Veg Versus Nonveg

The other day I had friends over.We were 10 of us and one amongst us was a vegetarian....Harshad, the wittiest person I ever met.He really ought to publish a book of all his quotes.His latest:"Introduce your biggest fear to its feet.Then buy it a pair of really cool Nikes".The dynamic Harshad turned vegetarian and lost a lot of weight,with determination and will power.

In two other groups that I belong to,I am the only nonvegetarian.One group consists of my school friends, none of whom mind me eating nonveg when we go out.The other group are my gym friends who meet on a regular basis at someone's home but have not yet tried my cooking.Everytime we met at the gym, there would be conversations about food and that's how we bonded.Since they are all housewives,they would sweetly tell me not to bother with the cooking and just come.I would usually buy something from outside as I never thought I could cook for a large group.My birthday changed all that.

Made Kanda Batata Rassa(Onion and Potato Curry),Vatanyachi Usal(Peas) and Russian Salad.Everyone enjoyed it.Felt great to be appreciated,having made the items for the first time.I realised how easy and quick vegetarian cooking is.It can be just as exciting as nonveg depending on the chef/cook's skills.The Knife who blogs a lot about nonveg food,also writes about how to cook veg stuff and how much he enjoys a wellmade meal.

Today I made Beetroot Raita.Steamed beetroots,grated them,seasoned them and added them to curds/yoghurt.It had a creamy texture and a cooling effect.

Then made a Capsicum,Raisins and Peanut Vegetable dish which I purposefully left on the liquid side.This is a typical Maharashtrian dish replete with Goda masala,coriander and a touch of grated fresh coconut.This we would have for lunch with chappatis.

Finally tossed up an almost Veg Hakka Noodles for dinner with carrots,spring onions,capsicum and cabbage.The Knife recommends adding fried egg to it.I beat an egg and whirled it around the noodles and tasted quite lovely.All three dishes took me an hour and a half,including the chopping of vegetables.

A friend of mine Sveta Sanghani,who is a lifestyle consultant in Mumbai,is a 'pure'vegetarian.She trained at the Loma Linda University in California,America's only vegetarian University.She learned about various cultures from all over the world at the institute.

She says that one of the most important issues the world over is portion size..She uses plastic replicas of portions of fruits,meat,chappatis and nuts to accurately assess that the person means by one serving.

How true! Reminded me of the movie Supersize Me....wherein a man put on a lot of weight because of super sized fast food portions.This is something all of us can work at.

Sveta says that homeostasis in the body requires the right amount of food,relaxation and exercise.She told me that she could change my great desire for food.Which I vetoed.That's my one great love.
The Knife has had a similar experience at a fitness chain when he was told to visualize the food with a change of colour."Imagine if your favorite brownie became red",she said.He would think of cherry,he said."Green",she said, "Pista shavings",he said......

Sveta laughed at my disagreement and said that then she would show me exercises(including those to reduce muscle inflammation) and relaxation techniques.That I was game for.

She teaches breathing exercises to improve oxygenation of the tissues at the cellular level.She also teaches exercises with bands.

She follows what she advises about diet and has an adequate amount of protein and fibre.She has Jowar Rotis and Moong Dal Chillas.When she eats out, she choose Thin Crust Pizzas,Stir Fry Veggies and Grilled Vegetables.She has cheese but always low fat.

The good thing is that though she is vegetarian and I non-vegetarian,we both agree on the benefits and necessity of long chain omega 3 fat in our diets.This all essential fat is present in algae and fish and is important for the heart,eyes,brain,nerves and bones.When our diets are low in omega 3 fat and high in omega 6 fats (present in oils such as safflower,sunflower,corn oil),it sets the ball rolling for inflammation in various tissues.

Omega 3 fat is present in the best form(long chain) in fish,more in fatty fish than lean.Its short chain version called alpha linolenic acid is present in flaxseeds,methi,rajma,urad dal,green leafy vegetables,mustard seeds,almonds and walnuts.Canola oil is preferable as it has a favorable omega 6 :omega 3 ratio.

A large quantity of short chain omega 3 fat is required to be converted to long chain omega 3 fat which has dramatic beneficial effects on our body.At times,the enzyme to convert is deficient( high intake of omega 6 fat impairs the enzyme).This is why fish oil supplements are recommended to certain people,unless they have religious constraints.

Omega 3 fat also helps in management of obesity because it helps to burn calories efficiently.A study done showed that when the pregnant women had higher omega 3 fat intake,the incidence of childhood obesity in their offspring was lesser.

IMHO,diets that are vegan(no eggs,no milk,no meat) may be deficient in Vitamin B12,Vitamin D3 and omega 3 fat.These deficiencies can have serious side effects on the pancreas,heart and the nerves.Vegetarian diets that are low fat but have omega 3 fat supplementation are healthy.

What would I change about my diet? Include more veggies and cut down the portion size.And you??


The knife said…
The original recipe for the Hakka noodles had bacon too. Used egg the other day to go with a side dish of pork. Yes, that answers your questions
Madhvi said…
Excellent post with a lot of useful info. Can you please send the recipe for the capsicum curry with goda masala? Beetroot raita is yummm!
Anonymous said…
I think there is nothing called as 'pure veg' in reality. please visit for more.

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