Top 5 foods for beautiful skin

We usually think that expensive serums or lotions are the reason behind someone’s glowing skin. Or maybe the person is plain lucky to have been born with a radiant blemish-free skin.

Yes, moisturizers, genes and expensive beauty products have a role to play. But it’s only a supporting role. The real hero behind gorgeous and lustrous skin is FOOD. So whether you want to get rid of acne, fight premature aging or reduce fine lines, eating right is the right way ahead.

After all, you are what you eat.

So, here’s the list of top 5 foods for beautiful skin-

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Indian diet for hair growth and health

indian diet for hair growthMothers are often seen scolding their kids because they forgot to eat nuts, didn’t drink the glass of milk or refused to eat spinach and dal. It might have happened with you when you were a child. It has happened with most of us.

Turns out mothers had a good reason to be strict when it came to consuming all these foods. Because they know that these nutrients are required for healthy hair.

Bon Happétee has compiled the best Indian diet for hair growth  and health- Continue reading

Eat right this monsoon

Goodbye, mangoes. And a warm hello to the kadak adrak chai!

Monsoon has arrived and so is your temptation for eating all foods steaming hot. The warm soup and hot chocolate you detested during summer become a comfort food in the rains. Similarly, the mangoes you devoured in the scorching heat lose their luscious taste with the first showers.

As the season changes, your eating preferences and habits should change to help you cope with the climatic changes. For instance, rains leave puddles and dampness that become the breeding ground for mosquitoes and insects. Also, the high humidity levels lower your immunity. Your digestive system is at its weakest in the monsoon. Thus, your favourite season spells trouble for your health. And of course, skipping exercise due to the downpour or the lazy monsoon mood and gorging on pakodas, bhajiyas and fried just add to the woes.

But before you get all worked up, Bon Happetee has sorted your health and weight issues.

We’ve compiled a list on the foods to eat so that you remain healthy and fit during the rainy season:

  • Salads:

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Salads are nutritious and you should eat them to ramp up your fiber and nutrient quota. But, as a nutritionist, I know monsoon’s not the best time to chomp on salads.

So here’s how I relish my salad – I throw in the cabbage and heat it for 25-30 seconds in the microwave. This practice kills all the germs and ensures I grab my dose of antioxidant. Cucumber and carrot kachumber is another favourite since peeling the skin lowers the risk of food infection.

  • Leafy greens:

A storehouse of nutrients, leafy greens are every nutritionist’s favourite. But during the monsoons, green leafy vegetables are swarming with insects and food infection. So avoid eating them raw.

However, you can savour by cooking as cooking destroys the microbes – palak paneer, aloo gobhi, palak khichdi, gobhi paratha are smart ways to relish your greens without falling ill.

  • Fruits:

Move over the mango and dig into the delicious monsoon fruits – pear, plum, peach, apple and custard apple. And before you start on how fattening custard apple is, let’s talk about its benefits.

Custard apple is bursting with the goodness of iron, Vitamin C, Vitamin B 6, magnesium, and potassium. These nutrients play a key role in promoting healthy hair, radiant skin, along with steady sugar levels and a happy heart. With 100 calories in a 100-gram serving, custard apple is a steal! And custard apple contains zero fat and cholesterol. So, it’s definitely not making you fat.

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The other fruits – plums, pears and peaches – are an excellent source of Vitamin C. Vitamin C activates production of white blood cells, the first line of defence for your body’s immune system. Thus, all monsoon fruits are loaded with iron and Vitamin C, nutrients that strengthen your resistance to infections and inflammations. Additionally, both these nutrients play a key role in keeping your tresses healthy and combat hair loss, a common problem in rains.

