Project 50k - Weekly DIET-MEAL PLAN

Project 50k Weekly Meal Plan 1 – Diet Meal Plan

I was scrolling through my Instagram feed. Really? You’re stuffing ricotta into ravioli and then deep-frying it. And you are sandwiching ice-cream between cake and dunking in melted chocolate and then frosting it. And with the slightest hint of rain, before the radio channels can switch to rain songs, food bloggers are out in action with a flurry of deep fried pakodas and bajjis in their feeds. Really? How do you guys know I am on a diet? Where are the salads and health drinks and smoothies? Deep fried crisp fritters, bubbling oil, melting cheese and dripping chocolate are sexy. They truly are food porn. And you can’t compete with porn. There wasn’t a harder time to be on a diet. The first couple of weeks of a diet can be agonizing and frustrating at times. Hang on though. There’s nothing like seeing the weigh scale show you a smaller number. I don’t think diet meals need not be boring or bland. It is totally possible to have healthy, delicious diet meals. I rounded up six of the diet meals that I’ve been making lately to help provide you some inspiration to make your own tasty diet meals. I love that most of these meals can be served to the entire family or you can pick one or two of the components of the meal for yourself. I am keeping it simple. Most of us don’t have the time, energy or resources to cook separate meals for ourselves. #Project50k is about real people with busy, messy lives pushing themselves to reach their goal weight. Tap the images below to get the recipes to those dishes.   The past week wasn’t too great for me. I ate out twice and missed gym most of the week. I am therefore making an extra effort to eat right the rest of the days. How has the past week been for you? Share your progress, story with me.   I’ve also been busy testing a few theories the past couple of weeks – Kelloggs special K, 30 day AB workout plus a few home remedies. I’ll share the results of those tests in the coming weeks. Stay focused. We can do this. Keep moving and eat well!
Chapathi dal grilled chicken - Diet meal

Chapathi, Dal and Grilled chicken – Diet meal

At times it’s hard to believe that something as good as it tastes could be good for you. It was so with this Chapathi, Dal and grilled chicken combo. Delicious, wholesome and satisfying. I wouldn’t mind having this meal again and again. Except for the chapathi, the rest of the components of this meal are almost no effort.   There are hundreds of flavours for your grilled chicken. I happened to have some leftover Thai red curry paste which I rubbed into the chicken and let it marinate for an hour before placing it on a cookie sheet in the hot oven and grilled for 30 minutes, flipping half way through. While the chicken cooked, I pressure cooked toor dal with salt and green chillies till soft, mashed it and finished with a simple tempering of mustard seeds and oil. I cut up a couple of carrot and beans into long strips and steamed them in my idli steamer. I made chapathis last. You can buy Thai red curry paste at stores if you don’t want to bother making it at home. If you are not crazy about Thai red curry flavour, you could try Tandoori style, Teriyaki or a simple lemon-salt-black pepper version. This is a meal you can serve your whole family. But good luck with the steamed vegetables. I ate most of them. Happy Dieting! Let’s do this – Project 50k!
Keerai Masiyal - Greens and lentil soup

Keerai Masiyal

The only reason people make smoothies out of greens is because they don’t know how to make Keerai masiyal. The other reason could be that it is way simpler. If you have half an hour, you can make this keerai masiyal. My personal favourite way to have keerai is Keerai masiyal. Stir in greens into cooked dal and cook just until the greens are cooked through. Blend to desired consistency and top off with a fragrant hot oil tadka. Keerai rice for kids and the non-dieting, non-fat privileged lot and a big bowl of keerai masiyal for you. You see, no extra effort and no separate menu. A big bowl of this keerai masiyal makes a nutrient rich, super-filling lunch. Pair it with a slice of toasted brown bread or a boiled sweet corn cob like I did. Done and done. This is a perfect meal for my project 50k – low carb, healthy and nutrient-packed. Happy dieting!  
Beach style masala kadalai - Boiled peanut salad

