseries
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAeZZbpi8Ow&list=PLr1nGBfj5ne5EFFroGllXMbNZV6Dr2AUs&index=12
  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AuLqYh4irI&index=8&list=PLr1nGBfj5ne5EFFroGllXMbNZV6Dr2AUs

I have also been following Casey Ho  who started Blogilates  and I absolutely love her work outs! (Mainly for strengthening)

8. And my last and favorite one: Surround yourself with people who support you! 

 I think since the inception of my blog, I have constantly stressed on this. The reason is very obvious, the minute you have people who admire and appreciate what you are doing, you are bound to keep at it. They will understand what you are doing and how important it is to you, so they will only help you. And if they are also on a fitness journey already or plan to start with you, then double bonanza!!!

I often get annoyed that I can’t do those intense work outs, or dance my heart out. But the key is to make the best of what you have with you. We can always find excuses to not do something, but it takes a lot to find reasons and motivation to keep at something.

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So my Dear Warrior, just keep swimming, because great things are coming your way! 

Watch Out: Magic on the Way!

“What a lovely surprise to finally discover how unlonely being alone can be.”

– Ellen Burstyn

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Until I started living alone, I never really gave much thought to ‘its important to enjoy your own company.’ But when you are given the chance to live by yourself, whether you like it or not, you have to learn to accept yourself more than ever, and really celebrate who you are and I truly hope everyone gets to do this!

That is the only chance you will get to reflect on who you are. And as clichéd as that is, it is essential. How else will you discover all that you are capable of?

My day looked somewhat like this:

6:30 – Wake up (First rule is to eat something as soon as you wake up – I start my day with a fruit)

7:00 – 7:30 Prepare all my meals

7:30 – 8:30 Work out

8:30 – 9:30 Get ready for office, have breakfast and leave

After coming home around 6pm, a part of my evenings were always dedicated to my little munchkin next door; sometimes I took calls from Guests on Airbnb if required and on other days I would work on orders for Artista.

 

There were two big wins for Artista:

  1. An order for 100 cards
  2. Very first live stall (after I registered the company)

Remember how I had mentioned earlier that my first stall got a good response but wasn’t sold out? Well, this one was!

Hence, the first stall was way more significant than this one. Wait, but why?

Because that one taught me ‘not to give up’. That one taught me I still had a long way to go, I still had a lot to learn. Its important to celebrate failure as much as success. If we never failed, we would never strive to do better. We would be stuck at the standard which always “works”, but not reach for what blows peoples mind! I myself could see the difference in the cards I made then and the ones I make now. If I had succeeded the first time around, I would have never made room for more creativity, room for newer ideas because I would be satisfied with what I already had.

So if you ever feel like you aren’t doing too well on a test, or at work, remember that it is moulding you into the ultimate person you can and should be. If you always experienced only success, you would stop appreciating it.

So please, do fall, do stumble and above all, get up and join the race again.

I was doing perfectly fine as you can see, better than fine for that matter, until: this happened.

Physio
I wanted to take a picture now because I couldn’t during the surgery (I am disturbingly weird aren’t I?)

Don’t worry, its not as bad as it looks, or maybe it is! Have you been on the receiving end of Acupuncture?  Its oddly satisfying after a few seconds of pain once the needle is inserted. Anyway, I had to go into physiotherapy again because of how much my left leg (not surgical leg) was in unbearable pain. All I could think of was ‘please don’t let everything come to a stand still again.’

My office was extremely kind and understanding to give me some time off and allowed me to work from home. Have you ever felt guilty for yourself? Not sorry, but guilty. Guilty for not being able to do what you love. Once again, I was overcome with overwhelming emotions. I couldn’t differentiate between anger, sorrow and pain. How on earth did I get here? I could cry all I wanted, and my parents would come to my rescue. But that did not change anything. I would tell the doctor everyday, “Can you just please say I can dance again”, and he would smile and say “but right now you need the rest”.

