Guest Post- Understanding Mesothelioma Cancer

  Understanding Mesothelioma Cancer

I get the following question a lot so I thought it would be ideal to make it the highlight of this article.  What is mesothelioma? Mesothelioma (also known to be called malignant mesothelioma) is a fairly rare form of cancer that affects the mesothelium. Mesothelium… mesothelioma… you see the connection.

The mesothelium is the thin tissue layer that lines (covers) most internal organs. Mesothelioma can be very aggressive and deadly in its attacks, and although treatments are available for its early stages, progression into more chronic stages will result in certain death.

Types of Mesothelioma

There are different types of mesothelioma based on the particular organ affected. The common types are pleural mesothelioma (which affects the lungs), peritoneal mesothelioma (which affects the abdomen), pericardial mesothelioma (which affects the heart), and less frequently, testicular mesothelioma (which affects the lining of testicles). The most common form of mesothelioma is that of the lungs (pleural mesothelioma), while the peritoneal,pericardial, and testicular forms are rare.

Mesothelioma Causes

Medical research has shown that mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos are a group of naturally occurring minerals that have been recognized for their strength and fire resistance. Its fire retardant qualities made the use of asbestos common in products such as roofing materials, cements and even fabric. Over the past few decades however, its use has greatly declined in the manufacturing of these products since it has been implicated as the principal culprit causing mesothelioma. Prolonged exposure to asbestos is known to greatly increase the risk of contracting the disease.

According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost 2000 people are diagnosed of mesothelioma annually in the United Kingdom (UK), while in the United States, over 2700 people die annually of mesothelioma. In the UK, deaths from mesothelioma increased by up to 10 times from 1969 to 2009 and is not showing any signs of letting up.


Mesothelioma Symptoms

The symptoms of mesothelioma may take years (sometimes decades) to develop. This makes early diagnosis of the condition rare, with most cases being found when already advanced into the chronic stages. There are various symptoms that result from mesothelioma and these symptoms depend principally on the site of contraction. The evident symptoms of pleural mesothelioma are not the same as those of pericardial or peritoneal mesothelioma.

The diagnosis of mesothelioma is achieved through various techniques, but ultimately it all begins with the examination of the symptoms observed by the patient. The use of CT scans and X-rays are utilized to examine the potentially affected area. If these tests do not reveal concrete evidence, then a biopsy is carried out. Biopsy is a procedure that involves the removal of a small amount of tissue (with the aid of a specialized needle) from the suspected area. These tissues are then analyzed and observed under a microscope to confirm the presence or absence of the disease.

In conclusion, mesothelioma is fatal.  By knowing about common asbestos locations, possible asbestos exposure, the warning signs, and symptoms, you are more likely to live a lot longer than the average person diagnosed with mesothelioma because you will have the knowledge to get screened for it annually.  Prevention can only be possible if you have never been around asbestos products. So, as much as possible, stay away from asbestos-made products and avoid them at all costs so that you will never run the risk of developing malignant mesothelioma.


This is a guest post from Ashley Stafford.  He is from  a volunteer effort based website with the mission of raising mesothelioma cancer awareness and saving lives. Their mission directly involves helping cancer patients, veterans, firefighters, construction workers, seafarers, and senior citizens.

Quinoa coconut milk pulav

A couple of months ago, I posted the photo on a popular foodie group and got good reviews about it and there were many readers asking for the quinoa recipe. I couldn't get to post the recipe until now since I was busy with the kids and adjusting to their new school routine. This is a very simple recipe when you are short on time and still want to have something healthy and filling. This pairs well with just a simple raita and pickle.

1. Quinoa, 1 cup.
2. Diced onions, 1 cup.
3. Green chilies, 3-4, slit into two.
4. Ginger-garlic paste, 1 teaspoon.
5. Mixed vegetables like carrots, green beans, peas, bell peppers etc, diced into small pieces, aeound 1-1/2 cups.
6. Bay leaves, 2.
6. Cardamon pods, 2.
7. Cinnamon, a small stick.
8. Cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon.
9. Coconut milk, 1/2 cup.
10. Curry leaves, a few.
11. Salt, as per taste.

Heat a pan with a tablespoon of oil. When the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, and cardamom pods and fry for a few seconds.  Add the diced onions now and saute for a few minutes until translucent. Now add the ginger-garlic paste, green chilies, curry leaves, diced vegetables, and salt and mix everything well. Add 1/2 cup of water along with the coconut milk and let it come to a boil. (At this stage you can transfer the contents to a pressure cooker or rice cooker, add the quinoa and let it cook like rice.) Add the quinoa now and cook closed for around 10-12 minutes under medium-to-low flame until the quinoa is cooked and all the water is absorbed.  Serve with any preferred side dish and yogurt.

