Healthy Protein Pancakes

This is my recipe that I use for protein pancakes which I eat on a cheat day or when I want to eat Nutella guilt free after an intense workout. It’s not the healthiest thing and neither is it the tastiest variation of it, but something I do enjoy guilt-free.

Instructions

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  1. Gather all the dry ingredients mentioned below. Strain them through a big strainer into a bowl and make sure there are no lumps.
  2. I use Dymatize ISO100 (chocolate flavoured) and its sweeter and tastier than most other whey supplements I’ve consumed. Whey by Quest Protein is also great for cooking.
  3. Depending on the taste/sweetness of your protein supplement and in case you plan to skip adding a banana due to it’s flavour you will probably need to add a little more sugar than in this recipe (a ripe banana adds a lot of sweetness to the pancakes).
  4. Then gather all the dry and wet ingredients in a big bowl. Mix everything together with a hand beater thoroughly to get rid of all the lumps until it’s a smooth batter with dropping consistency.
  5. Spray some butter/coconut oil on the over a non-stick pan, and then put some batter and cook both sides like you normally would.

Dry Ingredients

1 Cup Wheat Flour (Can use all purpose flour, but I try to avoid it since whole wheat flour is richer in nutrition and better for digestion).
1 1/2 Tbsp Drinking Chocolate (according to taste actually)
1 1/2 Tbsp Powdered Sugar (You can skip this. I personally add a banana for sweetness)
1 Tbsp Eno or Baking Powder
1 Scoop Chocolate Flavoured Protein Powder (I use Dymatize ISO100)

Wet Ingredients

2 Tbsp curd
3/4th to 1 cup Milk
1 Mashed Banana
1 Tbsp Virgin Coconut Oil

Ps. You can also use vanilla essence along with vanilla flavoured protein powder as a substitute to the drinking chocolate and chocolate protein. You can also add half a tablespoon of salt and cinnamon if you choose to.

Toppings

You can add toppings of your choice. You could add tiny chunks of chocolate chips or dried fruits into the pancakes while they’re cooking or some Nutella and Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup and similar toppings as earlier after the pancake has cooked too.

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Cauliflower Based Pizza Crust And Recipe

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This Cauliflower Pizza Crust recipe is a healthy veggie-packed option that is naturally gluten-free and grain-free. It is perfect for people who still want to eat their pizza, while following a low-carb or food combining diet.

Note : Scroll down to the bottom of the page for ingredients and specific instructions.

How to Make A Cauliflower Pizza

Making a cauliflower pizza is straight-forward, but a little labor intensive. If you start with fresh cauliflower, you’ll need to steam it until tender. (You can skip this step by using frozen cauliflower– read further down in this post for more info). Then, you’ll pulse it in a food processor until it’s rice-like in texture.

(You can save even more time by purchasing pre-riced cauliflower, either fresh or frozen.)

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The Secret to a Non-Soggy Crust

Once your cauliflower is tender and “riced” you’ll need to squeeze out the moisture that cauliflower naturally contains. This is the secret to getting a dry crust that you can pick up with your hands. (I use a simple thin handkerchief).

Once the cauliflower “rice” is very dry, you mix it with an egg or flax egg (if you’re vegetarian), soft goat cheese (which gives the crust a better texture than using shredded cheese), and some Italian seasonings.

If you don’t have goat cheese on hand, you can try mozzarella, cheddar, or even cream cheese with similar results. The texture is the driest with the soft goat cheese, though.

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The crust won’t be like anything else you’ve worked with before – you spread it with a spatula, and use your hands to press and shape the dough.

Bake until the crust is dry and golden, then flip it and bake longer until the other side isn’t soggy. I use the parchment paper to make the flipping process easier.

(You don’t need a second piece of parchment paper after you flip it– the baked crust won’t stick to the pan after it’s been flipped.)

Cauliflower Pizza Toppings

One last thing to keep in mind when making a cauliflower pizza crust is that you should try to keep the sauces minimal so that it doesn’t re-hydrate the crust and make it soggy and the same goes for the cheese. (Remember, there’s already some cheese baked into the crust, too!)

