Tag Archives: #Health

“I will find sunshine myself”- The hidden upsides of revenge eating and beyond!!

Food alone won’t make you happy if you cannot live by yourself.

Generally the word ’healthy’ and ‘revenge food’ don’t share space together. A late night ‘Jack in the box’ run or a quick cheeseburger on a road trip, each could hurt you if you cannot stay away from super-sized value options or settle for anything that is fast and easy, only because you are hurt bad and are on a trip to avenge blindfolded!!

But whatever you figure out to straighten things up, do keep an eye out for a food with plenty of nutritional value. Revenge or otherwise, you would do well to love being a winner in anger!

A romance with retribution is always bittersweet. It drives crime unashamedly; statistics say, up to 20% of homicides and 60% of random fatal killings!! And what more it shapes politics too. Even President Trump’s rush to Oval was nothing short of ‘revenge of working class”; those who felt cheated and abandoned had set the choice as an unforgiving sentiment.

Many of us would believe that vengeance against who have wronged us, is the only right choice to even out and the best way to avenge. In the heat of the moment it might feel relieving. This in fact is a powerful all pervasive emotion to get angry and wanting to hurt somebody who has harmed you. Have no doubts; the urge to avenge is all spiraling, reckless and self-inflicting. But then there is yet another one reason to celebrate its onset.

Post break up of revenge bout, the resulting lack of appetite will leave you slim n gorgeous in no time!! Who said I don’t care! A fitter, hotter, healthier and stunning you could make even your ex regret the heartache he caused you.

Revenge diet is not only about being depressed and ignoring food, all because of a weak or failing appetite. It merely adds to your woes. Revenge can never be your driving force and can never lead to anything worthwhile. On the contrary, it would make you look pale, weak and wasted. But the other side of the dime would nudge you to move on and be the eager beaver you had always wanted to be. So, be the live wire and give yourself some credit if you are a belly watcher and following a crash diet. Just don’t let that other person get away with all the credits. Love the break in the clouds and swap your anger with a pirated but healthy diet. After all, a revengicidal you is at best a vengeful jihadi on a crash diet. If you are on little Caesars diet, the ‘positive’ side of a revenge diet will walk you to losing weight in style.

But remember if you have chosen squirrel‘s diet just to make your ex jealous or uncomfortable to those who annoy you, the spite might be short lived and end once you have moved on. Close on heels will be your diet plan that would just go for a toss. If revenge was the sole motive you may gain more than you have lost! So stay positive and shed those extra kilos just for yourself. Nothing matters to anybody, once you or they move on even if you look a lot sexier after having lost weight. So who are you losing your weight for? Who could be your better audience than you yourself?  Go for treks, cycle, do yoga or simply meditate. And you are on your way to a healthier, slim looks. Just make sure that once out for revenge, the romance with anger stays positive for you and diet itself remains healthy. Depressed people usually tend to lose interest in food and shed weight in an unhealthy way that messes the scale once out of revenge. So if you are out for revenge and wish to fume with anguish and anger in a useful way without getting mired in vindictive rations, try on these foodstuff and overcome your spiteful frenzy without hurting yourself. Some of these are better served cold. Here are 10 of them to cheer up with and enjoy while crushing your enemies, etc., etc.

The lies we tell ourselves about revenge food: It’s healthy, it’s delicious!

“You would never give your child a can of beer but you don’t think twice about giving them a can of soda.” Dr. Robert Lustig .

Forgive those who have wronged you for they say this is good for your overall wellbeing! Who’re you kidding? How could you move on tied to some good, old-fashioned, intricately plotted revenge, served ice cold? This reminds me –some of your favorite food is best served cold! From screamin’ Sicilian Pizza to Bessie’s Revenge Cheese to spaghetti Bolognese, and from gazpacho to an icy martini, each favorite awaits to be eaten with a chilly disposition. Remember eating exotic is never considered a funeral food.

Ice cream sandwich

This one calls for baking one giant cookie. Try hard not to forget your revenge when you bake a giant cookie. Nothing would be more thrilling than eating a giant cookie in front of those who’ve wronged you, and not offering them a bite. No morsel would be just brutal and befitting.

Cucumber Soup with Mint, Watercress, and Feta Cheese

Fuming and feeling hot under the collar? Try this soup and feel your anger piping down to find you cool as a cucumber in a jiffy. Your luv for Feta though has just turned a tight corner! This is certainly not a recipe for weight loss, though it looks like one.

Image source: ‘Chilled cucumber dill mint soup with feta and red onion’ by Chef Andreia in dontask4rsalt. com

Time for a Regina George truly evil badass moment!!

Olive Oil Ice cream

Wondering if this frozen dessert is any good! “If it tastes really awesome?’ The answer is yes. It tastes as good as the aftermath of retribution!! What won’t taste good though is if you also push some sautéed onions and garlic in it and try it in a chocolate dipped waffle cone, sprinkled with cinnamon dust.

For the fun of it maybe you could just let that thought marinate with you for a while. The mirthful satisfaction of avenging silently is so brazenly gratifying that your stormy mood will find peace even if it is short lived. Choose a light-bodied fruity olive oil over its heavy peppery cousin and you will fall in love with the olive oil gelato, Great flavor and texture!! You just afford to miss the works.

Raspberry and Aperol Floats

This frozen delight will make you shut out all the insanity and ills for a while. And so would Aperol, that Italian bitter aperitif with a vibrant orange hue made of gentian, rhubarb, and cinchona, among other things. But what if you took your first sip of what seemed like some great creamy vanilla ice cream float, and instead you get to jab a straw into a monstrous frozen orb of ice? Call it a disaster that would be the worst, correct; the absolute worst. This edgy creamsicle, bittersweetly balanced and boasting of a crown of coral foam, is somewhat akin to Campari but is less boozy. Try it, you may end up admiring it for all the things gone wrong here!

Ajoblanco

A popular Spanish cold soup made of bread, crushed almonds, garlic, water, olive oil, salt and sometimes vinegar and usually served with grapes or slices of melon is essentially a more delectable version of white gazpacho. Traditionally made with green grapes the recipe is brightened up by adding green apple. It however, does little to your soothe your stormy mood as you dig in.

Feature credit:’ Ajoblanco- Spanish Garlic Soup Recipe’ by Happy Foods Tube in youtube.com on Aug 31, 2013.

The velvety texture is what makes it luscious for slurping, and atrocious to clean out of your favorite shirt!!

Watermelon Gazpacho

It’s pretty hard to be pathetic and be in a woeful mood when eating this bright pink, creamy and sweet soup—but this dish is exactly the kind of recipe that you could try for a perfect revenge food!

Feature credits: ‘ Watermelon Gazpacho’ by Currytrail in you tube.com on Jun. 19, 2019.

Light and refreshing, Watermelon Gazpacho is healthy, low fat and very easy to digest, sweet and spicy in taste. Perfect as a cold summer soup, Gazpacho is much like its tomatoey version but has a blend of watermelon, cucumber, bell pepper and tomato.

When you rake up gazpacho regularly, this soup improves overnight as the flavors get a chance to blend. It’s perfect for a light meal on a hot day. You can easily make a large batch and enjoy it for days!

Potato Salad with Pickles and Dill

Image source: ‘Dill pickle potato salad’ by Sue in theeviewfromgreatisland.com .

Creamy and chunky, this potato salad with pickles and eggs, tossed with creamy dill dressing is a perfect side dish for your summer rush for revenge foods. This is one of those foods which could give you some inspiration for a perfectly delicious revenge diet. So simple yet dreamily cruel, this is a different and delicious take on a not-so-traditional potato salad. If you are a dill pickle lover, this is the right revenge salad for you. Swap out the mayonnaise for low-fat mayo when you want this salad to be full of crunchy, dill pickle goodness!

If you find it hard to eat, try inviting yourself to this not-so-delicious call. Hey, let’s just call it water under the bridge; let’s try some delicious potato salad!” in an apparent attempt to bury the hatchet all within you. The stellar tang of fresh dill, sweet celery and pungent red onions that beckons you is always a flavorful way to troll yourself with a pop of flavors!!

Cakes and bakes: There’s a sweeter way to avenge

And it’s not always sugar’s fault. Indulge in those beer and wine blended cupcakes or stuff yourself with custard filled tarts, take a trip to a bar to create your own unique combination of frosties or rush out to your vacations with pies that could travel in a jar!; you just couldn’t blame that little bright crystals of sweetness, each time you couldn’t pull off your revenge! Try passing on a sweet revenge on someone else then.

People say bizarrely mean things that could make anybody go really mad. And if you happen to be the fuming victim, it’s time for some of these so-called trolls to get a taste of their own medicine. So how does it work? Begin by tracking down the physical location of the offensive person via the IP address. Whip up a retaliatory mini cake with said comment decorated in icing or edible letters. Box it and send to the person who wrote the vile comment, with a copy of the comment taped to the inside of the box. Trust me, nothing feels better to identify the tweet that spoke ill of you and tried to trump you as being the most insane person and then slam it in your own unique way. It’s heartwarming to name and shame the guilty. The shaming mini-cake in fact works almost like having a little parachute of sanity. Your greatest satisfaction will be just how weirdly awkward and embarrassing it gets for the wrong-doer. It works in no less the same way as a sweet savory recipe!

Still not convinced!! If you cannot avenge then take revenge on yourself. Pretty Italian cakes for instance make for a delicious revenge diet. Try cassata—a traditional Sicilian cake that uses sponge cake, sweetened ricotta, chocolate bits and candied fruit draped with a bright green marzipan fondant. The taste however is rather acquired and could leave you crest fallen, hungry and utterly dismayed. Pared-down version that blends all the familiar flavors—ricotta, dark chocolate, pound cake, almond liqueur and candied orange, is a better choice though. Then you are welcome to try horde of other delights. From moist dark chocolate cakes with layers of buttercream icing to tarts with vanilla layers soaked in sour cream, coconut syrup and whipped icing all wrapped in fresh coconut; these devil foods are atrociously tasty and await to incriminate you.

Pico de gallo

Image source: ‘Pico De Gallo Salsa Recipe’ by Teri Gilson in foodmeanderings.com on Ap. 28, 2021.

Pico de gallo or salsa fresca or salsa cruda, is a typical Mexican cuisine. Traditionally made from chopped tomato, onion, and serrano peppers, with salt, lime juice, and cilantro, Pico de gallo is used in much the same way as other Mexican liquid salsas.

Traditionally made with in-season, ripe, juicy tomatoes, if you wish to draw the strings harder for your sins, pull it together using hard, flavorless “winter whites,” you’re just asking for a bland, lackluster salsa. And this is one dish nobody would ever wish on his or her worst enemies…or is it? Call it food regret, food challenge or food jealousy, vengeance is always more satisfying when exacted in an unexpected way at an unexpected time. Wish you some luck!

Sushi

Image source: ‘Top 5 Places for Sushi on International Sushi Day in Kolkata’ by Madhushree Basu Roy in eazydiner.com on Jun. 18, 2019.

Elegant arrangement, enhanced simplicity and ethereal beauty is what turns Sushi into a work of genius. The preparation, shape, presentation and taste though somewhat differs from place to place representing tradition and characteristics so inherent to the locality. What more, the drama unfolds right before your eyes by the chef, and the enchantment that follows is simply irresistible. Traditionally sushi was prepared as pickled fish preserved in vinegar but nowadays it contains rice and is prep with sushi vinegar served with a white radish thinly peeled to a sheet like thingy and then julienned into fine strips. Few restaurants prefer to serve string Daikon (white radish) sans its spicy tangy taste.

Is it rude? How could you possibly draw blood for your offence if it’s none other than you? And especially when you don’t want to eat rushing with other things! My advice? Don’t feel offended, dine out alone and make sure that sushi is served with chili- all cold. Weird combo of food would simply overpower your sushi rush and might just as well ruin the evening for food being wildly off-theme. What a crass way to avenge yourself! You eat a lot or you simply couldn’t. Just one of the few things I can think of!

Let happiness find you!

I have never really understood what is meant by saying ‘Revenge is a dish best served cold. Does it mean trying gazpacho? – a tomato soup that everyone likes hot, but is served chilled on purpose, to be a huge disappointment and a rude shocker; especially if you think you are a sensitive-toothed person.

And what about Revenge being sweet’? Is it a revenge-gazpacho that needs sugar and the tomatoes are unripe – but just a pinch. Maybe revenge should never be themed desserty; it’s confusing enough dish as it is. And finally there’s that saying, “Revenge is a kind of wild justice”, Uh-Oh! No food-references here! But you might try some cured salty pork and plate it as a hearty, chilled, salty refreshing revenge-gazpacho. That’s just perfect for your pay back moments. Of course, there are ways to turn your food into a good healthy diet that will bounce you back to freedom and lose weight happily! What do you care, if your revenge diet reeks of rebounds of sorts!

So sit back quietly, eat well, grieve if you must and carry on with losing flabs!!

If only your pie could talk! :10 untold sob stories of best loved desserts that you missed.

When it comes to sweets, who would ever say never to those fleeting spikes of pleasure! But ever wondered how guilty, bittersweet or elusive their past has been? From frosted pies to sweet buns to cakes to Pop tarts, they all are winners and each one of them has an intriguing story to tell. It’s time we heard them. Like an impossible love affair let’s try and make the future of cheat food truly free and fair!!  

Imagine this. You drop by your neighborhood pâtisserie and decide to pick up one of those non-descript sweets that you have read so much about; but have not tried so far.

You decide on the right one and reach out to pick it up… and it screams!!

What the hell?!

That pud is talking, you are taken aback! No correct, screaming!!

Ok, so now you are getting a little panicky. What’s happening here? What’s going on with this dish?

Not for a moment would you believe that a future is in the making where the food is empowered to talk back and tell us everything about itself? Not yet! Not sure for now, but give or take another ten years down the line, your favorite food might mimic a ‘block chain’-adifficult to follow chain without any trail”, thanks to digital identity technologies sailing high these days. Everything will have an end-to-end encrypted log and our everyday pud will be able to tell us the full story of its existence!

Think of a future when we make a pick of dessert, scan a QR code and see the story of its life, and everything that owns a part of its story. Could you believe that trust apart, the power will be all ours to vote with our wallet in this moment!

This is when our food will ask us to listen, wanting us to trust what it has to say!  Sounds weird doesn’t it? But if and when this happens the stories we get told, might become the truth and the narrative a reality.

Truly free and fair: The ‘run clean’ truth

Ever wondered, why bakes especially cakes are synonymous with birthdays? Why stubs of wax standing deep down in the frosting of a sticky sweet chocolate cake, wink at you when lighted, to blow them and make a wish before eating the poor-me with a gusto? Funny but intense; the secret lives of goodies at your table leaves so much to explore! So, let’s begin by unearthing unheard of amazing life stories of 10 classic desserts that may have lost relevance over the time to more modern, processed favorites like Oreos and Pop tarts, yet remain as stunning and awesome as ever.

German Chocolate Cake

 “No, it is not named after the country Germany. With key ingredients like sweet baking chocolate, coconut, and pecans , this out of box cake drew its name from an American- Sam German (1802-88)-who first came up with a mild dark baking chocolate bar for Baker’s Chocolate Company in 1852. The company chose to honor him by naming the chocolate after him– “Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate.” The possessive form slowly faded away over the years, leaving behind the name German Chocolate Cake that we know of today.

A stupendous hit ever since it came into being, this cake filled and topped with coconut pecan frosting, stayed unapologetically decadent and indulgent for the larger part of 20th century but today this  not–so-German chocolate cake seems to have lost all charm and sweetness, and offers not much but texture to the cake. In fact, without the cream cheese frosting that tops it, it might actually taste quite bland to few. The texture is quite similar to coconut and renders the cake a German vibe. That apart, this cake’s appeal is nothing much to write home about!!

Revenge Cookie (Neiman Marcus cookie)

It’s unlikely that you haven’t heard that funny story about the woman lunching at the Neiman Marcus Café in Dallas, who loved the cookies so much that she asked for the recipe. For “only two-fifty” and the bargain was settled; but when the bill arrived, to her dismay she found out that she was being charged $250 for the recipe. The outraged woman and the story of enduring myth that followed, famed Neiman Marcus cookies as a delicious variation of chocolate chips confection.

The blended oatmeal in the dough is what gives these famous cookies the kind of tender, chewy, chocolaty texture and body that thrills every palate. Homemade and full of chocolate chips and nuts, this knockout bake is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser any time of day.  Add some more chocolate from a grated Hershey bar and you could woo even the most unrepentant naysayers to taste it.

The cookie story in fact, serves beyond a typical chocolate chip confection recipe. And it’s not difficult to know why!  The state of outrage of this woman had decided that no one was ever going to pay for this recipe again and it was shared in no less than a chain letter style. Fast forward! This bake story lately came to be reimagined and reinterpreted as ‘Revenge cookie tale’. Some even called it Urban Legend cookie!

So much for the story, but it left in its wake equally delicious and mouthwatering trail of Neiman Marcus cookies.

‘Gosh’! It did make a good story.

Jalebi

From ‘Zulbiya’ of ancient Persia to Bengal’s omnipresent ‘Jilapi’ the luscious swirls of this Indian dessert– Jalebi has travelled a full circle!

Try it on a frosty, finger numbing cold winter morning. A hurried walk to the nearest sweet shop, all trussed up in woollens, an impatient wait in the queue and finally you get to sink your teeth in a platter full of hot, swirled, deep fried sugary goodness, topped with that heavenly rabri (sweet, condensed-milk-based dish). Your soul sighs in contentment!

Already going gaga over this unrivalled dish! And why shouldn’t you? It has never failed to stir up an obsessed enthusiast in you. Eat it just plain after a humble breakfast or evening snack of Samosa and Chai combo, in milk or with curd, hot or cold, this syrupy yeasty batter is a delightful end to your meal; any time, every time.

But there is a dark side to this recipe too! This may shock you a bit, but Jalebi never originated in India. In fact, the one that has turned into a national craze and is a foodie-favorite elsewhere, is an evolved version of Middle Eastern ‘Zalabiya’ or the Persian ‘Zulbiya’ of the early 10th century. Finding mention in ‘Kitab al-Tabeekh’ a Persian cook book by Muhammad bin Hasan al-Baghdadi, the recipe also found space in another 10th century cookbook Kitab al-Ṭabīḫ, penned by Ibn Sayyaf al-Warraq- an Arab cook book compiler and author from Baghdad.

Popular in Iran even to this day, Zulbiya unlike Jalebi has an asymmetric floral coil pattern and mandates the syrup of honey and rose water instead of simple cardamom flavored sugar syrup.

Brought into the Indian subcontinent by the Persian traders and invaders alike throughout the medieval period, the shipped-in Zulbiya didn’t take long to weave itself into the traditional Indian cuisine like never ever. Today this syrup sweetness has invaded every menu. From road side eatery to country side fair to upscale restaurants this delightful cheat food leaves everyone ecstatic, indulgent and stoked with joy- always!

From heavy weight Jaleba of night markets of Madhya Pradesh and Chhanar Jilipi’ of Bengali kitchens to ‘Khoya Jalebi’ of Hyderabad to Jahangiri’ of Andhra Pradesh; call what is what; the lip smacking flavors from a hot, sweet, dripping Jalebi will never let you have enough. Allow yourself to burn for a while and this could be one more oomph on your table!

Rasgulla

To those who argue if Bengal has contributed to this country anything other than Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, spark to Indian nationalism and Well Spring Pharmaceutical Corporation (makers of Gelusil antacid), they must not forget that it is the Bengal that touched India with soft, pearly white balls of cheese, dipped in flavored sugar syrup that has endured a top pick frenzy ever since.

Just as much few claim foreign origin for Marx, some stand up for an extra Bengali source for the making of rasgulla. No beans spilled! But it stays; no reference to cheese is found in India till the end of 17th century. So how could the Bengal ever lay its hand on cheese?

After Vasco Da Gama ‘discovered’ India in 1498 via a route that the Arabs had in use for at least two millennia before him, it was not long after, that the Iberians had claimed the entire Indian coast stretching from Chittagong in Bengal to Bombay in Marathwada.

And it were the Portuguese that ended up introducing three different acid-curdled cheese to Bengal. One was obviously Chhana (milk split with citric acid). The other one was the more smoky ‘Bandel Cheese’; an all-time British favorite, and the last but not the least was more like a hardened ‘feta’ (a Greek brined curd white cheese made from sheep’s milk or from a mixture of sheep and goat’s milk) that could never take off or make big because of its tangy, salty and sharp flavors. Nowadays found only in Dhaka, it is fondly remembered asDhakai Paneer’.

Chhana subsequently spread to rest of India, where it was compressed into blocks and given the Persian name for cheese’ Paneer’; a name that even the Turkish had borrowed from elsewhere! The heavenly blend of milk solids and sugar that enraptures us today as ‘Rasgulla, owes its honeyed grace to an even more sugary soul from Bengal-Nobin Chandra Das. Few still argue over the brains behind the business and claim otherwise. Rude and shocking! But whatever the controversy; if he didn’t invent it in the first place, at least it was him who tweaked it, took it to the market and finally to your plate as an out of the box sweet.

To this day, this chhana ball boiled in sugar syrup that makes it spongier and gives it a longer shelf life, is unarguably one stellar pick of a dessert. Served cold makes it even more ravishing and overwhelming!

Baked Alaska

A cake that melts hearts and is a celebrations celebrity, baked Alaska usually ends up as a shared dessert in restaurant menus. This cake and ice cream dish enveloped in meringue and then brûléed on the outside, is an unlikely but wonderful outcome of the baking method that was conceived by an 18th century scientist Sir Benjamin Thompson whose way to prepare theOmelette Norwegge,” the treat’s name at the time, was later embraced by Charles Ranhofer, a Parisian chef working at Delmonico’s in New York.

This often ‘Go-dutch’ special dessert is said to have been invented to celebrate the US acquisition of Alaska in 1867. Carved out of velvety cake and tantalizing ice cream, topped with meringue and set on fire after adding Kirsch or liqueur, the tale, taste and drama of this classic cake is beyond a delicate acclaim!

Mud Pie

Rich, indulgent and gooey, this pie is made with flourless chocolate cake filling topped with whipped cream in a buttery chocolate crust, and looks and feels like the muddy banks of Mississippi river.  It is rumored that this delicate pie most likely originated in the U.S. State of Mississippi, hence the name. If anything said in ‘Our Fifty States’ is true, then the earliest confirmed mention of this legendary delicacy did come from Jenny Meyer, a waitress in Vicksburg, Mississippi. The melting frozen pie created by the Chef Percy Tolliver reminisced her of Mississippi mud that followed the great floods of 1927. Her remarks paved the way for christening this heavenly dish of Graham cracker crust, fudgey chocolate sauce, chocolate pudding, chocolate whipped cream and fluffy whipped cream; Baked Alaska! All in a sensational awesome blend of flavors, this recipe cares little or none for the waistlines. The gooey chocolate sauce sitting atop a crumbly chocolate crust and served with ice cream, ever screams indulgence and never has any mercy for potbellies!

