Monthly Archives: March 2017

5 Best Jain Vegetarian Recipes

Jains all over the world are celebrating Mahavir Jayanti today. Mahavir Jayanti marks the birth of Prince Vardhaman, who later adopted the life of an ascetic and founded the religion of Jainism in 6th century BC. India and vegetarianism has had a long historical association, and is incomplete without a mention of Jain vegetarianism. A typical Jain diet has food habits that are linked with their religious and spiritual path of not harming any animal, including minute living entity. Yes, not only do they steer clear of Non Vegetarian food, through their diet practices they also try not to consume any micro-organisms.

Following the principle of ahimsa or non-violence, they try to adhere to a specific set of rules laid down by their spiritual leaders over the years. The Jain community doesn’t consume meal after the sun sets down, to not harm those creatures and organisms that come out in the dark. The food they consume must be fresh; to consume stored food is not promoted. Some Jainism followers also follow a vegan, or a lacto-vegetarian diet, as milk and dairy products are considered as cruelty against cow or cattle.

Some Jains stay away from consuming root vegetables, or anything that is grown underground such as potatoes, onions, roots and tubers. According to Jain philosophy these vegetables are classified as ananthkay, which means one body bearing many lives. These vegetables may look like a unitary entity, but is said to contain countless organisms, or ekindriya in it. Consumption of root vegetables is only possible by uprooting or killing the plant, therefore is a form of bad karma. Mushrooms, fungus and yeasts are another form of food some Jains stay away from, as they are parasites and may contain many life forms.

But that hasn’t stopped the Jain community from carving an amazing culinary culture of their own. This Mahavir Jayanti, binge on these 5 Jain vegetarian recipes and enjoy –

1. Tamatar Kadhi
Recipe by Niru Gupta

The tangy gravy cooked with homemade tomato puree, vegetables and spices. An absolute explosion of flavours.

2. Sabudana Kheer
Recipe by Niru Gupta

Still not over the sabudana binging of navratras. The good news is you don’t have to stop. Try this all-time favourite tapioca pearls dessert flavoured with cardamom and saffron and slurp.

3.Ananas da Panna
Recipe by Chef Rajdeep Kapoor

Beat the heat with this delicious summer delight made with goodness of fresh pineapple pulp, lime juice and black salt.

4.Moong Dal Khichdi
Recipe by Niru Gupta

Craving for some simple home-made khichdi? Try this traditional blend of split green grams and rice, with oodles of ghee, heeng and cumin seeds. Can’t go wrong with this classic.

5. Ghorikai Uppakari
Recipe by Kishore D Reddy

Beans tossed with shredded coconut and chillies, guar ki phalli is a traditional dish popular across India. A pure veggie delight.

What Makes Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Healthier Than the Regular One?

Olive oil is being touted as new superfood because of type of health fat it contains called monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) that are known to be really good for your heart. But there’s a growing debate about the kind of olive oil you should be using. There are several types available such as refined olive oil, pomace olive oil, virgin olive oil and of course the extra virgin olive oil. All olive oils are not created equal. These can be differentiated from each other on the basis of their nutritional value, taste and method of processing. Here, we’d like to specifically talk about the extra virgin sort which is considered to be top quality.

Extra-virgin olive oil is a type of oil that is extracted by simply crushing the olives. In other cases, the oil may be subjected to processing with the use of chemicals. You can differentiate between the two just by looking at them.  Extra-virgin olive oil has a darker color, while the regular olive oil is lighter and brighter. So, what makes extra-virgin olive oil healthier than the regular one? It has fewer chemicals and free radicals and is higher in antioxidants than olive oil.

A group of researchers from the University of Chile have given us another reason to prefer extra virgin olive oil. According to their study, published in the journal Lipids in Health and Disease, a compound commonly found in extra-virgin olive oil can significantly reduce the symptoms of insulin resistance and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease – which are the negative effects of consuming a high-fat diet regularly. This compound has been identified as Hydroxytyrosol – a polyphenol which is known to have amazing antioxidant properties and may play an important role in making it healthy.

The study was conducted on mice that were fed a high-fat diet. The team fed four groups of 12-14 mice on either a high-fat diet (60 per cent fat) or a control diet (10 per cent fat), with or without supplementation of 5 mg hydroxytyrosol per kg body weight, administered orally, for a 12 week period.

After the stipulated period, it was seen that adding a relatively low dose of hydroxytyrosol to the diet was able to reverse oxidative stress which is linked to fatty liver disease. It was able to reduce liver enzymes that are linked to an imbalance in the fatty acid composition of the liver, brain and heart as well as increase their activity. Moreover, hydroxytyrosol also lowered the increase in levels of low-density lipoprotein or the bad cholesterol.

Extra-virgin olive oil is unrefined and the highest quality of olive oil that you can buy. There are many specific standards that the oil needs to meet for it to be labelled as ‘extra-virgin’.  Therefore, it is higher priced than the others.

Incredible Benefits of Buttermilk for Hair and Skin

It’s a shame that buttermilk doesn’t get much attention in most other culinary traditions. However, we in India, have devised innumerable ways to make this cooling beverage a dedicated part of our diet. One of the most loved summer drinks of India, buttermilk is an outcome of the separation of butter from milk. It is extremely nutritious, light on the stomach and palate appeasing. While many like savouring a tall glass of chaas on a hot summer afternoon, others don’t budge from experimenting and adding a dash ofbuttermilk into a range of curries and other delicacies. It is easy to use and so versatile, and its cooling properties are not only good for you from within, you can also try applying it externally to benefit from its healing properties.

