Thursday, January 27, 2011

Fight against GM food in India

Similar to my previous post on GMO alfalfa in US, Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India also proposed GM crops and intrduced BT Brinjal which is a threat to the country's food security, our health and food sovereignty. So I am mailing Minister Chavan to withdraw this crapy, unsafe bill immediately.

Please make sure you vote against GM crops in India through this link

Jai Hind! Jai Hind! Jai Hind!!!!

9 Ingredients to avoid in processed foods

By Brett Blumenthal - Sheer Balance

Many packaged foods that seem healthy often contain fillers, preservatives and other ingredients you don’t want in your diet. It is always preferable to choose products that have only handful of Ingredients, all of which should be recognizable.  One test to know whether an ingredient is healthy is to ask yourself whether your grandmother would recognize it.  If not, there is a good chance the ingredient is less natural food and more man-made chemical.  Another good test is whether or not you can easily pronounce the ingredient.  If you feel like you need a science degree to pronounce it properly, chances are the ingredient is worth avoiding.
If you do have to resort to a processed food for a snack or dinner (anything canned, packaged, etc.), try to avoid those that contain the ingredients listed in the following chart.  Although this isn’t an exhaustive list, these ingredients are some of the most highly processed and least healthy of all:

IngredientWhy it is UsedWhy it is Bad
Artificial Colors
  • Chemical compounds made from coal-tar derivatives to enhance color.
  • Linked to allergic reactions, fatigue, asthma, skin rashes, hyperactivity and headaches.
Artificial Flavorings
  • Cheap chemical mixtures that mimic natural flavors.
  • Linked to allergic reactions, dermatitis, eczema, hyperactivity and asthma
  • Can affect enzymes, RNA and thyroid.
Artificial Sweeteners
(Acesulfame-K, Aspartame, Equal®, NutraSweet®,  Saccharin, Sweet’n Low®, Sucralose, Splenda® & Sorbitol)
  • Highly-processed, chemically-derived, zero-calorie sweeteners found in diet foods and diet products to reduce calories per serving.
  • Can negatively impact metabolism
  • Some have been linked to cancer, dizziness hallucinations and headaches.
Benzoate Preservatives (BHT, BHA, TBHQ)
  • Compounds that preserve fats and prevent them from becoming rancid.
  • May result in hyperactivity, angiodema,  asthma, rhinitis, dermatitis, tumors and  urticaria
  • Can affect estrogen balance and levels.
Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO)
  • Chemical that boosts flavor in many citric-based fruit and soft drinks.
  • Increases triglycerides and cholesterol
  • Can damage liver, testicles, thyroid, heart and kidneys.
High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Cheap alternative to cane and beet sugar
  • Sustains freshness in baked goods
  • Blends easily in beverages to maintain sweetness.
  • May predispose the body to turn fructose into fat
  • Increases risk for Type-2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke and cancer
  • Isn’t easily metabolized by the liver.
MSG (Monosodium Glutamate)
  • Flavor enhancer in restaurant food, salad dressing, chips, frozen entrees, soups and other foods.
  • May stimulate appetite and cause headaches, nausea, weakness, wheezing, edema, change in heart rate, burning sensations and difficulty in breathing.
  • An indigestible fat substitute used primarily in foods that are fried and baked.
  • Inhibits absorption of some nutrients
  • Linked to gastrointestinal disease, diarrhea, gas, cramps, bleeding and incontinence.
Shortening, Hydrogenated and Partially Hydrogenated Oils
(Palm, Soybean and others)
  • Industrially created fats used in more than 40,000 food products in the U.S.
  • Cheaper than most other oils.
  • Contain high levels of trans fats, which raise bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol, contributing to risk of heart disease.
Have you checked your ingredient lists recently? Do they contain any of the above? Have you tried cutting some of these ingredients out?

Excerpted from "GET REAL" and STOP Dieting! Copyright 2009 - Brett Blumenthal

Originally posted on

Thanks very much Brett Blumenthal  for contributing this great artcile.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Act Now - Reject GMO alfalfa to protect Organics

Dear Friends, 

I want to consume clean, green and organic food!

I just took action calling on Secretary Vilsack and President Obama to reject the approval of Monsanto's GMO alfalfa and protect the integrity of organics. Approving GMO alfalfa will destroy the integrity of and access to many organic foods, as well as the livelihoods of thousands of organic farmers.

The approval of GMO alfalfa is only days away and the Obama administration needs to hear from you and all of your friends who care about organics. It is outrageous to risk the contamination of the organic dairy industry simply for Monsanto's corporate profits.

Please take a moment to let Vilsack and President Obama know that you care about organic integrity by following this link from Food Democracy Now! Then please pass this on.

