Parents, beware. 3 hours of TV daily may up risk of diabetes in your kids

Being glued to television or video games for more than three hours a day may put your children at increased risk of developing diabetes.

Parents, take note! Being glued to television or video games for more than three hours a day may put your children at increased risk of developing diabetes, a study warns. Researchers found that both adiposity, which describes total body fat, and insulin resistance, which occurs when cells fail to respond to insulin, were affected by longer hours of watching television and using computers.

“Our findings suggest that reducing screen time may be beneficial in reducing type 2 diabetes risk factors, in both boys and girls, from an early age,” said Claire Nightingale, research fellow at St George’s, University of London in the UK.

Researchers based their findings on a sample of nearly 4,500 nine to 10-year-old pupils from 200 primary schools in London, Birmingham and Leicester. The children were assessed for a series of metabolic and cardiovascular risk factors, including blood fats, insulin resistance, fasting blood glucose levels, blood pressure and body fat.

Around a third of the children spent less than an hour of screen time a day, but 28% of the children said they clocked up one to two hours; 13% said their tally was two to three hours; and 18% said they spent more than three hours looking at screens every day.

The study noted that there was a trend between levels of screen time and higher levels of leptin, the hormone that controls appetite. (Shutterstock )

Trends emerged between screen time and ponderal index – an indicator of weight in relation to height, and skinfolds thickness and fat mass index – indicators of total body fat. Researchers found that these levels were all higher in children reporting more than three hours of daily screen time than in those who said they spent an hour or less on it.

The team also noted that there was a strong trend between levels of screen time and higher levels of leptin, the hormone that controls appetite, and insulin resistance. The trends remained significant even after taking account of potentially influential factors, including physical activity levels, researchers said.

Ladies, having a baby in your 30s may ensure a long life for you

Women who conceive later in life tend to be well-off and educated and have healthier lifestyle, leading to longer life expectancies.

Looks like people, who are planning their family late, may breathe a sigh of relief. Earlier research said, conceiving after 30 may leave a first-time mother childless. But a new study, not only denies the fact, but also brings a good news for the older moms.

The study, by scientists at Portugal’s Coimbra University, said that women who became mothers later in life were more likely to live longer than those who gave birth in their teens and 20s, reports the Independent. “The most relevant result shows that women tend to live longer the older they are when they get pregnant (in particular, for the first child),” it said, according to a paper published in the Journal of Public Health.

Of several factors which determine women’s life expectancy, it said, “The most surprising factor is the age of women at pregnancy, which may provide evidence to promote pregnancy in the early 30s.” A second study, published in the journal menopause Menopause journal, also found that mothers, who gave birth at 33 or older, were three times more like to have certain DNA markers for longevity than mothers who gave birth younger.

But neither study provided an explanation as to why older mothers may live longer. The report further said that according to fertility expert Lord Winston, women who conceive later in life tend to be well-off and educated and have healthier lifestyle, leading to longer life expectancies.

Think you’ve tried everything to battle obesity? This new discovery is for you

The research adds weight to the evidence that eating is a surprisingly complex biological behaviour.

If you are tired of trying every means to fight obesity, then this new discovery might help you to rethink. Cells in the brain that may help control the hunger impulse have been discovered in a development, which could lead to new treatments for obesity, reports the Independent.

The research adds weight to the evidence that eating is a surprisingly complex biological behaviour. According to Alexander Nectow, who published a paper about the study in the journal Cell, two new populations of cells have been identified in the brain that potently regulates appetite.

The area of the brainstem under scrutiny is the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN), where the two types of cells are located. It is thought new drugs to treat obesity by controlling hunger messages that prompt people to seek out and consume of food could be targeted at those cells.

Dr Nectow, an associate research scholar at Princeton University, found that the DRN section of the brain becomes activated in hungry mice. This was discovered when images were taken using a pioneering technique called iDisco. Imaging other mice that were given more than their normal amount of food showed a different pattern of DRN activity. This showed that neurons in this part of the brain clearly had a function in feeding behaviour.

It is thought new drugs to treat obesity by controlling hunger messages that prompt people to seek out and consume of food could be targeted at those cells. (Shutterstock )

Further research is needed to ascertain which types of neurons that make up the DRN are involved in the process. “There are two possibilities when you see something like that,” Dr Nectow said. “One is that the cells are just along for the ride – they are getting activated by hunger but they’re not actually driving the food intake process,” he continued.

