Simple 4 ingredients Coconut Ice cream

Let’s face it – kids need variety and sometimes it can be a challenge to come up with healthy but delicious options for their ever-changing taste buds.This ice cream recipe is simple to make and super delicious to enjoy any time with both adults and kids. My friends served this to her 1-year-old baby. We had a great time watching him enjoy this yummy treat, licking the cup and demanding more!

Prep time: 5 Minutes

Cook time: 0 Minutes but you need to freeze it for at least 4 hours

Total Time: 5 Minutes

Yields about 10 cups

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Blend all the ingredients together in a high-speed blender and freeze for at least 4 hours
  • I used this silicone muffin cups to freeze them.
  • You can replace the apple with any other fruit like mango, pineapple or berries to create this ice cream in different colors!

Detox Series 1 -Ancient practice to detoxify your body through Oil Pulling

Our body is constantly exposed to germs and toxins. Our mouth is the gateway for many germs, micro-organisms, and toxins to enter our system. Pathogens in our mouth can enter your bloodstream to circulate to other parts of the body. Therefore, it is very important to keep our mouths germ free for a healthy body.

Oil Pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that has been used as a great tool for detoxification.  Oil pulling is the act of swishing oil (usually Sesame or Coconut) in the mouth for up to 20 minutes, preferably in the morning.

It is believed that this practice reduces bacterial growth in your mouth, strengthens your teeth and reduces inflammation in your gums.

Besides brushing and flossing twice a day, I have been doing oil pulling with Coconut oil for the last couple of years and have observed many health benefits like whiter teeth, better immunity and improved overall health.  Sometimes,  mucus is also eliminated from my system, as the coconut oil “pulls” the harmful bacteria from my body.

Oil pulling has been shown to reduce the number of Streptococcus Mutans bacteria in the mouth, especially when done with coconut oil. There are 17 different studies done on oil pulling with similar findings.

The process of oil pulling is very simple but it takes time, effort and commitment to make it a habit.

To get started, all you need is  Raw, organic coconut oil .

  1. First thing in the morning before you brush your teeth or drink anything – take a tablespoon of coconut oil and put it in your mouth
  2. Gently swish it in your mouth and between your teeth for 10–20 minutes
  3. Spit out the oil in the trash (not the sink so it doesn’t clog up the plumbing)  and immediately rinse your mouth out with warm water
  4. There – you are done.

Simple. Right!

Here are some of the strategies that might help to adopt this practice:

  • In the morning when I am packing my kid lunches and preparing breakfast, that is the time when I oil pull. There are no distractions and I love the quiet me time.
  • You can do it when you are in the shower – 10 minutes go by really fast
  • You can also try doing it while driving to work. All you need to do is carry a plastic bag to dispose of the spit when done.
  • Start doing it 3-5 times a week. I promise once you start doing it, you would want to do it every day. The squeaky, clean mouth feeling that you get after oil pulling is very pleasant.
  • It will be hard at first so try with a small quantity of oil and increase the amount as you get more comfortable with the process.
  • Most importantly – don’t spit it out in sink or toilet. It can clog the pipes. Always do it in a trash can.

Oil pulling is a common Ayurvedic practice that can help you get whiter teeth, treat tooth decay, kill bad breath, heal bleeding gums,  reduce inflammation, prevent cavities, heal cracked lips, boost the immune system and much more. You should start seeing the benefits in about a week of following the process.

I strongly recommend Coconut oil for oil pulling because of its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects.

Loaded Tofu-Broccoli Paranthas

Paranthas are one of the most popular North Indian breakfast options. With the popularity of cereals and quick breakfast options, paranthas are taking a back seat.  Also, if you are watching your weight, it is recommended to avoid fatty foods like paranthas, which is far from true. I grew up eating paranthas for breakfast every single day of my childhood years and it still is my preferred breakfast food.

These paranthas are loaded with healthy fat, protein, vitamins/minerals that provide anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting abilities to our body.

A healthy breakfast should comprise of a complex carb, vegetables/fruits, protein and healthy fat. Guess what  – these paranthas can provide all that and much more!

