Courgette Masala (zucchini curry)

Courgettes are most versatile and with delicate flavour, adapt to wide range of recipes from bread, fritters, creamy lasagne to grilled courgettes, but i am introducing a yummy, slightly spiced courgette masala/curry. Courgette masala or zucchini whatever you named it, is a delicious pakistani recipe, require very few ingredients. In this recipe, I also used bell peppers and believe me, it is a game-changer.

Ingredients

  • 3 large courgettes
  • 1 Bell pepper
  • 2 medium sized onions
  • 1/2 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon gram masala
  • 1/2 teasppon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup green chillies
  • 1/2 cup fresh coriander
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil/or cocunut butter

Instructions

First, heat oil in a non-stick pan, add finely sliced onions and saute for 5 minutes. Now, add minced garlic and cook for 1 minute until a pleasant aroma appears.

Now add diced courgettes and bell pepper, cook for about 2-3 minutes; now add all spices and chopped tomatoes. Mix well, ensuring that courgettes are well coated.

Cover the lid and cook for about 3-4 minutes on medium heat, stirring once in between.

Now add green chillies and lower the flame, cover the lid and cook for 15 minutes. Once all water dries, garnish with chopped fresh coriander

Served it with homemade flatbread.

Polyphenols; what they are, why you need them

Polyphenols are plant-derived dietary compounds that have been postulated to protect against certain chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, neurogenerative diseases and and cancer.

what are polyphenols

Polyphenols are classified into different groups on the basis of their chemical structure. The main classes are phenolic acids, flavonoids, stilbenes, and lignans.

Despite extensive research, the exact mechanism of action of polyphenols in the human body remains unclear.It is suggested by research that gut mictrobiota modulate these polyphenols and transform them into physiological active compound that can be absorbed and have been linked with reducing risks of chronic diseases

Health benefit of polyphenols

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Glucose metabolism

Polyphenols regulate glucose homeostasis glucose as they increase insulin secretion. Additionally, studies show polyphenols inhibiting two enzymes vital for metabolizing glucose from dietary carbohydrate: α-amylase and α-glucosidase, slowing down glucose release and absorption and ultimately reducing high blood sugar following a meal. varios studies link intake of ployphenole rich diet to prevention of insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and type 2diabetes. Accordingly, individuals at risk of type 2 diabetes are encouraged to eat more plant foods, which of course are rich sources of polyphenols.

Heart diseases

Adding polyphenols in your diet may improve heart health. In many studies, regular consumption of cocoa, or flavanol extract of cocoa, is associated with reduced blood pressure and cholesterol. Cocoa, green tea, and black tea all contain Epicatechin, an imortant polyphenol which act at cellular level and imporve endothelial function and inhibit platlet aggregation, thus reduces the risk of heart diseases.

Cocoa and Cardiovascular Health | Circulation

Brain health

Polyphenols exhibit tremendous potential in treating and preventing neurodegenerative disease like Alzheimer disease, Parkinson and huntington disease. Metanalysis and epidemilogical studies strongly suggest that polyphenols rich diet improve cognitive functions in elderly people.

May protect again cancer

Polyphenolsact as antioxidants and anti inflammatory and have been reported to be efficaious in the prevention of cancer. Polyphenols can inibit the proliferation of prostrate, bladder, lung, gastrointestinal, breast and ovarian cancer.

Oral health

Polyphenols are actually present in the highest concentration in oral cavity, and it is believed that they may prevent dental caries formation. This effect is based on polyphenols’ antibacterial activity, but it can be also mediated by inhibition of enzymes glucosyltransferase B and C, responsible for the production of insoluble polysaccharides, that can form a plaque and contribute to adherence of oral bacteria to the dental surface.

Divers polyphenols, divers health benefit

  • Coffee (phenolic acids)
  • Tea (condensed tanninGrape (resveratrol)
  • Apple (flavonoid)
  • Berries (anthocyanins)
  • Buckwheat (Rutin, Quercetin)
  • Oat (Avenanthramides)
  • Alfalfa (Apigenin)
  • Beetroot (Betalains)
  • Various herbs

shall i take polyohenols supplement

Polyphenols rich supplemet confer additonal health benefit but high dose cause toxicity. However, the upper limit of plasma concentation of polyphenols before the elobration of advers effect is unkown. Morover, a considerable amount of evidence support the hypothesis that polyphenols can cause advers effect through their pro oxidative action.

