Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Know Your Calories - Rice

Have you ever wondered how come when you eat normal food you have gained weight.

According to me I was having normal meals (most of the times). 2 roties, rice, sabji, dal this was what a healthy plate should be and that is what I was having.

Ever since childhood, we used to come back home have our roties and the rice (never measured it and there was always a second serving) and then would go off to sleep and then it was studies and home work. The life pattern never changed much for me but the eating habit always continued.

When I started weight loss I wanted to know how much calories does my normal daily food has. I made a mental note of approximate calories in certain foods which I eat on daily basis. Its just an approx value which helps me to know if I am going over board.

I do not measure calories on daily basis (its waste of time), just a mental approx value is more than enough.

When I became aware of calories, I understood why over the years I had piled on so much weight.

Being aware never hurts.

The first thing I checked was calories in rice.

I use CalorieCount for my calorie reference, you can use any site on the web. We just need an approximate value here.

So for 158 gms/ 1 cup of rice has 205 calories. Remember, you won't eat only rice, it is always accompanied by some side dish.

So how much 158 gms rice looks like.

1. Its 1 quarter plate moderately filled or 1 medium size bowl. Now, when I am eating out I know the approximate calories on my plate with the amount of rice.

You can easily make your plate worth 600+ calories or as low as 400 calories. Add a Naan to the plate to increase the calories or have little rice and little naan to have less calories and satisfy the tongue.

Same rule apply at home. Increase the calories by going for second serving of rice or having roties along with rice OR decrease calories by having more of vegetables and salad along with rice and fill your stomach.

2. This is what my plate looked like before. 2 roties, rice, dal, sabji and there was always second helping of the rice.

3. I no longer combine roti and sabji together. It best to have 1 roti or little rice. Try bringing in a salad, the raw vegetables add a fresh twist to the meal and keep the stomach full for a long time. I have increased my vegetable intake and reduced the rice quantity.

4. As a rule (according to me), vegetables and salad have no calories. Even for that matter I always go for second serving of dal if I am hungry.

When we reduce our food intake sometimes even before eating we think that its less food. But remember the reason you are over weight is because you are feeding yourself more food than necessary. So best way is to give it a try and see how full/satisfy you feel.

Its your plate and its your decision to either loaded it with calories OR to load the plate with less calories.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Cycle of Motivation and Demotivation

Its very easy to be sad and very difficult to be happy. Its very easy to think "I am ugly, I am fat, I will never reduce, nothing ever works for me, why is it me who is fat". Its extremely difficult to get up every single day and say to yourself that "I am losing weight" even when the weighing scale shows no downward trend.

One driving force behind weight loss is motivation. If there is lack of motivation no one can make you diet and exercise. Its motivation that keeps us on our toes.

During weight loss there will be days when you will be high, you will feel at the top of this world and could conquer anything AND sadly there will be days when you will be down in dirt, eating like a pig, thinking nothing will ever work for you and you will never reduce.

When I was 78 kgs everything came to a halt. The weight stopped moving and in fact it started showing a slight upward trend, I was devastated. First time in my life I was so serious about weight loss and I was failing miserably at it. I was depressed, my husband at that time told me "Look how much you have lost till now, so its not a complete failure, give it time and you will loose more". This gave me hope and I started again. Then at 74 kgs again everything came to a halt, I was losing hope and motivation to loose weight further, my sister told me "Shiva you are pushing yourself too much, its ok weight will come down, stop pushing yourself", this made me calm a little and again after few days I started back on my journey to weight loss.

The point is that this is going to be a cycle. Few days you will be high and few days you will be low and then you will be back to being high.

The trick is not to give up completely, you will loose the war if you go back to your old eating habits and go back to being where you started. As long as you are starting all over again you are doing just fine.

Now when I am depressed and lose motivation I automatically do few things to get myself back on track. Initially when I was not aware of this cycle I used try out things to get me back on track, these worked all the time.

1. You tube Videos - Yes, sound silly but works. They have some amazing before and after videos where you see people larger than you becoming much thinner than what you are. It inspire me every time. When they can do it so can I.

2. Your before and after pics- If you have lost few kgs then these are real motivation boosters.

3. Reading health articles - I just Google them up and its always nice to read them. They are informative and they bring back the desire to lose weight.

These are few things that get me back on track when I am down, so if you see such a cycle coming up in your life figure out things that will boost your motivation level.

How to keep yourself motivated

1. Realistic upcoming event goals - If you have a function to attend in a month's time don't push yourself to lose 5 kgs, tell yourself I will lose 2 kgs. 2 kgs loss will show on your face for sure and so you will get compliments.

