One of the Dieticians, Sehba K., at our Park Avenue office is Pakistani and has provided some interesting insight about the Pakistani diet.
-What are the benefits of the Paki diet?
The Pakistani diet incorporates a great variety of foods, which means it is rich in nutrients and flavors. The use of a large number of spices, such as cloves and turmeric, add to the health benefits of this diet while enhancing its flavor profile at the same time.
-What are the cons of the Paki diet?
The methods of cooking Pakistani foods can have adverse effect on one’s health. Often, too much oil is used to fry onions, tomatoes, and spices, which are key ingredients in Pakistani meals. Using too much oil in heating vegetables can also damage the antioxidative effects of vitamins. Deep fried foods, such as fish and kebabs, are staples of the Pakistani diet. Desserts are usually full of butter and ghee, concentrated sources of saturated fat that can damage the heart. Finally, the combination of oily, spicy foods at snacks or meals can exacerbate heartburn and gastritis.
-What about portion sizes of grains?
The Pakistani diet can be heavy in grains, with servings of rice being well over a cup and roti servings being at least 2 pieces per meal. To better balance the meal, reduce the serving of rice to ½ cup and roti to 1 piece. Add in 1 cup of fresh salad or cut up vegetables, 1/2cup of daal, or ½ cup of cooked, nonstarchy vegetables such as eggplant, spinach, or cauliflower.
-What is mustard oil, how is it used, what does it taste like?
Mustard oil is type oil found in Southeast Asian food store. It has a distinct, slightly bitter flavor and is high in unsaturated fatty acids. Mustard oil is used in heating spices and making curries as it enhances the intensity and flavor of spices. In Pakistan, mustard oil is also used in moisturizing skin and is also used as part of a hot oil treatment to condition hair.
-Where can someone find these groceries and what are some of your favorite Pakistani foods?
Pakistani groceries can be found at any Pakistani or Indian food store, specifically in Coney Island, Brooklyn, Jackson Heights, Queens, and Curry Hill, Manhattan. My favorite Pakistani food items include fresh roti, scrambled eggs with onions and spices, goat curry with potatoes, and cooked cabbage.
It seems that everyone has a dietary restriction these days whether it’s an allergy, intolerance, or a special diet. Unique dietary needs such as these become particularly important during the holidays. For example, what can a vegetarian eat on Thanksgiving? What about lactose intolerance? At Park Avenue Nutrition we feel that everyone should be able to enjoy a holiday meal! Here are a few of our suggestions:
For A Vegetarian:
Try Tofurky instead of turkey or prepare a main dish that highlights legumes. Stews and Sheppard’s pies made with vegetables, mushrooms, and beans can be equally fulfilling to the traditional turkey meal.
Visit http://www.vegkitchen.com/tips/vegetarian-thanksgiving/ for more vegetarian thanksgiving ideas. Vegkitchen also has a variety of amazing raw food recipes. Check them out!
For Lactose Intolerance:
Love the taste and texture of cheesecake but hate how it makes you feel? Try tofu cheesecake and avoid bloating and gas on the car ride home. Cheesecake made with tofu may sound strange but trust us; you’ll never know the difference! Another idea: instead of using butter and cream in mashed potatoes, try using olive oil.
Try This Decadent Double-Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake (pictured above): http://www.vegkitchen.com/recipes/special-occasions-and-entertaining/double-layer-pumpkin-cheesecake/
Holiday meals can be especially risky for individuals with gluten allergies. Be sure to know the ingredients of everything you eat. You’d be surprised where gluten can hide its nasty self! Instead of skipping the stuffing, try making it with gluten free bread or even rice. And for dessert, try making a baked fruit cobbler instead of a traditional gluten-filled pie.
Visit http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/2008/11/thanksgiving-recipes-tips-for-gluten.html for more gluten-free thanksgiving alternatives.
It’s important to remember basic food safety information while transporting food. We encourage you to purchase freshly and properly refrigerated foods. It’s smart to store food at proper temperatures while you travel; consider using a cooler. Additionally, make sure all meat is cooked to a safe temperature before serving.
Visit this link to the USDA site for proper cooking temperatures and other safety tips: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/News_&_Events/NR_110811_01/index.asp
Here at Park Avenue Nutrition we think that Thanksgiving should be a time of celebration and relaxation. Let us do the worrying! If you have any questions, please give us a call or make an appointment.
Ever wonder why you crave that big bowl of pasta or a perfectly toasted bagel when you’re stressed? Carbohydrates increase the amount of the neurotransmitter serotonin in your blood; as a result, you feel happy. However, it’s important to choose your carbohydrates wisely. Refined flour and excess sugar can cause a high followed by a crash. We suggest choosing whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes that have a healthy dose of fiber. These foods will leave you feeling fuller longer with no sudden energy crash. So trade in your refined grains for whole grains and you’ll see the difference!