Buttermilk for Skin

1. Buttermilk is excellent as a bleaching agent.

2. It is enriched with lactic acid, ideal for solving a host of skin-related issues.

3. It can help solve skin woes like discolouration, spots, blemishes, etc.

4. It can also help lighten age spots and tighten skin.

5. It helps check sun damage, tanning and sunburn.

6. It is great way to cleanse skin and make it softer.

7. Mix it with a range of ingredients to exfoliate your skin.

How to Use Buttermilk for Skin Care?

Buttermilk can be teamed with a range of ingredients to benefit various skin types. You can mix it with masoor dal, besan, rose water, fuller’s earth (multani mitti), orange peel powder, bananas, etc. A combination of dry orange peel powder and buttermilk works magic on those stubborn marks and blemishes. Mix it with mashed papaya or tomatoes, apply on your skin, wash off when dry – this is an excellent way to reduce sunburn and sun damage.

“Buttermilk has curd as the base which has cleaning enzymes. It helps cleanse and nourish the skin, especially combination skin types. Those suffering from sunburn and tanning are the ones to benefit the most from buttermilk,” says Suparna Trikha, a well-renowned beauty expert.

Mix buttermilk with haldi, multani mitti and crushed walnut powder. Apply, scrub and wash it off with normal water. Use this as a face wash for summers. This is ideal for oily to combination to normal skin. Those with dry skin can try teaming buttermilk with a pinch of haldi and sandalwood powder and use it as a daily face wash,” says Dr. Deepali Bhardwaj.

Buttermilk for Hair

1. Buttermilk can bring a significant change in the texture of your hair.

2. It can help cleanse your scalp leaving it feeling clean and fresh.

3. Adding buttermilk to your regular haircare regime will help fight dandruff and dryness.

4. It can help fortify your hair.

5. The protein in buttermilk will help nourish your hair and replenish all essential nutrients.

How to Use Buttermilk for Hair Care

You can add buttermilk with a range of ingredients to make hair masks and packs. Mix a few tablespoons of buttermilk with an egg, few tablespoons of olive oil, a mashed banana and two tablespoons of raw honey. Blend well, apply on your hair, and cover with a shower cap. Leave for at least 20 minutes and wash off with an herbal shampoo.

You can also apply buttermilk directly on your scalp as well as in combination with lemon juice. Massage onto your scalp, leave for 15 minutes and wash off with lukewarm water. This will help get rid of itchy scalp as well as dandruff. You can also use buttermilk along with white vinegar and lemon juice to treat dandruff.

“Buttermilk contains a type of protein that is easily absorbed when applied topically on the skin. It therefore serves as an excellent agent to be included in your beauty regime,” says Dr. Deepali Bhardwaj, a leading Delhi-based dermatologist and beauty expert.

Buttermilk is an all-rounder in all sense. It is a holistic ingredient that can benefit you from inside-out. It is great for digestion and helps check indigestion and gastric issues. It is low in fat and high on energy, and is an ideal energy drink for those who are trying to lose weight.

Frying red meat boosts risk of prostate cancer

Prior research studies have implicated overcooking meats, especially red meat, due to the formation of carbon-based amines that greatly increase the risk of digestive cancers over many years of consumption. These studies have suggested eating meats that have been stewed or roasted in favor of char grilled or well done to avoid the charred ‘bark’ that forms as a result of barbequing or grilling over open flames.

A research team publishing in the journalCarcinogenesis from the University of Southern California and Cancer Prevention Institute of California found that cooking red meats at high temperatures, especially pan-fried red meats, may increase the risk of advanced prostate cancer by as much as 40 percent. This new study provides startling new evidence on how red meat is cooked not only increases digestive cancer incidence, but may also increase the risk for prostate cancer.

Consuming grilled, well done and barbecued meat produces cancer causing heterocyclic amines

Researchers gathered data from nearly 2,000 individuals participating in the California Collaborative Prostate Cancer Study. Each participant completed a comprehensive questionnaire that evaluated the amount and type of meat intake, including poultry and processed red meat. Additional information gathered included the cooking method: pan-frying, oven-broiling or grilling. Over the course of the study, more than 1,000 of the men included in the study were diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer.

The lead study author, Dr. Mariana Stern noted “We found that men who ate more than 1.5 servings of pan-fried red meat per week increased their risk of advanced prostate cancer by 30 percent… in addition, men who ate more than 2.5 servings of red meat cooked at high temperatures were 40 percent more likely to have advanced prostate cancer.” The scientists found that among red meats, the consumption of hamburger meat, but not steak, was linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer. They speculate that the findings are a result of different levels of carcinogen accumulation found in hamburgers, as they attain higher internal and external temperatures faster than steak.

Cooking method is a significant factor in determining the risk of developing many different forms of cancer, due to the formation of the DNA-damaging carcinogens called heterocyclic amines (HCAs). During the cooking of red meat and poultry, HCAs are formed when sugars and amino acids are cooked at higher temperatures for longer periods of time. It is important to note that this does not vilify the consumption of free-range, grass-fed red meat in moderate portions. Avoid well done, barbequed or grilled cuts of any meat (red meat, chicken, pork or fish) to significantly lower risk of prostate and digestive cancers.