Wednesday, June 16, 2010

First Seattle Restaurant "Review": Pabla Indian Cuisine

I used to think there was no good Indian food in Seattle. When I lived in the San Fernando Valley I definitely had my choice of places within a few minutes from my apartment. Last summer I went to Pabla Indian Cuisine lunch buffet during a lunch break while taking an Ayurvedic class. I really enjoyed it but for some reason never went back.

This past Monday night, I wanted to buy some mustard oil. I remembered Pabla had a little Indian store attached to it so my bro-in-law and I decided to make a night of it. We drove to Renton so I could get my oil, had dinner there at Pabla, then when to pick my sister up from the airport. We went about 6:30 to the little restaurant located in the back of the Fred Meyer parking lot. It was pretty quit in there, just a few tables were filled (mostly with Indian people, that's always a good sign). The walls were adorned with brightly colored paintings and curtains. The waitresses were nice, but not at all overbearing.

For an appetizer, we had vegetable pakoras. A variety of vegetables dipped in lentil paste and fried, served with a mint chutney. Such a delight for two people on a no-wheat diet! The fried lentil paste gave a "breaded" feel to the vegetables. For dinner, we had Saag Channa, Spinach cooked with broccoli, tomatoes, garbanzo beans and ground spices; and Jeera Aloo, Potatoes cooked with onions, cumin seeds, turmeric, garam masala and dried mango. These dishes came with a side of white basmati rice. As garnishes we ordered vegetable rahitha and mango chutney. All I can is WOW! It was 10x more tasty than the buffet! I didn't really take notes on the flavors (because I wasn't planning on writing this review) but every bite was amazing.

The restaurant is also vegetarian and kosher. The store offers a variety of fresh Indian desserts, a plethora of imported spices and oils, and Ayurvedic personal care products. I have found my favorite Indian restaurant in Seattle and can't wait to go back!

RENTON (Pabla Indian Cuisine)
364 Renton Center Way
SW #C60
Renton WA 98057
Phone: (425) 228-4625
FAX: (425) 228-4629

Timings: Monday- Sunday (7 days a week)
11:00 am - 3:00 pm (Lunch Buffet)
5:00 pm- 10:00 pm (Dinner)

(Last customer for buffet 2:45 pm)

(Last dine-in order 9:30 pm)

Grocery Hours: 11:00 am- 10:00 pm

Monday, June 14, 2010

Stinging Nettle

One hot summer day during summer camp at "Indian Village" somewhere in the San Bernardino Mountains of Southern California, a group of children were taking a hike through the forest. It was a typical California wilderness, pretty dry but green from pine trees and other botanicals. Through the trees ran a stream that trickled with the water of melted ice from the mountain above. A little girl, about 9 years old, noticed her sunburnt leg started stinging just a little bit more. The pain continued to grow so she mentioned it to one of the camp counselors. They told her she had been stung by Nettle and the pain would go away pretty quickly. The girl had no idea that 20 years later this would become her favorite herb.

Urticia Diocia (Nettle) is a very common plant that can be harvested from the wild in the fall or spring. (For more information on where to find it in the wild click here). In some nutrition savvy cities it can be purchased at the supermarket in the bulk herb section, or from most herb stores. The sting is caused by the tiny hairs on the leaf that contain formic acid, the same acid that ants inject when they bite. This is denatured when the leaves are dried or cooked.

Nettle has one of the highest nutrient profiles I have ever seen. When asked for a vitamin and mineral rich green, most people would think spinach or kale. Nettle has almost 30x the amount of calcium compared to spinach, and 20x the amount of iron (see below). Nettle is also considered an adaptogen, meaning it will balance the adrenals - promoting more energy through the day and better rest at night. Some herbalist believe daily infusions of nettle will cure ANYTHING, including growing parts of the body or organs back.

Nettle is easy to use and tastes delicious! I use to replace a multi-vitamin, as the vitamins and minerals are more easily absorbed than in pill form. To use as a daily infusion: 1 Tablespoon of nettle to 1 cup of cold water. Let sit overnight. Strain in the morning and drink throughout the day. For best results, drink 2-4 (or more) cups per day. Nettle is also delicious in any recipe that would call for cooked spinach such as soufflé, baked into some lasagna or my personal favorite, creamy nettle soup. If you can't get it in your area, Mountain Rose Herbs has a great organic supply.

























Vitamin A

4,000 IU

8,920 IU

9,130 IU

15,700 IU

Vitamin C






















































Thursday, June 10, 2010

Fruit and Yogurt : Breakfast of champions?

It seems like for most of my life I have heard that the perfect, most healthy breakfast (or desert) is yogurt with fruit. What could be better than a bowl of creamy yogurt topped with colorful, sweet, just in season berries. There are fruit smoothies for that on the go morning meal or quick afternoon pick me up.

