Healthy Turmeric Chicken Recipe

If you are looking for a healthy alternative to butter chicken, chicken tikka masala this turmeric chicken is your answer!

All credit for this recipe goes to my mom by the way! And thanks to all the spices, the flavor is bold and wholesome. I know the ingredient list can seem intimidating but I promise the actual recipe isn’t very complicated. Also if you are missing one or two ingredients from the list it’s okay. I won’t tell anyone ;).

The turmeric has great anti-inflammatory properties and this recipe is gluten-free and dairy-free. If you’d like to make it creamier, you can always add yogurt to the marinade. If you are a vegetarian, you can substitute an equal amount of tofu for chicken.

Healthy Turmeric Chicken Recipe
Author: 
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3-4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb organic boneless chicken thigh*
  • 1.5 inch of ginger, grated
  • ½ lemon, squeezed
  • 1.5 tsp of turmeric
  • 1-1.5 tsp of salt (to taste)
  • ½ tsp red chili powder
  • ½ tsp of black pepper
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ large onion, diced
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp garam masala (optional)
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro
Instructions
  1. Place chicken in a large bowl and toss with 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp chili powder, and ½ tsp black pepper. Drizzle lemon juice and grated ginger over chicken. Leave to marinate for at least 1-2 hours. For a bolder flavor, you can leave it to marinate overnight.
  2. In a small bowl, mix ½ tsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1 tbsp tomato paste, ¼ cup of water to make a paste. Set aside.
  3. Add coconut oil to large pan on medium heat. Let the oil heat about for 30 seconds before adding in the cumin. The cumin seeds should start to pop. Add garlic, onions, bay leaf, cloves, 1 inch stick of whole cinnamon and 4-6 peppercorns to the pan. Then add the chicken. Keep stirring on medium heat until the pinkness in the chicken is gone from the outside. Add diced tomatoes to pan and keep on stirring for a few minutes.
  4. Add the paste to the chicken and cover the pan with a lid and reduce the heat to medium-low.
  5. Uncover after 20 minutes to check if chicken is cooked. Taste chicken and add salt if necessary. Now add a few sprigs of cilantro and garam masala. Cover again and let it sit on medium-low heat for another 15-20 minutes to let the spices infuse.
  6. Once done, garnish the chicken with fresh cilantro and serve!
 

Hope you enjoy! If you like this recipe, be sure to check out my free turmeric recipe eBook. You’ll find the recipe of this chicken along with 6 other turmeric based recipes :).

Receive your free turmeric ebook!

 

What is Ayurveda? Ayurvedic Practitioner Sachi Doctor Gives Us the Lowdown

As a South Asian myself, I feel like I should have a better grasp on Ayurveda but to be honest I’ve barely scratched the surface. Which is why I turned to Sachi Doctor, an Ayurvedic practitioner, yoga instructor, and tea maker at Elemental Alchemy. She and I were introduced by a mutual friend in the C&G Girl Gang and it’s been so wonderful learning more about these ancient practices from her.

Without further ado, I will let Sachi take over!

“Have you ever wondered what actually accounts for differences in people? Why some people are hyperactive and fast-moving, while others are more methodical and unhurried? Why some people can eat a five-course meal with ease, while others can barely finish a salad without feeling digestive distress? Why some people seem naturally joyous while others are pensive? Genetics offers some insight, but what about these particular characteristics and idiosyncrasies that make every person unique?

Thousands of years ago in India, rishis (wise seers or sages) wondered the same thing. They retreated to the mountains for years on end to gain insights into human nature, and it’s through their insights that we received the Vedas—the original source of yoga. In addition to sparing us lifetimes of fasting to gain such wisdom, these sages also provided a system of natural healing to help us live our fullest, most vibrant lives. Translated from Sanskrit as “the wisdom of life” or “the knowledge of longevity”, Ayurveda (Ayur = life, Veda = science or knowledge) is a time-tested science that recognizes that just as we all have a unique fingerprint, we each have a particular pattern of energy—an individual combination of physical, mental and emotional characteristics—which comprises our mind-body constitution or makeup.