How to Freeze Cauliflower Pizza Crust

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Because making a cauliflower pizza crust can be a bit labor-intensive, I like to double the recipe and make two large crusts (or 4 smaller crusts for individual pizzas) and freeze the extras for an easy future meal.

I’ve found that this works best by baking the crusts, and then freezing them in an airtight container. That way, when you’re ready to make a pizza, you can simply place the frozen crust on a pizza sheet and bake it at 400ºF just until it’s heated through, about 10 minutes.

Then add your toppings and bake for 5-10 minutes more, until the cheese is bubbling.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pounds cauliflower florets , riced
  • 1 egg , beaten (or a Flax Egg)
  • 1/3 cup soft goat cheese (chevre)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano pinch of salt
  • Pinch of salt
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INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 400oF. If using fresh cauliflower, fill a large pot over medium heat with an inch of water. Fit a steamer basket into the pot, then pour the raw cauliflower into the steamer basket. Bring the water to a boil and cover the pot, steaming the cauliflower until it is very tender and can be pierced with a fork.

2. If using frozen cauliflower, be sure to thaw it completely before getting started, then continue with the following steps.

3. Pour the completely thawed, or freshly steamed, cauliflower into a large food processor fitted with an “S” blade. (You may have to do this in batches if you have a smaller food processor.) Process until a rice-like texture is created. If you bought frozen riced cauliflower, you can skip this step and proceed to the next one.

4. Transfer the “rice” to a clean, thin dishtowel. Wrap up the steamed rice in the dishtowel, twist it up, then SQUEEZE all the excess moisture out! (Be careful if your cauliflower is still hot– you may want to let it cool before handling.) A lot of extra liquid will be released, which will leave you with a nice and dry pizza crust.

5. In a large bowl, mix up the squeezed-out rice, egg, goat cheese, and spices. (Don’t be afraid to use your hands! You want it very well mixed.) It won’t be like any pizza dough you’ve ever worked with, but don’t worry– it’ll hold together!

6. Press the dough out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (It’s important that it’s lined with parchment paper, or it will stick.) Keep the dough about 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick, and make the edges a little higher for a “crust” effect, if you like.

7. Bake for 30-35 minutes at 400F, until dry and golden. Use the parchment paper to flip the crust over, and bake again until the other side is nice and dry, about 10 to 15 more minutes.

8. Add your favorite pizza toppings to the crust, such as sauce and cheese, then return the pizza to the 400F oven. Bake an additional 5-10 minutes, just until the cheese is hot and bubbly. Slice and serve warm.

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Mocha Flavoured Ice Cream

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Everyone loves ice cream, if you don’t this recipe will make you change your mind…

PREP TIME – 2 Hours

COOK TIME – 2-5 mins

SERVES – 3-4

INGREDIENTS: –

  • 3 Large Ripe Bananas
  • 1 Tsp Instant Coffee
  • 1 Tsp Cocoa Powder (Unsweetened)
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Milk


METHOD: –

1. Peel and chop the bananas (similar size).

2. Store in an airtight container or a plastic bag and put them in the freezer for at least 3 hours (until the bananas are solid). Ideally overnight would be best, if you can’t wait that long then until the bananas are solid.

3. Put the frozen bananas into a blender and blend until you get a thick ice cream like consistency. Add Coffee and Cocoa Powder and Blend again.

4. Add Coconut Milk and blend one last time again.

5. Have immediately from the blender or freeze again for a few hours and enjoy a scoop or two or the entire tub.

Notes: Technically you would not need extra sugar but you could add 2 Tablespoon of Honey if you like. You can add Chocolate Chips or Sliced Almonds or dried fruits or fresh fruits too.

Ta-da Enjoy this Ice-cream! 😀

Below are a few photographs showing you how the process looks in bits and pieces

Bananas out of the freezer after they settle in the grinder for about 5-10mins.

A little crumbly banana mix, add the Instant coffee (whichever flavour you have, we went ahead with Double Chocolate Coffee)

And there you go, a jar full of Ice cream, a tub full of Healthy Joy 😀

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Chai? Chai.

