Want to lose weight? Pop some walnuts

Want to lose weight? Pop some walnuts
Last October, when I visited Russia, my biggest fear while planning the trip was whether there would be vegan food available since Russians are touted as meat eaters. Imagine my surprise when restaurant menus in Moscow as well as in St Petersburg had vegan food options listed! I was visiting relatives there, who one evening, took us all to a restaurant that specialised in delicious Georgian food. For the past few days, I have been experimenting with making some Georgian recipes too. One of the ingredients that they use a lot of is walnut.

Walnuts are super healthy, in fact, they are also known as the nut for the brain because they look like our brain and help it too. Walnuts are full of omega-3 fatty acids, an essential fatty acid that is necessary for optimum functioning of our brains. Our body does not manufacture this fatty acid or store it, so we always need to keep replenishing it. Researchers say if you are plagued by lack of sleep, eat some walnuts as they increase your melatonin levels to such an extent that you get sound sleep! For those readers who want to lose weight, and that too, in a healthy way, turn to walnuts. They are packed full of healthy lean protein, polyunsaturated fats, and polyphenols.

Walnuts also have a fabulous effect on our hearts. They improve the health of our hearts by reducing cholesterol. Walnuts have the maximum vitamins and nutrients when compared to other nuts. So they are considered a powerhouse for manganese, copper, iron, calcium, antioxidants, folic acid and vitamin E. And, another reason why walnuts are superior to other nuts is because black walnuts contain an amino acid called argentine, in very high quantities, which is essential for cell division and protein synthesis.

An easy way to incorporate walnuts into your daily meal is to add them to pastas, salads, cereals, soups... the list is endless. You can get cold pressed walnut oil in some countries, but I always feel, why go for oil if you can get the real thing? This should be used only when you have no access to walnuts.

And another use: if you don’t like to use synthetic colours to dye your cloth, use the husk of the walnut. It is a natural dye and used as a dye for cloth.

This is a recipe for walnut pâté from my friend Namrata Dutt Kumar, daughter of legendary actors, Sunil Dutt and Nargis. She had contributed this recipe to my book, The Vegan Kitchen: Bollywood Style!

Walnut and mushroom pâté (makes 1½ cups)

Ingredients: 1 medium-sized onion, 5-6 garlic cloves, 1 packet (200 gms) mushrooms, ½ cup shelled walnuts plus 1 tsp extra, 1 tsp olive oil (optional), 1 tbsp fresh thyme, 3 tbsp fresh parsley, salt to taste, freshly ground white pepper to taste, 1 tsp oil (optional)

Method: Chop the onion and garlic. Clean the mushrooms and cut them into quarters. Place a non-stick pan over low heat. When warm, add oil (optional), then add the onions and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, till they turn translucent. Meanwhile, chop the thyme and the parsley finely. Raise the heat to high. Add the garlic, mushrooms, thyme and parsley and sauté till the water released from the mushrooms evaporates. Remove from heat and let the contents cool. Put the cooked ingredients in a blender with the walnuts and olive oil (optional). Blend the ingredients to make a smooth pâté. Taste and add salt and pepper. Blend once more. Before serving, decorate with a few whole walnut pieces. Serve the pâté with wedges of toasted brown bread.

(The writer is a vegan chef and author of The Vegan Kitchen:

Bollywood Style!)


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