Here is the recipe for delicious, healthy and filling paranthas. The good news is these can be made in advance and refrigerated for 2-4 days. The rich ingredients of this recipe will provide a great kick start to your day and keep you full through lunch. It has the right balance of nutrition and taste. Here are some of the health benefits of the ingredients in this wonder food:

  • Tofu: Tofu is a good source of protein and contains all eight essential amino acids. It is also an excellent source of iron and calcium and the minerals manganese, selenium and phosphorous. Tofu is also a good source of magnesium, copper, zinc and vitamin B1.
  • Broccoli: Broccoli prevents many types of cancer, improve our digestive system, lower cholesterol levels, detoxify the body, and maximize vitamin and mineral uptake. Broccoli also prevents allergic reactions, boosts the immune system, protects the skin, prevents birth defects, lowers blood pressure, eliminates inflammation, and improves vision and ocular health.
  • Avocados: Avocados are a great source of vitamins C, E, K, and B-6, as well as riboflavin, niacin, folate, magnesium, and potassium. Eating healthy fats like avocado supports skin health, enhances the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, and may even help boost the immune system.
  • Red Onions: Red onions are one of the best natural sources of quercetin, a bioflavonoid that scavenges on free radicals. It also has been found to possess cancer-fighting, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. Red onions also are high in vitamin C so it boosts up your immunity.
  • Ginger: Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties that heal the gut, relieves nausea, and can help prevent  Ginger also helps to strengthen the immune system, reduces inflammation levels especially involving joint pain.

Now that you see all the health benefits of these paranthas are you ready to try them!

Prep time: 15 Minutes

Cook time: 20 Minutes

Total Time: 25 Minutes

Serves:  4-6

Ingredients

  • 2.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup broccoli
  • 1 cup mashed tofu
  • 1 small red onion – chopped
  • 1 medium avocado – mashed
  • 1 heaped teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon chopped coriander leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne/Chill powder
  • ½ teaspoon coriander powder
  • Salt to taste
  • lukewarm water, to knead the dough
  • Ghee/oil for cooking

Instructions

  1. Take a mixing bowl; add flour
  2. Place the broccoli in a food processor and pulse until a rice like consistency has formed
  3. Put all ingredients except water and oil and mix it well with flour
  4. Knead the dough, add lukewarm water as needed to make a soft dough
  5. Take little dough. Make a ball same size as a golf ball.
  6. Take a rolling pin. Spread the dough around 2″ diameter.
  7.  Apply ½ teaspoon ghee, fold it and make a ball again.
  8. Roll the dough to make it around 5″ diameter. Apply flour if it is hard to roll or if the dough is too sticky
  9. Heat Griddle; cook the dough for about a minute.
  10. Take some oil in a spoon and spread on edges of parantha on the griddle.
  11. Flip the parantha and cook other side. Cook for about a minute.
  12. Flip it again, apply some oil on top. Flip again and cook for about 30 seconds.
  13. Your parantha is ready

Serve it hot with butter and plain yogurt.

Notes

This parantha recipe is very versatile, feel free to add/reduce spices or replace broccoli with cauliflower or any other preferred veggie.

Healthy Cheesy-Breezy Pasta

Who does not like rich, creamy, cheesy pasta?  My kids love pasta in white/Alfredo sauce but most of the store-bought Alfredo sauce are highly processed. They not only contain high quantity of cheese but also have some controversial ingredients that are best to be avoided.

The good news is that it is very easy to make Alfredo sauce at home but what makes this recipe supercool is a secret vegetable that I add to make the sauce creamy and healthy – CAULIFLOWER!!  Cauliflower is a versatile vegetable which can be substituted for rice and flour in many recipes.  It is a member of the cruciferous family and an excellent source of antioxidants with many health benefits including:

  • Reduce Cancer Risk
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Decreases Risk for Heart Disease and Brain Disorders
  • Improves Digestion
  • Promotes Detoxification
  • Aids in Weight Loss
  • Helps Balance Hormones
  • Preserves Eye Health

I am sure you are now convinced to cook more with this wonderful vegetable.

Here is the recipe for Healthy Cheesy-Breezy Pasta. My kids love the taste so it is both kids and mom approved!

Prep time: 10 Minutes

Cook time: 15 Minutes

Total Time: 25 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of grated cauliflower
  • 1 small white onion
  • 1 teaspoon garlic paste
  • 1 ½  tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup milk (more to achieve desired consistency)
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper (more to taste)
  • ¼ teaspoon of thyme powder
  • ¼ teaspoon of oregano powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Pasta (I used GoGo Organic Red and White Quinoa Macaroni available at Costco, cooked as per instructions)

Instructions

  • Heat butter in a pan
  • Chop onions and shallow fry until they get translucent and golden brown
  • Add the garlic paste
  • Add the grated cauliflower
  • Cook on medium/low heat till it is soft and mushy
  • Let it cool
  • Add milk, cheese, spices and the cauliflower mixture in a blender
  • Blend till it is smooth and creamy
  • Mix the cooked pasta and the sauce in the pan
  • Simmer for a couple of minutes

Serve hot.  ENJOY!

