Physical and mental well-being through healthy Indian food

indianfood

I managed to fall over my vacuum steamer some weeks ago, bruised my left arm to the highest degree (I am of course left handed) and ever since then, I am in a continuous kind of “tendinitis pain”, preventing me from sewing. This isn’t good, as my post for our following “sewing from scratch”- exercise (we’re going to sew an easy cushion to practice), is of course ready to publish, but then again I have to add the pictures, which means, I should be sewing… hard to do when your arm hurts like hell.

I’ve never been the type for traditional medicine, let alone the one who hurries straight to a doctor… so I suffered stubbornly for a few weeks, finally melted under the pressure of my mum and husband, saying “this is long enough, go to a doctor”. He prescribed me anti-inflammatory medicine (of course containing the one ingredient I am highly allergic to, which I only discovered after having bought it), to be taken a whole month and he added an extra medicine to avoid damage to my stomach… Not my cup of tea!

I even am supposed to go for X-rays and echography, not particularly something I am very keen on. Imagine when I phoned for an appointment, I was asked whether it was urgent (I haven’t broken anything) so honesty gave me only an appointment for next week.

Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es. [Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are]. Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Stubborn as I am, I’ll go for healthy food instead and let my body work against inflammation and will help it, providing what it needs, to strengthen me again.

I wondered what could be a natural anti-inflammatory “thing” good in my case? Resting my arm as much as possible, I started searching. Indian food popped up, loaded with a combination of anti-inflammatory spices and ingredients and having strong anti-bacterial properties, anti cancer properties. Turmeric (main ingredient in curry) and ginger having healing properties, help fight Alzheimer’s. Yoghurt and lentils are loaded with fibers, folate and magnesium and even stabilize blood sugar.

Ginger, can cure any infection in matters of time. Bring water just not to a boil, to which you add grated ginger. Every hour (you can heat it up again and again to 24 hours) put warm ginger soaked compresses on the painful area and infection will fade away. It works like magic every time.

Indian food offers the most dazzling array of fresh ingredients, a traditional Indian meal includes carbohydrates, proteins, fats, fibers, all the elements you need to make a balanced meal. Spices like turmeric, ginger, garlic, green chilies… are used, all of which have medicinal and healing properties.

When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct medicine is of no need. Ancient Ayurvedic proverb

Living in the South of France and not having a good Indian restaurant close by, when you love Indian food, is a big disadvantage, but the fun of choosing a recipe, gathering all the ingredients and cooking together, is the best way of relaxing, whilst being rewarded afterwards with a delicious meal.

Decide yourself how fattening or calorie dense your Indian meal will become. Naan (made from white flour) can be made with whole flour, brushed with coconut fat, it will be ten times healthier. Forget white rice, go for healthier varieties! Load your dishes with vegetables: spinach, tomatoes, onions, peas, chickpeas, paprika, chilies, yam, cucumbers, eggplant, zucchini, chickpeas, cauliflower, lentils, okra, red peppers, carrots. Fruit can be omnipresent too: bananas, papaya , mango and even nuts. Think yoghurt and salads, but watch out with the traditional ghee (clarified butter) or fried, sautéed recipes.

When buying spices, go for those in whole form (you can grind them when you need them), store them in airtight containers! Buy little and often, rather than in big packets! Try making up one mix yourself and see which you prefer. Order herbs online, if they can’t be found in your local supermarkets.

You don’t like spicy food? Choose North Indian dishes, being less spicy- some not spicy at all- a great place for beginners to start.

Our Indian cookbooks, this food has always been our guilty pleasure, were taken out of the cupboard and my husband enthusiastically ordered loads of spices online. As I just had fresh spinach in the house, I wanted a recipe with spinach!

Now in spring, when stingy nettles start growing, is the time to harvest them (providing they are not near a highway), wearing gloves of course. Wash them well (still wearing your gloves) and prepare them just the way you would prepare spinach, you’ll be surprised with the most healthy delicious dish ever. I often serve it, not telling guests what they’re getting, and always get compliments that this was the tastiest spinach they ever ate…

From now on we’ll be cooking great ethnic Indian food at home and will even create our own herb mix of “garam masala” (mixture of cumin, cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon, coriander, and other spices). Be gone tendinitis!

Drinking a cup of ginger tea with a teaspoon of rosemary honey and saying:

namaste

Namaste

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