With more than a dozen recipe variations, this pie nowadays comes with an Oreo cracker crust, a layer or three of chocolate pudding and a creamy topping of whipped cream, marshmallow fluff, or meringue. Honestly, I don’t think if it could get any better than this!

Doughnuts

“Who made the doughnut with the hole in the middle? Just how it got there will be always a riddle.” Guess why Cindy Hutchins – a celebrity singer of 20’s sounded so true to the convoluted past of the humble doughnut! The origin lay right there in the name, but was so easy to miss.

It is true that this meek recipe with a weird past, involved Dutch immigrants, Russian exiles, and French bakers and who else; celebs like Irving Berlin and Clark Gable!

Seemingly typical American in origin, doughnuts have been around so long that even the archaeologists have been prompted to rummage the history of Native American settlements. Fast forward to mid-19th century and you may come across Elizabeth Gregory, mother of New England ship’s captain Hanson Gregory, who dreamed of and created the first doughnut as a deep fried dough that used her son’s cargo of nutmeg and cinnamon and a bit of lemon rind. Some say she did this purposely so that her son and the crew could store the pastry for long voyages; one that would ward off scurvy and cold as well. She had put hazelnuts and walnuts in the center as an afterthought and in a literal-minded way called them doughnuts.

Few argue that it were the Dutch settlers who brought the olykoeks or “oily cakes”—to New Amsterdam or New York City of today sometimes in the 1800s. But few also credited Hanson Gregory, the captain for jabbing a hole in the middle of the pastry that created the first ever real doughnut meeting the ‘mortal eyes’. Cynics think otherwise and maintain that he did this to stint on ingredients or maybe he thought that the hole made it lot easier to digest!

You would agree that less is always more, but doughnut didn’t come to fore until World War I, when it was first fed to the French trenches in million. War over, and back home the natural yen for doughnuts invaded the supermarkets and home kitchens alike. But it was not until 1920 that Adolph Levitt -a Russian refugee’s doughnut machine that signaled the arrival of doughnuts as a gainful trade. Till then it was merely a taste sensation and a public spectacle. And it’s not so difficult to know why!

For generations people had stood behind those glass windows transfixed to shiny conveyor belts and racks filled with fresh glazed doughnuts, often half swooning at the warmth and sweet vanilla richness of it all and learning in the process that the hole is made and not cut out.  There right before their eyes, the dough, shaped like a perfect smoke ring, jumped  off into a vat of boiling oil, got turned over to brown on the other side, and came out from the oil on a moving ramp, one by one like ducks in a row.

Wars worked like a powerful stimulant that pushed the doughnut consumption. From Doughnut Dollies (the Red Cross women volunteers)to Irving Berlin to Smithsonian’s; by late 1950s, everybody had romanticized the doughnuts into a frenzy. Nobody was minding eating his or her way through some anxious waiting moments! Consumption figures though drew the ire of nutritionists.

Generally deplored and not encouraged by the waist watchers, the 300 calorie batter, derided mainly for its sugar and fat contents, bemoans the unsaturated fats of the glazed delight. But neither the science nor the culinary geniuses scoff at it or cry-wolf to its utter addicts. The Krispy Kreme‘s hot “original glazed” doughnut safely adverted as “angelic” or even “sugar-coated air” remains a top pick cheat food to stay stoked and ecstatic to this day!

Lady Baltimore cake

A specialty and a favorite wedding cake, this mountainous white cake topped with a “Seven Minute Frosting “is what makes it so distinctive. The combination of chopped nuts and dried or candied fruits in its frosting make this cake very unique and render it complex flavors.

Image source: ‘Lavender Lady Baltimore cake for Evelyn’ by Jennifer Teismann in flickr.com on April 21, 2010,

Culinarians and critics are unable to find any recorded mention or recipe for the Lady Baltimore Cake except that it was in 1906 that it first appeared in newspaper articles. So, who actually invented or first made this cake is a matter of dispute. Some say that Owen Wister (1860-1938), a popular romance novelist had modeled the central character Lady Baltimore-after one of the city’s former belles, Alicia Rhett Mayberry in his story line.  In the novel, Lady Baltimore created a cake also called “Lady Baltimore.” It is rumored that Wister’s description of the cake sent readers of his novel scrambling to find a recipe that was yet to be created.

Few chroniclers claim that it were the Florence and Nina Ottelengui, the longtime managers of  Charleston’s Lady Baltimore Tea Room for a quarter of a century, who had created a cake toward the end of the 19th century which was somewhat akin to common “Queen Cake” of that period.

And if Janet Clarkson of ‘The Old Foodie’ blog is to be believed, the first recipe surfaced in December 24th 1906 edition of the Daily Gazette and Bulletin newspaper of Williamsport, Pennsylvania. This classic delight created with white cake layers and a fruity and toasted nut filling of figs, raisins, pecans or walnuts and crowned with boiled marshmallow icing turns out as a much lauded southern belle cake of the early 20th century. Of course, the Lady Baltimore cake apparently had nothing to do with the city of Baltimore or a lady for that matter. From most accounts, its origin is a teaser.

Delicate and light in texture, this pillowy white cake enhanced by the syrupy sweetness of dates and raisins, is an anytime ethereal finish to your meal!

Lemon chiffon cake

Light and airy-thanks to the many beaten egg whites that are folded into the batter-the chiffon cake was invented by a Californian insurance agent turned caterer Harry Baker. Lighter than a buttery pound cake and moister than a sponge cake, the cake was an absolute hit overnight, but the recipe could gain some acceptance some 20 years later, only after it was sold to General Mills. A closely guarded recipe, the cake in the meantime kept on doing rounds in the Hollywood feasts and probably for Brown Derby in L.A.

Fast forward to 1947! once the beans got spilled, Betty Crocker shared it as a signature dessert in a pamphlet in 1948 along with 14 recipes and variations to it. Rest is just history!

Image source: ‘Lemon Chiffon Cake’ by Foodie Photography in foodiephotography.photoshelter.com.

Lower in saturated fat than most butter cakes, the light texture of the lemon chiffon cake comes primarily from beaten egg whites, which are folded into the batter and give it a high rise similar to that of an angel food cake. Tall with an airy, even crumb that promises every bite to be light and fluffy, this cake may not have multiple layers or snowy frosting, but never falls short as a crowd –pleaser either! Blissfully overwhelming and always a top pick, the cake is an inescapable addition to your repertoire for cake-bakes!

Chess pie

The name sounds a bit weird! But this pie certainly has nothing to do with the game of chess. Unlike the heady game, this pie is a simple but magical blend of butter, lots of sugar, milk, cornmeal, eggs and a dash of vinegar.

Little is known about its origin but most believe that the recipe descended from early English settlers in the Virginia colony. A recipe similar to it is found in the cook book by Martha Washington from mid-18th century. Few however disagree and claim that this could be a deviation of ‘cheese pie’ that is similar in texture to British cheesecake and lemon curd. Yet another belief is that it was named after the town of Chester, England or perhaps it drew its label after the pie chest’– a piece of furniture prior to advent of freezers in which the pies could be stored.

Plenty of guesses and a bit of folklore, but the origin of the name chess pie to this day is uncertain. The close one is, that since it resembled much to the English lemon curd pie, ‘chess ‘might have been a more ‘Americanized’ inflection of the word “cheese,” which basically meant curd pie.

A cheese-less cheesecake with variations ranging from lemon to chocolate to buttermilk and nuts to Coconut and orange; this exalted recipe has time travelled from the period when pecans and other nuts were hard to come by and a sugar pie merely meant combining eggs, sugar, flour or cornmeal and butter. With unrivalled storage qualities, this pie was one dessert that was crazily endeared even by the queens and bishops and knights alike.

To this day, this pantry staple classic made out of basic pantry ingredients is an up-the-sleeve surprise serve to friends and family alike!

Perhaps this all is a bit crazy or a little dreamy, but if sweet buns and cakes and those frosted pies could talk — tell us their real story — well, let’s just say, who wouldn’t want to listen? They may not be screaming yet but their story is screaming out to be told. So when they do talk someday, let’s listen…

Or at least, may be marvel at their awesome tale for now!

Even as more, stranger-than -fiction sobfest stories await to be heard!!

15 potluck worthy dream desserts that will make you quit calorie counting!

From warm, moist and cinnamon flavored waffles topped with Nutella or Belgian pearl sugar to soft and spongy, melt in the mouth gulab jamun… is there anything better?

Like everybody else, a warm lazy day to me means hanging out and lots of outdoor eating. Guess I might find it easy to throw in a few sandwiches together or fire up the grill or dream of juicy BBQ meats and grilled veggies at tabletop spreads, but like everybody says, the best part of a meal comes at the end!

This is when the sweet tooth begins to throb! It’s time to break out tubs of chilly homemade ice cream or indulgent cakes layered with fresh seasonal fruit!  But more lip smacking options are equally tempting!!! From delicious green tomato pie and flavorful strawberry shortcakes that would look gorgeous on any table, to an icebox cake, a fruit-filled pie or even jello with toppings of fresh fruits like strawberries, cherries and peaches, all would seemingly make any backyard BBQ feel timeless. Abundance of choice is bewildering.

A classic comfort food always brings a delicious end to every meal. If you ever get stuck up with options for something sugary yet healthy, don’t despair! There are several taste easy and quick desserts to slake your sugar rush. Cool, innovative and plumb delightful, these fat-easy guilt free cakes, shakes, ice-creams, sorbet or waffles are so utterly delicious that you wouldn’t even know they were healthy if not told!

But should you be quitting calorie tracking before indulging? Is sugary binge so frightening after all? We all know it’s not sustainable long term but for waist watchers every bite matters! Let’s find out if this food freedom talk is anything but a weary prop!

If only you could ace binging: Easy and healthy!!

How would you know if your occasional overindulgence is not a serious binging issue? It’s likely that you may find isolated runs as normal but binge eating is something that needs to be watched over. More than food, it’s your changing mindset that could make you ditch your diet plans.

Of course, all of us are mindful enough to listen to our bodies and recognize when it is enough. Keep tabs though. It helps; but everything about it is simply exhausting. Stop or miss it even for a day and the scales become alive and threaten!

Eventually your ability to trust yourself turns punishing enough and would push you to eat much. This is when you need to stop. Don’t let counting calories turn into an obsession. Learn to live with yourself. Usually the weight that you eye or envy is always thinner than what your body wants to be. Besides, if you don’t binge with so many trigger foods around you and keep tracking calories, then it’s not worth it. It’s neither healthy for your body nor your mind. So, just let the fun happen. Life is just too short to miss it. 

And desserts are desserts!! It’s never over till you have sunk your teeth in some ‘Butter dainties’ or that timeless classic Tiramisu or a deliciously inventive and iconic Kheer, or that unforgettable fresh and thirst-quenching Lemon semifreddo.’ Social eating or not, these delectable summery treats would make anybody happy. You just cannot go wrong with these simple heavenly delights.

Tiramisu

Feature credits: ‘ Tiramisu Cake’ by Nino’s home in youtube.com on Oct.17, 2020.

Literally meaning “cheer me up” or “pull me up,” tiramisu is a timeless classic no-bake coffee flavored patisserie that has sponge cake ladyfingers soaked in coffee and liqueur and the mascarpone cream layer. Lady Fingers are essentially sponge cake batter piped into strips then baked and dried into biscuits. Also known as “savoiardi” these absorb the syrup well without getting soggy. Absolutely perfect for a dessert plate!

Mascarpone is essentially the Italian version of whipped cream cheese, stabilized with lemon juice or citric acid.  Smooth in consistency and mildly flavored, this cheese though has twice as much fat as cream cheese.

Blending the bold flavors of cocoa and espresso with savory mascarpone cheese and wine and layered with ladyfinger biscuits, this dessert is a lavish display of forgiving ingredients and unforgettable flavor combinations.

Try it for once and much the same way like English trifle, you may not wait for another time to dig in this treat again!

Blackberry cheesecake

Image source: ‘Vegan, No bake Blackberry Cheesecake’ by Eva in thehealthytart.com

Blackberry cheesecake is essentially a creamy vanilla cheesecake with a hint of lemon in it. With swirls of fresh blackberry sauce, it is baked on golden Oreo cookie crust. The baked cheesecake makes for a perfectly healthy dessert because of its star ingredient- the blackberry. Low on carbs, the sweet blackberry sauce topping paired with the rich cheesecake filling takes the flavors beyond delicious! Still looking for a twist!

Just swirl the luscious blackberry sauce and add crunch with a scattering of honeycomb. Or simply try with fresh blackberries and clotted cream.

There are so many versions of blackberry cheesecake. Crust comes topped with syrupy blackberries before filling is poured. Blackberries are baked right into the filling itself. A strained blackberry puree ‘is added to the filling to create a beautiful purple masterpiece.  Swirls of blackberry puree make lovely designs on the top of the cake and turns this treat irresistible.  Even the no-bake version with a crunchy biscuit base all covered in a delicate cheese cream and garnished with sweet and fresh blackberries will get you hooked to this delight. The ploy to keep you buried in this delight is simply awesome and thick!

 Lemon semifreddo

Image source: ‘Lemon and yogurt semi freddo’ in realfood.tesco.com.

If you’re looking for a fresh, thirst quenching dessert, this fragrant and delicate yet simple Italian inspired dessert is the perfect sweet treat for you.

Semifreddo is an Italian word meaning “half cold.” Light and airy with a texture of  mousse, this frozen layered terrine is an ideal dessert that is so easy to pull out, slice, and serve. Traditionally made by heating sugar to 248 degrees F. (this is when the sugar turns firm and flexible), then whisked into egg and finally folding the egg white mixture into whipped cream, semifreddo could also be made by using the French meringue method of simply whisking sugar into egg whites. Both inspire the same goodness.

Want to try something that comes with a twist! Light chewy meringue, crumbled into luscious whipped cream, lemon curd and Greek yogurt is a classic dish amongst the semi frozen desserts. Laced with a drizzle of honey and few fresh berries, this lush creamyhungry for more’ eat has an intensely lemony flavor and is super refreshing.

And don’t confuse it with ice cream. They are similar but different too! Ice cream is frozen first and then air is pushed in, whereas semifreddo is whisked first and then frozen which makes it feel like half frozen.

Matcha Green Tea Frozen Yogurt

It’s the frozen yogurt that shines better than ice cream and sorbet! The Matcha Green Tea Frozen Yogurt is stuffed with antioxidants and protein, made only with natural ingredients, is vegan and claims a modest 277 kcal for each serve (half cup). Packed with irresistible flavors, this exotic super food is a sure way to keep your days supercharged!

Matcha is the fine grounded tea leaves that speeds up your metabolism. The tea’s natural buzz makes this frozen dessert a natural energy booster. Heavy on green tea flavor, the vanilla vodka is optional if you want it to be soft and velvety. An awesome healthy alternative to ice-cream, you can devour it as flavored yoghurt too! Try honey vanilla flavored yogurt if you prefer mild.

Gelato

Image source: ‘The Easiest Homemade Strawberry Gelato ‘ by Gemma Stafford in biggerbolderbaking.com on Jun. 11, 2020.

Walk around any upscale business district and you’re bound to pass faces buried deep in creamy, frozen desserts, unaware that when it comes to eating healthy, it’s better to skip dessert or may be reserve a slice of Banana Split for cheat days. But probably everybody seems to have found out which dessert works best for them. Lower calorie ice creams and frozen yogurt treats like gelato have run rogue and are hot favorites now.

Although it is difficult to tell the difference from a distance, both ice cream and it’s more densely flavored cousin- Gelato, are quite distinct. Made with a base of 3.25% whole milk and sugar, gelato has fewer calories, less sugar and lower fat content per serving than ice cream. A typical 3.5 oz. serving of vanilla gelato contains 90 calories and 3 grams of fat, compared to 125 calories and 7 grams of fat in vanilla ice cream. Much silkier and less denser than ice cream, gelato comes in an array of flavors that include raspberry, pistachio, rum, and chocolate usually packing flavors from natural sources.

So, should you be breaking out your spoons now? Not so fast! gelato has a much lower fat content of around 4–9% but packs more sugar than ice cream  and often use of  real fruit or fruit juice increases the carbs . Since it is a fairly dense, calories stack up fast. Be wary! portion control is a must if you’re on a crash diet and yet want to dig in! Low fat ice cream could soothe your cravings but if you are a fan of flavors, a small serve of gelato is just great. It won’t wreck your diet plans and Probiotics in yogurt will have some pay-offs for your health too.

Belgian waffle

Alone and have a sudden rush for dessert!  Try Belgian waffle or better still a Nutella waffle. This deep pocket sugary treat is simply delicious!! Coming straight out of Belgian street food fame books, this buttery treat tastes best when eaten warm and topped with powdered sugar or Nutella.  Crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, Belgian waffles are reckoned a brunch superstar.  Cooked in a hot griddle with a grid pattern, the original Belgian version has bigger and deeper pockets than the regular ones which are a wee bit smaller in size. Sometimes the only difference between different types of waffles is the number of squares pressed. Light and fluffy, the authentic Liege waffles are made with dough and include bits of caramelized Belgian pearl sugar. Try them with maple syrup or fruit and be shocked with a delicious tsunami of flavors.

Gulab Jamun

Image source: ‘Gulab Jamun Recipe’ by TNN in recipes.timesofindia.com on Jun.2, 2021.

While some of you might not want to change their lifestyle or say ‘Yes’ to clean eating fearing it would mean giving up your favorite foods; desserts make things even harder.

Saying goodbye to your favorite foods has never been so easy. And I have to say, it definitely is not a small compromise. Fortunately you need not always be into fray to eat healthy. All you should do is opt for real, whole ingredients and adjust your favorite portions a little bit not to go overboard. And this definitely applies to desserts that quickly add up the calories. But then there are a few exceptions that are deliciously healthified.

Soft and spongy, gulab jamun is one such melt in the mouth desert made from milk solids that are reduced to the consistency of soft dough. Shaped into small balls, fried and then dunked in delicately flavored sugar syrup mixed with cardamom and rose water, it is a lip smacking insight to flavors of traditional Indian desserts, every time you dig in. Be wary though of how much of it you can polish off. Flavors do not betray calories!

Garnished with nuts such as almonds and served hot, each ball of gulab jamun contains about 125 calories. Of this carbs are 90 calories, proteins about 9 and remaining 25 calories come from fat. In fact each serve of 2 pieces provides about 6 % of daily calorie requirement of a standard adult diet of 2000 calories. So watch out for this silky sweet  dessert before it makes a kill of your diet plan !!

Lamington

Image source: ‘Lamington Cake’ by Kristina Vanni in thespruceeats.com on Sep.29, 2020.

An ode to classic Aussie cooking, these dessert squares consist of butter cake or yellow sponge cake coated in chocolate sauce and then rolled into coconut flakes. The thin mixture when absorbed into the outside of the sponge cake and left to set, gives the dessert a distinctive texture. Cut into small squares, this white cake delicacy is dipped in a sweet chocolate frosting and then dunked in dried coconut flakes. It would often remind you of a chocolate and coconut covered cake doughnut that has been crafted into a delightful masterpiece. Even its namesake Lord Lamington -Governor of Queensland from 1896 – 190l, would have been at his wits end had he foreseen how popular these dessert bites were to become.

Kheer (Indian rice pudding)

Image source: ‘Rice Kheer | Indian Rice Pudding (6 ingredients, gluten-free)’ in honeywahtscooking.com on Oct. 19, 2020.

The sweet and creamy cardamom scented Indian rice pudding often served as delicious side dish or dessert – hot or cold, owes its richness to a thick and creamy base of whole milk that has been reduced to half during the preparation of this decadent treat. 

Kheer, also called Rice payasam, is one peculiar dessert that traces back its history to many different cultures. Mexicans have Arroz con Leche, Lebanese call it Moghli, and the Greeks have come out with a similar dish, rizogalo. The English have their own version of this dish and call it porridge

So flavorful and yummy, the rice pudding first originated during Tudor period in United Kingdom with the recipe first documented in 1615. Variations over the period and regions however all agree on key ingredients rice, milk, cream, and sugar though differ in flavoring and techniques involved.

Rice pudding is at best one of the most underrated desserts. So, how it is made insanely irresistible? The secret is combining it with chia pudding, a staple that’s good for gut and is filled with healthy fats and proteins. Here it makes the rice pudding give you a stick-to-your-ribs satisfaction without being at all heavy. The mix of rose, pistachio, and cardamom add the rich yummy flavor combinations.

Fresh Pumpkin Ice Cream

Image source: ‘Pumpkin Ice Cream’ by Makinze Gore in delish.com on Sep. 11, 2019.

Whoever said low-calorie desserts are not as good as regular ones, has probably never tried fresh pumpkin ice cream. Full of warm pumpkin flavors and just the right amount of richness, this one could be your pick of a spot-on creamy, sweet and delicious dessert. It’s amazing how a cup of canned unsweetened pumpkin puree’ with all the toasty flavors of pumpkin pie in a chilly ice cream, could turn into a perfect fall themed clean-eating dessert with prep time of 15 minutes only.

Vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free, this is the dream ice cream for all the pumpkin spice fans. With 158 kcal per serve (125 gms),  this ice cream needs little garnishing though a grating of cinnamon stick would make a smart gig and add a bit more of spicy oomph. Drizzle of pumpkin shake with milk, maple syrup and bourbon and toppings of warm butter-pecan sauce or candied pepitas (pumpkin seeds) add some zest to the dish. So dig into a scoop of pancakes or waffles topped with this mushy ice cream and swoon over a decadent brunch! 

Peach Ice Cream

Peach Ice Cream is one summertime classic after eat, that has so often bowled over even the most impassioned food critique. Rich, creamy and so luscious, the peaches make it take on a deeper, richer flavor and become even sweeter. Roasted and cooled down before being added to the mix makes it easier to eat pieces of peach in the ice cream.

Yet another variant has maple syrup blended in to deepen the flavor. This actually enhances the flavor of peaches without tasting like if maple syrup has been added to it. Coming together in a matter of minutes without spending a lot of time prepping it, this vegan, gluten free goes easy with the calories at 87 kcal per serve.

 Lemon Blueberry Sorbet

Image source: ‘Blueberry Sorbet’ by Elise Bauer in simplyrecipes.com on Feb. 10, 2021.

Try this super easy, low-sugar, and perfect Lemon Blueberry Sorbet to muzzle your sweet craving. A delightful treat with great fruity taste minus the extra calories and refined sugars, this blend of wild Maine blueberries, lemon juice, zest and water, turn the sorbet into a wrap up of refreshing, light, any time dessert for health freaks. If you want a dessert option with still lesser calories than 98 kcals standard, try the one with a drizzle of honey. Lemons on the other hand add a bit of tartness and complete the whole flavor profile.

And for all we know, blueberries do wonders to our health. So, all you need is to grab a spoon and dig in!