Synopsis:
This is not a post about Chai consumption patterns, statistics, or its health benefits. No no.
This is a love story.
And a journey of self-discovery.
So.. buckle up!

C h a i

Of course, you’re familiar with Chai. I mean. Who isn’t, right ?! * looks around the internet universe suspiciously *
I’m going to trail you along for a non-quintessential story, quite dear to me. But first, the lovely reader is going to relate with at least one (if not more) of the below avatars that I’m going to describe. Just a little ice breaker sesh before we start on our voyage, if you may.

So. What is your Chai personality? (not a Facebook Quiz, you guys. Come on, have a little faith)

The Bare Necessities.

The essence of waking up in the morning starts with a cup of Chai. No, you dare not talk to them before they’ve taken their first refreshing sip. It’s fuel to the body AND the soul.
Also, the number of cups they have during the day goes into the void; no trace can be found. There can be no minimum or maximum count. It’s limitless.

The Medicine Man/ Woman.

They consider Chai to be the remedy to all problems of life.
Gloomy Afternoon? Chai.
Didn’t get the bonus? Cutting Chai.
Stressed or feeling low? Chai (paani kaam)
Rainy morning? Adrak wali Chai. (with Parle-G)
Fought with a roommate? Kadak Chai.
Runny nose? Kaali chai.
Hotel? Not Trivago! Dip wali Chai!

The ME-Time.

They are simple people looking for simple pleasures in life. They will find that one moment of solace in their day and make themselves a big cup of their favorite Chai. Free of all judgments and pressures.

The Sutta Squad.

Every Chai needs a cigarette. Every cigarette needs a Chai. We can never know which is when. But we can safely assume, at any given point, that it can be both!

The Experts.

The know errrrrything there is to know about Tea. (noticed how I said Tea and not Chai? Hm.) They enthusiastically boil and bubble over intricate details of tea leaves, flavors, brew time, teacups, filters, etc; whenever there is even a HINT of tea in a conversation. They are a fun walking-talking Wikipedia; what’s more, they almost always have single tea bags stashed in their bags. (fruit-flavored? hell yeah!)

The Communal Statute.

They strongly believe that a communal gathering (3 people or more works) should be commemorated with a Chai session and/ or break. Chai sipping together is a bond that they sincerely cherish and value.

The Chai Latte Crowd.

You thought I wasn’t going to call you guys out, huh? Yes, these are popularly US return folks who seem to have forgotten what it feels like to pour piping hot Chai in the saucer, blow on it and then sip with a slurpy sound. #BeingDesi
Not to forget that one, extremely cringe-worthy person who will order it in an Indian Starbucks. UGH.

I do not mean to belittle these different types of Chai lovers, not at all! If anything, they are more like my co-passengers and counterparts than some status quo war participants. We all need a Chai companion in this journey of life, even if it’s to just share a packet of Monaco biscuits.

Since you’ve sort of figured which one you are, or maybe a beautiful blend of any of the above; why don’t you sip on your cup while I paint you a short story of my Chai Life?

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A GUIDE TO SUGAR & HOW TO REDUCE ADDED SUGARS

Disclaimer : I don’t own this article. It has been taken from here, another blog I follow regularly for healthy recipes.

Sugar is a sneaky little ingredient that’s in a considerable amount of foods in many forms. Despite its delicious and innocent taste, sugar has addictive properties and is linked to a variety of preventable health conditions. Although it’s easy to label all sugar as “bad”, there are types that, when eaten in moderation, may have nutritional benefits.

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Types of Sugars

Sugar is a type of carbohydrate found in both food and beverages. Once eaten, sugar is broken down into glucose which is ultimately used for energy. Let’s break it down some more with the most common types & examples:

  1. Monosaccharides » glucose, galactose, fructose
  2. Disaccharides » sucrose, lactose, maltose
  3. Oligosaccharides » maltodextrin, raffinose
  4. Polyols (sugar alcohols) » sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol

Natural vs. Added Sugars

Natural sugars: ​

These are naturally occurring in foods (i.e. not added). Carbohydrates (simple and complex) are naturally occurring in some shape or form in practically all whole fruits, vegetables, dairy and grain products. 