The rest was only getting me more frustrated and agitated – but to anyone out there who is going through something similar – do not ignore it, the rest is more essential than you can even begin to imagine. Allow yourself to heal. The world does not need to be conquered by you overnight.

And a note for everyone out there, do what you can to protect and preserve your body. It deserves the utmost respect. Be kind to it and shower it with love, only then you can be the best possible version of YOU!

With that I would like to tell you all, that 4 months after my physiotherapy ended, I still do suffer from a lot of pain. Turns out I also had Vitamin D deficiency. The irony is that I had to once stay away from the sun because of facing severe sun burns.

Life can play tricks on all of us, but remember, you can always pick up where you left off and you are not competing against anyone. Do things that make you immensely happy, make mistakes, learn from them, cook yourself some yummy food and fall in love with yourself!

Like Kareena Kapoor says in the movie Jab We Met “Mein apni favorite hoon!”

One Paper Roast Please….

“Food is memories.”

I wish I could recollect every moment that led me to fall in love with a particular dish. Luckily enough though, I know where the fondness for my top two favorite dishes originated.

  1. Pav Bhajji – In Pune there is a restaurant called Shiv Sagar which is a five minute walk from where we used to live. Celebration meant going to Shiv Sagar and relishing on their world class Pav Bhajji; this was during a much simpler time before westernization took over and our spending power was minimal. Last year, before moving to Abu Dhabi, I made a trip to Pune to eat Pav Bhajji from Shiv Sagar (its safe to say this might have been my only agenda) and even over a decade later, it still tasted the same. Over the years I have realized that no matter who makes the Pav Bhajji, it will never be the same as the one from there. This goes beyond the fact that they make it the best. Our entire family has created memories in that place. We have gone there as a family of 3 or a group of 20, and every single time we have ordered the Pav Bhajji!  No 5 – star hotel can replace the feeling of dining at Shiv Sagar and drowning your taste buds in this delicacy.

Pav Bhajji

2. Dosa 

Year 2005

Rachna: “Mohan Chittappa, inam evolo nerum? (how much more time?)” – anyone who has traveled with me, knows this is my most FAQ. 

Mohan Chittappa: “Don’t worry, I have a surprise for you on the way, you will enjoy it”*

*Of course I do not remember exactly how the conversation went, but it is to give you a better idea of what was about to unfold.

This was when I was traveling with my uncle from Kodaikanal to Coimbatore in an ambassador (the reason I was becoming Hangry) I read somewhere once that ‘be with the person who gives you the same feeling you get when your food arrives in the restaurant.’ But that day, satisfaction took over me the minute we got out of the car and rushed inside what was ‘Salaiyora unavagam’ (roadside eating).  It was actually a tiny hall packed with people enjoying their food (first indicator of it being a great place)

As my uncle and I settled down, we were approached by an elderly who would have easily been in his eighties. I think till date I haven’t seen anyone who is more active, enthusiastic and fast in serving people (second indicator) and I wish today more than anything that I had been thoughtful enough to take his picture. Anyway, since I never lived in Tamil Nadu, I obviously lacked some of the qualities that Tamilians possess – mainly – the slang for some dishes. So my uncle ordered “Paper Roast” for the both of us! I was so excited, I thought some exotic dish was going to turn up, and I was so overwhelmed that I was finally going to make my tummy happy that I did not even bother asking my uncle what it meant. To my disappointment, our food arrived and it was DOSA! Why Dosa? Couldn’t we have Wada? Or Puri ? We were on a holiday for God’s Sake!

I think I felt pretty betrayed, and that probably lasted for a whole of 5 seconds, because as soon as I took the first bite, I think I felt my mouth do a few somersaults in excitement of the flavors that had just entered. And that is the exact moment that I fell in love with Dosas. (I always liked them, but thats when I really started Loving them, so THANK YOU MOHAN CHITTAPPA!) But there was one more crucial moment that I was to leave with. Our bill after 3 dosas and one coffee was Rs.18. THAT.IS.IT.