Young e-cigarette users more likely to become tobacco users, says new study

The study also looked at other factors that influence smoking, including smoking susceptibility, having friends or family members who smoke, age, sex, family affluence, ethnic group and school.

A recent UK study suggests that teenagers who have tried an e-cigarette are more likely to go on to smoke tobacco cigarettes.

The study was led by the University of Stirling along with researchers from the Unversities of St Andrews and Edinburgh, and ScotCen. The team looked at pupils at four Scottish secondary schools aged between 11 and 18 years old, surveying the participants in 2015 and then again 12 months later.

They found in the initial 2015 survey that among the 2,125 pupils who had never smoked a cigarette, 183 (8.6%) said that they had tried an e-cigarette and 1,942 had not.

In the 2016 survey, 74 (40.4%) of those who had tried an e-cigarette in the initial 2015 survey went on to smoke a cigarette in the following 12 months – compared to only 249 (12.8%) of young people who had not tried an e-cigarette.

The team found in the initial 2015 survey that among the 2,125 pupils who had never smoked a cigarette, 183 (8.6%) said that they had tried an e-cigarette and 1,942 had not. (Shutterstock)

The results remained statistically significant even after the team had taken into account other factors that influence smoking including smoking susceptibility, having friends or family members who smoke, age, sex, family affluence, ethnic group and school.

“Uniquely, we also found that e-cigarette use had a greater impact on the odds of cigarette experimentation in young never smokers who had a firm intention not to smoke and/or whose friends didn’t smoke. Traditionally, this is the group of young people least likely to take up smoking,” commented Dr Catherine Best, research fellow at the University of Stirling.

Sally Haw, professor of Public and Population Health at Stirling, also added that, “The greater impact of e-cigarette use on young people thought to be at lower risk of starting smoking is of particular concern” and now recommends further research to understand better how experimenting with e-cigarettes may influence smoking attitudes.

The findings can be found published online in the British Medical Journal’s Tobacco Control journal.

Everything you need to know about the deadly Blue Whale suicide game

The blue whale suicide game is prompting young people to end their lives.

Something macabre has been brewing on the internet, and it sounds like the perfect plot for a third rate horror film. A depressed youngster comes across a social media group called Blue Whales. The group encourages him to take his life. It also promises to make his exit from this world fun by turning the suicide into a thrilling game. After signing up, the youngster is assigned daily tasks for the next 50 days. It includes inflicting self-injury, watching horror movies, waking up at odd hours to wrap the task and even carving a whale shape on the arms. The task keeps getting tougher with each passing day. On the last (50th day), the game admin ask the youngster to commit suicide. Those who want to back out on the last day are threatened that their family members will be hurt if they don’t abide by the game rules. There is no exit.

Carving out a whale shape on the arm is one of the task assigned.

It seems that the deadly game that originated in Russia has taken the life of a 14-year-old boy in Andheri East, Mumbai. Manpreet Singh, who jumped off the terrace of a seven-storey building on Saturday, could be the first victim of the network.

This psychopathic game started in Russia four years ago on a social networking site called VKontakte. It has already claimed over 130 lives in Russia. It allegedly led to its first suicide in 2015. Philipp Budeikin, a psychology student claimed that he invented the game. Budeikin, who was thrown out of his university, said he was attempting to weed out the society by encouraging those who have no value to take their lives. Other reports claim that the mastermind behind the game, a postman called Ilya Sidorov, 26, was arrested in Moscow, Russia. He used to encourage teenagers to hurt themselves and eventually commit suicide.

What is worrying is that despite the common knowledge that the deadly game started and spread on VKontakte, which is a hugely popular site in Russia, no checks were brought in place to contain the network. One can easily create a VKontakte account . And once you log in, and search for #bluewhale, you come across psychotic, extremely depressing messages of young people desperately wanting to play the game and end their lives. Their profiles are as macabre as it can get. There are pictures of self-injury, ghosts and horrifying sketches of people bleeding and trying to kill themselves.