  • Fruit: Primarily contains fructose 
  • Potatoes and yams: Contain starch which are made up of glucose molecules
  • Cow’s milk: Primarily contains lactose

Added Sugars :

These not only add sweetness to foods, but manufacturers add them into products to serve various other functions : Preservation, Texture and Mouthfeel, Volume, Rich color resulting from caramelisation.

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They can be found in:

  • Soda/Pop Drikns
  • Sweetened coffee or tree drinks
  • Cocktails
  • Energy or sports drinks
  • Fruit juices
  • Many store bought cereals, salad dressings, soups
  • Dairy based desserts such as ice cream, pudding, etc.
  • Candies such as gummies or halloween candy
  • Commercially baked goods such as cookies, muffins, cakes etc.

What about coconut sugar? Coconut sugar, while it may have a small trace amount of minerals, is nutritionally identical to white granulated sugar and is best consumed in the same level of moderation

Effects of Excess Added Sugars

  • Type 2 diabetes: has been linked to the habitual consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • Weight gain: is connected to excessive intake of sugar. Having excess weight or obesity increases the risk for chronic illnesses such as hypertensiontype 2 diabetescoronary heart disease and various forms of cancers.
  • Fatigue: simple sugars can lead to spikes in blood sugar levels, which can come crashing back down making you feel tired and groggy. Complex sugars and carbohydrates break down slower, keeping the blood sugar more stable.
  • Cavities: there is a strong association between sugar-sweetened beverages and dental cavities in children though adults can get cavities just as easily.
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Liquid Sweeteners :

  • Maple Syrup
  • Blackstrap Molasses 
  • Agave Syrup
  • Honey
  • Corn Syrup

Ultimately these liquid sweeteners are sugars, too. They contain about the same amount of calories as white sugar and are generally metabolized in the same way. Some have trace minerals in very small amounts. We still love to use these sweeteners for their wonderful flavours and consistencies in particular recipes; however, they should still be consumed in moderation. 

Artificial Sweeteners 

  1. Acesulfame potassium
  2. Aspartame
  3. Cyclamate (Sweet’n Low)
  4. Neotame 
  5. Saccharin (Sweet’n Low)
  6. Stevia/Steviol (Truvia)
  7. Sucralose (Splenda)

These sugar substitutes are zero- or low- calorie alternatives to the sugar options mentioned above. Because of this, companies market their products as “sugar-free”, “diet” or “no calories”. They are found in many diabetic products because they have little or no effect on blood sugar levels. Some can be made from natural leaf extracts, and some are manufactured. Most artificial sweeteners are also remarkably sweeter when compared to table sugar, meaning smaller amounts can be used to create the same sweetness level. 

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Considerations with artificial sweeteners

a. conflicting evidence

According to the most recent meta-analysis, artificial sweeteners have not been linked to health outcomes such as diabetes, kidney disease, high blood pressure, certain cancers or dental health. However, according to other analyses, they have been associated with increased BMI and other complications. In short, there are biases and limitations to the studies conducted so far and more research is needed.

b. compensating for other sugary foods

In our experience, when people consciously know they are having artificial sweeteners with no calories, they mentally feel they can compensate with something that does have sugar later on. This is similar to exercising and then treating yourself with an indulgent food as a result. 

c. potential GI intolerances 

Some artificial sweeteners include sugar alcohols, which if consumed in large amounts (say, in a beverage) can have a laxative effect. 

d. can it really trick the brain?

Consuming artificial sweeteners lights up similar regions of the brain in terms of satisfaction as with all other types of sugar. Therefore, artificial sweeteners may not actually help curb sugar cravings from the root because we still tend to crave something sweet. In fact, one study suggests that we use sweet taste to predict the calories in a particular food. And when our bodies receive these non caloric sweeteners instead, it realizes the discrepancy and continues to crave, and can potentially eat even more. 

