Tuesday, 13 December 2016

LLWT-5 Tackling Carbohydrates; the What, Why & How!!

Let’s Lose Weight Together Part 5 (LLWT-5)

Weekend over, and it’s time to fall back on the Lets LooseWeight Together seriesToday I want to deal with a myth that has plagued the weight loss regimes pretty much since the start- CARBOHYDRATES. I am trying to write in a detailed understanding of this ‘macronutrient’, what and when is it required, and why can we not go without it.
Many diets are based on premises claiming that it promotes carbohydrate free meal plans. They promise drastic results, which is not easy to maintain, and as soon as one falls back into a normal routine, the weight comes raging back. If this has happened to you, then read 
on to find why and how to correct it.

To correct anything, you and I need to couple together to understand what are we fighting and why. We are not chasing 6 pack abs, all we want is a healthy weight, which is easy to maintain all lifelong. For a more permanent change, we need to adapt a lot of nice healthy and clean habits of eating in home or out in the restaurants. So today, let’s tackle the word ‘carbohydrate’ and see what we may be doing wrong that’s leading to the undesirable results so far.

  1.     Carbohydrates don’t only mean rice and roti. Carbohydrate is one of the three macronutrients present in the world which helps maintain a healthy body. So, it can’t be that it’s just the grains that contain such an important nutrient solely. Carbohydrates are present in beans, peas, lentils, peanuts, potatoes, corn, parsnips etc. In fact even vegetables like lettuces, kale, green beans, carrots and broccoli; all contain carbs. So you literally can’t go carb – free for even a day, not possible at all.
  2.       Then why do the diets talk of going carbohydrate free? Because, it’s just a term used loosely for processed grains (white rice and white flour) that are extremely easy to digest and hence become fat reserves if you don’t properly use up the calories it provides.
  3.        So does white rice and Maida become your enemy? No, of course not. They are delicious and quite addictive. As much as you would want to keep them away, they will sneak up to you and make you love them even more. This is one of the reasons why crash diet plans fail to work. When you starve your body off something, it starts to crave for it more and more. That one biscuit or that one piece of bread starts comparing itself with the best orgasm you have ever had. And in that frame of mind, how do you continue on a strict diet plan?
Now that we have tackled most of the myths that comes to mind, let’s embark on the journey to understand why I am not asking you to let go of white rice and white flour fully. If you notice, a lot of my recipes call for white flour. But, they contain other ingredients too which are high in fibres and hence neutralises the use of white flour in it. To make matters easy to understand, basically grains are a great source of good carbohydrates for the body. Carbohydrates provide the much needed fuel for the body to function and sustain day to day life. Grains are packed with nutrients and fibres too, but man learnt to strip it off for aiding better digestion. For the era which had no lap tops and sedentary life was not a norm, human body needed to eat things that can provide energy faster and efficiently so. That time the body worked for long hours and hence the fuel needed to sustain itself. So, processed food was made and cherished by everyone. But today times have changed. Something that gets easily digested, doesn’t get used up; and hence they form a mass around the skeleton, as reserve. This is called fat.

How do we stop making this fat? Simply by-
1.       Understanding the portion size needed by each individual bodies,  
2.       Alternating the meals to include fibrous carbohydrates more than simple carbs,
3.       Utilising the calories efficiently and effectively.

Sounds much more complex, but it’s easier than you think. Basically opting to use whole grains more than processed is a start. But what is more important is to substantiate the use of grains with fibres that are healthy and eating smaller nutrition packed meals. Snacks are important, and finding the right balance of a clean and healthy snack is extremely important to achieve a healthy weight loss. I would continue to write more on the snacking bit in my coming articles.

So now I feel you are with me in saying that carbohydrates are not your enemy. They in fact are your best of friends which will help you to digest protein better and utilise it to form muscle, rather than fat.

