Indian Vegetarian Foods and Weight loss
Indian vegetarian foods can be high in calories and fats leading to obesity
Traditional Indian Vegetarian foods are: Dal (Dried Beans), Chawal (Rice), Roti (Bread), Subzi (vegetable curries), Dairy products, and Garam Chai. I have included a general discussion on convenient foods
For weight loss, foods must be judged against a five point criteria
1. Low Calorie, 2. Low fat. 3. High fiber, 4. High protein, 5. High nutrition
For weight loss, consume 2 to 3 cups of fat-free milk everyday. Do NOT exceed 3 cups
Dairy products provide many nutrients that are available only in meats.
Typically, whole milk is bought for the home. This milk is boiled cooled to warm sweetened with sugar and consumed in the morning and at night. Left-over milk is fermented overnight to make Dahi (yogurt). Dahi is sweetened with sugar and eaten as a side. Dahi is also made into cold soup (Raita), and Lassi (sweetened beverage).
Dahi is churned to separate Makhan (White butter) and skimmed butter milk called Chach. The butter is cooked on low heat to make Ghee. Ghee is used as a shortening and cooking fat.
Milk is heat-acid coagulated to make Paneer (Cheese). Whole milk is also used to make yet higher fat products: Cream, Malai, and Khoya.
All dairy products except Chach are high in fats and cholesterol. In well to do homes dairy product consumption far exceeds the equivalent of 3 cups per day and is the major source for fats and cholesterol.
For weight loss program, we need to consuming fat-free dairy products.
Dried Beans (Dal)
For weight loss, eat 1¼ to 1¾ cups of cooked thick Dal
USDA recognizes Dried beans as an alternative to meats for proteins at a lower fat and cholesterol. The best is Soya with protein value as good as meats. The beans are cooked into a thick soup. They are tempered with Hot Ghee and spices before serving. This adds about 1 teaspoon of fat or 40 calories to each serving. Sometimes, a dollop of Makhan is added before serving equaling a Tablespoon of fat (120 calorie).
What started out to be a low-fat low-cholesterol source of protein, winds up to equal or even exceed than trimmed meats.
For weight loss program, we need to avoid adding dollop of Makhan and reduce the amount of Ghee during tempering or just add dry roasted cumin seeds.
See breads for serving
Rice is used in many forms: Plain Rice (Chawal), Biryani, Khichri (Beans and Rice). Rice is also soaked and ground with dried beans to make Idli.
The major problem is the white rice, it has no fiber. For weight loss program, we need to use brown rice. My preferred rice is Brown Basmati Rice. It is now readily available in most of the Wal-Mart stores in United States.
In case of Idli, rice is ground with Urad beans so the situation is not that bad.
For weight loss, eat 5 to 6 small whole-grain Roti
Up to 4 Roti may be substituted with 4 Idli. Must still eat 2 Roti
Up to 4 Roti may be substituted with 2 cups of cooked Brown Rice. Must still eat 2 Roti
Roti is an unleavened flat bread made with whole grain stone ground wheat flour. After the bread is cooked over hot griddle, it is basted with Ghee or butter. Typically, about ½ to 1 teaspoon of Ghee is used adding up to 30 calories. For weight loss program, butter flavored Cooking oil spray can be used saving about 25 calories.
We can also add Millet (Bajra or Jowar), or Buckwheat (Kuttu) flour to Atta to increase protein content.
Do NOT use refined flours such as All purpose flour (Maida) to make breads. They have little fiber if any. The refined flour passes through system quickly just like table sugar.
Do not eat deep fried breads (Poori, Bhatura), or pan-fried breads such as Pratha. The breads absorb just too much of oil and add to calories.
Vegetable Curry (Subzi)
For weight loss, eat 2 cups of cooked vegetable
You may substitute ½ cup of cooked vegetable with 1 cup of raw spinach
Typically, onions are sautéed in Ghee. Garlic Ginger are added and sautéed. The vegetables to be curried are added and sautéed. The spices are added and sautéed. Finally, a little bit of water is added. The dish is cooked covered till the vegetables are tender.
The onions garlic ginger and vegetables can be sprayed with cooking oil spray. Every thing is sautéed in traditional manner. This can reduce the fat calories per serving.
Eat 1½ to 2 cups
Grapefruit (Chakotra) is a preferred fruit.
Indians are almost addicted to Garam Chai (Masala Chai). It can be good for weight-loss. Cinnamon and Cloves mimic insulin. Fresh ginger is Thermogenic. Sugar can be replaced with Splenda. Substitute milk with non-fat coffee creamer. You can have 2 to 3 cups of this modified Garam Chai.
Green tea is Thermogenic. Drink about 2 to 3 cups of Green tea
Use about 5 teaspoons of cooking oil for Dal, Vegetable curry, Breads, etcetera
Use 4 teaspoons of sugar at maximum
Indians love sugar. They must have sugar in the warm milk they drink, and of course any and all desserts they make. The sugar is a prized commodity and so are the jaggery and honey. Sugar should be avoided whenever possible. They add calories with almost no nutrition. Most of the sugar substitutes add little or no calories but stimulate appetite to consume more calories through other foods. Splenda may be an exception.
Deep fried (Deep fried foods: Samosa, Pakora, Poori, Kachori, Gulab Jamun, Jalebi, Paapri, Goal Guppa), griddle fried (Dosa, Pratha, Cheela, Pudla, Cutlet, Tikki), or pan-fried (Halva)
The foods absorb oils during frying process increasing fat calories. Fried foods should be avoided during weight loss program
Indian sweets are high calorie (Sugar Jaggery Honey), reduced whole milk (Khoya) high in fat and cholesterol, little fiber or nutrition. Traditional sweets should be avoided during weight loss program.
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