Bottom line: we recommend whole food sources above processed foods including added sugars or artificial sweeteners. There is not enough conclusive evidence to lean one way or the other in terms of long term health effects. Therefore, if you enjoy the flavour and find you do not compensate for sugar elsewhere in your diet, including artificial sweeteners is likely safe include in small amounts. 

Spotting Hidden Sugars in the Ingredient List

When it comes to the ingredient list of foods, only added sugars are listed. Granulated sugar is easy to spot in the ingredient list. But, food manufacturers can still add sugar in many other sneaky ways. Here are some more common types of sugar that can be added:

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  • Evaporated cane juice
  • Dextrose or dextrin
  • Maltose
  • Molasses
  • Lactose
  • Cane Sugar
  • Invert Sugar
  • Sucrose
  • Caramel
  • Liquid Sweeteners (mentioned above)

Hint: any ingredient that ends in ‘ose’ or has ‘syrup’ in the title is likely a source of added sugar

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OVERNIGHT OATS- 3 DIFFERENT WAYS!

Disclaimer : I don’t own any of this content. It was copied from Bake With Shivesh. I have been following him since a few months now and really love his content. This was one I felt like sharing with y’all.

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WHAT ARE OVERNIGHT OATS?

There are two basic ways of preparing oats. One way involves cooking them with milk on the stovetop right before you want to eat them. Another way of preparing oats is a no cooking method where you soak oats in milk and let the oats absorb the milk. This gives a porridge-like consistency and there is no need to cook oats made in such a way.

Usually, it only takes about 2 hours of time for the oats to absorb the milk. However, for the best flavor and texture, it is advised to leave your oats soaked in milk overnight.

INGREDIENTS FOR THESE RECIPES

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As I’ve mentioned above, the recipe for these overnight oats is very easy and requires the most commonly available ingredients. You will first need to make the basic recipe to which we will add the toppings of different flavors later.

For the basic recipe, all you need is milk, oats, and honey. The milk and oats ratio that I use is 2:1 i.e., two parts milk and one part oats. The 2:1 ratio gives me the perfect consistency of oats the next day. I add a little bit of honey for some sweetness but if you’re someone who is not a big fan of sweet oats, then you can leave out the honey.

For this recipe, I used rolled oats and not steel cut or instant oats. The main difference between rolled oats and steel cut oats is with regard to the way they absorb liquid. Rolled oats absorb liquid faster than steel cut oats and eventually get soft and slightly mushy. Steel cut oats on the other hand, absorb lesser liquid. This enables the steel cut oats to maintain their shape. Less absorption of liquid also leads to more of a nutty flavor in steel cut oats.

A lot of recipes for overnight oats also have greek yogurt in their basic recipe. But according to me, milk, honey, and oats are all you need for the basic recipe.

HOW TO MAKE VEGAN OVERNIGHT OATS

If you want to make vegan oats, then here is what you’ll need:

  • I used rolled oats for my recipe. Rolled oats are vegan itself so you can definitely use these.
  • I used cow’s milk for my recipe. But using almond milk or soy milk is a good substitute for cow milk.
  • For sweetness I added honey but you can add maple syrup. Honey is taken from honey bees so it’s not considered a vegan product.
  • You can add any fruits you like, any seeds you prefer and you can also add some vegan yogurt if you want!
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OATS AS A HEALTHY MEAL

Oats make for a perfect breakfast because they have a lot of health benefits. Plus, things like oatmeal definitely fill you up. Thus, there’s less scope of munching on snacks and junk! Health benefits of overnight oats include:

  • Oats are a great source of nutrients. They have fiber, protein, magnesium, potassium, and omega 3 fatty acids.
  • They do not have any pre-added sugar. Some instant flavor varieties might have some sugar, but simple plain oats have zero added sugar.
  • They are also high in antioxidants which help lower blood pressure levels.
  • Oats contains good amounts of healthy carbohydrates.
  • The vitamins in overnight oats can also help boost brain function.
TypeIngredientsInstructions
Overnight oats1 cup  milk
½ cup rolled oats
2 Tbsp honey
To make the basic overnight oats, in a bowl, put rolled oats, milk, and honey. Mix this well and refrigerate it overnight or a minimum of 2 hours.

