“Weird” health foods

by Khushboo on May 27, 2013

Hey guys!  How was your weekend?  This might be the first time I’ve been excited for the weekend to be over & actually welcome Monday with open arms.  I’m not crazy….it’s only because my sister arrives from China today :)!

Since I started K Weigh, I’m realizing more and more at how overcomplicated eating healthy has become.  Many of my clients are surprised with the menu plans and the meals listed i.e. how ordinary the options are.    Sure you can be healthy by spending excessive amounts on “trendy” foods like acai berry, kombucha, nutritional yeast, kefir, and amaranth but it’s definitely not necessary.  That being said, I’ve also come to realize that certain foods, which have become a staple for me, are still unheard of by many others.  They might be slightly more expensive than their counterparts or require me to lug it back from abroad, but they are absolutely worth it for me:

1) Keen-wah (Quinoa): It would be almost wrong to mention quinoa without adding that it’s one of the few plant-based proteins that contain all the essential amino acids.  Although I am a (brown) rice eater, I prefer quinoa’s nutty flavor so often use it instead.  I usually cook up multiple servings so that I have quinoa on hand during the week to bulk out salads and stir fries.  If you struggle with cooking quinoa, bear in mind the “1 part quinoa to 2 part water” ratio & you’re golden.

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2) Non-dairy milk, specifically almond or soy milk.  I love cows’ milk, but stick to only drinking it in when organic varieties are available.  I have enough of my own hormones to deal with, thank you very much!  Because the option is not available in Mumbai, I use soy milk in my coffee or almond milk in my cereal or smoothies.

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3) Natural peanut butter: I’m not much of a food snob but peanut butter is an exception.  I’d rather avoid it totally than eat “regular” peanut butter, which is usually filled with countless dodgy ingredients, including hydrogenated oils- yuck!

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4) Chia Seeds: I don’t know how I ever ate oatmeal without chia seeds! Because chia seeds soak up liquid, even just a single tablespoon adds so much volume and a gelatinous, pudding-like texture…not to mention omega 3’s and fiber.  If you’re not a fan of oatmeal, try adding them to yogurt.  Fortunately this is one food where living in Mumbai works to my advantage: as a commonly-used ingredient here, a packet of chias costs about a tenth of what I would pay in London.

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What “health food” would you rather not do without?

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{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

Sophia May 27, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Love that you have such passion for your work Kushboo! I am lucky to get raw ( organic) milk from Nonna! I only drink it when the cows produce enough! I think of it as a bit of a “health food” 😉 along with fresh raw butter and cream! I would rather not go without them for sure! Also love kale (Cavolo Nero) but it’s not weird in Italy 😉 Fresh raw honeycombe from nonna is also medicinal and awesome (especially when I had glandular fever!) I don’t really think of it as weird but I do love my stone ground dark rye bread that’s baked in a hearthfire oven (it’s beautiful!) Avocado on top of that is heaven! You make that quinoa look so fluffy and inviting- I bet avocado would be wonderful with the nuttiness you describe!! Always love your balanced views Kushboo 😉 Lots of love Sophia

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Khushboo May 27, 2013 at 7:36 pm

Wow I can’t say I’ve ever had raw butter or cream but I bet it’s in a league of its own…both in terms of flavor & texture! I’ve been rye bread so often lately and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t jealous about your stone ground dark variety ;)! Thanks for always leaving such sweet comments, Sophia 🙂

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Lucie@FitSwissChick May 27, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Oh I feel you on not getting all the healthy options around here. Living in Switzerland and seeing all the great products they buy in the U.S. or Canada, makes me want to order them, but this hurts my wallet big time! 🙂 Fortunately, I found a raw almond butter in our whole food store. The one in the supermarket is sugared, salted and as you say, packed with dodgy ingredients. Switzerland is very very strict when it comes to food guidelines, so I can find a lot of organic vegetables, meat, fish and fruit which come from local farmers – love that!!

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Khushboo May 27, 2013 at 7:36 pm

I am yet to find organic meat in Mumbai…hopefully the option will soon become available :)!

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Shreya @ rushofendorphins May 27, 2013 at 4:27 pm

I think I’m lucky enough to have Brown Rice Paradise here, but there’s so many things from the US I wish I got here! A health food I really can do without is… Quinoa. Sorry khushboo 🙁 Haha!

