Friday, November 16, 2012

Eating Skinny!

So I stumbled up on this article and it got me thinking:

Practically everything on this list are things my Desi mother has been unconsciously feeding us for years. Remind me to thank her for the amazing metabolism I had for most of my life. I say that because lately I find my metabolism majorly slummed and it’s probably because I’ve taken out all the great stuff from my diet that I used to eat before. The more I think about it the more I realize that this may be the secret why I never saw my mother/grandmother ever doing all the crazy diets or intense exercise routines most American women succumb to in order to control their appetites. Even reflecting on myself, as a teenager while I was still eating mom’s home cooked desi meals I wasn’t thin but I was able to maintain a healthy normal weight without much struggle at all. And the moment I added in a mix of exercise into my routine I was able to drop weight quickly. Nowadays it’s like I breathe air and I’ve gaining 10 pounds!

Desi women are not skinny by nature; we have wide hips and curvy midsections. It’s just who we are. Butttt I wouldn’t call Desi women obese. The main things I see women of south Asian descent have is good self-control when it comes to food and a pretty good metabolism. I’m not talking about us Desis who grew up here and been subjected to tons of junk food loaded with sugars and carbs. I’m talking about the real home grown edition of Desi, like our moms and grandmas. I know I have AWFUL self-control when it comes to delicious food. Pizza, mashed potatoes, lasagna, and chocolate cake I can’t remember the last time when I said ‘oh I’ll just have 1 helping thank you’. But true Desi women who grew up eating wholesome home cooking just ate less and that was their unconscious effortless portion control/ weight loss regime.

So according to the article, these are the ingredients I need to bring back onto my plate:

Chili peppers – The first thing you think of when you hear the words Indian/Pakistani food is spicy. Ultimately, you aren’t a Desi if you can’t handle the heat. And it was only when I grew up and read up on it that I found out that the spicy taste does wonders for your metabolism! Yay spicy food! :)

Pine nuts- As a kid I remember my Ammi and Dadi roasting up chilgozay (pine nuts) to snack on in the winter. Meanwhile, in the summer time my mom would dry out the seeds of all sorts of fruits for us to munch on. I specifically remember cantaloupe seeds but I know pumpkin and sunflower seeds were definitely something we ate while pretty much oblivious to the massive amounts of nutrients they are loaded with. Something all women are known to do is eat out of bored, but Desi women hit it on target by nibbling on something that would suppress appetite in addition to decrease their fat stores!

Cinnamon sticks- I never knew it until I started cooking myself, but cinnamon is common a spice used in most curries. I put whole sticks of it in my Pulao to add aroma, but if you ever cook curries with garam masala it’s one of the main ingredients in it. Who knew it’s a metabolism booster?

Red Lentils – Every Desi child knows what daal is, masoor ki daal to be specific. And, whether you liked it or not you definitely ate it a few times a month if not weekly. I personally LOVE daal with kaali and khutti daal being among my favorites; plus it’s honestly one of the easiest meals to prepare. The added bonus, all the protein and good fiber in lentils is great at keeping you full for longer.

Fennal tea- I drank gallons of it post-delivery as my mom insisted it will help sooth my breastfed son’s digestion and mean less gas for him from all the things I eat. Little did we both know that it actually helped me lose a ton of my baby weight! Too bad I stopped drinking it as soon as I stopped breastfeeding; I need to get back on this stat! (buy some fennel boil it in water, tea doesn't get much simpler than that!)

Overall- After a long and tiring day at school/work, while it’s easy to pick up food at the drive thru or cook 2-minute ramen noodles (loaded with sodium and preservatives that only cause you to bloat!), small efforts like cooking up some daal and adding in a dash of ‘lal mirch’ will do your body good..

**There are a bunch of other items this article mentioned that I personally do love eating (apples, watermelon, raspberries, avocados), but they aren't very 'Desi' so I'll just mention them here and encourage everyone to add them into your diet!

(photos courtesy of Google Images) 

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