Monthly Archives: November 2013

Running my first half marathon

Running my first half marathon

My first half marathon

My first half marathon

This past year has been very special to me. As I turned 40, I told myself that this year I will test my limits when it comes to fitness. While you may feel otherwise, my story is not quite different from yours. I love food! Well, being a professional chef and caterer doesn’t help a great deal either. I seem to constantly be surrounded by some of the greatest temptations when it comes to food. Tasting everything is a part of my job. And in this whole process of tasting, one often falls prey to the aroma of a freshly baked cookie or exceptionally good-looking pasta.

Somewhere along all this, food became my downfall. Before I realized it, I had packed more than 30 pounds The side-effects followed. I started feeling sluggish, kind of lost and even unhealthy, given the fact that I was seemingly heavy around my mid-section now. When something of this sort happens, the whole universe seems to be conspiring against you. The jeans won’t fit, the slightly tight blouses would feel too tight and your confidence would disappear momentarily.

However, now I feel I haven’t just come out of that phase, I’ve also been able to achieve something that will take my fitness to all new level. Soon after I came to terms with my weight gain, I bega

My husband, Vipul joined me in the run

My husband, Vipul joined me in the run

n personal training with Donna Davis, from Life Time Fitness. We started strength training with 30 minutes of cardio. I’ve never ran at a stretch for 30 minutes but I decided to give it a shot and I did it with two breaks. It started with a 3 mile run. Then I joined a group called “Friends Who Run”. It was a group of lovely, cheerful ladies who would run every Thursday evening and Saturday morning. Apart from helping me build my stamina and getting me back to my previous level of fitness, these runs made me see some very picturesque areas of the city around me, which would have otherwise gone unnoticed. Every day we would notice one tiny thing that would be a unique experience. The training wasn’t only restricted to our twice-a-week runs and daily exercises. There was a strict diet plan that had to be followed and very religiously, at that.

After we thought we were adequately trained and that we had reached a level of fitness which was minimally required, we decided to run in a half marathon. Not just me, but even my husband decided to participate and before we realized it, we were in the marathon run, surrounded by so many others and we were all doing this for a cause.

Yayyy! I finished!! (winning doesn't matter)

Yayyy! I finished!! (winning doesn’t matter)

Yes, the run was taxing and I was nowhere near the first three or five or even ten people to have completed the entire circuit, but the experience, of the training, the run and everything else that spanned this period of about a month was enlightening, to say the very least. It was something that has made me grow in more than one way.

In the end, I would advice all my readers to get involved in such a regimen at least once. Start with the training and then, along the way, set a goal and work towards it. It will not only make your daily routine more exciting but will give you the strength that you need to work on something of this sort. It will ease your journey and make it seem all the more rewarding.

Nutter butters: the way to go this Diwali (with ‘how to make at home’ videos)

Nutter butters: the way to go this Diwali (with ‘how to make at home’ videos)

They say all things that taste good (read ‘sinful’) have butter in it. For example, most desserts and gourmet food you gorge on have butter in it. I am particularly talking about the butter made from milk we’re all so used to. It is butter that gives all delicious food the soft texture, making it melt in your mouth and smoothly flow down your throat. Yes that one! It’s time to do a little change. While conventional milk butter is tasty, it is also rich in some not-so healthy contents. And even if you’re just bored of having the same butter spread, here you have a healthy, tasty alternative- Nut butters, that gives you a whole lot of variety – almond, cashew, macadamia, peanut, pecan, pistachio, walnut – depending on which nut is it made of.

Nut butter

Nut butter

I used to love nuts as a child, but I never knew about nut butters, honestly. A few years on, during routine visit to Whole Foods I got to taste cashew butter and I was instantly hooked. It tasted heavenly. Since then I have always wanted to make my own nut butter at home, and here, I eventually did it! My son, however, only likes peanut butter.

Simply put, nut butter is a spread/butter made by crushing nuts. The result has a high fat content and can be spread like true butter, but is otherwise unrelated. Similar spreads can also be made from seeds not considered nuts in a culinary sense. Pumpkin seed butter, Sesame seed butter (usually called tahini), Soybean butter – generally called “soynut butter” and made from soynuts (roasted soybeans), Sunflower seed butter are some examples.

Nut and seed butters are rich in protein, fiber, and essential fatty acids and can be used to replace butter or margarine on bread or toast.

Almond butter, cashew butter and peanut butter are examples of other common nut butters. They are high in heart-healthy unsaturated fats, which may reduce your risk for heart disease when you choose them over saturated fats. These nut butters provide vitamin E, fiber and protein, too, and are cholesterol-free. As healthy as nut butters may be in moderation, remember to limit your portion size so you do not gain weight.

Making nut Butter at home

Making Nut butter is real easy. My how to make nut butter at home videos explain the step by step process you can follow to make your own.

Video 1: Variety of nut butters. View my video to know more About nut butters

Video 2: Hanuman Shakti butter (Almond butter). View my ‘how to’ video on Making almond butter at home

Video 3: Energy blaster butter (Pine-nut butter). View my ‘how to’ video on Making pine-nut butter at home
And yes, adding oil to your butter is totally optional. if you have heavy duty blender, you can totally skip adding oil. If you do add oil, the kind of oil you add makes a lot of difference. I recommend organic extra virgin first press or avocado oil. The quantity of oil also matters. Keep in mind you need good fat to lose your bad fat, so keep the quantity of oil to minimum.

Make your own nut butter

Make your own nut butter

The following table gives some approximate nutritional properties of a selection of nut and seed butters. It is important to note that many products contain additional oils or other ingredients that may alter the nut butter’s nutritional content.

Butter

Calories
(1
tbsp.)

Protein
(g)

Fat
(g)

Calcium
(mg)

Zinc
(mg)

Almond butter

101

2.4

9.5

43

0.5

Cashew butter

93

2.8

8

7

0.8

Hazelnut butter

94

2

9.5

N/A

N/A

Peanut butter – natural

94

3.8

8

7

0.4

Peanut butter – reduced fat

95

4

6

N/A

0.4

Sunflower butter

80

3

7

N/A

N/A

Soy butter (sweetened)

85

4

5.5

50

N/A

Soy butter (unsweetened)

80

4

6.5

30

N/A

Soy-peanut butter (added sweetener)

50

2

1.2

40

N/A

Tahini

89

2.6

8

64

0.7

 

Source: Wikipedia

So go ahead- pick your favorite nut and blend it into a yummie nut-butter. Pamper yourself or surprise your kids with your new ‘invention’ this festive season! Do let me know about your experience and if you found my blog/videos useful. Would loMaking almond butter at home

Nut butter

ve to hear from you!