Showing posts with label workout. Show all posts
Showing posts with label workout. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Recipe: Sprouted Moong (Green Gram) Falafels!

Wow, at the beginning of this journey with Tata Salt Lite I did not know if I would be able to stick to the schedule and be regular with my blogging. This is my last post for #slite and I'm going to miss this so much, that I have decided to stick to Tata Salt Lite from now on. Thank you so much for letting me invent and play around in my kitchen, and discover so much more about myself while doing so! Thank you for also giving me a medium to convey to the world the importance of no sodium salt!

I took few days to think about the perfect last recipe, or a grand finale, if you will. I thought of a Brown Rice Phirni, a Cauliflower soup, an epic stir fry and so many more items. But then I realised I didn't do anything with Sprouts and considering they are such an important part of my daily life, it is unfair to them. So I was brainstorming with my bestie all the way in Singapore, when she mentioned I could make Sprout Falafels. What a brilliant idea! Not to mention how utterly genius this is, it is also insanely healthy, and a good high protein alternative for people like me who get tired of eating Sprouts just as is. It all seemed like it would work out on paper, but nothing is ever sure till you actually execute it so I did a test run. I am so happy with how these turned out! You can either bake them or pan fry them in very little oil, like I did, have it with Hummus, or stuff it in your pita, roti, have it with bread, or just as is!

Sprouted Moong Falafels
Serves 2
Takes 15 minutes


1 cup sprouted Moong/Green Gram. (You can use any kind of sprouts)
5 cloves of Garlic
1/2 an Onion, finely chopped.
A handful of mixed herbs, finely chopped. (I used coriander, mint, parsley)
1 tsp Roasted Cumin powder
Tata Salt Lite, to taste
1/2 tsp All spice powder (can be substituted with brown Garam Masala powder)
juice of half a lemon.
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
2 tsp Olive Oil.


You can either use lightly steamed Moong or raw Moong for this recipe as you desire. If you want to use steamed Moong, place them in the microwave, sprinkled with some water and microwave on high for a minute. You'll need to let them cool down before proceeding. I used raw sprouts.

Pulse the sprouts in the blender, in short 2 second bursts, till it resembles a coarse powder. We do not want a paste. Remove them in a mixing bowl. Add in the garlic and pulse that as well, add to the sprout mix.

Now throw in the Onion, herbs, and the powders. Add salt and mix everything together.

In a spoon, take the lemon juice and add the baking soda to it. Pour the froth into the mixture and combine everything again. Gently make bite sized rounds of falafel, and place them on a plate. I made 8. Put them in the fridge for 5 minutes.

Heat up a non stick pan on medium high with the Olive oil. Put in the falafel rounds and slightly flatten them. Let them be undisturbed for a minute. Flip them over, lower the flame to medium and finish cooking on the other side, approximately 3 to 4 minutes.

Serve hot!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Recipe: Guilt Free Sugarless 70% Dark Chocolate and Baileys Ice Cream.

I am the Ross Geller of the ice cream world. I am not an ice cream lover because I think it is too cold. Soft serves and froyo on the other hand, I love. Back when we were kids, me and the little brother used to re-enact the sequence from the Jurassic Park movie, where the kids are eating ice cream and a Dinosaur creeps up in their house (we've all been there). We'd mix instant coffee powder in a Vanilla ice cream cup and stir it vigorously till it was of soft serve consistency and then race to who finishes last. Nostalgic. Sigh... How time passes by!

As much as I really-really-really don't like ice cream, I crave for it often when it's that time of the month. Same goes for chocolate- not a huge fan, but I want nothing but chocolate when I'm craving for it. Since I decided to make a sLITE change in my life, I thought why not come up with a guilt free ice cream recipe which would satiate my cravings and not make me get out of the house just to buy myself a cup? David Lebovitz had this recipe up on his site, and I tailor made it to fit into the sLITE lifestyle. I  also added a sprinkle of Tata salt lite to the recipe, to bring out the bittersweet taste. It literally takes 5 minutes to make the faux custard, and no churning at all! This may not be your friendly neighbourhood overtly sweet ice cream but it was still so good, I just had to share it with you guys!