Beach style Masala Kadalai – Boiled peanut salad

People go to the beach for different things – to gaze at the sea, to feel the salty sea breeze, for a walk, to make sand castles, to play a game of Frisbee with friends, to make out with girlfriend/boyfriend and pretend no one’s watching, to wet feet in the sea, to take the dog for a fun outing, to escape the heat, to eat masala kadalai and bajji. If you know me, you should know what my reason is, to go to the beach. To think that Beach style Masala kadalai is good for you and is healthy is against all odds. But it is. If you are following my project 50k, you’ll know I am all about clean, healthy, low carb meals right now. This meal fits the bill perfectly. Boiled peanuts are delicious as such. If you want to turn it into a flavour-packed, filling salad, try this beach style masala kadalai. It is super easy and quick to put together and yummy. This beach style masala kadalai makes a great diet lunch. If you find shelling peanuts tiresome, you can quite easily get yourself a pack of raw peanuts and pressure cook them for the same results.  
Project 50k kickoff

Project 50K – Kick Off

Thank you friends for the overwhelming interest and encouragement to project 50k. It is way beyond what I imagined. Project 50k is no longer my personal project. It is a community project. I am dead serious about this project. Let’s do this. Today I am going to help you kick-start your project 50K. Be ready to make some changes in your life. The weight-loss Ideology We are going to take the most old-fashioned route to weight-loss which is simply “burn more than you consume”. Exercise + diet. I am sorry but it’s the only method that works. I wouldn’t recommend crash-diets simply because they’re not sustainable. You are more likely to stick to a reasonable diet in the long run. Diet without exercise is like waiting for a leaking bucket to empty itself when you can grab a mug and pour out water. Without exercise, you will take longer to lose weight. What’s more, you’re more likely to stick to your diet when you’re exercising. Really. When you’ve spent 40 mins huffing and puffing, sweating it out, you will think twice when you see a laddoo.   Step 1 In order to burn more than you consume, you need to track everything you burn and everything you consume. This is easiest to do with an app. Just search for a “Calorie counter” app. There are innumerable apps out there that’ll let you log in everything you eat and every step you take. Download one of these. I am using Mynetdiary. Here is a snapshot of my daily log. You can use this app or any other calorie counter app that you like. The idea is to record everything as accurately as you can. Once you set up your app, enter your weight, the target you wish to reach and the timeline, the app will give you a calorie budget for each day. You need to keep within this calorie budget every day. I want to lose 1 kilo every 10 days. So my calorie budget happens to be about 1000 calories. Most of these apps are built with the American audience in mind. So you may not find some of the meals that you are eating. Find the closest substitute on the app or google up the calorie profile of your meal. Remember that these may not be precise but you should be close.   I’ve been using this app...
project 50k - weightloss project

Project 50K – My weight-loss project

I have been on a weight-loss journey for as long as I remember. To borrow Jagan’s term I am “born-gundu”. Like most fellow gundus, I love food and I hate exercising. I don’t know what people mean when they say they had a great workout.   I blame the world. Why do we have coffee shops, ice cream parlours and bajji kadais all over the city but no sundal kadais or treadmill cafes or push-up clubs or table tennis bars? Imagine how different socializing would be with such options. Instead of meeting your friends for coffee you’d have a push-up meeting. You could take your girlfriend out for sundal instead of ice-cream sundae. Not that I am a socializing junkie. Waking up to run, pant and wheeze just doesn’t tickle me. However there’s nothing to fire you up like a sudden rude photograph of you barely fitting the frame or shopping for a dress. They don’t seem to make dresses for your shape anymore. Both of these happened to me a little while back and I realized I had to take action. This time I am making a commitment to myself to not stop until I reach my goal weight. I’ve made too many half-hearted attempts in the past. I know I am not going to lose weight with just taking the stairs and drinking green tea. I am going to exercise for real and stick to a reasonable diet. I am 68 kilos. I need to be 50k. I aim to lose 18 kilos in 6 months. I want to be able to do 15 good-form push ups. I want to fit into the jeans from my college days. There. I am putting it out here. I have no going back. This is my PROJECT 50K. #project50k I know the world is full of aspiring weight losers guiltily eating ice-cream resolving in their mind to exercise it off, turning sideways for selfies and putting off shopping. I am with you sista, bro. I want this project to encourage you to start, sustain your own journey. Sticking to a diet has always been very difficult for me because I am bored easily and I cannot, will not eat foods just because they’re healthy or good for me. They have to taste good. It’s even harder when you are cooking for your family and you don’t want to cook different meals...
how to make avial, easy avial recipe