Split peas and vegetable soup with quinoa

Split peas are almost like our dals and they taste like regular dry green peas. We love the taste of these in soups. I usually make very simple soups like these for dinner.  I also add brown rice, barley, or quinoa to soups like these, so they make for a complete one-pot meal and we dont need any other sides like breads. We can also pair these soups with simple salads to make it more filling and a complete meal. Here we can also use any other lentils or legumes instead of the split peas.

1. Split peas, 1 cup.
2. Cut mixed vegetables like carrots, celery, green beans etc, 1-1/2.
3. Quinoa, 1/2 cup.
4. Garlic, 2 cloves, crushed.
5. Diced tomatoes, 2 cups. (Make sure the skin of the tomatoes are peeled before dicing).
6. Tomato juice, 1 cup.
7. Any preferred seasoning mix, 1/2 teaspoon. I have used Italian seasoning mix here)
8. Dry chili flakes, 1/2 teaspoon. (optional).
9. Salt and per pepper as per taste.

Wash the split peas well and cook it well either by pressure cooker or stove top until tender. Heat a pot with a tablespoon of oil.  Add the crushed garlic and saute for a few seconds. Now add 4 cups of water along with the diced tomatoes, tomato juice, seasoning mix and the split peas and let it come to a boil. Now add the diced vegetables, washed quinoa and cook for 15 minutes until everything is cooked. Add salt and pepper now along with the dry chili flakes and turn off the stove.  Garnish with any preferred herbs and serve hot.

Vegetable Kothu Chapathi

Kothu parotta is one my favorite street food dishes. These days with hubby and I trying to cut down the calories, I usually make these with whole wheat tortillas or chapathis.  These pack nicely as well for lunchbox.   A filling dish, which is on the lower calorie and carb side. This dish is spicy enough and can be just served with curd.

Please check out my other favorite dishes with leftover chapathis : Chapathi Upma and Chili Chapathi and Egg Kothu Chapathi.

1. Leftover chapathis, 5.
2. Diced onion, 1 cup.
3. Diced tomatoes, 1 cup.
4. Diced mixed vegetables, 2 cups.
5. Green chilies, 3, slit into 2.
6. Ginger-garlic paste, 1 teaspoon.
7. Turmeric powder, 1/4 teaspoon.
8. Chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon.
9. Salt, as per taste.
10. Fennel seeds, 1/4 teaspoon.
11. Garam masala or any other masala powders, 1/2 teaspoon.

Break the chapathis into small bite-size pieces and keep aside. Heat a pan with a tablespoon of oil.  Once the oil is hot, add the fennel seeds and fry for a few seconds.  Add the diced onions and saute until translucent. Now add the diced tomatoes, green chilies, and ginger-garlic paste and keep sauteeing until everything is blended. Add the diced vegetables along with turmeric powder, chili powder, garam masala and salt and mix well. Cook closed under low flame for 5 minutes until the vegetables are cooked. Add the chapathi pieces now and mix well. Let it sit under low flame for 5 more minutes until the chapathi pieces are soft. Serve with yogurt.

Mediterranean Style Beans Stew

This recipe is from a cookbook that I got from the library recently. I liked the way the dish looked and the preparation was also very simple and easy.  This goes well with almost everything, rice or bread or quinoa, millets, or cracked wheat.  We had this for a weekday lunch with quinoa and boiled eggs. This recipe is a keeper if you are looking for a different lunch recipe.

1. Thinly sliced onions, 1 cup.
2. Garlic, 2 pods, crushed.
3. Green beans, chopped into an inch pieces, 2 cup.
4. Cooked white beans, 1 cup.
5. Stewed tomatoes, 1 can.
6. Tomato paste, 2 tablespoons.
7. Dried dill, 1/2 teaspoon.
8. Salt and pepper as per taste.
9. Chopped parsley, 1/4 cup.

Heat a pan with a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the sliced onions and chopped garlic once the oil is hot and saute until tender. Now add the stewed tomatoes, 1 cup of water, tomato paste, green beans, dried dill and let everything cook for 10 minutes until the beans are tender. Now add the white beans, salt and pepper, mix well, and cook for 2 more minutes and turn off the stove. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with bread, rice, quinoa or any carbs of choice.

From Healthline: 29 Things Only a Person with Diabetes Would Understand

Friends, check out this article from Healthline, many of which I can relate :)

Lemon and Vegetable Quinoa

This is our favorite quinoa recipe since we are big fans of lemon rice. Here I have made the lemon quinoa in Mysore lemon rice style by adding onions and ground paste. I have also added some vegetables to make it more filling.