Great food – check, Lighting Speed – Check , Light on the Pocket – Check

Inspired? – Check! Check! Check! 

Paper-Roast-dosa

Source: Google

I think my body might actually be 70% DOSA. And the fact that Rujuta Diwekar insists you eat Dosa, made me a very, very Happy person. So a major part of my diet consists of eating dosa.

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Duel Tawa = Increased Satisfaction

How is it best served?

With Milgai Podi, Coconut Chutney and Patti(grandma) and Amma(mom) ka Pyaar (love)!

So Dosa, where did you come from?

Even though Dosa is indigenous to South India, its exact origin is unknown. But according to food historia K.T. Achaya, dosa or dosai was already in use in ancient Tamil Nadu around the 1st century AD.

Making a Dosa –

Dosa batter is prepared with a mixture of rice and black grams (udad) that is soaked in water and allowed to ferment overnight. The proportion of rice to lentils is generally 4:1 or 5:1. Water is added to get the desired thickness. (I could just ask my grandmom, but I googled this)

Some of the best dosa recipes to try are Neer Dosa, Pesearattu , Ragi wheat Dosa, Onion Rava dosa, Mysore Masala Dosa or my Grandma’s Dosa! . The best part about dosa is that it can be eaten as breakfast, lunch or dinner and is a great source of carbohydrates yet low in calories!

Source: Google

The Magic Batter
If you are a fan of dosa, you would have tasted the different types, right from paper thin roast to the fluffy oothappam. But did you know that it all comes down to handling the batter? On the first day its usually bland, but when you store it for one more night it attains the properties needed to make a wafer thin dosa, on the third day you will notice it is best for making oothapam! So as the days go by, the dosa can take different forms. However, the pan – rather the “tawa or kalu (stone)” that is used to spread the batter and make the dosa is an essential tool in making the most delicious dosa! And you can truly do justice to your dosa only when you dip it in chutney and sambaar!

Alright, so to everyone who is worried about consuming those extra carbohydrates, Dosa should be your go to meal. And in case I haven’t mentioned earlier – eat what your Nani (grandmom) eats. Just remember to break your meal into portions, enjoy every bite and stop worrying about how many calories you are consuming – focus on the nutrients!

I also want to take the opportunity to talk about the importance of “Feeling Good“.

There is no set standard of how one is supposed to look. Every single one of us is beautiful in our own way and the key is to respect and listen to your body. Your body deserves immense love, so don’t deprive it by constantly being angry with what you see in the mirror. Take the time to tell yourself  “I love you, and I am proud of who you are”. Do not get caught up in  “I need to get that summer body”, No you do not! What you do need to do is feed yourself good wholesome food and start feeling the glow from within which in no time will start reflecting on your face. And you will see that you are carrying the most wonderful aura no matter where you go. (I do stumble too, I often forget these things, but the key is to remind yourself of how important you are; and if not – you can always come back here and I will tell you that you are and will always be incredible, just like a Dosa!)

P.S. I did want to pen down my diet chart here but I got too carried away by Dosas!

Until next time my lovelies!

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When in doubt, Dosa it out!

*If you wish to purchase dosa mix made of Millets, you can order it here.

Mangrove Place – Where the Magic Began!

Set Yourself an Outrageous Goal Today. 

-Alastair Humphreys (Ten Lessons from the Road) 

The minute I landed in Abu Dhabi, I was hit with a rush of positivity. (The other city that gives me this feeling is Hyderabad). And I think when a new place gives you that feeling – you are already halfway to building something great!