Avial

It’s almost the end of summer vacation and it looks like we did every “don’t”. I woke up late everyday. The kids woke up even later. They didn’t work on their handwriting. They didn’t read. They didn’t help around. They did watch Bahubali thrice. They watched Inception with Jagan, Maanagaram and Kannathil Muthamittaal with me and Vijay TV serials with my mother. They binge-watched cartoons. I joined them at times if they were watching Motu Patlu. Hasini, Yuvan & Paati struck a secret deal with the Kwality walls fellow to stop every morning at our gate at an hour that I am usually scurrying around to get ready for office. Hasini and Yuvi eat their ice cream under the protection of the grandparents and arrive at the breakfast table with wiped mouth and hands and a poker face. They learnt to ride their bicycle without the practice wheels. They sing all of Bahubali’s songs. Yuvi does a katappa head bow when I ask him to finish his dosai. I am hoping that all the cinema will give them a good foundation in the arts. I didn’t make any of the vathals I planned to make. I bought vadu maangai with good intentions, lovingly stored them in the fridge just until they rotted and promptly threw them away and felt a weight lift off me. Weekends were even lazier which meant I made a heavy breakfast served it late and pretended to not notice lunch time. One lazy weekend morning we had this adai avial for breakfast. I’ve never been a big fan of Avial. But I was a convert once I ate Adai Avial at a restaurant. I asked my friend Lakshmi how she made Avial at home. She expertly and very simply broke down the Avial recipe for me in between mouthfuls of Adai Avial we were sharing. It worked like a charm. Boil vegetables with salt till tender, grind together your avial masala, combine everything together and top it off with a fragrant coconut oil tempering. That is really all there is to it. Try it.  
Fish Moilee

Fish Moilee

I hope you had a good Mother’s day. I hope you didn’t post a selfie of yourself with your mother. That would seem too much of a cliché I’d think. I am sorry if I offended those who did. In my family, we don’t hug. We don’t crowd our heads together for selfies. Wish someone “Happy Birthday” and they’ll get awkward and reply “Ok, sure”. Try getting everyone into a family picture and you may very well give up the idea of family pictures forever. The entire family has difficulty expressing affection. They’ll make biryani, chicken kurma to say “welcome back, I missed you”, they’ll heap Himampasand mangoes to say “take care”. This family doesn’t recognize Mothers day, Fathers day and such. I dared to try. I decided to gift my mother a leisurely no-cooking day. I made green peas brinji, poori, vegetable kurma, fish fry and mango parfait. I told my mother to not cook anything for the day. She being who she is made just an Upma, some more kuzhambu, rice and seppankezhangu fry, nothing else. She has no idea of Mothers day. I tell her while I serve the brinji I made. “Oho sari sari”, she says. She enjoyed the meal. I am not going to take any chances with my kids. I start a day earlier. I tell them all about Mothers day. I tell Hasini and Yuvan – “It is Mothers day tomorrow”. I explain the concept to them. I dwell on the part about making it special for the mother. I then ask Yuvi – “What are you going to do tomorrow?” “I am going to ride my cycle” I look at Jagan for any signs of training. He seems surprised and amused. Hasini was very excited about getting me a present for mother’s day. She pushed us out from the couch, into the car and to the store to get me a cotton top. I really do love the top. I had a lot of leftover fish from Mother’s day that I was wont to fry. I made Fish Moilee instead. I learnt this recipe on one of our trips to Kerala. I cannot believe I’ve waited so long to make it. You could use this basic stew recipe and substitute prawns instead of the fish to make Prawn Moilee. This is one of those fragrant, delicately spiced but gorgeously flavourful stews that...
Tomato chutney