1. Cooked quinoa, 2 cups.
2. Juice of one big lemon.
3. Green chilies, 2-3 depending upon preferred spice level.
4. Ginger, a small piece.
5. Mint leaves, a handful.
7. Chopped cilantro for garnishing.
8. Chopped vegetables like carrots, green beans, peas etc. 1 cup.
9. Mustard seeds, 1/2 teaspoon.
10. Urad dhal, 1/2 teaspoon.
11. Channa dhal, 1/2 teaspoon.
12. Peanuts, 1 tablespoon.
13. Curry leaves, a few.
14. Broken dried red chilies, 2.
15, Turmeric powder, 1/4 teaspoon.
16. Salt, as per taste.
17. Hing, a pinch.
18. Diced onions, 1/2 cup.

Grind the green chilies, ginger, and mint leaves into a fine paste and keep aside. Heat a pan with a tablespoon of oil. Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and let it splutter. Then add the urad dhal, channa dhal, curry leaves, peanuts, broken dried red chilies and fry for a few seconds until the dhals turn brown.  Add the diced onions and saute for a few minutes until they are translucent. Now add 1/2 cup of water along with the ground paste, turmeric powder, hing, lemon juice, and the chopped vegetables and cook for around 5 minutes until the mixture thickens.  Add the cooked quinoa and the required amount of salt and mix well. Let it sit under low flame for 5 minutes and switch off the stove. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with chips and pickle.

Zaatar-Spiced Chickpeas Stir Fry

Zaatar seasoning mix is a Middle-Eastern spice mix comprised of  sesame seeds, dry herbs, and spices.  Recently there are many recipes coming in blogs made with this spice and I wanted to also try this spice. I found them at a local farmer's market nearby. They also had some ready-made flat breads sprinkled with this spice. I loved the flavor of this bread and wanted to try out something else with the same spice. I tried adding it to soups and this time with a simple stir fry. If you are looking for a different recipe with chickpeas other than the regular channa masala, you will love this. This goes well with almost everything, rice quinoa, rotis or even with salads. My favorite is a veggie wrap with salad vegetables along with these chickpeas.

1. Boiled chickpeas, 2 cups.
2. Diced onion, 1 cup.
3. Garlic, 2 crushed.
4. Zaatar seasoning mix, 1-1/2 tablespoon.
5. Paprika, 1 teaspoon.
6. Salt, as per taste.

Heat a pan with a tablespoon of oil and saute the diced onions until tender.  Then add the crushed garlic, zaatar spice mix, and paprika and saute under low flame for 2 more minutes. Now add the boiled chickpeas and salt, mix everything,  cook for 2 minutes under low flame and switch off. Serve with rice or any type of breads.

Zucchini Fry (Tawa Fry)

This fry is the same like a tawa brinjal fry, which my mom, makes except that I used zucchini here instead of eggplant. If you are looking for a different and interesting recipe with zucchini, try this fry and this will become you new favorite recipe with zucchini.  Hardly takes any time to prep and cook.

1. Zucchini, 2, sliced thin into long slices.
2. Ginger-garlic paste, 1/2 teaspoon.
3. Chili powder, 1 teaspoon or more depending upon preferred spice level.
4. Turmeric powder, 1/4 teaspoon.
5. Salt, as per taste.

Mix all the ingredients together. Let it sit for 10 minutes.  Heat a cast iron pan and place the zucchini slices on the pan and pour a little bit of oil over the slices. Keep the flame low and flip the slices after 5 minutes and let the other side cook for 3 more minutes. Serve as a side dish with rice.

Spinach And Black Eyed Peas Tomato Rice

Dishes like these are ideal lunch box recipes for me since they are well balanced and I do not  need to pack anything else. We can play around and change the veggies and the protein like adding chickpeas, green peas, or soya chunks instead.  I sometimes make this with brown rice, diabetic rice, or quinoa.  Usually I pack yogurt and fruits to make it a complete meal and all is done in an hour in the morning rush.

1. Cooked rice, 3 cups.
2. Diced onion, 1 cup.
3. Chopped tomatoes, 2 cups. (You can peel the skin of the tomatoes if preferred. For this put an "X" with a paring knife and immerse the tomatoes in boiling water for 30 seconds. Then immerse them immediately in ice water. This will stop the cooking process and the skin can be peeled off easily).
4. Ginger-garlic paste, 1/2 teaspoon.
5. Green chilies, 2, slit into 2.
6. Cooked black eyed peas, 1 cup.
7. Washed and chopped spinach, 1 cup.
8. Bell peppers or any other vegetables like carrot, green beans etc, 1 cup.
9. Turmeric powder, 1/4 teaspoon.
10. Mustard seeds, 1/4 teaspoon.
11. Fennel seeds, 1/2 teaspoon.
12. Urad dhal, 1/2 teaspoon.
13. Channa dhal, 1/2 teaspoon.
14. Dried red chilies, 1, break them into 2.
15. Salt, as per taste.
16. Curry leaves and chopped cilantro for garnish.