Imagine my surprise when I learned in my Ayurvedic class that fruit with yogurt is a big no-no! Ayurveda is a system of medicine that India has been using for thousands and thousands of years. It focuses on disease prevention by using diet, lifestyle and herbs. Diet should be modified according to the individuals constitution, but there are only a few absolutes that apply to anyone - one of them is never eat fruit (except mango) with yogurt. So far they have been right about everything else I have learned so why not this??

According to Ayurveda eating fruit with yogurt blocks the channels and creates a gooey mucus throughout your body and especially in the intestines. My teachers claim they have taken people off their daily fruit-and-yogurt smoothies, and within a few weeks their skin conditions have completely cleared up. It's a hard thing to process considering how popular it is here today. Is it worth a try? I've tried it and noticed significant results. It can't hurt.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Do you really want your whites whiter?

I know this has nothing to do with food but it's something that I started thinking about today. Chemicals on our body have potential to enter our body through our skin and other openings, so we're ingesting them (that's why I can include this on my blog).

To the point - I heard recently that way detergent makes your whites whiter and your brights brighter is by adding a fluorescent compound that literally makes your clothes glow. They're not cleaner, it's just an optical illusion. I decide to do some googling to see if it's true. So here's what I found:

First of all, I was not able to find any articles or blogs written on the subject. I found some random websites that mention "Optical brightening agents" were used in detergent to make the clothes appear brighter. Then all I could find was a Wikipedia entry that confirmed that these in fact are used in detergent. I started googling "Optical brightening agent safety" which brought me to a bunch of manufacturer websites which again confirmed these are used in detergent (among other items), and they recommended to view the "safety data sheet" before use. But where were these safety data sheets? Hard to find, but finally I found one. Unfortunately, listed on this data sheet were these side effects:
Hazardous ingredients: OPTICAL BRIGHTENER OB-100 >90%
Skin contact: There may be irritation and redness at the site of contact.
Eye contact: There may be irritation and redness. The eyes may water profusely.
Ingestion: There may be soreness and redness of the mouth and throat.
Inhalation: There may be irritation of the throat with a feeling of tightness in the chest. Exposure may cause coughing or wheezing."

This is a chemical that we are putting on our skin! How are they permitted to do this? Oh ya, and "Environmental precautions: Do not discharge into drains or rivers." Good thing none of the water from our laundry drains into the rivers. I had trouble with linking the PDF file so email me if you would like to see a copy.

We all know about the fragrances and harsh cleaners in cleaning products, but this is just another reason to choose an all natural detergent or to make one yourself.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Beef.. It's what's for lunch

My Oriental Medicine Practitioner told me that I needed to eat more blood building foods especially red meat. Red meat is not something that I eat very often, a few times a month if that. It is pretty disgusting the way they raise the cows that American's eat. They are miserable and treating horribly from birth to slaughter. They are fed food that they cannot digest which, along with their living conditions, makes them sick. Their feed contains pesticides and herbicides, and they are pumped full of hormones. After slaughter during processing they are washed with chemicals and exposed to many toxins. When eat them, we are ingesting all the toxins they had and the chemicals released by their body in response to them being sick. Gross! That's enough to make anyone a vegetarian.

The irony is there are so many health benefits to eating high quality red meat. As I said before it is blood building, full of vitamins and minerals. Grass fed beef even contains omega-3 fatty acids, the healthy fat that is found in fish. Feeding grass to cows also cuts down significantly the number of bacteria found in the beef.

99% of the time I refuse to eat beef unless it is organic and grass fed. Today, my sister and I went to Blue Moon Burger for some cheeseburgers. They get all their meet from Thundering Hooves Ranch. Thundering Hooves is a small family own ranch that takes care of each individual animal that they raise. The meat is purchased directly through the farm rather than through a distributer or market. It feels good to be able to eat a burger with a clean conscience. The meat we ate was from a healthy cow with no hormones or antibiotics. It consumed no pesticides or herbicides. I know it was treated good through it's life and was aloud to roam free and be happy. When it came time for slaughter I feel confident that it was done as humanely as possible.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Darn Wheat

Wow, time goes fast. I can't believe how long it's been since I last blogged. I thought it had only been a week and a half. Everyday as I go about my business I think "I need to blog about this, or I have to remember that for my blog". But for some reason it hasn't been happening. I feel like I have so much going on in my head that I can't keep my thoughts straight and don't even know where to start!

