This chocolate amaranth pudding is a great gluten free dessert to make and tastes amazing with a hint of chili and cinnamon.
Today is going to be a long post. I am not only going to talk about this chocolate amaranth pudding (which is delicious by the way) but also something that I have thought about writing for a while. Tips for Weight Loss.
So the weight loss tag in the title is only for SEO purposes. What I really want to say is Tips for a healthier you.
If you have been reading my blog since the beginning (if you have, you know I love you- and am so grateful to you for sticking it out even when I have been inconsistent with my posts). If you have been reading my blog since the beginning, you know weight woes have always been there in my life. When I started this blog I was at my thinnest best. But then the first year of married life, I gained a significant amount of weight. The second year onwards I worked towards losing it and documented my journey as well. I did a month of gluten free sugar free diet, a week of raw food, followed by training for a triathlon. That was the time I was my fittest. I have done a juice cleanse diet too. For the most part post that intitial weight gain, my weight has been constant and my diet has been healthy and while I never had a skinny body, I had a healthy, fit one.
In 2015, after I moved to Dallas and within a span of a year I gained 20 kgs. I increased sizes, and was the heaviest I have ever weighed. When I moved back to India, friends and family both were shocked with the amount that I had managed to put on in a span of a year. I wasn’t going through a great time emotionally and all that emotional eating took a toll on my body.
In the 6 months I have been back, I have managed to shed 10 of those kgs that I gained. If pounds is your language, thats 22 pounds for you. In the past in the same time frame I have lost more, but this time I didn’t want any drastic change and the transformation has been slower but consistency is what I was aiming for. Plus, I have been busier work wise too, so fitting a realistic weight goal was what I decided on. It took me a year to gain 20 kgs, I have given myself a year and a half at least to lose it. Actually it took less than a year to gain it, but you get the drift.
Today, I thought I will share tips that worked for me. But before that I want to address an even bigger issue that troubles me when people gain weight. I want to share TIPS with people who have friends and family that have gained weight. I want to tell them the appropriate way to talk to people who have weight issues.
Don’t let the first thing you say to a person you meet after a while be that they have gained weight.
People don’t realize how sensitive a topic weight gain is and while I know you are so very shocked what happened to your best friend’s body, or your aunt, or uncle’s body, that person already knows that they have gained a significant amount, and probably that is why were dreading and putting off meeting you. Don’t make their weight gain the first thing you say to them.
Greet them with a hello, a hug or a kiss even maybe. Ask them how they are. How their work is, how their family is. If they have kids, ask about their well being. There are a ton of topics to talk about besides their obvious weight gain. Talk about the weather, if you find nothing else. Make them feel comfortable before you make them feel conscious. Wait for them to bring their weight issue up on their own. If they don’t, let this meeting be just about stories other than weight. In case they do bring their weight up, be empathetic, and encouraging. Tell them something nice about them which is not weight related- could be that their skin is glowing (fat does that to you sometimes), could be that they are still carrying their weight stylishly and maybe then and only then offer them some advice on a weight loss technique that has worked on you or your so and so cousin from Timbuktoo.
Actually, that is the only tip I have since that’s the one that bothers me the most. The other more obvious tip would be to not constantly make fun of their weight. There are other ways to encourage your loved ones to lose weight. Making jokes about their fat stomach, or heavy bottom is NOT one of them. Also, be supportive.
For the ones who are trying to lose weight, or that extra flab, here are my two cents.
- Try and avoid sweets after 4 in the evening.
Giving yourself a timeline helps you discipline your cravings. At least it did help me. Completely removing it from your diet will make you wish for it more and thus make you fail. I love cakes and chocolates, and going for that chocolate bar late at night was not helping me in my weight loss journey. Removing sweets completely from my diet was not an option since a lot of my recipes are desserts, plus I love chocolate. So I stopped eating anything sweet after 4 pm. Having a small time period to work with, worked better for me. I knew I could eat the chocolate, or cake in the morning so I would just wait till morning. And more often than not morning come and my craving would also recede.
- Eat within 30min -1 hour of waking up.
You want to kickstart your metabolism immediately. A better metabolic rate, means better weight loss and you can change it significantly with your daily activity and diet. Having something within 30 minutes of waking up is one way to do it. Eat a banana, make a smoothie, or oats porridge but eat something. Make sure you have a proper breakfast too.
Diet control is super super important for weight loss, but exercise is important to be fit and healthy. Any machine needs maintenance and so does you body. You need to stretch, you need to build muscles, you need to pump your heart and need to exercise those lungs. A combination of cardio, strength training and yoga should be your weekly exercise regime. Picking a sport or an outdoor activity you like is great if you don’t like going to the gym. I love swimming and thats what I have been doing, but strength training and little stretching is equally important and I try to include that too whenever I can. Try to also include interval and strength training. Both are great to burn fat. Have a healthy snackpost workout, that ensures your metabolic rate stays high.
- Maintain a diary.
I don’t believe in calorie counting but maintaining a diary for me has always been helpful when I have started on my weight loss journey. I don’t do it anymore because I have become more disciplined with my food, but to get myself here maintaining a diary helped. I started noting down every little thing that went in my body. If I was eating 5 nuts, I would not down that. If I went for 5 more, I would mention that too. Each chip was accounted for. If you followed my personal instagram page, you might have been bombarded with stories about my daily diet details. Maintaining a diary was a pain, and the fact that I had to constantly note down what I was eating, made me realize how often I was eating and how much I was going for food unnecessarily. Also, I am a lazy person and noting stuff deterred me from eating. If I didn’t eat, I didn’t have to look for my diary to write.
- Set realistic goals, be patient and don’t compare.