When this journalist created an account on VKontakte, and asked a few users about Blue Whale, she was sent a link to a page that claimed to add people to the Blue Whale network. The page was full of eerie sketches, including one that showed a bloodied male figure hurting himself with a knife. The curator of the page called Aisha Andrew chatted with her, and told her that there can be no looking back once a person begins the game. The first task that she was assigned was to carve ‘F57’ on her arm with a blade at 4:20 am and send a picture. Here are the screenshots of the chat:

Dr Pulkit Sharma, psychologist, says that we need to immediately ban access to such social networking sites. “It’s important to restrict such content. When a person is depressed, he or she is in a very fragile state of mind. Anyone who seems powerful to them and comes across as an anchor point, can have the potential to influence their mind. When you tell a depressed person that he can live, and there is hope, they don’t find such words to be realistic. But if someone tells him that he is fit to die, and there is nothing wrong is seeking liberation and suicide is an easier, logical way out, he immediately relates to it. Exposure to such content is extremely dangerous for depressed young people.”

Sharma says that the network seems to be a creation of a psychopath. “Such people believe that they are larger than life. They are on a special mission and they have a weird agenda that makes sense to them. They are fanatical and psychopathic. They see things in extreme, in black and white, the way the alleged creator of the Blue Whale network believes that if he eradicates depressed people, this world will be a happy place,” he says. Such a psychopathic mind could be an outcome of extreme childhood abuse, neglect and trauma.

Watch out for signs of depression and suicidal tendencies:

Feeling low most of the time

Withdrawal from favourite activities

Fear, anxiety, despair

Addiction to social media

Sleep disturbances

Irritability

Aggression

Lethargy

Sluggishness

Tiredness

Blue Whale challenge: Did Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why trigger online search on suicide?

A still from the show 13 Reasons Why

While the world is debating how the Blue Whale Challenge, an online game, has triggered a wave of suicides in Russia and other parts of the world, here’s a new study that says online searches about suicide and suicidal methods soared in the weeks following the release of controversial Netflix drama 13 Reasons Why. The show is about a teenage girl who killed herself. While the report in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine did not examine whether the number of actual suicides rose following the popular show’s release, researchers called for the series to be removed from Netflix’s site until it can be made safer.

Overall, suicide-related queries were 19% higher than expected following the show, said the research letter in JAMA. “There were between 9,00,000 and 15,00,000 more suicide-related searches than expected during the 19 days following the series’ release,” said study co-author Mark Dredze, a professor of computer science at Johns Hopkins University.

Phrases like how to commit suicide rose 26%, commit suicide was up 18% and how to kill yourself increased nine percent. On the flip side, searches for phrases like suicide hotline were up 12%, and suicide prevention rose 23%. “While it’s heartening that the series’ release concurred with increased awareness of suicide and suicide prevention, like those searching for suicide prevention, our results back up the worst fears of the show’s critics,” said lead author John Ayers, research professor at San Diego State University Graduate School of Public Health.

“The show may have inspired many to act on their suicidal thoughts by seeking out information on how to commit suicide,” added Ayers.

 

A controversial show

Supporters have praised the drama — in which a friend listens to a series of 13 audio-cassette journals left behind by the deceased girl — for its frank portrayal of adolescent struggles. Critics, however, say the show did not provide enough referrals to suicide prevention resources for people who may be at risk, and depicted a suicide in graphic detail during the final episode.

Researchers analysed Google trends for searches originating inside the United States between March 31, 2017 — the day the series was released — and April 18. They stopped their analysis then because former National Football League player Aaron Hernandez’s suicide on April 19 might have influenced the trends. For comparison, researchers used the period between January to March, prior to the show’s release, to determine the typically expected volumes for these words and phrases.

Previous research has shown that “suicide search trends are correlated with actual suicides,” and that “media coverage of suicides concur with increased suicide attempts,” said the report in JAMA. “We are calling on Netflix to remove the show and edit its content to align with World Health Organization standards before reposting,” Ayers said. He suggested that suicide prevention hotline numbers be added to old episodes and scenes depicting suicide be removed.

A tough subject

Netflix said it was pressing on with the show’s second season, which is currently in production. “We always believed this show would increase discussion around this tough subject matter. This is an interesting quasi-experimental study that confirms this,” Netflix said in a statement sent to US media.

