Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Iron Rich Poha Beetroot Cutlet



A woman's body is prone to iron  & calcium deficiency which lead to serious health hazards later. Iron deficiency, especially after child birth, complicates lot of things. Failing to compensate the low levels may lead to hair fall, brittle nails, fatigue, paleness in skin and much more. Anemic women face trouble in keeping energy levels intact which adversely effects their social, economic status. Why wait for the consequence to take a toll when little changes in food habits can do the job? In association with livogen.in, here is an attempt to create iron rich recipes for women and help fight anemia. 


I love having poha for breakfast and keep giving twists to it for interesting recipes. Hereby, presenting tikki or cutlets made with poha, beetroot and potatoes.





Health goodness
Beaten rice or rice flakes, also called poha is a rich source of iron. Every 100 grams of raw rice flakes has 20 milligrams of iron besides a good value of carbs and minerals. Experts suggest that regular consumption of flattened rice can prevent iron deficiency and form hemoglobin that carries oxygen to blood cells. Beetroots are also iron rich and proven extremely beneficial in case of anemia or low hemoglobin.. 

 


Ingredients

  1. Poha- 2 cups
  2. Potatoes- 3-4
  3. Beetroot-1 medium size 
  4. Salt to taste 
  5. Green chili- Optional- 1-2
  6. Black pepper- Half tea spoon 
  7. Coriander powder- 1 teaspoon
  8. Cooking oil- 3-4 tablespoons

Method
  1. Soak poha in water for 10 minutes. Drain water. Keep aside. Make sure all water is drained out from poha. 
  2. Boil  potatoes. Peel and mash them. 
  3. Peel and grate beetroot. Keep aside. 
  4. In a large bowl mix the mashed potatoes, soaked poha and grated beetroot. Bind them together to make dough. Add salt as per taste. Mix black pepper and coriander powder. Churn the dough well. 
  5. Make little round shapes from the dough, pressing them gently to flatten them. 
  6. In a pan, heat oil and shallow fry the cutlets. 
  7. Flip and fry till the pink tikkis turn brownish on both sides.


Tip: Flame should be kept low to medium. Potatoes give cutlets a binding texture and body. Do not over-boil potatoes. Since beetroot is used raw in the dough, it will give crunchiness to cutlet. You can add onions to the tikkis if you like. I wanted to keep it quick and simple, hence skipped it.

For more iron rich recipes visit http://www.livogen.in/iron-chef


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Chickpea spinach egg spread



Come winter and the market gets flooded with green veggies. Spinach suddenly rules the Indian kitchens. But who really wants to eat palak saag or palak paneer every day? So, I put on my thinking cap and dished out chickpea spinach & egg spread for a winter morning. Keeping the fact in mind that iron is one of the most important elements for women's body, Livogen.in's iron chef inspires me to make an innovative recipe fortified with iron. 




Health goodness 

100 g of besan or gram flour contains 34 iron, 68% dietary fiber and good amount of vitamins. Spinach is undoubtedly a rich source of iron, magnesium, dietary fiber and zinc while egg stands out with iron, protein and Vitamin D. 



Ingredients

Spinach leaves- One small cup
Besan or chickpea powder- 3 small cups
Eggs- 3-4
Onion- 1 big, fine chopped
Tomato- 1 big, fine chopped
Green chilies- 2, fine chopped
Salt to taste
Black pepper- 1/2 tea spoon
Cooking oil- 3-4 Tablespoons
Coconut milk (Optional)- half cup


Method



Preparation 
  1. Blanch (not boil) spinach in less water. Since boiling destroys the nutritional content of spinach and the water drained goes a waste. Hence blanch in very less water till spinach turns soft.
  2. Mash the blanched leaves.
  3. Sieve besan/chickpea powder in a large bowl, ensuring no lumps are formed. Add little water.
  4. Break eggs and whisk with besan smoothly.
  5. Add chopped onions, tomato, green chilli, pepper, salt, and mashed spinach in the egg-besan mixture. Whisk well.
  6. If the mixture turns thick, you can add little water or coconut milk for flowy consistency.
Cooking


  1. Heat oil in a flat pan. Pour the mixture. Spread it evenly and let it cook for 2 minutes. 
  2. Cover the pan for a minute, allowing the egg to cook.
  3. Flip side and cook till both sides turn light brown.
  4. Serve hot with mint chutney or ketchup.
  5. Team it with hot tea or coffee for a filling healthy breakfast

Tip: Make sure the pan is on low flame. Use non-stick cook ware to avoid sticking of cheela and allowing smooth flipping.