A huge shoutout to the amazing folks over at Tata Salt Lite who are taking a great initiative with promoting the #slite lifestyle. You can look their pages up on Twitter and Facebook, or dial their toll free number to know more.

On to the nomness!

Guilt Free Sugarless 70% Dark Chocolate and Baileys Ice Cream.
Serves 2
Takes 5 minutes (+4 hours of freezing)
Adapted from David Lebovitz's blog.


100 gm 70% Dark Chocolate (You can use any that you like)
1 cup milk (you can also use non fat or skimmed milk)
1 medium sized over-ripe frozen Banana
2 tbsp Cocoa Powder
90 ml Baileys (optional)
A dash of Vodka/Rum
A pinch of Tata Salt Lite


Melt the Chocolate and Cocoa into warm milk till uniform. You can do this over a pan on low heat, or in the microwave at 30 second bursts.
Blend together with all other ingredients till smooth.
Transfer to an air tight container and freeze for 4 hours or until set.
Scoop it out and sprinkle with Tata Salt Lite before serving.

Note: we need to add alcohol to the recipe so that there is no crystallisation. You can omit the alcohol altogether, but know that the ice cream will be slightly hard in texture (like a Kulfi).

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Recipe: Good-for-you Smoothie!

Around a decade ago, I was diagnosed with Anemia. While this is a fairly common problem with the women, it definitely should not be ignored. Since I was training to be a pilot at that time, even though my Haemoglobin levels were almost normal, they needed to be optimal. I saw my family doctor, an Air Force doctor, a Haematologist, an Ayurvedic doctor, a Homeopathic doctor, I took injections, but nothing helped me boost it all. While my haemoglobin levels were inter-linked to other problems in my body, my mother decided to stop everything and go natural.

I would have fresh juice every day that would consist of Spinach, Beetroot, Ginger, Lemon, Mint, Coriander, Carrots, Bottle Gourd and Tomatoes. One month later, my Hb levels were optimal. As much as I loved the juice, it always gave me the medicinal feel for the reasons that I was having it. But as years went by and I resorted to drinking this magic juice before every medical examination, I noticed that my skin was better, digestion was better and I felt and looked great. Since then, I try and incorporate these juices in various forms on a regular basis into my diet, my favourite being a Smoothie. One sLITE change that makes a huge difference in my life.

The hot rage is the superfood Kale and it would only mean I have to try it in a Smoothie. So I experimented, and as expected, I was wowed. You can add in whatever fruits and greens you like, chances are you'd love them too! So here we go:

Good-For-You Smoothie
Serves 3
Takes 5 minutes


1 Cup Kale leaves
1 Green Apple, chopped.
1 Cup Tender Coconut Water + Any pulp from the coconut.
A handful of Grapes
2 tbsp Flax Seed Powder (optional, if you like that Smoothie extra thick)
1/2 Cup Ice Cubes
A pinch of Tata Salt LITE
1 tbsp Honey (Optional. I did not add it)

Feel free to add in a handful of Spinach leaves, even some Walnuts, Cashews and even Basil Leaves. You can substitute the Tender Coconut Water with Almond Milk, Yogurt, Soy Milk, or even regular water. You will need Honey in this case. 


Process all the ingredients in a blender until smooth and fine. Enjoy!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Recipe: Kale Chips!

Kale is the new superfood in the market. Everywhere I go, every article I read, every video I watch, is gaga about Miss Kale. I just had to find out what the fuss was about, so I decided to make me some Kale Chips. But of course, I would not deep fry them. In order to make a SLITE change, I baked them instead, and sprinkled with low sodium Tata salt lite instead of the regular fare, and Oh My God! The possibilities with this recipe are endless! Not only are these chips nutritious, they can be your go-to for those midnight snack cravings, or while watching movies. They aren't crunchy, they're KRRUNNCHYYY (seriously, they make that sound while you eat them).