Once refrigerated, transfer the basic overnight oats into your serving dish and assemble your overnight oats according to your flavor preference.
Apple Pie Oats½ cup overnight oats
¼ cup chopped apples
2 Tbsp dried cranberries
1 tsp light brown sugar
¼ tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp water
¼ cup chopped pecans (optional)
In a saucepan add chopped apples, dried cranberries, cinnamon, light brown sugar and water.

Cook this apple pie folling on low heat till all the sugar dissolves. Set aside
Take your serving bowl/ glass and add half of the basic overnight oats. Fold in chopped pecans. This is optional.

Add the rest of your basic overnight oats and top it with the apple pie filling and some chopped nuts. Serve immediately.
Banana and Chocolate½ cup overnight oats
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
¼ cup crushed walnuts
1 banana (sliced)
2 tsp chia seeds (to top)
In your serving bowl/glass, put the basic overnight oats.

Now add cocoa powder to this and mix it well.
Top it with sliced bananas and chia seeds. Serve immediately
Peanut Butter and Jelly Overnight Oats½ cup overnight oats
1 cup diced strawberries
2 Tbsp strawberry chia jam
2 Tbsp peanut butter
Strawberries and pumpkins seeds (to top)
In your serving bowl/glass, put the basic overnight oats. Fold in chopped strawberries to this.

Add a layer of strawberry chia jam.

Then add a layer of peanut butter.

Top this with fresh strawberries and pumpkin seeds. Serve immediately

Disclaimer : I don’t own any of this content. It was copied from Bake With Shivesh. I have been following him since a few months now and really love his content. This was one I felt like sharing with y’all.

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Guilty-Pleasure Chocolate Cupcakes

Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Egg-less Cupcakes
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PREP TIME – 15 mins

COOK TIME – 20 mins

SERVES – 12-15 portions

INGREDIENTS: –

  • 1 Cup Oats Flour
  • 1/4 Cup Dark Cocoa Powder (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 3/4 Cup Raw Sugar (ground)
  • 1/2 Cup Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 Tsp Instant Coffee Powder

METHOD: –

  • In a bowl sift all dry ingredients; Oats Flour, Cocoa Powder, Baking Soda and Baking Powder.
  • In another bowl mix all wet ingredients, first the raw sugar and coconut oil, then add in Vanilla extract, Coffee and Milk-Mix well.
  • Slowly mix the dry and wet ingredients together; remember not to over-mix or else you will get dense cupcakes.
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  • Once the batter is formed, pre-heat your oven to 180C and fill your cupcake liners a little between half to two-third of the liner.
  • Heat the cupcakes for 20mins at 160C, keep an eye on the cupcakes and check once at 15mins depending on your oven heat.
  • Remove the cupcakes from the cupcake tray & enjoy hot or let them cool down for 15 mins and consume. 🙂

NOTES: – You could add melted chocolate on top but we liked a simple sliced almond crust since the cupcakes are going to be gooey thanks to the Oats Flour and Milk.

For more recipes follow and share via Facebook and Instagram.

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Banana and Apple Protein Snack

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PREP TIME – 10 mins

COOK TIME – 10 mins

SERVES – 2

INGREDIENTS: –

  • 1 Apple
  • 1 Banana
  • 3-4 Tbsp of Peanut Butter (I used Crunchy Peanut Butter)
  • 1 Tbsp Honey
  • 1 Tsp Protein Powder
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Flax Seeds

METHOD: –

1. Slice the Banana and Apple.

2. Spread the Peanut Butter on top of the Banana and Apple slices.

3. Sprinkle the Pumpkin seeds and Flax Seeds and Protein Powder on top.

4. Drizzle Honey.

Ta da – Enjoy you Banana and Apple Protein Snacks ❤

NOTES: – You can drizzle dark chocolate on top. You can also add 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon powder and chia seeds.