For more iron rich recipes visit http://www.livogen.in/iron-chef

Sunday, November 5, 2017

5 places to see when in Ubud, Bali



Ubud, the cultural town of Bali is a center for traditional art and tradition. Surrounded with rain forests and rice paddies, the place is a haven for art lovers and nature enthusiasts. Bali tour is incomplete without visiting Ubud. Here are the 5 best things to do and see when you are in Ubud.

1. Ubud Palace



Once the residence of the royal family, Ubud Palace is now a tourist attraction in Bali. The palace showcases the arte facts of the kingdom and spaces which were used for prayer or meetings.

 


Several portions of the place are not accessible to public for religious reasons.  The premise has the royal throne on display which is the most noticeable thing. What gets your attention is the intricate carving on the doors. Visitors are not allowed to cross the threshold of the door, leaving you wondering what’s behind those doors? In an opportune moment, one of the doors swung open and revealed a statue of goddess Saraswati . It was truly divine! 


 

When the door flung open and reveled the idol of goddess Saraswati


Dotted with colorful garden and well-built pathways, the Royal Palace lets you peek-a-boo into the glorious relics from the past.

Location-Ubud Market, 15 minutes walk from monkey forest
Entry-Free
Time spent- The place is small, so you can spend thirty minutes at the max here. 
Parking- You can park your bike in the market. They charge around 2000-3000 IDR. If you are lucky, you may find a free parking spot.
Dress code- None.

  
2. Sacred Monkey Forest


This dense forest dedicated to the monkey god would leave you with deep respect for Indonesian culture. Imagine an entire forest for the monkeys! Inspired from the ancient culture and Ramayana epic, Balinese declared the 12.5 hectares forest land sacred and protected.


 

You not only get to see a large number of primates in the forest but also ancient temples and magnificent structures that marvel you. The monkeys are harmless, and friendly most of the times. In case a primate crawls onto your back, give it a banana treat. Should any of these threaten you or turn notorious, the forest guards are there to help you. The lush greenery, lovely architectural structures and huge variety of flora silently make your senses happy. Fill your lungs with oxygen, walk and burn our calories and have fun in the sacred forest in Ubud. 



Location-15 minute walk from Ubud Palace
Entry-50,000 IDR
Time spent-You can cover the huge forest place in 2-3 hours.
Parking- You can park your bike in the parking lot for free.
Dress code- None. Wear comfy shoes or flats. Avoid heels.


  3. Ubud Art Market


Courtesy: Bali-indonesia.com

Courtesy: Tripadvisor.com
Balinese culture oozes of art and beauty. The colorful market dazzling with Balinese art would surely delight your senses. From old paintings to hand made home d├ęcor, the art market is nothing short of a heavenly experience. The rich culture and beautiful tradition embedded in the hearts of the residents’ uplifts your mood, cajoling you to buy something and cherish the memento. Dotted with uptown cafes, restaurants and resorts, the art market would paint a picture of a modern yet peaceful place from somewhere in the lanes of Europe or Goa. Before you reach Ubud, the refreshing rice paddies on the way give you various photo opportunities.



Vegetarian food is so rare to find in Bali, forget about vegan. So, when we passed by Veggie Table, a vegan restaurant with unlimited buffet, it immediately caught our fancy and we dashed in without wasting a single minute. Soft Hindi music greeted our ears, taking us by surprise. The staff told us about the owner's love for Indian culture and his influence on on the cuisine which he curated to cater to Indian taste buds. Do give Veggie Table a try for simple yet delicious and filling vegan lunch.