Consumption of polyphenols as healthy dietary component is consistent with the advice to eat five or more potions of fruits and vegetable per day, but it is still unclear the exact dose of specific polyphenols that can be safely and beneficiially consumed.

tandoori chicken skewers

This is an easy and simple recipe made with litttle or no effort.

ingredients

  • 500g boneless chicken
  • 1/3 cup yoghurt
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp paprika powder
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil

instruction

  • Marinate the chicken and vegetables and leave it for a minimum of 1 hour. The wait will be worth it as the longer you leave it, the more flavour it will have.
  • Once the chicken and the vegetables are ready, simply thread them on skewers. Its that simple.
  • Then add to the grill or pan and let it cook for 15-20 or until they are brown but you must cook it for at least 12 minutes
  • Once done, serve with dip of your own choice and salads
  • enjoy

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NEAT; a new strategy to increase energy expenditure

NEAT is the energy expended for everything we do other than sleeping, eating food or doing sports like activity. There are several ways by which we can burn more calories without doing planned exercises. There are three principal components of human energy balance basal metabolic rate (BMR), the thermic effect of food (TEF), and activity thermogenesis. Other small components of energy expenditure may contribute to the whole, such as the energetic costs of medications and emotions.

lets explain these in more detail

B.M.R: BMR is the energy used for basic functions when body is at rest. This account for 70% of our total energy expenditure

T.E.F(Thermic effect of food); it is the energy used to breakdown food. Different macronutrients have different thermic effects. Evidence suggests that the thermic effect of food accounts for roughly 5 to 10% of the ingested food’s energy content. Protein hs the highest T.E.F., and this means our body burn more calories, breaking it down than it does with fats or carbs.

E.A.T; The energy used in planned physical activity. E.A.T makes up the smallest proportion of our daily energy expenditure.

Commonly EAT accounts for a maximum of 15-30% of TEE in those who regularly participate in the recommended physical training, and it explains 1-2% of the variance in TEE. However, for the majority of people in modern society, EAT is believed to be negligible. Also, adherence to the recommended exercise intensity and duration remains low in obese patients, and consequently, EAT is nearer to zero.

1 hour of exercise = 4% of the day

NEAT= 60-65% of the day

WAYS TO INCREASE NEAT

  • walking towards workplace /school
  • Climbing stairs
  • cooking
  • cleaning
  • Washing your dishes rather putting up in dishwasher
  • get up and move for every 2 minutes after every 30 or 60 minutes of desk work.
  • Pace while talking on the phone.
  • Typing
  • Undertaking agriculture work
  • Working in backyard
  • Toe tipping
  • Shopping
  • Dancing, playing the guitar

factors involved in the level of NEAT

The factors that impact a human’s NEAT are readily divisible into environmental factors, such as occupation or dwelling within a “concrete jungle,” and biological factors such as weight, gender, and body composition.

NEAT is the most variable component of energy expenditure, both within and between the subjects, ranging from ∼15% of total daily energy expenditure in very sedentary individuals to 50% or more of total daily energy expenditure in highly active individuals. Browsing in a store (walking at 1 mph) doubles energy expenditure, and purposeful walking (2–3 mph) is associated with doubling or tripling energy expenditure.

evidence behind NEAT benefits

In this obesogenic environment, where putting on weight is too easy, a conventional intervention aimed at energy imblance. However, this strategy has mixed results in long term studies. Hence an alternative app-roach has emerged, focused on reducing the total amount of time spent doing sedentary activities. It is estimated that around 14-15 hours a day we spend sitting and not moving our bodies.

There is growing body of evidence showing people with higher levels of NEAT have lower rates of impaired glucose control, diabetes, and obesity.

take-home message

By avoiding prolonged sitting, promoting motion, and engaging in simple, repetitive, and creative activities, a significant amount of extra calories may be expended that can reduce weight and perhaps prevent the cardiovascular and metabolic complications associated with obesity.

So the next time you’re looking to rev up your calorie burn, choose the N.E.A.T. way to stay active. N.E.A.T. is a beneficial addition to your exercise routine that does not take time away from home or family—perfect for those who find time is their worst enemy.