There was also the advantage of living in an apartment like this(left)  with a view like that (right)

My dad had moved in December and to complete all the formalities for mom and me to move took 2 months. But during this time, my dad had sent so many pictures of the house and the view that envy and excitement could not differentiate from one other. I knew I was going to be there soon, but I was becoming rather impatient. And when I finally got to Mangrove place  – it was worth the wait. No amount of pictures can do justice to the view that you get, including the vibrance of the whole atmosphere. Mangrove Place has the most kind and hard working staff who are so welcoming that you will instantly fall in love with the place. Also, the apartment gives you the feeling of living in a hotel rather than a house (in a good way).

A few years ago, my father had introduced me to Alastair Humphreys’ book ‘Ten Lessons from the Road‘ Alastair set an outrageous goal for himself – he traveled 46,000 miles round the world (wait for it) On his CYCLE! He spent four years and achieved what was described by Sir Ranulph Fiennes as “the first great adventure of the new millennium”.

alastair

It was time I set an outrageous goal for myself. I still had tremendous amount of pain in both my  legs, but it had to be done. What was my goal? What was my motivation?

  1. I need to be able to dance again.
  2. The pain should vanish from my legs forever

But how does one go about this? How does one lose weight when they cannot do jumping jacks or burpees or run on a treadmill. Where does one begin?

It was time for some homework. My instant thought was to take up the GM diet.

One week and I can shed 3-4 kilos just like that (So easy!). And then 2 months later I can do it again and lose some more weight and I would have achieved at least half of my goal.

But your body is smarter than you. It has ways of reacting to new habits that will completely throw you off track. I was 3 days into my GM diet and I could not stop throwing up all those fruits and mashed potatoes that I had consumed(sorry about that nasty visual).

So I wasted an entire month in being anxious about losing weight, how to go about it and the fear that with the condition of my leg I could never do it. But with little more research comes great discoveries. I started looking for cardio exercises that would be easy on my legs. And I cursed myself for not having done it earlier because it was like finding that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I found multiple videos for the same and the top results were by fitness trainer – Jessica Smith.  What I absolutely loved was how she conveys everything with so much passion and motivation. She makes working out – FUN! So I began to do seated cardio and seated strength.

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I used to work out in my Balcony – and this was my view. Batman would occasionally join me  (To maintain his body and what not)

This meant, I had the workout in place. But if I worked out for 60 mins and went and ate some yummy donut from Waitrose across my apartment – the entire purpose would be lost, right?

The Second Miracle: 

I don’t know what it was that took over me, but I decided that I needed to get the book

Don’t Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight by Rujuta Diwekar. I got the kindle edition, and before I even started reading I knew my life was going to change. I hope someday she stumbles upon this blog, because I have so much to thank her for!

Now I am someone who absolutely enjoys Indian food over anything else. So when I was previously reading about eating salads and kale and what not, I used to think I rather not eat at all. And it was like Rujuta knows exactly whats in your heart. She tells you to eat what your Nani(grandmom)  ate. I couldn’t have been more relieved.

I got to eat my poha, dosa, roti sabzi and everything I love! Even though I am a Tam Bhram, my parents spent a majority of their life in Maharashtra, which is why I got to enjoy the best of both worlds.

They tasted as good as they look(probably because mom – made)

Rujuta’s biggest rule is that you eat small portions but more frequently and as soon as you wake up eat something – this is my favorite part because for someone who always had breakfast and no coffee/tea, this rule was already implemented. And so I started eating 7-8 small meals everyday.

For more about the book, I urge you all to buy it, trust me it will transform your life! (Spend the 100 rupees here instead of that pizza you have been craving for ).

Remember how I mentioned earlier that at a later point in time, Ayurveda would make sense to me? That’s another thing I love about Rujuta’s book, it really goes into the roots of what was followed by our ancestors and teaches you to adopt Ayurveda as a lifestyle and not a last resort. No more was I carried away by the whatsapp messages on this fruit is bad or that vegetable can cause a disease. I had only one source for  all my needs: Rujuta!

And the Ayurveda project I was working on, was something I believed in and a way of living that the entire world deserves to know about.

What was the hardest part of my journey?

The hardest part is just before you start……. or is it?