2 kgs loss is very achievable in one month. When you achieve such small targets your confidence level increases and you tend to work more towards your target weight. If targets are unrealistic you are bound to fail and be depressed.

Also always imagine the compliments that you will get when people will see you in your super slim avatar. It won't happen in a day but will surely happen in one year's time so motivate yourself by visualizing that scene.

2. Keep a one size smaller pair of clothes - Just keep a set which is one size smaller and NOT 3 - 4 size smaller. Like I got a pair of jeans which were one size smaller and every month I would try them. Its actually is a great booster when you see yourself fitting into smaller clothes. If you get a really small size it will demotivate you so get just 1 size smaller.

3. Food - If you have a craving for certain high calorie food you can make small targets so that you can enjoy the food guilt free. To say I will lose 5 kgs and will have a piece of cake is deprivation. Best way is to say let me lose 1 kgs and then I will enjoy my cake.

Motivation is the key to weight loss and you will have to figure out a way to motivate yourself because once this is lost everything associated to weight loss is lost.

One thing that I always follow is to get up in morning and say to myself "Wow I am losing weight". I say it even when there is no change on the weighing machine. This is a visualizing technique but actually its just telling your sub conscious mind to work towards the target. Its not going to cost you a penny so trying this will not hurt.


The optimist fell 12 stories
And at each window bar
He yelled to his frightened friends below
I am alright so far

So be optimistic. You are not dying in a miserable condition or are in prison, you are just working towards weight loss, that is all. Your life is just fine and weight loss will happen. It will happen slowly but surely so stop being demotivated and stop pushing and punishing yourself.

Tell you what its possible all you have to do is believe in it being possible and be patient. The whole point of life is to run after it, chase it, dare it, challenge it, defeat it, conquer it, the moment the chase ends so does life.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Weight Loss Tip of The Day -1

Whenever we decide to start with weight loss we start by making a plan. But sometimes we do need something to just get us started. One quick way to get started with weight loss is to add a protein bowl in your meals.
You need not change your diet, just make sure that there is one full bowl of lentils like daal, rajma, channa, sprouts. If you eat sambhar then make it with lots of veggies and enjoy a big bowl with the meals.

This will help you to curb your hunger. This is a very quick way to start eating right.

So if you are just confused start with eating the right food.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Kadhi Chawal

Kadhi is one comfort food. Nothing beats a winter afternoon and a steaming plate of kadhi and rice and all you have to do is dip your hands in and eat away the steaming hot mixture.

In our house the right way to eat kadhi was to make a well in between the rice heap and then pour the kadhi in between so that it seeps inside the rice, the fat bhajiyas would lay on top of the rice waiting to be squashed and mashed and eaten.

I saw a very interesting way to give earthen flavor to kadhi at my maternal grand mom's place. After the kadhi was made, a small earthen lamp (diya) was heated, ghee was poured on the diya and then when its hot, the tadka of cumin sees and red chillies was prepared inside the diya and then the whole diya was immersed in the kadi and the lid of the pot was closed for few minutes. I cannot explain how heavenly it tasted with those flavor of diya mixed with ghee.

This is one quick dish and low cal for sure.

This version of kadhi uses grilled bhajiyas. They taste just the same. Infact no one can make out if the bhajiyas we not deep fried. This is one dish that can be replicated exactly with less oil.

Ingredients for Bhajiya:

1. 1 cup gram flour (besan)

2. 1 medium onion finely chopped length wise.

3. Green chilies finely chopped.

4. Salt to taste.


1. Mix water in the besan and make a dropping consistency. The batter should not be very thick or runny.

2. With your hand mix well the batter in clockwise and anti clockwise direction. This is called aerating the batter. The more air that goes inside the batter the bhajiyas will swell more. You should do it till the batter becomes smooth and start swelling (as the air goes inside).

3. Now mix the onions, chili and salt and again mix well.

4. On a non stick pan add 1 tsp of oil that coats the whole pan.

5. Now arrange your bajiyas and cover the lid. We are covering the lid of the pan so that the bhajiyas cook nicely from inside. This process is very quick, its just takes 1 - 2 minutes. You will see that the bhajiyas will puff up.

6. Now once the bhajiyas puff up, flip to grill the other side.

Ingredients for Kadhi

1. 1 cup curd.

2. 3 tsp besan.

3. Red pepper powder.

4. 1/4 tsp turmeric.