So what are we waiting for? Let's do this!

Baked Kale Chips
Serves 4 (Or 1. I really can't guarantee)
Takes 20 minutes.


A bunch of Kale, washed, patted completely dry.
Tata Salt Lite, to season.
Pepper, to season.
A drizzle of Olive Oil. (Not Extra Virgin)
Any other seasonings (Chili flakes, brown sugar, sesame, Parmesan cheese, popcorn seasoning etc.)


Preheat oven to 170C/340F. Grease a cookie sheet or two with a tsp of Olive Oil.

Prep the Kale. We need to tear the Kale into bite sized pieces along the middle thick stem. Discard the thick stem. Please bear in mind that the chips will reduce in size as they bake, so tear accordingly. Transfer the leaves into a bowl.

Drizzle some Olive Oil and massage the Kale. You'll notice it will start to wilt a little. Season with Salt and Pepper, and any other seasoning you like. Massage well. Arrange on the cookie sheet such that the leaves are not overlapping one another. We want them to bake, not steam, and overlapping would make them steam.

Bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until bright green and crispy. Let it stay for a minute on the cookie sheet before you transfer them to your serving bowl. These don't stay very long as they're a crowd pleaser, but if you do intend on storing them, a brown paper bag would be a good bet!

I baked half of them with Salt and Pepper, and the other half with Chili Oil and Brown Sugar and mixed the two. We're having a lot of fun munching on the mixed goodness here at home!


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Motivation: 10 Tips for Beginners who have just joined the gym!

Image Credit: Google Images

It was a very difficult decision for me to switch my blog from a normal food blog to shifting its focus to health and fitness. I have spent close to a year, procrastinating, thinking that making this switch would ruin what I already have, all my beautiful readers may get tired or bored, and honestly it was just another excuse. For a person who finds it easiest to express herself in the form of writing, it was like my life depended on it.

Now that I have finally taken the plunge, I am nothing but overwhelmed and awe-inspired. I am so thankful to each one of you who have been religiously reading my blog, trying my recipes, following my journey on various modes of social media, writing to me, pouring your hearts out and sharing your emotional struggles too. Seriously, I feel humbled. Thank you so, so much. One of you reached out to me and offered tonnes of helpful advice and it helped me a great deal. I am not revealing your identity, but please know that you have been very helpful! Thank you so much :)

Here is a list of 10 tips for beginners who have just joined the gym, written by one of my readers!


What prompts us all to join the Gym ?

We want to get out there in the competitive world, be it our friend circle, our work place, family functions, to stand out in any activity. looking fit & getting noticed for being awesomely built.

1. When you join the gym make a pact with yourself to be regular for
the first three months.

2. You will find many Gym pundits on the gym floor. Some of them may be
your friends, pumping Iron for the past many years. Please don't take
his Gyaan on the Gym floor. Your trainer will lose interest in you.

3. Be honest with your trainer with regards to your goal & the amount
of commitment you are ready to pledge to achieve your goal.

4. Once your body measurements are taken down by your trainer, make a
copy of the same & keep it for your record. Ask your trainer the next
due-date for measurements. (If your gym does not do this, please take your measurements and keep checking every month)

5. Discuss with Your trainer any/all medical injury that you are ailing from.

6. Modify your diet plan. Your body needs those extra quality calories
(proteins , carbs, etc ) to help you meet with your goal. Seek the
assistance of a certified  dietician.

7. Yes, You need motivation at the gym, a training buddy is a good
idea but not only will he have mood swings, different plans on certain
days. No two bodies are the same. So workout alone with a vengeance.
Your pump & burn should be Your best motivator.

8.Train Your core. Ask your trainer about your body type & never
hesitate to ask him questions, if any.

9. Educate yourself on fitness vide the Internet, journals etc

10. Please seek your Doctors go-ahead before you start an exercise regime.



My blog reader Nairutee who also spreads a lot of love over my Instagram feed (

I'd like to add a few more points to this -

> Stretch, stretch, stretch! Before and after workouts. One of the most imp elements people usually ignore.