  • Sprouts/pulses:

Obviously, you can’t wolf down leafy veggies, the tinda, bhindi, and doodhi for lunch and dinner throughout the monsoon. You need variety. It’s time to eat pulse-based vegetables like rajma, chawli, chole and besan. What’s more, pulses are brimming with protein, a vital nutrient to boost your immunity; a strong immune system protects you from the monsoon-related illnesses. The easy-to-digest sprouts are a healthy addition to your monsoon diet. A treasure trove of B-complex and Vitamin C, sprouts make a great in-between snack, sabzi, or usal.

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And of course, dal khichdi with ghee makes for a perfect monsoon meal when you’re craving for something hot, quick and delicious.

Clearly, nature has the answer to all weather-related changes!

While we’ve discussed the food groups, there’s an important rule or two about staying fit during monsoons: eat light and fast.

With the constant downpour, sunlight is rare; these sunbeams play a key role in digestion. With decreased sunshine, your digestion power decreases drastically. That’s why go easy on the mouth-watering monsoon munchies – pakoras, bhajoyas, samosas, and kachori. And relish the khichdi, sprouts and custard apple and occasionally you can grab a bhajiya or a samosa!

Indigestion and stomach problems is also one of the key reasons why fasts are observed during monsoon. Most people observe the chaumasa (four months of fasting during the monsoon) or fast at least during the shravana month which sees the heaviest rainfall. By fasting, your vital organs get needful rest as they work hard throughout the year to keep you healthy.

And before we forget – have loads of ginger in the rainy season. Ginger is highly effective in improving food absorption and digestion. Also, it helps keep the cold and flu away.

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Have an awesome monsoon from team bon happetee 🙂

content writer - bon happetee diet plan appVishruta is a nutritionist by profession and a writer by heart. Content writing and menu planning have become her passions over the past few years. Love food, love life — is her mantra.

Easy & healthy tiffin recipes for kids

The summer break is over; it’s time to go back to school. And as the new school year begins, every mother’s biggest nightmare is back: what to make for tiffin?

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Now kids always peep into each other’s boxes while they sit together for lunch. The radiant smile when your child has the most delicious lunch is priceless – and every mother’s pride.

Managing your child’s nutrition and pleasing his taste buds during the vacation was easy. But once school starts, you can’t prepare wholesome and interesting meals in the maddening morning rush. And at the same time, you can’t give him the boring roti and sabzi every day.

That said you need not lose sleep over what to prepare for dabba. Bon happétee has some healthy and fun tiffin recipes you can whip up in a jiffy.

So here we go:

  • Bread uttapam:

Prepare a batter of suji, curd, finely chopped veggies, salt, and spices. Heat a griddle, add some oil and place a bread slice. Spread a layer of the batter on the bread. Ensure that the batter side is on top. Flip the bread and cook from the other side.

This uttapam is a smart way to sneak the fiber and antioxidant-loaded veggies in your child’s diet.

  • Baby corn and capsicum rice:

An international version of the Indian pulao, this rice preparation is a sure-shot hit. It entails freshly prepared/leftover rice, olive oil, diced bell peppers and baby corn, along with onion, garlic, tomato puree, ketchup, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. You can toss in a protein surprise by adding paneer cubes.

  • Hung curd sandwiches:

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Mix finely chopped capsicum, onion along with grated carrot to the hung curd. Add chaat masala, salt, oregano, black pepper powder and mix well. Apply a thick layer of the mixture on the bread and grease it lightly with butter on one side. Grill it either in an oven, a sandwich maker or on a tava.

This easy-to-prepare snack will make your child’s tiffin box the most interesting one. As a mother, you can pat yourself for preparing a snack that’s rich in protein, calcium, antioxidants, and fibre.

A paneer bhurji sandwich is another interesting lunch box idea.

  • Chapati or paratha wraps:

The regular chapati and sabzi are boring. Time to give it a makeover.

In a pan, heat butter. Throw in some finely chopped onion, tomato, and capsicum with boiled potatoes, green peas, pav bhaji masala, salt, coriander leaves, and cheese. Now spread this mixture in the middle of a roti and roll it up. With such a delicious wrap, your child will flash his broadest smile. And you’ll be happy since you’ve wrapped all the five pillars of nutrition in a one meal.

