BY SIMRUN CHOPRA
2020 is unlike any year we have seen and in parts of the country this monsoon is unlike any we have seen.
Staying healthy is essential to staying happy; and while we are well versed with the power of the mind for wellness, or the “top-down” approach as some call it, however one shouldn’t underestimate the “bottom up approach” either.
With the rains comes the common cold and cough, flu and viral fevers, in addition we have COVID-19 to deal with as well. If you get sick, your immunity is lowered making you more suspectable to virus.
Our mood, health, energy and reactions are heavily influenced by our second brain; our gut, which is a result of what we eat. Try these simple recipes to help get super charged with the nutrients you need.
Overnight Chia Pudding
I call this a pudding because it truly tastes like one. Chia seeds are filled with fiber, antioxidants essential fatty acids and good quality protein; add to this the humble curd and you have a good dose of probiotics, protein and fats. Fruit adds fresh sweetness and flavour along with phytonutrients and essential vitamins. Cinnamon adds flavour and you get its medicinal properties too– antioxidants and anti-inflammatory.
2 tablespoons chia seeds
6-8 tablespoons of homemade / store bought curd
3/4 cup chopped Mango
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder / vanilla essence (optional)
1tsp of my seed powder (optional)
6 – 7 thin slices of coconut ( optional)
Mix all the ingredients together the night before and you are good to go in the morning
The yogurt / curd mixture should be runny like a milkshake or dosa batter.
Store it overnight in the fridge
Before serving top with the chopped mango and the coconut slices
One small banana + half an apple chopped small
One small banana + half mango + coconut meat
One small banana + 1 tsp instant coffee powder 1/2 cup strawberries
One small banana + 1 tbsp cocoa powder + toasted almond slices
Pina colada – Coconut Milk + Pineapple
Chocolate has long been known for its antioxidant properties and magnesium. This helps fight free radicals, however one can’t say the same for commercial chocolate which is mostly sugar. Using cacoa gives us the myriad benefits this super food has to offer, in addition to how comforting it is to hold a hot cup of chocolate.
This simple hot chocolate tastes like molten chocolate in a cup. Try this low calorie version every time you crave chocolate and you’ll thank me. I prefer to use unsweetened cocoa powder as this helps control the amount of sugar you want to add. You can use any sweetener of your choice. If you just keep boiling this down slowly you get a chocolate sauce. If you want to make the sauce more indulgent, just add a tiny bit of butter at the end.
1 heaped tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 inch square of jaggery (or sweetener of choice)
1 cup water
Mix the cocoa powder into room temperature water
Mix till there are no lumps remaining
Add the jaggery or sweetener and simmer on low heat for about 5 minutes
Once it starts to boil down, reduce to about 3/4 cup
Switch off when you think its thick enough
Sprinkle with Chocolate Powder and serve hot
Super seed powder
Seeds are a nutritional powerhouse and a must include for everyone. Especially for vegetarians and vegans, due to their plant based protein and omega 3. They are a brilliant source of protein, healthy fats, fiber, minerals and vitamins. Each seed has its unique benefits which is why my recipe uses a mix to ensure we get a little of all the important ones. I grind the to ensure max absorption.
How to use it? Just add it to your overnight oats, atta dough or sprinkle on your curd. This is a versatile recipe you should make ahead and use daily for everyone in the family. Think of it as your multi-vitamin.
3/4 cup flax seed
1/2 cup hemp seeds
1/2 cup mixed seeds (pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, watermelon)
1/4 cup cacao nibs
1 tsp turmeric (haldi)
1/2 tsp ground pepper
Mix all the seeds
Use the chutney jar of the grinder
Ensure its completely dry
Do a quick pulse, open and mix
Do short pulses to reach a powder consistency. Do not over grind or it will turn into a a clumpy mess
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator
You can use any blend of seeds. I’ve incorporated all to ensure a variety of nutrients
Do not exclude hemp seeds with shell as it is it extremely high in protein
I usually mix in some chia seeds into the powder. So they remain whole
Haldi or turmeric – It adds a boost with its anti-inflammatory properties and it keeps the seed powder fresh longer.
Pepper to boost the absorption of turmeric
Raw cacao nibs