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!

Summer Rain And Why It’s Different.

March- April is hot summer, but there’s always a relief with a few days of summer rain.

Of late the welcome summer rain has started showing it’s might. With gusty wind, powerful and sudden buildup and sheets of intense rain drops, the atmosphere is a bit scary. To make it worse, you can see and fear some bursts of thunder and lightning.

Some people called the rain, a couple of days back, a cyclone. We just managed that day to close the balcony doors and windows against some powerful wind. A few trees were uprooted in the locality.

Today it was milder and I just managed to step into the balcony to take a slow motion video of the rain over the backwaters.

In spite of all the fierceness, it’s beautiful and certainly cools things down.

But the South West monsoon in July-August is much bigger, quieter from thunder and extremely enjoyable, whether inside or outside driving.

The only prayer is that it will not bring in the floods.

Summer Rain And Why It’s Different.

Intermittent Fasting and Cheat Days.

I have adopted intermittent fasting as a lifestyle. Clearly it’s the best wellness program and benefits range from weight loss to prevention of deadly diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and cancer and then to the dream benefit of reversing ageing.

Having seen and enjoyed some benefits, I am keen to be a serious practitioner of this program and look for information wherever available. I even mentor a group of fasters.

Apparently there’s no fixed schedule suited for everyone. Benefits vary from individual to individual and one needs to arrive at the best schedule to make it a lifestyle.

I have 19:5 as the lifestyle, that is 19 hours of fasting with 5 hours for eating. As the picture above shows I have been strict, exceeding fasting time many a day.

That’s when I hear that a cheating day is good for better results. After reaching so far in life cheat is not a word I like.

But I looked at it again. Perhaps this cheating has some scientific background. Here I am to cheat my body mechanism preventing it from adjusting to my lifestyle by slowing down my body metabolism. That is adjusting it to work with the less quantity of food at a fixed time.

That won’t help as I want the body to dig into my stored fat when food based energy is finished. So cheat it by occasionally showing that I have more food if I want. So cheat by eating more frequently on one day of a week.

If interested in fasting and in knowing what I have learned, let me know.

Intermittent Fasting and Cheat Days.

Brindhavan Vegetarian Restaurant, Kochi Kerala.

I just finished my yoga when my wife said ‘let’s have lunch outside’. ‘Yes provided we can be back by 1.30’ was my answer. Why such a condition, simple, India vs. England one day cricket international was to start at that time.

Where? was the next question. A vegetarian place! Yes vegetarian for today Friday for us the strictly non vegetarians.

Not that we’re practicing non veg abstinence during lent, but something we learned in childhood sticks. No meat on Friday, especially during lent.

That’s why we decided to explore the new one in town. There’s another reason also, the three overbridges on the highway make it easier to reach.

Tasty Thali was served on fresh and green banana leaves. There’s choice of white rice (wife) and brown (me), variety of tasty curries, parippu, Sambar, pulissery, curd, pappad etc etc. There was even ghee to pour on top, a taste enhancer since fat now is good.

There were plenty of people to serve, slightly untrained but extremely helpful.

A nice place for a good vegetarian lunch

Brindhavan Vegetarian Restaurant, Kochi Kerala.

Jackfruit is Now The Health Food.

This jackfruit tree is in my sister’s house and it’s a most pleasing thing to see such a relatively small and young tree bearing these giant fruits.

Like coconut oil, jackfruit is also going international. I say going because I consider both coconut and jackfruit native to my childhood environment.

When British Prime Minister Theresa May visited India, the grand dinner menu had jackfruit biriyani in it. Apparently this biriyani is a craze in London restaurants.

Admittedly, it’s not something we have tried. We have been busy with the numerous uses of jackfruit and the tree, like the solid wood, leaves in Ayurveda treatment, fruit from its formation stage to the ripened and even the seeds.

Then the finding that jackfruit cures diabetes! Wow!

So jackfruit biriyani is in the radar, with or without any meat.

And of course, I have to plant a few of these lovelies.

Jackfruit is Now The Health Food.

പൊർക്കും കൂർക്കയും. Koorka and Pork Curry

Koorka is an amazing root vegetable. Though the English name assigned locally is Chinese Potatoes, it’s not of China origin, but it’s East African where it’s called Country Potato.

Apparently of mint family, it has a distinct flavour tastes really good from the experience of tasting it in Thrissur where it’s a delicacy.

Predominantly an ingredient to meat dish, it is best when cooked with pork. One can use any meat based on personal preferences but I am not sure of it’s suitability as a vegetarian dish.

It’s not easy. The tough skin is almost an impossible task to remove. That’s when I saw peeled and skinned koorka in Lulu hyper market.

Went ahead and bought some nice pork for making the very special dish. Got hold of a recipe on the internet and made it according to the instructions.

Actually it turned out very good, in fact exceeded expectations. Yummy indeed.

The recipe I used is here:

പൊർക്കും കൂർക്കയും. Koorka and Pork Curry