Posted on 11/07/2014 at 05:51 PM by Madhu Gadia
I’m happy to be finally writing this newsletter and connecting with you after several months of hiatus. All I can say is that things just spun out of control, and it was impossible to keep up with everything. There have been couple of life altering changes; I moved back home to Iowa and have a new job. I am very happy to be back home and am now working with K -12 private schools (FLIK Independent School Dining). To tell you the truth I do not know how things fell in place; I am just grateful that they did.
Diwali - Festival of Lights
Among the hustle bustle of moving and adjusting to a new job, there were the Diwali celebrations. Diwali is an Indian festival celebrated with similar reverence as Christmas or Hanukkah. Diwali celebrations like Christmas celebrations last 3 -4 weeks. Symbolically, Diwali – festival of lights - is a celebration of the “victory of good over evil” and signifies the lifting of spiritual darkness. For over 20 years we have been hosting a Diwali party. The whole family helps out, but, of course, the majority of the work falls in my court (as with all moms). I plan the menu, shop, and start prepping about two weeks in advance. I like to prepare most of the things myself, but I do ask for help from some of my friends – all of whom are fabulous cooks and always willing to help.
Now it’s time for Thanksgiving and soon it’ll be Christmas. I am sure you will fall into a similar holiday frenzy of trying to get everything done. Remember to take care of yourself – see “Healthy Holidays” below for some self-care tips.
Holiday season can be a challenging time to stay on track with healthy eating goals. How can you eat well and enjoy your favorite homemade treats, office parties, and big meals? Here are three healthy things I do for myself to celebrate the season without feeling guilty or deprived; you need to find things that work for you. After all savoring food is part of enjoying the holidays.
- Eat regularly. Skipping meals to “save calories” is counterintuitive. Have you noticed that every time you skip a meal you end up eating more at the next meal or at the party? Basically, you give yourself permission to eat an extra appetizer or dessert - after all you’ve earned it - and the net calories are always more. To help manage intake during the holidays have a lighter meal leading up to the party and remember to include your favorite holiday foods in your meals.
- Be Realistic. It is impossible to lose weight during the Diwali time. Holidays are never the ideal time for you to start a weight-loss program. My only hope is that I maintain my weight. Help yourself to succeed with positive and specific self-talk and remember portion size matters. For example, if you tell yourself you’ll eat only half a slice of apple pie at the Holiday dinnr and pass on the potatoes, you’re more likely to follow through than if you plan to skip dessert completely.
- Exercise. However busy, I try to make time for exercise. During super busy times it is not possible to stay with my typical exercise routine, but at least three days a week, I will walk out for minimum of 20 – 30 minutes. Even that little bit will help me stay sane. Trust me, the time spent on exercise will actually give you more energy and thus you will get more done. Try it on yourself.
Buying gifts can be stressful. There is financial pressure as well as the struggle of finding that ideal gift. As a shameless plug, how about The Indian Vegan Kitchen and/or New Indian Home Cooking!
This month I’m sharing some recipes that are great for any holiday meal. For most holiday parties we have our traditional dishes that are a must; for example, it would not be a Thanksgiving without a pumpkin pie or for me a Diwali without Puri (Fried bread) and Kaddu (Sweet and Sour Pumpkin). Once the musts are added to the menu, I try to balance the meal with variety of exotic dishes. After all it’s a celebration. This year I also made Chole (Chickpeas), Palak Kofte (Spinach Balls in a Creamy Sauce), Dahi Vade (Bean patties in yogurt), and Chirote (Crunchy Blossom Pastry) for dessert. (All these recipes are in the New Indian Home Cooking or The Indian Vegan Kitchen.) For Diwali or any other religious holiday the meals are typically vegetarian.
Check out the recipes for Puri and Palak Kofte in the blog. You will also find recipes for Kaddu (Sweet and Sour Pumpkin), Sukhe Alu (Curried Potatoes) and Kheer (Rice Pudding), which are all great party additions.
Happy and Healthy Holidays!
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