Heat a pan with a tablespoon of oil. Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and let it splutter. Now add the fennel seeds, channa dhal, urad dhal and broken dry red chilies and fry for a few seconds.  Now add the diced onions and saute until tender. Add the chopped tomatoes, chopped bell peppers, green chilies, ginger-garlic paste, curry leaves, and turmeric powder at this stage and keep sauteing until everything is well blended. Add salt now and mix well. After this add the black eyed peas and chopped spinach; mix everything well and let the spinach wilt.  Now add the cooled rice and mix well. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve.

Butternut Squash Cheese Sandwich

This recipe is from Deceptively Delicious cookbook, which is slowly becoming one of my favorite cookbooks.  I have been trying out many recipes from this lately. The author has a good collection of variety of recipes, and everything has some vegetable or fruits sneaked in and the good thing is that the kids couldn't taste the veggies in the dish!  As moms, we too feel happy that the kids are eating a vegetable as well instead of just cheese and bread. I have used whole wheat sourdough bread since we love cheese sandwiches made with this type of bread. The sourness of the bread goes well with the cheese and the bread also turns out super crispy with getting burned. You can also use any other kind of bread.  The best thing about this sandwich is that you can never taste the squash :)

1. Cooked and pureed butternut squash, 1/2 cup. (We can cook a whole squash and freeze the rest for later).
2. Whole wheat sourdough bread, 4 slices. Crust can be removed if preferred.
3. Cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup.
4. Butter, 1 tablespoon.
5. Garlic powder, a pinch.

Heat a thick pan preferably cast iron pan. Meanwhile mix the cheddar cheese, butternut sqaush puree, and garlic powder well in a bowl and keep aside. Take 1 slice of the bread and spread some butter on one side and place this side directly on the pan. Spread the cheese mixture evenly over the surface and cover it with one more slice of bread. Spread butter on the outer layer of the sandwich. Let it cook under low flame for 2 minutes and gently flip the sandwich. Cook the other side until both the sides are crispy, brown, and the cheese is melted. Serve hot by itself or with soup. This sandwich pairs well with tomato soup.

Whole Wheat Apple Cake

This is one of our favorite cake recipes especially my daughter's favorite.  These days even for the kids I use palm sugar or coconut palm sugar for desserts and cakes where brown sugar is required. There is not much difference in the taste as well and coconut palm sugar is also a low-sugar substitute, hence ideal for adults in the family trying to watch their sugars. I make two batches usually once with plain apples for the kids and the other one with chopped walnuts and raisins (hubby's favorite).

1. Whole wheat flour, 1-1/4 cup.
2. Diced apples,1 -1/2 cup.
3. Chopped walnuts, ½ cup. (Raisins can also be added with the walnuts)
4. Coconut palm sugar, 2/3 cup.
5. Salt, a pinch.
5. Butter or oil, ½ cup.
6. Egg, 1.
7. Baking soda, ½ teaspoon.
8. Baking powder, ½ teaspoon.
9. Cinnamon powder, ¼ teaspoon.

Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon powder together. Beat the egg, butter, salt and sugar in a bowl until the mixture is frothy. Add the diced apples, along with flour mixture and mix everything just a few times until there are no lumps in the batter. Pour the batter into a greased baking dish and add the chopped walnuts on top. Bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes at 350 degrees. Insert a toothpick to check for doneness and remove from the oven.

Spinach and Mushroom Quesadillas (With Whole wheat tortillas)

A very easy recipe when you are short on time and want something  quick, different (Mexican) and tasty.  I always have whole wheat tortillas on hand and use it for different recipes, mostly for evening snacks and sometimes breakfast as well. This is very filling and healthy as well. I have used low-fat shredded cheese (a Mexican blend). You can also add other different fillings instead mushroom like chicken, shrimp or even tofu. I have served these with Marinara sauce. Even ketchup is good for dipping.

Ingredients: (to make 2 quesadillas)
1. Whole wheat tortillas or corn tortillas, 4.
2. Spinach, washed and chopped finely, 2 cups.
3. Chopped mushrooms, 1 cup.
4. Garlic, 2 cloves, crushed.
5. Blend of cheeses, like Monterrey Jack, cheddar, and mozzarella, 1 cup. You can also just use cheddar and mozzarella.
6. Salt and pepper as per taste.
7.  Marinara sauce or ketchup for dipping.

Heat a pan with a tablespoon of oil and saute the mushrooms along with the crushed garlic. Once the mushrooms are done, add the chopped spinach and let it wilt. Add salt and pepper now, mix well and switch off the stove. Take one tortilla and spread half of the mixture evenly all over the tortilla. Sprinkle the cheese blend over the mixture and close this with the other tortilla. Place this gently over a pan sprayed with oil under low flame and let it cook for a minute and half and the cheese should start melting by now. Keep pressing the top tortilla gently with a spatula without spilling the contents. Once the cheese is melted both the tortillas stick together. Now flip it gently and let the other side crisp. This is kind of like making a grilled cheese sandwich. Serve hot with Marinara sauce or ketchup.

