My daily everyday

Lifestyle

It’s good to be back home, rejuvenated from a month long holiday! Even though I followed my London routine while I was away, it’s simply not the same.

I used to be pretty much like a sloth before; I went to school, ate whatever, sedentary mostly, sleeping at strange hours (with sleep aid), woke up past noon. Oh! It was a mess!! And by the way I was always tired or felt sick just ask my husband or sisters.

Looking at my everyday now, I must say I have come a long way in just a few short months. Remember it takes 21 days to form a habit!

My day starts with me craving for the fruit smoothie. Blitz the fruits with some spinach and kale. Add in matcha green tea and then stir in some chia seeds.

Why matcha green tea? Why chia seeds?

I drink half of the smoothie an hour before training.

Train with Gary for an hour and half. By that time I am dead beat!

Within 20 mins of training, I drink a whey protein shake with water followed by multivitamins that’s when your body is craving for all that goodness! Then i head to work feeling quite full. At some point before lunch, I take the remaining portion of the smoothie. 

Why whey protein?

 I take lunch around 12:30 pm which consists of carbohydrates + veggies

Between lunch and dinner, I have 2 snacks.

Snack # 1: Either apple with nut butter or seeds or porridge. Anything that is slow releasing. Fruit or milk chia puddings are great too.

Snack # 2: Another whey protein shake with water.

Then I take dinner  by 7:30 pm which consists of proteins + veggies

Why this food plan?

Around 9:30 pm I drink some chamomile or herbal tea

By 10:30 pm, I am already dying to sleep. This is so unlike me but I love it!

And all day I drink a lot of water (4 liters) in many forms and keep nuts and seeds handy. You never want to feel hungry thats a sign of your metabolism slowing down. 

You just have to make it work around your schedule. Everyone’s life is different and there is no template to getting it just perfect. You devise your own plan and make it work for you! Just remember to add in all the goodness so each day you are one step towards your goal. Everything you put into your body should have a reason, when something doesn’t thats when you toss it out! 

You decide what goes into your body, it deserves the best! 

 

 

 

 

 

Fresh as fresh! Not your average tomato basil pasta

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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 🙂


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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! 😀 


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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 😀

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

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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, jalapeños, 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 . 

Lunch: Vegetable fried rice

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Lunch is one of those meals that really helps you get through the day! There are such high expectations from lunch, it needs to fuel you and must be versatile enough to take to work/school/etc. Here’s a recipe that fits the bill, it’s packed with nutrients, you can make it once for 2/3 days and it’s holds well to carry out.

Remembering the 70:30 ratio of vegetables:carbohydrates I will give you only an approximation of how much vegetable you should add. Please feel free to add more!

Every household usually has their own fried rice recipe, stir fried vegetables, eggs, protein, rice together….but remember no mixing carbs and proteins! Here’s the trick to avoid stir frying those beautiful vegetables in oil and stripping it off it’s nutrients.

Steam them first! The steamer is my new best friend!


What will you need?

1 cup cooked and cooled brown rice
1 cup broccoli
1 cup carrots
1 cup mushrooms
1 cup green/red peppers
2/3 cloves of chopped garlic
1/2 cup cilantro
1/2 cup spring onions
1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
Sea salt to taste

Cook and cool the brown rice

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Steam the broccoli, carrots, peppers and mushroom till just tender. Make sure they don’t get soggy.

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In a hot wok, add 3 sprays of your oil of choice and toast the garlic. Add in steamed vegetables and stir.

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Add in the brown rice and stir together. Add salt to taste and soy sauce.

Mix well and add in chopped cilantro and spring onion. Mix together and serve!

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You can add a medley of vegetables to your liking. Corn and peas are a great addition! Store extra fried rice in air tight container and it will stay well for 4/5 days in the fridge. This should make you at least 4 servings!

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Enjoy!

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. 🙂

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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Homemade body butter | Handmade with love

Lifestyle

 

 There is an alarming rate of harmful ingredients in the products we use on a daily basis. We hardly ever think about the creams we apply on our skin everyday especially when it is tagged with a fancy brand name. The skin has a remarkable capability to absorb whatever you apply on it and eventually it reaches the bloodstream, about 85% of what you apply goes beyond the first layer of protection. A great site to check your products is Environmental working group’s Skin Deep.

Once you have realized how scary all the ingredients involved are, you can turn to this amazing homemade organic body butter which is super easy to make! It also makes a really thoughtful gift for your loved ones.

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Things you need

 Organic unrefined shea, cocoa, avocado, aloe vera and mango butters + Organic virgin coconut oil + Vitamin E (you can add however much you prefer and available on amazon)

A large pot

Electric beater

Jars


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Step 1

You will need the following organic butters/oils. They are solid flakes and look nothing like what you would expect. You can add them in any ratio according to your preference.

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Step 2

This is the cocoa butter. Add each butter into a big pot on very low heat and let it melt like the next photo. Then add the next butter.

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Step 3

Stir slowly till all the butter has melted 

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Step 4

Wait to cool slightly and place the pot in the refrigerator

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Step 5

Cool till the butter looks like a cream and not translucent. This will take between 1 to 2 hours.

Then take it out of the refrigerator and let it stand for for 15 minutes.

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Step 6

Use an electric beater to whip the mixture into fluffy cream, you will really feel like eating it!

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Finally

 Place into jars and refrigerate the extra ones that you won’t use straight away. Take a small amount in between your hands and rub together to release the oils then use where needed.  I did not add any extra essential oils for smell, you can add lavender/lemon or any other essential oils according to your liking! Lastly, I added the ‘handmade with love’ sticker from etsy! Just an extra special touch!

 I made 10 120ml jars of body butter!


Enjoy!