Celebrating Diwali while taking care of your heart
Nov. 14 marks the Indian festival of lights celebration, known as Diwali. The day represents the victory of good over evil. It is typically celebrated through the cleaning, renovating and decorating of the home with diyas (oil lamps/candles) and rangolis (sand art created on the floor).
Most households also light fireworks and visit their respective place of worship. One other important form of celebration is through food and feasts with family and friends. It’s a time that families take pride in exhibiting their hospitality and generosity.
While this year, physician experts and the CDC recommend keeping the celebrations to only family members living in your home, you can still celebrate with delicious food, virtual family time and displays in your home.
When cooking meals every day or for special occasions, it’s important to keep an eye on how you’re preparing your foods and the ingredients in them. In particular, South Asians represent 60% of global heart disease patients even though they make up about 25% of the world’s population. Cardiovascular disease remains the top cause of death in the U.S., but research shows that South Asians are especially at risk for heart attacks even at younger ages.
Getting the proper nutrition in combination with exercise and a healthy lifestyle are key to combat your risk for the disease.
“In the South Asian culture, when you’re entertaining or serving your family, adding more oil is considered a sign of generosity,” Dr. Shoeb Sitafalwalla, cardiologist and director of the South Asian Cardiovascular Center at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill. “When the pot of curry is set down on the table, if there isn’t an oil slick you can see, it’s not generous. What you don’t realize is you’re also being really generous in how you’ll clog up their arteries.”
Watching the amounts of oil in your cooking is one way to make your dishes healthier.
“Dil Se,” a series of videos and recipes, were created by the South Asian Cardiovascular Center to educate the South Asian community about how to eat healthier, practice a healthy lifestyle and show more ways to avoid heart disease.
“We’ve created a number of recipes you can incorporate into your everyday cooking, special occasions and for Diwali,” says Srisakthi Ramanathan, licensed dietitian/nutritionist from the South Asian Cardiovascular Center. “We also want to make sure you have takeaways, like healthy grocery store swaps, that you can incorporate into all of your recipes.”
Try this recipe for Sprouted Moong Behl. It drops the fried puri, potato, gathya, fried nuts and the sweet chutney and swaps them for Sprouted moong, diced vegetables, puffed rice homemade cilantro chutney.
Try this recipe for Red Radish Soup and see how easy it is to make a healthy vegetarian soup from scratch.
Add this recipe for Cracked Wheat Vegetable Uppma to your menu. This will come in handy for diabetics that are counting carbs and for those trying to lose weight.
About the Author
Sarah Scroggins, health enews contributor, is the director of social media at Advocate Aurora Health. She has a BA and MA in Communications. When not on social media, she loves reading a good book (or audiobook), watching the latest Netflix series and teaching a college night class.