Variation:   Sliced onions can also be used here. Saute them with the mushrooms.  Leftover rotis can also be used in place of tortillas.

Cauliflower Egg Bhurji

The idea for this recipe is from a cookbook "Deceptively Delicious". I love the concept of this book. It is full kids-friendly recipes, where the authors sneaks in vegetable and fruit purees into kids favorite dishes. Yesterday I tried out a grilled cheese sandwich from the book and my kids loved it. The good part was that the kids had some butternut squash as well instead of just the bread and the cheese and they didn't know the difference. I have bookmarked so many recipes from this book.

Coming on to this recipe, there was a scrambled eggs recipe in the breakfast section where she had added pureed cauliflower into the eggs. This give me an idea to do the same with our regular egg bhurji. There was no big difference in the taste and it was very good. I was happy that there was some vegetables in the dish instead of just eggs. This is also a great way to reduce egg intake and increase the vegetable value of the dish.

1.  Grated cauliflower, 1-1/2 cups.
2. Diced onion, 2 cup.
3. Chopped tomatoes, from 2 tomatoes.
4. Curry leaves, a sprig.
5. Ginger-garlic paste, 1 teaspoon.
6. Fennel seeds, 1/2 teaspoon.
7. Turmeric powder, 1/4 teaspoon.
8. Chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon.
9. Briyani masala, 1/2 teaspoon.
10. Salt, as per taste.
11. Eggs, 3.

Heat a pan with a tablespoon of oil.  Once the oil is hot, add the fennel seeds and fry for a few seconds. Now add the diced onions and saute for a few minutes until brown.  Now add the grated cauliflower, chopped tomatoes, curry leaves, and ginger-garlic paste and keep sauteing under low flame for 10 more minutes. Add turmeric powder, chili powder, briyani masala powder, and salt and keep sauteing for 5-7 minutes until the dish turns day and the cauliflower turns into a kind of mushy consistency.  At this point, add the eggs and scramble them until they are done. Serve hot with rice or chapathis or bread.

Brown rice and cracked wheat dosa (fermented batter)

This dosa batter recipe stays good for up to a week in the fridge, makes for a wholesome breakfast for kids.  The dosas came out crispy and the kids loved it and did not notice any difference from their usual dosas. The good thing about this is that these dosas are also diabetic-friendly.

1. Cracked wheat, 1 cup.  Any type of cuts can be used here.
2. Brown rice, 1/2 cup.
3. Urad dhal, 2 tablespoons.
4. Fenugreek seeds, 1/2 tablespoon.
5. Salt, 1/2 teaspoon.

Wash the rice and the dal and soak them together with the fenugreek seeds for 2 hours.  Grind this mixture along with the cracked wheat, salt, and enough water into a fine mixture.  The batter consistency should be that of a dosa batter.  Transfer the batter into a container and let it sit for around 8 hours to ferment and prepare dosas the usual way.

Spinach Chapathis (Spicy)

One of my preferred lunch box items these days since it is fast and easy it make and the chapathis stay soft for a long time as well. They are almost like methi theplas and since my family is not a big fan of methi leaves, I had to use spinach instead. These chapathis are spicy enough and do not require any side dish.  They go well with just plain curd. For the kids I usually cut the chapathis into animal shapes using a cookie cutter and serve them with curd or tomato ketchup. A good way to include spinach in the diet as well.  Sharing a picture of the cookie cutter chapathis I packed for kids school (regular rotis smeared with ghee and served with plain seasoned dhal without tadka just the way my kids like :)

1. Whole wheat flour, 1-1/2 cup.
2.  Finely chopped spinach, 1 cup.
3. Green chilies, ginger-garlic paste, 1 teaspoon.
4. Cumin seeds, 1/2 teaspoon.
5. Chili powder,  1/4 to1/2 teaspoon depending on preferred spice level.
6. Turmeric powder, a pinch.
7. Salt, to taste.
8. Hing, a pinch.
9. Water and oil as needed to make the dough.
10. Curd, 1/4 cup.

Mix all the ingredients except the water and oil. Once everything is mixed sprinkle water as required and a little bit of oil to make a soft pliable dough.  Let it rest, covered with a moist cloth for at least 30 minutes.  Make small balls from the dough and roll them into thin circles. Heat a pan and once the pan is hot, place the chapathis and let it heat up for a few seconds and flip it over. At this point, pour a teaspoon of oil over the surface and keep flipping the chapathis every 3-4 seconds until both the sides are cooked. Serve with any preferred side dish.

Watermelon Chaat Masala And Mint Salad

A different combination salad with different flavors going on throughout.  These can served on toasted papads and my favorite is on  wheat toasts.  This can be served as an appetizer or as an evening snack.