This is what makes Ayurveda different from modern medical system. In viewing individuals as complex, unique being with specific needs, Ayurveda takes a holistic approach to individual health, believing that all aspects of life contribute to balance (or imbalance) including nutrition, lifestyle, seasons, past experiences and long-term tendencies. Thus, restoring health begins with understanding our unique mind-body type — the blueprint that outlines the innate tendencies built into our systems.

The Ayurvedic term for this body map is prakriti, and it represents our truest nature established at conception. Ayurveda teaches us that when our mind-body abides by this outline, we experience health and ease in our entire system. But like we just established, everything we do, see, eat and experience impacts our prakriti. What Ayurveda does, then, is help us identify what this blueprint looks like — what and where are tendencies, strengthens, and weakness are — and provides language to better understand these idiosyncrasies, and therefore, heps us to better know ourselves. Specifically, Ayurveda provides suggestions for how to establish and sustain mind-body health given our unique composition. These guidelines included nearly everything one can think of: diet, yoga, meditation, herbal formulas, self-care practices… like I said, it’s an all encompassing system!

When you are new to this philosophy, the whole thing can feel overwhelming and taking on too many suggestions at once, however well intended, can be frustrating. This is one of the reason’s why it’s best to explore your particular dosha and its nuances with an Ayurvedic practitioner. In the meantime, I want to offer a few general principles that apply to everyone, regardless of your prakriti. Establishing consistency with even one of these suggestions can lead to incredibly shifts. Like with yoga, regular practice and patience is much more important than how much you do!

Four Ayurvedic Guidelines to Restore Balance:

Nourish Yourself with Good Food: It’s a simple rule. Try to eat foods made by Mother Nature and not Monsanto (aka. non-GMO, packaged, imitation) as much as possible. The foods we eat create our tissues and feed our entire mind-body. Next time you grocery shop think of your skin, hair and heart!

Keep All The Moving Parts Moving: Transformation and change is constant in the body. Physical exercise and movement improves circulation, aids in detoxification and helps to cultivate a feeling of lightness and stability. It also helps that daily exercise is one of the most powerful anti-aging activities that connects your heart and brain.

Regulate Your Senses: Don’t let your senses take you for a wild ride. According to Ayurveda sensory overuses/abuse is the first stage to create any imbalance and disease. It creates mental fatigue and makes you more prone to make unconscious decisions. Regulating sensory cravings creates stability, which is most important for making life-nourishing choices. A daily practice of meditation goes a long way to this end.

Listen In: To make choices that keep you in alignment with your natural rhythms, tune in to your body which is always expresses itself through signals of comfort and discomfort. Whereas the mind lives in the past and the future, the body resides in the now and never doubts itself. Begin to trust it and you will find balance a less complicated state to maintain.”

If you want to hear more from Sachi be sure to check out her website www.elemental-alchemy.com or find her on Instagram @elemental_alchemy!

Easy Mango Pudding Recipe (Dairy-Free and Gluten-Free)

easy mango pudding

easy mango pudding

This mango pudding is soft, creamy, and dairy-free! It’s the perfect easy option to satisfy my sweet tooth.

I usually turn to baking when I’m craving something sweet but baking can be honestly a little stressful because you have to get the recipe exactly right for it to taste good. Sometimes I just don’t have the patience for it. Hence, the reason why this mango pudding was born — it is so much more straightforward and forgiving.

This recipe was actually inspired by a mango mousse my mom would make at home when we were kids. She would use mango puree, gelatin, condensed milk, cream cheese (I think? Don’t quote me on that) to make her delicious mousse. It was even better when she let it set in pie crust (yum!) As good as it sounds, it’s not the best option for those who want to avoid added sugar and dairy.

This mango pudding has no refined sugar, no dairy and no gluten. More importantly, it contains real ingredients which is one of my biggest criteria when it comes to eating healthy.
I like to know exactly what’s going into my food!

Here is the recipe I used most recently but the proportions have varied in the past. So go ahead and play around with the recipe to make it your own.

