Wednesday, 4 June 2014

On the subject of Post Workout meal/drink - 2

Having an exercise routine that you love is important, as is, to keep it challenging ! For most of us, our jobs or home life does not involve any physical exertion, so we need to embrace some sort of activity to keep our bodies fit. It also helps if you enjoy your workout. To keep things interesting, I try different things - yoga, training for a run, dance etc when I need a change from lifting.

I do believe though, that as a nation full of people, suffering from a multitude of lifestyle diseases like  diabetes, high cholesterol, osteoporosis, obesity, we are not interested enough, in exercise. Some of us stick to a mandatory stroll post dinner for years, believing that is sufficient. Well, its not!
Exercise has become synonymous with losing weight for a lot of people. And if you are thin then you do not need to exercise! Thats so wrong... We all need exercise, what we choose to do can be different, there is no perfect, or right exercise. Do what keeps you motivated, do what is fun for you, otherwise its difficult to keep at it.

Hippocrates wrote, "All parts of the body, if used in moderation and exercised in labors to which each is accustomed, become thereby healthy and well developed and age slowly; but if they are unused and left idle, they become liable to disease, defective in growth and age quickly.”
We all need exercise (brisk walking in the park, football, hiking, aerobics or what ever works). Even with healthy eating habits, exercise comes with its own benefits - lower body fat, cardiovascular benefits, positive impact on blood pressure, heart rate and overall mortality. Regular exercise even helps people with mild depression.

If you do not exercise regularly, start today! To motivate you, I am sharing these pictures.:) Thats me dead lifting more than my body weight.

Raw Oats with Fruit, Seeds and Nut Butter
This is the perfect breakfast and post workout meal, bursting with nutrition and goodness. I have to say, this is my favourite food, and I eat it almost everyday!


For Oats
1/2 cup steel cut oats
3-4 cashews
3 dates
1/2 - 3/4 cup water

1 tbsp flax seed powder
1 tbsp or more peanut butter / almond butter
a handful of gojiberries or raisins
1 mango diced


1 tbsp flax seed powder
10 - 12 pistachios or 6-7 walnuts
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
8-10 strawberries sliced

Soak the oats and cashews overnight. In the morning, discard the water and rinse well 5-6 times. In a mixer, add the oats, some fresh water and dates and blitz for a few seconds.
It can be served with the fruit and nuts. Raw oats can also be stored in the fridge for 4-5 days in an airtight glass jar.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

On the subject of Post Workout meal/drink - 1

Hi Everyone! I have been away for a while, focusing on some other aspects of my life, you know, child, home, work, learning how to drive (yeah, can you believe it, I had to be 32 years old to tick that one off!) and trying CrossFit (yes, the first rule of CrossFit, tell everyone you are doing CrossFit ;))

So, anyway, it is really true, CrossFit is amazing, it is truly a full body workout, ensuring your full attention at all times. To me, it was like meditation, that one hour of workout, I was in the present moment, no thoughts or worries about the rest of the day, meetings nothing!
Physically, I pushed harder than ever. I have been lifting weights for a few years now, but have never seen such an improvement so quickly. Of course, it really helps to be surrounded by such driven people - the coaches, the fellow cross fitters !

Anyway, while I was at it, you know trying to CrossFit 4-5 times a week, I realised the importance of RECOVERY, all over again! That is rest and nutrition, especially Nutrition. The crucial post workout meal or drink!

What exactly are we looking for in a recovery drink or meal? Well, Protein, to help the muscles repair the damage, wear and tear from the exercise. Now, of course everyone has a favourite source, that they claim is the secret behind their super power, especially protein supplements! Now, I am, as you know a firm believer of natural and whole foods. That is not to say, that protein supplements don't have their advantages, they do, the very ease of not having to plan your meals and worry about preparation and planning. A word of caution on protein supplements, choose a product, that has its ingredients listed (pronounceable ingredients), source natural, minimally processed, preferably organic, ideally plant sources like sprouted grains etc, this will also ensure a better bio-availability and no scary, potentially dangerous compounds and chemicals with side effects.
The recovery meal also needs to be antioxidant rich. This is essential, because exercise causes free radicals, which in turn can cause oxidative stress, unless the body has enough defences of antioxidants.
We need to include carbohydrates, preferably with a high glycemic index, which will help the muscles restock glycogen.
Another crucial factor, is to consume this meal within 20-30 mins post workout.

Ultimately the purpose of exercise, is to enhance our health, fitness, strength, stamina, appearance and well being. It is not, (hopefully for anyone) to just build bigger muscles or lose weight! Since our health goals are multi fold and we pursue various physical regimes to achieve them, it becomes our responsibility to not be complacent about what we eat.  Giving our recovery drink or meal some extra attention is paramount.
I have come up with a few great post workout meal and drink options, that I want to share with you, over a few blog posts. These are all natural, wholesome, vegan and yummy, hope you enjoy them!

Garbanzo Broccoli Coconut Stew

The garbanzo beans, provide an excellent source of protein and a unique source of dietary fibre and a multitude of antioxidants. It helps body regulate blood sugar (wonderful for diabetics), provides cardiovascular benefit and keeps you full for longer for fewer calories (ideal for weight loss goals).

Broccoli is a good source of protein and is very rich in Vitamin C as well. But broccoli gives an added benefit in muscle building by limiting body's naturally occurring estrogen and even the sythentic compounds that mimic estrogen. This allows you to negate the negative effects of estrogen on your muscle building goals. Broccoli also helps with protecting the skin against UV damage among other things.

So, here is the recipe -

1 cup cooked garbanzo beans (soak the dry beans overnight and cook them in the pressure cooker with fresh water for 30-35 mins)
1-1/2 cups florets of broccoli
5-6 cherry tomatoes or 1 big tomato chopped
1-3 green chillies slit (to tolerance)
1 onion sliced thinly
1 tsp ginger
5-6 curry leaves
4-5 cloves
2-3 tbsp coconut milk
3/4 cup water
1 tsp extra virgin coconut oil
salt to taste


In a large wok, heat the oil and add the cloves, onion, ginger, chillies and curry leaves. Stir and add the broccoli and garbanzo beans. Cook for a minute and add the coconut milk mixed with water and salt. Let it come to a boil. Turn the heat off and add the tomatoes and mix in.
Enjoy it hot off the wok with a red rice dosa or by itself.