  1. Cubed, small watermelon pieces, 1 cup.
  2. Finely diced mint leaves, 1 tablespoon.
  3. Finely minced ginger, ¼ teaspoon.
  4. Lemon Juice, 1 tablespoon.
  5. Chaat masala, 1 teaspoon.
  6. Ground pepper, ½ teaspoon.
  7. Salt, a pinch.
  8. Whole wheat toasts, small ones, around 10.

Mix all the ingredients except the toast and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. Place half a teaspoon or more of the salad on the toast and serve immediately.

Baked Chicken Parmesan Cutlets

My kids favorite chicken recipe. This is very versatile. We can make sandwiches out these with some marinara sauce poured on top of the cutlets. The same way it can also be served with pasta.  This also can be served by itself as a snack. A healthy chicken recipe, which uses less oil and is baked. The bread crumbs used here are whole wheat bread crumbs.

1. Chicken breast pieces, 4.
2. Grated Parmesan cheese,  1/2 cup.
3. Garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon.
4. Dried parsley leaves, 1 teaspoon.
5. Salt and pepper as per taste.
6. Beaten egg whites, 1 cup, seasoned with salt and pepper.
7. Toasted whole wheat bread crumbs 2 cups.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, parsley leaves, salt and pepper.  First dip the chicken in the egg whites making sure it is well coated. Then roll them over in the bread crumbs mixture making sure that the chicken breasts are fully covered in with the bread crumbs. If needed, the same procedure can be repeated again to ensure even coating. Arrange the chicken pieces on a baking pan and spray them evenly with any oil spray.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, turning them over once in between.

Blueberry Oatmeal Breakfast Mufffins

I tried so many blueberry oatmeal recipes from different sites but it didn't turn out the way I expected since I was using whole wheat flour.   The muffins were not that soft and were turning a little dry once cooled.  Finally at many trials and errors, I started changing the ingredients a little more to my preference and  this recipe yielded a good batch of soft muffins, which is also on the low sugar side. I have used coconut palm sugar here, which is a ideal substitute for brown sugar and still gives the same flavor ass brown sugar.

Dry Ingredients:
1. Whole wheat flour, 1 cup.
2. Oats, 1/2 cup.
3. Baking powder, 1-1/2 teaspoon.
4. Baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon.
5. Cinnamon powder, 1/2 teaspoon.
6. Salt, 1/2 teaspoon.
7. Blueberries, 1-1/2 cups, mixed with a tablespoon of flour.

Wet Ingredients:
1. Yogurt, 1 cup.
2. Milk, 1/2 cup. We can use any kind of milk here like soy milk or almond milk.
3. Vanilla essence, 1/4 teaspoon.
4. Coconut palm sugar or agave nectar, 2/3 cup. Any other white sugar substitutes do not work so well here since coconut palm sugar or palm sugar gives nice brown color and a good flavor to the muffins.
5. Two more tablespoons of coconut palm sugar for sprinkling over the top of the muffins.
6. Egg, 1.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Whisk all the wet ingredients together until they are fluffy.  Mix all the dry ingredients in a separate bowl except the blueberries and add the dry ingredients slowly into the wet ingredient mixture. Mix everything well. Now add the blueberries and mix everything just once.  With a ladle, pour the muffins into a greased muffin pan. Sprinkle coconut palm sugar on top of the muffins and bake for 12-14 minutes.

Khara Bath/ Masala Rava Kichadi (made with wheat rava)

I saw this recipe at Sathya's space recently and I wanted to try this right away. I followed her original recipe and the only changes that I made was to use wheat rava instead of regular rava and added some fennel seeds in the seasonings.  This is a very flavorful dish and the spice powder added in the end gives a complete new taste to the dish.  To lean more about the original recipe and other interesting facts about this, please check out her space at:

To Grind:
1. Cinnamon, 1 small piece around an inch.
2. Cloves, 2.
3. Coriander seeds, 2 teaspoon.
4. Coconut powder, 2 teaspoon.
5. Dried red chilies, 2-3.
6. Roasted channa dhal, (pottukadalai), 1 teaspoon.

Other Ingredients:
1. Diced onions, 1 cup.
2. Diced tomatoes, 1/2 cup.
3. Green chilies, slit into two, 2.
4. Finely chopped ginger, 1 tablespoon.
5. Curry leaves, a sprig.
6. Chopped cilantro, 2 tablespoons, for garnishing.
7. Mixed vegetables, like carrots, cauliflower, green beans, peas etc, all chopped into small pieces, 1 cup.
8. Roasted wheat rava, small size, 1-1/2 cups.

For Seasoning:
1. Mustard seeds, 1/2 teaspoon.
2. Urad dhal, 1 teaspoon.
3. Channa dhal, 1 teaspoon.
4. Raw peanuts, 1 tablespoon. This can be substituted with roasted peanuts and can be added in the end.
5. Fennel, seeds, 1/2 teaspoon.
6. Turmeric powder, 1/4 teaspoon.

