Friday, December 2, 2011

An award already!!!

Yay! My entry has been selected as one of the winners in Harini aka Sunshinemom's One Day Vegan Challenge. Thank you, sunshinemom! I got a  lovely pack of Krya detergent powder as the prize. The best part of this gift is that Preethi and Srinivas, the founders of Krya, sent me a handwritten note congratulating me on the win and giving me an introduction of their product. A handwritten note in today's sms and tweeting days!! That was such a wonderful gesture by them. A big thanks to Preethi and Srinivas for the lovely gift and note.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Mindful action at its best!

This post is not the one I promised in the last one. This post is one that I wanted to do for the pure joy of participating in one of my most favourite blogger Sunshinemom’s contest. I love her blog and the way she writes. The passion with which she makes food and the way she makes them look so sinful is amazing. This one’s only for you, sunshinemom :)

When sunshinemom aka Harini wrote about Krya, I was thrilled to read about the passion behind its founders, Preethi and Srinivas. Hats off to both of you for such a wonderful initiative. You both are an inspiration. When some dietary changes enhanced my family’s health, I was happy to know that I have also taken care of the environment and therefore of Mother Earth with those changes. It will be wonderful to extend such changes in every choice we make in our life. Krya shows there is hope.

Since food is the primary contributor towards my family’s regained health, I had to force myself to re-think a lot of things when it came to preparing food at home. One of the food items that my family has stopped consuming is all kinds of dairy products. I was stunned to know the number of diseases that this food alone is responsible for. My hubby’s sugar and cholesterol levels showed amazing improvement once this food was dropped from his diet. Since then, I have been trying to make things the non-dairy way. And the results have been pleasantly encouraging. Apart from my personal experiences, a book that helped me clear my doubts about dairy is Milk: A Silent Killer by Dr. N.K.Sharma. Another book I plan to lay my hands on soon is Head and Tails by Maneka Gandhi.

Being vegetarian south Indians, it was not difficult to be vegan when it comes to our daily meals. I’m happy that Indian cuisine gives me more options to be vegan than anything else. Be it idlis, dosas, upmas, pulaos..the list is endless. The one area where I’m stumped with this lifestyle is when it comes to desserts and many snack items. Slowly, I’m exploring ways to make a near-perfect version of these in a vegan way. But, invariably they turn out different and yet surprisingly equally tasty. The one dish that is sorely missed eating was besan ka ladoo. Besan ka ladoo without ghee is unthinkable. So, I thought hard and decided that I’m going to make this by simply dropping the ghee. Yes, just like that. I’m not an expert cook you see. So, that was the easiest thing to do. I made these for Diwali and whoever ate it loved it and never called it besan ka laddoo. People called it date fudge, besan fudge etc. But none of them called it besan ka ladoo!!! No problem there, because it was tasty and the most important person, my one and a half year-old daughter, refused to leave the dabba alone for the next two days until all the ladoos in it vanished. I’m smiling and ready to make another batch soon.

Besan ka ladoo

Besan – 2 cups
Jaggery - 1 1/2 cups
Cardamom powder – 1 tsp
Hot water

1. Roast besan until it changes it colour from a bright yellow to a grainy pale yellowish brown colour. It should also give off a nice aroma at this point.
2. Add cardamom powder to the roasted besan.
3. Melt jaggery. To check the right consistency of the jaggery syrup, drop a bit of jaggery in a bowl of water. If it takes the shape of a ball without getting dissolved, the jaggery consistency is ready. In the meanwhile, make sure you have hot water ready for making the besan balls.
4. Add the melted jaggery to the besan. Quickly mix it with a spoon to start making a dough. Jaggery tends to solidify the mixture. So, add hot water to the dough gradually until you get the right softness for your ladoos.
5. Pinch small amounts of the dough and make round balls.

Yes, I have used jaggery, not sugar. Refined sugar is something that I try to avoid as much as I can. The colour of these ladoos are not like the regular besan ladoos but nevertheless tempting and tasty.

Question- Diabetic? Answer- No More!

Yes, that's what I have been answering since the past one and a half years to anyone who wants to know how my husband is faring as a diabetic. The simple truth is that diabetes is a lifestyle disease. So, once the lifestyle stays corrected, the disease has to go away.

Let me give you the full story of my husband's health journey to give you a better picture of this. In the year 2005, soon after we got married, my husband was diagnosed with diabetes. He was only 25 at that time. His fasting and post-fasting levels both were dangerously high. I was shattered on getting the results. We started consulting a leading diabetologist and the medicines were started. The doctor's dietician gave him a chart, which asked him to avoid chikoos, bananas, and custard apples. The rest of the chart listed breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner items like buttermilk, curd, chappatis, rice, etc. He was also asked to walk for atleast 30 minutes everyday.

My hubby and I followed everything to the T. We went for 30-minute walks everyday. I made sure he avoided the forbidden fruits, namely bananas, chikoos, and custard apples. I kept a hawk's eye on his diet, making sure we use minimum oil, zero sugar, and only healthy food was served at all meals. We ate out very rarely. Three months into this plan and with medicines, his sugar levels started going down. In the meanwhile, hubby was getting dizzy spells now and then. At such times, he simply popped something sweet in his mouth. Alongside this, he was also dealing with issues such as digestive problems, leg ache, sprains, and headaches.

We also joined a gym and did yoga too for a while. In the meanwhile, hubby's sugar levels would fluctuate between being normal to a bit over the borderline. After around 3 years of being on sugar medications, hubby was diagnosed with high cholesterol. Now, this really stumped me! Where were we going wrong? In my eyes, we were doing everything right! I always had this small voice in my head that questioned whether the food that we ate was the perfect one for my hubby's condition. I would quieten it by thinking that ofcourse we ate the right way. This response can be attributed to the fact that I would update myself about this disease from all kinds of sources, be it the Internet, doctors, books, well-wishers etc. I was ready to do everything it takes, but things were not working according to my plan. Everywhere I came across the same conclusion that once a diabetic always a diabetic. I could clearly see where this was going. In another year or so, hubby would be hooked onto insulin, just like his mom. My mother-in-law (mil) is also one since the past 30 odd years. She has been pumping insulin three times a day since the past 10 years. Along the way, she has suffered intense leg problems which led to amputation of a couple of toe fingers, has BP, cholesterol, eye problems, and heart disease. In short, I couldn’t imagine seeing hubby in such a place at any cost.

Desperate, I thought of taking a serious look into hubby’s diet. There was so much information out there about what to eat and what not to eat that I would end up more frustrated. A good friend gave me the number of nutritionists and health counselors, Dr.Vijaya Venkat and her amazing daughter Anju Venkat who run The Health Awareness Centre (THAC) at Worli, Mumbai. We went to them with an open mind and ready to trust the vast amount of experience they had in the wellness sphere.

Meeting Anju Venkat can be described as the turning point in our life. She explained patiently what caused the disease in the first place, how the body was actually dealing with the toxins by generating a diabetic condition, and how we can help the body return to normalcy. She gave us a diet plan that went against everything we had believed in. But that is what saved the day and us!

In the next post, I would elaborate on the diet and the miracles it did for us.