Feeding The Rogersons – Author Saffron Rogerson – This Life Nutrition
What do I love about Indian cuisine? Ooooh so very much. Where do I start? The flavours? The colours? The breadth of styles? The choice available to vegans, vegetarians and carnivores.
So much choice available to vegans, vegetarians and carnivores
Nope. What I love about Indian food is that it is one of very few meals around which my entire family will all sit, all enjoy, and all actively look forward to. The vegetarian daughter; the fussy 6 year old; the 14 year old that rarely leaves her teenage cage but is willingly coaxed out if she knows it’s on the table; the child that doesn’t like heat but loves spice and the husband that loves heat.
As a mother who struggles to keep everyone gastronomically happy, it’s a relief to have something on the table that we’re all keen to dig into. And, of course, as a nutritional therapist I also love it for lots of other reasons too.
Indian cooking is not as dependant on wheat as western cooking, with other flours such as rice or dahl (eg gram from chickpeas) being used in their place. This makes eating out at restaurants less daunting or restrictive for those that are trying to eliminate wheat from their diet.
Sooo many spices which make beautifully tasty dishes. Here are just a few with notable health benefits:
• Coriander. Whilst the leaves are rich in quercetin (with anti-histamine properties) the seeds have been shown to lower cholesterol.
• Cinnamon. This doesn’t just taste good but is also useful in the fight against diabetes managing to lower blood sugar levels.
• Chilli. This has not only been found to reduce inflammation but is also apparently a useful aid in the battle against our various bulges. It has been shown to reduce appetite, increase fat oxidation and increase energy expenditure. Although I guess all 3 could simply be as a result of jumping around like a madman, fanning one’s mouth and gesturing madly for a glass of milk….
• Turmeric. The active phytonutrient within turmeric, curcumin, has been known for a while now as a powerful antioxidant. Curcumin has been used in studies against diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease
• Saffron. Also a great antioxidant. Although, due to its expense, turmeric is more widely used for colour. I just listed it because I like seeing my name in print. (That’d be me: Saffron Rogerson – This Life Nutrition – Nutritional Therapist, by the way….)
With a sole vegetarian in our house I welcome the opportunities Indian cuisine provides in catering for her. Not only are there very many vegetarian dishes available, many more so than when eating out at other restaurants, but even the meat dishes are rarely seen without accompanying vegetables and are usually on a vegetable base.
Onions and tomatoes frequently form the foundation of many dishes. Onions have many health benefits, thanks to their sulphur content they’re superb for liver health but also due to their carbohydrate makeup (oligosaccharides if you want to get all technical) they also act as prebiotics in our gut keeping our internal microbes happy and healthy.
Tomatoes are a rich source of the carotenoid lycopene which not only makes them lovely and red but also makes them of interest in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancers of the prostrate. I often recommend increasing tomato intake to male clients of mine who approach me for fertility advice for this reason.
Here again, vegans and vegetarians are so superbly catered for that it almost tempts you to forgo your carnivorous ways. There simply seems no point. Pulses and rices are used extensively in many dishes increasing the protein, mineral and fibre content of any diet.
We Rogersons are a happy lot when we venture east at mealtimes.
Saffron Rogerson – This Life Nutrition – Guest Blog