So what am I thinking about right now? I've been having self control issues lately when it comes to wheat. I'm slightly allergic to it, and I know refined carbohydrates are not good for me. I have successfully cut it out of my diet previously, but can't seem to do it right now. I have an undergraduate degree in nutrition and I'm halfway through my masters. I know all the biological responses that happen when I consume a food I am allergic to. I know the specific way my body responds. I know if I cut out wheat I won't be congested in my head and I'll lose weight. I also have studied the psychology behind food cravings and the stress it creates to cut specific foods out of the diet. I am also currently writing an essay for class about why carb and sugar preferences are biological and a protective mechanism from back in the day when we used to forage our food. I also know so many alternatives to wheat and living in Seattle the selection is wide!

If I know so much about it, why am I having such a hard time cutting it out? I know if I just do it for a few weeks, I will barely crave it anymore. I got through the whole day today without wheat and then my sister made pizza tonight. Homemade pizza with fresh dough and veggies by a fantastic chef. How could I resist?

How am I supposed to be a successful nutritionist if I can't even control my own cravings? Don't just talk the talk, walk the walk.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

There's Nothing Cool About It

Ok, so the answer to my previous post is Cool Whip. Cool Whip? How can a white creamy desert topping come from that list of ingredients? Instead of writing an explanation on each of these ingredients, I will refer you to this link. It tells you what each ingredient is and the other uses it has (such as hemorrhoid cream and sexual lubricants).

What I don't understand is how we got out of the habit of making homemade whipped cream, and buying this tub full of chemicals. For those of you who don't know how to make whipped at home here is a recipe.

1/2 cup organic heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Add all ingredients together in bowl. Whisk by hand, use a hand blender, or beat in your kitchen aid for about 5 minutes until desired consistency is reached.

You can use any sweetener of your choice and any extract of your choice (try mint). Sometimes if the food I am using it on is sweet enough, I will not add any sugar or vanilla. Add more sugar for a sweeter topping.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Guessing Game

Guess what food this list of ingredients came from. Once I get three guesses I'll post the answer. (don't cheat and google the ingredients!)

water, corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated coconut and palm kernel oil, sodium caseinate, vanilla extract, xanthan and guargums, polysorbate 60 and betacarotene

Saturday, April 17, 2010

What is a Whole Food? (Part II)

"If it serves no other purpose but to be eaten, then it is not a whole food." I just remembered an exception to the rule.

51 Uses for Coca-Cola

No, this does not make Coke a whole food.

What is a Whole Food?

The question I get asked the most is what is the most important dietary advice I can give. People say to me, "Tell me what I should eat". If I had to pick only one message to tell the world about healthy eating it would be to CHOOSE WHOLE FOODS. When whole foods are selected we have the freedom to eat whatever we want and as much as we want. What is a whole food? I am not trying to market a grocery store. A whole food is a food that is closest to the way it is found in nature. For example, an apple is a whole food. Apple juice is not because it has the fiber removed from it. I am not saying that apple juice is bad, but juice intake needs to be monitored whereas apple intake does not. The more an item is processed, the less of a whole food it is. An apple is more of a whole food than homemade apple pie, but homemade apple pie is more of a whole food that MacDonald's apple pie.

The best description I have ever heard of a whole food is from a prior teacher. "If is serves no other purpose but to be eaten, then it is not a whole food." I will stick to the magnificent apple. An apple does not need us. It develops from a flower, it is a vessel for seeds, and those seeds hold the life of another apple tree. If an apple is not picked for consumption it will fall on the ground and eventually degrade back into the dirt to fertilize other plants or spread its seeds to start a new life. Now picture a twinkie. What if it is never eaten? No twinkie tree will grow, it will just sit there probably for a few thousand years.

Whole foods contain all the essential nutrients, they don't contribute to disease (depending on how they are grown but that's another story), they leave you feeling satisfied and when you eat whole foods your body knows when to stop eating. When was the last time your friend confessed to you that she failed her diet because she ate the whole box of oranges or half a gallon of brown rice with fresh herbs?

Next time you are shopping and don't know what to buy just think of how you would find the food in nature. Choose honey instead of refined sugar, whole oats instead of boxed cereal, or a potato instead of potato chips.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Wide Wide World of Food

Around the world for thousands of years food has been used traditionally as the center of societies, celebration, families, healing and maintenance of health. Before the creation of industrialized agriculture and food production people lived and worked to eat. Food was enjoyable and a reward! I see in our society today a major focus on what we should not eat. People struggle to not eat what they are craving and to not over eat. Companies completely dismantle our food, bottle it and sell it at exuberant prices which confuses us even more! The focus on this blog is help individuals feel freedom from that struggle and confusion. I will write about a variety of aspects to help people focus on the right kinds of food and to get back in touch with their bodies to feel what is right for them. Once that is accomplished optimum health and freedom from guilt can be attained. This will be done through a variety of subjects: food and agricultural politics, herbal medicine, restaurant reviews, emotional aspects of eating, alternatives to pharmaceuticals, recipes and so much more. There is no one aspect that will bring optimum health, no "magic bullet". What a wide wide world of food we live in.