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”— Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

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Aubergine and chickpeas curry

A perfect recipe you can make with pantry staples like chickpeas, tomatos and some spices. Aubergines never go wrong with chickpeas, lentils or fresh (frozen peas).

Ingredients

  • 1 aubergine, sliced into 2cm cubes
  • 1 tin of chickpeas
  • 1 tin of tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp of chilli powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp Gram masala.
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 onion finely sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves diced
  • 1 handful of fresh coriander
  • 1/4cup sesmic seeds
  • 1/2 cup of tahini-based dressing
  • Naan, pita bread(optional) for serving

How to make it:

  • Frist, roast the aubergine and cherry tomatoes; drizzle with olive oil, a pinch of salt and peppers and place in the oven. It will take 15-20 minutes but keep an eye as oven will vary.
  • In a large pan, add the onions in olive oil and cook for 5 minutes until the onion becomes soft now add garlic and give them a good mix.
  • Now add all spices, add chickpeas and a half tin of tomatoes and leave to simmer for 10 minutes gently.
  • When the sauce becomes thick, add roasted aubergine and cherry tomatoes and give a good stir and cook on low flame for about 5 minutes.
  • Now add fresh coriander. I like to drizzle over some tahini based dressing. You can make this dressing at home by simply adding some water and lemon juice.
  • serve this curry with naan or rice.
  • Enjoy.

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MEDITERRANEAN BEAN SALAD

February is a national heart awareness month. There is remarkable and robust evidence to support the benefit of a mediterranean diet in cardiovascular disease. This diet is low in saturated fat, high in fibre, grains, fish, nuts and plant -based protein.

This Mediterranean bean salad is rich in fibre, low in fat, packed with protein as beans are a good source of protein, B vitamins, copper, zinc, antioxidants and iron.This salad is perfect for quick lunch, can also serve as a side sish.

Ingredients

  • 2 Can chickpeas
  • 1 Can Red Kidney Beans
  • 1/2 Red Onion
  • 1 Tomato large
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 Bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup fresh coriander/parsley
  • 1 tsp paprika powder
  • 3 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp black peppers
  • pinch of salt
  • Feta cheese optional

instructions

  • First marinate chickpeas and red kidney beans with lemon juice, paprika powder, salt, black pepper and olive oil mix well and set aside for 5 minutes.
  • Now cut all vegetables into small cubes, finely chopped mint and coriander. In a large bowl add all vegetables, chickpeas, red kidney beans and tgive it a good stir to ensure every thing is well combined.
  • Now crumble feta cheese and sprinkle it over the salad (optional) and enjoy

Ratatouille with Red kidney beans

Ratatouille is a traditional french dish, but I think with little variations, it exists in many countries under different names.Ratatouille is a fantastic way to cook seasonal vegetable and to help everyone to reach their five a day target. Ratatouille usually served as side dish, but you can be served as main dish along with rice or crusted bread.

Ingredients
  • 2 courgettes/zucchini
  • 1 large aubergine
  • 2 Red/ yellow capsicum
  • 1 can red kidney beans
  • 2 medium sized onion
  • 1 tomato can
  • 3-4 garlic cloves minced or grated
  • 1 tsp mixed italian herbs
  • 4 spring thyme fresh
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Instructions for making

  • First diced the egg plant, zucchni with intact skin and bell peppers into 1 inch cubes. Peel the onions and finely chopped them.
  • Take a large heavy casserol pan, add olive oil, finely chopped onions and saute for 5-10 minutes. Now add garlic, bell peppers, zucchini, aubergine. Cook for about 3-5 minutes and then add tomatoes and all spices, bay leaf, thyme and red kidney beans.
  • Bring to boil, reduce the heat to simmer, cover with a lid and cook on low flame for about 25-30 minutes.
  • Serve with crusted bread or rice.

BEANS CHILLI WITH SMOKEY SWEET POTATOES

Vegan, gluten-free, super easy to make and full of flavour and warmth. For adding more flavour, I roasted sweet potatoes first and then add to the pot.

