Detox before Christmas with these recipes

It all began with Ganesh Chaturthi and the mouth-watering motichur laddoos, followed by mithais and oily farsans in Diwali, also the time for weddings and the irresistible buffet spreads. Now, we are in the midst of the silence before the food storm that will arrive with Christmas and New Year — buttery roasts, plum cakes and homemade wine.

We are just in time to avoid the stomach from cringing with indigestion, the body from bloating and eyes from going puffy thanks to sleep deprivation. It is the ideal time to reboot the system through detox.

Where to begin
According to Santacruz-based fitness expert Shalini Bhargava, the right way to go about binging on festive fare is by choosing the right things, to avoid weight gain later. “Steamed and baked desserts that are low on sugar and fat should be opted for. Similarly, baked or pan-roasted farsaan works better than deep-fried foods,” explains Bhargava.

If the spread offered to you is not so well-defined, nutritionist Vallari Shah from Worli offers a solution. She says, “In that case, take the smart way and select only two of your favourite foods from the whole menu. Be it two desserts, two mains, or two starters. This way you can keep a check on calories. And if you want it all, keep the portion size to the minimal.”

If desserts are your weakness, both experts feel that the quintessential Bengali rasogulla, phirni and kheer are a good choice. “Since these don’t provide empty calories, they are good sources of protein too,” says Shah. However, reduce portions of refined flour-based cakes and cookies since they do the body no good. To start with, try out the recipes below:

Balance it out
Post heavy-duty eating, even an iron stomach needs a bit of cleansing. Obesity consultant Dr Kiran Rukadikar shares some home tips:
>> Eat small meals every two hours. Snack on fruits, milk and whole grain biscuits for fillers. Avoid fried, sweet foods
>> Swap rice for puffed rice or sea salt for table salts
>> Brisk walk or swim for half an hour to 45 minutes four to five times a week. It’s cooler, so don’t make excuses
>> Sleep for at least seven to eight hours per day. Research says, people who don't sleep enough get cranky and end up binging on wrong foods
>> Start your day by drinking two glasses of warm water. As your body has been fasting for eight hours, hydrate it the first thing in the morning. Water is the most effective cleanser.
>> Don’t starve in the name of detox or liquid diets. Find healthy recipes that keep you full and hydrated. At the same time, focus on cleansing the system often ¬†

Gratifying green smoothie

>> 1 banana, chopped
>> 1 apple, chopped
>> ½ cup water/vegetable stock
>> 1 cup sprouts
>> 1 tbsp spirulina powder
>> 2 tsp lemon juice
>> 1 tsp wheat grass
>> 4 tbsp aloe vera juice

>> In a blender, blitz the banana and apple
>> Once smooth, add sprouts, spirulina powder, lemon juice, wheat grass and aloe vera to the mixture
>> Add water or vegetable stock to loosen the mixture. Once the liquid achieves a drinkable consistency, pour in a glass and serve immediately

Sabherwal says: This green smoothie is an instant stomach filler in-between meals, which keeps you from snacking on junk. Greens help in accumulating wastes from the intestines and discharging them efficiently.

Red pumpkin salad

>> 250 g squash, parboiled
>> 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
>> 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
>> 2 tsp basil
>> Bunch of arugula leaves
>> 2 tbsp olive oil

>> Chop squash into large chunk
>> In a pan, heat olive oil and saute garlic and basil leaves and add the squash. Season and continue tossing
>> Transfer this mixture into a baking tray and bake for 20 minutes or until slightly brown.
>> Once it cools, drizzle balsamic vinegar on top and add arugula leaves. Serve immediately

Sabherwal says: Red pumpkin helps gather energy. It soothes the stomach, spleen and pancreas. The vegetable gives you the right kind of sugars, keeping blood sugar levels stable

Hearty brown rice soup

>> 1 cup onions, finely chopped
>> 1 tbsp olive oil
>> 1 cup brown rice, cooked
>> 8 cups vegetable stock
>> 1 tbsp soy sauce
>> Pinch of mixed herbs
>> 1 cup chickpeas, cooked
>> Salt to taste

>> In a soup pot, heat oil and saute onions over medium heat till they turn translucent
>> Add the rest of the ingredients to this and bring the mixture to a boil
>> Reduce heat and simmer for five minutes
>> Remove half of the soup from the pot and blitz the rest with the help of a blender
>> Add the other half and bring everything to a boil. Serve hot
Sabherwal ’s says: Brown rice provides sustained sugars to the body. It is complete in terms of nutrition as it has all the necessary minerals and vitamins for a detox. Besides, it’s a rich source of fibre that helps clean up clogged intestines¬†

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