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Celeb nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar says dal-chawal is the ultimate dinner and we salute her

Updated on:7 January 2020, 13:26pm IST
Cook dal-chawal the way your grandma did, says Kareena Kapoor Khan’s nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar in her new book The 12-Week Fitness Project.
Rujuta Diwekar
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The ultimate comfort food, dal rice is also the best dinner according to Rujuta. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

This will scandalize you, shock you, and eventually stabilize you, your heart, your thoughts and your blood sugar too.

But here’s why you should eat rice for dinner:

  • Easy to digest
  • Improves sleep quality
  • It is a prebiotic (food for probiotic) and keeps the gut strong. Bye-bye constipation.
  • BCAA (branch chain amino acids) in rice have muscle-sparing effect (that is, you will see results of workout faster).
  • Suitable for people of all kinds of constitutions (vata, pitta and kapha doshas).
  • There is so much to rice, but here are some of the hidden nutrients:

    Methionine:
    It’s a sulphur-containing amino acid that helps prevent damage to the skin tone by free radicals, helps detox the liver and slows down the ageing process. Better skin and hair, fewer lines and less greying.

Vitamin B1: Good for the nerves and heart and helps reduce inflammation and bloating. Also a good source of B3. You can increase values if you soak rice for a while before cooking it.

Resistant starch: A molecule that gets fermented in our large intestines. It helps prevent cancer, improves lipid profile and inhibits growth of the bad bacteria.

But who can eat rice?
Everyone. The way we Indians eat rice, with dal and ghee, ensures that the meal stays low on the glycaemic index and there is a steady blood sugar response. It is therefore perfectly fine for anyone with diabetes, heart disease or any other disease, for pregnant women, for young and old, active and sedentary, thin and obese.

dal chawal
Rice is not the enemy we’ve been making it out to be according to Rujuta. GIF courtesy: Giphy

In fact, a recent study presented at the European Congress of Obesity in Glasgow observed that though low carb diets were popular in the West, addition of rice to one’s diet could help reduce worldwide prevalence of obesity by 1%. The fibre, nutrients and plant compounds found in rice are associated with an increase in feelings of fullness and therefore reduction in risks of overeating.

Rice is good for all 12 months but don’t forget millets like jowar, bajra, ragi or even the kuttu, rajgeera, samo, etc., which are eaten during fasts or special occasions. You can have one of the millets or even wheat chapati for one meal and rice for the other. You can even have rice for all three meals but ensure that you eat millets too.

How to cook rice?
Cook it the way in which it tastes the best, which is invariably how your grandmother used to.

There is no such thing as ‘removing starch’ from rice, that’s an essential nutrient, along the molecules of which many other nutrients reside. ‘Removing water’ from rice removes these anti- ageing nutrients too.

And if at all it is removed, traditionally, it would be cooked along with some grains and offered as kanji or pej to the oldest and the youngest members of the family as its easy on the GI tract, is liquid so no need to chew much (and you may either have not grown your teeth or lost your teeth) and the vitamin B helped in metabolic processes.

Also read: Rice water is the hair saviour you’ve been waiting & hot damn, it works

So the removal of water came out of more intelligent use of resources and not from fear of getting fat. Eating rice at night is a brilliant strategy for those who plan to but don’t workout in the morning, as it can really help with restorative sleep.

Brown or white rice?
Hand-pounded or single-polished white rice. Too much fibre in brown rice comes in the way of absorption of minerals like zinc, crucial for insulin function.

Which rice to eat?
There are thousands of varieties of rice in India, each one having its own distinct aroma and flavour. These aromatic compounds provide many nutritional benefits and work like antioxidants in the body, helping defy the effects of ageing. So eat the variety that grows in (or closest to) the region you live.

Rice and roti together?
Yes, you can if you have the appetite.

What if we have late dinner? Can we still have rice?
Yes, it’s the easiest meal to digest. You can have it as khichdi or dal–rice.

Also read: Salad for dinner? Try this low-calorie moong dal chilla instead

Can diabetics have rice?
Rice is traditionally eaten with dal/sabzi/meat/ dahi, etc., along with ghee, and this lowers the glycaemic index of meals and is therefore totally safe for diabetics.

I feel hungry later if I have only dal-rice?
Make sure you add ghee to your dal–rice and eat slowly and with full attention. Have a glass of milk before sleeping if still hungry.

How much quantity?
If you have been having a wholesome meal between 4 and 6 p.m. and are exercising and are keeping gadgets away during mealtimes, you will be eating just right. Nothing more, nothing less. More about quantity coming soon in the next guideline.

dal chawal

 

 

Excerpted from The 12-Week Fitness Project by Rujuta Diwekar–with permission from Juggernaut.

Rujuta Diwekar Rujuta Diwekar

Rujuta Diwekar is one of India’s top nutritionists and the author of three bestselling books, including her latest: The 12 Week Fitness Project.