> If you can't go to a gym there are tonnes of other options. Go to your nearest park,start with brisk walking and slowly build to a light jog. Take a jump rope along. Join a zumba / aerobics class. Once you start enjoying the exercise, you might just be motivated to join a gym to take your workouts a notch higher.

> Always.. Always keep a food journal. In this age of smartphones you can easily download a good app where you can log what you eat for getting a basic idea about how much you are eating (or over or under eating). This personally has helped me a lot eat more consciously and make better food choices.

> Workout not just to lose weight but to get fitter and build better flexibility and stamina. The weightloss will definitely happen.

> And last but not the least, don't do it for others - because your mother, husband, boyfriend asked you to. Till the time you do not make it "your own" goal - that you're doing it for yourself because you want to feel fitter and energetic and healthier - it will feel like a burden. So just accept yourself and start working on yourself and let your efforts do the rest of the talking :) 

I think these tips are great! Don't you?

If you have something to share, you can write to me too! My email address is exploreyourkitchen at gmail dot com :) 

Friday, January 30, 2015

Recipe: Cauliflower Couscous. When Couscous went Paleo!

I'm so grateful that Tata Salt Lite actually gave me the opportunity to speak for the cause, since I had been going through a writers block for the longest time. Since leading a fit and healthy lifestyle is a choice that I have made, this bodes well for me as well as my readers (I hope!) these little changes actually make a big difference in our lives. You can totally avoid the sodium loaded French fries when you go out to eat and opt for the humble baked potato without salt, and sprinkle your own low sodium salt on it as required. I have noticed that I am able to click better selfies, my clothes fit better, and I feel less lethargic when I keep my sodium intake in check. Of course, it's a little bit of everything like I always say. Eating healthy, working out and keeping your water intake and nutrition in check.

To tell you a little bit about what Paleo is, Paleo is short for Paleolithic lifestyle. I am not going to call it a diet, because it isn't. It's a lifestyle. We eat what our ancestors ate in the Paleolithic times. I have what you call a semi Paleo lifestyle, what with the food writing and everything else. But it does help me make an informed decision about what I'm eating. If you're interested, Google it right away!

Since couscous is a refined carb, I used Cauliflower as couscous for this recipe since its unrefined and is more nutritious, and also easier to digest for our body. I make this recipe so often that it is a house favourite! The gentle crunch of the cauliflower, the sweetness from the raisins, the saltiness from the olives and the smokiness from the chili flakes makes this a perfectly balanced treat!

Cauliflower Couscous
Serves 2
Takes 15 minutes
Recipe credit: watched on food network


250 gm Cauliflower florets
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
5-6 Olives, roughly chopped
Mixed nuts, roasted on a pan. I used almond and pistachio slivers
15 Raisins/ Cranberries
Tata Salt lite, to taste
1 tsp Chili flakes
A handful of chopped coriander
1 tbsp Olive Oil
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, to drizzle on top


Pulse the cauliflower florets in a blender till they resemble the texture of couscous.

Heat a pan on medium high, add oil. Start with the shallots and chili flakes and give them a minute till they are sweet and translucent. Add in the cauliflower and sauté for 2 minutes.

Season with Tata salt lite, and sprinkle some water over the cauliflower. Cover the pan and turn the heat to low. Let it cook for 2 minutes. Lift the lid and give it a good mix.

Transfer to a plate and top with the nuts, olives, lemon juice, raisins, coriander and drizzle generously with extra virgin olive oil. You can add anything else you like, for example cumin powder, sumac, even grilled Apple would taste great!

Let me know how you like this!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Recipe: The Whatever-You-Get Braised Omelet.

Off late my schedule has been full of eggs. I'm an egg lover, but I may have exaggerated myself when I said I could eat eggs for every meal. It gets repetitive after a while and one can easily get bored. That's when the real challenge sets in. What sets the challenge in the Iron-Chef-America mode is being pressed for time, multitasking.