Notes:

  • You can add more/less milk depending on the consistency you prefer
  • The sauce can be made in bulk and stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days
  • Olive oil can be used in place of butter if needed

Try it and let me know how you like it.

Beat it with Beets!

Beat it with Beets!

Did you know that Beet is one of the most nutritious vegetables with a plethora of health benefits? Beets not only give a nice color to your dishes but also bring in a lot of essential vitamins and minerals important for your body functioning. Beets are our hearts best friend by keeping our blood vessels flexible and open for smooth blood flow.

Here are some of the health benefits of beets:

Lower Blood Pressure – Eating beets on a regular basis can help reduce your blood pressure. Beets are rich in nitrates, which are converted into nitric oxide in your body. Nitric oxide is a vasodilator that keeps our blood vessels wide open and relaxed, which in turn lowers our blood pressure.

Detoxify – Beets are known to purify your blood and liver. Beets contain betaine and polyphenol that increase livers ability to produce glutathione, which makes the toxins in our body water soluble so it can be easily excreted out of our system.

Improve stamina and athletic performance – Dietary nitrate, which is abundant in beet, have shown to reduce oxygen cost during physical exercise, leading to improved stamina and enhanced performance. Nitrates improve the efficiency of mitochondria, which are the powerhouse of our cells. Drink a glass of beet juice before the exercise to maximize your performance.

Reduce Inflammation – Beets are considered one of the best anti-inflammatory foods that help reduce pain in the body because of inflammation. Phytonutrients from beetroot, betanin and vulgaxanthin, have been shown to reduce inflammation in our bodies.

Fight Cancer – The powerful phytonutrients that give beets their red color also provide anti-cancer properties. Studies have shown that antioxidant from beets killed the leukemia cell and prevent lung and skin cancers.

It is so easy to incorporate beet in your diet.  Here are some of the ways I try to consume more beets on a daily basis.

  • Smoothies – Add beets to your morning Smoothie. Stay tuned, if you are looking for a simple and easy smoothie recipe. I will be posting a recipe very soon.
  • Salad – A simple beet salad can be made by adding beets, pears and a handful of walnuts. It tastes so good with beet and pear’s natural sweetness and crunchiness of walnuts.
  • Curries and Dishes – One to two tablespoon of grated beets can be added to any vegetable or curry without altering the original taste. My mom makes this delicious side dish with grated beets and coconut powder. It tastes heavenly. Yum!
  • Baking – Mashed beets can be substituted for oil in any baking to give a nice color and health benefits of beets. You might need to experiment with the sugar a bit as beets are naturally high in sugar.
  • Juice – Juice them with apple, carrots and oranges for a yummy drink.

Let me know how you like your beets!!

Please be aware that most of the beets sold in grocery store are genetically modified. Make sure you buy the organic and non-GMO variety only to experience all these health benefits.

Homemade Almond Milk

If you are avoiding dairy for health reasons, there are many options for milk available like Almond, Coconut, Soy, Hemp, Rice Milk etc.  Almond milk seems to be enjoying the most success (#1 in alt-milk category).

The problem is if you are drinking a store bought Almond Milk; you are also consuming a lot of undesired additives which are not good for your body. Carrageenan is one of the most common additives in most of the nut kinds of milk, even the organic variety.

What is Carrageenan: Although derived from a natural source (Seaweed), it has been found to have a harmful effect on the digestive system. It triggers an unnatural immune response similar to that your body has when invaded by bacteria. It can lead to inflammation, ulceration, and bleeding in your gut.

Also, in store bought milk there are only about 2% almonds so basically you are paying that high price for just plain water and additives.

The good news is that it is very easy to make Almond Milk at home and it is cost effective too.