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Coffee-Cocoa Walnut Cake

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PREP TIME – 15 mins

COOK TIME – 25 mins

SERVES – 1 Cake

INGREDIENTS: –

  • 3/4 Cup Oats Flour
  • 1/4 Cup Dark Cocoa Powder (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 Cup Raw Sugar (ground)
  • 1/2 Cup Coconut Oil
  • 2 Tsp Instant Coffee Powder
  • 1/2 Cup Milk
  • Handful of chopped Walnuts

METHOD: –

  • In a bowl sift all dry ingredients; Oats Flour, Cocoa Powder, Baking Soda and Baking Powder.
  • In another bowl mix all wet ingredients, first the raw sugar and coconut oil, then add in Vanilla extract, Coffee and Milk-Mix well.
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  • Slowly mix the dry and wet ingredients together; remember not to over-mix or else you will get a super dense cake.
  • Once the batter is formed, pre-heat your oven to 180C and fill your cake tin with the batter & top it with the chopped walnuts.
  • Heat the cake for 20-25mins at 160C, keep an eye on the cake and check once at 15mins depending on your oven heat.
  • Remove the cake from the cake tin & let it cool down for 15 mins and consume. 🙂

NOTES: – Enjoy with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate or even a warm glass of plain milk.

For more recipes follow and share via Facebook and Instagram.

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Nutrition: An Essential Ingredient For A Healthy Mind

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Representational Image

Note : This article is neither written or owned by Bombay Ficus. It is written by Kripa Jalan and Sharang Shah and published here.

Globally, massive strides have been made in the last few decades to improve both the quality of and access to healthcare, but this progress has been lopsided. While certain forms of healthcare such as maternal and child healthcare have greatly improved, others such as mental healthcare play laggard in achieving SDG coverage targets.

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The WHO estimates that 25% of the world suffers or will suffer from a mental health issue at some point in their life . Closer to home, the National Mental Health Survey 2015-16 revealed that nearly 15% India adults need active intervention for one or more mental health issues and one in 20 Indians suffers from depression. It is estimated that in 2012, India had over 258,000 suicides, with the age-group of 15-49 years being most affected. Covid-19 has only ended up exacerbating the already grim situation.

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India was already not equipped to handle the initial case load; let alone the additional increased burden of the pandemic. The ideal psychiatrist to population ratio is about 1:8,000 to 10,000. According to estimates by professionals, in India, there is only one psychiatrist for every 2-lakh people. The shortfalls for other mental health professionals is also staggering: the need of Clinical Psychologists is 20,000 and there are only 1,000 available; for Psychiatric Social Workers, the requirement is 35,000, but only 900 are available, for Psychiatric Nurses, we need 30,000 and only 1500 are available.

To its credit, the government has put into motion the framework to help solve for this issue in the long run. In 2017, the Parliament of India passed the Mental Health Care Act , which puts the onus on the government to build up human resource capacities to ensure that mental health services are available in each district in the country. Unfortunately, the on-ground effects of these measures are at least a decade away.

With close to 250,000 suicides a year across the country, a decade is a luxury that India does not have. Other avenues of government policy can be explored and operationalized to reduce the burden of depression and anxiety in the short-run, and to increase general well-being levels among the population. To achieve this, one of the areas that the government can lean on is food policy.

Food is one of the biggest causes of illness and the consequent economic burden it places on families, societies, and countries alike. However, it can also be the solution.

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Over the past few decades, the diet of middle-class India has shifted from a primarily cereal-based diet for highly processed convenience foods, rich in refined sugar and trans fats .These foods are a contributing factor to increased rates of obesity and non-communicable diseases – caseload of diabetes in India has increased from 3% of Indian adults in 1970 to 11.2% in 2017. Research also reveals that the degree of hyperglycaemia in individuals with Type 1- and Type 2- diabetes is positively associated with risk of depression , and poor blood sugar control may harm mental health by increasing gut and brain inflammation, in turn compromising mental health. In fact, several components of the industrialized diet, disrupt the gut microbiome.

There is now a substantial body of evidence pointing to the existence of a strong relationship between the gut and one’s mood ; it is one of the reason’s we experience sensations such as butterflies in the stomach when we’re nervous/excited about something. Similarly, the gut is abundant with serotonin receptors ; shifts in gut health can impact our mood. A precarious balance of good and bad bacteria living in our gut can have major impacts on our daily experience. This is the reason medication like anti-depressants can impact our bodily functions and have warnings for side-effects such as diarrhoea and other gastrointestinal issues.

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As such, the food we consume is a critical ingredient in balancing our emotions. Consumption of whole food diets heavy on fruits, vegetables and unprocessed foods is linked to higher levels of well-being, while ingesting junk and processed foods heavy is a precursor to lifestyle diseases and has been linked to depression . Sugar and trans-fats , key ingredients in processed foods, have been found to cause emotional instability and dysregulation. Further, they contribute to inflammation, which is the root cause of several diseases and known to be associated with schizophrenia.

To effectively use these findings for improving the well-being of the population, the government needs to take a multi-pronged policy approach, which include mandatory limitsand awareness about reading labels. In this regard, there are already regulations in the pipeline, which need to be notified. The regulations limiting the amount of trans-fats in edible oils and processed foods have been pending notification for over a year and are nearing the government’s own set deadline of being implemented by January 2021 . While the government launched a trans-fat free logo last year, the same is one part of the puzzle. Labelling of high fat/sugar/salt (HFSS) has been in the works for over two years, with no indication of a deadline for completion . Such a regulation would be necessary for consumers to make informed choices that would impact their own well-being.

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The mental health and chronic disease epidemics demand to be treated with the urgency they deserve. This will require a massive shift with a focus on public health as a national priority. It would be essential for individuals, communities and both private and public healthcare sector to come together with a clear public health message. At the government level, one cannot take a one-size fits all approach; it is necessary to continuously look at the relevant science and keep expanding the umbrella of activities. Nutrition is a low-hanging fruit that has already been on the government radar from a physical health perspective. All that needs to be done is to expedite this process.

(Kripa Jalan is a professional nutrition consultant, Founder of Burgers to Beasts and a graduate student at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Sharang Shah is a policy consultant with Chase India)

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Gooey Banana Cupcakes

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Gooey Banana Cupcakes
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PREP TIME: – 20 mins

COOK TIME: – 15 mins

SERVES: – 3-4 cupcakes

INGREDIENTS: –

  • 4 Small Bananas
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla Essence
  • 3-4 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup Jaggery Powder
  • 1/4 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
  • 2/3 cup Whole Wheat

DIRECTIONS: –

1. Mash the bananas in a bowl.

2. In another bowl mix Jaggery Powder and Olive Oil well.

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3. Take a separate bowl and mix all dry ingredients together (Whole Wheat,Cocoa Powder, Baking soda and Baking powder)

4. Slowly add all the dry ingredients to the Banana Mixture and mix well. Remember, not to overmix.

5. Transfer the mixture into Cupcake Moulds or a greased Cake Tin.

6. Pre-Heat the Oven for 15 mins at 180C.

7. Heat the Cupcake or Cake at 180C for 15-20 mins or until a toothpick or fork comes out clean.

NOTES: –

You can add crushed chocolate, walnuts, almonds to decorate the cupcake. Let the cupcakes cool down before you eat them or you might burn your tongue like I did.

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Spiced Hot Chocolate

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PREP TIME – 2 mins

COOK TIME – 5 mins

SERVES – 1 Mug

INGREDIENTS: –

METHOD: –

  • In a steel pot pour the milk & jaggery and bring to boil
  • Lower the heat and put all spices in (Ginger, Cinnamon and Clove) & stir well and bring to boil once again.
  • In your empty mug drop Hershey’s Cocoa Powder (unsweetened) & then strain the spiced milk & stir till no lumps are visible.

Notes : Enjoy with our previously made Cocoa-Oats Bis-Cookies or No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookies or Chocolate Chip Butter Buttons.

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