Heat a pan with a tablespoon of oil. Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and let it splutter. Then add the peanuts and fry for a few seconds. Then add the fennel seeds, urad, dhal and channa dhal and fry for a few more seconds until it is brown. Now add the diced onions, curry leaves, saute for a few minutes until the onions are translucent. Then add the diced tomatoes, slit green chilies,  chopped ginger, and turmeric powder and keep sauteing until everything is well blended. Add enough salt and the mixed vegetables and keep cooking under low flame for 7-10 minutes until the vegetables are tender.   Add 3 cups of water now, mix everything well and let it come to a boil. Now add the wheat rava slowly and mix well. Keep the flame under low simmer and cook closed for 10 more minutes and the water is all absorbed and the rava is cooked.  At this stage, add the ground powder and mix well. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot with coconut chutney or pickle.

Spinach Chutney /Thokku

I have been including spinach in my diet a lot lately due to health reasons. I have been adding them to stir fries, eggs, rotis, or I usually make a simple dhal. I saw this recipe in a foodie group in Facebook recently and wanted to try this ever since. I modified the recipe a little to my taste and it was very good.  We had it with brown rice and a simple carrot stir-fry. This is a good recipe, if you are looking for a different flavorful dish with spinach.

1. Spinach, 1 big bunch.
2. Small onions, peeled, 1/2 cup.
3. Garlic, 2 pods.
4. Urad dhal, 1 tablespoon.
5. Cumin seeds, 1/2 teaspoon.
6. Dried red chilies, 3-4.
7. Tamarind, a small goose-berry size ball.
8. Salt, as per taste.

Wash the spinach and keep them aside.  There is no need to chop the spinach since we are going to grind everything.  Heat a pan with a tablespoon of oil. Once the oil is hot, add the urad dhal and fry for a few seconds and then add the cumin seeds and red chilies and fry for a few more seconds and remove everything from the stove and keep aside. In the same pan, add one more tablespoon of oil and saute the onions and garlic until the onions are translucent. Then add the spinach and keep sauteing until the spinach leaves are wilted and then switch the stove off and let it cool down. Once this mixture is cooled down, grind it into a smooth  and thick paste with a little water along with the urad dhal mixture, tamarind, and salt. Adjust the spices and salt according to taste and serve with rice or chapathis.  If preferred,  we can also add some tadka (seasoning of mustard seeds and cumin seeds to the chutney in the end).

Sweet Potato Vegetable Patties

A different take on our regular vegetable and potato cutlets only made healthier. I have omitted the bread crumbs here and baked the patties trying to make it more wholesome and loaded with vegetables and still on the lower calorie side. For a different taste, try serving with a spicy raita rather than a dipping sauce or ketchup.  This is a very good combination since the spicy raita balances the sweetness of the patties and takes the flavor combination to a whole new level.  Try baking the potatoes instead of boiling them for the patties for a richer, intense taste of the potatoes.

  1. Sweet potatoes, medium-size ones, 2.
  2. Mixed vegetables like green beans, carrots, bell peppers, peas etc. ; all cut into very small pieces; 1 cup.
  3. Chili powder, 1 teaspoon.
  4. Ginger-garlic paste, ¼ teaspoon.
  5. Garam masala, ½ teaspoon.
  6. Fennel seeds, ¼ teaspoon.
  7. Salt, ¼ teaspoon.
  8. Chopped coriander, 1 tablespoon.


Wrap the potatoes with aluminum foil and bake them for 30 minutes in a 375 degree oven. Peel the potatoes and mash them once they are cool. Take the potatoes in a big bowl and add in the rest of the ingredients. Mix everything together and make small patties out the mixture.  Shallow fry the patties on low-to-medium flame for 3-4 minutes on each side until it gets brown and crispy. 

Ragi Malt (Ragi porridge with almond milk)

I wanted to blog about this recipe for quite some time since I have been explaining this recipe to a couple of my friends who were on the lookout for healthy evening snacks and breakfast porridges.  Ragi porridge is a low-glycemic beverage and can be had for breakfast or an evening filling snack.  I have used almond milk than regular milk here to boost up the iron content of the dish and almond milk has less sugars compared to whole milk and hence the porridge itself is on the lower carb choice side; very ideal during pregnancy, especially with gestational diabetes. If serving for kids, you can add jaggery or even maple syrup or honey for a different flavor.  Sometimes I even add vanilla essence or cinnamon powder instead of cardamom powder to change up the flavors. I usually make it a little thick and have it with a spoon. You can also make this a little thinner.

Ingredients (for 2 cups of porridge):
1.  Ragi flour, 2 tablespoons.
2. Almond milk, 1 cup.
3. Water 1-1/2 cups.
4. Cardamom powder, 1/4 teaspoon.
5. Any sweetener of choice like Stevia, coconut palm sugar or jaggery, 1-2 teaspoons, depending upon preferred sweetness level.