Location- In the heart of Ubud, barely 10 minutes from Monkey Forest
Entry-Free
Time spent- You can spend the whole day without restriction. If you are staying in Ubud, there is nothing like it.  
Parking-  2000-3000 IDR. If you are lucky enough, you can find a free parking spot. Just keep your eyes open.
Dress code- None


4. Goa Gajah



People also call this place “mini monkey forest”. Honestly, both places have no comparison. The star attraction in Goa Gajah is the 9th century elephant cave, housing Ganesha and Shiva idols. The ancient cave temple has dark interiors with simple and bare minimum decoration. It’s the grand entrance with demon and god carvings that attracts tourists for photos. Often wrongly perceived as a dwelling place for elephants, Goa Gajah made it to the UNESCO world heritage site in the late 90’s. Apart from the cave, the whole area has several small temples, royal thrones, sacred bathing tanks, Buddha temple, beautiful gardens, holy monk cemetery, gorgeous waterfall and tiny art shops. It is a visual treat to be in this place.

You cannot afford to wear heels or tight shoes as you need to walk a lot in Goa Gajah. Explore the well maintained site flanked by sacred places throughout the forest and feel at peace. 


 

Location- Goa Gajah, Bedulu, Gianyar. Around 4 km from sacred monkey forest.
Entry-15000 IDR
Time spent- 2 hours
Parking-  Free
Dress code-  None. A sarong is compulsory if your bare legs show. Sarong is provided at the entry counter.


5. Pura Taman Saraswati Temple


Courtesy: commons.wikimedia.org
You cannot afford to miss this beautiful water temple in central Ubud. Boasting of lotus filled ponds and classic architecture, Pura Taman Temple is dedicated to the goddess of arts and knowledge, Saraswati.  This is great stopover through the town of Ubud. The large premises and amphitheatre gets your attention immediately. From the moment of seeing the temple to entering the site, fills you with a sense of calm and tranquility. At night, the temple is a prevalent location for cultural performances. There are regular dance performances in the evening, except Friday, at cost 80000 IDR.  Pura Taman Saraswati Temple is a prominent landmark which you would cross on the way to Monkey Forest in Ubud. The beauty is awe-inspiring.
Courtesy: commons.wikimedia.org   
Location- Jl. Kajeng, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 
Entry-Free
Time spent- 30 minutes
Parking- Free  
Dress code- Cover your legs with sarong which is given to you at the entrance. 

P.S- I had taken the trip to Bali in August 2017

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Atmos for royal atmosphere, literally!

Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers



The rising levels of pollution and resulting climate changes have been prime concerns for all since long. India wasn’t behind in the race towards contributing to the level of daily poison. And then the controversial Odd Even happened (in Delhi) to combat pollution.

As conscious citizens, husband and I took careful measures to minimize pollution, because every contribution matters. Husband humbly drove his CNG fitted car to cut down air pollution and I planted saplings in my residential colony to improve air quality.  During Diwali we refrained from crackers and discouraged others as well. In spite of being proactive and aware with outdoor pollution, we could not escape the negatives while indoors. And the reason was our ignorance for indoor pollution which is 5 times as much the outside effluence. As the realization dawned upon us, we scratched our grey matter figuring out how to fight indoor pollution:

The scratching of grey matter further polluted the indoor air but cleared our rational. We immediately bought snake plants which are known to clean indoor pollution commendably. This is one of the plants that releases oxygen at night and filters all toxin from air. Ah! We felt our mission was accomplished. We proudly owned and placed this plant in every room of the house. Several other indoor plants help control pollution, besides emitting positive energy and decorating the place naturally. Go for happy greens J




And then my mind raced to the scented sticks which my mother in law lit up for pooja every day. “Don’t they cause pollution?” I asked myself. Several researches have proved the toxic effect of agarbattis and scented sticks. But who bells the cat, was the question. How dare would I challenge the religious beliefs of my own mom in law. I faked headaches and gradually shifted the agarbatti holder outdoors under the holy basil tree. Though I added toxin to outdoor air, atleast the indoor air would be clean, and I patted my back.



Did you know your footwear also bring in dust and trash indoors? Besides the negative energy ofcourse.  Hence many Indian families practice leaving footwear outside their house to avoid bringing in dust and pollutants. You can call me superstitious, but I leave footwear outside my bedroom. I do this to ensure the room is clean sans dust and negative energy. (I am talking too much on energy. No it causes no pollution but does impact the vibes of the air, if you believe in it)


To keep indoor air clean, people have retorted to air-purifiers. Though I find these puny and over hyped, I may want to give it a try. Who knows it might as well just work.