Every voice counts!
Thank you!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tomato Kosthu

 It is an easy, but tasty combination for Idli or Dosai. I like it very much when my mom makes it with lots & lots of small onions.              
Small Onions---------------------> 2 cups Chopped
Tomato----------------------------> 4 Chopped
Carrot-----------------------------> 1 chopped fine (Optional)
Potato-----------------------------> 1 chopped fine (Optional)
Green Chillies--------------------> 2 Chopped fine
Salt--------------------------------> A2Y taste
Turmeric Powder----------------> ½ tsp
Sambhar Powder----------------> 1 tsp
Cilantro----------------------------> ½ cup chopped
·         Do the seasoning with Mustard Seeds in a Sauce Pan. My mom puts 1 tsp of Channa dal also in the seasoning. But I skip it.                
·         Add the onions, Tomatoes, Chillies, turmeric and fry until the onions are translucent.                      
·         Put in rest of the vegetables and saute for couple of minutes                       
·         Add 2 cups of water, Sambhar Powder and Salt                      
·         Once it starts boiling, close with the lid                      
·         Simmer it until the vegetables are cooked                 
·         Garnish with Cilantro                   

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


"Green Leaves Soup" This is the closest name I can come up with for this recipe name. It is another traditional healthy recipe by my DM for Ulcers in Stomach & Mouth.                   
In India, my Mom prepares it with Drumstick leaves, Agathi Keerai (Agathi Leaves) or Black Night Shade Leaves                 
Last weekend, all of a sudden I felt like having this Thannisaru, but I didn't have any of these leaves and also very hardly I find drumstick leaves in the Chinese Store.               
On seeing the bunch of Kale Leaves in fridge, my "Idea Bulb" is turned ON instantly.  U r rite, I made this Thannisaaru with Kale leaves.  Kale is considered as a highly nutritious vegatable with powerful anti-oxidant properties.             
Kale---------------------> 1 Bunch, washed and Chopped
Small Onions----------> 5 Chopped (Shallots also fine)
Garlic-------------------> 8 cloves Chopped
Milk---------------------> 1 cup boiled, cooled
Salt---------------------> A2Y taste
  • Add little Water in Saucepan followed by Onions & Garlic, Salt            
  • Once it starts boiling add the cut Kale leaves             
  • Closed it with the lid to avoid the loss of nutrients.                
  • Cook it for 5 minutes, my Mom always makes sure the Green leaves/Vegetables doesn't change color while cooking. "பச்சை நிறம் குன்றாமல் சமைக்கணும்" இது என்னுடைய அம்மா சொல்லி கொடுத்தது. So I also try the same.  This way nutrional value of Vegetables is saved a lot.                  
  • Pour the milk over the cooked leaves.            
  • Serve it with hot rice & Potato Kara curry or Vazhakkai Kara curry. It tasted soooo good; my DF & DH liked it  very much.                 
I have seen friends making with cocunut milk and do the seasoning with Jeera seeds.        

Kid's Health

Today in the office, we had a lecture on Nutrition. It was a good discussion and immediately I thought I should share it with my friends.        
The Presenter talked about the Dead & Living foods and the importance of physical exercise in our life.

Living food
Dead food
Fresh Fruits, Veggies
Partially Hydogenated Oils, Trans fat
Organic Cheese, Milk, Butter
Protein Rich Beans
Certain Cheeses like American Cheese
Whole Grains
Processed foods
Organic Meat
Fastfood like Hamburger, French Fries
Good Fats in Nuts
Cakes  & Cookies

Sugary Breakfast Cereals &  sugary Juice

Processed Meat


After the lecture, I felt glad that wellness awareness is gradually spreading across people.  Whenever I talk about these things to anybody, they reply back asking "Are you dieting?". I don't follow any weight loss diet or weight gain diet. Instead I have my own LIFESTYLE – “Eat Healthy; Live Healthy & Happily; Die Happily”
My simple Tips for buying snacks for kids:          
I strongly agree that we should be clear & know what we eat. GOOD HEALTH would be the greatest treasure ever we can give for our loving kids.

I'll keep updating the list whenever I get reminded of something:                             
  • So look for less number of Ingredients  
  • Avoid food with Trans fats, high amount of Sugar & Sodium        
  • BIG NO to HFCS(High Fructose Corn Syrup), MSG(Monosodium Glutamate or Ajinomoto), Artificial Flavors, food Colors, Maltodextrin     
  • I totally avoid Refined Flour, Sugar, Processed foods, Genetically Modified foods
  • I never buy canned food or pickles, rarely I may buy bottled pickles   
  • Avoid Ingredients whcih you cannot read or pronounce
  • When it comes to snacks for kids, go for Organic option. As such snacks doesn't provide any nutritional value, atleast organic snacks will have no secondhand ingredients.

    Thursday, January 6, 2011

    Cauliflower Poriyal

    It is totally a unique recipe which my DM makes. She is really a great cook and cooks everything very authentically. Without curry leaves she will not make sambhar  J. Same time she prepares curries in a healthy way without losing the vegetable's nutritional value.  

    Cauliflower---------------------> 5 cups of florets
    Green peas---------------------> 1 cup Soaked and cooked
    For Grinding:                     
    Toor Dhal *---------------------> ½ cup soaked for an hour or so.
    Moong dhal *-------------------> ¼ cup Soaked for an hour or so
    Small Onions-------------------> 5
    Jeera----------------------------> 2 tsp
    Garlic----------------------------> 2  cloves
    Cocunut-------------------------> 1 cup
    Red Chillies---------------------> 5
    Hing-----------------------------> ½ tsp
    Salt------------------------------> ½  tsp
    Coarsely Grind all of the above things except * marked items without water. 
    * - Towards the end add Toor dhal & Moongdhal and grind it for once; the masala should be very coarse; otherwise the curry becomes soggy.

