Monthly Archives: January 2014

Smoked Salmon and Spinach Omelette

Smoked Salmon and Spinach Omelette

Yay, we have moved into our apartment. And its a big old mess here.

Boxes, books, clothes, toiletries, toys seem to be all mingled and on top of each other.

The only one place that is sorted out is the kitchen. Last night we made a trip to Whole Foods to replenish the food supplies. We were the grumpy and hungry parents with a whiny 3-year-old in tow. With supplies back in the kitchen, now we are back in business.

Smoked Salmon and Spinach Omelette

Today, Vipul had a smoked Salmon and Spinach Omelette. Still diet food but all gussied up with Smoked Alaskan Salmon.

A combination that we normally have when we eat out or when we visit Poonam.

Simple recipe that goes well with the Olive bread from Whole Foods smeared with fresh avocados. Give it a try with fresh eggs and home-grown spinach – if possible. The flavors party in your mouth. No kidding.

I could probably have it again for dinner. Yipee for cooking in your own kitchen and for breakfasts for dinners!

Smoked Salmon and Spinach Omelette

Smoked Salmon and Spinach Omlette Recipe

Serves 2

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup fresh spinach leaves chopped into ribbons
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup Smoked Salmon peices
  • 1 teaspoon oil or bacon fat

1. Beat the eggs with salt and pepper and spinal till pale yellow and fluffy.

2. Heat oil in a skillet. Whip the eggs once while the oil heats up. When hot, pour half of the eggs mixture in the skillet. Once the eggs are set on the bottom, gentle loosen the sides and flip the omelette. Layer the smoked salmon pieces. Cook for another minute or so. Fold in half and slide on a plate.

Serve warm with  toasted bread. avocados, roasted tomatoes and coffee.

Advertisements

Realty Bytes :California Dreamin’

Its been a couple of months since our move to San Francisco.  Its been crazy, hectic but we are finally settling in. We now have a car, an apartment for a year, a doctor for the kids, midwife for me and not to mention a pre-school for Varun.

We are as set as can be before the new baby chaos takes over.

Lots of friends have pinged me, to ask about our stint in India, about moving back to US and about “whats it really like to be in Bay Area?”.

Here is what I sum things up to based on our ~ 2 months stay in San Francisco.

Its crazy expensive 

Didn’t we know that already?

Well, yes we did. We did the math and the number crunching and more math. Excel spreadsheets were involved and we thought we should be able to manage. But when you actually see what you get for your money, you do feel bad. Deprived and enraged at times.

My advice, don’t go by cost calculators alone. Keep a buffer of 15 – 20% and you will be fine!

Its crazy diverse

More Asians and Hispanics than Caucasians/ African-Americans. That’s what I have experienced so far in my day-to-day – be it in schools, public transits, libraries, playgrounds, laundromats etc. And no they are not the service providers – they are paying customers. The only place where “white” people rule are the coffee shops and the tourists spots.

This may not be true once we move to Pac Heights / for rest of the Bay Area but was especially true here in SOMA.

While touring preschools, I met so many people you have moved here from Chicago, Philadelphia, Canada, Australia…it truly is a melting pot. And as most as transplants they are all helpful, warm and willing to share information. No Seattle freeze here!

Finding a House is a Battle ( Not to mention Small but Expensive)

15 minute Open houses. If you are late by even a minute the realtor showing the apartment has disappeared. On his way to another showing. Across town.

Dated, small, 1 bathroom houses where if you can fit your bed you won’t know how to open the closet or the door.

Long line of tenants, prepped with manilla envelopes detailing their income, family history and generally anything that will “upsell” them as “THE” tenant.

And a year-long lease to make sure you don’t “occupy” the space forever.

Unless you are willing to commute, shell out even more $$ or are incredibly lucky.

If you like something put a ‘ring’ on it. Apply immediately. Upsell. Upsell. Upsell. Else it will likely be gone faster than getting coffee at Philz.

We wanted to keep Vipul’s commute short so are paying $$$ for the apartment but the view and the neighborhood really are great.