“We are looking forward to more research and taking everything we learn to heart as we prepare for season 2.” The show’s official Twitter account includes a link to 13reasonswhy.info, which provides information about suicide hotlines and prevention around the world. An accompanying editorial in JAMA pointed out that it is impossible to know whether the searches were made by people with idle curiosity, or people who intended to kill themselves.

Still, given that suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people, researchers said the “producers of the series should have taken steps… as encouraged by suicide prevention specialists,” said the editorial by Kimberly McManama O’Brien of Boston Children’s Hospital and John Knight and Sion Harris of Harvard Medical School. Such shows, which are typically binge-watched, can have an outsize effect of teenagers and their developing brains, the editorial said.

Love coffee but worried about too much caffeine? Switch to green coffee instead

Some researches show green coffee may help with weight loss.

Can’t start your day without a cup of coffee? But worried about the caffeine and calories intake? Well, let your worries take a back seat, as you enjoy a wonderful cup of green coffee. Long-standing health debate on drinking coffee is not unknown to anyone.

But, amidst all these, comes in a new study on green coffee, raw and unroasted coffee beans. Some researches show, green coffee may help with weight loss. In this regard, Greenbrrew, a brand with a new concept to bring a new revolution in coffee industry, has listed the health benefits of green coffee.

1) Rich antioxidant: Green coffee beans are rich in antioxidant, and takes care of our overall health.

2) Boost metabolism: This coffee is a metabolism booster. It increases the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) of our body to a great extent, which minimises excessive release of glucose from the liver into blood.

3) Burn extra fat: Its beans are loaded with vitamins and minerals; helps in maintaining the levels of nutrients in our body.

4) Diabetes treatment: These green beans are also capable of treating Type 2 Diabetes successfully. Their extract is known to lower high levels of sugar in our bloodstream, while accelerating weight loss.

Green coffee beans are loaded with minerals, vitamines, antioxidants and metabolism boosters. (Shutterstock )

5) Minimizes level of bad cholesterol: The beans have the capacity to check your Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) levels, otherwise known as ‘bad cholesterol’ – the main culprit behind cardiovascular disorders.

6) Improve blood circulation: This coffee keep controls your blood pressure, diminishing the risk of strokes, heart failure and chronic renal failure.

7) Boost energy: It is better than the regular coffee, which contains 7-9% caffeine.

Mumbai, get fitter: Nutritionists reveal the truth behind diet and food myths

Nutritionists explain why some popular diet myths that are just that: myths.

In the era of Internet and information overload, we can be easily misled and misinformed. We are surrounded by myths about certain foods and more often than not we believe whatever we read without questioning it. For example, “granolas and flavoured yogurt are healthy” or “salt only increases the risk of high blood pressure”. These statements are not necessarily true. To get a clearer picture, we spoke to nutritionists to reveal the facts about certain foods that we assume to be healthy or unhealthy for us.

Unhealthy? So you thought!

Potatoes

Potatoes are actually much healthier than you would think. (HT Photo)

Potatoes have been infamous for being unhealthy for way too long. However, according to dietician Priya Palan, they are a good source of potassium and vitamin C. “Potatoes also contain a variety of phytonutrients that have antioxidants. Potatoes are low-calorie, with a medium-sized baked potato containing only about 110 calories,” says Krishnan.

Margarine

Margarine is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which help control cholesterol levels. (HT Photo)

Manjiri Puranik, weight loss expert says, “Margarine when taken in adequate amounts has health benefits. Margarine has alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), which is an omega-3 fatty acid. Omega 3 fatty acids have been proven to lower total cholesterol levels, triglycerides and reduce inflammation.”

Salt

Salt is widely considered to cause high blood pressure, but it’s a vital ingredient to your well-being. (HT Photo)

For ages, doctors have been telling us to cut on salt or risk high blood pressure, stroke and coronary heart disease. However, Dr Nupur Krishnan, nutritionist says, “Salt is essential for sustaining the hydration levels of the body. It is extremely vital to maintain the electrolyte balance for the smooth functioning of the organ systems.”