Raspberry Sorbet

Image source: ‘Raspberry Sorbet’ in bhg.com.

Raspberry sorbet is a great option when you crave for a dessert but have no appetite for processed sugars and fats in traditional desserts. Made with raw honey, raspberries, lemon juice and water, this sorbet is one light, refreshing frozen treat that makes for one of the best easy healthy dessert.

Raw honey for added sweetness or lemon juice for a little pop of flavor  add punch to this fruity upgraded version of a fruit snack. And using good, fresh raspberries full of pectin make all the difference! A great choice, this fruit makes for a yummy, creamy, and almost ice-cream like delightful sorbet. 

Chocolate Banana Ice Cream

Feature credits: ‘Healthy 3 Ingredient Chocolate Banana Ice Cream’ by The Endless Meal in youtube.com on July 07, 2018.

Do you ever want a sweet treat but couldn’t without feeling guilty about eating it? This chocolate banana ice cream is just what could be the right choice for you. When it comes to healthy dessert options, I don’t think it gets any easier than this chocolate banana ice cream. Outrageously flavorful, this in fact is not really an ice cream; it’s a faux ice cream. With 2 simple ingredients and 110 kcals for 2 serves (0.5 cup each), this ice cream is definitely a health dream. The consistency is very similar to ice cream but it doesn’t contain dairy or sugar. When ripe frozen bananas and cocoa powder are blitzed together until smooth, you get to taste a creamy, guilt-free, scrumptious frozen treat. Besides, it’s gluten-free and vegan!

Raspberry Lemon Chia Cheesecake

Feature credits: ‘Raspberry cheesecake’ by Thy Than in youtube.com on May 07, 2021.

Just because you are in a healthy lifestyle or a cleansing detox doesn’t mean that you have to let go the desserts form your daily eats. Merely be a little wiser in your choices and there is no dearth of ways to slake your sugar rush without harming your health goals.

Besides, the good news is that are a host of dessert options that are healthy. You might say that what is healthy need not necessarily be good in taste and healthy ones usually do not taste as good as the unhealthy ones. But for once, I beg to differ. A bite of this nutritious scrumptious cheesecake will make you think twice.

With a nut-date base, cashew and coconut milk filling and raspberry chia jam topping, this dessert is your perfect rescue for healthy eating. And need you be reminded of how chia does wonders to our health? Pick this dessert when you crave for something sweet and you are good to go. Trust me; you won’t get overdosed with sugar either!

Feature credits:’20 best desserts around the world’ by the crazy trips in youtube.com on Jun.20,2019.

While it’s amazing no matter where you have it, desserts differ from country to country. Some are light and fruity, some rich and chocolaty. From Japan’s mochi to Poland’s poppy seed rolls, each has the punch to muzzle any sweet tooth.

Let’s face it—sooner or later you too could be hit with that craving for something sweet.  So, take a moment here to wax some admiration for those simple healthy desserts where sugar does not make the overkill!

It may be difficult to find a perfect classic dessert for your fancied sweet blast, but these ones are pretty close. Few are though served drizzled with sugar, honey or maple syrup, often dunked in chocolate sauce or where even yogurt is rather set aflame with vanilla vodka. If you find them deep on calories, you might want to be careful to have your pick and get it served with a whirl.

Whatever…get your back with a few of these jaw dropping healthilicious desserts to slake your sugar rush and spare yourself a knock -over in Jacob’s feast!

SWEET, NATURAL AND SINFULLY DELICIOUS – TRY THESE 12 SUPERFOOD DESSERTS FOR YOUR PEEPS THIS SUMMER!!

Creamy, gooey,  sticky and sweet desserts   with little or no milk, cream, butter or eggs? Sounds nightmarish for dessert lovers, right? But you couldn’t be more deceived! Decadent and simply delicious, these super food delights could be made without a hint of an animal product. Sparse in calories and dense in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, these foods have the punch to lift your mood besides lowering your cholesterol and reducing the risk of cardiac diseases and a host of health hazards.

New and improved lifestyle and eating habits have seen traditional desert favorites change into more appropriate versions. It is now possible for you to have your cake and eat it too”. These healthy desserts are here not only to satisfy a sweet tooth, but also be a energy packed fuel source to help you ride through the day.

Here are 12 top of the chart super food desserts that you can indulge in guilt-free.

Coconut Aquafaba Macaroons

Image source: ‘Simple Coconut Macaroons’ by Joyce Gan in onegreenplanet.org.

When you can’t throw-in some aged Parmesan or thick creamy burrata on any old traditional desert for an instant flavor enhancement, it’s time to get creative and think differently.

Of course, when it comes to decadent desserts, egg, cream and butter seem to make appearances all too often but would you believe that even a vegan dessert like cute looking coconut aquafaba macaroons, completely plant based, healthy, and high in protein could be just as flavorful and healthy? Aquafaba is the viscous water in which legume seeds such as chickpeas have been cooked. Due to its ability to mimic functional properties of egg whites, aquafaba is used as an egg  substitute in this vegan dish. To make these vegan macaroons, you need unsweetened, finely shredded coconut.  You want to reign in the sugar rememeber !! and finely shredded coconut  to hold together in whipped aquafaba. which works best with no more than two and a half minutes of beating when it starts to get foamy with stiff peaks.

Made without eggs, condensed milk, or any type of dairy, macaroons are a tasty treats and a visual delight. All the coconut provides healthy fats, which is good for hormone balance, skin, and energy levels. With base made of unsweetened shredded coconut, almond flour, Himalayan sea salt and pure maple syrup or coconut nectar, coconut oil and vanilla extract pitch in to take your bagel game to next level of flavors.

Strawberry & lime cheesecake

One of the most luxurious and delicious cheesecake, this cheesecake is packed with berries and super foods that are a warehouse of nutritional benefits.

Made with fresh strawberries in the summer when they’re in season, and frozen strawberries in the winter, this dessert is  light, fruity not too sweet either. You can pair it with strawberry sauce, chocolate, coconut, or pretty much any other fruit. A chocolate drizzle could be just as perfect for any occasion.  A fruity, dense creamy delight, you could indulge in this tangy lime accent dessert, where its weird sourness won’t let you turn away.

Shortly before serving, spread a little bit of whipped cheese cream on top if you couldn’t do without that silky delicate smoothness and decorate with the  strawberries. Sprinkle a bit of grounded cinnamon on top and serve with the raspberry coulis and you will stop frowning! It’s so light and refreshing.

Berry & Cashew Cream Dessert “Pizza”

Pizza for  dessert? Weird but you heard it correctly. Indulge your sweet tooth with this delicious, healthy dessert “pizza”. The fresh berries, hearty whole grains, and savory coconut make it a unique vegan dessert option that is full of so many nutrients to fuel your body. Layers of maple-cashew cream, toasted nuts and fruits make it the ultimate health dessert that has tones of awesome textures and sweet berry flavor full of frozen goodness. Try it for one of those summer barbecue parties and its sure will be a hot favorite to spice up the bash.

Yep! This tasty, healthy food packed with berry goodness, also happens to be vegan and packs in plenty of proteins from cashews, almond butter, and hemp hearts.

Grasshopper Pie

Image source: ‘Grasshopper Pie’ by Kristina Vanni in thespruceeats.com on 28/04/2020

This incredibly easy no bake dessert is packed with nutrition and is an indulgent treat that tastes more like a thin mint cookie in frozen pie form!

It’s super easy to make and boasts of a fudgy crust with a light-as-air minty cream filling which is fluffy with a  super fresh minty taste that’s not so overwhelming either!! Pair it with chocolate if you find the flavors too subtle and want that extra tartness to bring a zing of flavors- like in those addictive cookies.

And that gorgeous pastel green color is no food coloring but pops out of that super food protein medley! The protein powder is all organic, non-gmo, vegan and  gluten free. It  contains all the essential amino acids,18 grams of complete protein in every serving to be exact! Not to mention all the fiber, vitamins, minerals, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants each serving carries.

Try a few spoonful of the mint cream straight to your mouth before you even get around to pouring it on the crust. You could be practically drinking the stuff!!

Blackberry Poppy Seed Crumb Cake

Image source: ‘Vegan blackberry poppy seed crumb cake’ by Ve eat Cook Bake in pinterest.ch.

If you love crumbles, try this healthy version of a classic crumb cake with a wholegrain shortbread made from spelt (hulled wheat), nut butter, poppy-seed filling, fresh and sweet blackberries and laced with cinnamon. You’d love this because it’s forgiving and you could use a mixed bag of fruits to add zest to the dessert your way; even summer stone fruits like sliced peaches, plums or cherries could perk it up.

With a buttery crunchy topping, juicy veneer of strawberries, blueberries and blackberries and a soft airy inside, this crumb cake looks stunning and it’s super easy to make!

Chocolate Brownie Dessert Hummus

Dessert hummus is a blissful way to muzzle your sweet tooth. Loaded with nutrients, naturally sweetened and totally guilt-free, this healthy chocolate hummus tastes surprisingly like actual brownie batter.

The recipe works great as a dessert hummus platter with fresh fruit like strawberries, bananas, sliced apples, and raspberries. You can also spread it on pancakes, use it as a frosting for cake or vegan brownies, mix it into overnight oats or chia pudding or eat it straight from the bowl. The main ingredient in this brownie batter hummus is beans, and you could even try black beans, cannellini beans, hummus chickpeas or garbanzo beans. This is one of those deserts that could bowl you over with its tang of flavors.

Petha

Image source: ‘Delicious food of Raipur’ by Aarushi S. in budgetindianvacations.wordpress.com.

Petha is made by cooking winter melon (also known by the less appetizing name of “ash gourd”) in sugary syrup. Eaten as is or dipped in yet more sugar syrup, this delectable treat is made with winter melon and comes in different flavors and with unique add-ons, too. Discover the delicate flavors and natural freshness that comes packed in this confection flavored with pistachio, coconut, mango, or even laced with silky saffron. Winter melon is slated to have several health benefits, including easing off acidity and digestion issues. This soft fruity desert looks like dollop of crystal and is as pretty as it is sumptuous.

Ela Ada

Image source: ‘Ela Ada’ in myfoodmill. in on Oct. 4, 2018.

This is a snack that originated in the Indian state of Kerala and is quite popular as an authentic traditional delicacy made with rice flour, jaggery and coconut. It can be served for morning breakfast or even for evening snack with a cup of tea or coffee if you are an avid foodie and love sugary treats .Grated coconut and jaggery are nestled inside rice flour dough before being steamed inside a banana leaf wrap. It looks deceptively simple, but the banana leaf wrap adds another dash of taste to the little dumpling. Lightly sweet with a distinct fragrance, this is one perfect vegan dessert to cap off a rich nosh.

Banana & Chocolate Bread

Image source: ‘Eggless Banana Walnut Chocolate Chip Loaf . Simple & delicious ‘ by Deba @PAB in passionateaboutbaking.com on Ap.29, 2019.

For those days when you crave for desserts but pull back for you are watching your weight as well, this all-time favourite cake made with ripe bananas & chocolate is your best bet. This dessert is an ideal eat on a day when all is not well or on a day you’re craving for comfort dessert! And, above all, it’s vegan and tastes just as good as a regular dessert. Combining the sweet flavor of ripe bananas with chocolate or cocoa powder, this dessert is very similar to walnut flavored banana bread. You could serve this dessert with a choice of frosting, but could also share it as a snack over a cup of tea or coffee.

Cinnamon Roll

Image source: ‘Cinnamon Rolls’ in bakefromscratch.com.

These pillowy soft and luscious homemade cinnamon rolls topped with a perfect cream cheese glaze are the quintessential deserts treat and so easy to make! A  delicious tasting cinnamon roll pairs in  raw nut and seed flours with  cinnamon spiced puréed figs and raisins- all pitched in. Roll up a batch or two and store them as a premade dessert in your freezer. They are so easy to slice when frozen and can then be dehydrated for a warmed “baked-like” texture.

Feature credits: kitchenstories.com

Always making for a perfect hit, this delight of a dish can lift a bleh day and carry it to a delicious end. So fragrant and not at all dry or crumby these cream cheese glazed rolls are simply delicious and make for an unforgettable flavor punch.

Coconut Cream Pie

Image source: ‘Coconut Cream Pie. The old fashioned way!’ by Barry C. Parsons in rockrecipes.com on Nov. 17, 2007.

A super food dessert version of the conventional coconut cream pie, this vegan recipe skips the cooking process and leaves out the eggs, milk, butter and cream too. Instead of dairy, rich almond milk and young coconut meat lend the dessert a cream pie-like consistency and is a perfect delight for those with big eyes for sugary treats when used with chia, coconut oil, cacao butter and Irish moss. In fact, this classic dessert is a hot favorite among those who love the earthy flavors. Coconut in the pastry cream filling gives it a refreshing burst of flavors. If you love treats with flaky crusts, thick and creamy fillings and a fluffy whipped cream topping then this pie is just for you!

Banana Cream Pie Parfaits

This vegan banana cream pie parfait is made with a buttery cracker and sweet coconut “crust”, layered with fresh bananas, homemade coconut pudding, and a dollop of whipped cream. Scrumptious, natural and low on sugar, this is one creamy dessert that you’d want to miss! You could top up your parfait with plenty of chocolate shavings for truly delicious afters. Simple and easy to make, this sweet, goodness loaded treat is any time delight especially during the spring and summer, when you’re looking for a yummy chilled dessert.

Feature credits: kitchenstories.com.

It’s never enough!!

The taste of sweetness is a completely natural inclination and reminiscent of our innate longing for gooiest, soppiest, mushiest and above all sugariest! While juicy ripe fruits could be our   first choice when reaching to quench this desire, there is no need to starve ourselves of sweetie delights that can spring a moment of happiness in our life. But then… there is always bias to abuse too much of a good thing. It would do some good if you could find a healthy balance between simple pleasures and excess, no matter how good sinking your teeth in a delicious dessert feels. All you need to remember; ‘too much of anything is bad and nothing works well if taken in excessive’. Going to extremes risks neck or nothing.

So, sit back after a hearty dinner, laze off and relish the magical sweetness of these delightful desserts – guilt free!!.

Looking for a good-for-me treat? Binge on these 12 delicious ‘cheat ‘foods and relish an ounce of goodness, guilt free!

For most of us cheat food‘ means ‘bad food‘ for it usually comes fat drenched, deep fried or oil soaked and with not so healthy breading that goes into its making. But that doesn’t mean that you can never have it. Enjoy it on days you plan to go easy with fat at other meals especially on one of those cheat days! Besides there are guilt free versions too that won’t play fiddle with your weight regimen.

For the most part, it is all about balance. Your nutritionist may confide; No matter what your fitness goals are, it’s not always a bad idea to indulge in good and rich food once in a while. May be this will encourage you to stay on your wellness track for long!”, And believe me, he couldn’t be more right! But simply switching to a burrito bowl from your regular deep pocketed meal and opting for rice and beans won’t do any good if you choose to keep the full fat sour cream and cheese intact. Instead this will turn into a nutrient dense ‘cheat’ and could leave you feeling the guilt over a nimble beef burger too.

It’s so easy to bite into myths and half truths about nutrition that in the end you are left with far fewer healthy choices than you would imagine. From fruit juices to canned veggies, from muffins to whole grain bread, it’s always easy-breezy to believe that we have chosen wisely and made healthier food choices than they really are. Sure, you may know which foods are healthy and which make a better sense when it comes to getting on with your day guilt free. But do you know which ones pack a powerful punch of more than one nutrient and is one of the healthiest feel fuller foods? Turning to those grab and go foods aren’t any good either. Real trick is to eat real food to stock up and yet be on track all the times.

Nonetheless, since filling foods with high fiber and high protein means fewer calories per gram, you can pile up your plate without packing on pounds and binging on healthy cheat foods on your cheat day could really keep you on the move!

Here are 12 such choices that have made to the top, to let you know what to stock up on. Eat to your fill without eating less. And remember, small changes do make a heap of difference.

Pan Cakes

Source: ‘Fluffy Pancakes’ in eggs.ca

Beginning your day with a hearty and healthy breakfast is all about a dish that’s packed with vitamins, and proteins. After all breakfast is a big deal. Eggs, fruits and whole wheat toasts are good choices but it’s easy for your nosh to go south if you prefer heartier options. Traditional pancakes with maple syrup butter and strawberries, crispy and delicious waffles or that fluffy French toast with egg, all add up to calories and carbohydrates fast, especially if you add more butter and syrup after preparation. Fattier breakfast meats are just as bad, unless you are a vegetarian and prefer vegan food. Since it’s an important meal, a few simple changes could make you less guilty about it.

Traditionally two pancakes and four pieces of bacon contain 480 calories, 26 grams of fat and 46 grams of carbohydrates. On the contrary whole wheat pancakes and turkey bacon in the same amounts carry 289 calories, 16 grams of fat and 24 grams of carbohydrates. So, begin your day on a healthier note once you have picked up on your restraint.

Black Bean Burgers

Image source: ‘ Best-Ever Black Bean Burgers’ by Lena Abraham in delish.com on Ap. 17, 2020.

There’s nothing wrong with having a burger every now and then, but what is important is meat you consume with it . Grass fed beef ranks lower in saturated fats and has almost 5 times more of omega-3 and higher contents of vitamin-A and E as compared to grain fed beef. Prefer to have a home-made burger or even a multigrain one will do. Mash boiled potatoes and shallow fry them in olive oil, add lots of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, cottage cheese, and even egg if you like. Your home-made happy meal with high nutritional value and moderate calories is ready. Add half a slice of cheese and a teaspoon of mayonnaise, and experience the flavors take a new turn.

Sweet Potato Fries

Image source: ‘Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries’ in tablespoon.com.

Eyeing fries means  junk food with a burger but when you think of it seriously, the dish adds up to potato slices that have been flash fried, are a bit higher on fat and calories but render carbs, fats, fiber and vitamins  as required for an overall healthy diet. The bottom line though is that if you choose proper cut fries, fried in lighter oils instead of fast food version, they won’ be as unhealthy as you’d think.

You may consider switching regular fries for sweet potato ones as a healthier option but the truth remains that when deep fried, both are equal in calories. One great way to cut the calories however, is to try baked or roasted version with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of paprika to pep up the flavors.

A burger and fries usually make up for a great brunch though alone they aren’t  great in taste but toppings like mayonnaise and lean meat kick the flavors once dipping sauce options pour in. To make it more wholesome, swap beef for turkey and you have already cutback to 269 calories, 11.7 gms. of fat , 20.3 gms. of carbs and 4 gms. of sugar for each helping. You could eat two of these and still be under McDonald version.

Tacos

Image source: ‘How to Make the Perfect Taco’ by John Surface in sweetkickinsalsa.com.

Tacos are delicious, but too many condiments and use of fatter cuts of meat, or deep fried battered fish turn it into a sinful chew. Grilling a white flaky fish like cod and seasoning it with herbs and spices, or lemon juice instead, would help you avoid thebad for you’ fats and render the dish into a guilt free healthy alternative. You could even swap the taco for a pita. Serving with a dark green leafy salad would add fiber to your meal. If you’re still apprehensive, just remember that it’s only the traditional drive-thru tacos that don’t do you any favors. Topped with sour cream and cheese, and sides like chips and nacho cheese, these are a diet disaster. But a lighter approach will give you the flavor you want without the extra calories, fat and carbs. And above all, it’s the meat alone that matters and there is nothing wrong with having tacos every now and then.

Nachos

Image source: ‘Beef Nachos Grande’ in unileverfoodsolutions.com.

Make no mistakes and get one thing straight right away; there’s no such thing as a zero-calorie food though fiber and water-rich veggies like cucumbers, carrots, zucchini, celery, broccoli, and cabbage come pretty close, for they come naturally very low in calories. Try 100% corn baked tortilla chips with a lean protein, low fat dairy and heaps of veggies  like peppers, olives, jalapenos, tomatoes, onions, refried beans. Top off your dish with guacamole, salsa, and cilantro and you have a delight on your plate that gives the satisfaction of chewing plus a full belly. Use the topping to bulk up your sandwiches or omelette if you have no tooth for raw veggies. 

Wild Salmon

Image source: ‘Grill, Poach, Broil, Roast: How to cook wild salmon ‘ in thechalkboardmag.com.

Chicken gets boring at times. And if this happens to be one such times, simply look around for a source of lean protein that comes with a fat-fighting advantage. Salmon is one such good choice which helps in weight loss by improving glucose sensitivity, reducing insulin resistance and inflammation and speed up the oxidation of fat. Pack more punch to the dish by having a pick of roasted vegetables like artichokes, spinach, or broccoli, served alongside which all provide at least 5 grams of fiber per serving. Above all, you don’t need a ton of it to feel satisfied; still don’t ignore the portion size!

Pepperoni Pizza

Image source: ‘Pepperoni Pizza’ in 360bistrobar.com.

Cheap, filling and easy to reach, this is one huge go-to cheat meal. What more it’s delivered right to your doorstep even in the middle of the night? And oh!! It’s so delicious. But be wary of the crust, for this breading could wreck your diet plan. Cheese and meat toppings too are guilty and so is the accompanying sauce. Getting thinner crust and less cheese works well though. Try for once and you will wonder how on earth could this unhealthiest of cheat meals come up with a nutritional value no less than other options? But trust me, that’s what you get when the crust in your pizza thins out to a true dietary good boy! A flat out simple pizza topped with turkey pepperoni, onions, mushrooms and peppers yields 328 calories, 13 grams of fat and 32 grams of carbohydrates.

Spaghetti and meatballs

Image source: ‘Spaghetti and Meatballs’ by Betty Crocket Kitchens in in bettycrocker.com on Dec. 19, 2017.

This dish is as close to traditional Italian cuisine as it could ever get though unfortunately, tradition comes at a price of high calories and carbohydrates. Choosing a healthier option like vegetable pasta and turkey meatballs however, could scale back the worrying numbers and would allow you to enjoy your meal and not feel bad about it later. Just be mindful of the portion size for each serving of zucchini noodle pasta with turkey meatballs enriches you with no less than 440 calories, 15 grams of fat and 42 grams of carbohydrates. Cutting everything even by half will make a huge difference, and you won’t be deprived of flavors in the process.

Macaroni & Cheese

Image source: How to Create Your Own Signature Mac and Cheese’ by Sarina Petrocelly in ourcommunitynow.com on JUn.11, 2020.

If you do not intend to dine out even after a hectic work day or simply want to laze around at home on a wintry afternoon, macaroni and cheese is one good dependable choice that could lift your spirits. What more, you will be doing your entire body a great favor by doing nothing for once!

Typically made with a lot of milk, butter and artificial ingredients, you have already sacrificed a lot for the sake of noodles and cheese. Just be mindful of how much more dairy you add. And remember, this time you are not making any vegetable pasta! Still anxious! try a baked version for you get more for less without sacrificing flavors. One serving of baked macaroni and cheese has 297 calories, 9.7 grams of fat and 34.5 grams of carbohydrates.