5. Drum sticks (optional).

6. Red Whole pepper 2- 3.

7. 1 tsp cumin seeds.

8. 1/4 tsp methi seeds.


1. Add curd and besan together and mix well, there should not be any lumps.

2. Now to the above mixture add turmeric powder, chilli powder. Add 2 cup water to make the batter thin and then add salt to taste.

3. In a pan heat 2 tsp of oil, add cumin seeds and methi seeds. When they start spluttering add whole red pepper and drum sticks. Fry these for 2 minutes.

4. Now add the curd batter and leave in to cook on medium heat. The batter will turn dark yellow and will get thick.

5. You need to cook this till the batter is thick and starts emitting an aroma. Taste it to see if the besan is cooked well. If the batter gets very thick you can add more water to adjust the consistency.

6. Once the kadi is cooked and simmering. Put the bhajiyas in hot water for 5 minutes. This is to make the bhajiyas soft. When we deep fry the bhajiyas they are soft where as these bhajiyas are a bit on a hard side. This is tackled by immersing the bhajiyas in hot water and then squeezing the water out.

7. Add the bhajiyas to the kadi and let it simmer for 5 more minutes.

8. Serve hot with rice and roasted papad.


Mom tried this way of Kadhi and it turned out good, check the pics here

Monday, August 2, 2010

Dal Paratha

This recipe comes from Rajasthan. One amazing thing about Rajasthani cuisine is that few of their dishes are so long lasting. Like the bati (from dal bati flame). Its a wheat flour dough cooked well. In olden days the villagers will carry the bati in their cloth pouch. You eat 2 baties and drink water and you are good to go for next 3 - 4 hours. They make awesome meal when nothing is available. Their counter parts are litti (from Bihar) which are again very good. They have stuffing of gram flour (sattu) which is so nutritive. 1 small littie is a meal in itself.

If you look at dal paratha its again a complete meal. It has carbohydrate and protein all in one. One power packed meal. So if you are in hurry or if you are traveling then this becomes a handy meal.

When I first tasted it it tastes like a dal kachori. DH was really happy to eat it. So all of you who have eaten dal kachories will like this taste. I even made small versions like kachories for breakfast. Where as kachories are made from white flour and are deep fried, these were made from whole wheat flour and were grilled on a pan.


1. 1 cup channa daal.

2. 1/4 tsp turmeric.

3. 1 tsp cumin seeds.

4. 2 tsp coriander powder.

5. 1 tsp red chili powder (optional).

6. Salt to taste.

The Dough:

I kneaded the dough in curd. If you don't want to use curd then use milk or water. Curd/milk gives a white texture to the dough and the taste of the dough becomes almost like a white flour (maida).

The dough should neither be very soft nor be very stiff. Always remember that the chapathi dough is the softest, puri dough is the stiffest and the paratha dough is in between.

For 1 cup wheat flour, mix 2 tsp ajwain seeds (carom seeds). They impart the kachori flavor to this paratha.


1. Pressure cook 1 cup channa dal in 1 and a half cup water. Do add in little salt.
Cook for 3 -4 whistles.

When dal is done we do not require excess water. So if water is there then just cook the dal without the lid and evaporate all the water. You can also strain the water and keep it aside. You can use this water to make chapathi dough but don't use it to make dough for this particular paratha.

2. In a pan, take 1 tsp oil and add cumin seeds. When they splutter add the dal mixture. Add turmeric, coriander power, red chili powder and salt. Mix well. You need to cook the mixture till it becomes completely dry and forms a dry dough. Also mash the dal so that any whole grain is not left. While stiring keep pressing and mashing it to make it smooth.

It cooks very fast, so all is done within 5 minutes. You need to keep moving the spoon else the mixture will stick. Use a non stick pan for this.

If you feel like adding any other spices to this, feel free to do so. Let the mixture cool down completely.

3. Now roll the dough, put a heap of the mixture. The mixture should be more. Make a ball and then roll out the paratha.

4. Grill the paratha. Once it is grilled. Add ghee on both sides and cook well. Don't make the mistake of avoiding ghee. If you use 1/2 tsp of ghee per paratha its good enough. I never gave up on ghee and there no need for you to do so. If you don't like ghee you can use oil. One trick for oil/ghee is to dip the spoon and let the oil fall back in the container, now use the back of the spoon on the paratha. This way less oil/ghee is used to make the paratha.

5. Serve hot with curd.

They can be put in the fridge as everything in these paratha is cooked well. They taste good even when they are cold and they freeze beautifully. What else one need for a meal.