Avoid sugar, eat lentils and fruits, you’ll be fine
By Anuradha Sawhney Nov 27 2014
Tags: Leisure Writing
Last week I underwent my annual medical tests. Except in this case they were not annual, but after three years. I had been lazy and that is not a good thing where health is concerned. It was with heart in mouth that I waited for the reports. I knew that while during these three years I had ensured I ate the right foods, I had not exercised at all. I was lazy and every evening I said I would walk the next day, and every morning my bed would not let me go. While I was confident that my cholesterol levels would be fine since I do not eat any animal products, my big worry was that my sugar levels should not have gone up since diabetes is a scary possibility for sedentary individuals.
When the results came, I was pleasantly surprised. My sugar fasting was 90 and post prandial was 100. Not bad. Very encouraging in fact. The negative was that I had put on a couple of kilos in weight and I decided to be generous and attribute this to my recent European holiday. Of course, the truth is that I did not walk or exercise for all these years.
I thought I would share my daily meal plan with you to help you and your family to gain good health. I start my day with a green smoothie. This is made from two leafy vegetables and two vegetables. So a combination could be a handful of spinach leaves, some coriander leaves, one cucumber and one tomato. Whiz it all together in the blender and add a dash of lime juice, then dilute till the consistency you are comfortable with and drink it. You can use any greens and any vegetables, including pumpkin, bottle gourd, ivy gourd or tendli, karela, etc. Add some ginger for additional health benefits sometimes.
A little later, when I start to feel hungry, I have a lentil based breakfast. Lentils are full of fibre and light to digest. So my breakfast could be a besan omelette, or a thepla, or some sprouts with tomatoes and cucumbers chopped small and added into them (or just plain sprouts). I sometimes eat a moong dal dosa, or moong dal idlis…..the combinations of things one can make with lentils is long.
In case my lunch is delayed, I eat fruits. It could be bananas, papaya, apples, melons, pomegranates, really any fruit that is in season. I just ensure that I maintain a healthy gap in between eating the fruit and then eating a main meal.
My lunch is a bowl of dal with coriander in it, two types of vegetables, some salad and two rotis. If I have a craving for something sweet after the meal, I pop in a couple of black seedless raisins. This meal takes me through till evening when I have a cup of tea. I make it with cardamom and ginger and use almond milk as a whitener! To sweeten it I use organic jaggery granules.
By about 6 pm when I am feeling hungry, I have a fruit and half an hour later I have a handful of nuts. I bought different seeds…. flax, melon, pumpkin and roasted them. After they cooled I placed them in a jar and eat a handful mixed with some roasted almonds or walnuts or cashews daily.
Dinner normally consists of a world cuisine, like Thai curry and brown rice, khow suey, stir fried vegetables with homemade bread, or a noodle broth full of vegetables. I sprinkle the roasted seeds on them where possible.
While we should all enjoy what we eat, its important to ensure that we eat only whole grain with no added sugar.
(The writer is a vegan chef and author of The Vegan Kitchen: Bollywood Style!)