Seasonal Fruits. Ideal To Go For and Suitable to the Purse.

For a fruit lover like me, oranges and apples are likely items in the fruit basket. But I have taken a conscious decision to try and get what is seasonal and locally available.

Perhaps there’s a scientific explanation as I have read it in some of the diet/ wellness articles. Of course, I didn’t see much of the details on the science behind, but it’s certainly less expensive.

Some of them, like the pappaya and water melon in the picture could be pesticide free also. Though seasonal and locally available, the mangoes and grapes will need that extra washing before consuming.

Including fruits in one’s diet is good for wellness. There’s a tendency to go soft on fruits in the process of avoiding sugar. However, I am of the school considering whole fruits (not in juice form) as good to go for.

I usually break my intermittent fasting with some fruits. This is a major breakthrough as we have a tendency to eat fruits after a meal when the stomach is full. Wellness recommendations are against having fruits after a meal.

A star absence in the picture is jackfruit. This is the season and they are devoid of any chemicals. And I live in Kerala where the availability should be plenty. Most important- I like it very much.

But jackfruit is health food, difficult to pluck from tall trees etc etc and hence one has to take an effort to get to it. Which I must now.

Seasonal Fruits. Ideal To Go For and Suitable to the Purse.

Traditional Sweet Dish. All Natural, But Process Oriented.

After voting in the Kerala Assembly Elections, I thought of trying out something very traditional from memory.

I said it’s natural but process oriented. I am talking about the time consuming process of getting ripe Kerala bananas, sun dried. It took a few weeks.

Now that I have the dried banana, I can use it for about a year. I took a few, cut them into small squares. Added some grated coconut and I really miss the third ingredient.

That’s paani, the boiled down thick sweet honey consistency of toddy, the extract of flowers of a special variety of palm trees called ‘choondapana’.

It’s difficult to come by a bottle of paani. The right of palm tree owner is nationalised and went to the excise licensed toddy shops colloquially named ‘shaap’.

In my childhood days, we used to get the toddy from our trees, every alternate day. 12 bottles of it used to give a bottle of paani. My mother used to make 2 bottles of paani every alternate day.

In the absence of paani, I used the second best thing, honey.

This dish is so delicious and natural.

Traditional Sweet Dish. All Natural, But Process Oriented.

Upperi Kappa! The Traditional Tapioca Chips.

This is perhaps the most traditional, totally yummy but fast disappearing Kerala delicacy. It’s a long process and hence the reluctance of everyone to make it and use the modern tapioca chips instead.

I got the difficult part, the days long drying process done by my brother who lives in the house in Thidanad where I grew up.

Fresh tapioca, yes taken out from the earth on the same day, is cleaned off mud, washed, skin peeled off, washed several times and the pure white cylindrical roots are taken for making the raw material.

The cleaned tapioca is cut into small rectangular shape (chip size). This is a difficult process. Olden days, people had the skills of getting it done with the tapioca on one hand and the knife on the other.

Sometimes the tapioca is slightly boiled before peeling the skin for making it easy for cutting into shape also.

The raw chips are then sun dried. The best way of drying is to spread them on rocks (granite formations) in the sun and collecting them back when the sun goes down, repeating the process for quite a few days.

This raw material for the chips would last a year making my second part easier after getting it from my brother.

Heat coconut oil in a hard bottom vessel. Soak the chips in water for sometime and drain off the water. Put the chips into oil at high temperature, and fry till brown, stirring all the while.

It’s optional to add some salt and pepper while boiling or afterwards. Earlier days salt was added after frying, the reuse of oil would have been the reason. Now we don’t reuse oil. Salt, pepper, chilli powder or cardamom powder to the fried chips is personal choice.

This is 100 times better than the modern machine sliced instant tapioca chips.

Upperi Kappa! The Traditional Tapioca Chips.

Happy Easter!

Easter egg, the most eagerly awaited gift on Easter during my childhood days, was large sized made of icing sugar (hard) and thus white.

My father used to get them for us from Kottayam, the district headquarters to our small village, Thidanad.

We used to break it carefully looking for the small items inside, the most attractive of them being a plastic toy watch. Others include toffee, whistle, eraser etc.

We used to sport the watch for the next few days to school till it’s broken.

I remember Easter eggs at Flurry’s Calcutta when I was working there. The chocolate coated ones were most delicious and expensive. The ones at Kathleen in New Market were equally delicious and much less expensive.

Easter was not eggs only. It was breaking the non-veg abstinence of 40 days and after church the families were treated to sumptuous breakfast of all types of meat and a specialty called ‘kallappam’ along with usual appam etc.

Hot Cross buns were alien and not common in our village life.

This year church is online, eggs fancier and egg sized, abstinence upgraded to intermittent fasting. But the spirit and memories remain.


Happy Easter!

Intermittent Fasting, A 36 Hour Clock!

I have adopted intermittent fasting as lifestyle with target of 19 hours fasting and eating window of 5 hours. And I have been achieving 20 hours on average with occasional one meal a day.

Yesterday was Good Friday and I started the day with fasting from 3.15 pm on Thursday. That’s when I realised that one of the disciplines I learned from my mother was observing one meal a day on Good Friday.

I can’t be called very religious, but I follow some good things that I was trained through the childhood. Eating once only on Good Friday is one of them which was observed with some difficulty with occasional deviations.

It’s a shame then that I don’t find it difficult or forced by custom to do intermittent fasting and one meal a day.

So I decided to do some penance on Good Friday and extended fasting to 36 hours for the first time in life.

I did good, had only one black coffee on the 25th hour. Felt energetic and did 200 meters more than usual in the swimming pool.

The only thing noted was the 36 hours was to end at 3.15 am today. Sleep was affected and I raided the kitchen at about 3.50 am. Autophagy must have worked for about 20 hours and some of the damaged cells would have been repaired and age reversed to that extend etc etc.

Now I can look at a 3 day fast, say once in 6 months which would reset my metabolism positively.

Goal post can keep shifting.

Intermittent Fasting, A 36 Hour Clock!

Food, Activity and Friends!

Beyond our primary role of winning the daily bread, food, activities and friends are areas which make us happy.

When I say food, it’s not only in eating. There’s joy in making, bringing in innovation and also ensuring that traditional ways and food are retained. There’s also power in conquering hunger for wellness.

Activities are things we do for passion and again wellness. These include sports, competitions, gymming etc.

And friends, of course this is a very important ingredient. Physical friends are highly desirable, but it’s limited with the advent of the pandemic.

That’s why social media is important. One gets to be in touch with thousands of friends, connected with some common passion and not necessarily close acquaintance.

Reaching many of them on a regular basis is well facilitated by posting something of the day and providing access to friends to view and respond.

For that matter, in addition to the mention of the importance to the three, today’s Good Friday and what is a better day to do fasting beyond 24 hours. If I succeed, it will be my first fast beyond a day.

Food, Activity and Friends!

Puttu vs. Idli.

World, apparently celebrated the ‘World Idli Day’ on March 30. I have seen claims like the healthiest breakfast in the world etc.

It’s good, I also like Idli, and it’s steamed and consumed with Sambar, a simple vegetable based sometimes fiery preparation. Additionally a coconut based Chutney is used to enhance eating pleasure.

Puttu ( or Poott that I used to call from childhood) is just being presented to the world from the breakfast tables of Kerala.

There’s no world puttu day as far as I know, but it can certainly claim to be a very healthy, if not the healthiest breakfast.

What’s eaten with Poott? Well, anything and everything. That in fact gives my favourite rice based steamed food with liberal capping of grated coconut, the claim to stardom.

Accompaniments include a huge list like kadala, pappadam, banana, steamed Kerala banana, jackfruit, eggs, fish prepared in any which way, similarly for any meat, honey, maple syrup, Kerala palm syrup called ‘paani’ and you name it.

All the above can be taken along with steamed poott or mixed with the powder and then steamed together. White or brown rice can be used. Even wheat powder or ragi (finger millet) are used.

My Instagram friend and neighbor Reeny posted a new poott, mango poott which is the rice mixed with fresh mangoes and steamed. Something which I will try this mango season.

If you haven’t tasted poott yet, visit Kerala or a Kerala restaurant near you or come home.

Puttu vs. Idli.

Thyrocare, a Billion Dollar Company Testing Blood

I have been using Thyrocare for a few years now, for the periodic blood tests. They are good, have a convenient home service and the range of tests quite extensive.

Well, they may not be a billion dollar company as yet, but I am sure they are closing in. Amazingly it’s a one man’s initiative and the USPs are best in class service and competitive pricing.

They have convenient and discounted packages. It covers all the usual tests (actually more than usual) at probably less than a third of cost compared to other sources.

If you find one or two of the tests that you want to include, there’s provision to cover them on top of the discounted package.

For example, I wanted to add PSA and a test on pancreas performance and they are included without breaking the package.

Highly recommended service.

Thyrocare, a Billion Dollar Company Testing Blood

An Equipped Gym. And Some Attention To Details.

We have a good gym in our apartment complex serving residents who are relatively few in number.

In addition to the many decent quality equipments, there’s a UPS power back up, on top of the common generator, to give an uninterrupted movement of the powered machines.

The pandemic necessitates some more facilities. Here are the hand sanitizer, spray for the machines and clothes to wipe.

I used to be very regular in the gym. However the virus related closures and the resultant alternate workouts and concentration to swimming have made me an infrequent user.

That’s when I chanced upon a workout plan for shoulder impingement which also has exercises to prevent it in future. And those need gym equipments.

Good to see some attention to details which are most welcome.

An Equipped Gym. And Some Attention To Details.

Happy Holi!

Holi, celebrated as Festival of Colours, also signifies the victory of good over evil.

It’s rather muted in my home state Kerala, but I am exposed to it’s might in full while working in Mumbai.

It had a different taste when I was working in Calcutta. For some reason, it was celebrated a day after the national celebration day with national holiday.

Then imagine the Calcutta Holi being celebrated when one has to go to office. The missiles from rooftops to the roads didn’t always contain pleasing colours and innocent liquids.

Certain localities have frenzied celebrations. That I would watch from the sidelines and enjoy. Like I used to spend New Year’s eve on Park Street Calcutta during my bachelor days. It was mostly the cars kissing each other while ushering in the new year.

And today we celebrate the victory of good over evil. Happy Holi!

Picture credit: Pinterest.

Happy Holi!