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Blog: Cooking with Madhu

Welcome to Madhu Gadia's Blog

August 2010 eRecipes

Posted on 09/25/2011 at 5:50 PM

August 2010

Dear Madhu,

Are you stocking up on “back to school” supplies? Everywhere I go parents, kids and college bound young adults are getting ready for the upcoming school year. Since my husband is a professor, our household runs on an academic calendar even though my children are no longer in school. August always brings a little anxiety with it as it announces the end of the summer and a beginning of a new school year. Personally, by August, I am ready for the summer to end. Don’t get me wrong I love summer, but after three months of lack of routine it becomes a bit stressful.

Actually that brings me to a big question: we all know that stress happens, but why do some people bounce right back and while others get depressed and sick? Often, it’s not the stress itself, but our coping mechanisms for managing the stress. Physical health and mental health are intertwined, which is why I’ve always included a session on stress management in my weight loss and diabetes classes.

Empower Yourself: Not all stress is bad for you. Stress can be classified as no stress, slight stress, moderate stress, high stress, and chronic stress.  Slight to moderate stress releases just the right amount of adrenalin to help you focus and be productive. Once a project is completed, your adrenalin level comes down and you feel relaxed and rejuvenated. It is the high and chronic stress that causes disease and illness. It is easy to fall into the stress trap and feel out of control. Don’t let stress take over your life. The first step is to understand your stressors and how they affect you. Awareness is half of the cure. Then make sure you find stress management techniques that work for you. Once you have the techniques down, you will feel empowered over stress. For example, I have come to recognize that if I do not exercise regularly, at a minimum of three days a week, I become unusually tired and whiny with the same amount of work. This fact now motivates me to make time for exercise.

Find what works for you: Along with exercise, I also find that yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises (pranayam) all help me manage my stress level.  You don’t need to change your way of life and become a “yogi” or “hippie” to find benefits.

There is so much information out there that it is hard to know where to start. Some sources that have helped me cope with my stressors include the books A New Earth by Ekhart Tolle and Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan J. Jeffers, and a meditation album The Soul of Healing Meditations by Deepak Chopra. Find what works for you and practice it regularly. After all, you are in control of your life.

Testimonials and Support:
Thanks to all of you The Indian Vegan Kitchen continues to get great reviews and has been one of the top rated Indian cookbooks on Kelly White Phillips in her Living on the Vedge blog, shares her experience cooking Indian food for the first time using The Indian Vegan Kitchen. She states, "I was shocked at how light and low sodium your traditional Indian foods can be prepared." She made roti and stuffed eggplants...yum.

August Recipes: During the months of July, August, and September, I like to buy most of my vegetables from the farmers market. I have to be careful or I will buy more fresh produce than my family can eat; besides the whole idea is to eat it fresh. The taste of fresh produce is unmatched and fresh produce also has the highest nutrient content. The longer the produce sits the more nutrients are lost. When we visit India, we’re amazed and constantly comment on the great taste of the vegetables. I used to think it was because Indian vegetables were better but then I realized it was because they were fresh. In India, cooks buy the vegetables fresh each day. Here, even when I buy produce from the farmers market I rarely cook it the same day, and if I buy it from the grocery store, it has probably sat for 7 to 14 days from picking, transporting, purchasing, to cooking. Naturally, it doesn’t taste the same. So, at least during the summer months (in Iowa) I try to incorporate as much fresh and local produce as I can.

I also have a kitchen garden and for the last month we have enjoyed the amazing taste and texture of fresh cucumbers practically every day. Yesterday, I made eggplant from the garden and I think by the end of this week I will have enough okra for us. Many farmers markets today not only carry tomatoes, onions, and zucchini – they also carry exotic vegetables such as okra, eggplants, and gourds. Here, I’m sharing some of my favorite recipes that can be made with fresh produce from your kitchen garden or local farmers market. In both books, The Indian Vegan Kitchen and New Indian Home Cooking, you will find lots of easy recipes that will transform your summer bounty in to delicious meals. Enjoy!

Spicy Grilled Salmon

Okra and Onions (Bhindi-Pyaj)
Mashed Eggplant (Baingan Bharta)

Happy and Healthy Cooking!

