Comfort food

For the past few weeks I have been recovering from shoulder surgery. I am thankful for the help from my sister as doing anything with the just one hand has been quite a challenge. During her visit I am reminded of the value of comfort foods.

With her help and expertise, I have enjoyed authentic, homemade Indian cuisine. Not only did this bring me emotional comfort but also great nutritional boost. It sure made me realize how most original ethnic cuisines have traditions that have embedded nutritional benefits.

So our Indian (Maharashtrian to be specific) custom is to have a koshimbir (raw salad), a vegetable, a dahl (lentils) and rice or chapathi (whole wheat bread) at any given lunch or dinner. This particular combination provides for all major nutrients; complex carbs, protein, vitamins and minerals as well as plenty of fiber.

Think of this on a “MyPlate” and you’ll notice that only 1/4 of the plate would be rice or chapathi (grains), a 1/4 would be dahl (protein) and the other half filled with fruits and vegetables.  Sometimes there is a pickle relish or  plain yogurt as an accompaniment and we always drink water with meals.

Some other comfort foods and simple meals enjoyed by all in my family includes Khichadi (rice and mung dahl cooked together), Kadhi (buttermilk soup)and papad (lentil chips that are made crispy by just microwaving). By combining rice and dahl (unhulled green mung dahl) the khichadi serves up a perfect dish with complex carbs, complete protein and fiber. We like to add some veggies (onions, carrots, peas) to it as well to enhance it even further. The buttermilk soup has fresh grated ginger and cilantro which add the anti-inflammatory and anti heavy metal protection. Papad are a great way to add some crunch without any added fat. Most Indian restaurants serve Papad that is fried. It can be equally crunch and tasty by just microwaving it.

Eating this way though out my recovery has ensured I get not only all the nutrients my body needs but also the comfort and emotional security which aids my psychology and healing. There is comfort and nutrition in my traditional comfort foods.