Start by boiling the almond milk and a cup of water along with the cardamom powder.  Whisk the ragi flour along with 1/2 cup of water and slowly add this to the boiling almond milk and water. Cook the porridge on low flame until the porridge thickens to the desired consistency. If needed, more water can be added at this stage to make it a little runny. Add the sweetener now and serve hot with chopped nuts and dry fruits as garnish.

Kale Chips (Indian version with light besan batter)

Kale chips are one of the healthiest snacks loaded with many essential nutrients and an ideal low-calorie snack. Here I have added an Indian twist to these with besan and spices and very less oil.  These comes in handy when we are craving for something spicy to snack on without any guilt.

  1. Kale, 1 big bunch.
  2. Besan, 2 tablespoons.
  3. Turmeric powder, a pinch.
  4. Chili powder, ½ teaspoon.
  5. Ginger-garlic paste, ¼ teaspoon.
  6. Salt, ¼ teaspoon.
  7. Asafetida, a pinch.
  8. Oil, 1 tablespoon.
Make a thick slurry paste of the besan, turmeric powder, asafetida, chili powder, oil, ginger garlic paste, salt and water of around a tablespoon to two and keep aside. Tear or cut the kale leaves out of the stalks and tear them to medium-size pieces that are easy enough to hold when baked. Pour the besan mixture over the kale leaves and toss them around well so the mixture coats the kale leaves evenly.  Arrange them on a greased cookie sheet by spreading them out. Bake them at a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 15-25 minutes until the leaves are crisp. 

Note: If the kale leaves are not crisp enough by this time since each oven settings may differ, we can always put them back in the oven a couple more minutes, keeping an eye them, so as not to burn the leaves and bake the leaves until they are crispy.

Best Practices for Improving Your Health and Happiness - Guest Post By Ryan Miller

Best Practices for Improving Your Health and Happiness

Whether you’re trying to lose weight, facing a diabetes diagnosis or simply want to improve your health, there are a few key practices every person should incorporate into their daily lives to achieve their goals. Here at
Modernize, we understand that your health is one of the most important priorities in your life, so we encourage you to create this daily checklist for a healthier and happier you.

via Shutterstock

Keep Moving
You know how important it is to exercise, and while that message can seem overly promoted, the health benefits of exercise are undeniable—especially for managing diabetes. It’s no secret that reducing body fat can help regulate blood sugar levels, blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides, which will give you a cleaner bill of health overall. And while reducing fat mass and creating lean mass is the primary goal of exercise, there are other benefits as well.

Exercise is a natural stress-reliever, which may seem a bit counterintuitive when you’re on your third rep of a heavy bench press. Exercise releases endorphins, which are chemicals that interact with your brain to trigger a positive feeling. They can also reduce the sensation of pain.

High stress levels lead to weight gain and spiked blood sugar, so we suggest incorporating relaxing meditation, yoga classes or walks into your busy schedule to keep your health in tip-top shape. Log your exercise each day, and motivate yourself with a reward for every week you exercise regularly. Some of our favorite rewards are going out to see a movie, getting a massage or buying a new book or game.

via Shutterstock

Change Your Habits
It’s easy to fall into the morning latte or fast-food trap. It’s even easier to grab takeout after a hard day at work. But small changes can significantly improve your health, and the benefits of making better choices far outweigh any temporary discomfort in changing your lifestyle.

Bringing your own lunch to work is one of the best things you can do to control your waistline and your overall health. Restaurants often exclude detailed nutritional information, and there’s no guarantee that whoever prepared your food is using correct portion sizes. The only way to truly know what you’re eating is to make it yourself. Gita’s Quinoa, Lentil and Vegetables Stir-Fryis one of our favorite quick meal options.

Changing your ways isn’t easy. Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, defines habits as cycles. Every habit includes a cue, reward, and routine. In order to change a habit, one must respond differently to a cue with a new reward, which will create a new routine. In action, this may mean that after a long day at work you grab a pre-made meal from your freezer, which you prepped over the weekend, rather than takeout.

 via Healthline

Monitor Your Progress
It’s important for anyone to monitor their weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, and general physical health regularly, but even more so for those with diabetes. Create a health log to track your weight each month, and log your blood sugar levels at least twice a day.

You’ll also want to get a regular physical at your doctor’s office once or twice a year and file your records to monitor your progress. Many diabetics choose to track their calories and daily food intake for weight loss, but at the very least, it’s essential to track carbs and stay under a certain threshold. There are a variety of free food-tracking apps, and some of our favorites are Myfitnesspal, Lose It and Fitbit.

From meditating to making your own meals and keeping track of your progress, the power is in your hands to improve your health, your happiness and quality of life!