What you need for this amazing recipe:

  • 2 medium-sized Sweet potatoes peeled and chopped into small cubes
  • 1×400 g can of Black beans
  • 1 ×400g can of Red kidney beans
  • 1 medium-sized onion,
  • finely chopped 3- 4 garlic cloves minced or grated
  • 2×400g tomatoes can
  • 1 tsp Chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1 tsp Chilli flakes
  • 2 scallions
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons oil/coconut butter
  • For serving; spring onions, fresh coriander, sour cream, avocado etc

How to make

Put the diced sweet potatoes chunks in a single layer on a baking tray with a splash of olive oil. Roast at 190 c for around 30 minutes or until soft. I prefer bit crispy around the edges, but the choice is yours.

Meanwhile, add olive oil or coconut butter whatever you like, in a saucepan and add finely chopped onions. Cook over medium heat for a few minutes and then add garlic and cook few more minutes.

Now add beans, tomatoes and all spices and bring to simmer.Cook for 10-15 minutes, untill the tomatoes become soft and mixture hase thickened consistancy, at this momment add roasted sweet potatoes and mix well. Cook for few mor minutes and check seasoning. Serve with freshly chopped coriander, scallion/ spring onions.

Spinach and chickpeas curry

Another delicious and healthy recipe consists of my favourite ingredients; chickpeas and spinach. Chickpeas are an excellent source of plant-based protein, fibre, and other important micronutrients. Spinach is a rich source of iron, vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C and folate, and a good source of manganese, magnesium.

Tinned cans are a good option as they reduce cooking time and get this yummy recipe in 15 minutes, but you can use dried chickpeas. for dried chickpeas, soak them for 5-6 hours or overnight for better results.

ingredients

  • 2 tin chickpeas
  • 3 handful of spinach
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced or grated
  • 1 teaspoon freshly chopped ginger
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons red chilli powder
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • half teaspoon salt
  • 1 tin coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoon Coconut butter /oil

Method

  • Put coconut butter in the pan, add onion and cook until light golden brown, and then add ginger and garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  • Now add tomatoes and all spices and give a good mix and cook for 2-3 minutes. Now add chickpeas mix well, add coconut milk and cook for 10 minutes and then add spinach.
  • Now give a good stir and cook on low flame for about 5 minutes. Garnish with onion and fresh coriander
  • Serve with either naan or rice.

Roasted Nourish Bowl

Keep warm and nourished with nutrient dense Roasted vegetables nourish bowl featuring sweet potatoes, courgettes, cherry tomatoes, lettuce and pan fried fish.

Nourish bowl or power bowl is a balanced, healthy meal containing a variety of nutrient dense ingredients. The best part of nourish bowl is customization means you have end less options and perfect for meal prep. The five basic ingredients for setting a nourish bowl are

  • Protein; Fish, lentils, chickpeas, quinoa, animal protein
  • Non starchy carbohydrates; Spinach, reddish, courgettes, bell peppers, arugula.
  • Starchy carbohydrates; sweet potatoes, corn, peas, mango, grapes, apple
  • Healthy fats; Olive oil, Avocado, nuts, seeds
  • Additional flavours; hummus, fresh lemon juice, homemade salad dressing

Ingredients required for this recipe

  • 2-3 fish fillet
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 courgette
  • 8-10 cherry tomatoes
  • Lettuce
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • Dressing/homemade or tahini based dressing from the store

directions

  • For roasting vegetables, cut all the vegetables and put in a roasting tray. Add salt peppers, olive oil and a pinch of paprika powder. Roast for about 30 -40 minutes, stirring halfway.
  • Season the fish fillets with lemon juice, salt and peppers, Italian herbs and splash of oilve oil let sit while you prepare dressing
  • For dressing; 1/3 cup tahini, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 clove garlic grated or minced, 1 teaspoon honey and 3 tablespoons water.
  • in a medium mixing bowl add all ingredients and whisk to combine. Then add slowly water to make creamy and pourable
  • In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of butter and add marinated fish. cook for 2-4 minutes on each side, remove the fish from the skillet to a plate.

now setup your plate

  • First setup a green base; you can put fresh spinach, lettice, kale, arugula,or mixed greens.
  • Top with roasted vegetables and pan fried fish.
  • Finish with dressing, this time i use lemon tahini based dressing
  • Garnish with pompograne seeds or you can use chopped nuts and seeds.