Category Archives: Recipes/Meals

Coconut Salmon Cake

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz wild pacific salmon
  • 1 whole cage free egg
  • 3-4 tbls real coconut milk
  • 1-2 tbls salsa or pasta sauce
  • 2 tbls coconut/almond four
  • 2 tsp crushed ginger
  • 2-3 cloves thinly sliced garlic
  • 1 pinch thyme
  • 1 pinch turmeric
  • 1 pinch dried basil
  • Salt to taste
  • Cayenne to taste

Procedure:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 380 F.
  • In an oven safe bowl, mix all ingredients.
  • Bake for 25 min.
  • Remove and top lightly with basil and cayenne.
  • Have this by itself along with a side of vegetables/fruit.

Prep time ~ 5 min

Cook time ~ 25 min

Nutrition:

  • Total calories ~ 600
  • Protein ~ 50 gm
  • Fat ~ 30 gm
  • Total Carbohydrate ~ 20 gm (with 10 gm fiber)
  • Net Carbohydrate ~ 10 gm
  • Ginger, turmeric, thyme and basil have too many amazing health benefits to be listed here.
  • Egg yolks are a powerhouse of nutrients.
  • The fats in coconut products help in everything from healing the gut to losing weight.

This is just how I made it because these were the ingredients available. You can improvise and make it your way.

That’s all for now!

Peace out.

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5min Breakfast Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs [cage free recommended]
  • Handful of chopped frozen or fresh peppers and/or other vegetables
  • Organic pasta sauce
  • About 1 oz of Mozzarella cheese
  • Salt, pepper, spices

Procedure:

  • Crack the eggs in a microwave safe bowl.
  • Add peppers (and/or other vegetables)
  • Add salt, pepper and spices
  • Cover and microwave on high for 2-3 min.
  • Remove lid, add cheese and top with pasta sauce.
  • Get a picture.

Nutrition:

  • Total calories ~ 250
  • Protein ~ 19 gm
  • Fat ~ 16 gm
  • Carbs negligible
  • Micronutrients: PLENTY from egg yolks and peppers (and/or other vegetables)

Say what?

  • Not enough fat? Top with some coconut oil/butter/olive oil and/or add in a couple of eggs.
  • Want more protein? Add meat to the mix or add a couple more eggs and some egg whites.
  • Crave sweet? Have a piece of fruit on the side.
  • Crappy photo? Yea so? The 5min included the photography.

Some Perspective:

  • My 5min breakfast was made of the following – eggs, peppers, cheese, tomato, onions, garlic, basil, salt, pepper and nothing more!
  • What was your breakfast made of? Do me a favor – look behind the box of your heart healthy cereal/oats/bread, jam, juice, bar etc and tell me what ingredients you see.

It’s too easy to eat right folks. One meal at a time… let’s go back to eating real food! From my side, I’ll try to post more such easy, healthy and delicious recipes moving forward… if, from your side, you will email me recipes that you come up with! What say? Do we have a deal?

Peace out!

What the hell do you eat Raj?

I get too many emails from folks with the following questions…

  • How do I make proper meals without grains?
  • Just meat and veggies? I’m at a loss for what to cook.
  • Can you give me some recipes that will help me eat healthy and delicious meals?
  • I want to start the real food based diet your recommend, but I don’t know what to eat? I’m confused!
  • Your approach to nutrition sounds fine, but how do I keep eating like this forever? I’m sure I’ll get bored!
  • What the hell do you eat Raj??

In an effort to answer all these questions I’ve created a group in Facebook in which I will post every meal I eat (including cheat meals) for the next how many ever days as long as there is interest. If you’re interested in being a part of this, go to the Facebook group and request to be added as a member.

This group can be used to…

  • Get recipes and ideas for your daily meals
  • Provide links to recipes you thought were great
  • Ask questions about why certain foods are OK and why some aren’t
  • Discuss with other members about other great meals/recipes
  • Stalk me! See what I eat everyday every meal

A little something about me, my food preferences and my cooking skills…

  • I love food. More than most things in this world.
  • I can eat. By that I mean I can easily consume ~2 lb of meat and 2 lb of vegetables along with 2-3 sweet potatoes, a cup of whey shake and some fruit in one sitting without any trouble whatsoever.
  • I’m a pretty good an awesome cook (seriously ask her) but tend to stick to simple and easy recipes. Most of my meals take anywhere from 5-25 min to make.