Luckily, the owner will kick us out in one year so we will be forced to re-evaluate.

Buying is probably out of question. Not till I find a job and even then plunking down $1.5 M + on a dated small house will be a real hard pill to swallow.

30 minute Commute is A Real Sweet Deal

Seriously. To have more space, better schools, weather and to keep things affordable, people have to commute. North bay and East bay can be anything between 30 – 45 mins. South bay probably a bit more. Peninsula is the sweet spot but prices there are no less.

Public transportation is great

I love not having to drive anywhere during the week. I can pretty muck walk or take the bus/train anywhere. Walking to get to public  transportation as well as the hilly terrain are built-in daily exercise for slackers like me. Though it sucks to wait for a bus or a train with a kid. And walking to and fro to bus stops/train stations with a kid needs more time than google maps suggest. They dawdle, get distracted or generally refuse to walk.

People have train and bus friends – like they do in Mumbai! While they don’t save a spot they do have groups that they can chat with on the way to work/ back.

We do have a car to drive down to meet friends and go about on weekends; but really if it’s in the city we don’t bother with the car. Parking is usually $$$ and hard to get. Even with apps that help you find one.

Weather is Awesome

Folks on East Coast , Mid-West and Pacific Northwest – its in upper 60’s for the last couple of days. No jackets, walk to work/park, play outside.

I would pay $$ for the sunny weather after living for a decade in Seattle.

South/ East bay is even warmer and sunnier.

I love seeing the fog roll in over the city sky line. Lets see how long that enamors us 🙂

Parks, Playgrounds and Green Spaces

There are many many parks and green open spaces in the city. We walk to most of them.

But be warned, a park is not a park if it does not have a play area. Any 3-year-old will tell you that. If it doesn’t have a play structure it’s not a park.

Luckily, parks with play structures are plenty too. They are overrun by kids on weekends – primarily because the weather is good and houses are small. So you want to head out.

Walkscore is usually great 

Walkscore makes sense here. You can walk to farmers market (most sub areas will have their own and its highly advertised by landlords and agents), library, playground, super market, public transportation, dry cleaners, restaurants, coffee shops, hair dresser etc.

But walking with strollers may be hard. The terrain is hilly with many ups and downs. There are  even “step hikes” in the city!

Walking to schools may be iffy based on where you end up!

Schools

Getting into schools is tricky. Both public and private. There are parent groups to help you navigate the process formally.

Nursery’s feed into pre-schools into Pre-K into Elementary and beyond. You need to be hooked in to the chain earlier. Some even do it while the kid is in utero.

There is some truth to above and some exaggeration. We have applied to 5-6 preschools. Some popular, some less so. Some immersion and others more mainstream. All private as we are still in preschool phase.

I think the diversity of schools ( Montessori, Waldorf, Reggio-emillia, immersion (Spanish/ Chinese/Japanese/ Italian) and number of schools both public and private is truly amazing.Most of them are $$ but offer part-time and half day programs to reduce costs. Co-ops are another way to keep costs in check.There is a fit for everyone.

Lets see where we land. But more on pre-school application process in a separate post.

Childcare

Another area that has long wait and is $$. It’s probably along the same lines as in Seattle.

A full day M-F program will set you back by $2000/ month at least. Food may or may not be included. Half day programs, part-time programs are popular with parents using nanny shares for younger kids. And there are plenty of daycare centers tall over the city; though most in financial district/ working areas are subsidized and reserved ( Fed, UCSF employees, low-income etc).

Finding a nanny is tricky as is the case everywhere.

Many Many Things to Do ( Free, Paid and Everything in Between)

This is truly why people love the city. And don’t want to move. There is a ton to do here – music, parks, parades, beaches, art walks, free movie nights  etc. Restaurants for every budget and cuisine. And if that’s not enough, we are a short drive to farms in North Bay to see the farm animals and pick fruits/veggies not to mention wine tastings.

