Fresh as fresh! Not your average tomato basil pasta

food

The pasta supper is clearly the most common ‘go to’ dish in most households. Its easy; boil some pasta, dump a jar of the store bought pasta sauce and add in some protein! Voila! You have food on the table!

There are a few problems with that:

1. White refined pasta: Choose whole wheat pasta over refined white pasta because it has fewer calories, carbohydrates, fats and higher fibers.

2. Store bought pasta sauce: Its full of preservatives and sugar! In a minute you’ll see that pasta sauce from ‘real’ tomatoes is not that bright red color!!!

3. Adding a protein into a carbohydrate intensive meal: Its a big no no in the food plan I follow, my next post will explain in details why there is no mixing!

So I present to you a fresh-fresh, healthy and yummy pasta dish that you can can serve guilt-free to your guests, kids or loved ones ūüôā


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What do you need?

250 gm (raw weight) whole wheat pasta – cooked

5 large tomatoes

1.5 cups sliced mushrooms

2 large garlic cloves, one chopped and one whole

Fresh basil leaves

4 sprays of oil of choice

1 teaspoon of EVOO

salt to taste

This will make 4 servings!


Cook the whole wheat pasta and set aside

Steam the tomatoes until completely softened

Spray the oil onto the pan on high heat, sauté the garlic and mushrooms. Add salt to taste.

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Take the softened tomatoes and peel the skin off. It will come right off!

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In a blender, add the tomatoes, teaspoon of EVOO, clove of garlic, basil and salt. Blitz together until well mixed and looks like a sauce. See I told you there’s no bright red color!

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Transfer this sauce onto the pan containing the sautéed mushrooms and simmer in low heat for 5 minutes.

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Add in the pasta bit by bit into the sauce until well incorporated.

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Enjoy while warm!

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You can add in chili for an extra kick!

You can also make the sauce ahead of time and mix together right before serving! Garnish with a fresh basil leaf!

 

 

Dinner: Sweet and spicy ground beef lettuce wraps

food

Lunch is always slightly easier than dinner as you have the whole day to burn it off incase you eat something extra. Dinner on the other hand is less forgiving which is why by 7:30 pm, I eat the proteins and vegetables! 

I cross a Chinese restaurant almost everyday and today I woke up determined to eat a healthy version of my most favorite dish! Lettuce wraps without the excessive fats, sugars or MSG and I did it! 

I also served it to some guests I had over today and they loved it! I was so happy to have served something healthy and fresh! You can easily make the filling ahead and put it together when your guests have arrived! Very versatile! 


What do you need?

1 whole lettuce bulb

450 gram lean ground beef ( I used 5% fat ones)

(you could also use chicken or turkey mince)

1 cup diced peppers 

1 cup diced carrots 

2 tablespoons of good quality honey 

2 tablespoons of chili sauce or to make it even healthier use chili flakes/paste 

2 tablespoons wholegrain mustard 

2 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro 

3/4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped 

3 sprays of your oil of choice 

salt and pepper to taste 

You will make enough for 3 dinners! ūüėĬ†


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In a bowl, mix together the honey, mustard and chili sauce with 2 tablespoons of water and set aside 

Spray on the oil into the pan on high heat 

Add in the garlic, peppers and carrot with a dash of water to soften and sauté 

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After sautéing for 2-3 minutes add in the ground beef and salt/pepper 

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Stir the beef and break it up and you will notice the ‘fatty juice’ collecting¬†

Put the lid on and drain that liquid out, it is the fats from the ground beef and its gotta go!! Ech! 

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Return the pot onto the heat and stir in 2/3 of the mixture of honey/mustard/chili sauce that you had set aside. 

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Close the lid and let it cook for about 10 -12 minutes more. Make sure to stir occasionally during that time. You will notice the char on the beef and peppers and then add in that remaining honey/mustard/chili sauce mixture and the cilantro. 

Keep tasting the beef as you cook! Thats just standard operating procedure ūüėÄ

Take it off the heat, arrange the lettuce and fill them in! 

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Enjoy while warm! I had it with a side of steamed mixed vegetables!

* You can also add in sweet and sour chili sauce in which case leave out the honey and chili sauce however I would highly recommend using a chili sauce and honey mixture as you eliminate the high amounts of sugar in those sweet and sour sauces. 

* A great alternative would be to use a freshly made chili paste! That would be ideal especially if you used a mixture of fresh red chili and roasted chili. YUM! I will surely do that next time!