The best thing about eggs are that they are so versatile, you can almost add them to anything- a stir fry, rice, or a simple scramble or omelet. The quickest and easiest version of eggs with an attitude is what I call the Whatever-You-Get Omelet.

As for braising, after spending over a decade trying to perfect the omelet, watching them serve me a perfect one every time at leisurely brunches and breakfast buffets and me trying to replicate the same only to end up with brown omelet every single time, I have resorted to braising my eggs and they're perfect every time. Braising is basically cooking your eggs in steam, and you'll end up with the best omelet ever if you get it right!

The Whatever-You-Get Braised Omelet
Serves One
Takes 10 minutes


2 whole eggs/ 4 egg whites.
1 tsp Oil + 1 tsp Oil.
Tata Salt LITE to taste (low sodium)
Pepper to taste
Whatever you get. (Seriously. You can add some leftover Chicken or Veg. Mixed greens are a great option too. I used Broccoli, Lettuce and Spinach, some shredded chicken and half a Tomato. You can go as crazy as you like, be it mushrooms, different kinds of cheese, boiled Corn kernels,even leftover rice sautéed in spices!)
A slice of Cheese. I used White Cheddar
A splash of milk (approximately 1 tbsp)

Important apparatus: a non stick pan with a lid.


Whisk the eggs with Milk, Salt and Pepper. Set aside.
Heat up the non stick pan on medium high heat. Prep the veggies and keep them ready. Also keep the Cheese peeled and ready (you're welcome, bachelor readers, I'm laying it out step by step for you :P )
Add 1 tsp Oil to the pan followed by Chili flakes and veggies. turn heat to high and sauté for 2 minutes. Remove in a separate plate.
Put the pan back on heat and turn the heat to low. Pour the omelet mixture in and stir lightly in the pan. Gently whisk around, and then top with all the yummy veggies that have been sautéed, chicken, cheese, herbs!
Sprinkle few drops of water around the insides of the pan and immediately cover it. Let it stay for 3 minutes. The steam generated from the sizzling water will braise the omelet and will cook it from the top as well.
Remove the lid, and transfer the cooked omelet to a plate. If you think the omelet is too runny for you, give it a couple more minutes with a covered lid.
I drizzled the top of my omelet with Chili infused olive oil and had it as is, so filling, so healthy!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Emotional struggles of being overweight.

Just this morning, I read an article online from Deepika Padukone and her battle with depression and anxiety. Social media has been ablaze all day with people applauding her bravery, and sharing with the world their own stories of battling depression. One can't help but relate, and reminisce about their own life. The tough times, the times when one has felt alone even when they're out with a crowd,the times where you wish someone would understand but you don't really know what to do about it,since you yourself aren't able to fathom what the hell is wrong with you.

Image credits: Google Images

As far as being overweight goes, one must know that it is not an individual effort. Of course, its you out there who's doing the physical work but it is very important for loved ones around you to be supportive and motivating. An overweight person knows that they're overweight, and needs every little positive reinforcement to get them through. When I was a kid, I weighed more than the kids my age. Parents and relatives would ask me to eat less, exercise more etc. in hindsight, I was perfectly fine body wise, wore a medium size T-Shirt and pants that were 30 inches. My height was around 5 feet 5 inches when I was a teenager. When people complimented me in college, I felt weird coz it was all new to me. All I heard at home was how fat I was (when I really wasn't).

Image Credits: Google Images
There comes a time in your life when you're constantly told you're something you're actually not, when you start accepting it. I did. There was no one to hear me out. I accepted the misery and to make matters worse, turned to food for filling up that void. It got to a point where I was diagnosed with high blood pressure. I still remember going to the doctor with my Dad and him asking me if I was stressed out, and my Dad denying it coz it was not my age to get stressed. 