You can always showcase your culinary skills by trying new fillings.

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  • Parathas:

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Parathas have been the most popular and versatile tiffin recipe. You can try different parathas – from a sprouts paratha to mix vegetable, gobhi, spring onion and cheese, paneer and the all-time favourite aloo paratha. You could add ragi, soya, bajra, or jowar flour to the whole wheat atta to up the nutrition quotient.

And yes, the home-made mint/coriander chutney is a healthier accompaniment to parathas than the preservative-laced ketchup.

  • Idli stir-fry:

A quick meal you can prepare with leftover idlis. In a wok, heat oil. Add sliced onion, carrots, capsicum and cabbage. Once the veggies get cooked, put in salt, noodle masala, and diced idlis.

This simple dish will win your child’s heart with its colourful appearance and scrumptious taste. Additionally, the fermented idlis and veggies will boost your child’s immunity.

  • Pasta:

This one’s special and coming straight from my mom’s kitchen. As a kid, I’d always be behind mom to make pasta for dabba. In fact , I still do 😉

She prepares home-made pasta sauce using dudhi, carrot, tomatoes, chilli flakes, oregano, basil leaves, salt, sugar and cinnamon the previous evening. In the morning, she heats olive oil/butter in a pan, adds the home-made sauce and durum wheat pasta. A grated cheese cube on top and my day is made.

Sometimes, she cooks white sauce pasta. She prepares the sauce using atta, not maida. She adds corn, capsicum, mushroom, and yeah, I can’t stop grinning.

Now you can heave a sigh of relief. You’ve taken care of your child’s nutrition and taste buds without running from pillar to post or worrying about what to cook.

Happy school day cooking from Team Bon Happétee 🙂

content writer - bon happetee indian food diet plan appVishruta is a nutritionist by profession and a writer by heart. Content writing and menu planning have become her passions over the past few years. Love food, love life — is her mantra.

Be a smart carb-eater : Your guide to a low-carb life

“I want carbs off my plate”

That’s always the first input I get from a client when they sign up for weight loss.

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And I don’t blame them: websites and nutritionists have made ‘low-carb’ a buzz word for weight loss. Carbs are painted as the villain for those extra pounds. And lost in the haze of such misleading advice, people eliminate this vital nutrient and invite a mountain of troubles including – insomnia, constipation, mood swings and hair loss.

To avoid falling into this vicious trap, you must understand that carbs are your friends; they provide energy for every task you do. All you need to do is learn how to make the right carb choice and eat in the right amount.

Now bakery products and desserts, loaded with refined flour and sugar, are the carbs you should avoid. These foods have a high-glycaemic index i.e. they result in an instant spike in blood sugar levels, which causes the pancreas to produce more insulin. The excess insulin converts all the surplus sugar into fat.

That said opting for the healthier choices – rice, roti, multi-grain bread – can result in weight gain if you overeat. But if you drastically reduce your carb quota, you’ll feel hungry soon and end up gobbling much more than you would have in the first place. Also, it would be near to impossible for you to say no to chips or cookies on an empty stomach.

The bottom line is – you should not exceed nor fall behind your carb intake.

So, let’s tread a middle path – the smarter ways to relish carbs and still lose weight:

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It’s a spicy affair – Indian spices and their uses

With friends belonging to different parts of India, my taste buds have been treated with all sorts of delicacies – dal pakwaan, handwa, thalipeeth, makkai roti with sarson ka saag, thepla, bisi bele bhaath, idiappam, gate ki sabji, dal bati, to name a few. And on the occasions, I have visited their homes; I have seen their kitchen shelves stacked with the same spices that my mother uses.

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Spices are a regular feature in every Indian kitchen. These spices not only add dollops of taste and a pop of colour but also bring in a host of health benefits.