Hope this is helpful.

– Raj

 

Sample Fat Loss Diet – 2

I tend to focus a bit more on the vegetarian side of things as far as nutrition is concerned because people seem to find it super hard to get enough protein in a vegetarian diet. As a result of many folks emailing me asking sample diets and recipes, I wrote a sample fat loss diet for vegetarians. Now it’s time to give them meat eaters something!

Before we start, here is something that will come in handy.

How to cook:

Here you go – The fastest cooking class ever.

  1. Clean and chop the meat (or use ground meat).
  2. Heat some oil/butter in a skillet to medium heat.
  3. Add the meat to a skillet and brown the meat.
  4. When the meat is brown, set it aside.
  5. Saute 2-3 cups of fresh or frozen vegetables on the same skillet for about 5-8 mins.
  6. Add the browned meat to the skillet.
  7. Add some salt, spices and other condiments.
  8. Top with cilantro/cheese/black pepper/yogurt/lime juice or whatever else that floats your boat.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here is a sample fat loss diet for a typical overweight male.

Client Information (Assumptions):

  • Goal: Fat loss
  • Client is male, about 175 lbs, 5′ 9″ and wants to lose ~ 15 lbs of fat. Body fat percentage is unknown.
  • Client works out 3-5 days a week with 2-3 days of weight training. Training is done between lunch and dinner.
  • Client has no dietary restrictions or allergies or health conditions.

Basic Concept:

– Portion control is recommended. Calorie counting is not.

Protein

  • To be included in every meal.
  • A total of about 150 gms per day.
  • Sources: Meat, seafood, eggs, whey protein powder, cottage cheese

Carbohydrates

  • To be minimized.
  • A total of 50-100 gm (200-400 cals) per day.
  • 40-50 gm (150-200 cals ) of starchy carbs can be consumed in the post workout meal.
  • Starchy carb sources: Rice, yams, sweet potatoes, potatoes, taro.
  • Fibrous carb sources: All fibrous vegetables.
  • Fruit consumption to be kept to a minimum.

Fat

  • Should account for ~ 30-50% of daily calories.
  • Sources: Avocado, coconut oil, coconut milk, olive oil, nuts, egg yolk, flax seeds, whole milk, butter, sour cream.

– At least 2-3 liters of water per day. More if required/possible.

– One moderately sized cheat meal per week. Cheat meal should preferably be immediately after workout session.

– Women can use the same diet. Calorie intake should be reduced based on body weight.

The Sample Diet:

Meal 1: [Breakfast]

Option 1:

  • Salsa scramble: 2 whole eggs + 1/2 cup salsa  + 1/2 tbls butter/olive oil
  • 1 small cappuccino w/o sugar

Option 2:

  • Banana Walnut Smoothie: 1 cup whole milk + 1 scoop protein powder + ¼ cup walnuts + 1 ripe banana + cinnamon (to taste)

Option 3:

Meal 2: [Lunch]

Option 1:

  • Chinese Chicken Stir-Fry: 1/2 tbls olive oil/butter + 8 oz boneless skinless free range chicken thighs + 2 cups mixed vegetables + thyme + cayenne + salt + soy/tamari sauce
  • ½ big avocado

Option 2:

  • Salmon Entree: 8 oz grilled/broiled wild caught salmon + 8 oz grilled asparagus + olive oil + salt + pepper + 1 tbls peach salsa
  • 1/2 cup fresh fruit

Option 3:

  • Cobb Salad: Lettuce + tomato + bacon + grilled free range chicken + blue cheese + hard-boiled eggs
  • Dressing on the side (use sparingly)

Meal 3: [Dinner + Post-workout meal]

Option 1:

  • 1 scoop whey protein powder in water (or 1/4 cup milk for pudding consistency)
  • Curry Beef: 8-10 oz cubed lean grass-fed beef sauteed with onions, garlic, ginger, turmeric, salt, pepper and curry powder.
  • 1 cup cooked white rice
  • Broiled fruit & veggies: 2 cups mixed vegetables + 1 cup mixed fruit [Cut, season with butter+salt+pepper+garlic powder and broil till done]
  • Fish oil providing 1-3 gm of EPA/DHA (per requirement)

Option 2:

  • 1 scoop whey protein powder in water (or 1/4 cup milk for pudding consistency)
  • 8-10 oz pan-seared lean pastured pork loin topped with 1/2 cup pasta sauce
  • 200 gm broiled sweet potatoes
  • Coconut Curried Vegetables: 2 cups mixed vegetables sauteed with butter + onion + garlic + curry powder + thyme + shredded coconut (to taste)
  • Broccoli Raita: 1/2 cup whole milk yogurt + 1 cup steamed broccoli + salt + pepper + lemon juice
  • Fish oil providing 1-3 gm of EPA/DHA (per requirement)

Option 3:

  • 1 scoop whey protein powder in water (or 1/4 cup milk for pudding consistency)
  • Cooked Salad: 2 cup vegetables sauteed in butter + ¼ cup mixed nuts + 1 ounce shredded cheese + 6-8 oz chicken/salmon/pork/tuna +1 tbls olive oil + 1 tbls balsamic vinegar (dressing)
  • Egg fried rice: 1 cup cooked rice + 1 whole egg + 1 cup finely chopped carrots, onions & garlic + 1/2 tbls butter
  • Fish oil providing 1-3 gm of EPA/DHA (per requirement)

And just so we’re clear…

– This diet is just a sample. Increase or decrease total calories depending on bodyweight, activity level, goals etc.

– These recipes are just basic ideas. Modify based on what is available in your pantry and what is considered awesome by your taste buds.

Hope this helps. If it doesn’t and you need something more, let me know what else I can do help you figure out a diet. But be sure to share!

Peace out.

I love you India but… Your breakfast sucks (Part 2)

So I ended my last post about Indian breakfasts saying that the current Indian breakfast…

  • is grain dominant and grain dependent (rice and wheat being the staples) and hence is (unnecessarily) very high in carb content.
  • is lacking in protein.
  • contains too much oxidizable vegetable oils and provides no good fats.
  • is almost completely devoid of vegetables.
  • is possibly high in gluten and/or other anti-nutrients (depending on choice of breakfast).

In this post I will discuss…

  • Why grain dominance and grain dependence are bad.
  • The changes that need to be made to the current Indian breakfast.
  • How to make these changes without giving up Indian food.

Why dethrone the grain?

Grain dominance (and dependence) is not healthy because…

  1. Almost all grains contain anti-nutrients which irritate/damage/puncture the gut which, in the best case, inhibits nutrient absorption and, in the worst case, causes autoimmune diseases. Gluten, one such anti-nutrient, is pretty well-known today. Read this to understand why grains are not the healthiest food choices.
  2. From a micro-nutrient (vitamins and minerals) standpoint, grains contain little to no nutritional value compared to vegetables and fruits. If your body had to choose between a 200 calories of grains and 200 calories of vegetables (or fruits or meat), your body will choose the vegetables (or fruits or meat) in a heart beat because they have a lot more to offer than grains which are, relatively speaking, empty calories. I highly recommend checking out these graphs which compare the nutritional value of grains and vegetables/beans/fruits.
  3. From a macro-nutrient standpoint, grains offer predominantly carbohydrates with negligible amounts of protein and fat. For those of you who believe brown rice or whole wheat contains tonnes of fiber please do a simple google search and compare the amount of fiber per hundred calories of grains, vegetables and berries. Or check the graphs in the above link.
  4. All grains (processed or whole) are converted into sugar in the blood stream resulting in insulin secretion. When activity is minimal (as in sitting at work or home) and carb intake is high the released insulin will result in storing excess calories as fat. Read this post to understand how and why this happens.

To summarize, grains, though they are a source of calories, are B-grade foods at best when compared to the other available sources of nutrients/calories and hence should not be the corner stone of one’s meal/diet.

The concept of change is good

Now that we have established that grain dominance is not healthy, let’s look at the changes/modifications that need to be made to the current Indian breakfast to make it healthful and wholesome.

  1. Though carbohydrates need not be shunned, they need to be reduced (especially from the current levels).
  2. Carbohydrate sources need to be changed from grains to vegetables, fruits and (limited quantities of) presoaked beans/lentils.
  3. Best case: Grains need to avoided. Worst case: Grains need to be fermented before preparation and consumed in very small quantities i.e. as a side.
  4. A good source of (complete) protein needs to be included in every breakfast.
  5. Good fats need to be consumed in abundance to ensure absorption of vitamins (especially A,D,E &K) and minerals. Here is an amazing article on how adding fat to your vegetables increases the all important micro-nutrient absorption.
  6. Full fat unprocessed dairy should be a included since it is a complete protein and offers a considerable amount of calcium and fat.