Don’t be too hard on yourself and don’t compare your progress with anyone else’s, not even your younger self. When I was in my twenties losing weight was a breeze. Now its no longer that easy. I am not expecting myself to be that thin anymore, not that I still wont strive to be as thin I was, but my priority is to be toned and healthy and not thin, so as long as I feel good about my curves, and I have strength, I dont mind not having a six pack ab body.
- Don’t follow diets blindly.
While I have tried different diets- gluten free, sugar free, raw, juice cleanse, I won’t advice you today on any particular diet. I did lose significantly on all those diets, but more than that my body felt better. Its just that I couldn’t stick to them for long. As a food blogger, and a person who loves to try different stuff, these diets don’t permanently fit with my lifestyle. I see a lot of people following diets blindly, just because they are a fad. Gluten is bad only if you are a celiac, don’t go gluten free because thats what everyone is doing. Yes, a gluten free diet can put a lot of restrictions on what you eat, and as such you lose weight. But if you decide to go gluten free for fun, and then pick up those gluten free chips thinking they are healthy, they most likely aren’t. Gluten free doesn’t mean fat free or sugar free and especially processed gluten free foods will over compensate with fats and sugar to make their product taste better. Also, by foregoing gluten when you dont have celiac disease, you might be depriving your body of key nutrients like iron, B vitamins and fiber. Cutting processed foods, on the other hand, might be a better and healthier option to live by.
- Everything in moderation.
Just because it’s healthy doesn’t mean you have the pass to go at it. Everything in moderation is the key. I have ballooned on eating just dates with almond butter as a treat. By the way if you have never tried dates with almond butter slathered in between- it’s a good way to combat that sweet tooth craving. But don’t go overboard. And obviously the moderation advice includes all the cakes, and chocolates and fried food stuff. I would never advice anyone to cut that, because I know I cant cut all these things out of my life. But what I would advice is to limit it. So have that cake, but have a tiny slice of it and savor every bite that goes in your mouth. Close your eyes, try to figure out all the different textures and flavors, first moist it with your tongue, then chew on it. And then let it go down your mouth. Same goes for chips. Take one chip at a time, work on it and then move on to the next versus grabbing 4-5 at a time and just stuffing it in your mouth.
- Eat an Early Dinner
This one is the most difficult for most people. For me, I have always eaten at 7pm, but the problem I face is when I have to work late at night. Since I eat so early, I get hungry around 10-11. Thats when the cravings start, and snacking happens. These days to avoid it I try to drink some hot herbal tea around that time. Or just plain hot water. Also, make sure dinner is your lightest meal. A light snack can take up to 2 hours to digest, a heavy meal about 4 hours. Remember though an early dinner will work best if you sleep early and wake up early as well. Any long gaps between meals will affect your metabolic rate, which is why eating within 30 minutes of waking up is important.
- Drink water.
I love water so that again has never been a problem for me but not everyone does. So hydrate yourself. And try not to drink too much cold water. Room temperature and lukewarm water helps aid digestion.
- Hot cinnamon water post meal.
A friend of mine told me that if 30 min post meal you drink 1 glass lukewarm water with ground cinnamon in it, it helps in maintaining your weight. I don’t know if that is true and I have read articles which say you shouldn’t drink water for at least an hour post meal, but why this particular thing worked for me was that it helped me not go for something sweet. I actually found the cinnamon water sweet enough that I didn’t feel the need to eat anything sweet post dinner. Try it, maybe it works for you too. You could replace it with herbal tea instead. That has worked successfully for me too.
Those are the tips that worked for me. Would love to hear your thoughts. If you want to add to this, please do comment with it. I am sure my readers would love to hear more.
Since we are talking all healthy today, it’s only fair to share a healthy recipe here. A healthy dessert recipe- CHOCOLATE AMARANTH PUDDING with chili and cinnamon. The recipe is adapted from here.
Did you know that amaranth is one of the most protein rich of any plant based foods, and helps in reducing inflammation, lowering cholestrerol and fighting diabetes, besides being gluten free.
I used amaranth I got from Bakri Chhap, a Green People India initiative. While this post is not sponsored, I wanted to highlight the work that Green People India is doing for the community by working towards the economic development of rural Indian and branding for small farmers. Their initiative Bakri Chhap brings naturally grown rare Himalayan products to consumers directly from farmers, helping in reverse migration of farmers.
Since amaranth has nutritional values higher than wheat, you can also add amaranth in your roti flour to increase your nutritional intake. You could also eat it with muesli, add it to your cookies or make ladoos. OR you could make this chocolate amaranth pudding, which is so good, with no added processed sugar and the health benefits of amaranth.
Disclaimer: I want to emphasize that I am in no way an expert. I have no nutritional degree, nor do I have trained in any form of exercise. I am still working on losing weight, but have managed to shed some of it off. These are small things that have worked for me, and the only reason I am sharing it with you is in the hope that they might help you too. As is the case with any weight loss program (which this isn’t), its always best to ask for professional help and listen to your own body to know what suits you and what doesn’t. You can incorporate all these points, or you can choose some of them that suits your lifestyle. Most of them are easy to incorporate, and including them is only working towards a healthier you.
- ½ cup amaranth
- 480 ml milk (I used a mix of coconut and regular milk)
- 100 gms dark chocolate
- 1-2 tbsp maple syrup or honey
- pinch sea salt
- ½ tsp cinnamon powder
- ½ tsp chilli powder
- Rinse amaranth and drain.
- In a sauce pan add the amaranth and milk and bring to a boil. Let simmer for about 35 minutes, till all the milk evaporates, stirring occasionally. Take off heat and add the chopped chocolate.
- Add honey/maple syrup according to taste.
- Add the salt, cinnamon powder and chilli powder. Mix and pour in dessert glasses.
- Let chill in the refrigerator for an hour to set.