Jaya’s tomato chutney

Jaya is the cook at my parent’s home. Her hair has grown into a longish boy crop after her mottai at her kula deivam kovil. She comes in every morning and asks my mother for the day’s menu. They chat for a bit. She talks about her grandkids sometimes. She sits down on the floor with the “Arvamanai” to cut her vegetables. She takes her time. She arranges them into neat piles on a large plate and then moves to the stove to cook. She is an oil-guzzler. Her seppan-kezhangu roast (arbi/colocasia) is an absolute beauty – golden crisp, crunchy kezahngu with plenty of those irresistible fried masala streusel bits. I eat her seppan-kezhangu roast straight, not with rice or alongside anything, just straight. I realized that that kind of a beautiful roast requires that much of oil. At that moment I also learnt why sometimes the same recipe tasted so divine when my Ammama made it, when my mother made it but just didn’t seem as great when I tried it. Two things I often am guilty of doing – skimping on oil/ghee and not being patient enough for the onions to brown, for the tomatoes to turn mushy. It makes all the difference. I’ve hence decided that I either make the dish whole-heartedly using as much oil as it takes or not make it at all. Jaya also makes the most amazing tomato chutney – a deep red chutney, oil glistening around the edges dotted with mustard seeds and curry leaves. This tomato chutney is unlike your other chutnies. You’d fry your ingredients and then grind them to make your chutney. Not this one. It is done backwards. You grind your tomatoes and chillies and then cook the chutney. The chutney is such a fine balance of hot, tart and sweet flavours, that can come only when the chutney is slowly simmered in plenty of oil until the oil oozes out the sides. That is the sign of doneness. That is the point when hot, tart and sweet reach that lovely symphony. Make this chutney for your idli, dosai or poori and I promise you you’ll never make tomato chutney any other way.
Carrot kheer

10 Tips to help plan your next big party | Carrot Kheer recipe

Have you experienced “biryani fatigue” ever? I am in the middle of it now. I don’t want to eat biryani ever.. in the next 2 months. We were about to have a large family get-together of nearly 30 guests. We decided to order biryani and make everything else at home. I’d make carrot kheer, gulab jamun, mangalore ghee chicken roast, mutton kola urundai, rice, rasam, vegetable biryani, mixed vegetable jalferazie and curd rice. We wanted to make sure the biryani was top-notch. So the week leading up to the party we ate biryani daily, taste testing biryanis to decide the best place to order from. If you had seen a woman with a faint masala scent, walking up and down the store with a notebook in one hand and a fully loaded cart, kneeling down here checking the label behind the byadigi chilli pack, going back and adding an extra pack of everything and stopping every shop assistant for help, you should have probably helped her, without judging.   I made estimations and calculated volumes of each dish and worked backwards to calculate volumes of each ingredient I had to buy. I visited the grocery store twice a day during that period. I bought extra ladles, extra-large woks and steel buckets to serve from. I spent the 85 hours of the next 72 hours in the kitchen. I cooked each dish one at a time, slowly, tasting along the way, tweaking, taking a second opinion, fine-tuning again. I erred on the side of caution and made a little too much of everything. And about one-third of them didn’t show up. Nothing serious. In our part of the world, requesting for RSVP is considered rude. However not showing up is perfectly fine. And so I ate biryani the whole week after the party as well. The party menu was our family menu for the entire week after that. This after I dug out all the dabbas I possessed to pack food for my maid, for my parents, for my parent’s cook and for relatives who lived close by. This, my friends is what party hangover feels like. You’ll want to not cook even an omelette, you’ll feel like you’ve released “Bahubali”, you’ll crave a leg massage, you’ll want to eat out, watch a movie, rest for a week and want to go on a holiday alone. I compiled a list of...