Realize that these are only “modifications” that need to be made to the Indian breakfast. There are some amazing benefits to the Indian diet and the ingredients which provide these benefits (mostly spices) should be preserved while making these changes. These benefits include, but are not limited to, the following.

The act of changing is even better

We now have the knowledge. Let’s move on to the most critical step: the action step. We can talk/debate without end about the benefits/drawbacks of any food/diet, but nothing is accomplished unless and until we give it a true attempt.

Note: I know some (Indian) people are downright opposed to such recommendations because they’re certain (for whatever reason) that I will recommend foods from other cuisines that are not available in India. Well, that’s clearly BS and if these people took the time to read a little they’d benefit a lot more.

That said, here are some options for breakfast that focus on removing the negative points I discussed last week but are very Indian at the same time.

  • Firstly, avoid using any vegetable oils for cooking. All cooking should be done with ghee or coconut oil since both contain stable and non-oxidizable saturated fats. If you’re concerned about saturated fat and heart disease, trust me when I say such a relation never existed or read this to learn for yourself.
  • Drop the cereal/muesli/granola/oatmeal in an attempt to eat healthy (cos they’re not healthy by any means!). Have a handful (15-20) of nuts (cashews/almonds/walnuts/pistachios) + 50-75 grams of full fat cheese + a cup of berries instead.
  • Quit buying dosa/roti/pav bhaji from the canteen/restaurant. I think we can all safely say that restaurant/canteen/store bought items are made with the lowest quality ingredients and rancid oxidizable oils. Have one of these instead – (a) Protein shake: Blend – 1 scoop of vanilla whey protein powder, 1 cup whole milk, 1 medium fruits/1 cup mixed fruits, 1/4 cup nuts or (b) Mix 2 whole eggs, 25-30 grams of full fat cheese, 1/2 tbls coconut oil/butter, 1 cup chopped vegetables, salt, pepper and seasonings of choice. Microwave on high for 2-3 mins or until fully done.
  • Instead of downing 6 dosas have 1-2 dosas topped with 1 whole egg, 25-30 grams of full fat cheese and 1 cup of vegetables each (south indian pizza anyone?). Super nutritious, rice in protein and fats and extremely satiating.

Top this with cheese and add a side of vegetables and salt lassi

  • Instead of destroying that plate of pongal every saturday, have 1 cup presoaked and cooked beans (garbanzo/kidney etc.), 5-10 cashews, chili and garlic sauteed in coconut oil. Finish it off with 1 cup full fat yogurt with salt/spices.
  • Drop the roti and have lots of Daal (1.5-2 cups presoaked and cooked lentils + 1-2 cups mixed vegetables + 1 tbls butter/coconut oil). Finish it off with 1 cup full fat yogurt with salt/spices.
  • A 3 egg omelet with lots of vegetables and 25-30 grams of full fat cheese with a cup of fruit on the side instead of poori masala and coffee will do you good.
  • If you’re a meat eater, add in chicken/fish/beef/lamb to your breakfast. Animal proteins are complete proteins and fats from grass fed/free range animals are very healthy.
  • Skip breakfast every once in a while. Fasting has been extensively researched and proven to be extremely healthy (ever wonder why almost all cultures have some form of fasting?). Read this if you’re interested in finding out how periodic fasting and calorie restriction can add 40-50 (healthy) years to your lifespan. So next time when your mom fasts for religious reasons, you join her for health reasons!

These are not hard changes and can be made almost immediately. Incorporating these changes to your breakfast is a first step towards…

  • removing grain dominance and dependence.
  • reducing carbohydrate load.
  • adding a good chunk of protein to your diet.
  • saving you from the toxic byproducts of heating vegetable oils.
  • adding good fats (nuts, coconut oil, ghee, dairy) to your diet.
  • controlling systemic inflammation which is the source of everything bad from obesity to diabetes to cardiovascular diseases.
  • saving yourself from insulin resistance (and hence diabetes).

I know these recommendations are not typical and may even be considered blasphemous in a world where fat is evil and marketing overshadows real science. But remember – just because everyone does it a certain way doesn’t make it right.

Data doesn’t lie. Question everything.

Peace out.

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