Also I do apologize for not including the calories, thats because I¬†don’t¬†calorie count and you shouldn’t either especially when you are eating clean and healthy!¬†

 

Stoup (stew + soup) : Red lentils with squash and spinach

food



We often overlook the simpler ingredients when devising a healthier food plan, we think we need the fancier stuff and equipped with the usual excuse of, ‘its so expensive to eat healthy!.’ Its not.¬†

Lentils are one of the best food source of slow-digesting carbohydrates! Perfect for lunch!¬†It is an excellent source of fiber, folate, manganese and iron. It’s especially great because it is not like the usual carbohydrates like white rice or bread where your sugar levels spike immediately after consumption instead it takes its times to convert to glucose. Along with these, it has been proven that it aids colon health, diabetics and absorption of essential minerals like calcium.¬†

Available everywhere and you can make it so delicious by simply boiling it and adding your favorite vegetables, even if you cant boil an egg you can boil lentils! 

So this is what I made for lunch today, again it is extremely versatile to carry out and you can make it for 2/3 days at a time. 


What do you need?

1 cup of red lentils

2 cups of butternut squash

2 cups of spinach

1/2 cup of cilantro

3 tsp of turmeric powder 

1 cup of cooked brown rice

Sea salt to taste 

This should yield 4 to 5 servings ( each serving is 1.5 cups)


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Clean the red lentils under water until it runs clear

Cover the lentils with water making sure it is completely submerged. Add the turmeric powder and salt.

On medium heat, boil the lentils for about 10 minutes 

Add in the butternut squash and cover the pot and let it simmer until the squash and lentils have completely softened. 

Using a masher, mash the squash and lentils as it simmers 

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Add in the spinach 

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Mix together until the spinach wilts and take a taste. Beware it’s super hot! I say this from experience! Ouch!

Add in the cilantro 

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Allow it to simmer for an additional 5 minutes under very low heat. It’s ready!¬†

Spoon the stoup (stew + soup) into a bowl and add a tablespoon of brown rice. The combination is perfect! 

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Enjoy! No fats, good carbs and lots of vegetables!

You can add any vegetables you want, pumpkin, beans, jalape√Īos, tomatoes, the list goes on and on! You can even skip on the rice but the texture really adds a little something.¬†

It was a perfect meal on this cold London afternoon especially on a day I was feeling extremely homesick . 

Practice what you preach

Lifestyle

I loved cooking, I still love cooking. At a time when I feel I am actually making a realistic change in my life, the past and the future really haunts me. The past, because I remember the terrible eating habits, sedentary lifestyle and most importantly the buttery sugary goodies I would create! The future, because eventually I will be moving back to Dhaka in December and I’m scared that this displacement might throw me off along with a couple of ‘societal pressures’.

I have realized two things: people love to feed ‘fat’ people and secondly people love to feed their guests delectable foods that they would dare not eat themselves any other day of the year/month/week!

Believe me, I was the biggest culprit!

I used to cook these feasts for my friends and family with endless additions of butters, sugars and obviously it tasted like heaven! (If I may say so myself) but I wouldn’t eat those foods myself in general then why was I unintentionally harming my family/friends? Or why was I making a doggy bag for the person who is clearly struggling with their weight? It wasn’t like I had these evil intentions, it just happens to be an innate mind set in most cultures unfortunately.

I still don’t know why I was doing that but I do know that I will stop and it’s time we make a change. If I am trying so hard to attain a healthy lifestyle, my loved ones should reap the benefit from it too. Show them how tasty vegetable fried rice (recipe coming soon!) or vanilla chia pudding (recipe coming soon!) can be. ūüôā

Society is a strange thing, you will notice families and friends coming together to help a relative suffering with let’s say a drug addiction. They will arrange support groups, rehab facilities and anything to ‘cure’ him. But do you realize that that overweight person is suffering the same way? The sugars and fats are his addiction and it’s time we open our eyes to it. According to the WHO, more than 1.5 billion adults, 20 and older, were overweight!

I know it’s easier to avoid it because it is such an incredibly emotional and personal thing, make fun of it or simply feed his addiction but then what? Maybe it’ll be too late. The sad truth is that you will come across many ‘pseudo-caring’ people who will be the first to say you are too fat or too thin, first to ask you how you have become this size but when you need someone to really push you and help you, there’s no one. There are scores of silent judgers and no one to really help, so become someone who helps today or ask your sibling/friend to help you.¬†

So, let’s change, even if you are overweight or at the peak fitness of your life, there is something you can do! Be sensitive, starting with ‘I think you need to lose weight’ isn’t probably the best introduction because believe me they know it and live it everyday! So make it fun, join the gym together or play a sport together. Follow each other on fitness apps so you can monitor your food intakes. Challenge each other to see who can lose more weight. Find healthier alternatives together. Just because you have a gifted super metabolism, don’t suggest eating the greasy fatty stuff, eat healthy together!¬†

¬†It’s time we acknowledge this epidemic and do our part. If every person reading this helps just one person, imagine what difference we can make.¬†

I will begin posting recipes this week giving alternative options for people in Dhaka. Try these recipes out, make them with your friends who are struggling. You have no idea how much pain they are in. They need you more than you need them. I would love to hear your stories. 