Easy Mango Pudding Recipe
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
This mango pudding is simple and straightforward and will definitely satisfy your sweet tooth!
Ingredients
  • 1 can of full fat coconut milk
  • 1 ½ cups mango, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons grass-fed gelatin (I recommend Vital Proteins)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (you may need less or more depending on the sweetness of the mango).
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Toppings of your choice! (cardamom, pistachio, coconut, saffron, etc.)
Instructions
  1. Add all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until pureed. Divide the pudding into six ramekin bowls. Refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours before serving.
  2. Serve the pudding with the toppings of your choice! I like to use toasted coconut chips (the ones by Bare Snacks are great!), crushed cardamom, saffron, and pistachios! I’m sure other nuts and spices would work wonderfully as well!
 
The pudding would pair perfectly with fresh fruit, cake, and even crunchy biscuits and granola. I may or may not  have had this pudding for breakfast a few times J.

If you do give this recipe a shot please let me know how it turns out! I love receiving feedback on my recipes.

Hope you enjoy it!

*Want more easy recipes? Be sure to check out this one for saffron tea or pumpkin spice chocolate chip muffins!

Nobody cares if you are Vegan, Paleo, or Gluten-Free. Here’s What Actually Matters.

 

Last year I interviewed Leila Burrows from the Pad Studios and she said something around dieting that really stuck with me:

“People spend so much time talking about what they are eating and they are not really paying attention to how they are acting in the world. It’s really not that interesting if you are gluten-free, or dairy-free, or alcohol-free…etc. It matters what you are saying what you are speaking, starting with the message that you say to yourself.”

I nodded fervently as she said this but also wondered why I hadn’t heard much of this before? It makes so much sense, but why don’t we acknowledge this more? We care so much about what we put IN our mouths but not so much on what comes OUT.

A vegan animal lover isn’t necessarily better than a person who loves chicken & waffles. And people who drink green juice over soda aren’t automatically good people. Gwyneth Paltrow once said that she’d rather “smoke crack than eat cheese from a tin.” A statement like that helps no one. In fact, I think a judgmental statement like hers adds more harm than good. As much as I promote a healthy diet, I am not going to judge people’s character based on what they eat. It just doesn’t work that way.

First off, why are we so fixated on the way we eat? I think this phenomenon can be best explained with a story: Let’s say there is a woman named Anna; Anna has been dealing with major bloating, weight gain, and inflammation.  She’s consulted a few diet books and a nutritionist and decided she needs to go gluten-free in order to look and feel her best. She starts to surround herself with influencers who promote this diet, she begins to skip dinners with friends because the spots they choose aren’t healthy, and she finds herself making curt comments on her family’s food choices.  She silently distances herself from family & friends because they don’t follow her so-called healthy lifestyle. Why does she do this?

Well here’s the thing: change is hard, especially a lifestyle change. It can become all-consuming because it shapes most of your daily decisions – what can I eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner? How do I adjust my weekly grocery list change? Can my husband and I still go to our favorite places to eat? It’s really easy to get caught up in the “me me me” mindset when going through a major lifestyle change. In the end it’s uncomfortable, it leaves you vulnerable and possibly a little insecure. And those feelings are channeled in ways that may end up hurting others.

Your loved ones always want what is best for you but in reality, they don’t care if you are 10 pounds heavier or lighter, if you are vegan or paleo, or if you lift weights or run marathons. Those around you care about how kind you are, how much time you make for them, and how much respect you show.

We’ve all made mistakes before when we are trying to find the best versions of ourselves but it’s helpful to remember that there is no perfect diet or no perfect human being so it’s pointless trying to achieve that. My piece of advice: think more about what you do to positively contribute to society and less about how you eat. It’s very likely the two may go hand-in-hand but I think the first step towards positivity is much simpler.

What It Takes to Become a POP Pilates Instructor

akansha agrawal POP Pilates

akansha agrawal POP Pilates

I have received a few questions on what it takes to become a POP Pilates instructor so I am going to break it down in this post!

For those unfamiliar with POP Pilates, POP Pilates adds a twist on traditional mat pilates by choreographing the moves to different songs (mainly POP songs!). It’s faster paced that classical pilates and it is specifically designed for a group setting. The format was created by Blogilates founder Cassey Ho and it’s inspired by her POP Pilates YouTube videos (which are extremely popular!).

I’ve been following Cassey Ho and her workouts since 2012 so I felt like this certificate was the best way for me to get started in teaching. Also there is a pretty low barrier to entry which I will explain below.