I have listed only kid friendly stuff but you can browse through here for more adult listings (like movies, burlesque shows, food tastings etc)

Kid Friendliness

When we moved, since we don’t have any friends with kids in the city, I thought SF is not kid friendly at all. Most people who we know and love the city have lived here before kids ( or are still around but don’t have kids yet). But during home and school search we realized many family friendly neighborhoods, see kids (even multiple kids) around. So hopefully Varun will have company as he grows up.

Just that we may need to switch houses often (unless we manage to find a place where we can live for a few years).

Overall we are in love with San Francisco. Its like living in Mumbai. Small apartments, fast pace of life and generally no time for anything else during the week. Streets are bustling, there is ambient noise everywhere due to traffic/ trains and activity.

We wonder what took us so long to move here. But now that we are here, we are loving it.

Well, better late than never eh!

Paneer Masala Toast

Untitled

I am in the last few weeks of pregnancy. In the home stretch. So far everything has been same as first pregnancy.

Except that since I am at home ( and pregnant and writing  food blog), I am hungry. A lot. All the time.

After breakfast. After lunch. And mostly immediately after dinner. Also especially around 4:00 pm.

I feel like a cow, grazing all day long.

Fed up with constantly raiding the fridge, I decided to make something more filling and scrumptious so that I could eat it again.

Paneer masala toast was born out of that necessity.

Hot buttered toast, spicy paneer spread on it and topped with cool crunchy tomatoes.

Untitled

I ate one. And decided to save one for Varun as he loves paneer. But it was so good that I made myself another one half an hour later. Gobbled it all up. Cleared it all up so there was no trace of it left.

I felt so bad ( for being a bad parent and not sharing it with Varun) and yet so good.

I have to make it again. In a bigger batch. And share with family. Because thats what home cooking and parenting is all about. Right? Right?

Untitled

Paneer Masala Toast Recipe

  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup fresh paneer crumbled ( use tofu instead of paneer)
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 serrano chili finely diced
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
  • Pinch of Cumin powder, Corriander powder
  • Handful of cilantro leaves finely chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 slices of whole grain bread
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon pesto sauce
  • 2-4 slices of tomato

1. Heat oil in a skillet. Add cumin seeds once heated. As the seeds sizzle, add the chillies and red onion. Let the onion cook for a minute or so taking care not to burn it.

2. Add the spice powder and paneer. Add salt. Mix well.

3. Add cilantro leaves and let cook for another minute or so till the paneer is cooked. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Remove and keep aside in a bowl.

4. In the same skillet, heat tablespoon of butter. Grill bread slices in the buttered skillet. Flipping over once browned taking care not to char it.

5. Once the bread is grilled, spoon pesto sauce on one of the bread slices. Layer the paneer masala filling. Lay the tomato slices on top.

Cover with the other grilled bread. Press down with a spatula.

6. Remove from the skillet and cut in half.

Serve warm with ketchup and hot tea!

Chinese Lunar New Year Mini Parade

Chinese New Year Parade 2014 at San Francisco Chinatown

On Saturday, we took Varun to see the Chinese Lunar New Year Parade. Its the year of the horse per the Chinese Zodiac Calendar.

To celebrate, there was a mini parade in Chinatown, sponsored by Southwest Airlines. It was a free event starting at the St. Mark’s Square ( intersection of California and Grant) with the parade going down the Grant Avenue and then turned to go up Jackson.

Chinese New Year Parade 2014 at San Francisco Chinatown

Chinese New Year Parade 2014 in SF Chinatown

The 30 minute long parade promised the noble dragon, lions dancers, costumed stilt walkers and children playing electrifying music etc followed by a street fair. Kettle corn, new year flowers and plants, candy, tea and other knick knacks that you find in Chinatown.

The atmposhere was energetic and colorful – thanks to the colorful costumes, fans, ribbons and flags. These kids must have practiced so much for the big Day!