 

Eggs

Eggs are very nutritious and can even help you lose body fat. (Mark Cornelison)

“Eggs are so nutritious that they’re often referred to as ‘nature’s multivitamin.’ They also have unique antioxidants and powerful brain nutrients that many people are deficient in. Eggs for breakfast can also help you lose body fat,” says Manisha Mehta, nutritionist.

Avocados

Avocados are considered to be too fatty, but are rich in potassium and fibre. (HT Photo)

The fruit has been tarnished because it is considered to be too fatty. But nutritionist Khushboo Sahijwani says, “This is truly a miracle fruit. All other fruits are rich in carbohydrates but this one is exceptionally rich in fats, and most importantly the healthy mono unsaturated fatty acids. Avocados are super rich in potassium which is good for people with high blood pressure. Being rich in fibre, it aids in weight loss and to lower cholesterol.”

What we thought was healthy

Wheat bread

Wheat bread may contain enriched flour, which is high in sugar but doesn’t have much nutrition value. (HT Photo)

Krishnan highlights, “If it isn’t 100% whole wheat, bread can contain enriched flour, which gives you a sugar spike without any nutritional value. Basically, enriched flour means nutrients are stripped from the bread.”

Flavoured soy milk

Soy milk may actually not be as healthy as popular wisdom states it to be. (HT Photo)

Some health-conscious people prefer soy milk because they are considered a heart-healthy low fat option. Mehta counters, “Almost every ingredient in soy milk is a cause for serious concern. It contains cane sugar, carrageenan, calcium carbonate, vitamin A, palmitate, vitamin D2, riboflavin (B2), vitamin B12 and phytic acid. Soy contains high levels of phytic acid, a compound, which reduces your body’s ability to absorb minerals such as calcium, magnesium and zinc.”

 

Granola

Granola bars may not be the best way to start your day. (HT Photo)

“One might think of granola as one of the healthiest breakfast options to start the day with. But it tends to be low on fibre and protein, and high on fat and sugar, which is the opposite of a healthy breakfast. Stick to granola that has healthy nuts, and a little sugar,” says Puranik.

Light salad dressings

“Low-fat salad dressings prevent the body’s ability to absorb the carotenoid antioxidants in salad greens and tomatoes, thus greatly diminishing a major health benefit of eating salad. ‘Light’ and ‘fat-free’ dressings are often the most common places to find high-fructose corn syrup which is not too good for health,” says Mehta.

Flavoured, fat-free yogurt

Flavoured yogurt is high in sugar, corn syrup and a host of other sweeteners. (Shakti Yadav/HT Photo)

Puranik states, “Yogurt has always been considered as a health food but if you are into fruit flavoured yogurt, it is more likely that you are consuming plenty of sugar, high fructose corn syrup, aspartame and a host of other sweeteners, and not so much fruit. So when it comes to yogurt, stick to the plain variety.”

Worried about food-related hygiene this monsoon? Follow these 8 dos and don’ts

Cut fruits and vegetables shouldn’t be kept out in the open during the rainy season.

Monsoon brings with it an end to the scorching summer heat and a sigh of relief for everyone. It is also a time to be extra careful about infections, in particular, gastrointestinal infections. During this season, immunity tends to be weakened, making people more susceptible to infections.

Coupled with this, the digestive enzymes have lower activity, and the digestive system as a whole becomes more sensitive and vulnerable to infections. Therefore, we should be extra careful about what we eat. During the rainy season, the moisture in the air increases to very high levels, and along with it, various microbes tend to multiply. In particular, fungi tend to grow and multiply profusely in this increased moisture conditions.

Hence Dr Saurabh Arora, founder of Food Safety Helpline.com have put forward some tips to store food hygienically.

1) Bread and other bakery products are susceptible to spoilage by molds. Therefore, we must take care not to keep these food items exposed to the moist air for long periods. We should consume these items as soon as they are taken out of their air-tight packets.

Consume bakery items as soon as they are taken out of their air-tight packets. (HT file photo )

2) Care should also be exercised with milk and milk products, as these are susceptible to contamination and spoilage by microorganisms, particularly in the humid weather, which is common in the monsoon season. Care should be taken not only for food items, but also for the various ingredients and additives that go into preparation of the dishes. These should be kept in hermetically sealed containers, so that they are not exposed to moisture.