One small step at a time. 

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PVSD Post vacation stress disorder; there’s a cure!

fitness, Lifestyle

So you have had the most fabulous vacation, you ate the best foods and relaxed to your hearts content. Now that you’re back home, we are all too familiar with that horrid feeling of, ‘what have I done?’ ‘Did I really eat all that food?’ ‘I am going on a strict diet now’ ‘I am never eating again!’

At least I know I have been a victim of those traumatic post vacation feeling all too many times. Again, don’t do that to your body, it takes 21 days to form a habit and for your body to accept the new great changes you have made. So treating your body like a trash can for the duration of your holiday just doesn’t make sense!

We traveled to Nassau, Bahamas for 5 days which was the first holiday where I tried to stay true to my routine and thoroughly enjoyed myself, guilt-free.

Start your morning the same way by having that delicious morning smoothie.

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1 banana | 4 strawberries | handful of blueberries | 1/4 cup water

Then I used the beautiful setting to inspire a good work out because I’m the type of person who just cannot control my food intake during holidays! ūüėõ

I started with a 5 minute jog in place.

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The resistance band is your best travel companion. It’s light, takes no space and allows for a killer workout! I used a band which resists 15lbs

Buy a resistance band

So this was my routine after 5 minutes of jogging.
3 sets of 12 bicep curls

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3 sets of 12 triceps

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3 sets of 12 shoulder press

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3 sets of 12 front rows
3 sets of 12 lateral raise

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 3 sets of 12 alternate extensions

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 3 sets of 20 squats

3 sets of 12 lunges

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3 sets of 12 side lunges

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3 sets of 20 sit ups

3 sets of 20 leg extensions

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Stretch it out and enjoy your day! Drink your protein! Take your multivitamins!

I ate lots of seafood and really enjoyed our vacation and best of all it felt great having none of those post holiday feelings! I successfully had no post vacation stress and this is just the beginning! 

If I can do it, believe me anyone can!

There is nothing called a full cheat day!

fitness, Lifestyle

My normal schedule in London begins with a fruit smoothie, I literally wake up dreaming of it. Followed by a 1.5 hour session with my trainer, Gary Ousby where we do HIIT (high intensity interval training).

Gary’s website

My point is that I am incredibly strict with myself during the week. I do not cheat and that really helps develop my self control in the subconscious level. I used to really look forward to the weekend as this were my cheat days! No training and eat whatever! The first two weekends I did just that but it made me feel like hell at the Monday morning training session! I wondered why!

Here’s the reality, you can’t just get off the wagon for 2 days and expect to jump right on after that! Yes, the human body is amazing but not that amazing! You are essentially confusing your body and that’s when it starts to store/crave the things that you are working so hard to eliminate. It’s up to you, which day do you food-cheat and which day do you train-cheat? ūüėõ

So, maintain your intense training sessions and strict food plan during the week, give yourself the 6th day to rest your body. When you are giving your body a rest, keep your eating/drinking in check. On the 7th day, do something fun! Go for a walk, run with a friend, just do anything active which is not your regular regime. That night go to that new restaurant or eat that food you’ve been constantly craving! It’s all about that balance and really thinking about your body, keep it moving and constantly remind it that you won’t sabotage this new lifestyle as this time it is the real deal and not just another crash diet.

That’s exactly what I did today, I got a root canal and was very groggy from the numbness and pain. I realized that going outdoors during this beautiful weather in Great Falls,VA ( where i am on holiday now) would be the perfect pick-me-up! My sister and I went to the backyard and together we did a bit of running, core exercises, shared tips and played a game of basketball! It was so much fun, easy and a great way to spend time with my sister!

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It takes about 21 days to form a habit, imagine what happens inside your body when it tries to adapt to this amazing lifestyle for 5 days then gets thrown off! This analogy might put things in perspective, imagine you have a huge ugly blister on your arm and to heal it you ought to clean it with antibacterial wipes, cover it and absolutely no touching. So you follow that routine for 5 days then for the next 2 days you don’t do any of it and just let it be. Will it ever heal? Think about it! Just because we cannot see what’s happening on the inside it’s much easier to avoid it. Don’t avoid what’s inside, it is what’s keeping you alive!

Keep at it! Enjoy the transformation! Enjoy your cheat days, don’t let that temporary euphoric feeling ruin your permanent goal!