Fried Rice & Egg Rolls

Image source: ‘How To Make Egg Roll Fried Rice’ in allasiarecipes.com.

One of initial fears in pursuing a plant-based lifestyle is that most of us find it difficult to give up the foods that we have enjoyed all our lives. But reality is so different! You enjoy more by recreating ethnic cuisines than dining out.

So, for once put your foot down and step out of the box. You could start by tackling fried rice and tofu eggrolls. Sautéed diced tofu in canola oil until light brown is a visual delight. Add coleslaw (finely shredded cabbage with a salad dressing) mix for that extra crunch and sauté’ till wilting. This filling wrapped into an open egg roll like a burrito and then heated and deep fried until golden brown, makes for one great dish to enjoy without feeling the regret later. Oven or air fryers don’t do justice if authentic dish is your choice. You could switch the tofu with another high protein dish or add crushed seaweeds to your egg rolls or even swap deep fried egg rolls for non fried spring rolls, if you want this to be your signature dish!   Be wary of the portion size though. Each 200 grams (1 bowl) serve of cauliflower fried rice contains 108 calories, 3 grams of fat, 14 carbohydrates and 1 gram of sugar.

Chicken Nuggets

Image source: Fond of crispy chicken nuggets? Here’s how you can prepare it at home’ by TNN in timesofindia.indiatimes.com on May 24, 2019.

If you are the one who is on various diets, you would understand the struggle of “cheating” in moderation. And more so finding the right way to do it. This doesn’t mean that you cannot bite into your regular pizza or you cannot have a ball in your favorite Chinese buffet. All it requires is finding a way to enjoy your favorite cheat food in a healthy way.

While chicken nuggets aren’t the unhealthiest of cheat foods, they definitely don’t offer as much nutritional value as other options. Nuggets with the breading make things still worse.

Each helping from McDonald’s has six nuggets and regrettably carries 270 calories, 16 grams of fat, 16 carbohydrates and 15 grams of protein. Not so terrible sounding!! but most of the people don’t stop at only six chicken nuggets at a time.  So make a baked platter of your own and you could get rid of all those extras. 188 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 8 carbohydrates and 26 grams of protein in six baked nuggets is what you get when the dish is made only with meat.

Raspberry Thyme Granita

Image source: ‘Raspberry-Thyme Granita’ by Cheryl Mussatto in eatwelltobewellrd.com on Aug. 10, 2020.

When your sweet tooth aches, it’s time to reach for … dessert! There are so many healthy versions of it and you don’t need much of it to feel satisfied. There’s actually nothing wrong with having a little sweet treat during the day. In fact, satisfying yourself with something delicious and nutritious is the key to ace healthy diet .

Feature credits: ‘KItchenstories.com” .

If you’re looking for a healthy, dairy-free light frozen treat, this easy to make raspberry thyme granite is just the right choice for you.  A super refreshing, slushy this Italian ice dessert  is similar to sorbet and what more, you could use raspberries, watermelon, blackberries, or even strawberries for this a zero fat- zero sodium dessert. A good source of vitamin C and fiber and a perfect alternative to overly rich, sugary desserts, this dish won’t let you go overboard on the calories. One cup (150 gms) provides 8 grams of satiating fiber and sets you back only 60 calories. Not creamy or decadent, this food is a perfect way to end a meal.

Cheat Food: An occasional binge is not a bad idea!

Cheat foods aim to help you stay motivated throughout the day and in no way harm your weight loss plan. Besides, they gives you a break from the usual food that you have been eating daily without craving for it. But you just cannot go about bingeing through the day as it will only undo an entire week’s hard work. This will only stir up more cravings, eventually losing complete focus. Excessive indulgence incites craving for these foods and it will be difficult for you to go back to restrained eating over the next few days.

So, choose the cheat food that you enjoy enough to give up the ‘sinful part’ of it. Loads of meals and snacks come packed as nutritional powerhouses. Just look for whole foods as first ingredients that are as simple as possible. It will be easier for you to choose among better- for- me options without too many sacrifices. And don’t forget the reason that makes a ‘cheat food’ so special.

10 incredibly delicious guilt free street foods that Fetch a slice of heaven to your plate and are a joy to enjoy!!

It’s no longer simply food and drink sold in a public place, market or street! From a full time vegan to a diehard steak lover whatever you choose, you could find a whole range of eats that is full of good stuff and savory surprises- all natural with no added this, no added that.

All from a humble street side Hakka noodles loaded with crunchy veggies to Bad Brownies and Other Side fried chicken burgers to Truffle meatless burgers, the street foods never aced better and bigger.

It’s good to be Happy, Healthy and Hungry!

Fine! So you have decided to live a healthier lifestyle and gradually changing your ways- going to gym every other day and making healthy meal for yourself. You are determined to hold on to this change as long as possible and not think of it as a mere fad. But then sometimes not everything works out the way you want to. You may have chosen to eat at home rather than dine out with friends but then a situation has arisen and you couldn’t make it either way. You had always wanted to be sure of what you eat. You feel that you have had enough of recipes from internet and would want to try something new and exciting. And guess what!  Street side eateries come for your rescue. Appropriate to the kind of lifestyle you have chosen for yourself, you would want a taste of spices and flavors and meals without any guilt pangs. Street foods offer you choices straight from an epicurean paradise that are satiating and are actually healthy.

Feature credits:’13 Desserts from Around the World! | Popular Desserts and Frozen Sweets’ by So Yummy in youtube.com on Ap.27, 2019.

From mouth watering vegan Indian and Thai street foods, to Jamaican Jerks and American burgers, the recipe roll is enormous and sure could give you an unforgettable taste of spices, herbs and flavors. There are plenty of vegan low-calorie, keto, gluten-free street food dinners, as well as side dishes and snacks. Whether you’re vegan, plant-based or just trying to cut down on meat, street foods are just for you! From vegan burgers, hot dogs to a vegan lobster roll, the mildly seasoned, delicately spiced street foods are quick, easy and burst with flavors once in your mouth.

You can begin your gourmet journey by trying these ten tastiest street foods that are vegan, plant based and health some.

Tofu with spicy garlic prune sauce

Image source: ‘Asian tofu hashtag ‘ on twitter by Veg vegan meat on Jul 20, 2020.

A perfect vegan alternative to BBQ, the pan-fried Asian Tofu with spicy garlic sauce is quick, easy and packed with flavor! It’s a great midday eat and tastes heavens when paired with a Chinese sauce that’s sweet, spicy, salty and savory, all at the same time. Tofu is a great source of protein and contains all nine essential amino acids, iron and calcium…so great for your bones, teeth and blood. It is marinated in sweet spicy garlic sauce and once it has soaked up the sauce, then pan fried till crispy on the outside and soft inside. Prune juice gives a deep caramelly sweetness and works as marinade. Perfect with rice and stir fried green, it tastes exquisite.

Lentil Fritters

Image source: ‘Recipes from around the world: Bhajias (Lentil Fritters)’ by Ben Hinson in recipesaroundtheworld.com on Jam. 23, 2016.

Tasty and delicious these vegan version of Takoyaki balls,  are soft, deep fried fritters made out of split green gram flour and topped with spicy green mint chutney and shredded radish, melt in your mouth with a spicy, tangy aftertaste.  A sprinkle of some lemon juice and this combo will leave you wanting more. Insanely crispy and crunchy these fried lentil (dal) fritters make for a mouthwatering savory snack. Tamarind chutney evens out the spiciness of green chutney and pungency of radish. So don’t forget to have it added to your plate.

Vegan Corn Dogs

Image source: ‘Vegan Corn Dogs’ in vegannook.com.

These vegan corn dogs have no sausages or imitation soy meat in them. Covered in a maize-flour batter, fried and then served on a stick these gluten free corn dogs use a meat-free hot dog, or if you prefer-a roasted carrot. Yet another healthy version of two classic street foods, cornbread and vegan hot dogs, pair in to create the ultimate fun food you would love to eat and feel good. Soft, fluffy corn bread and delicious hotdogs make for a satisfying snack or side for your next nosh rush! 

Vegan Korean Cauliflower Wings

Feature credits: ‘Korean Fried Cauliflower’ by Jeramie Go in youtube.com on Ap.5, 2021.

Korean-style cauliflower wings, battered and drenched in a spicy, tangy glaze gochujang maple glaze and baked until caramelized, could make you forget the mushy vegetable that finds it way so often to your platter at home. You could have mock chicken version to make it vegan but cauliflower is a finger-licking good substitute for meat. Once baked or roasted, it gets a meat like texture that’s really enjoyable. This dish is also a visual treat, thanks to the vibrant red pepper sauce and cooling cucumber yogurt dip.

Sweet Potato

Image source: ‘Double Baked Sweet Potatoes ‘ in macheesmo.com on Sep.25, 2019.

Steamed or roasted and cubed this tuber when served hot with a generous sprinkle of chaat masala( snack spice) a dash of lime and a bit of star fruit for that extra tang, works as a high energy booster and is one good relief for those who go-to-street snack everyday and those who worry about the belly before the bite.

This popular tangy and savory street food is a guilt-free alternative to fried foods. Lengths of tubers are roasted on embers and then the smoky cubes are tossed in a special blend of ‘spices’ and tamarind chutney.

Interestingly, this sweet tasting root vegetable is now a millennial food obsession. Just one serving of this roasted potato could deliver a whopping 400% of daily vitamin A quota; essential for both eye and cardiac health. What more… despite its starchy rep, sweet potato is the new diabetic super food, thanks to its low-glycemic index .

Momos

Images source: ‘ Friends Of Pho In Kolkata Makes Colourful, Highly Exotic Dimsums That You Won’t Find Elsewhere’ by Suchismita Pal in curlytales.com

When it comes to street food, how could anyone miss out on such an essential dish? It’s surprising how something so small can be so filling! Momos are so exquisite that this food has turned synonymous with students to shoppers, to corporate workers. As street food banter goes, you won’t find a better hot steamed goodness that knocks up different versions all the time. From fried to tandoori and chicken to paneer, you get all kinds to satiate your craving for a hot plate of delicious food.

Pretty easy to make vegan; ask for those with veggies inside, or a mock-meat if you’re looking for a recreated meat dumpling. Served alongside some vegan-friendly soy sauce this is one go to dish for brunches and afternoon grub rush!

Som tam ( Papaya Salad)

Image source: ‘Supatra’s Green Papaya Salad Recipe (Som Tam Thai)’ in templeofthai.com.

A delicious Thai salad, Som Tam is a green papaya salad that combines all four tastes – sour, chili, sweet and salty. A healthy and tasty treat for brunch, lunch or a casual light dinner, this dish is all about sliced sour fruits, veggies like green papaya and tomatoes and other ingredients as lime, palm sugar, chili, garlic, dried shrimps, fried peanuts etc. which are all pounded together in a mortar and unleash an explosive blend of flavors once in your mouth. Yard-long beans, hog plums, eggplant, and the dish’s star ingredient unripe, shredded green papaya, all combine to create a celebration of contrasting flavors and textures. Delivering carotenoids three times the amount of tomatoes and carrots, this dish, lowers the risk of macular degeneration, is anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor and effectively lowers cholesterol levels.

Pho (Vietnamese noodle soup)

Image source: ‘Beyond Phở : 5 Other Irresistible Vietnamese Noodle Soups’ by Viet Doan in delishably.com on Feb. 6, 2020.

If you have no more 20 minutes for a quick bite, your best bet lies with this ‘bowl of medicine’. Experience the magic of this noodle soup where broth is everything.  It’s light  full of flavor, deceptively beefy, savory, complex, has a delicate richness and is filled with a dense aroma of spices like cinnamon, star anise and cardamom. The fragrant broth is fortified with vermicelli rice noodles, strips of lean beef or chicken or mock meat, crunchy bean sprouts, and topped with heaps of greens like basil and coriander. The soup is utterly addictive and every spoonful leaves you wanting more! A storehouse of essential amino acids and minerals, this is one wholesome dish that is anti inflammatory and helps in building up a healthy gut.

Jamaican jerk tofu skewers (vegan)

Feature credits: ‘Sweet & Spicy Jamaican Jerk Tofu Rice Bowls’ by Tasty in youtube.com on Jan.7,2020.

Experience the tropical flavors of the Caribbean with spicy, flavorsome jerk seasoned and fruity, sausage-laden skewers served with rich and creamy coconut rice, if you fancy food that doesn’t have meat, but is a brilliant alternative that can satisfy your taste buds. This street food isn’t really about heat- it’s about creating a delicious combination of organic vegetables and eye smarting spices. Allspice, cinnamon, thyme, onion and garlic all come together to make a tasty yet easy marinade for the tofu. With tossed veggies on the side, these skewers taste great and are ready in 15 minutes flat. Grilled on the barbecue, grill pan, pan fry or bake, this easy vegan dish is a great way to your round off your snacking rush!

From Chops to Chows: The delicious fun comes wrapped in health and happiness!

Are you on a diet regimen?  Or maybe you are a buff person! Whatever…your bid to have a flavorsome, exciting and healthier lifestyle should not be foiled just because you could binge on the limited food options available for you? You should be creative enough to come up with healthier menus, and street foods are an excellent option for you. There are a lot of healthy street foods which you can try and which won’t wreck your fitness when you bite into them. Think about this next time you rush out of your home without a scrumptious breakfast, or your Office when you have no more than 20 minutes for a quick grub for lunch or your college when your canteen menu despairs you. For sure, you’ll be able to find more dishes on the street that fit to your healthy lifestyle!

Sounds strange?  But trust me, this food works! Just dig into an inspired salad or side and experience layers of delight and happiness on your plate!!

9 incredible ‘meatless’ dishes that would leave you longing for more of these savory delights.

If you were to earn a dime every time you heard someone persuade a vegetarian to eat meat, by making him or her think of it only as paneer, I am sure you would have had a lot many of them. With only a distinct texture and nothing to boast of as flavor, paneer like chicken turns sumptuous once you put some sauce on it. Then there is butter paneer for those raring to attend a butter chicken night only to make eyes roll. You won’t feel deprived for a butter paneer or paneer kebab platter would keep the vegetarians on the table quite busy. Even McDonald’s has a paneer burger coated with cream sauce and shredded lettuce that won’t let you miss the chicken, for it look exactly the same. You could even imagine yourself as a vegetarian who after window shopping in upscale market and across food courts finally settles down for a baguette stuffed with tomato, cheese and half a green leaf. Not that they aren’t delicious but you would feel better if you fed yourself with a paneer stuffed naan.

Good news is that the world is finally opening up for fleshy, juicy meat alternatives that even  outsmarts paneer, tofu or chunks of soya. These flavorsome plant based proteins could often make you check out twice with the chef; “You sure there is no chicken here in this sandwich?”

Restaurant menus have also begun echoing the trend. From sandwich and wraps stuffed with fake meats to spaghetti served with mock meatballs you can lay your hands on trending meat analogues anytime and every time hunger pangs hits you. Chunks of mock fish in Sri Lankan curry and ‘chicken wings have all become a most sought after entrée’ dish across all Yauatchas and Hakkasans. Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are now household names.

While soy based products are meant to taste and feel like meat, veg. proteins has moved far and beyond. For starters there is Tempeh, the Indonesian fermented beans that come wrapped as condensed bars or blocks with a dense texture and flavor. It tastes better for those who find soya chunks too chewy. The ache for variety is gaining momentum and market size for mock ducks, vegan burger and kebabs is growing steadily. Vegetarian meats like chicken, mutton, prawns, and even meat liver made out of soya have found favor with connoisseurs and food lovers. Vegicken and ‘Super bean’ are the most fancied and trending foods today.

Interestingly, even if your idea of eating vegetarian meat is only an attempt to extend your meatless Mondays into a life style or simply to add variety to your spread, the trend of alternative meats is only going upwards and onwards. Faux meats are the newest amongst the drift foods and have quickly turned a hot favorite amongst food lovers and new age flexitarians.

How good are the mock meats?

Walk into any mid size super market and you will find a bizarre array of vegan food products lining the shelves, never seen before. From pastries to imitation “chorizo” sausages to Quorn –a fake meat made of mycoproteins,  from vegetarian “ham” to nuggets, from fake turkey and stuffing to steak and gravy pies, all are neatly stacked in the chilled vegetarian aisle Then there are plant-based “meatballs”, “burgers” and “deep fried chicken”. You could virtually wear yourself out making all the finger quotes that go into explaining these vegan “meats”.

It’s not that that the concept of imitation meat is anything new. Meat versions nuggets and hot dogs have merely found substitutes. For as long as people prefer vegetarian or too poor to buy meat, mock meat of one kind or another is there to replace the meat versions. Thanks to food techs many of these fake meats are uncannily realistic both in texture and appearance. From “flaky’” fish to burgers oozing with beetroot juice to textured pea proteins, all nail it pretty well.  It’s tough though to mimic the texture and mouth feel of ground beef, but meat alternatives also come loaded with coloring and textural additives. Eating these hyper processed meat alternatives is akin to a healthy diet, when accompanied with simpler side options like beans and high protein veggies.

Technology used to make fake meat has broken all fences, and so the products available today look, taste and feel more like the real thing than, say, the soya nuggets of the ’90s that retained their spongy texture and flavor no matter what you did. Most mock meats use soya protein, wheat gluten or vegetable substitutes like jackfruit and are considered to be healthier, offer more nutritive value, more fiber, lowers fat content, and no animal fat (which means no cholesterol). However, for those not big on eating red meat, the lack of cholesterol is not as significant a plus as it sounds. However, be wary of sodium content in fake meats. You merely need to balance out your daily consumption of salt and that should be okay.

The rise of ‘meatless’ meat

Meat alternatives are clearly having a moment and offering a clear vision of a different future for meat. Every year, billions of animals are raised and slaughtered on factory farms across the world (a staggering 9 billion plus in the US alone). You may have reservations about the alternative meat products and their leap to mainstream dining, but I think it’s time to sort the hype from reality. Meat alternatives aren’t new, Meant to feel and taste like meat these products are aimed to be marketed to meat lovers and replace some of those cruel meat purchases. Perhaps this is what makes them so different from veggie burgers, which have typically been aimed mostly at vegetarians.

There is no denying that veggie burgers are a niche product aimed to satiate vegetarians. But today the makers of meatless meat are betting they can find their way onto everyone’s plate. Whatever…finding animal-free versions of your favorite meats are a great way to recreate nostalgic dishes without horrid animal suffering and environmental degradation. Feeling adventurous? Give these meaty meat-free alternatives a try and may be you could find vegan friends in your town!!

Jackfruit ‘Chicken’

Image source :’Kentucky Fried jackfruit’ by Veg life staff in theveglife.com on May 5, 2017.

Vegan meat made from jackfruit comes as a ready to eat alternative with texture and looks identical to chicken. Microwave it for a couple of minutes with half a cup of water and you are good to go. This fake meat is pitched as high in fiber, seasoned, and evenly spiced. It pairs well with flat bread or could be used as a filling in grilled sandwich or tossed into a salad.

Soya ‘Duck’ and ‘Fish’

Image source: ‘Vegetarian Spiced Duck’ in https://everbest.my/vegetarian-duck/veg-spiced-duck.

Mock duck, mock fish fillets and mock pepper salami are sold as a pre processed faux meat that can be eaten grilled or sautéed. The products are made using soya, soya oil and soya protein, milk, wheat and wheat protein, and starch. High in fiber, some of these products do contain cholesterol from the milk and need to be frozen, and defrosted before use.

Wheat ‘Meat’

Image source: ‘Basic Seitan – Wheat Meat (Vegan Meat Substitute)’ by Deborah Mackenzie in allrecipes.com.

Quite a few crowd pleasing niche’ dining restaurants with a modern twist are  these days serving  burgers, sandwiches, salads, biryanis and a number of other ‘mutton’, ‘beef’, ‘duck’ and ‘chicken’ dishes made with mock meat created using wheat gluten, chickpea flour and flaxseeds

Vegan Fried Chicken

Image source: ‘ Fried ‘Chicken’’ by Yana Chistyakova in onegreenplanet.org.

Seriously! It’s meaty, it’s flavorsome, moist inside and super crispy outside. A seitan recipe this one certainly does not work like one of those ‘spongy fake meat’ recipes doing the buzz around. With no sponginess and just a beautiful tender meatiness, this chicken is of next level. Gram flour and plant milk is used to make the egg mix ‘clone’ and flour mix is gently spiced with old bay seasoning. The whole dish carries a vibe of buttermilk, thanks to added acidity of cider vinegar. This dish is a staple for most restaurant pantries serving vegan cuisine.

Shiitakes and Leeks stuffed Seitan Roast

Image source: ‘Seitan roast stuffed with Shiitakes and Leeks ‘ by Heather royal in Yummly.com.

A perfect centerpiece for your holiday table, this vegetarian roast is made from seitan (a soft ‘meaty’ food made from wheat gluten) which soaks up the flavours and juices of the seasoning and gravy. This easy and sumptuous roast is the perfect option for those who don’t want to miss a Thanksgiving classic dish. Flavors of fresh herbs and garlic and spilling meaty shiitake mushrooms and leeks would steal anybody’s heart. Throw in a handful of pinto beans and you could give the seitan a thick, juicy texture. The bread crumbs will help to keep the stuffing from ending up all over your plate

Perfect Homemade Seitan Steak

Image source: ‘Vegan steak with the happy pear’ in https://www.bosh.tv/recipes/vegan-steak-with-the-happy-pear.

Exquisitely spiced and remarkably resembling the ‘real thing’ these vegan seitan steaks are deliciously textured, super high in protein and carry heaps of oomph! Fry these steaks in a regular pan, while brushing extra marinade sauce each time you flip them. Within minutes, you have a perfectly charred, caramelized and utterly delicious steak to dig in. It’s super quick!

Vegan Turkey-Style Deli Slice

Image source: ‘ Vegan deli sliced turkey breast’ in 86eats.com on Feb. 7, 2020.

Bring your sandwiches to the next level with these homemade vegan deli meat slices! Moist, flavorful with perfect chew these slices are packed with flavor, easy to put together and cheap. Serve your holiday main course with gravy or sliced as deli meat for your favourite veggie sandwich. You could even enjoy a whole vegan turkey loaf with all the vegan fixings like potatoes, scalloped potatoes, mushroom gravy, stuffing, roasted veggies and Brussel sprouts, butternut squash, Mac and cheese, fresh buns, green salad and cranberry sauce.

This vegetarian turkey dish is made using vital wheat gluten and chickpeas, not tofu. Yes! Real meat turkey roasts are good, but even this one too has texture of a turkey and chews awesome!

Spicy Tempeh Breakfast Sausage

Image source: ‘Spicy tempeh breakfast sausage ‘in yummly.com/recipes/tempeh-breakfast.

This is a great vegan, cholesterol-free alternative to pork breakfast sausage. It’s very easy to make and can fill you up fast on a quick weekday breakfast. The secret of this sausage lies in it’s the spice profile. Don’t be fearful of that intimidating list of spices. Just reach into the spice rack and begin creating a master dish. In fact, savory tempeh breakfast sausage patties are the perfect way to kick start a new day. One great way to start the morning!!… snacking straight out of the fridge or routine busting ‘breakfast for dinner’.