Chinese New Year Parade 2014 in SF Chinatown

Chinese New Year Parade 2014 in SF Chinatown

Chinese New Year Parade 2014 in SF Chinatown

Chinese New Year Parade 2014 in SF Chinatown

Chinese New Year Parade 2014 in SF Chinatown

Chinese New Year Parade 2014 in SF Chinatown

Chinese New Year Parade 2014 in SF Chinatown

Chinese New Year Parade 2014 in SF Chinatown

Chinese New Year Parade 2014 at San Francisco Chinatown

Chinese New Year Parade 2014 at San Francisco Chinatown

It was crowded after the parade with people milling about buying flowers, candles, tea and generally having a good time. We were there for a couple of hours with a long tea break to have some really good ginger – honey tea.

Chinese New Year Parade 2014 in SF Chinatown

Chinese New Year Parade 2014 in SF Chinatown

Chinese New Year Parade 2014 in SF Chinatown

Chinese New Year Parade 2014 at San Francisco Chinatown

Varun loved the parade, the music and watching the lion dancers and the dragon. Even as I was uploading the pictures he kept telling me what we saw yesterday and when we can go see it again.

There was another parade in the evening and streets in downtown were cordoned off. It was a pain getting back home but so much fun while it lasted.

Will probably give it a go again next year. Or may be checkout the Vietnamese New Year festivities instead!

Overnight Oats With Blood Orange and Almonds

Overnight Oats with Blood Orange and Almonds

Thanks everyone for reading the rather long post on Real Food Matters. I know it was long but I wanted to write it up so when we fall off the wagon or are tempted by unprocessed foods, I could go back to it and remember why we are doing this in the first place.

Appreciate all your likes and comments on Facebook!

One of the first things to get your day’s diet on track is to have a healthy filling breakfast. But for most of us to prepare breakfast in the morning rush is hard. Plus if you have to balance all food groups including vegetables then it gets trickier.  Also, some of us don’t have time to wait for porridges, omelets etc to cool down before we can sit down and eat.

It becomes easy to resort to coffee and a bagel routine. And while at that coffee shop, donuts and other pastries always tempt me. I see past the whole grain wraps and pick myself a sweet treat.

Overnight Oats with Blood Orange and Almonds

But a little effort previous evening pays off. Not just in saved $$ but in a healthier meal. And you let the refrigerator do all the work while you sleep. By the time you wake up and have your coffee, you have a creamy porridge ready.

Boiled eggs, overnight oats and low sodium V8 is a colorful, healthy start to the day.

It can be made in individual servings making things even easier or stored in a to go container to eat on the go. I read online about folks who make it for the entire week with different toppings (peaches, berries, stewed apples, nuts, granola etc) and you are set.

Give it a try next week for an easy – breezy healthy wholesome breakfast!

Overnight Oats with Blood Orange and Almonds

Note:

1. Don’t use the instant oats for this, they will turn into a mush which I am not a fan off. While nutritionally the same, instant oats have higher glycemic index as they break down and are digested faster compared to the thicker rolled or steel-cut oats.

2. Adjust the sweetener based on fruits that you are using. Go light if the fruit is sweet or stewed – like apples.

Overnight Oats Recipe

  • 1 cup whole rolled or steel-cut oats ( not the instant kind)
  • 1 1/2  cups water
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 banana mashed or 1 tablespoon dark Grade A maple syrup (optional sweetener)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped nuts ( walnuts, almonds , pecans based on what you have on hand)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fruit ( based on what you have on hand)
  • Nuts and Fruit – For Garnish

1. Wash the oats in water and then mix all the ingredients listed above other than garnish.

2. Put them in individual bowls. Keep it in the refrigerator overnight.

3. Top with nuts and fruits.

Serve as is.

Real Food Matters And What We Are Doing About It

We started eating better since earlier this year.

It wasn’t as much about new year resolution but about eating wholesome food while losing weight, reducing high blood pressure and cortisol and generally feeling more energetic. We do eat healthy organic food but we eat too few vegetables and too much sweets.

And we both have been struggling with abdomen fat and 3’o clock slump for a long time now.

As Varun and Vipul headed off to pre-school and work; I found more free time on my hand. I read up quiet a few articles online and then read the following books which really made an impact on me.