Madhu Gadia

P.S. Need a consult on weight loss, diabetes, or stress management? Frustrated and confused with nutrition information and science? Wondering how does stress affect your weight and health? Want practical healthy solutions? Talk to a dietitian and get the strategies that work for you, see

Copyright © 2010 Madhu Gadia. All Rights Reserved

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August 2011 eRecipes

Posted on 08/16/2011 at 5:53 PM

 August 2011

Dear Madhu,

My favorite way to de-stress is to hangout with friends on the weekend. The other day as soon as I walked into a party and saw all familiar faces, the sitcom Cheers song, “sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, and they are always glad you came,” started ringing in my head. I love that song; it says it all. We spent the evening just talking, laughing and eating. Nothing memorable, nothing worth repeating, and we did not solve any world problems; it was just pure fun with only one intention—to have a good time. I have to admit, my friends keep me sane. I hope you, too, have a special place or friends who energize and get you ready for the upcoming week. And if desired, you can check out the Cheers-tune and lyrics on youtube, but don’t blame me, if the songs gets stuck in your head.

Of course, having fun with friends always involves food and as always it is important to make healthful choices. My most important goal is to make sure we eat 3 meals per day, even on weekends. It’s just too easy to avoid meals and fall into the snack-trap, as observed in The Institute of Food Technologists study, see the findings below.

Eat Your Meals First:
The Institute of Food Technologists ( recently reported that over 25% of our daily calories now come from snacks. Between 1977 and 2006, snacking in the American diet has grown to constitute “a full eating event,” or a fourth meal, averaging about 580 calories each day, according to Richard D. Mattes, Ph.D., professor of foods and nutrition, Purdue University. Unfortunately, most of these extra calories come from sugar and fat (empty calories) in the form of sugared beverages and pastries. With all the emphasis on eating better and making healthful choices, why are we eating so many snacks? Based on my professional experience, one of the main reasons for increased snacking is skipping meals. People often skip meals to lose weight. But that strategy rarely works. If you want lose weight or prevent weight gain, eat 3 meals per day and 1 to 2 snacks—only if hungry. Meals make you physically full, emotionally satisfied, healthier, and leaner in the long run.

Drink Up:
During hot summer days, pay special attention to hydration. Water is the number 1 thirst quencher and is essential for all bodily functions. Drink water before, during and after exercising or spending time in the sun. And if you’re playing sports, drink 4 to 6 ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes of activity. But if you are engaging in moderate or intense physical activity for one hour or longer, you may need fitness waters or sports drinks to replace electrolytes lost through sweating. The majority of the time water is the best beverage to replenish body fluids.

Ice cold beverages such as flavored coffee, soda, and fitness drinks can be very tempting on a hot day, but they can be loaded with calories. A blended coffee or a sweetened beverage can be 200 to 500 calories (based on the size and toppings). Be calorie prudent as these calories will add up quickly.

August Recipes:
Last weekend, I went to the farmers market and bought eight different vegetables. And that evening, I made pasta primavera with fresh garlic, onions, basil, carrots, zucchini, green pepper and tomatoes, and served it with grilled corn-on-the-cob Indian style.

As much as possible, I like to buy my vegetables (and some fruits) from the farmers market in July, August, and September. They cost a little more but are well worth the price. Not only do the fresh picked vegetables taste better they are also higher in nutrient content. Do you know that the longer the produce sits the more nutrients are lost? The further the produce travels the longer it takes to get to the table. So, as often as you can purchase produce locally—good for you, good for the environment.

In The Indian Vegan Kitchen and New Indian Home Cooking, you will find variety of recipes for most summer vegetables. Try these quick and simple vegetable recipes and have fun testing and tasting. This month, I have also included the July recipes for your convenience.

Okra with tomatoes (Bhindi Tamatar Ki Subji)
Coconut Green Beans (Sem-Nariyal)
Seasoned Zucchini (Sukhi Lauki) (This recipe was featured in O, Oprah Magazine)

July Recipes:
Grilled Corn (Bhutta)
Grilled Vegetables (Bhuni Subji)
Indian Ice Cream (Kulfi)

Happy and Healthy Cooking!
Madhu Gadia

Copyright © 2011 Madhu Gadia. All Rights Reserved

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Copyright © 2018 Madhu Gadia. All Rights Reserved