This healthy, oil free food yields the perfect no oil ‘fried’ patties. Yet another thing that makes it so distinctively smart and tempting is the tempeh base which is processed with onion and mushroom using the binding of seitan.

Chicken-Fried Seitan Cutlet

Image source: ‘Best vegan chicken’ by Edgy Veg in theedgyveg.com on Aug. 4, 2020.

Crispy Vegan Chicken Cutlets that taste just like the real thing! These vegan chicken-style cutlets are made with chickpea seitan, which combines the chickpea with wheat gluten for a tender yet chewy and almost flakey cutlet. Pair them with a carb and a veggie for a hearty “meat and potatoes” dinner plate. Easy to make, this comfort food is perfect to use in any recipe that calls for chicken!  A complete plant based, protein packed nutrition, it is an easy meatless way to a ‘meaty’ meal that you will love to sit back, relax and eat happy.

‘Meatless’ alternative: Is this end of road for big meat?

The ubiquitous presence of faux meat in departmental stores could probably make you wonder what meat really is. Is our love for real meat really all about a set of nutrients? A certain flavour or texture? Or the desire for shared meals on special occasions, such as Christmas turkey and Easter lamb? Howsoever you judge things; one thing could weigh heavy on the way you look at things. Increased longevity and reduced disease risk comes from plants instead of animals.

As it turns out switching from animal based protein to vegan protein could have a positive effect on your wellbeing and health. The good news is that there are lots of protein rich alternatives to regular meat to experiment with. Besides you could do your bit in taking off the edge from a mindless cruelty to those miserable animals being slaughtered as fast as they are bred for a morsel of real meat, when surprisingly key amino acids are made by the plants and not animals? Real meat provides essential amino acids because the animals acquired them from plants at some point along the food chain. It simply doesn’t make sense to say we can’t get essential amino acids from plants—it’s where they come from. If we can replicate some tastes and textures that are free of pain and harm to someone or anyone, well why not?

So, get acquainted with the best meat alternatives out there for these can work in any meal where you look for meat based protein. Sliced, diced or whizzed -vegan stews, curries, soups and salads, a host of these tasty meat free alternatives will keep you feeling full.

Above all, pat your back for you can now be ‘meaty’ while being nothing like ‘actual meaty’.

This super food is all grass and funky but has the magic to power you through life!!

If you are wondering how to bring some oomph to your plate with a pep-up dish that is thick and flavorful and packed full of goodness without having to worry about the belly size, a plat du jour created out of this wonder grass could be the right choice for tonight’s menu.

Yeah, It’s the bamboo shoots and they hymn health and wellness only!! Looking for flab loss or following ketogenic diet, packed with good amount of fiber, potassium, manganese and antioxidants these wonder shoots are your best bet when it comes to bone to brain health.

A plant with a thousand faces, this green gasoline of life is ranked among the five healthiest foods that are rich in nutrients, high on bioactive compounds, low in fat and calories and free from residual toxicity. Considered delicacy in up-scale markets, specialty restaurants and five stars dining, shoots from this golden grass are a common sight in Asian dining.

We all know that what we eat has a huge impact on our health. Eating poorly can lead to disease or shortened life span. “I’d say that 50% to 70% of suffering could be eliminated by what people eat and how they move. Heart disease, diabetes, cancer, hypertension all can be impacted,” sounds Elizabeth Somer, nutritionist and author of “The Essential Guide to Vitamins and Minerals.”

There are so many aspects of bamboo that make it different from other veggies and organic super foods, all well thought out and orchestrated by both chefs and nutritionists who extensively study health. Considered complete food because of the rich contents of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, fibers, and minerals and very low fat, bamboo juvenile shoots herd in more punch than usually believed. Phytosterols in young shoots when consumed are meant to make you feel sprightly and feisty and lend longevity to regular consumers! Phytosterols are similar in structure to cholesterol and are extensively found in plants.  Their presence in fresh or fermented bamboo shoots is very prominent.

Freshly collected these shoots also have good amount of thiamine, niacin, vitamin A, vitamin B6, and vitamin E. The bamboo shoot based diets are rich source of dietary fibers, less cholesterol contents and contain 17 amino acids, 8 of which are essential for human body. Very little amount of fats and its low content makes them ideal to provide healthy nutrition to people with diabetic and cardio thoracic diseases. Low on glycemic index, the fermented bamboo shoots are also a hot favorite among those with GI and sugar related debility.

Here’s a magical food for your skin!!

Bamboo leaves, shoots and roots are a unique source of natural silica and vitamins B and C. Bamboo leaves used topically or consumed as tea, boosts healthy hair growth and skin collagen. Using regularly would ensure young, firm and smoother skin tone! You could even try one of these remarkable remedies to rejuvenate your skin and looks.

Bamboo leaf solution pack

Brew bamboo leaves in a cup for water for 5 minutes. Sieve and apply once cooled. Wash off after 15 minutes. Great source of natural silica, bamboo works wonders in collagen production and skin cell renewal.

Bamboo and rice water pack

Mix boiling rice water in brewed and sieved bamboo leaf solution in equal proportions and use over face and neck once cooled. Wash off after 10 minutes. Rich in silica and vitamin-C this pack has high anti aging property and is extensively effective in reducing fine lines and age spots.

Bamboo water toner

One tbsp of bamboo leaves boiled in a cup of water and sprayed once cooled works as a quick and nutritious hydrating agent, just anytime on the go. A perfect skin toner, this  is your best bet when you are looking for a quick remedy for tightening face pores and brightening dry and dull skin.

Bamboo honey mask

Mix some honey in brewed bamboo leaf solution and allow it to cool down. Apply it over the face and neck and wash it off after 15 minute. The difference will leave you wondering why the heck you didn’t try it before.

This super grass is a wellness warehouse!!

Bamboo tends to be much more than a restaurant. This weekend you have seen fresh bamboo shoots arriving at grocery counter in your neighborhood and found yourself wondering what one could do with these! Or, looking at a big pile of bamboo shoots in Produce department, you aren’t even sure what they are meant for.

Bamboo shoots are young, edible parts of the bamboo plant that spring out of the ground in the same fashion as asparagus. While some varieties are bitter and tough, a few others are sweet, tender, and much more abundant. Fresh bamboo shoots have a very delicate flavor, which is why it is often fermented first before being used for cooking. A storehouse of fiber and energy, these wonder shoots are extremely beneficial to strengthen the immune system and fight bad cholesterol, aid the digestive system, help lower the blood pressure and has an extra punch for those looking to shed some extra pounds.

Extremely low in calories and sugar and high on health benefits, bamboo shoots top the chart for many nutritionists as one of the most favored super food! You might have tried out canned bamboo shoots, but nothing compares to the fresh stuff. Some varieties are quite faintly bitter while others may be stronger. Blanch them in boiling water for a while and then soak in clean water for hours. Change water twice or three times before they are rid of bitter taste and are ready.

So, if you want to experiment with a new ingredient in your kitchen, here are a few delicious finger licking good bamboo shoot recipes you can try.

Bamboo shoot stir fry

Image source:’ Stir Fry Bamboo Shoots” in cooktube.in.

This recipe is prepared from the stemmed out bamboo shoots. This stir fry dish is a simple one that can be prepared on a weekday for dinner or packed away for lunch boxes. Serve flat bread as a side dish with rice and curry, they all pairs so well with this nouvelle cuisine!

Braised bamboo shoots with soy sauce and sugar

Image source: ‘Braised bamboo shoots in sweet soy sauce’ by Wendy Kiang-Spray’ in wendykiangspray.com on Ap.22, 2017.

Spring is round the corner and fresh bamboo shoot will be out soon. It’s one magic ingredient that is used in soups, stir-fries, stews, hot pot, salad and pickles. You can’t image how popular it is in the Far East. Add some to your pickling jar or to a pot of healthy meat analogue soup and I am sure you would love it. Try it in salad or fry with vegan meat and almost everyone in the family would love it.

Stir-fried mushrooms and bamboo shoots

Image source: ‘Stir Fried Mushrooms and Bamboo Shoots’ in pininterest.com.

This is a quick and easy dish that combines tinned oyster mushrooms, tofu puffs, bamboo shoots and bean sprouts in a light sauce. Yet another variant is oyster and soy sauce enriched mushrooms served with stuffed bamboo shoots and cabbage that could leave you wanting more. You could even try stuffing bamboo shoots with the pumpkin or the winter melon and cut horizontally into 4 -5 portions before the serve.

Braised bamboo shoots soup

Image source: ‘Bamboo shoot miso soup recipe’ in misosoup.site on Feb. 14, 2019.

Fresh bamboo shoots make incredibly flavorful, clear soup with few ingredients. The flavors and natural sweetness come straight from the fresh bamboo shoot. With fresh ones you can even play around with shapes. They are easy to cut out and will even please the youngest of your family. Children tend to eat more or at least try their favorite shapes; a heart or bunny actually tastes better than a rectangle or round piece!!

Sometimes a simple recipe tastes best when you’re exploring a new ingredient in the kitchen. This one could be a good introduction of an amazing grass to your Wok.

Seasonal salad with bamboo shoots

Image source:’ Bamboo shoot salad’ by azianswagz in pininterest.com.

A simple salad is always a good way to enjoy fresh, local food. This one has just a few ingredients, and allows the flavors of the sweet peas, kale, and bamboo shoots to really stand out.

Talk of flavors; fresh bamboo shoot has a very delicate one, which is why it is often fermented first before being used for cooking. During the fermentation, pungency builds up which when paired with chilies, oil and other ingredients creates a moreish salad dish. You could use this to create curries pickles and stir-fries of your choice as well.

Vegan dumplings with bamboo shoots

Image source: ‘Around the World in 7 Vegan Dumplings’ in onegreenplanet.org.

These little parcels do deliver – and they’re fun and so easy to make! When finely diced, bamboo shoots add the perfect bit of crunch to steamed or boiled dumplings. Serve these up with some spicy chili sauce and a light side salad or edamame or with a dipping sauce such as black vinegar, soy sauce, plum sauce, sweet and sour sauce or sweet chili sauce.

Bamboo Spring rolls

Image source : ‘Bamboo Shoot Spring Rolls’ in unileverfoodsolutions.co.id.

Stuffed with a mixture of bamboo shoot, carrot, string bean, mushroom, shallot, garlic, ginger, celery, and leek, these spring rolls so fashioned out that there can’t be leftovers even for a single-bite.

Edamame bamboo shoot stir fry

Image source:’ Edamame Bamboo Shoot Stir Fry’ by Melissa Tedesco in onegreenplanet.org.

The balanced flavors and ingredients give this 10 minute edamame bamboo shoot stir fry all it needs to replenish your body. It is a great alternative to getting takeouts on busy nights, for this one travels fast from pan to platter. Fill your home with the amazing aroma of ginger and your belly with a wholesome dish.

Fried rice with bamboo shoots

Image source: ‘ Bamboo shoot fried rice’ by J Sujatha in beta.lekhafoods.com on Dec. 20, 2012.

This dish can also be made with leftover rice and whatever veggies you have in the fridge but stir fried celery, mushrooms and green capsicum  seasoned with soy sauce and then mixed with pre cooked chilled rice elevate this dish to one bursting with flavors. Mix in the onion, garlic and cottage cheese or eggs and you have an indulgent dish at your table. ‘Boil in bag’ rice and a bag of stir fried veggies could even cut back the prep time. If you don’t have snow peas, even regular frozen ones wouldn’t tweak the taste. Add a bit of extra soy sauce at the end and enjoy!

Bamboo shoot curry

Image source: ‘How to make Bamboo Shoot Curry – A Sikkim Delicacy (Vegan – Gluten and Dairy Free)’ by Jyoti in youtube.com on Aug. 31, 2019.

Bamboo shoots aren’t just for pandas anymore! In fact, fresh bamboo shoots are considered quite a delicacy. Stir fried minced garlic, onion, red chili, mustard seeds and curry leaves, once mixed with bamboo shoots and coconut paste and then simmered on medium heat for 15 minutes leave behind a thick, bright colored mouthwatering curry with a leafy aroma. Add rice flour/ powder for an earthy texture to this delightful flavorsome curry.

Bamboo shoot n’ pumpkin flower curry

Image source: ‘Bamboo shoot n’ pumpkin flower curry’ in delightsum.com on Mar. 4, 2020.

One of the revered traditional family recipes, this one tastes delicious and is ready in flat 20 minutes. The combination of pumpkin flower and bamboo shoot with tangy mustard flavor makes the dish more rich and heavenly. It goes well with flat bread, paratha (type of South Asian flat unleavened bread resembling a small naan that is pan fried or  baked in a tandoor ) or steamed rice.

From harvest to table- The super food effect is unmistakable

From vegan chops and cutlets to chicken red curry, fish curry, beef and bamboo shoot curry, shrimp curry, pork and bamboo shoots recipe; this wonder veggie pairs so well  with a flexitarian diet, when it comes to eating for your wellness being. With just 13 calories in a single cup, bamboo shoots are a great choice if you’re looking to lose weight. Fiber in shoots moves through the body slowly and promotes satiety between meals to curb cravings. Low in calories and high on fiber, this grass does support weight loss.

Besides, eating more fiber improves digestive health too. In fact, it helps in preventing acid reflux, hemorrhoids, diverticulitis and stomach ulcers. Adding bamboo shoots to your diet could potentially reduce cholesterol levels too. Some canned varieties, though may be high on sodium. So, if you’re following a low-sodium diet, look around for low-sodium products whenever possible or rinse off the shoots thoroughly before consuming. For the uninitiated, bamboo shoots are the power kegs that come loaded with nutrients and are a healthy alternative to rice and wheat.

Whatever… for once try these Woks of Life recipes. It’s hard to believe but these shoots could actually be good for your wellbeing. Dig into a savory, umami filling of shiitake mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and carrots wrapped inside layers of bean curd skin, steamed, pan-fried or braised. When sliced, you could almost swear it looks like slices of Chinese roast duck!

But just because this “duck” is vegan, doesn’t mean it’s any less super special to be on your dinner menu tonight!!

These diet friendly low calorie vegan curries could bring singing flavors and layers of happiness to your plate!!

If you are wondering how to bring zing to your plate in 20 minutes with something that is thick and flavorful, is packed full of goodness and is free of heavy animal products, delicious vegan curries could be the right choice for tonight’s menu. If you’re counting on calories, these guilt-free curries all come under 400 calories and still pack flavors. So put down that take-away menu and try one of these low-calorie protein rich curries instead. Vegetarian and low on spice these incredible curries will leave you bewitched!!

It’s hard to believe but curries could actually be good for your wellbeing. From easing arthritis to protecting from Alzheimer, the list is surprisingly overwhelming. If you look at the medicinal effects of spices that go into curry making; turmeric, cumin, allspice, cardamom, ginger, garlic and capsicum all are fired with strong anti-bacterial properties. Working as good preservatives garlic, cinnamon and cumin could even get rid of 80 percent of meat borne bacteria while ginger slows down bacterial growth by as much as 25 percent.

So what’s there that make vegan curries so good when it comes to minding your health. Why are these respected as an all time pepped up feast that never falls flat?

Let’s find out;

Ginger

One of the main ingredients in a lip smacking vegan curry, ginger contains antioxidant zingerone that reacts with radicals which cause tissue damage and joint inflammation, Works well to relieve the arthritis pain! The other two antioxidants viz. gingerol and shogaol are traditional cold remedies and works best when consumed as raw ginger extract.

Curcumin

This is  a primary active compound of turmeric found in curry powders, and often used neat, it slows down the plaque formation in the brain, the primary cause of Alzheimer. Strong on anti inflammatory properties it pairs well with GI tract, guards against heart attacks and prevents cancer of the colon.

Onions

Onions contain an agent called diallyl sulfide that encourages the body to make more of the cancer-fighting molecule glutathione-S-transferase. These enzymes work to detoxify the harmful stomach bacteria and promote digestion.

Garlic

Besides helping in lowering cholesterol, garlic also contains a potent anti-cancer agent called Allicin that shields stomach from cancer by pushing the production of protective enzymes.

Cumin

Cumin contains phytochemicals that combine with vitamins and other nutrients in food to prevent cancer and heart ailments by blocking various metabolic pathways. Caravel and Limonene, two major anti carcinogen agents retard the growth of prostate cancer.

Allspice

Allspice also known as Kabab Chinni is a berry-based spice used in a lot of Indian cooking and contains eugenol, an antioxidant that builds up trypsin a digestive enzyme and so are all friends to GI tract.

Capsicum

Capsicum the main phytochemical found in red peppers is an anti inflammatory agent  which helps reduce cholesterol formation and also a major constituent in topical formulations for arthritis relief. Eating it raw though doesn’t always work the same way.

Cardamom

A strong antiseptic and antimicrobial spice, cardamom comes in seeds, is a mild aphrodisiac and helps in soothing an irritable intestinal tract.

Coriander

Considered a strong anti-inflammatory agent this spice is capable of reducing symptoms of inflammatory GI tract diseases.

These one-pot curries know how to pep up your menu!

More often coming in bright golden hue and complex flavors, curry is an amazing choice for so many reasons. It warms you up, make you feel full and adds some zing to your plate. And there is a bonus too! It’s quite healthy and wholesome. Scoring big over Paleo recipes, curries could probably win you over if vegan diets become more your thing. Yep, there are whole lots of plant based curries that are easy to make and quickly leave the cooker. Just one pot or pan and flat 30 minutes could whip up flavors that may leave you looking for more!

If the thought of ethnic food stirs you up and if the idea of stepping out of the box no longer intimidates you; its time you tried a perfect Indian curry dish. If you have experienced Indian food, you know just how delicious a vegetarian dish could be! If you haven’t, curry is the perfect recipe to start with at home. Yeah!  And if you do Meatless Mondays, this could work up a terrific fare. It is so healthy and there are so many vegetarian variations you could do with it; just about any veggie works well.

Here are 12 crazy delicious vegan curries to tickle your fancy and tempt you to fix some space for one of these on tonight’s dinner table !

Red Lentil ( Masoor dal) Curry

Image source: ‘Healthy Low-Sodium Red Lentil Curry’ by Susan Edelman in onegreenplanet.org.

No one wants to spend the evening washing a pile of dirty dishes. No worries!! You can cook this curry in only one pot. Even better, you can have this flavorful curry on the table in less than 30 minutes.  I can’t think of a better way to eat dinner than this quick, healthy, and delicious one-pot curried lentil recipe!

With 126 calories per serving of 1 cup (100 grams), this curry has 6.2grams of protein, 4.2 grams of fats, 416 mg. of sodium, 15.9grams of carbs, vitamin A and C, fatty acids, amino acids, 28 mg calcium and 1.9 mg of iron.

Pigeon pea Curry

Image source: Cumin-Scented Pigeon Peas with Mango (Mango Curry with Toor Dal)’ in tastespace.wordpress.com on April 21, 2012.

Pigeon pea( Dal in Hindi)  is easily known and referred to as split pulse (lentils, beans or peas). This curry bets on yellow peas, blending alongside the flavors of cumin, mustard, onion, chilies and fresh ginger. A brilliant go-to dinner recipe on lazy, gray days, this curry is cheap, healthy, flavorful and heavy on protein and goes easy on fat. Complete with exotic flavors a bowl of this warm filling curry tastes amazing and is good enough to become your daily staple food. Each 100 grams serving contains 3.3 grams of fat, 16.9 grams of carbs, 3 grams of fiber and 6.9 grams of protein, < 0.1 gram of salt and 439 mg of potassium. What more could you ask for?

Coconut Quinoa curry

Image source: ‘Vegetarian Green Coconut Curry with Quinoa’ by Kristen Stevens in foodandwine.com in Feb. 2014.

This recipe requires one pot only; your slow cooker. Just pitch in some sweet potatoes, broccoli, quinoa, chickpeas and coconut milk into your slow cooker along with some spices, and turn it on. Flat 30 minutes active time in kitchen and a delicious aromatic treat is ready!. Each 100 gram serve carries 140 calories, 4.00 grams of proteins, 5.70 grams of fat, 14.40 grams of carbs, 2.50 grams of fiber besides 2.90 grams of sugar and zero cholesterol.

Curried Quinoa with Butternut squash and Chickpeas

Image source: ‘Squash, Spinach & Chickpea Curry with Turmeric Blend’ by Lisa Turner in cleaneatingmag.com.

Butternut squash is a hearty and super healthy way to add some oomph to plant-based recipes like this one. It’s a perfect 25 minute star dish for weeknight dinner and great for getting rid of any veggies hanging around your fridge. Once done garnish the dish with fresh parsley and you’re good to go. Try this curry with rice and naan, though brown rice particularly tastes good with this curry. Each portion (245 grams serves 4) carries 236 calories, 36.5 grams of carb, 6.5 grams of protein, 8.2 grams of fat, 105 mg of calcium and 3 mg of iron besides 602 mg of sodium and 683 mg of potassium.

Coconut Chickpea curry

Image source: ‘Easy Chickpea Coconut curry soup’ in cearaskitchen.com on Jan.24, 2018.

This curry is one healthy source of fat that could leave you feeling full and satisfied. Throw in some chickpeas, coconut milk and fresh veggies and you’ve got a super healthy meal to tide you over. If you are searching for a curry recipe that is heavy on proteins but light on the heat – look no further. Each 100 gram serves 148 calories and brags of 6 grams of fat, 17.6 grams of carbs, 6 grams of protein, 3.3mg of iron, vitamin A and C and 51 mg of calcium.

Spicy Chickpea -Cauliflower Tandoori

Image source: ‘Spicy Chickpea and Cauliflower Tandoori’ by LiveKindly in livekindly.co.

If you are a protein buff then a bowl of this savory curry could be the right choice for you. Easy and colorful this recipe contains a whopping 23 grams of protein per portion. It’s also got heaps of fiber and serves you yummy nutrients. Drop in a pinch of asafetida and bit of dried chili to push the flavors without burning your taste buds off.  ‘Are you sacred of chilies? Not always hot, capsaicinoids in chilies add great flavors, work as metabolic enhancer and are rich in vitamin- A & C and minerals like iron  potassium. And what’s not to love about this devilish fruit that pips in anti oxidant stuff too?

Thick and flavorful, this recipe packs in enormous goodness and could leave you a lot happier and contented.

Thai Noodle Curry

Image source: ‘Spicy Vegan Thai Curry Noodle Soup’ by Jalisha in eatingveganwithme.com.