1. Food Matters – Mark Bittman

2. Wheat Belly – William Davis

3. Vegan Before Six – Mark Bittman

4. Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It – Gary Taubes

5. Omnivores Dilemma – Michael Pollan

These are not new books but I simply never got a chance to read them. But what I learnt was simply astonishing. Not only was the effect of insulin and enzymes on how we store fat a detailed primer on how and why we get fat; but also about environmental and ecological impact of the food chain. They discuss the different food ecosystems at play, the real cost of food ( paid by tax payers as govt subsidies to corn farmers and food miles) , impact of making cows, hens and other farm animals eating more corn based meals ( which also includes antibiotics as they can’t naturally digest corn and other waste ( organ meat, feathers, blood), rise of new resistant bacteria ( E-coli is prime example), how America is eating corn and only corn ( corn fed meat, HCFS in drinks, processed meals, etc)  and the humane aspect of “farming” animals.

And when we thought whole grains and their products were really good, did you know that 2 slices of whole wheat bread can raise blood sugar more than two teaspoons of cane sugar? Hybridization to increase production, reduce diseases etc have led to a “wheat” that is genetically different from the ones that our ancestors ate ( 42 chromosomes v/s original 14). Should we even call it wheat? Can it be healthy for us ?

The same modification applies to soy, corn, canola etc.

They go on to discuss how farming these days is modified to suit agriculture businesses ( hybrid seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, animal feeds etc) – profits from much of which don’t go to the farmer but to the businesses that sell these products.

Even vegetables are not spared. Growing, harvesting, chilling and transporting a box of lettuce consumes 4700 fossil calories. That roughly the equivalent of 57 fossil fuel calories for every food calorie they provide. Besides they are sprayed with pesticides, insecticides and other things so that they would stay fresh in transit, have longer shelf life and look shiny.  Some of these substances are banned in other countries and some of these are created from petroleum products and leaves traces in our body. It may be cheaper to just guzzle gasoline if we humans could handle it raw!

The waste from these farms and animal barns are so toxic that they cause deadzones where nothing but pathogens can harbor. They destroy land, contaminate ground water and eventually fish as they flow into the bays/seas and oceans.

Organic industrial farming is better than traditional one with the use of natural pesticides, fertilizers and additives but don’t really do much to the lives of the cows/polutry etc which are still cooped up/ tied/ caged as densely as possible.

As far as the farmed fish go, they have higher Omega -6 acids to Omega 3 acids than the wild caught ones. Omega-6’s are not good for us and are also present in processed oils (like Canola, Safflower, Sunflower, Vegetable).

And did you know, you need healthy unprocessed, unsaturated fat for hormone production, healthy immune system and energy?

It was more than vegetarian v/s non-vegetarian or carbs v/s no carbs debate or organic/ non-organic .

These books address questions hard questions like: Would eating locally and humbly raised cow ( and hence beef) be more good for you and the environment rather than the vegetables and fruits that are shipped all the way from New Zealand or Ecuador? are vegetables that are shipped all the way across from another coast truly better for you considering the fossil fuel involved in transportation?

They don’t prescribe answers but let you choose what you want to make of it after knowing the consequences.

Insulin and it how it works 

As I read about food ecosystems, I wanted to understand how once eaten food is digested and gives us energy. I realized how insulin plays a crucial role Even before we actually eat a meal, the mere thought of food causes insulin to be secreted. Once fats are digested they are stored in the fat cells. As carbs are digested they are released in blood as glucose. If we eat more carbs then there is more glucose in the blood that the body can handle. Insulin helps regulate this glucose.

Some of this glucose is used up immediately as energy but some is stored by muscles as glycogen, by liver as glycogen and eventually fat and by other fat cells as fat.

Once the fat is in the fat cells, it is immaterial how it was “sourced” from carbs or fats. It is now a fatty acid stored in fat cells.

Insulin dictates how these fatty acids are stored with aid of an enzyme called LPL. LPL is release by muscles and fat cells. If the fatty acids bond with LPL released by muscles, then the fatty acid is stored in muscle cells where it can be burnt for immediate energy. If the LPL is released by fat cells then it is stored in fat cells.

