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Blog: Cooking with Madhu

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Protein: how much do you really need?

Posted on 11/28/2016 at 12:57 PM

It seems like everyone is filling up on protein: to bulk up the muscles, to lose weight, or just eat healthier. But is eating more protein better for you?

As a nutrient, protein performs many functions, including maintaining tissue. To use protein efficiently, it is important that you eat enough calories from carbohydrates and fat; otherwise protein will be used for energy and thus not be available to do its intended job. 

Contrary to popular belief, excess intake of protein will not build more muscle or make you healthier. Unfortunately, an obsession with protein can actually be unhealthy. You may feel tired if you are not balancing your diet, as protein and fat take longer to breakdown in to energy. Carbohydrate from grains, vegetables and fruits are the best source for energy. Remember, at the end of the day, calories always matter. Extra calories, more than your body needs, even from protein, will be stored as fat.

According to the U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA), most healthy adults need 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram (2.2 pound) of body weight per day (55 grams for 150 pound person, 73 grams for 200 pound person).


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On the Waist or in the Waste

Posted on 11/16/2016 at 12:45 PM

On the Waist or in the Waste

Food bargains are all around us, enticing us to buy more than we need or even want. It’s hard to pass up an offer for supersize fries for just 25¢ more, or buy a bucket of popcorn for only 50¢ more. Before you reach for the larger size, think again! Are you sharing or will you be eating it alone? The best defense is a good offense; buy only what you need, and if you’re served more than you can/want to eat (and you can’t save it for the next meal) throw it away, even if it’s just a few bites – your waist will thank you.

Bucket of Popcorn: 1000+ CALORIES!!

Movie Theater Snacks

There are lots of great movies coming out just in time for the holidays. Some of us feel it's necessary to have popcorn when we go to the theater. Just remember, a bucket of popcorn has over 1000 calories in it. Opt for the smaller size and skip the extra butter- there's plenty on there.


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November is Diabetes Month

Posted on 11/05/2016 at 1:01 PM

Prevent Diabetes Now

The good news is that you can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. Nearly 26 million Americans, about 1 in 10, have diabetes and 79 million adults have prediabetes. And the prevalence of diabetes is even higher among Indians. Prediabetes, also called “impaired glucose tolerance," is a condition where blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be called diabetes. But don’t take it lightly, without intervention prediabetes is likely to progress to type 2 diabetes. Although there are many factors, there are three major reasons you can develop type 2 diabetes: heredity, age, and weight.

What can you do?

Although you can not do anything about your heredity or age, you can manage your weight and physical activity. The Diabetes Prevention Program, a major federally funded study, showed that people can delay and possibly prevent the disease by losing modest amount of weight, 5 to 7 percent of total body weight (that is 10 – 15 pounds for a 200 pound person), and 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days a week. Simple changes can lead to big rewards; add salad with low fat dressings and cooked vegetables to your meals everyday, monitor portions, and drink calorie free beverages.

Eat a balanced diet of 3 meals and 1 to 3 snacks per day and exercise 30 or more minutes most days of the week.

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Mashed Eggplant (Baingan Bharta)

Posted on 09/18/2016 at 1:36 PM

Mashed Eggplant (Baingan Bharta)

Eggplant Bharta is one of the most popular ways to cook eggplant. The best way to bring out the flavor is by grilling the eggplant until the skin is burned, giving the eggplant a smoky flavor. The charcoaled skin is removed and tender inside pulp of the eggplant is spiced to perfection.

In the summer I often buy several fresh eggplants from the farmers market, grill them, remove the pulp and freeze it. I can then turn it into Bharta in jiffy. 


Prep Time: 10 Minutes    Cook Time: 60 Minutes
Makes: 4 servings     Serving Size:     1/4 cup

1 medium eggplant (about 1 pound)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
3/4 cup onion, finely chopped
1 cup tomatoes, finely chopped
2 teaspoons green chiles, finely chopped, or 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons coriander powder
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, ground
1/2 teaspoon salt

1.The eggplant can be grilled or baked in the oven. Preheat grill.
2. Grill the eggplant on high heat for 20 to 30 minutes, turning periodically. (Or preheat the oven to 450 F. Lightly oil the eggplant,  place in an oven-safe tray and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, turning once or twice.) The skin of the eggplant will become dark brown to almost burned. Place in bowl and cover with lid for 10 to 15 minutes. Once the eggplant is cool enough to handle, slowly remove the skin, scraping all eggplant pulp from the skin. Keep all the juices that come out of the eggplant. Discard the skin. Mash the pulp with a fork and set aside. (You’ll have about 1 cup pulp.)
3. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add cumin seeds and cook for a few seconds until golden brown. Add chopped onion and cook until light brown. Add tomatoes and green chiles. Cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Mash the tomatoes with the back of the spoon or a potato masher, making a sauce-like consistency. Stir in coriander powder, fennel seed powder, and salt.
4. Stirring in a folding motion, add the mashed eggplant. Reduce heat, cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant becomes shiny as the oil rises to the top. Transfer to a serving container and serve hot with flatbread and dal.

Note: If desired, especially in summer (eggplant season), grill or bake several eggplants at a time, remove the skin, and make pulp. Divide the eggplant into 1-cup portions and freeze up to 6 months. Thaw and follow the steps 2 to 4.

Nutrition information per serving: Calories: 108; Total Fat: 7 g (Saturated Fat: 1 g); Carbohydrate: 11 g; Protein: 2 g; Fiber: 5 g; Sodium: 296 mg

Reprinted from: The Indian Vegan Kitchen by Madhu Gadia, MS, RD


  Roasting eggplant       Freezing eggplant pulp        Ready to eat!

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Fresh Tomato Salsa

Posted on 09/06/2016 at 8:32 PM

I am guilty of buying too many vegetables at the Farmers Market. I use fresh farm tomatoes for as long as I can. I am sure you’ll all agree that vine ripened tomatoes (vs. store bought) are juicy, flavorful and sweet. You can just eat them like an apple. No process necessary.

One of my favorite things to make with fresh farm tomatoes is salsa. It is best with Roma tomatoes, although you can make with any tomatoes. It’s easy and fun to scoop with chips. With a bowl of fresh salsa, you really just can’t just eat one chip.

1 lb. Roma Tomatoes
¼ cup Red Onions, finely chopped
1 small Jalapeno, or to taste
¼ cup cilantro
½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp lime juice

Cut tomatoes in half and with your finger, remove seeds. Discard seeds. You can dice everything by hand or use a chopper. I use a handy chopper, so I can chop small amounts at a time. It allows me to control the density/chopped size and everything doesn’t become juicy. (Do not grind the tomatoes. That’s a different recipe.)

If using a chopper, first chop tomatoes, transfer them to a bowl. Then chop onions, and then chop jalapeno and cilantro together. Mix everything and season with salt, cumin, and lime juice. For best results refrigerate for 2 or more hours. Of course I have been known to serve it right away. Refrigerated, it will last a week or so.

Makes: 2 Cups

Serving Size: 2 Tbsp: Calories: 12; Total Fat: 0g; Carbohydrate: 3 g; Protein; 0 g; Fiber: 1g

Recipe by: Madhu Gadia, M.S., R.D. (new recipe)





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