Besides food enhancers, spices have been long recognized for their medicinal properties. No wonder my grandma always insists on a cup of ginger tea when I am down with a cold. Or a teaspoon of methi daana when I am constipated.

Without further ado, let’s explore the staple ingredients which lend Indian food their magic: Continue reading

4 packaged products you can cook at home easily

I come from a family where we make our own pickles; mango, red chilli, green chilli, chick pea, carrot, lime, lesava, kair, etc. We have never got a store-bought jar of pickle till date. Till a couple of decades ago, we even made papad, khakhra, ketchup, jams, potato and banana wafers, etc. at home. There was no McDonald’s then, and the only types we had seen or eaten were the homemade fries.

I remember there was a particular ketchup brand called ‘Volfarm’ which claimed it didn’t use pumpkin as was the case with other ketchup brands. And people believed it. In those days, Indians were a trusting lot. If a TV commercial showed a man wearing a white doctor’s coat lauding a particular toothpaste, oil or biscuit, we never thought that the brands would be lying to us. We fell for them, left, right and center. Continue reading

Aachar & chutney – Magic foods for good health

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My grandmother’s thali is incomplete without home-made chutney and aachar. And that is the secret of her well-being. Even at 75, she walks for 5 kilometers a day, has no wrinkles. And also, she has never spent a day lying in the bed.

She firmly believes that our ancient Indian food and practices are the ideal way to solve the health problems we – the processed and packaged food generation – face. And looking at her health, I couldn’t agree more!

Indian food is rich in variety owing to its cultural diversity. Whether its spices or side dishes, every constituent of traditional Indian cooking brings along a bevy of health benefits. And today we are going to explore the magic and goodness that lies within them. Continue reading

All Things Cholesterol: The good, the bad & the truth

“I will have a packet of cashews!“ I placed my order. My friend who had ordered a can of diet coke for herself was shocked.

“That thing is full of fat and cholesterol! Aren’t you supposed to know that?”

However, I don’t blame her. Over the years, we have been made to believe that nuts are highly loaded with fats and cholesterol.

Yes, all the nuts are naturally fat rich. But are nuts high in cholesterol? And is cholesterol really bad for us? Despite, the negative press cholesterol that this fatty substance often gets, it isn’t entirely bad for us.

Basics of cholesterol.

What is it?

Cholesterol is a substance made in the liver and it is vital to human life. Only animal bodies can produce cholesterol. Thus, you can find it ONLY in humans and animal products like meat, eggs, and dairy.

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Yes, that’s right! There is NO cholesterol in cashews, peanuts, cooking oils etc. So, the next time a cooking oil flashes the below punchline.

XYZ oil – Live healthier, live longer with our 0% cholesterol free oil

Know better to not let your eyeballs drop in the shopping mart aisle anymore.

The liver, other organs, and other cells in your body produce about 75% of the cholesterol in your blood. And, the other 25 % of cholesterol in your body is affected by the foods you eat.

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Bon happetee indian food calorie counter app

Since we eat more foods including cholesterol, our liver compensates by reducing its own production of cholesterol and removing excess cholesterol.

We have got natural processes to take care of cholesterol balance in the blood. And we totally disturb this balance and interrupt cholesterol functioning when we chose any “low fat” or “fat-free” products.

What does cholesterol do in our bodies?

Our body uses cholesterol to make a few essential hormones, including:

  • Sex hormones such as estrogen and progesterone in women, and testosterone in men, which help the sex organs develop and are involved in reproduction.
  • Cortisol, which helps your body respond to stress.
  • Aldosterone, which balances the number of minerals in your body.
  • Vitamin D, which helps your body absorb calcium to strengthen your bones.

So why exactly is cholesterol bad for us? One might think.

The levels of cholesterol in the blood are not the problem but the type of cholesterol is. Cholesterol travels in the blood in packages called lipoproteins, which consist of lipids (fats) and protein. Cholesterol packaged in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is often called “bad” cholesterol because too much LDL in the blood can lead to cholesterol buildup and blockage in the arteries. LDL carries most of the cholesterol in the blood.