This curry is more like a cross between a Thai curry dish and a Thai noodle dish. Rice noodles, red curry paste and coconut milk all come together to stir up a deliciously creamy noodle bowl; and it all comes together in less than 30 minutes! If you’re looking for a protein to pair with this then Thai Coconut curry tofu would blend perfectly with it.  Naturally vegan, gluten free, creamy and packed with veggies, coconut milk and spices in this curry turn it into a gleeful warming family meal. Loving the sound of that? I ‘m sure your guests will too! Nutrition wise, it fares evenly. Each 100 grams serves 58 calories, 1.50 grams of protein, 10.70 grams of carbs, 0.60 gram of fat, zero cholesterol, vitamins and minerals that include essentials like iodine, zinc, potassium, sodium and calcium.

Sweet Potato, Chickpea, and Spinach Curry

Image source: ‘Sweet potato, Chickpea and Spinach Jalfrezi curry’ in supervalu.ie.

If you think that vegan food equals bland food, then this curry will prove you all wrong and it‘s so simple to make! Low on fat and calories, this one-pot curry is full of sunshine flavors and could make you long for more. With all the goodness of sweet potatoes, chickpeas, spinach, and coconut milk, it is seasoned with Indian spices like garam masala, turmeric, cumin and dried chilies and cooked into a creamy, rich, fragrant and hot treat in under 30 minutes. It’s mild enough for the kids to enjoy, but still packs a punch! Each one bowl serve (245 grams) packs 293 calories, 5.1 grams of protein, 22.3 grams of fat and 515 mg of sodium.

Chana( Garbanzo bean) Masala Curry

Image source: ‘Super Easy Chole Masala / Chana Masala recipe’ by Bharat Wadhwa in bharatzkitchen.com.

Authentic Chana masala curry is typically made with grounded whole spices and dried mango powder. These are cooked in some oil to bring out the best of flavor and fragrance. Garam masala options are the traditional ones and you could actually experience a delightful sensory overload. Blended mix of coriander, cumin, cardamom (green and black), cinnamon, black pepper, cloves, and other spices lends an unforgettable tone and turn the curry into a quality bite in under 30 minutes. If you are looking for shortcut to a rich, long simmered flavor, use whole tomatoes crushed in the curry. Diced tomatoes give more chunky results. And what more! If you add some baby spinach, your dinner bowl turns all colorful and nutritious!

Nutrition wise, a 245 grams one bowl portion (serves 4) carries 443 calories, 12.1 grams of fat, 74 grams of carbohydrate, 15.2 grams of protein , 65 mg of sodium, vitamin A, B , E , K1 and C, folic acid, niacin, riboflavin, calcium, iron, magnesium and host of other nutrients.

Citrus Pumpkin Curry

Image source: ‘Tangy Tamarind Pumpkin Curry Recipe’ by Pooja Thakur in archanaskitchen.com on Nov.7, 2016.

If you’ve been to a grocery store lately, you probably have figured out by now that the pumpkin spice fetish is these days bigger than ever. 

Pumpkins are a type of winter squash (like acorn and butternut) and a part of the gourd family and the Indian way of cooking it leaves a mesmerizing tingling aftertaste.

A unique gluten free curry it combines the sweetness of the winter squash with the savory-spiced flavor of curry. it is an enchanting display of bright colors – orange, yellow, and red – infused with citrus accents which are a due change from potatoes and chickpeas. It’s as beautiful as it is delicious and offers a unique blend of veggies -both sweet and savory.

Pumpkin curry in fact is a warming match appropriate for the crisp days when pumpkins and other winter squashes come to harvest. It is best cooked until just tender but not mushy. Baking and braising (or sautéed until lightly browned) are the best ways to cook it.

The nutrition profile of pumpkin is pretty stately too .  It’s packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals—including more potassium than a medium banana! One-cup serving of pumpkin curry has 50 calories, 2 grams of protein, 12 grams of carbs, 3 grams of fiber,  vitamins and includes minerals like potassium, zinc and phosphorus. The show grabber though, are the carotenoid compounds that give the pumpkin its bright orange color. One of these- the anti oxidant beta carotene- potentially reduces risk to quite a few major diseases.

Mushroom Matar ( Pea)  Masala

Image source: ‘Restaurant Style Matar Mushroom Masala’ by Neetu Suresh in cookpad.com .

Mushrooms bring different texture and earthy flavor to this vegan, gluten free, soy free Indian curry where they pair well with peas and make a rather unbeatable combination that is hearty and healthy. You could make the sauce even creamier by adding cashew nut paste and tangier with more tomatoes. A dash of spinach makes it a satisfying flavorful meal that is up for grabs in flat 20 minutes . Pumpkin seeds, silken tofu or plain unsweetened yoghurt could make it even more delicious. One cup serve (230 grams) carries 156 calories, 9.4 grams of fat, 17 grams of carbs, 5 grams of protein and vitamin A and C, calcium and iron in significant amounts.

Red Kidney bean curry

Image source: ‘ Red kidney bean, chili & ginger curry’ in taste.com.au.

Imagine buttery soft kidney beans simmering in a curry base flecked with lightly caramelized onion and garlic with rich coriander and tomato aroma assaulting your senses!! This curry is perfect served with fragrant basmati rice garnished with cilantro and minced red onion. You could add a bit of mint for that extra freshness. Blending spiced tomato sauce with fresh coriander turns the dish a beautiful bright red orange color. This curry tastes heavenly when freshly grounded black pepper in it, builds up as you eat. Nutrition wise, each 100 gram serve carries130 calories and contains 14 grams of carbs, 6 grams of fat, 5 grams of protein, 410 mg sodium, vitamin  A (2%)and C ( 6%) and calcium and iron ( 8% each).

If only there was a better way to eat for your well being!

Not many meat lovers find meat curries healthy either. Kormas and pasandas (a popular meat dish from the Indian subcontinent) for instance though delectable contain frightening amounts of cream. The average chicken tikka masala contains about 1,500 calories. Dishes such as rogan josh, madras curry, jalfrezi and sags (with spinach) are no less creamy but make it to the plate for carrying just as many healthy spices.

This leaves the least fattening combination of one of these vegan curries with steamed and lightly garnished rice, or anything oven baked (tandori) coated in yoghurt and spices but not fried.

To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art

Yeah, you have heard this before! For many of us the insufficiency of a vegetarian diet and hazards of non veg foods is both in a way accurate and inaccurate at the same time. Besides the verdict varies  between us. If you think that ditching meat or switching to some other source means you will automatically land up with equal or better source of nutrition, then you are off target.

That ethical take on vegan vs non- veg issue aside, if you were to swear off the meat and animal products, would that mean a ‘magical’ weight loss and a healthy you? Certainly not. Very few of us get to choose between vegan, vegetarian / non vegetarian way of food habits. Everyone in fact just keeps eating what their family chose for them since childhood.

So, it’s for you to choose between fried meaty treats and healthy delicious plant based foods. You could always brush aside that buzz over taste, smell and texture and dig in what you like most. After all healthy food doesn’t have to be boring. But you would do well if you sleep on this; if your co worker is noshing heavy meat burgers and fries every day, is he or she likely to be healthier than you?

And don’t forget….we become what we eat.!!

18 incredible plant based super foods that are packed with more punch than animal protein!!

Good plant based foods are out there that could feed your muscles with more proteins than you would have thought!

You wouldn’t have dreamed of turning from villain to warrior in one bound? Or have you thought of turning yourself into a protein powerhouse?  Sounds more like a feat hard to come by for many of us who are riveted more to mindful eating and intensely deliberate over food choices. We regularly search for nutritional benefits in food we eat and look around for ingredients that are impressive with macronutrients.

Clearly buzz of years means differently to different people. A vegetarian diet can be nutritionally superior to any other way of eating,” says Tallmadge. It can be one of the healthiest ways to eat, because we know plant foods are loaded with nutrients to protect our health.”

So does ditching meat automatically mean equal or better source of nutrition? Will it help us to  live longer and be healthier overall?

Let’s find out.

Proteins go to polls!

Proteins, like fats and carbohydrates are the most enviable energy source and are found in every cell. When viewed as a ‘nutrient of interest,’ protein wrests with other macronutrients for first place in vitality.

Human body is known to require 20 different amino acids and our body synthesizes only 11 of them (usually non essential ones). So, we must get remaining 9 essential amino acids from other sources. Traditionally animal proteins like meat, eggs and milk are considered complete proteins, meaning they provide all of the essential amino acids our body needs.

But there are plenty of plant based proteins sources out there as well. Beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, quinoa, leafy greens such as broccoli and kale and whole grains are excellent sources of protein. Some of them like Quinoa contain all the 9 essential amino acids that we need. Besides plant proteins run lower risk of causing carcinoma and type 2 diabetes.

As winter drags on and social distancing remain an unavoidable annoyance everywhere, we all look around for that little dose of happiness. While reaching out for a pint of ice cream or grabbing that extra slice of red meat might make you feel good in the short run, the rush you get from these caloric choices could leave you at the disappointing end of rush and nothing to show for it.

However, there are plant based foods that could make you feel happier, typically by lifting your mood or help in staving off depression or anxiety without having a negative impact on your waistline or health.  For those among us who wish to avoid animal-related food product and look for more health-conscious options, vegetarian substitutes are a great way to make the real cut.

Besides, it is also an easy way to save the animals and the cruelty that goes with it. Vegan, vegetarian, or a meat eater; if you look around for healthy super food options, these protein surrogates are a great way to swap meat without settling for less.

Black Beans

Image source: ‘Comforting Black Beans’ by Lola Milne in splendidtable.org

Packed with fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin- B6 and phytonutrients, black beans are a good source of anti oxidants and work hard on anti inflammatory properties. You could replace shredded beef or chicken as the main ingredient or use these beans as a base for veg burger Pattie. Each one cup serve carries 15 grams of protein which is equivalent to 50 gram of pork loin or 80 gram of chicken drumsticks.

Butter beans

Image source:’ Southern Style Butter Beans – Baby Lima Beans’ in ddepsouthdish.com on Jul.26,2016

Delicate in texture and starchy yet buttery in consistency, these beans are one serious ingredient for  great many recipes. Excellent source of minerals like iron, copper, manganese, calcium, magnesium and potassium, each one cup (128 grams) serve measures equivalent to ½ cup (64 grams) of scrambled eggs. One of the favorite substitutes for meats in homemade veg burgers, this bean is also the vegan option for soups that share meat in their recipes.

Soybean

Image source: ‘8 reasons why you should add soya to your daily diet’ by Mohsina Dodhiya in totallyveganbuzz.com on May 28, 2020

Soybean sources nearly as many essential amino acids as animal proteins. Fresh version is available as edamame while yellow ones are the mature beans. A good source of protein –one cup serve is equivalent to 75 gram portion of salmon or 180 grams of cottage cheese- soybeans also lay out a happy dose of B-vitamins. Considered as a main stream meat substitute, it’s a good aromatic swap for chicken and to a variety of dishes, from Asian stir fries to BBQ and even as a vegan substitute for scrambled eggs.

Replacing animal protein with soy protein is a smashing way to reduce body weight, manage blood sugar and get rid of bad cholesterol and triglycerides. One serving a day (one cup soymilk, ½ cup tofu or soybeans) is also effective for cancer prevention. The phytochemicals in soy prevent tumors from creating blood vessels and thus impede tumor growth.

Buckwheat

Image source: ‘How to Cook Buckwheat: Learn About the Versatile Grain’ in masterclass.com on Nov. 8, 2020.

This is a gluten free energizing and nutritious alternative to carbs like white rice. One cup serve of this super food has 6 grams of protein which is equivalent to one large egg. Buckwheat granola or pancakes could be a breakfast favorite if you pair them with coconut milk. Great to taste when added to raw deserts, cereals and home-made muesli bars, buckwheat is an incredibly healthy and nutritious food. You can also toss them through soups, salads and well practically any dish you like, as the taste is mild and slightly nutty.

Quinoa

Image source: ‘Is Quinoa Good for You? Everything You Need to Know About the Superfood’ by Katie Robinson in everydayhealth.com on Jul. 8, 2019

One among the few plants that could provide you with all the 9 essential amino acids, one cup serving of this gluten free, high protein food has ‘more bounce for an ounce’ value and measures up to one slice of non-fat mozzarella cheese. High on fiber, quinoa is good on manganese, B-vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin-E and whole lot of anti oxidants. Quinoa tastes heavenly in soups and stews. Since it has low glycemic value, you could swap it for ground beef in burger or BBQ sandwich. Try a vegan quinoa scramble for breakfast and you would be bowled over by its flavorsome tang.

Tempeh

Image source: ‘How to make tempeh with white beans from scratch’ in maricelsvegancrush.com on Sep. 18, 2018.

Tempeh, a rich source of complete protein, is a traditional Indonesian fermented food. It is made by cooking soybeans and fermenting them with a starter culture or mold called rhizopus oryzae for at least 2 days. Fermentation over, the soybeans get stuck together into a dense cake by a white mold. It then becomes sliceable and could be pan fried like tofu. Fermented and easy to digest, tempeh is an excellent meat substitute and looks and tastes incredible. Sweet & sour chicken, BBQ sandwich or chicken nuggets; you could replicate all with vegan and vegan friendly tempeh. Each 100 gram of this wonder food contains 20 gram of protein and is equivalent to 30 gram protein in 100 grams of chicken breast.

Hummus

Image source: ‘Hummus With Tahini’ by Anita Schecter in thespruceeats.com on Ap.7, 2019.

Surprisingly one of the easiest dishes, you can make this high fiber, low glycemic super dip all by yourself by blending chickpeas, a garlic clove, extra virgin oil, tahini (a paste made from sesame seeds, olive or vegetable oil and salt), lemon juice and salt. This amazingly tasty dip is an ideal vegan swap for traditional meat pate’. It also pairs well with sandwich as delectable spread and could replace meat, cheese and other calorie packed spreads and dressings. Each 100 gram serve has 8 grams of protein and is equivalent to one cup of skimmed milk or three spoonful of minced beef.

Ezekiel bread

Image source: ‘Why Ezekiel Bread is the Healthy Bread Everyone is Obsessed With’ by Lindsay D. Mattison in tasteofhome.com on May 30, 2020.

Ezekiel bread is a delicious, flourless loaf made from sprouted whole grains and legumes including millet, barley, spelt, wheat, soybeans and lentils. It’s named after the Old Testament verse Ezekiel 4:9, which reads: “Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them in a storage jar and use them to make bread for yourself.” Rich in flavor and dense in texture, one slice of this bread contains 4 grams of protein. A complete source of all essential amino acids it goes easy on the gut since sprouting process breaks down starches and releases enzymes that rejig carbohydrates. Sprouting also unlocks vitamins and minerals that turn them savory too.

Lentils

Image source: ‘Herbed Lentils with Spinach and Tomatoes’ by Ellie Krieger in foodnetwork.com

Typically legumes, lentils are high in fiber, magnesium, potassium, iron, folate, copper, manganese, and various other nutrients. These are among the best sources of plant-based protein and an excellent choice for vegetarians and vegans.  Each serve of one cup (200 grams) of boiled lentils contains 18 grams of protein. Other high protein legumes that serve equally well include soybeans, kidney beans and chickpeas.

Brussel sprouts

Image source: ‘Roasted Brussels Sprouts’ by Jaqatac in .allrecipes.com

Bursting with vitamin-C and cancer-fighting glucosinolates, Brussels sprouts are one of the most potent cold-weather super foods. Mere half cup (78 grams) of this high protein veggie could provide you 2 grams of protein.  “No! You wouldn’t gag over the offensive smell of cruciferous veggies cooking or mushy middles”. Simply season the sprouts with salt, pepper and olive oil or you could add 2 cloves of crushed garlic and slow roast at 425 degrees for fifteen minutes until darkest brown. You could even splash a bit of balsamic vinegar on top to make it more exciting. You will love them!!  Even picky eaters won’t say no to this amazing cook.

Jackfruit

Image source: ‘What is jackfruit and how do I use it?’ in wtop.com on Nov. 7, 2019.

This could turn out to be your vegan favorite. Jackfruit might be huge in places like Philippines, India, and Indonesia. A single fruit can weigh up to 100 lbs.  Resembling meat in texture( flesh is all fibrous) with somewhat similar looks, it has mild flavors and is easy to spice and cook. It is all rage for vegan tacos, nachos, pork sandwiches, curry and a number of Asian recipes. Do try it as it’s a unique experience and packs nearly 3 grams of protein per cup. It’s also up there in vitamin-C and fiber and rivals bananas for potassium.

Guava

Image source: ‘Pexel free media library in wordpress.com.

With 4.2 grams of protein per cup, guava definitely tops the list of high protein fruits. If that’s not enough, guava serves 4 times your daily vitamin-C needs in a single serving!! Eat all by itself, add it to sweeten a smoothie, pair it with Greek yogurt or simply mix with fruit salads for a perky and protein-rich new taste. Packed with antioxidants this fruit is an excellent source of fiber.

Avocado

Image source: ‘The avocado craze’ by Dr. Phil Maffetone in philmaffetone.com on JUl. 9, 2019.

A close second to guava in the protein stakes with an impressive 4 grams per cup, avocado is a perfect breakfast that is genuinely delicious and could turn a simple toast into a healthy flavorsome meal. A show stopper in salads, avocado is also one versatile food that pairs well with your nutrition requirements.

Dried Apricot

Image source:’ 15 Health Benefits of Dried Apricots (and Nutrition Facts)’ by Martha Piccolo in dryingallfoods.com

Dried?” This could put you off, but surprisingly  this one is  far more loaded with protein than a ripe wet one with 2.2 grams per one cup serve.  You could munch them down straight from the pack or mix them into your breakfast cereal.

Almonds

Image source:’ Almonds Aren’t Nuts, They’re Fruit‘ by Holly Van Hare in thedailymeal.com on Oct. 16, 2017.

Each ¼ cup serving of this wonder nut contains 12 grams of protein or equivalent to one cup of full fat milk if you choose one tbsp of almond butter. Energy rich almonds also contain nutrients, minerals and antioxidants and source protein, calcium, magnesium and iron too. Since the almond butter pairs well with fruits like apple, pears or banana, you could stir a spoonful in your smoothie, spread on toast or lick straight out of jar.

Kiwi fruit

Image source: ‘8 facts about Kiwi Fruit’ in fruitrunner.co.uk on Jun. 21, 2017

Savor a Kiwifruit if you haven’t done so far and experience a magical sensory explosion of flavor that would leave you searching for more.  It contains a fairly respectable 2.1 grams of protein per cup, not to mention nearly twice your daily requirement of vitamin-C.  Simply cut one in half and dig in. You won’t regret it!

Blackberries

Image source:’ Blackberry Plant Profile’ by Jamie McIntosh in thespruce.com on Sep. 25, 2020.

With 2 grams of protein per cup serving, we could be staring at the bottom of the protein vat, but blackberries still have more to offer which is enough to make to our favorite’s list. They pack in plenty of fiber, vitamins and minerals for a good healthy snack.

Pumpkin seeds

Image source:’ What are the health benefits of pumpkin seeds? ‘in medicalnewstoday.com.
Image source:’ What are the health benefits of pumpkin seeds? ‘in medicalnewstoday.com.

Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, can be tucked away with or without shells. Once scooped out of the pumpkin and freed of flesh, this super food turns into a delightful snack when light spices are added and then roasted for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees. Whole roasted pumpkin seeds in their shells contain about 5.2 grams of fiber per serving, while shelled one contain just 1.8 grams.

Rich in other nutrients, including magnesium, a quarter cup of pumpkin seeds pack nearly 42 percent of a person’s recommended daily intake of magnesium and 9 grams of protein.

That’s not meat protein yet is dependable and so easy to cook!!

For someone who doesn’t eat meat, it’s exciting to try Beyond Meat Burger and to see if it really lives up to its name. The plant-based burger looks, cooks and makes the grade like beef. Carrying all the juicy, meaty deliciousness of a traditional burger, this super food comes with the upsides of a plant-based meal. If it does fit in to your choice, the elegant burger that looks and tastes like meat will actually have 20 grams of delicious fatty plant-based protein that could leave you wondering if it’s made out of plants!

To every meat lover who asks you where you get your protein from – the answers could be confusing and may sound a bit thick. For meat lovers anything vegetarian or vegan has little nutritional value, is ridiculously bland and not a perfect meal for those who are always on the go.

Vegetarians  on the other hand associate their foods to a lower risk of heart disease and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol which could help in managing blood pressure, hypertension and type 2 diabetes. These are the people who buck the trend to have lower body mass index, lower overall cancer rates and lower risk of chronic diseases.

Whatever…Good taste or easy protein, there is certainly no call for veg vs non-veg. What matters most is, how you choose between sustainable foods that are flush with proteins especially when there is no one protein like “one size fits all”.

So, choose smart, make peace with your plate and eat healthy!! 

These awfully adverted rude foods have actually brought the fun back into snacking!!

Rude foods are finally bringing the fun back into snacking. Organically produced muesli and porridges packed full of tasty fruity bits and extra textures are jostling and finding space in daily breakfast tray, disproving the cynics who thought that such cereals were boring.

Weirdness is all sweet and savory

We all love deliciousness of certain words. These are the words that bring everyday food to life. Even something as modest as a chocolate could make you salivate when dressed with warm adjectives like rich, thick, gooey, creamy, silky or frothy. Appetizing words like simmering, browned, roasted, spice tempt you to try out a newer recipe each time you visit a non-descript out of  the way café with equally tempting offerings.

The cake fluffy as a pillow, toasty brown bedecked with plum colored cream swirls, looks like a homespun triumph. The cream of mushroom is all butter laden cognac kissed charm. Succulent and plump shrimp sautéed with chili flakes and served with salad of oyster mushroom, cucumber and corns, all fresh, vibrant and crunchy, is just spicy enough to make you sit upright.

More lightweight than a brittle these are the foods that work wonders over a cup of coffee. If you could soak all day in these awesome foods, then what is this ‘double entendre ‘all about? 

May be it’s about a  food—even the one you normally like—that can be described in a way that totally robs the joy of eating it.Yucks!! this food’s worth a second tasteyou would describe a tomato if you don’t agree that a good tomato is ripe, sweet and juicy. Slimy, jellylike substance around the seeds, thin skin and grainy pulp” would keep you at bay from even a salad staple. And it sure wouldn’t inspire anybody to rush out to a nearest oyster bar and stay calm when faced with a plateful of barnacled, irregular and slimy oysters on your table. Aesthetics of devouring shellfish would give way to horror in no time and you will never manage to extract oysters from their watery home! 

Food that we consider inappropriate for consumption is usually a sell-short version of undercooked, overcooked, burned or mystery portion in an old margarine tub at the back of the fridge; lamenting veggies weeping at the bottom of the crisper or the leftover of greyish congealed gravy with fur and fuzz sprouting from things. The kind of stuff nobody would want to or ever should eat. Adjectives like grisly, withered, rubbery, curdled and moldy perfectly make for a food that is beyond its prime. This is what plainugly’ food is all about.

But have you wondered that what the French consider delectable- snails in a sizzling garlic sauce– may well be another culture’s nightmare?

But what happens when a flavorsome food is named weirdly?

