|Dieting a la Indian|
I'm speaking from the perspective of an European here, so if I'm emtirely wrong, will you please forgive me. As I understand it, the tradtional cultural position about weight would be caricatured by "the bigger the better". So there's not much dieting about. However, that needn't stop _us_ indian food lovers of all races trying to do what we can. With that preamble out of the way. What can we do?
1. We all know that the only way to lose weight is to absorb fewer calories than we expend.
2. So what's the problem in indian food? 1. Fat is very calorie rich, 2. Rice and breads are too.
What _we_ do about it is the following.
1 Fats. I don't think it makes the slightest difference to your calories to use oil instead of ghee. You may have other reasons to do so but dieting to lose weight is not one of them. I don't like using olive oil in indian food, unless it's the entirely tasteless cheapo stuff, but even then you can get cheaper from sunflowers or safflower.
That said, I have a slight preference for using ghee, because of what we do to reduce absorbed fat content. We cook more or less normally, and then let the dish cool and sit overnight in the fridge. In the morning, we can lift off the solidified ghee and have a VERY low fat dish left.
2. Rice and other starches.
Use less. Instead of allowing some 80 gms of rice a head, cut down to 20 or 30 and cut out the breads. Alternatively, be prepared to eat with a knife (spoon) and fork and cut right down on breads and leave out rice. If you find that means you find your dishes too hot, you can either cut back on the chillies in your usualy dishes, or make slightly less hot ones.
Lastly, cut back on high calorie foodstuffs. Fewer lentils/beans/potatoes. One of my favourite dishes is a black-eyed pea and mushroom dish, of course you need protein, so in a vegetarian meal, cut down on the black-eyed peas in the recipe and increase the mushrooms. If you are eating meat, then instead of having more than one meat dish, have several vegetables instead. Aubergines (if you can resist frying them in oil) bhindi (okra, ladies fingers), cabbage, spinach, carrots, cauliflower all make really good indian dishes and are all relatively low in calories, use two of these in place of a potato curry and lentils!!
Infian food is FAR too good to be deprived of it when dieting, but with a little care, you can cut right back on the calories. A little exercise and you won't know yourself. And lastly, remember that the body is VERY clever at adapting. If you cut down drastically on calories, and manage to lose weight, your body adapts to _need_ fewer calories and then when you go back to a normal diet, where previously you were in balance, you'll now find that you put on weight again! Once you start drastic dieting, you need to ease back to a normal diet very gradually, to give your body a chance to pick up again.
Hope all that helps.
Ian (currently trying to shed a dozen kilos or so)