If you are vegetarian, India is no less than a paradise. There are several hundred vegetarian recipes out here, and it is one of those few cultural zones in the world where meats and cheese are not essential components of a main meal. With Indian cooking, you will have an opportunity to explore your vegetables in ways you may never have imagined before. They are blended with local herbs and spices and served either dry or swimming in delectable curries. If cooked properly, the vegetables even retain their freshness and distinct flavor. So, you may be wondering, why is there so much doubt on whether an Indian vegetarian diet works for weight loss?
To begin with, there is absolutely no question that most Indian cuisines are great for weight loss. If cooked in the right way, Indian meals are light, nutritious and filling. The trouble starts when people begin to compromise good health in favor of rich tastes. High-fat milk and dairy products, the excess use of clarified butter (ghee) and vegetable oils for fat, and over-emphasis on deep fried snacks and high-sugar sweets are the main culprits responsible for obesity in India. However, none of these are essential to Indian cooking and eating.
Substitute Ghee With Olive or Vegetable Oil
This is the first thing you should do, if you are planning to follow an Indian vegetarian diet for weight loss. Ghee is rich in saturated fats and if consumed in excess, it slows down your metabolism and can cause many health ills, including obesity. Olive oil or other vegetable oils are far healthier, and now shopping aisles are filled with brands that have omitted saturated fats altogether.
Cooking Methods that Involve Minimal Oil
How you cook your Indian meal has a big impact on how healthy and low in calories it turns out to be. One standard technique that most Indians use to prepare their curries is to sauté onions, garlic, ginger and various herbs and spices in oil before adding in puree or cream. To make your meal lighter, rather than sautéing vegetables in oil, you could use a range of other methods. For instance, you could try blanching your onions in boiling water rather than frying them; spices can be dry roasted in a non-stick pan; and a nonstick spray can be used as a substitute for oil.
Using Milk and Dairy
Most Indian people would not be able to imagine preparing a meal without the use of milk or dairy products. Fresh cream, yoghurt, milk, pressed cottage cheese (paneer) and butter all feature prominently in most households. The good news is that milk and dairy products are essential to a balanced diet and are fully compatible with weight loss, but only as long as you are willing to use reduced-fat milk. Most commercially available Indian dairy products, including paneer and yoghurt, are prepared from full-fat milk, so it is best if you make your own yoghurt and paneer at home.
Make Chapatti Your Staple Bread
Chapatti is a cooked whole wheat flat bread that is commonly used as a staple in several Indian households. It is light in calories, healthy and a great source of fiber and complex carbohydrates, which give you prolonged energy release. Just remember not to dab a layer of ghee or butter on your chapattis. Just this one simple step will save you a bunch of calories. Reserve the more flavorful and elaborate breads such as naan and paranthas for special occasions.
Brown Rice Rather Than White
If you prefer rice as a staple, use brown rice rather than the refined version. It is lighter in calories and more nutritious. In most places you will be able to find brown rice, although it is a bit harder to obtain than white rice.
Finally, whether you are planning to go on an Indian vegetarian diet for weight loss or any other, remember to exercise portion control. At the end of the day, with these tips in mind, you should achieve great success in losing weight with an Indian diet.
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