Ignorance is bliss, but not always. It’s not good to ignore your ceiling fan and carpet that lie neglected, collecting dust since eternity. It is advisable to clean these un-noticed assets at-least once a month, if not weekly. Invisible dust in your carpet and the thin layer of grime on the fan easily makes way to your nasal passage and even contaminates your food. Let the mattress, pillows and doormats soak some sunlight so that they remain free of moisture and germs. Now you see that Vitamin D is not only good for us but for home too :-) 



Often unnoticed and under-estimated, the LPG gas in kitchen or freshly painted furniture also releases toxins in the air, strong enough to trigger migraine or breathing trouble. The best possible solution is to check the cylinders for leakage and use paints less toxic pollutants or VOC content. Chemicals in paint have been found to react with forming smog that triggers respiratory disorders. So much for beauty of our homes!


Last but not the least; we can paint our homes with Asian Paint Royale Atmos. Didn’t see Deepika Padukone swear by Royale Paints? Take a look here-


Precisely, Royale Atmos is a paint that reduces harmful air pollutants and makes the air cleaner. The activated carbon technology absorbs various foul smells & makes the air fresher. Thus, for the first time, Asian Paints presents a paint that not only looks good, but also helps purify air and improve the air quality inside your home. You can even wash your walls before the autumn cleansing ritual without spoiling the paint. Certainly gets brownie points for wash-ability and durability. 
What’s better than purifying your home in the colors of your own choice! Let’s make a pure choice for clean, fresh and pure indoor air.  Let’s make it happen with #RoyaleAtmos. Visit https://www.asianpaints.com/atmos for cleaner details.


Picture credits- Free images from Pixabay

Thursday, September 14, 2017

10 strict NO's for empty stomach


Often food and lifestyle define you and your personality. Eating right and at the right time has been the secret of good health. While there are several things you are advised to refrain from post meals, there are various other things you should also refrain from on empty stomach. Surprised? Don’t be. We will tell you what not to do on empty stomach so that you remain in good state of health and avert unwanted consequences.

1.       Drinking coffee/tea on empty stomach? Think again

 Addiction to bed tea or coffee shot for energy is not new but you need to stop doing that right away. Coffee is high on caffeine which if taken empty stomach causes heartburn and severe digestive problems. Consumed over a longer duration may lead to stomach ulcers, acid reflux or irritable bowel movement. The same goes for tea that erodes the lining of intestines and causes acidity and indigestion. In case you cannot do without your morning beverage, have breakfast along, add creamer to coffee or replace your normal tea with green tea.
   
2.       Never take medicines if you haven’t eaten anything


This piece of advice has been passed on through many generations. Apart from the pills recommended on empty stomach, all others are advised to be consumed only after eating something. This is because empty stomach lining is exposed to reactions from medicines that cause nausea, constipation, vomiting and intestinal bleeding besides reducing the effect of the medicines. To reduce the negative effects of pills on empty stomach, you can replace water with milk.    

3.       No food in stomach? Skip spicy food




Spices are good for metabolism but certainly not good until you have something in your tummy. Spices, especially chillies are pungent in nature which trigger indigestion and upset the stomach lining. It is hence important to mix something with spices to avoid such reactions. Perhaps something like bread can be consumed along.

4.       Alcohol is a big NO-NO




Haven’t we all seen people binging while boozing? Well, that’s because alcohol should NEVER be taken if you are empty stomach even if your last meal was three hours ago. One simple reason behind the same is that alcohol absorption rate in your body will be high and at the same time the breakdown of alcohol will be even slower. This takes a toll on your liver, heart, kidneys and needless to mention, a major hangover that follows. Advisable to eat and layer your stomach before you booze.

5.       Don’t go shopping on empty stomach


Hungry body is low on energy and glucose. To replenish it, your body demands food, especially sweets or those high on calories. Since your ability to concentrate and making decisions gets negatively impacted, you end up buying unhealthy food or junk that would instantly satisfy your hunger. Because the need of your stomach gets converted to stress, your brain sends wrong signals to your body leading to an overload of unwanted items in your cart, even in non food stores.

6.       Intense workout



The need for those flat abs and toned muscles make you work harder on your body. But have you been working out on empty stomach in morning or evening? That’s all wrong! Your body starts running low on energy during workout and lowers your performance. Also, working out hungry may cause loss of muscle instead of fat. The logic is low glycogen levels which burns muscles if you demand too much from your body while exercising. You hence need to fuel yourself before hitting the gym. Banana or fibrous salads are the most recommended foods before you work out.


7.       Avoid citrus fruits or juices
Ah, we know how a warm glass of lemon and honey in morning has been treated as a mantra to lose belly fat. Little did you all know that lemon will not harm your stomach since it is diluted in water. Citrus fruits should be avoided when you haven’t eaten, since fiber and fructose slow down your digestion, irritate stomach and cause acidity. Just like lemon, you can dilute the fruits in water to reduce the acidic level or else totally avoid till you eat something.

8.       Never sleep empty stomach

 Did you know that low glucose prevents from us from sleeping and lack of sleep triggers your hunger? Hence the next day you end up hogging more, because of increased hunger hormones. That’s one reason you should never sleep hungry. Secondly, it causes mood swings and stress. Good enough reason for you to not skip meals now? An alternative to eating is consuming milk with honey that keeps you full and helps you sleep better.

9.       Say no to chewing gums


 Can something as simple as chewing gums on empty gut, adversely affect your body? Yes, it can! Always remember, empty stomach is prone to attack on the soft stomach lining. When you chew gums, the digestive juices produced with saliva creates an acidic effect on stomach lining leading to gastritis. The sweetening effects of gum effects your food habits and leads to addiction of junk, instead of natural healthy food. Hence,  it is advisable to chew gums for not more than 10 minutes even if you are full.


10.   Dodge raw vegetables






Yes agreed, one should eat healthy and salads or raw vegetables are good source of vitamins. We know diet conscious ones often do that. We are sorry, you would be surprised that you had been doing that wrong. Consuming raw veggies on empty stomach causes an overload of coarse fiber which causes abdominal pain and accumulation of gas in intestines.

We hope the above tips proves to be useful and helps you to be healthy. In a busy and hectic lifestyle, we tend to ignore these little things that eventually harm our body in the long run. All you need is a little bit of precaution and willingness. 



Monday, September 11, 2017

What happens when you skip meals?



A shapely sexy figure and flat abs is a dream that every girl sees. They work out, give up junk and follow healthy diet. Do all girls do that? No, they don’t. In an attempt to lose weight or inches quickly, often many people are seen fasting. Little did they know that skipping meals is no time saver and can pose bigger problems than they imagined. When skipping meals becomes a habit or a part of a dieting plan, it has serious long-term implications on the body like development of some chronic conditions or even gaining weight instead of losing.

Here are scary things that might happen if you skip meals regularly:

Low glucose level: Your blood glucose level rise after meals. It remains constant if you don’t exercise (hence recommended to work out if you want to control the level). A long gap of fasting causes your blood glucose level to fall, leaving you feel sleepytired and exhausted. Mind you, glucose is the source of energy for blood.


Low metabolism: Low glucose means low metabolism. Its simple. A low metabolism leads to dip in energy, imbalance in body and metal activity and improper eating patterns as you tend to eat more the next time.

Poor performance. As scary as low metabolism sounds, equally scary is poor performance. Not only you become physically slow but also mentally you are unable to concentrate and make quick decisions. Hampers your professional and personal life majorly!



Overweight:  Those who skip meals to reduce weight, rather tend to gain weight. If you eat less number of times you typically should, your brain signals you to eat more when you get food loading your body with calories which are not required at that moment. This leads to slow digestion and bloating of stomach. Ouch!






May lead to diabetes or excess calories: Ignoring the hunger pangs of your body will drain all glucose of your body leading to low level of energy and high stress. It’s your body’s natural tendency to hog sweets or junk food to replenish the loss of glucose. This also happens when stress level is hgh. So, this leads to excess of sugar or calories in your blood. So much for skipping meals yeah?

Acidity: You may experience acid reflux or nausea if your stomach is empty for too long. An old long habit of staying hungry may cause heartburn, acidity or dry cough. Skipping meals gets scarier hence.

Brain drain. The brain’s exclusive fuel, glucose, is compromised within four to six hours if you have not eaten. That’s because the glucose stored in the liver as glycogen, runs out during this time period. The liver is like a traffic cop for blood sugar. When blood glucose dips too low, the liver converts glycogen into glucose and releases it into the blood. But if its glycogen has been depleted, the body turns to less efficient fuelling methods resulting which you start to feel anxiety, depression, have mood swings or always hungry.