Here is a simple recipe :

HOMEMADE ALMOND MILK

Serves:  4

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw Almonds
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 dates
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Instructions

  1. Soak the almonds for at least 12 hours in clean water with a pinch of sea salt
  2. Drain the water
  3. In a blender, blend the almonds, water, and dates
  4. Blend for 2-3 minutes until smooth
  5. Strain the milk by using a cheese cloth, nut bag or simple tea strainer
  6. Pour in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days

Notes

  • If you don’t have dates, you can also use maple syrup as a sweetener
  • You can add Coco powder or fruits like mango/berries/bananas to experiment with different flavors
  • Tea strainer works fine but it is a little bit messy to use. It takes longer to strain and requires patience
  • Add more or less water depending on the thickness you prefer (whole, 2% or 1%)
  • Don’t throw out the pulp. It can be used in many recipes like curries and baking

If you try this recipe, let me know how it turned out. Did you try any variations? Please share.

Power of a Power Nap

A power nap is a nap that’s long enough to get you recharged, but not so long that it makes you groggy.

Most people lean on caffeine to stay productive and charged.  However, Power napping is fun and efficient way that not only will recharge your body but also boost your memory, cognitive skills, creativity, and energy level. It is usually between lunch and dinner time and lasts about 10-30 minutes.

I am a power napper. On weekends, few minutes after lunch, I will take a quick 10-15 minutes nap and wake up recharged, energized and ready for my next thing!! My mental alarm (which I call a pillow alarm) wakes me up exactly when I desired to be up – in most cases 10 minutes. I believe I inherited this gift of power napping from my dad.

Benefits of Power Napping:

  • Boost Productivity
  • Improves Memory
  • Reduces Blood Pressure
  • Reduces Stress
  • Improves Mood 

A lot of studies and reports have linked insufficient sleep to a multitude of health problems like depressionADHDobesityType 2 diabetescardiovascular diseasecancer, and Alzheimer’s.  According to CDC, over 70 million adults are suffering from a sleep disorder. Today’s fast-paced world and overly busy schedules can somewhat be blamed for this sleep epidemic.

If you are one of those individuals who struggle to get enough sleep at night or just need a quick recharge, try power napping. You can start by setting an alarm to be up at the desired time but slowly your body will be trained to let you rest for an optimal time so you wake up to be refreshed and recharged!

Let me know in the comments if you try to power nap and do you feel the benefits from it.

Photo credit : https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Computer_Cat_Nap.jpg

Personalized Nutrition based on your DNA

Have you ever wondered:

  • Why some people eat a high-fat diet and not gain a single pound or develop any health issues while it is completely opposite for others?
  • Why two people living under one roof, eating the exact same foods have different nutrition-related health issues?
  • Why your weight loss attempts do not give optimum results but others have achieved success in the same program?

The answer to this mystery is here now – it is proven and it is real!! NUTRIGENOMICS.

Nutrigenomics is the study of the effects of foods on our genes and understanding food-gene interactions. Simply, It is the study of the impact of nutrients from food on your body, based on your genetic composition.

Let’s take an example – when I drink caffeine, my blood pressure goes up but some people find tea to have a calming effect on their bodies.  Now the research has proven that caffeine can either be your friend or foe depending on your genetic composition. There is a gene, called CYP1A2 which directs your liver to make one of two enzymes: CYP1A2 fast or CYP1A2 slow.  If you have the gene that makes the fast version of CYP1A2, your body processes the caffeine from your bloodstream very quickly and has a positive impact on your heart health. However, if you have the gene that makes the slow version of CYP1A2, your body processes the caffeine from your bloodstream very slowly leading to an increased risk of heart disease.

I can be sure to have the slow version of CYP1A2.

Interesting!! Isn’t it?

Our genes respond differently to certain nutrients and have different effects on our bodies.

According to the UC Davis NCHMD Center of Excellence for Nutritional Genomics [1], there are five tenets of nutrigenomics, which can be summarized as:

  1. Diet can be a serious risk factor for a number of diseases.
  2. Common dietary chemicals can act on the human genome to alter gene activity or gene structure.
  3. The degree to which diet influences the balance between healthy or diseased states may depend on an individual’s genetic makeup.
  4. Some diet-regulated genes (and their normal, common variants) are likely to play a role in the onset, severity and progression of chronic diseases.
  5. Dietary intervention based on knowledge of nutritional requirement, nutritional status and a person’s genotype can prevent, mitigate or even cure chronic disease.

The application of Nutrigenomics seems very powerful. It may lead to personalized nutrition for disease prevention and treatment, or it may help to understand the nature of the disease and individual response to nutrients.