These fatty acids are small molecules and can easily enter the fat cells. However once inside 3 fatty acids and glycogen together form triglycerides – a larger molecule that cannot exit the fat cell and is stashed away for later use.

Essentially, in a nut shell, LPL works to make us fat.

Insulin also influences another enzyme called HSL. The role of HSL is to break down the triglecerides and release them back into component fatty acids that can be used as fuel. But as insulin secretion increases, HSL goes down. So the trapped fat in fat cells cannot be consumed.

With the aid of LPL and HSL, Insulin works to make us fat.

Impact on Gender, Race etc 

And because insulin secretion varies from person to person, we tend to get fatter or leaner. Insulin, LPL and other such enzymes dictates how much fat goes to muscles and to fat cells. Its dictated by genetic makeup to an extent. For those lean marathoners, insulin works to convert glucose in our blood into muscle energy for consumption and stores very little for “future reserves”. For others, any food is stored into “future reserve” and very little is available for immediate consumption. Some people are naturally lean and stay that way their whole life while others become fat even when they don’t eat very much. Lastly, as the LPL is active on different parts of the body ( below belly in women and above belly in men), the natural tendency for most men is to put on weight in the abdomen/belly area and for women in hips and thighs area.

Why diets, exercise etc don’t work. 

Insulin is the reason why we get hungry. As more fat is stored and locked away, less is available for us for immediate consumption/fuel and we tend to eat more to get more energy. Eating more causes more glucose in blood stream and hence more insulin to be secreted and the cycle continues.

Exercising doesn’t work mainly because if we exercise then we get hungry to compensate for the fuel burnt. Rarely can you exercise just enough that you don’t need to eat more than usual. As least that has been our experience thus far. And eating more has the same effect on glucose-fat as described above.

The typical advise is to eat something rich in protein and complex carbs within 20 minutes of exercising to replenish your muscle stores. But based on your insulin response, this may not always be the case. Some of this will be stored as fat making it a zero-sum game.

Diets don’t work either. You can starve, eliminate certain food types (usually carbs and fat) but that will simply cause temporary loss of fat reserve as the body breaks down but the reserves will be built up with a vengeance once you stop the diet.

What can we do about this? 

I know on a personal front we need to do something about what we eat. As I described my readings to Vipul he was worried we may have nothing to eat by the end of my reading all the books. But eliminating food groups is not an answer. We all know that eliminating something makes us crave that even more. Atleast thats true for us. 

Most vegetarians reading this will advocate that give up meat. Its easier for most of my Indian readers who never ate meat to say that. In my mind cruelty to animals is not just about slaughtering them for food.Its also extends to taking the milk that was meant for their calves and giving it to humans.It extends to prizing silk saris and pashmina shawls; using leather handbags and shoes and even testing cosmetics on monkeys.

There are others who advocate eating what you grew up with. The reason why they say French never get fat despite eating cream, butter and other fattening things. Most people mistaken Indian diet as ” vegetable heavy”. It is more carb heavy than vegetables with usually a serving of vegetables at  lunch and dinner but none at any other meals. So going that route is not an option for us.

So surely there is a another way that works for us, the animals and the environment.

The Sustainable Lifestyle for Us

Luckily, as more and more people are aware of food and food related health and environment issues, there are many sustainable food options available. Shopping at local farmers market for humanely raised poultry, subscribing to a CSA for produce and even cooking more at home are some of the things we can do.

It is more expensive and time consuming but in the end it will be good for us and the environment.

I don’t think any of the books prescribe one way to do these things – after all not everyone has the time/motivation/resources to make sustainable lifestyle a priority. Food, environment, lifestyle are all intermingled. But every little bit will help.

As one of my colleagues in Redmond used to remind me – If you drive an electric car or take public transport but eat at McD’s its still better for the environment than driving a gas guzzler and then eating processed food.

This is what we are planning to adopt as we are on the journey to improve our health.

1. Eat more vegetables

While I know we can’t give up meat (or eggs or fish) we can control its portion and supplement with more vegetables. At all meals. A 2 – egg omlete with mushrooms and spinach works just as well as a 3 egg one. Incorporating vegetables at every meal ( including snacks) makes us feel full and even saves $ on the meat budget.