Bad breath: Your tongue produces saliva as you chew food. Long breaks of skipping meals make your tongue dry and create a breeding ground for bacteria, hence causing bad breath. Remember, the same happens when you fall ill?

 

Few tips to stay healthy and lose weight without skipping meals.


      












  1. Eat small frequent meals instead of one large meal. Recommended to eat in an interval of every 2-3 hours
  2. Include fruits, veggies and whole grains in your food. Chuck junk for good. Replace refined/processed sweets with natural sweeteners like dates or fruits.
  3. Water intake should be 8-10 glasses every day.
  4. Drink water before meals, not during meals. Avoid drinking water immediately after meals.
  5. Exercise daily for atleast 30 minutes. Hitting the gym is not possible we understand. So go for brisk walk, ditch the elevators and take stairs or exercise indoors.
Image courtesy- Pixabay

Monday, August 28, 2017

Release a baby turtle in Bali and feel the euphoria






All travel experiences leave you with memories to cherish forever. The memory that would remain etched in my mind is my recent trip to Bali where I contributed (Atleast I think so) to the marine life by releasing a baby turtle in the ocean. That joyous feeling cannot be expressed in words. The crowd cheers, the waves lash and the babies slowly make their first plunge. When those little things crawl towards the water and the enormous ocean waves take them in, it feels like a moment of euphoria. This is Bali Sea Turtle Society in Kuta Beach in Bali, Indonesia. 





As a part of the mission to save marine life, the Sea Turtle Society has taken this wonderful initiative to breed turtles. What could be so noble than this? The society is a group of activists and marine life specialists who have recognized turtles as very important part of aquatic life. They breed turtles in controlled environment, protect the eggs and conserve the baby turtles. The little ones are sheltered in one place till they are few days old and ready to be released in water. Tourists are encouraged to participate in the release activity that happens every day at Kuta Beach at 4 pm. This is a free activity for everyone. 

I had visited the Bali Sea Turtle Society a day in advance to have a glimpse and speak to the people who organize it. 

Bali Sea Turtle Society

Looking at the little turtles will only bring you a smile.  There were birth dates and release dates mentioned on the flags in the giant container housing a thousand baby turtles.  







The gentleman of the organizing board asked us to visit the place next day at 4 pm.
While we made it to the beach the next on time, a huge crowd had gathered around the society office. So much is the popularity of this event, that tourists and locals thong the place in thousands each day.





It was 16th August, a day prior to Indonesian Independence Day, which locals celebrated with road shows and stage events. A huge space for celebration was allocated close toe Turtle Society and the turtle releasing event got delayed by an hour waiting for the chief guest to arrive. Little turtles swam in large tubs waiting to be released in the ocean.

 


Every participant was given a container to hold the baby turtle and was asked to wait till the organizer signalled.
Eager to jump out the container

As the checkered flag was waved, we let the little ones tumble out of our container on the beach. 


Turtle's first crawl on the beach









Leaving footprints on sands of time

Watching them crawl towards water is a feeling that goes beyond verbal expression. My turtle was hyperactive, waiting to hit the water as soon as it was placed in the container. It pecked my palm a number of times as if asking me to let it go. Watching him make it to the water was sheer ecstasy as my eyes welled up with joy.


The first plunge into the sea

Turtle feels the sea water 

Some made it steadily to the water while some crawled slowly.  Few stopped after some distance, and we assumed they died. But they hadn’t! The organizer picked them and placed them closer to water. Their little limbs moved and the crowd broke into cheers! This was indeed one of the best experiences I had.                  


Out of the 1200 baby turtles released that day, only few would survive. Inspite of the low chances and high risk, apparently that is the only way to protect the precious marine life and Bali is doing a great job at it. I pride in contributing to the environment with this little step and appreciate the sensitivity that Bali Sea Turtle Society has shown for marine life. 
When in Bali, this activity is a must-do.  



Find them on Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/baliseaturtlesociety

Websitehttp://www.baliseaturtle.org/ where you fan help them and read more about them.
Tweet to them at @BaliSeaTurtle