The one thing that worked in my favour was that I have never been a quitter. I made the most out of my situation, perhaps not the best - cut all forms of human contact with friends. I stopped socializing altogether. I started blogging and being more active on social media only because I was home all day and had to kill time. It's an important part of my expression now, what with the blog and everything, but at one point in my life I had not stepped out of my house for a period of 3 months. 

My parents got tired of my being a couch potato and enrolled me into a slimming center, and after a lot of fighting I agreed to go. That's where they completely diagnosed my body and started to dig into what was the root cause of my obesity. I was asked to see the counselor they had. We spoke for few hours and then she asked me to call my parents, but guess what, they didn't come, because they thought it all was bullshit.

My therapist asked me to take a stand, and make life better for myself. She said I was bordering on depression and I need to address what the cause of my obesity is, lest the problem be recurring my entire life. She asked me to enroll for group activities, dancing, where I will be able to interact with actual people more often. She encouraged me to go out and socialize. It took me 5 months to convince my parents to let me join a gym (I don't blame them, I had been a no-show for a good year and a half with a gym membership before). They agreed to let me join for a mere 3 months, and I had to earn that membership by showing them progress. This time around, I was hell bent. I didn't want to end up depressed. What I was going through wasn't even depression yet it felt like hell. I started going for Zumba and eventually took up Salsa and Bollywood Dance, followed by kickboxing. Soon enough, the scales started dipping too. I met some amazing people at my gym who were all aiming for fitness, and it felt amazing. I lost 35 kilos.

I let myself go and took myself for granted, and 30 kilos later, found myself in the same spot again. How did I let myself get back to this again? Being told I was getting fat, I was looking ugly. Being pushed to the point where I didn't even care anymore and turned to junk eating again. It was too late when it hit me, but better late than never. I knew I had to live through it again. Only this time, I had the support of my friends and loved ones. I have a man who joined the gym with me just so I won't feel alone when I workout. I have the best trainers who ask me to stick to my cardio and skip weight training on days when I haven't had enough sleep. I have readers who actually read what I write. Really, I feel thankful. 

My parents have always been the tough love kinds, and I don't think it's their fault that they did not understand what I was going through. It's just how our stupid and judgmental society works. Guests passed a comment about my weight, and they started taunting me. My mom took me to a dietician when I was 14 and the doctor asked her to lay off, I was just growing up. Thankfully they did, but the damage had already been done. I won 'miss personality' in my college, and more than anyone else it was hard for me to believe so myself. I just wish my parents actually paid heed to what the doctors were saying. For the love of sensibility, they have a degree and they know what they're saying. Indian parents only take what they want from the doctors advice and follow their own methods. I see the scenario has changed now, and I am hoping it would only get better. 

People feed their kids with all kinds of unhealthy crap at home, and when they're undergoing bodily changes as they grow, they think their kid is fat. I saw a kid take low fat steamed veggies in her tiffin box the other day. That, my friends, is the other extreme of this situation. You need to provide adequate nutrition to your kids, they're growing up. Please don't put them on a fad diet. Oh and while we're on that subject, do encourage kids to go out and play, not sit at home and play on their phones and tabs and computers but go out, run around, have a few falls and play real games like football and cricket. 

Last but not the least, I'd like to say that if you know anyone who's battling obesity, try being a little sensitive towards them. If you have a person going through the same who you care about, try being there for them. Congratulate them on their effort, motivate them. If you take a box of chocolates for your friend who's chronically obese and trying to eat healthy, you're part of the problem too. A little thought wouldn't hurt. They may not be open to advice (they're probably getting advice from many other channels) so just try to be the listener, it really helps. 

Oh well, nostalgia strikes again. I'm gonna need to take a breather. But I'm here to listen, if you have anything you'd like to share with me, please, be my guest, I'm happy to help. If you feel low, if you need motivation, I'm only a comment away. If you feel like you want to talk to me privately, don't hesitate to email me on exploreyourkitchen at gmail dot com.

Signing off on a happy note, I'm coming up with some real healthy recipes for you guys! Stay tuned!
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