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Pi(e) of life: Entrepreneurship and Cooking

[Edit notes: This Guest post is part of our Pi of Life series published every Saturday. The author, Ekta Dwivedi, is an ex IT professional who quit to take care of other priorities in life after working for various companies in India and abroad. Presently, she manages her  software services startup, writes a food blog and is an event planner for her community.]

icookEntrepreneurs today are the latest badshahs of the world. They are the new breed of people the whole universe is hankering after. An “idea” is what is required to turn a commoner into an entrepreneur. And then, perseverance and patience required to turn one’s idea into a commercially-viable project is what differentiates the true entrepreneurs from the wannabes. But scratch the surface and out comes oh-so-hectic taking-a-toll-on-health lifestyle. Most young people today live far away from homes and after a hard day’s work they hit a bar/restaurant to kill their hunger pangs. Though eating out has its own pleasures, if continued for a long period of time can prove hazardous to health. This is where cooking steps in.

Cooking and entrepreneurs have a lot more in common than many people would like to believe. Cooking, like entrepreneurship today has achieved gargantuan exposure but still for a majority of people it seems commonplace. To say that cooking is a stress-buster would be stating the obvious. Cooking is a highly creative art wherein you not only get to mix and match the ingredients but also play around with exotic tastes. After a long day at work nothing can be more therapeutic than cooking. Right from chopping the veggies into ‘bite-sized’ chunks, to sautéing onions to ‘mera-wala pink’, to maintaining the ideal temperature for tandoori murg’s succulence, cooking is an art akin to painting.

Cooking one’s own meal is a healthier option which apart from sitting lightly on the wallet also sits lightly on one’s body parts. Today 70% of health issues are lifestyle related. In modern times with the rise in disposable income and the media blitzkrieg on fine dining, more and more people are tempted to eat out which in turn is leading to bulging waistlines and receding hairlines.

In such a scenario putting on your apron is in your own favor. The amount of oil used in restaurants can be brought down to minimal when you are cooking yourself. Thus making your heart younger by a couple of years. The most enjoyable part of cooking is the preparation that goes into making a dish. Hitting the nearest ‘sabzi mandi’ you get to feast your eyes on the freshest seasonal stuff in the market. Haggling with the vendor over the price is a simple pleasure that has been confiscated from us by these super-market guys. The grocery stores today are flooded with plethora of “ready-to-eat” options to choose from-be it packaged or frozen food. Such products seem to be boon to people like you and me. Tempting, but is it the right choice? Spare a few minutes to read the nutrition facts on your packaged ready-made food product and looking at the sodium content, you might like to consider cooking more often.

Our predilection for fast food is a well-known fact. But do we ever bother to check what we are eating, and whether that pack of chips or maggi has what it claims it has?? No, because we do not have the time or the inclination to get into the gory details. Obfuscation indulged in by the companies do not help either. Well! Today we will provide you with some answers.

Your all time favourite “two-minute” noodle comes with high salt and empty calories. A packet of maggi has around 3 gm of salt; the recommended intake being 6gm/day, which means that half of the requirement has already been fulfilled by the time you slurp it off, not leaving much scope for other salty stuff. Not an ideal choice for people of this subcontinent who like to have their salt and eat it too.

The yummy Lays endorsed by the uber  yummilicious Saif Ali Khan has around 33% fats and very high salt content. A standard sized packet more than fills up the fat quotient for the day.

The 300 ml serving of carbonated drink which extols us to go ‘crazy’ spreading happiness has enough sugar (over 40 gm) to exceed one’s daily quota of 20 gm. After this forget the cup of tea, one should not even have fruits. Any additional sugar will make one fat.

Research shows that unhealthy fats found in dairy products like butter, cheese, milk shakes quickly make their way to the brain, where they shut off the alarm system that tells us that we’ve had enough to eat. The unhealthy fats found in some foods can leave you wanting more.

Nowadays, the tetra packs have become an easy and a convenient source of health benefit offered by fruit juices. But are these juices really healthy? As soon as a fruit is exposed to air, some sensitive nutrients get lost. Apart from lost nutrient, fruit juice is concentrated in terms of sugar so as calories. Once cold pressed, fruit juice is pasteurized which destroys a lot of the nutritional value. The additives and preservatives added for shelf-life longevity may cause carcinogenic effect on one’s body.

Being busy or not knowing how to cook do not preclude eating well, creating health and avoiding disease. Cooking also empowers you to select from a range of leafy greens which have flooded the market in winters. Throwing in crunchy nuts to provide for omega 3 fatty acids and adding eggs and chicken, highly recommended by dieticians and trainers, helps you customize your dish as per your taste and requirement.

‘We are what we eat’, so it makes sense to pay attention to what we are consuming by way of food. While cooking and even while enjoying an evening out we must be conscious of what’s on our plate. A healthy mix of proteins, carbohydrates and fats is essential in every meal. Much has already been said about the presentation of food, the visual treat that it should offer. As always the sense of smell gets side-lined. The aroma of freshly baked cookies, wafting through the house is enough to lift up one’s saddled spirits.

Few tips to start eating healthy

1. Make an effort to delete junk from your life.
2. Do your own research.
3. Be willing to learn to cook.

All you beginners out there who are wondering where to start from we also have an easy DIY recipe for you.

Go Green Sandwich

Ingredients

4 slices of whole wheat bread
2 iceberg lettuce leaves
1 cucumber
1 bell pepper/Capsicum
5-6 small florets of broccoli
Cheese Slices/Cottage Cheese (for a healthier variation)
Coriander dressing:
1 bunch of coriander leaves
10-15 cloves of garlic
2 dry red chilies
½ medium sized lemon
½ cup of Extra Virgin Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste.

Method

Dressing

Finely chop coriander leaves.
Roast garlic and chilies in a pan till they start turning light brown.
Now crush garlic and chilies in a mortar and pestle to make a coarse paste. In a small jar, put the chopped coriander leaves, garlic and chili paste. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper to it. Now add about ½ a cup of olive oil to it. Close the jar and give a nice shake to it so that all the flavors get mixed. Your coriander dressing is ready.

Cut Cucumber, Green pepper into thin slices. Bring Broccoli florets to boil. Rinse it in cold water. Put it on the kitchen towel to drain any water. Assemble all the ingredients including cheese slice, lettuce, cucumber, green pepper, and broccoli florets on the bread. Top it with the generous serving of coriander dressing.

Your Go-Green Sandwich is ready to eat..!!

Note: If you like your cheese to be melted, just toast the bread with the cheese in the oven for a minute or less. The sandwich dressing can be stored in an airtight container in a refrigerator for about a week.

You can find more easy-to-make recipes on my blog www.icook2.blogspot.in

Let this be your 2013’s resolution to cook more and more. Subscribe to food blogs, get cookery books, buy new cooking equipment and explore the cooking trail. Don your ‘kiss- the-cook’ apron and get going. Happy Cooking!!

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