From coddled eggs to Witchetty grub, it’s not unlikely that the weirdness of names themselves would keep even the most enterprising foodies at arm’s length. For one coddler is a porcelain cup with a lid and none would dream of eating pottery and anything ‘ witchy’ sounds downright dangerous and equally distasteful.

But the fact of the matter is that weirdest foods are not always that weird. Coddled eggs are in fact lightly steamed or baked (in hot water bath) rendering only the whites to be slightly cooked. Likewise Witchetty grub is the larva of a moth that feeds on wild bush called by the same name. Packed with proteins it can be eaten raw or soft cooked and tastes like scrambled egg and for some it even reminds of chicken.

So why not call them by the name everybody is familiar with ? Why not just use words like “sausage” instead of “mystery meat”? For a few it could be for fun’s sake but for most it’s akin to putting punch back into the very act of snacking.

Here are some of the freak foods that are ubiquitous and grossest at the same time. Known passionately and devoured eagerly, these dishes are not entirely inaccurately regarded as ‘mystery foodsand often carry even weirder ingredients.

Bubble & squeak

Image source: ‘Classic British Bubble And Squeak’ by Decatur MacPherson in 12tomatoes.com

If you think that this food hails of something close to a living creature that bubbles and perhaps squeaks when served on your platter, then you couldn’t be more far from truth. This food has origins in Great Britain and actually contains leftover fried veggies. Loved as a side dish to morning breakfast, it’s meant to sound awful because the dish made from cooked potatoes and cabbage when mixed together and fried literally bubbles and squeaks while over the fire.

The Imam Bayildi (literally Imam fainted)

Image source: ‘IMAM BAYILDI (A stuffed eggplant recipe from Asia minor)’ by Evelynathens in food.com

Now this one is far weirder and you couldn’t possibly have the slightest idea of what could there be in the dish. It’s actually a recipe from the Turkish cuisine and is generally made from whole eggplant, garlic and tomatoes and simmered in olive oil. Imam bayildi could also be made from baked tender aubergines with aromatic tomato and onion stuffing. Legend has it that it was so delectable that it made even the Imam faint with pleasure at the delicious flavor of this dish.

Bat Milk yogurt

Image source: ‘The 20 Most Inappropriate Food Product Names Ever’ by William Lewis on Jan 29, 2015 in top13.net

This weird brand of yogurt made from cow’s milk comes from Brazil and certainly has nothing to do with bats. From a Brazilian brand Batavo, this yoghurt created a fusion of two words by combining a Portuguese word, “batter“, with the English word, “milk” hence creating one of the offensive words, “BatMilk.” Even then who would want to have BatMilk ?

Only Puke crackers

Image source: ’31 Truly Unfortunate Food Product Names’ by Jessica Misener in buzzfeed.com on Sep 30, 2013

Words often mean different things in different languages, as this awfully adverted food proves. This Chinese snack is actually known as Only Pukeet and is oddly named because the last two letters on the bag were horrible prints making them virtually invisible. These honey bean crackers remind people of vomit and couldn’t possibly really make you want to eat them either.

Century eggs

Image source: ‘Century Eggs with Mala Chili Sauce’ by Lady Home Chef in ladyhomechef.blogspot.com on April 27, 2017

There is no way you could even dream of eating a 100 year old egg. But when you do eat, you are actually eating an older, rotten, black version. This recipe calls for eggs being preserved in clay and ash for few months. Once ready, these turn into a savory comfort food. Of course, no health issues here. Intimidating but it is a convenience food.

Bangers and Mash

Image source: ‘Bangers & Mash with Guinness Onion Gravy’ in johnsonville.com

The English always have had a penchant for weird names. This eat also known as sausages and mash, quintessentially has British-Irish origin and consists of finger sausages served with mashed potatoes drizzled with gravy. Including one of a variety of flavored sausages made from pork, lamb or beef, this is a dish you’ll find anywhere in the fancy restaurants and pubs across England. It blends well with other luxury ingredients and is super delicious too!!

Clootie dumpling

Image source: ‘Clootie Dumpling! posted by SOCIAL:FIFE ⋅ on Jan 25, 2015 in socialfife.wordpress.com

Based on name you wouldn’t have guessed it right. This in fact is a desert pudding made of sweets stuff like dough, dried fruits and sugar, all held as a dumpling within a strip of parchment and fabric. The name clootie comes from the cloth it‘s boiled in, as cloot is scots for cloth. Traditionally you would boil the dumpling straight on the cloth rather than lining it with paper first. You can also steam it in a pudding basin if you wish to experiment.

Sweetbread (Offal)

Image source:’ What is Offal? Types, Nutrition, Benefits, & Uses’ in discover.grasslandbeef.com on Nov. 25, 2019

It’s hard to win you over as an exciting believer of this ‘complicateddish. It is neither a sweet nor a piece of bread and contains animal meat as the key ingredient. Sometimes also known as ‘Offal’, the thymus or pancreas of the animal is behind one of the main ingredients. Many sweetbreads come from veal meat or lamb but beef and pork sweetbreads are the revered ones.

Welsh Rabbit

Image source: ‘Welsh Rarebit’ in foodandtable.com on May 20,2018

If you think that it is a rabbit dish from Wales, then you are in for a surprise! This one is in fact a vegetarian dish and for some odd reason has been so weirdly named by somebody who was either incredibly clever or mighty confused. No rabbits; it is rather melted cheese over toast or crackers. The English nonetheless brandish a fancier version with actual rabbits.

Rocky Mountain Oysters

Image source: ’11 Things You Didn’t Know About Rocky Mountain Oysters’ by Sarah Anderson in thrillist.com on Aug.22, 2015

These are not oysters and neither seafood. Purposefully but so inaccurately named, these are actually testicles from animals like goats, sheep calves. So, how did this dish come to be? At the end of the day most big ranches would end up with hundreds of these and just to make economic sense out of it, make use of them by cooking and eating. For few it may go off well but for most it is an ugly food, absurdly described that fails to whet appetite.

Ladyfingers

Image source: ‘Ladyfingers Recipe & Video’ in joyofbaking.com

No! You have guessed it all wrong. It’s not a savory dish made out of okra pods but a delicious little dessert. These are in fact low density, dry egg based sweet sponge biscuits cakes made out in the shape of a large finger. Essentially, they’re dip-able, finger-shaped cookies that are so delicate that even Keats had to write about them. Ladyfinger cakes are undoubtedly an intricate creation and are  considered to be one of the rare bakers’ arts.

Crunky Ball Nude

Image source:’ The crudest foods: From ‘Crunky Ball Nudes’ to hot ‘Urinal’ cordials’ by Yaron Steinbuch in nypost.com on Jan 28. 2015

One of the most hilariously named Korean candies, this is a provocative confection made with hazelnut paste and malt covered in crisped rice and chocolate. It looks more like an unsophisticated version of a Ferrero Rocher. These candies come packaged in a plastic barrel with a flip-top, which is quite a fun. Each ball is about the size of a grape and covered in tiny rice crisps.

There’s very little chocolate though that could show through. The rice crisps are nuttier and taste almost like cornflakes or sesame seeds and are within each ball too. The chocolate is thick with dusky hints of malt. The texture pairs well with the airy puffs of rice.

Even infamous is sometimes delightful

With names like Pee cola, Cream colon biscuits, Golden gay time cookies, instant ramen ‘Soup for Sluts’ and ‘Urinal’ hot drink, at first glance these foods could put you off when feeling impish. But words mean differently for different languages. Some of the most delectable spreads are the most unfortunately named foods in the world.  It’s not surprising that the idea of adverting these nasty named foods as an epicurean delight is fast catching up since they mate so well with the duality of happiness and health. It’s startling that even the most weirdly named cuisine is not considered a redemption dish anymore!!

If you haven’t tried one of these freakish sounding foods so far, it’s time to reach out. The queerness is just the result of terrible branding or probably their awkward names are a result of their true name meanings having lost track over the time.

Whatever…names apart, you know how to pull it off when gravies and curries, sweet and savory and traditional and classical meet the challenges to keep the textures right even after a long journeyfrom wok to platter.

You could actually unjunk your favorite junk foods into healthy delights !!

Inexpensive, mouthwatering and widely available, junk foods laced with craving whipping ingredients, are incredibly irresistible and make for an obscenely tempting sweet or savory food.

It’s not uncommon that just about everyone of us who has live through that upsetting endless ‘diet-getting-horrified’ resolve to cut out the junk food may have stayed on course  for a short while, begin to binge again –feel the guilt once more and then start all over again. But is it that impossible to step away from junk food for all the wrong reasons it carries?

Sometimes, just having an alternative could steer you clear of all those empty calories; “empty” because there is either no nutritional content or it is so low, it might as well not even exist. May be keeping some healthy snack options handy could help you next time that craving hits. But for quite a few however, suppressing those stomach urges may not be easy to cope with.

So what do we do about it? Is there a way to steer clear of those junk treats? Not many of us would know how to go about it. But you could do just fine by approaching this whole junk food issue from a different angle. Instead of cutting out the junk completely and stamping out your cravings, try recompensing your ultimate temptation with junk foods in their unjunked form.

Here’s how you could eat bad foods’ regardless of what you may have heard.

Peanut butter

Image source : ‘ Ask the doctor, why peanut butter is healthy if it has saturated fat? ‘ by Prof Walter C. Willett in health.harvard.edu

High in fat content, this is one high protein comfort food that is a good source of fiber, vitamin-E, magnesium and antioxidants. When consumed moderately, it could even help manage weight while controlling hunger due to protein and fiber content that take so long to digest. Be sure to watch your serving size though. No more than two tablespoons (28 -30 grams) would be enough. Also shop for natural version with no added sugar.

Chocolate

Image source : ‘When is it Ok to eat Chocolate ?’ by Ellen Byron in wsj.com

An ounce (28.34 gms precisely) of dark chocolate is shown to lessen the risks for heart diseases and a bit more helps ease stress. It reduces LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol and improves cognitive performance in elderly. Look out for dark chocolate with a 60% cacao or higher that has more antioxidants and less added sugar.  Since even dark chocolate is calorie rich, stick to one to two ounces per day to avoid weight gain.

If you think you are not a regret cook and spirited enough to look for an exciting feat, then you should try snacking tomatoes instead- convenient, bite sized and so sweet. Known to score as high as chocolate cake in the category of flavor, cherry tomatoes are convenient snacking options. Simply give them a wash and you’re good to go! It can’t get any easier than that.

Pizza

Image source : ‘Domino’s is giving away free pizza to people named Karen’ by Olivia Petter in independant.co.uk

The ultimate temptation of greasy toppings could be anybody’s waistline nightmare. First you tell yourself it is just one slice, then you reach for another and another. What begins as curious nibble turns sizeable in no time and no wonder calorie meter bolts wild!

To make this work for you without being too moreish, just replace the white crust with whole wheat dough. If you are venturesome, try making a cauliflower crust or go for mini bites with egg plants or mushrooms.

Cheeseburgers

Image source : ‘Classic Cheeseburger’ in taste.com.au

Be wary here. Ground beef and cheese that make this eat so gratifying, piles on kilos. Nonetheless, take a shot and make this work for you. Put together your own patty with extra lean beef and complete it with a whole what bun. Turkey meat could be another healthy fill-in.

Potato Chips

Image source: ; ‘ Setting up potato chips factory’ in financialtribune.com on Sep 29, 2015

You could be the one of those who often cheats themselves for the fun of it and relent to that luring commercial tagline,Once you pop, you can’t stop”. Unfortunately, laden with carbs, fats and salts these deceitful eats are hell-bent on expanding your waistline. Try fruit or vegetarian chips instead using carrots, kale, beet, oranges or even apples. All it takes is some chopping, slicing, smearing olive oil, and baking.

If you think you have the nerve to try something resembling ‘Michelin star’ cooking, next time try slicing up some bell peppers and cucumbers to pair with a flavorful dip! Lots of other veggies – like carrots, celery, or broccoli – also go nicely with a whole lot of dips

Nachos and Tacos

Image source : ‘ Nachos and tacos: The perfect combo’ in mesero.net on Jul 17, 2019

These two classic meals run high on everybody’s priority list, especially the ones that are piled high with your favorite but often fatty fixings. It’s not so difficult to make them work for you. Simply swap out nacho chips for sweet bell pepper that you can stack up with your favorite veggies, black beans and cheese. Cheese shelled tacos on the other side offer a healthier alternative to hard shelled taco and go so well with homemade salsa.

Soft drinks

Image source : ’13 ways that sugary soda is bad for your health’ by Joe Leech in healthline.com on Feb. 8, 2019

With sugar levels going through the roof, soft drinks are still a hard to resist food and could potentially harm your brain if indulged into recklessly. Craving for it is particularly due to its refreshing quality and tangy flavor, no matter what the cost.  If you wish to make it work for you, throw in a slice of lemon or add a strawberry in unflavored soda water. The zing would be just as much flavorsome and freshening in double time!!

If you are craving for something thick, cold and sweet like a milkshake to drink, try instead flavorful fruit filled smoothie that are packed with healthy vitamins and minerals! Natural sugars found here with no processed sugars added make it a delightful snack to tuck into and kick your day off.

Pancakes

Image source :’ Fluffy Pancakes’ in eggs.ca

Commonly mistaken to be fewer calories intensive, each ingredient in this breakfast delight works quite differently. Batter in this scrumptious food is converted into sugar way quickly than you would have thought. Other ingredients that go into its making like syrup turn it into a fare that is far from healthy.

To make it work for you, use extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil and top it with berries or a dash of butter. A less sugary version is better option and could be made with a banana and two eggs. Just mash the banana, whisk in the eggs and cook in a heated pan for 30 secs in any form. Shapes do not matter much any way!

If you are free swinger in kitchen, try adding sweet bell peppers to the batter! Once added to baked goodies these peppers take on an unbelievably sweet flavor and sport a healthier ingredient list. Adding these nutrient-dense fruits to your pancake is one easy way to rake in a healthy dose of vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber, and iron into your system.

Ice Cream

Image source :’ New tech for ice cream making’ in Cleanroomtechnology.com on Aug 29, 2018

One of the most irresistible snack food, little needs to be said about how delectable ice cream is. Yet, considering it is essentially made out of sugar and milk creams, just as less needs to be said about its health properties. But no worries! No need to get rid of ice cream entirely either. Instead try a vegan option. Blend together two frozen bananas and blueberries or walnuts, use coconut milk variant or even yoghurt and a delectable healthy version of every day delight is there for you to dig in.

Pasta

Image source : ‘Cheese, Nuts and Cranberry Pasta’ in dairyfarmersofcanada. ca

Layer upon layer of cheese and cream is what makes pasta so enticing. Carbs contents of course usually run through the roof well beyond healthy servings. Can you still make it work for you? Yes! by all means. Just look around for foods that could make a great pasta replacement.

Ever heard of spaghetti squash or vegetable spaghetti? It is a cultivated plant from   genus Cucurbita . When raw, the flesh of the fruit is solid and similar to other raw squash. When cooked, the meat of the fruit falls away from the flesh in ribbons or strands that look like spaghetti and is a much healthier option. Available in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors including ivory, yellow and orange with orange having the highest amount of carotene, spaghetti squash is an excellent source of fiber. A 155 gram (1 cup) serving packs in 2.2 grams or 9% of your daily fiber needs. It’s a good stand-in for pasta, and blends nicely with various flavors. Roasting it correctly will yield strands of ‘spaghetti’ that can be topped up with regular spaghetti condiments.

To spruce up the spread, slice up some zucchini to make “noodles”, edible baked or raw. Throw in a generous amount of carrots, peppers, onions and peanut butter to complete a delicious variant of Thai pasta.

Foods that do more than make you smile

There’s a reason they couldn’t be called “junk,”. Eating food that is high in fat, sodium and sugar reduces your interest in eating more. Each 100 gm serving of oil roasted and salted mixed nuts contains 54 gms of fat, 273 mg of sodium and 4.2 gms of sugar. Once ingested your body stops responding to the normal impulse to seek more food. Coffee fares much better and contains 0% carb, 0% protein and only 40mg of caffeine per 100 ml serve to keep you pepped up all day long.

Nuts

Image source : ‘Highest nut quality with optical inspection’ in specim.fi on Nov 19, 2019

Nuts are high in fat and calories and if eaten in reasonable quantity, actually help in weight loss. Also, nuts are heart-friendly and consuming them significantly lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke. Walnuts, rich in omega-3 fats, are particularly good option and contain plant sterols that have cholesterol-lowering properties. These kernels in their natural form are the finest source of fiber, vitamins, carbohydrates, proteins, and iron. Walnut chomping is also known to help manage metabolic syndrome, diabetes and inflammation.

Since unprocessed version is typically free of any junk quality it could be consumed raw, though works better if soaked overnight. Eat 7-8 walnut halves before any two meals daily and drink a glass of water after 15 to 30 minutes. You will feel fuller and will eventually eat less food.

Coffee

Image source : ‘Wake up to the smell of coffee from these 6 homegrown coffee brands’ by Trishi Dhingra in magicpin.in

This anytime brews helps you burn fat and ups physical performance by raising metabolism and increasing oxidation of fatty acids. It is an excellent source of antioxidants and is believed to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, dementia and Parkinson’s disease. Three to four cups a day is your safe bet. Just be sure to skip sugary flavored creamers. Almond or coconut milk instead could be a good choice.

Besides coffee is also  known to help in small but significant reduction in the number of teeth with periodontal bone loss.

Healthy snacking isn’t so hard !

Ever wondered what makes certain foods so addictive than others. Why we crave for ‘junk’ more than any other food? Much of the science that follows offers cryptic explanations. When we eat tasty food, two factors make the experience pleasurable or otherwise. First, there is the sensation of eating the food that includes the experience of how it feels in the mouth (salty, sweet, umami etc.) and what it smells like. Yet another one is the actual macronutrient makeup of the food— the blend of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates that it contains.

Junk foods have an infamous but perfect combination of salt, sugar, and fat that excites your brain and get you coming back for more. In fact rapid food meltdown and vanishing calorie density of junk foods signals your brain that you are not eating as much as you actually are. These foods literally tell your brain that you are not full even though you may have overindulged.

However, there is absolutely no need to sacrifice your favorite junk foods as you search for that trim waistline. A little bit of creativity and effort could do well to your culinary skills and keep you nourished and stoked for sensory specific responses. All you need to do is to take control of your intake of saturated and trans fats, for these are the two most deceitful culprits responsible for major health problems. Go for healthier options over the easy ones and once you learn to unjunk your food, you wouldn’t be looking for fresh inspirations elsewhere!! It’s always good to step out of box once in a while and put some consideration into your favorite dish without butchering it.

Above all not every junk food you pick is a diet disaster but just because something is as easy as pie doesn’t mean it is always good for you.

Try the redemption way and it could actually turn more healthy than you think!!

Body bloom foods that could actually make you more radiant and alive than you would have thought!!

It’s not hard to miss and you may have actually experienced it feasting on junky, prepackaged foods that taste of nothing but chemicals. That unsavory taste lingers offensively and leaves your taste buds high and dry. Compare this with a meal made from wholesome organic ingredients and the choice is so clear and obvious. You wonder how on earth you could ever prefer processed over fresh food!

Looking good is just as much about taking care of your body inside as it is about radiant outside. And I am not merely talking about your looks alone. A good eat promotes healthy exterior too. Take for instance your hair. It needs protein to produce keratin, the proteins that make hair strong and lustrous. If it doesn’t receive enough of proteins, it could go into a ‘resting phase’ causing noticeable hair loss. Come to think of it…try adding a portion of whey protein to your morning smoothie for simple boost. It may even help you with controlling your appetite and those afflicted with iron deficient anemia. This iron deficiency is primarily associated with koilonychias– a deficiency syndrome characterized by spoon shaped nails. Many would hasten with the advice; you must eat red meat every day of the week. It will help you get over this deprivation in no time”. Does this mean that you should be consuming it each day, especially when you know that red meat is high in saturated fat, and consuming lots of it hazards increased risk of several health problems including cardiac disease, several types of cancer and type 2 diabetes? I would though say that a lean cut of beef once a week wouldn’t harm you much.

Subtle signs you are missing out on these essential eats!

What do all those healthy foods have in common? Super foods like grilled chicken, lentils, yogurt, and eggs… all are loaded with enough protein to see us through the day. Carbohydrates, fats are also all important to maintain good health quotient. In fact each one of these three macronutrients are high priority foods for a different reason. If you cut back on carbs, your body responds with odd reactions. If you pinch fats you are risking your brain’s health. You may have trouble staying focused at work or even find yourself feeling scatterbrained and foggy. And of course, you wouldn’t want to cut corners on proteins. This is one major source of energy and intrinsic to functioning of your immune system.

There is no one magic number for how much of protein you need each day. Grams differ from person to person. So you would do best if you learn which food carries most and add them in your daily serve, if you feel you are not eating enough. But before that, let’s figure out why proteins are so crucial while making food choices.

Our skin, hair and nails are made primarily from a protein called keratin. Our body derives it from the food we take to produce it. If it doesn’t get enough of it, our skin, hair, and nails get hurt most. Yet another promising protein that is so important for your winsomeness is collagen It counts heavily on amino acids proline, glycine and lysine for its production. These amino acids come directly from eating certain protein rich foods. That’s part of why eating salmon, eggs, and yogurt can actually help us if we are looking for better hair slides. But what lies next is even more perplexing!

You may be cramming all the goodness that you think is adequate but still not see the results you actually want to happen to you!  You are taking longer to recover from stress situations or don’t see muscle gain even after a workout. Any number of things could be stalling your progress. In all probability you may have missed the cue to begin with. What is good may not be enough.  This happens when you lack enough proteins.

The proteins that would have otherwise been used for muscle building and repairs, are used to supply more to vital tissues. In fact when your muscles break down during stress activity, they simple wear away instead of building up stronger during repairs. This means that your body needs more of it to build up strength back again. This doesn’t have to come from a protein bar or shake but from nutritious foods in your meals and snacks.

Here’s the foods that could give your hair and nails a boost, your sagging skin a natural lift and texture, those puffy dark circled eyes an unmistakable shine and luster, an envious upturn to six packs and above all help you stay stoked 24/7.

Image source: ‘ 6 reasons to stock your kitchen with blueberries’ by Daisy Melamed.

Blueberries We all know that antioxidants help protect our body’s cells against free radical damage.. This damage results in higher levels of stress hormones and inflammation that in turn harm all the cells in the body, including those in the hair and nails. Blueberries could just be the right choice to overcome this depletion. Among other fruits and dark greens, these berries have one of the highest antioxidant properties of all fruits.

Image source:: ‘The health benefits of Almonds” by Nicola Shubrook in BBC Goodfood.com.

Almonds These goodness picks are a rich source of protein and full of magnesium. An anti stress mineral, it helps maintain healthy hair and nails. Look out for those vertical ridges in your nails. This may be the sign of inadequate magnesium in your body. You can also get more magnesium through leafy greens and soybeans.

