Posted on 09/25/2011 at 05:50 PM by Madhu Gadia
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 the 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 amazon.com. 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 farmer's 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 into delicious meals. Enjoy!
Spicy Grilled Salmon
Okra and Onions (Bhindi-Pyaj)
Mashed Eggplant (Baingan Bharta)
Happy and Healthy Cooking!
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 Speaker & Spokesperson.