If you know me a tiny bit you know that I LOVE Indian food and I actually cook Indian meals quite often at home. But but… (yes 2 but)… As a personal growth nerd OF COURSE I would look at what type of fuel I am putting in my body !
“Goodness in a bowl” that’s how I would summarise an Indian dish (I am not speaking of the creamy restaurant style dish, but the home ones). What I also love with Indian meals is actually that they are very versatile and can adapt to any lifestyle, whether you are vegetarian, vegan or omnivore.
So let’s look a bit closer at the ingredients in an traditional curry or dal:
- Beans are packed with protein and fiber while low in fat and calories. In addition, they’re exceptionally high in a wide variety of vitamins and minerals such as zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, vitamins B1, B6, E, and K, Iron, Magnesium and Potassium (source Healthline)
- Lentils are an excellent source of B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc. They’re also a great source of plant-based protein and fiber (source Healthline)
- Turmeric contains curcumin, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, that can potentially also improve brain function (including fight depression and prevent Alzheimer’s disease), lower the risk of heart disease and prevent cancer (source Healthline)
- Spices combat inflammation, help kill bacteria and may even fight cancer. They can even increase two feel-good chemicals in the body — endorphins and dopamine. This may just explain that spicy food craving you can’t kick 😉 (source Healthline)
- Onions are nutrient-packed vegetables containing powerful compounds that may decrease your risk of heart disease and certain cancers. Onions have antibacterial properties and promote digestive health, which may improve immune function (source Healthline)
- Ginger is high in gingerol, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It can treat many forms of nausea, may reduce muscle pain and soreness but also menstrual pain (ladies !!). It contains a substance that may help prevent cancer and may drastically lower blood sugars and improve heart disease risk factors (source Healthline)
- and last but not least : Garlic contains compounds with potent medicinal properties. It can combat sickness, including the common cold, reduce blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels. It also helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. On the top of this, athletic performance might be improved with garlic supplement, it may improve bone health and help you live longer (source Healthline)
How can this get any better than that ?
My tips to add even more goodness to the goodness :
- I often add a couple handfuls of spinach to my dal (or even curries) to add some extra health benefits such as Vitamin C and Iron
- Soak the lentils and beans before cooking them to maximise the minerals and vitamins absorption and don’t overcook them to preserve nutrients
- Try to pay attention to the amount of fat that can easily add up on your recipes (oil, butter, ghee, cream, nuts or nut butters, etc), for more info see the picture at the end of my blog post
- Try to avoid the carb overload with eating rotis/naans/parathas + rice as side, pick one of those + a bowl of green salad/lettuce instead
- When eating rotis, naans and rice, try as much as you can to use wholemeal flour or wholegrain rice to add extra fibre, vitamins and minerals
My favourite Indian recipes :
- Any dal really – But if I had to pick 2 I would say Dal Makhani (I leave the cream out) or green dal with panch phoron tempering
- The Happy Pear© guys have A LOT of very nice and easy dal recipes
- Chickpea curries such as chickpea tikka masala or chickpea Korma (I just swap out the chicken for chickpeas and vegs instead)
- Tofu curries with any curry recipe involving meat that I swap for tofu, such as this great Vegan Butter ‘Chicken’ with Baked Tofu
- Any paneer dish such as Saag paneer or shahi paneer (for vegan version you can swap the paneer with tofu)
So whether you are just looking at bringing a bit of variety in your food, increase your food awareness or increase your general wellness, I would definitely recommend adding some Indian dishes to your weekly routine. The great thing is that you can actually cook in big quantities and have a second (or third) meal out of it.
What are your favourite “healthy” recipes ? Feel free to share in comments. Can’t wait to read you.
Happy cooking !
PS : I am very lucky to be surrounded by loads of friends from India that always share their recipes with me. THANK YOU SO MUCH !
About Oil : My tip is to use a tablespoon to measure the amount of oil in my dishes. Bear in mind that a tablespoon is not a lot and can add up quite quickly. I found the below picture quite insightful when it comes to understanding the amount of oil we put in our dishes.