Care should also be exercised with milk and milk products, as these are susceptible to contamination. (Shuterstock )

3) Cut fruits also shouldn’t be kept out in the open during the rainy season. These should ideally be consumed as soon as they are cut, to avoid any contamination with microbes. Likewise, fruit juices should also be consumed fresh and not stored for later consumption.

Cut fruits also shouldn’t be kept out in the open during the rainy season. (Shutterstock )

4) The storage of cooked food is very important. Prepared food should ideally be consumed hot, soon after cooking. In case of consumption at a later time, it should be quickly cooled, carefully covered and stored refrigerated in order to avoid microbial contamination. It is to be noted that while storing food in the refrigerator, the cooked food should be stored in the upper shelves, while the raw food in the lower shelves.

Prepared food should ideally be consumed hot, soon after cooking. (Shutterstock )

5) Store the raw resources away from moisture It would be a good idea to avoid buying in bulk during the monsoon season, in order to avoid problems with storage.

6) Be careful while consuming certain types of food during the monsoon time. One of the most common snacks in this category are samosas. Other oily snacks include paneer pakoras, which might cause gastric problems if the ingredients are not fresh. Fermented food items like chole bhature can be spoiled by fungi that flourish in the humid conditions prevailing during the rainy season. As a general rule of thumb, all types of spicy and oily food should be consumed in moderation.

Oily snacks might cause gastric problems if the ingredients are not fresh. (Shutterstock )

7) Avoid street food. Most types of street foods are generally prepared in the open. There is a chance of contamination of the food with rain water. The stalls are sometimes located near open drains, where there is chance of contamination with coliform bacteria, which can cause serious diarrheal disease. Moreover, the water used for preparing street food favorites like golgappas is likely to be contaminated, and there is a chance of contracting water-borne diseases like cholera and typhoid in this way.

Most types of street foods are generally prepared in the open. (HT file photo )

8) Special precautions for drinking water. It is very important to keep the body well hydrated during the monsoon months. Therefore, it is essential to drink plenty of water. Drinking water must be very safe for consumption, since during the rainy season, chances of contamination increases manifold. It should be noted that besides microbes, ground water can be heavily contaminated with chemicals, as these leach easily into the underground water deposits. The best way to ensure safe drinking water is to filter the water, followed by boiling, before drinking.

It is very important to keep the body well hydrated during the monsoon months. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

If these simple precautions and hygienic practices are followed, this will enable you and your family to enjoy and appreciate the true beauty of the monsoon season.

Here are some yummy ‘healthy’ recipes you can try without worrying about calories

Here’s a healthy version of Apple Cinnamon cake.

Every day, we are exposed to a host of celebrities and brand marketing initiatives — endorsing health-food brands, conducting workout and yoga workshops, organising marathons and cyclathons, and so on.

However, in their day-to-day lives, people also come up with ways, worthy of emulating to stay healthy and fit. HT Café speaks to a few such Mumbaiites who, in their own way, are doing their bit to build a better, fitter Mumbai.

Sarojini Jose

Sarojini Jose (HT PHOTO)

Sarojini Jose, a retired teacher, gives a quirky twist to health drinks. Talking about Chukku Kaapi, a ginger and jaggery-based drink, she says, “It is a cherished recipe that was passed on to me by my mother. Our ancestors were wise in teaching us kitchen cures for minor ailments. Instead of opting to pop the pill for cold and cough, this remedy is better,” adding, “Those who have had this drink tell me that they feel better immediately, that their throat is soothed and the congestion is relieved.” Being a diabetic herself, she is always coming up with new recipes that are safe for diabetics such as the Coconut Water with a Twist.

“I came up with this drink because having plain coconut water or serving it to guests was a little boring. Saffron was incorporated as a means to add natural food colour. And, for kids, juice means something sweet, so I added the honey,” she explains.

Coconut water with a twist

Ingredients:

1 glass coconut water

3-4 strands of saffron

1/2tsp basil seeds

Honey (optional)

Method:

Put the strands of saffron in coconut water and keep aside for an hour.Around the same time put the basil seeds in half a cup of water and let it soak. In an hour both the ingredients would be well-soaked. The coconut water would have an orange tinge and the basil seeds would now have a wispy white layer. If there’s excess water in the soaked basil seeds, drain them. Then add the soaked seeds to the coconut water and serve. If the coconut water isn’t sweet naturally, or if the drink is served for kids, add honey as needed.