2. Eat less processed food

After reading these books, I went through our fridge and pantry and was surprised to find these ingredients in “organic natural/ safe” food – Sugar in “organic” peanut butter, milk powder in “organic” non-fat milk, xanthan gum in Gummy bears, HCFS or GMO corn in Beer, V8 which is made from concentrate (which likely contains HCFS) etc.

Almost all of those ingredients have HCFS as their source – which has an undesirable effect on insulin, fat and our waistline.Besides making some of these things on your own or reading labels to carefully chose the right products there is really no other options.

Land o lakes and I Cant believe is not butter is made from milk from GMO fed cows ; canola oil is made from GMO rapeseed which is shown to cause blindness in a UK study in cows.

Only whole milk, cheese or natural ingredients for us going forward. After going non fat for nearly a decade this is unnerving.This is a paradigm shift.

We have already switched to whole milk and cheese. They taste really good though we are careful to use/eat them in smaller quantities so as to not jeopardize rest of the diet.

3. Eat locally and seasonally 

This is real easy for us to do as we are in sunny California with bountiful farms around. But really learning how to cook some non Indian ingredients in Indian way or just as is ( celery, tofu, collard greens, kale, rainbow chard, bok-choy , squashes etc) and not eating some Indian vegetables ( doodhi/lauki, methi, certain types of cucumbers, Indian eggplants, curry leaves etc which are imported)  would help us eat locally and seasonally.

While I don’t think I can give up tomatoes in winter at least sticking to  other vegetables will introduce variety in our diet. And it will be healthier to the boot.

This also means we should eat “pastured” and farm raised eggs and poultry in Spring and pork and beef later in the year – but I don’t think we can take it that far. We will stick to eggs , poultry and wild caught fish year around with a little red meat throw in for special occasions.

EatWild is an excellent website to find pastured local sources of meat/dairy and poultry.

Local Harvest is another excellent source to find local CSA/farmers market, in season vegetables etc

4. Grow a couple of vegetables at least

We don’t really have much space in our apartment here in San Francisco, but a pot of lettuce, spinach and some herbs ( cilantro and mint) should be manageable. Maybe I could give regrowing few veggies in a glass a try ( like regrow spring onions and celery).

5. Eat more varied carbs

More or less our carbs are based on wheat and oats. I want to incorporate more carbs variety in our diet. Indian diet has a variety of untested breads based on jowar, rice, millet, chickpea flour. Incorporating those will reduce our dependance on wheat and the wheat belly that comes with it.

6. Eat more healthy fat 

I know folks ( like my mom) who eat virgin coconut oil before meals to feel fuller and satisfied. And touch wood don’t have any health issues v/s others (like my uncle – mom’s brother) who has lived a typical 21st century life ( low fat/low calorie diet, stressful work and sedentary lifestyle) and now has to deal with knee problems, heart and blood pressure issues.

While I don’t think I will binge on it, we will be a little more liberal with our fat usage. And switch to unprocessed fat like -ghee, butter, olive oil, coconut oil and avocados. Apparently it takes fat to reduce fat!

As usual I will be posting recipes and progress. Some may work, others may not. Either ways you will know. If possible do join us in our quest to adopt healthier wholesome food. I am sure it won’t be easy but we can learn from each other. At the very least vote with your $$ and say no to processed, unlabeled, GMO food.

Stay with us, share your thoughts, recipes and ideas and do do encourage us as we tread on this rather difficult but interesting food journey.

More Food For Thought 

Food Rules – Michael Pollan

In Defense of Food – Michael Pollan

The Unhealthy Truth – Robyn O’Brien

Master your Metabolism – Jillian Michaels

Fast Food Nation – Eric Schlosser

King Corn

Squeezed: What you don’t know about Orange juice – Alissa Hamilton

Organic Manifesto – Maria Rodale

Conscious Eating – Gabriel Cousens

Beauty Detox Solution – Kimberly Snyder

%d bloggers like this: