About Cholesterol, Do We Know Enough!

Picture credit, heart foundation New Zealand

Cholesterol has been a bad word. It has been used as the single most important measure of our heart strength!

But off late, there are murmurs about it and doubts about if the doctors are right.

Statin, the ‘go to’ medicine when the cholesterol reading is above 200 may be a worse word, considering the side effects. Especially when it’s used without understanding when cholesterol is bad.

Apparently 200 is just a number. What adds upto 200 is more important.

Moreover, proven techniques like intermittent fasting can give us good markers on cholesterol, without statin and the likes.

I watched a video by my favourite wellness practitioner and thought I should share it with my friends.

Please watch this video for a detailed explanation.

About Cholesterol, Do We Know Enough!

The Second Wave

The second wave is too serious for us in India and even in Kerala where we’re getting into the official lockdown starting today.

Last year we were caught unawares in Bangalore, going there for a couple of weeks, but staying on for 10 months due to travel restrictions etc.

Life turned upside down, almost everything got adapted and we thought that was the end of the pandemic. But not so. This time it’s heartbreaking, lack of oxygen is man made and slow vaccination due to negligence. The only consolation is that my state Kerala is supplying excess oxygen elsewhere.

Homes are now identified as primary source of virus spread. If so, it’s individual responsibility to stop it. That’s by protecting others as different from staying away from others.

One of the many ways in doing that is with self discipline. And one area in that includes wellness. Lead a healthy life and the immunity and resistance protect others around us too.

My agenda for six packs is back. Home routine includes yoga, walking and anabolic high intensity interval training. All ably supported with extended intermittent fasting.

And be a mentor to those wanting to start the best wellness program, intermittent fasting.

The Second Wave

Vegetable Art, And Quite Crafty Indeed.

It’s beautiful, she can convert ordinary vegetables into exotic flowers, my wife does this as a hobby and also to decorate her party table when she’s a house party hostess.

Then a teacher is a teacher. She’s a qualified teacher after acquiring a teacher training degree on top of her post graduation. But then she chose to teach in schools where our daughters went, and was the driver of our Ambassador car turned school bus.

She then became a much loved supply teacher in international schools in Philippines, HongKong and London where we were posted earning significant per diem pay.

However our final international location, Kuwait’s international schools had a blanket rule, teachers are to be native English speakers. That’s the passport should be of a English speaking country. No debate on it, but the students lost a good teacher.

I said, a teacher is a teacher and our guests in Kuwait were attracted to the explanations on what and how each flower was made.

One of them, secretary of British Women’s Association requested a demonstration for some 20 of their members. And 38 turned up at our residence. And thus started her Vegetable Carving classes. I am a beneficiary when she bought the Omega watch of the type James Bond wore, on my birthday with the money.

Once she got a call from the chef of a five star hotel wanting to be a student.

The best part was the vegetable flower soup after the classes.

Vegetable Art, And Quite Crafty Indeed.

Life Goes On. Rummikub Plays A Role

Covid is taking it’s toll for people’s activities also, the second year in running. 2021 World Masters Games to be held in Kansai Japan was postponed to 2022 (it’s a once in 4 years event like Olympics). And we were in lockdown most of 2020.

Right now, in 2021 it looks like the same and definitely much worse in India. Activities are severely curtailed and vaccination process is slow.

On activities, the only silver lining this year, was the state level masters swimming which the organisers managed to hold in an excellent manner. And us winners were supposed to be competing in National meet in June in Hyderabad.

Now it’s canceled and the announcement said it’s treated as a zero event. 2022 national will be at the same venue in February. And Swimming pools are all closed.

To make matters worse, the Cricket extravaganza IPL is postponed when the Covid bubble created burst and players got infected.

There’s nothing to do, we’re all forced to be indoors as no one knows which way the virus will enter!

That’s when Rummikub is coming to the rescue. We have a fantastic wife-husband bonding, playing this game which apparently combines the properties of Rummy and Mahjong. It challenges the brain adequately, not excessively and thus perhaps less boring as Chess.

Putting it in perspective, Chess has no jokers, but Rummikub has two.

Life Goes On. Rummikub Plays A Role

The Food You Buy And Food You Make. Balance Defines Us.

The food we buy are those we can’t make ourselves easily, may be too unhealthy but we certainly have a craving for them.

The food we make are flexible, can be made healthier and should satisfy mostly the hunger.

If we choose to make food, we could be healthier as we can use healthy ingredients. When we buy, the selection is led by what we crave for. They are mostly refined, processed and with added taste.

When we avoid unhealthy food, it’s a sacrifice. When we buy our favourite things, it’s indulgence.

Perhaps a middle path is possible. And the best route to the middle path is through intermittent fasting.

That’s why intermittent fasting is important. I can buy my favourite ‘Kunju’s Jamroll’ and eat it too.

The Food You Buy And Food You Make. Balance Defines Us.

My First, it’s the Poocha. But without Eenth Powder

This is a traditional and special Kerala dish, including the name of it. Poocha is Malayalam for cat. Eenth is a practically extinct and unique tree which I have covered here a few days back.

Here the Eenth seed powder is replaced with roasted rice powder. The flavour deficiency is compensated with chakka varatty. The key change is the healthy and conscious avoidance of refined carbohydrate jaggery.

1 and half cups of grated coconut is mixed with one tsp of crushed cumin seeds and 1/2 tsp of cardamom seed flour and a pinch of salt. Crush this in a mixer.

I added a tbsp of pure cow ghee to the mix. And there goes the chakka varatty instead of the usual jaggery. Add the roasted rice powder slowly into the mix while mixing with hand to make into a consistency like a chappathy dough.

Now bring in the flavourful edana leaf, make it into a cone shape and secure with tooth pick. Fill the cones with the dough and steam them for about 40 minutes.

The tasty, exotic and traditional poocha is ready with some compulsive modifications.

My First, it’s the Poocha. But without Eenth Powder

Back to Work, in Covid Times.

No no, not the work for bread, it’s the cleaning work. With the alarming spread of the virus, we have given the maid a paid holiday till the situation gets better.

That means bringing out my gadgets to do the cleaning and mopping the floors. My wife took over the washing of vessels, which also I offered to do, perhaps knowing fully well that she won’t agree.

Cooking, well with two cooks in us topped with my intermittent fasting is never a problem.

The vacuum cleaner in the middle is from Walmart USA, it doesn’t have the charging wires running behind. It’s rechargeable battery operated and has separate speeds for the floor and carpets. It picks up even tiny particles.

I have two mops with water spraying mechanism. The green one releases tiny quantity of water to mop the wooden floors. Wood cleaning additives go into the water.

The other mops sprays a bit more water and cleaning liquids and used for cleaning tiled floors.

These gadgets which have very flexible adjustments, make cleaning fun. And gives me the title of a ‘Professional Cleaner’.

Back to Work, in Covid Times.

How About Bonsai, Then!

The Chandrakaaran mangoes from the tree in our Thevara compound is the best variety of Naadan mangoes with an exclusive taste.

I put a few seeds in a bag with soil, planning to take it to my hometown to replant in the land there. These trees could grow 30-40 feet in a number of years.

But the acute covid situation and the discouraged travel prevent this 70 km trip. In fact I should have been going there to attend the funeral of my first cousin’s daughter who sadly left us due to delivery related complications.

I have to think about Bonsai, a wild thought, for these little seedlings.

Any ideas?

How About Bonsai, Then!

Chakkakuru Mezhukkuvaratty

Jackfruit and it’s seeds (Chakkakuru) used to be abundant to the point that many were wasted in Kerala. Not anymore!

It’s difficult to get the superfood jackfruits and the seeds are to be dried and stored differently.

But when it comes to making a dish with jackfruit seeds, the mezhukkupuratty is the default solution.

Removing the skin is difficult. So I pressure cooked the seeds for four whistles, took them out and removed the skin. and cut them into medium sized pieces.

In a vessel, poured 2 tbsp of coconut oil and allowed to heat well. To the boiling oil a tsp of mustard seeds were thrown in. When it crackled added ten sliced shallots, one tsp of turmeric powder and the steamed and cut jackfruit seeds.

Allowed the mix to cook for 5 minutes and added 1 1/2 tbsp of Kashmiri chilli powder, and salt.

Now I did an innovation. Added half a grated coconut and some water for further cooking for 5 minutes. Curry leaves were thrown in and cooked on reduced heat till it turned semi dry.

Delicious Chakkakuru Mezhukkuvaratty is ready.

Chakkakuru Mezhukkuvaratty

Tamarind Balls. We, in Conversation!

When I made Tamarind Balls last time I mentioned about using dates to bind them together. Took the powder with that idea, but entered into a conversation with my ingredients.

Tamarind Powder (TP): Make sure to roast me well. And Grind the roasted rice (Rice) too.

Rice: Hmmm I have been the staple food. Now the newcomer TP is telling what to do with me. Anyway use Nutribullet to powder well.

Cranberries (Cranbe) from the fridge: Hey I have sitting here in the cold for long. Try me instead of dates. Use Nutribullet to prepare me.

TP and Rice: Good idea. Will give a tangy feel.

Grated Coconut (Coco): I am ready to go in.

Me: I am mixing all of you. But a bit dry still.

Chakka Varatty (CV): I am here. The best of best.

Me: Come on in. But why are you not mixing.

CV: Mixing, I am like the queen bee. The super food and your favourite. Let them all join around me. Woooohaahaa.

Cranbe: No way, I am the imported one. You paid in dollars. I am the superior.

CV: Remember your daughter said in London. Cranbe is for old people.

Rice: He is not old. Look at him. And the mind is of a teenager.

Me: But CV, when you’re there, I will have to eat all. You’re Sautan (other wife) according to her. She may refuse to eat.

CV chuckles. And by then the 69 balls ( laddus) are ready.

Tamarind Balls. We, in Conversation!