Eat Easy, Occasionally


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The time has come for a detox. Replace the rich with simple, nutritious dishes to ease out stomach pain and upsets, says Radha Prathi

There are  those days that are ruled by an uncomfortable feeling. A nagging headache, a queasy stomach, lack of appetite, renal fissures, lacklustre skin and stubborn dandruff — can all cause some level of discomfort. The most common of these is  erratic bowel movements. In other words, it could be constipation. The inability to pass stool at regular intervals,  can prove to be a nightmare at times.

Some of the common reasons attributed to this condition could be lack of a balanced diet, inadequate fluid intake, lack of physical exertion, long periods of travel, unhygienic public toilets, prolonged use of antibiotics and analgesics, or very simply stress.

The problem could be temporary or could last over several weeks or months. And we often reach out for laxatives that are available over-the-counter. While this measure will certainly provide instant relief, it is highly unlikely to solve a long-term complication with the stomach.

Simple remedies

Consumption of two ripe bananas or a handful of fried or boiled peanuts topped with a glass of warm water, a tablespoon of roasted flax seeds or a handful of prunes or dried figs usually does the trick. Stimulants like a hot cup of coffee or hot milk, spiced with a pinch of turmeric powder and pepper, can also act as aids.

A glass of warm juice generated from raisins boiled in water can help even infants suffering from constipation.

On the other hand, if the problem is persistent, a spoonful of castor oil or liquid paraffin is advised for immediate relief.

A few pressure-cooked garlic pods, ground into a paste and consumed with a glass of milk overnight for a couple of days is a proven traditional curative.

One must steer clear of white bread, maida-based food items, alcohol, and condensed milk products if they are prone to constipation. Consumption of non vegetarian food and eggs should be stopped temporarily. Besides, it is mandatory to consume at least 8-10, tall glasses of water each day to replenish the water quotient in the body. Drinking fruit juices, beverages, flavoured milk and milk shakes can certainly prevent the body from dehydrating.

Here are two recipes that are ideal for those who are trying out a body-cleansing fast. These Sattvic dishes have more good than bad. Beaten rice is accepted as an ideal dish for those on a fast for several reasons — It is a rich source of carbohydrates and Vitamin B, is easy to cook, easy to digest and has enough supplements to keep the body metabolism active. Here are some different ways in which beaten rice can be cooked.

Imli Poha

Ingredients: Beaten rice — 250 gms, tamarind — 50 gms, red chillies — 6 nos, Salt  to taste, mustard — 2 teaspoons, turmeric powder — 1 tsp, methi powder — ½ tsp, white gingelli powder — 1 tsp, asafoetida — ½  tsp, channa dal — 1 tbsp,
groundnut seeds — 100 gms, cooking oil — 50 gms, curry leaves — 3 sprigs.

Method: Soak the tamarind in warm water and extract the thick syrup. Add the turmeric powder and salt to the syrup. Wash the rice and soak it in tamarind syrup. Heat the oil in the pan and add mustard, asafoetida, red chillies, curry leaves, groundnuts, methi powder and white gingelli powder to the oil. Add the soaked beaten rice to the mixture and stir it well and put off the fire underneath. This dish can be served hot or cold. In fact, the flavour increases with time.

Dal Poha

Ingredients:  Beaten rice 250 gms, urad  dal — 250 gms, channa dal  — 100 gms, grated coconut — 100 gms, lime juice — 2 tsp, red chillies — 6 nos, green chillies — 4 nos, ginger paste — 1 tsp, mustard —1 tsp, asafoetida —  ½ tsp, cooking oil —  100 gms, curry leaves — 3 sprigs.

Method: Soak the dal for two hours and grind them to a fine thick paste along with red chillies, green chillies, ginger paste and salt. Steam the ground ingredients in a pressure cooker separately till it cooks well. Once the steamed dough cools disintegrate the mass with a dry spoon.

Wash the beaten rice and soak it in water for five minutes. Heat oil in a large pan and add the mustard and asafoetida till they spatter. Add the cooked dal to the pan, slow the fire and allow the mass of dal to disintegrate till it becomes very small lumps.

You should attend to the ingredients in the pan from time to time, adding half a spoon of oil every now and then to prevent it from burning at the bottom.  Once the dal turns golden brown, add the grated coconut, soaked beaten rice and curry leaves and stir well. Add lime juice in the end and mix it well with the other ingredients just before you remove the contents from the fire.

Serve hot or cold with either mint chutney or pickle.

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