The high-density lipoprotein (HDL), often called “good” cholesterol, is another type of cholesterol package. HDL helps transport cholesterol from other parts of the body to the liver, which helps remove it from the body, preventing it from piling up in the arteries.

Bon happetee best diet plan app

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The third type of lipoprotein is very low density (VLDL). This package transports triglycerides in the blood; high levels of VLDL and triglycerides can consequently lead to the risk of heart disease.

Some people with normal cholesterol levels get heart attacks while others with high levels do not—  the difference is in the levels of HDL and LDL cholesterol, their ratio and chronic inflammation in their bodies.

Inflammation and oxidation are interrelated processes. Inflammation is the body’s healthy response to injury, irritation or infection. It neutralizes harmful micro-organisms, helps repair wounds and cleans up debris. However chronic inflammation is an unhealthy condition which generates a constant supply of harmful free radicals (also called as oxidation) that panics our anti-oxidant defences.

  • We fearfully remove the full-fat milk and egg yolks; replace them with egg whites and low-fat yoghurt or fat-free butter.
  • We don’t get enough antioxidants (to fight oxidation) because we conveniently ditch the bowl of salad and a portion of fruit out of the meal plan.
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  • A biscuit packet (full of white flour and sugar) has become our go-to snack.
  • We make all possible excuses to miss the gym session or the jog outside.
  • Pulling an “all nightery” has now become the trend.

Such diet habits and lifestyle adaptations are the major components which are consequently making the cholesterol bad for your body!

Making Cholesterol good by yourself for yourself!

Don’t drink the fruit – eat it!

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Drop “juices” (canned) from your grocery list today. Because the processing takes out all the antioxidant from any fruit. And there’s a risk of toxicity due to the high dose of sugar and loads of preservatives, left in the can.

Rather have fresh and whole fruit. Minimize its contact with air and metal to maintain the antioxidant profile.

Manage your type of cholesterol!

Make sure you take dietary measures to control the bad type of cholesterol build up and increase the good type to help your body. Exercise often, eat a heart-healthy diet by including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and oilseeds, etc., maintain a healthy body weight in order to keep your good cholesterol working in your body. Limit the intake of red meat, avoid smoking, choose leaner cuts while picking your meats, avoid organ meat and eliminate trans-fat to keep your LDL in check.

Beauty sleep!

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Sleep is the most powerful tool of our body to keep cholesterol from oxidizing. Sleep is the time when the body uses the antioxidant defence at its maximum to detoxify our body. Good sleep is a great stress manager too. So, don’t underestimate this in-built detoxification process and get your sleep cycle back on track. A good diet and enough exercise are going to be of great help to achieve your sleep goals.

Nuts: small packet of big energy!

Fun fact about cholesterol: plants cannot produce it. So naturally, any plant sources including nuts will not have any cholesterol contents. High time we shift fearlessly to our traditional snacking option- Nuts.

Peanuts, cashews, almonds, walnuts, pistachios are in fact good sources of essential fats like MUFA and PUFA. They keep our body from exposing to chronic inflammation.

Get your heart racing!

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Bon happetee indian food calorie counter app

We all know that lack of exercise is one of the major factors contributing to illnesses. Now it’s the time to put this piece of knowledge to use. Walk, jog, run, swim, cycle, yoga, pilates anything you like – Just do it! Any exercise which gets your heart racing is going to keep your heart healthy!

So, don’t be a prey to “cholesterol free/ fat-free” media campaigns.

Welcome cholesterol in your meal plans and host it smartly!

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bon happetee best diet plan app

Akansha is the Founder and Consultant at Beyond the Weighing Scale. With a wide range of expertise and skills, she is adept to speak about nutrition, health, lifestyle management and physical activity. She is a popular food columnist, a passionate foodie, a health enthusiast, an avid traveller and a happy yogi.