There are few companies like Fitgenetix that provide a simple, in-home DNA test to create a personalized exercise and nutritional plan based on your genome. They also provide fresh meals designed for your DNA delivered directly to you.

Please contact us if you are interested in learning more about Nutrigenomics and how it can help you in losing weight, customized exercising, preventing disease or to get into better health overall.

On-the-go Healthy Snack : Nutri-Balls

If you are a busy mom, like me, you understand how difficult it is to find healthy, nutritious snack that meets the growing needs of the kids and also makes their taste buds happy!!

It’s a constant struggle for me, especially because I have two almost teenager (one is a preteen) boys enrolled in competitive sports! I am constantly looking for and trying new recipes. Well, some get approved, some gets modified and transformed, and some find home in my tummy when rejected by all!

Last week I found a winner when a coworker shared a recipe for a healthy, simple, portable snack. I made some slight modifications and it was a huge hit! These cute little balls are so simple to make, full of protein, healthy fats and super delicious. Win-Win!!

What I loved about this recipe is that it is so easy to customize based on your kid’s preference or allergy constraints, without compromising the taste.

Here is the recipe for these wonder balls:

Nutri- Balls

Prep time: 15 Minutes

Cook time: 0 Minutes

Total Time: 15 Minutes

Output: 10 balls

Ingredients

  • 8 pitted dates
  • ½ cup Walnuts
  • ½ cup Almonds
  • ½ cup Raisins
  • ½ cup Flax seeds/instant oatmeal
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 2 tbs whey protein powder – Vanilla
  • ½ cup Peanut Butter
  • 1 tbs Honey – Adjust according to taste

Instructions

  1. Place the dates in the blender first to get a gooey paste
  2. Add all the remaining ingredients (except last 2) and blend till it is all powdered
  3. Add peanut butter and honey and blend it all together
  4. Make small balls and Enjoy!

Notes

Here are some other healthy additions/substitutions you can make without compromising the taste

  • Chocolate chips
  • Chia Seeds
  • Cranberries instead of raisins
  • Almond Butter or any Nut Butter instead of Peanut Butter
  • Cashews
  • Coconut powder
  • Maple Syrup instead of honey

I am sure your kids will like the balls as much as it’s liked by mine. Try it and let me know.

Can Diabetes affect the heart?

People with diabetes have an elevated risk of heart disease. According to American Heart Association:  While all people with diabetes have an increased chance of developing heart disease, the condition is more common in those with type 2 diabetes. In fact, heart disease is the number one cause of death among people with type 2 diabetes.

  • At least 68 percent of people age 65 or older with diabetes die from some form of heart disease;
  • Adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely to die from heart disease than adults without diabetes.
  • The American Heart Association considers diabetes to be one of the seven major controllable risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

What is Type II Diabetes?: The digestive tract breaks down carbohydrates (from sugars and starches) into glucose. The cells use glucose for energy. When glucose enters our bloodstream, pancreas release a hormone called “Insulin”.  Insulin plays a major role in metabolism and is the key that unlocks the door of the cell to let the glucose in. When we have a high carb/high sugar diet, the pancreas has to secrete more insulin in order to keep up with the high glucose in the blood. The doors of the cell (cell receptors) are smart enough to know how much glucose the cell would require. They shut the door after their needs are met. The “extra” glucose now keeps floating in the bloodstream causing the cell receptors to become insulin resistant. This is how Type II Diabetes is developed in adults.

Diabetes and Cardiovascular Diseases: The most common cause of Type II Diabetes is eating too much of unhealthy, junk food and lack of optimum physical exercise. In people with Type II Diabetes, the risk of Cardiovascular disorders go up mainly because the “extra” glucose in the blood makes the blood too thick to flow easily. The glucose also starts depositing on the walls of the arteries making the passage narrow, arteries stiff or damage the blood vessel altogether.  This causes the blood pressure to go up and also increase the probability of heart attack and strokes.

The good news is that Type II Diabetes can be prevented, controlled and even reversed. Here are some of the ways to prevent Type II Diabetes:

  • Eat more real foods
  • Avoid sweetened beverages
  • Avoid foods with high-fructose corn syrup
  • Graze
  • Exercise

If you have a family history of Diabetes or have been diagnosed with a Pre-Diabetic condition, please reach out to see how we can help develop healthy eating habits to reduce the risk of Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disorders.