Chukku Kaapi

Ingredients:

1inch piece dried ginger, well-pounded

1tsp palm jaggery

1/2tsp pepper

A handful of fresh basil leaves

Method:

Add all the ingredients to one large mug of water and bring the water to boil After the water boils, it will deepen in colour within a minute. Turn off the fire. Place a heavy lid on the pot and wait for two minutes. Serve piping hot.

Sangita Garg

The mother of six-year-old twins, practised medicine before she took the plunge to become Atta Girl. She churns healthy batters for idlis, dosas, appams, etc. Atta Girl is the brainchild of almost two years of self-discovery, patience and hard work. When asked why she opted for it, she says, “There came a point when I said, ‘I cannot see any sick patients anymore’, and I realised the root cause is the food that is being consumed. Also, I wanted to take up something that let me devote enough time to work as well as my kids. This seemed to be the most ideal job that served both purposes,” she adds.

Her batters comprise of 70% concentration of the cereal ragi (millets). She describes herself as a foodie and makes batters specifically for south-Indian dishes. She explains, “I love south Indian food. I make dosas and idlis every other day at home. So, it was the perfect choice”.

Ragi Idli Poha

Ingredients:

1tbsp ghee or oil , 1tsp mustard seed, 2-3 green chillies, finely chopped, 2 onions chopped

1/4tsp, turmeric powder, Few sprigs of fresh coriander leaves, Few curry leaves

2 potatoes, boiled and chopped, 100gm peas, boiled, 4-5 wholegrain idlis

Salt and lemon juice to taste

Method:

Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds and let them splutter. Add green chillies and onions, and sauté Add the boiled peas and potatoes, and stir well for a few seconds. Add turmeric powder, and salt to taste.Break the idlis and crumble them in coarse pieces or cut them into small squares and mix it in the pan. Sprinkle some water and mix well again. Add some lemon juice and chopped coriander and serve hot.

Bonnie D’silva

Bonnie D’silva (Praful Gangurde)

Bonnie, a home-baker, started by taking orders for cakes and sweets from relatives and friends. She gained instant popularity. However, it was an order that she received from the mother of a one-year-old that changed the way she baked. This mum insisted that the cake for her kid should not include any sugar or artificial sweetener. She says, “I tried explaining to the lady that sugar not only sweetens but also adds a certain texture to the cake that cannot be substituted. But she insisted. After a lot of attempts I baked a wholewheat banana muffin where I used honey, apple stock and bananas to sweeten the cake.” Since then there has been no looking back. By experimenting frequently, she has come up with more dishes such as Apple and Cinnamon Yogurt Cake, Oatmeal and Raisin Cookies and Low-fat Cheesecake using hung curd and 70% Dark Chocolate Nut Clusters.

Oatmeal and Raisin Cookie

Oatmeal and Raisin Cookie (Praful Gangurde)

Ingredients:

115gm butter, 100gm brown sugar, 30gm honey, 140gm oats,

125gm wholewheat flour,1/2tsp cinnamon

1/2tsp baking soda, 100gm raisins

Method:

In a bowl, whisk together oats, flour, cinnamon, baking soda and raisins. Beat butter and brown sugar till light and creamy, and then add honey. Add the dry mix and stir till the mixture has combined well. Let the cookie dough chill in the refrigerator for around four hours. Preheat the oven at 160 degrees celsius, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop the dough onto the parchment and bake for 20 minutes.

Wholewheat sugar-free banana muffins

Ingredients:

4 bananas, ripe n 1/3 cup coconut oil (any other oil will also do)

1 egg ,1tsp vanilla extract ,1 1/2 cup wholewheat flour, 1tsp cinnamon powder,

1tsp baking soda, 1tsp baking powder, 1 cup walnut (optional)

Method:

Sift the wholewheat flour, cinnamon powder, baking soda and baking powder in a bowl. Walnuts, if used, should be mixed with the flour. Beat the egg with bananas and oil. Add the vanilla extract. Gently fold the dry mix together, do not over mix it. Fill the muffin tins and bake at 170 degrees Celsius for two minutes. Let it cool and serve.