If you are interested in getting certified, you can check out the list of upcoming trainings here!

The Training

In order to receive your POP Pilates certificate, all you need to do is attend a one-day training and submit an audition video to demonstrate your teaching skills within 3 months of the training! If you are looking for in-depth pilates training, the POP Pilates instructor training is not for you. The process is best compared to that of teaching Zumba or a Les Mills format like Body Attack.

The training day is 8-9 hours long and it consists of a master class, teaching instructions, and a final practice teaching session.

After the training you have 3 months to submit a video of you teaching a 30 minute routine to a group of at least 3 people. I’ll be honest, I was quite intimidated by video portion and I waited until the deadline to film (I might have even extended it a week). But I grabbed two of my best friends and my mom and we shot at our local club house. It wasn’t that bad in the end!

Once the team receives your video they will give you detailed feedback on your teaching and will let you know whether you passed.

 pop pilates instructor training

Finding a Job

If you pass, woohoo that’s great! Now it’s time to find job. If you live near a 24 Hour Fitness you are in luck because 24 has partnered with POP Pilates official and they are actively looking for instructors.

My experience finding a job was very positive as my group fitness manager made the process smooth and less intimidating for a newcomer like me (thank you Roberto!). He knew I was a first-time teacher so he offered to do a 1:1 audition with me instead of group audition with all the other instructors watching. For the audition all I had to do is prepare 5-10 minute routine!

The audition was far from perfect but my manager saw potential and personality in my teaching and decided to move forward!

Teaching

It took a few months before I actually started teaching at 24 due to scheduling conflicts with my full-time job. Once I started teaching I realized that certification was the easy part, teaching was much harder.

Memorizing new choreography each week, attracting students to your class, and accommodating for injuries and skill level is where you really start to learn. On top of that you are understanding how to cue efficiently, learning how to use a mic (confession: I still don’t know how), and changing your playlist often enough but not too enough so you’re students stay engaged but comfortable with the choreography. I learned quickly that my students are my best teachers.

I have been teaching with 24 for the last 7 months and I still feel like a beginner! Along with teaching at 24, I occasionally host a few pop-up classes with local brand and studios to bring the format to even more people. It keeps it interesting and challenging learning to teach in a different environment with new student.

In the end, what it really takes to become a POP Pilates instructor are the following: passion, time, a little bit of cash, and the desire to learn. If you really want it, I can guarantee you will be great at it!

Check out the upcoming instructor trainings to see if there is one that fits your schedule. If you live outside of the United States, there is also the international training option.

Please reach out if you have any questions!

Receive my free Turmeric eBook here!

Free Turmeric eBook: 7 Turmeric Recipes for Everyday Life

free turmeric recipes

Receive 7 FREE recipes on how to use turmeric in your everyday life

I never seen a spice as polarizing as turmeric. On one side, health bloggers raving about the benefits — excited to discover a new and different spice. On the other side, South Asians are bitterly mumbling about the sudden popularity of the spice. Not too long ago, they were ridiculed for food that stained their hands, mocked for the smell of coconut in their hair (but that’s a whole different post for the future) so this trend is like a slap in their face. As a South Asian health blogger I see both sides to it and it leaves me in confusing territory.

Turmeric holds a special place in my heart. It reminds me of Indian dinners that would always leave my nails a little yellow. It brings back memories of sick days when my mom would force me to drink haldi ka doodh (turmeric milk). Turmeric also reminds of Indian weddings as it’s an important ingredient in one of the many ceremonies.

Turmeric is a beautiful, vibrant root that has always served many purposes and has lent itself to medicine, food, and celebrations. It seamlessly integrated itself into our lifestyles and blended easily into our culture.

Now its greatness is not so subtle. You can find turmeric at your latest hipster cafe, your local Whole Foods, in your favorite packaged drinks and on every health & food bloggers Instagram accounts. Turmeric is quite the trend now and people have good reasons to tout its benefits.

I’m sure you’ve already seen a million recipes for the turmeric latte and you’re wondering how else you can harness its powers.

That’s where I come in. My job here is to is share a few simple recipes, some old and some new, that share my love of turmeric with you. This free eBook shares 7 different recipes on how to use turmeric in everyday life.

Ready to jump on the turmeric train?