    ·         Cook the cauliflower florets with salt either in microwave/pressure cooker without whistle for 10 mins/Idli cooker/Boiling water. I usually microwave it for 7-10 mins without water. But you have to close it with the lid while cooking in microwave.
    ·         Make sure it is not overcooked, it must be crunchy or half cooked
    ·         While the Cauliflower florets are getting cooked, steam cook the Masala mixture in Idli cooker for 5-8 mins (I'll microwave this mixute also)
    ·         When it is cool separate the masala and add it to the cooked Florets. Add the cooked peas also. Mix it well with hands so that each and every floret is coated the masala mixture.
    ·         My Mom directly mixes both in the cooking pan, but I mix them before placing it in the stove.
    ·         Heat oil in a saute pan in medium heat, and add mustard seeds, allow it to splutter,
    ·         Now add the Floret-Masala mixture in the same pan and leave it for 5 minutes; keep mixing occasionally
    ·         Serve with Pulikuzhambhu/Rasam/Sambhar

    ü  Instead of Cauliflower, beans and Cabbage also goes well with the same masala mixture.

    Wednesday, January 5, 2011

    Multigrain/Sprouted Beans Adai

    The name might sound too healthy, believe me it will be too tasty also. For vegetarians, the general concern is protein intake. But we know beans, lentils, peas are also rich in protein besides milk. My DD don't like eating cooked beans or green peas. So I ended up making Adai with the available grains, lentils, peas and beans; It is even more healthier since I sprout them.             


    Channa dhal---------------------> ¼ cup
    Moong Dhal---------------------> ¼ cup
    Kidney Beans--------------------> ¼ cup
    Pinto Beans----------------------> ¼ cup
    Black eye beans----------------> ¼ cup
    Black beans----------------------> ¼ cup
    Garbanzo beans----------------> ¼ cup
    Quinao----------------------------> ¼ cup
    Green Peas----------------------> ¼ cup
    Yellow Peas---------------------> ¼ cup
    Idli Rice/Parboiled Rice/
    Brown Rice/Oats---------------> 1 cup Only Soaking, no sprouting(explained below)
    Red Chillies *-------------------> 6
    Garlic * --------------------------> 5 cloves
    Ginger *--------------------------> 3 inch
    Hing *----------------------------> 1 tsp
    Onion-----------------------------> 1 cup finely chopped
    Carrot----------------------------> 1 cup shredded
    Cabbage-------------------------> 1 cup thinly cut
    Zuchinni--------------------------> 1 cup thinly sliced and cut
    Cilantro--------------------------> 2 cups
    ·         Soak all of the items overnight(except * marked items) and let it sprout.(Sprouting takes 2 or 3 days; but it is optional)                             
    ·         Grind everything in a mixie/food processor including chillies, garlic, ginger, hing and salt     to make a paste.               
    ·         Add Carrot, cabbage, Onions, Cilantro, Zuchhini too the paste and mix well               
    ·         Let the batter be little thick; not too watery like dosa batter.                      
    ·         Make little Adais in dosa pan.                    
    ·         Serve it hot with Avial                   
    My DD likes eating Adai with the mixture of Ghee/butter & Raw sugar.                 
    ü  Other healthier options of including grains like Wheat, Barley(high in fiber), Rye, Oats, Millet require overnight soaking                
    ü  If you are going to use Oats, no need to soak it; just dry grind it to make a powder and add it directly to the batter.
    ü  Instead of vegetable Toppings, Drum stick leaves / Green Onions(Chopped) can also be added.               
    ü  Make the Adai with the available beans & grains; skip the ones u don’t have.     

    Onion Chutney

    My DD comes back from her school at 3:30, and I have to be home by then. So I changed my work schedule to 5:00 AM - 3:30 PM. After coming home I'll do the easiest recipes I can make, so that I can spend some time with her. Yesterday I was planning to make chutney for dosa but not the ususal Onion Chutney which involves frying of Onions & Tomatoes.
    Instead I made raw onion chutney in 5 minutes.                               

    Onion---------------------> 1 cut into big chunks
    Tomato-------------------> 1 cut into halves
    Green Chilli--------------> 2
    Red Chilli-----------------> 3
    Tamarind-----------------> 1 inch
    Cilantro-------------------> As desired(Optional)
    Mustard Seeds ---------> 1 tsp   
    Urad dhal-----------------> ½ tsp 
    Onion--------------------->  ¼  cup , Finely chopped

    ·         Grind everything in a mixie/Food processor, water is not necessary                        
    ·         Heat oil in a pan; add mustard seeds, urad dhal and allow it to splutter.(I used the dosa pan itself and continued making dosas)                  
    ·         Now stir fry the onions in the same pan for couple of minutes.                 
          ·        Pour the seasoning over the Chutney