White rice and white bread, cakes and pastries are definitely not your friends. But let’s face it, it’s delicious. So elimination is out of bounds. What you need to do is follow these simple tips-
  1.          If you can forgo store brought bread/cereals, even if it claims to be 100% atta, then do that. Substitute the breakfast with roti, paratha (with or without oil), poha and upma. It gives you a better start to a day. Add veggies in your poha or upma or namkeen sevaiya for a nutrient packed delicious start of the day.
  2.         Don’t kid yourself and attempt to have oats porridge every single morning. You won’t be able to keep it up. Instead opt for oats upma, not bought from the market in the little packets of dried spices and condiments mixed with preservatives and chemicals. But instead make it from scratch. It’s much easier than you think. Here is a detailed recipe to make you started on it.
  3.          Now, desserts- cakes, pastries and even our desi halwa. How can we let go of a perfect winter without these celebratory sweets. You cant, and you shouldn’t. Just treat these treats as a meal in itself. Have it after 2 hrs of breakfast, 2 hours before lunch. This way your body has time to utilise the calories well and would send in signals of being moderately full during lunch. I love to have sweets first thing in the morning. Elders in my family find it strange, but it really fills me up with a good boost of energy for the day ahead.  

And now I feel too much of gyaan has already been passed. Let’s now come to the recipe for this post. I have shared many many bread recipes over the years. But today again I embark on sharing one that I make every single week for my family and friends. Now why do I choose to ignore the healthier recipes that I have shared earlier and rather opt for this recipe which has a higher amount of white processed flour? Simply because it’s easier to make with lesser ingredients and is still much healthier than anything you buy from outside. I bought a kitchen aid mixer last year, and since then I resolved to bake my own bread as much as possible. This way I am eating cleaner and healthier every single day or week. I bake the whole batch and freeze most of the loaves. This recipe freezes well and I have fresh bread anytime my child wants a treat, or a midweek flash party thanks to friends visiting from other cities. It’s a great recipe to mark and keep and it never ever fails me. If you are intimidated by baking breads, this is definitely the recipe to start u off.

3 cups of water (lukewarm)
3 tsp yeast
A couple of tbsp. of honey
2 and 2/3 cups of All-purpose flour aka white flour
3 cups plus extra for kneading, whole wheat flour, straight out of the chakki.
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tsp salt

Foamy Yeast
Activate the yeast by mixing in honey to the lukewarm water and sprinkling on the yeast on top of the water. Cover and keep till foamy and yeasty.

Now in the bowl of kitchen aid mixer, or in a large mixing bowl, combine the flours and salt and mix well.

Pour in the foamy water and on low speed mix till all flour has incorporated well into a dough. Drizzle in the olive oil and mix well.
Gluten strands!

Keep adding more whole wheat flour if it sticks to the side of the bowl. The dough should come together in a mass, cleaning the side of the bowl, yet sticking at the bottom of the bowl.
Knead for 5 minutes on medium speed to activate the gluten. If kneading by hand, knead a bit longer.

Once the dough has gathered up beautifully, transfer onto a well-floured surface and knead for a couple of minutes by hand till an indentation on the surface of the dough springs back with vigour.

At this stage, form it into a smooth ball and place it in an oiled bowl to rise in a draft free, dark place like a cupboard or an oven which is plugged off.   
Once dough doubles in size, form it into 4 loaves, or 3 loaves and 3 burger buns and put it back for the second rise.

After about an hour or so, preheat your oven, score the loaves on top and bake in a preheated 180 to 200 degrees c temperature oven for 20 to 25 minutes. The time would depend on the shape of the loaves. But a 'knife inserted in the middle test' does help, just as if baking a cake, it should come out clean without wet dough.
Jelly Filled Hot Cross Buns for my little ones snack.

Cool thoroughly before wrapping the loaves well in cling film. Freeze the ones you don’t require right away. Defrost by putting it in the refrigerator overnight. Slice just before toasting and eating.

P.S.- the recipe would make 4 such loaves. Each loaves are made with approximately 400 gms of wet dough.



  1. when do we get a chance to taste this bread? Thanks for the wonderful suggestions, it will help middle aged people like us to maintain the otherwise ever increasing waist line

    1. This one is such an easy recipe that even tugga can whip it up with u as his sous chef. And trust me, this soft bread is perfect replica of any chemical filled loaf u buy from outside!


We are always eager to hear your take on food, my way!!!


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