Image source: ‘Czech microbreweries call for ‘beer paramedics’ amid lockdown hangover’.by David Hutt.

Beer Interestingly, beer is one rich sources of silicon, a trace mineral that increases circulation to the scalp, which bodes well for hair growth. May be it is why a daily 10-mg silicon supplement is found to be enough to reduce hair and nail brittleness after about five month therapy. No need to go overboard, though. Most single servings of beer carry10 mg + of silicon.  So…no more than single drink a day for women and two for men unless  you intend to ruin your diet plan.

Image source: ‘ Easy butter and herb baked Oysters’ by Diana Rattray.

Oysters These have 74 grams of zinc per serving, far more than any other food. Not interested enough to eat oysters every day? Or maybe you are a vegan or an absolute vegetarian buff ! Any one of beef, poultry, fortified cereals, and baked beans could help you up your intake of this vital nutrient.

Image source:: ‘Canadian milk : Forever free from antibiotics’ on 14 Feb 2019 by DFC-PLC com team.

Milk A link between vitamin D and hair loss has evoked renewed interest among those who experience everyday trauma over falling hair. Women who shed hair are believed to have lower vitamin D levels than those who flaunt healthy hair. Calcium is a key mineral in building healthy hair and nails and you need vitamin D to absorb calcium. Of course, vitamin-D fortified milk offers both, but supplements  sans medical advice is a big nay even if you think you might be deficient.

Image source: ’26 Things You Need To Know Before Buying A Carton of Eggs” by Olivia Tarantino.

Eggs Eggs are a good source of protein and contain little bit of vitamin D and biotin, a B-complex vitamin that plays a key role in keratin development. If you are deficient in biotin then it is very likely that you have weak hair and nails that are brittle and break one too often.

Image source:: ‘Easy salmon recipes’ in Olivemagazine.com on 08 Oct 2020.

Salmon Salmon is a good source of biotin and protein, along with omega-3 fatty acids which reduce inflammation and promote healthy moisturized skin. And mind you…your scalp is skin too. A healthy scalp means healthy hair follicles, and in turn strong lustrous hair. Omega-3s’ inflammation-reducing effects are also good for your nails.

Image source :’Double Baked Sweet Potatoes” in Macheesmo.com.

Sweet Potato This highly nutritious super food is just great for promoting keratin production. It is particularly high in beta carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the body. This vitamin in turn promotes keratin synthesis and is so essential for skin and hair health.

Image source: ‘ A detailed guide to eating garlic and reaping it’s possible health benefits’ by Kristeen Chemey.

Garlic Garlic carries plentiful amounts of L-cysteine, an amino acid found in keratin and helps in toning the skin health. Garlic is also rich in beneficial micronutrients, including manganese, vitamin B6 and vitamin C including a powerful compound called allicin. Allicin acts as an antibiotic agent and helps cure respiratory infections.

Image source: ‘ UP: Mango sales dip due to Covid-19 lockdown’ in The Hawk dated 12 Jul 2020.

Mangoes A ripe mango is one delicious way to pack in some extra nutrients into your food. It is stuffed with pro-vitamin A that kicks up the synthesis of keratin. Mango is also high in several other key nutrients such as vitamin C and folate.

Image source: ‘Are Sunflower Seeds Good for You? Nutrition, Benefits and More” by Marsha McCulloch.

Sunflower Seeds Savory, satisfying and flavorful, these seeds are a great source of both biotin and protein that support keratin production. The seeds are also rich in a number of micronutrients including vitamin E, copper, selenium and pantothenic acid.

Image source::’Why Carrots Are The Superfood You Need In Your Diet’ in ZENB.com.

Carrots Carrots are loaded with vitamin C and promote collagen synthesis to support hair, skin and nail health. This vitamin also assists in wound healing, alleviates inflammation and protects against skin damage. These sweet, delicious crunchy taproots hold plenty of biotins, vitamin B6, potassium and vitamin K1 as add-ons. An exceptionally rich source of carotenes and vitamin-A, a 100 g fresh carrot contains 8,285 microgram of beta-carotene and 16,706 IU ( international unit) of vitamin-A.

Image source: ‘Curly Kale’ by Rory O’Connell in rte.ie/lifestyle/recipes/2015.

Kale This leafy green super food is a good source of pro-vitamin- A that supports keratin synthesis. It is also a great source of vitamin C that stimulates the production of collagen, a type of protein that manages the texture, strength and elasticity of your skin.

And don’t forget that quintessential water! Skin, hair, nails and all our cells need water to function as we are mostly made of water. So keep hydrated throughout the day, whether with water or through herbal teas.

Then there are those that you don’t just have to eat… The beauty of using foods to nourish yourself means that often you can use them directly and indulge in a mini pampering session all by yourself. You can make a face mask of mashed avocado, cacao powder and ground turmeric or mashed papaya, coconut yoghurt and turmeric to hydrate, soften and make skin naturally glow. Try applying coconut or avocado oil to the hair, leave overnight as a hair mask, then rinse out in the morning. Or make a homemade body scrub with ground oats, olive oil and sugar or ground coffee, cacao powder and coconut oil.

Trust me, results would amaze you to no end!!

Shore up within and walk off into the sunset

Whatever you do and howsoever you intend to make it happen, simply learn to eat a little better than you have been doing so far. Remember changes didn’t happen to you!! Just aim to strike rich with what you devour. Choosing healthy flavorful foods are known to work best for those who realize that binge eats are your worst enemy and work on diet plans that indulge more on macronutrients.

After all living inside a healthy body doesn’t have to be difficult. One should be in sync with it and have fun together!  Just step out, gather your wits and try new healthy, nutritious foods without gushing over.

You will be surprised how small changes could make a heap of difference !!

 

“I could never make heads turn” and I never rued for not being the object of desire.

People around me could never gather enough courage to say that they never found anything attractive in me, but somehow I knew. I was no freak and I had no great looks… at least not good enough to be an object of desire. I just couldn’t make heads turn..! I was the one who desired rather than be the one who was desired.

Still, it’s taken some getting used to.

I would be lying if I were to say that I didn’t miss the thrill of being wanted. The subtle pleasure of acquiescence to somebody’s needs, the opportunity to say ‘yes’ instead of being asked,  ‘would you’?

The other day, a man -friend of a friend, distantly acquainted sat next to me in a local coffee shop. I could never figure out this day why he said what he said a little while later in a low voice leaning across. I can never make out, if it’s the academics that make everything desirable or if it takes sensuality out of everything”. He held my gaze after he’s done. It occurred to me that he was mocking me. Not giving up…so I smile and say, “It’s probably a little bit of both” and lean in for just a moment. The brazen ugly sparkle in his eye bemused me… the way he took a jibe at me. Then I lean away again and say, “But it’s’ probably more of the former, because I am married, happily so and gotten everything I want from this happenstance.”

I felt uncomfortable for quite some time … It scared me. Are we so free to say about things that are so unshakeable part of how we are to ourselves?

Today, though it’s a relief. I have seen people hide the truth of aging over their lives, chasing the desires and fantasies that I have neither had the time nor the inclination for. This is my body and I live in it more happily than I would endure the awful things I’d need to do to make it appear young again!

That the years weigh heavily on me, is because they were good years lived well and I have no intention to bid farewell to good things that lit up my sky today… everyday.

I wonder what makes us yearn so fervently to be desired, to wear a charm mesmerizing enough to change moods and make heads turn. What stokes the fear of being left behind’ that would otherwise carve an emotional wreck out of us ? Is there a way out?

Slight Smiles, Head Tilts, Tousled Hair: what this ‘allure’ is all about!

When it comes to beguiling, your looks could make you incredibly appealing even if for a short while. But deep down, we all are attracted more to carriage than other elements.

Humans are not as mysterious as they think. We have fairly expressive facial and body language cues to reveal our inner thoughts. Smile amongst them serve best in igniting the attraction even though it is not a definite facial cue.

The truth behind attraction rings differently for different persons.  I have always regarded it as a kind of invention. I think of it as an irresistible force to which we usually are in so thrall that we ignore its power to limit our choices. When we desire for someone, this all-consuming feeling turns overwhelming.  And when we become icons of attraction, we begin to fulfill all the slush fantasies.

Maybe… this is how it is meant to be. An overwhelming desire for another person stemming from a good deal of good looks!.

“If you knew the secret of Life, you too would choose, no other companion but Love”.- Rumi

It’s hard to believe in crush at first sight,  but I do believe in desire at first sight and I also believe that the knowledge of how to look attractive “has the highest regard and selling price tagged to it these days.

The inevitable business of finding happiness begins right here, something that is so hard to come by that we just couldn’t find it once for all and keep it safe in our pockets! Weirdly, as we chase it in seemingly brighter spots outside of us, describing happiness has turned complicated and experiencing it even more expensive.

The world is changing and so are we…looking for honest answers to how to be a head turner.

Searching for Answers in happiness sales!!

I am not getting into details of the trillions spent in selling happiness, but isn’t it true that every year with an increase in happiness sales (beauty products, luxury possessions, marquee outfits), the incidences of mental health concerns are only rising?

I find that our biggest mistake is that we have come to commercialize the path to happiness. From buying confidence swelling beauty products to selling vacuum cleaners to a happy family, all are there with the sole purpose to catch an eye and externalize happiness.

The joke is on us. It exists for free and not far, within each one of us. Haven’t we overrated our sense of happiness? Aren’t there so many other emotions to embrace besides this blind hunt to look great?

It could be the very cause of unhappiness!

I looked beyond grudges

My woes would have had lived on if I were to keep raking myself with this one single thought. What could possibly be wrong with me? Why people do not find me attractive enough to be desirable? Instead I chose not to shoot myself in the feet and  went about living a life aging gracefully and chasing desires and pursuits I never would have thought to be such a joy…the thrill of wanting myself…the joy of yielding to somebody’s needs.

Beyond the man made myth of finding joys in unseen lands, I realize that I am actually happier today for having struck fascination to myself.

It all adds up. Being okay with both the troughs and crests and not demanding highs alone, is all about growing subtly in life. I withdrew from this mindless chase to be wanted’ one out of a hundreds of emotions, glamorized and boldly coveted. I probably saved myself from pitching into dark depths of depression, anxiety and other inconsolable personal and social challenges.

Believe me, we cannot be happy “at all times”. That would be a manic behavior. But once you realize that it’s not inlooksbut in the meaningwe put to it that we find or miss this amazing emotion. The more we see it in what we have” and appreciate “what is”, the easier it is to find it.

After all I could succeed in hoodwinking my identity crisis!!

Two reasons why every takeaway of pandemic is not as disastrous

Hope is a renewable option: If you run out of it at the end of the day, you get to start over in the morning.” – Barbara Kingsolver

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” -Madam Curie

The analogy of things

I happened to sneak peek a diary penned by a close friend of mine, a tech graduate who had worked as a computer professional with a MNC for two straight years and then one fine morning found himself up rooted with nowhere to go. His story smarted of nothing short of torment and humiliation.

Rightly so, for mayhem is different this time and impact will continue to ravage the world for some more time to come. Millions like him have raced against the time to self preserve.

the verdict has finally sunk in…. The biggest takeaway of this crisis is going to be not sports or glamour, but health and family; not politics or social order but predictable actions and social justice? For once we have been shown that what happens to one of our kind in Wuhan, can humble stock exchanges around the globe and even kill leaders and Army commanders in Iran.

The virus has shut down markets, museums, theaters, clubs forcing fashion shows to draw curtains and talk shows to play to empty halls. On March 12th this year, an Olympic gold medalist had lit the torch for a small, private audience and then had run through trees …alone.

Today, as lockdown continues, every morning I could only greet the danger that lurks outside. Absence of annoying ruckus in streets, people in shopping malls and even small grocery shops is strangely menacing. The virus has cornered our lives and …it is terrifyingly real! More than a million families have already lost someone and we couldn’t tell them that this had to happen.

Most of us would agree that the virus has left us with little choice but to keep reminding ourselves that  tomorrow could be a wonderful day; that no matter how bad things are they will end somehow at some point of time.

ot just everything is lost. The flip side of this crisis has also borne some interesting green shoots for us which will help shape the mosaic of our future lives in an interesting way.

Here’s how.

Climate for once smells healthy

Many environmentalists had predicted the year 2020 to be the year when global carbon emissions could begin to decline. And now it’s happening at a scale none of us could have imagined, though it feels like nothing to cheer

The Chinese carbon footprints- the world’s largest emitter- have mercifully shrunk by a quarter as the country sharply scaled back its heavy industries in a bid to combat the virus. Electricity demand and air pollution have plummeted in EU nations while global air traffic has hit a dead-end.

Of course there is nothing good about reducing emissions like this. It can always shoot back once the crisis is over and life begins to turn to normal. If this happens, climate goals could go for a toss once the nations scramble to put their economies back on rails. What if the Oil prices remained low? Wouldn’t that mean spike in consumption and an enormous strain on environment?

But I think that it need not be that dismaying either

The Governments can always put climate at the center of their recovery plans. Bailout packages and stimulus could offer tax credits for renewable energy and electric vehicles and include investments in green infrastructure projects like energy storage facilities, E-vehicle charging stations, solar and wind farms  etc.

To make a bounce back like that of 2009,  bailouts and stimulus need to  roll out some harsh guidelines to cut emissions. This in turn could stave off what current science calls ‘climate catastrophe’.

Whatever rational the people who govern, rake up to exemplify their Covid efforts, it’s only the Will over Wisdom that will demonstrate the fate of what we breathe and how we breathe.

Renewed concern for public health and social security is now in focus

For now, public health concerns are overshadowing and that’s a good thing. But as we start rebuilding our lives- whenever the virus backs off- we need to do it in a way so that far more deaths and sufferings are prevented to happen in future. It would be so foolish of us not to take advantage of this opportunity and roll out capable and sustained governance.

Now is the time more than ever to build a better world for workers. Protections like paid sick leave and healthcare assurance could go well with the most vulnerable among us. It’s time to set aside  the brutal and punishing changes  brought about by the capitalism of the past and work together to rebuild a life in which everybody learns to be human.

For the sake of hundreds of desperate Venezuelan refugees  living in desert shacks in a Colombian border city, migrants of tent city on Mexican border, hapless  children trapped on  Mellila the tiny piece of Europe on the coast of North Africa and half a billion strong migrant workers across the Indian subcontinent, to name a few ;It’s time we paid reparations to those who suffered, it’s time we made amend to what we had left unattended.

For these deprived millions, this world is the only place to live, call and remember as their Home.

One reason why the World will not fail this time -Gene therapy is one step closer to reality!!

Stuck between social fatigue and damning dismay, a restless world waits out the pandemic, leaning an overwhelmed healthcare system. With virus more likely to reactivate rather than re-infect, any anti science attitude will only push the nail harder and hurt deep.

It suddenly leaped to my face and hissed; “You will never be able to get rid of me… I will see to it that you rot in pain and die a horrifying death all alone … you scum”!!… The spines all over its body looked familiar. I peered closely and drew in sharply….the shiny spines looked more like okra pods split in half and stuck all over the body. it

My heart was pounding hard and I noticed I had broken into a cold sweat. “It’s just a dream”. “Its over now, everything is just fine. A new swanky day like so many, is here. Life is sweet as ever”; I could hear myself saying over and over again to nobody.

Last night I had slept alone and had nightmares.

And then it hit me hard “The nightmare is far from over. We are still fighting. The battle of sorts is still being waged”.

Dismayed like millions around me, I feared for myself and I feared for the world around me. I felt sorry for those who lost the battle not knowing what hit them and died a lonesome death.

Is it that fearsome? Is the life as we know it really going to change?

Curiosity got better of me and I thought I ought to look around and see what is there to know

Mystery surrounding viruses has more than meets the eye.

To begin with I searched around to know what a virus is, how it looks like, how it behaves and why all hell has suddenly broken loose across the globe.

Current science describes a virus as a nucleic acid molecule wrapped in a protein layer. It is potentially infectious, too small to be visible even by a light microscope, lies dormant and comes to life and multiplies dramatically only within the living cell of a host.

Nucleic acid is Nature’s one most unique life form and the primary building block to engineer what we know as ‘ Virus’. These are essentially large bio molecules inseparably vital to all living things, are chain like and are composed of a series of nearly identical building blocks called nucleotide. Cut things short, nucleic acid is the overall name for DNA and RNA.

Viruses are the most abundant biological entity on this planet and are whoppingly enormous in numbers; roughly 100 million virus to match every cell in our body. However because of their extremely small size, the mass tied up in these viruses is no more than 5% of the entire prokaryotic biomass on the planet. Also, because of their enormous presence almost 20% of the bacterial mass in the Oceans is infected by viruses every day.

Prokaryos as we know are unicellular organisms that lack organs or any membrane bound structures, do not have a nucleus but a single chromosome with a piece of circular double stranded DNA, all tied up and placed within an area of the cell called nucleoli.

CoVID-19 the most recent of the corona virus family was largely unknown, till the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019 and turned pandemic wreaking economies and terminating more than a million lives across the globe.

What size fits corona virus

Quite a bit. A comparison between more common and well understood viruses

With a diameter of 22 nano meters, the measles virus is 8 times smaller than E coli bacteria, at 45 nm hepatitis virus is 40 times smaller and the polio virus is 30 nm across, let’s say about 10000 times smaller than a grain of salt. Actually it’s the size difference between the bacteria and virus that gave the first clue that the viruses did exist.

Particles of corona viruses (also known as ‘virion’) are spherical in shape and between 60 nm and 140 nm in diameter, averaging about 124 nm. This means that corona virus is smaller than PM 2.5, but larger than some dust and gas particles.

How it breached our defenses

We all know for sure that the virus escaped animals and reached the humans How ? ..Nobody knows for sure.

A strain of corona virus similar to SARS-CoV-2 -the cause of CoVID-19 and the one that is infecting humans- has been traced back to the Malayan ‘Pangolin’ population of Southern China, though the role of pangolins as intermediate host or the evolutionary pathway by which this virus traveled to humans, is still unclear. Wet markets meanwhile are a major source of concern as zoonotic transmission to humans has not been ruled out.

Why some of us are hit harder than others

Excepting those with history of co morbidity- one that accounts for severity of complication and fatality- many of us though afflicted, may never get sick or experience the symptoms. Is it possible that genetics could be influencing the severity of symptoms? 

We know for sure that tiny variations in genome sequencing in humans alters a person’s chance of contracting infection. These variations decide how our immune system would respond once the virus has lodged itself in our body. In few fatal cases one probable reason was found to be the onset of an immune response called ‘cytokine storm’ in the body; a surge of self-destructive cytokine molecules in the DNA, that occurs the moment it detects the virus. This disrupts the cell metabolism with fatal consequences.

Is Gene Therapy the answer to all our ills?

If you ask me..in all probability-Yes. An alternate to build upon within chaos is always a good bargain.

Here’s why .

Gene therapy is meant to introduce genetic material into cells, if abnormal genes are detected or beneficial protein is lacking. A normal copy of the gene is required to be introduced for restoring the function of the protein-the organic molecules found within every living organism .Made up of chain of amino acids, proteins serve various body functions like structure, transport and more particularly Defense. Some specific examples of these proteins are collagen, insulin and antibodies.

A gene once inserted does not function of its own but a carrier (generally called’ vector’) works as a delivery agent and transports the gene to the targeted cell. What is surprising is that certain viruses also work as carrier because they can deliver customized genes – one which do not carry any disease- to cell except what they are programmed to carry. One such type of virus called ‘retrovirus’ integrates it’s genetic material including the new gene to the chromosome in human cell. Yet another type known as ‘adenovirus’ introduces its DNA only into the cell. This DNA is not integrated into a chromosome, leaving it to the cell to decipher and combine of its own.

How the therapy may work

Theoretically at least for now.. we presume that it will work though extent of success is still uncertain and open to debate.

One way this therapy could work is to directly inject the vector carrying modified gene from where it will travel to individual cell. Yet another one is to expose the patient’s cell to this modified gene carrying vector and then return it back to the body. If everything goes well, this new gene will generate functional protein and in turn guard the body from infection to severe infection. However, transporting a gene to a particular cell and its controlled functioning once inside, is a challenge sans answers till this day. Also, since clinical presentation of the infection varies from person to person, same therapy may not be the right answer for infections across the board.

The success of this therapy rests largely on identifying genes that precede the infection. If we could isolate the gene that makes some people resistant and harness it, return to normalcy could be a strong possibility. The unfortunate part is that gene therapy is in exploratory stage and is yet to make a distinct headway. Till such time the genetic susceptibility of a person to the virus , is identified and fully understood, select few antivirals such as ‘Remdesivir’ ,‘Dexamethasone’ and ‘Flavipiravir’ will continue to be the most promising and perhaps our only cudgel in fight against the virus for now.

Are we headed into a break from Covid-19 any time sooner?

It’s not just mass deaths alone although that is awful. The crisis has turned into something more bizarre and intriguing. it has changed the World as we had known into a failed society of sorts sealing the fate of poor, humbling the economies and spreading political chaos and social dismay like never before.

And -the end is not in sight as yet

Recent studies have indicated that corona virus has mutated and significantly improved its ability to infect cells. This explains why early outbreaks did not overwhelm the health care systems as much as the infections that ravaged the EU countries and US later on. This mutation-also referred to as D614G -has increased the number of ‘spikes’ on the corona virus which allows it to bind to and infect the cells more efficiently. The number of these spikes has risen by 4–5 times , though it is still not known if this could be linked to severity of infection or increased mortality. Though it was known all along that SARSCoV-2 was evolving into new and more potent strains, what is alarming is that this strain is the result of a dominant mutation, one that is capable of more severe symptoms. 

One thing is certain though. The virus is capable of jumping specie boundaries and adapting to new host per se. Predictably more of its cousins could emerge and invade us humans in future. It is how we react now, will decide if we could ward off a still severe health danger to humans from future corona viruses.

Because courage counts!!

Contact tracing, confinement in isolation, pills with unproven effect and virtual social separation; this has become one hell of a way to wage battle with an enemy that takes its toll at a frightening pace.

Even those who enthuse that we will have a vaccine in the next one year or so, also admit grudgingly that nothing is certain.

But wait!!…..don’t loose heart. its not human like. We are a specie not designed for a defeat. Trust me Nature has its own way of evolving and revealing it’s secrets. But it bides its time. Who knows what surprises lie ahead for us? We may find favor with gene therapy well in time and come out with a vaccine that puts an end to threat of a global annihilation.

So, if we now condemn ourselves to a worst case scenario where people genuinely don’t care if they or anyone else lives or dies, we could well be talking of a guaranteed catastrophe that may take years altogether before it is overwhelmed.

Let’s hold hands , stand together and not push things hard. It’s time to lie easy, protect ourselves, follow ground rules and hope that the answersdo not take long to be discovered . Whatever we do., let’s promise ourselves not to give up. With a tad more luck we could shore up our genetic therapy techniques and strong enough to bull whip the menace.

If its any relief and makes you feel restored, just remember-this world is not built to fail!!