And I didn’t know chia seeds were big in India! What do they call them?

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Khushboo May 27, 2013 at 7:37 pm

Ah I LOVE Brown Rice Paradise- I always make it a point to go at least twice when I visit Singapore :)! Chia seeds in Hindi are “sabja”.

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Sam @ Better With Sprinkles May 27, 2013 at 4:38 pm

Definitely know what you mean about the availability thing – it sometimes take so long for certain health foods to come across the border from the States to Canada. It took us a good couple of years to get Greek yogurt after it started to get popular in the US – I’m pretty sure I actually jumped for joy the first time i spotted it in a Canadian grocery store.

I’d rather not do without almond milk – specifically, the unsweetened chocolate or vanilla options. I HATE cow’s milk (to drink, it’s fine with cereal or in smoothies or whathaveyou) and would battle my parents constantly as a kid over having to drink my milk. Having more flavour in the unsweetened almond varieties makes it much more palatable to me. And I’m with you on chia seeds oatmeal – I had a bag sitting unused for so long before I remembered that a teaspoon or two worked great in oatmeal. It is really pricey around here, so you’re definitely lucky India has it cheap!

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Khushboo May 27, 2013 at 7:38 pm

Oh man, Greek yogurt is yet to hit Mumbai…I willl be SO happy when it finally does, along with cottage cheese :)! I’ve only tried the plain varieties of almond milk but chocolate and vanilla sound amazing!

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Tara @ Sweat like a Pig May 27, 2013 at 4:38 pm

I agree with most of these, although I’ve never had chia seeds! I’d die without my almond milk and natural PB. I have quinoa once a week and loooove that too, in all its non-paleo glory. I had to implement a ban on buying that Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter because I was going through one container a week, and I know those hydrogenated oils are NOT good for me. Sigh.

The only other ‘health food’ I’m obsessed with is coconut water. I drink a litre of that stuff a week 😀

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Khushboo May 27, 2013 at 7:39 pm

Soooo good news (or potentially terrible ;)): The label on Dark Choc Dreams PB strictly says “no hydrogenated oils”…time to stock up ;)!

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Tara @ Sweat like a Pig May 27, 2013 at 9:29 pm

Derp. I knew that. It has palm oil and something else that is nasty… Definitely should not be a daily treat 😉

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Khushboo May 28, 2013 at 10:50 am

Lindt, on the other hand, is a different story ;)!

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Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin May 27, 2013 at 5:09 pm

I completely agree that “trendy” health foods aren’t necessary to being healthy at all! That being said, I love chia seeds as well – oatmeal just isn’t the same without them! Also I would have a really hard time living without almond butter and tofu!

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Khushboo May 27, 2013 at 7:41 pm

Although almond butter isn’t available here, I’m considering making some at home…I’ll let you know how it goes 🙂

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dixya@food, pleasure, and health May 27, 2013 at 5:20 pm

since availability is not much of an issue for me here still some of the super food as they call it are very pricey yet worth a buy than eating at fast food or buying alot of processed food. Loved your health food and besides all those listed there – I need baby spinach, eggs, and beans as my top health food and they are probably the cheapest healthy, super food out there but often taken for granted.

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Khushboo May 27, 2013 at 7:44 pm

Definitely agree about those foods being taken for granted! Despite being so easily available, they pack in a heck of nutrition per serving :)!

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Parita @ myinnershakti May 27, 2013 at 6:40 pm

Everything you listed above + nutritional yeast. I know a lot of people are weirded out by it, but it’s such an awesome ingredient. I add it on top of salads, soups, pasta dishes, etc. And people who haven’t tried Mmmm Sauce are missing out!

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Khushboo May 27, 2013 at 7:45 pm

I’m one of those people who isn’t totally convinced about nutritional yeast buuuut I’m willing to give it a shot, especially as you are a credible source :)! I’ll have to look out for it when I’m in London over the summer.

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Allison @ Life's a Bowl May 27, 2013 at 6:41 pm

I feel spoiled to say that I don’t have too difficult of a time finding foods that I want or “can’t live without” – I’m a big fan of fresh produce, crunchy nut butters, and carbs – but I’d rather do without if they’re made with fake, highly processed ingredients 😛

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Khushboo May 27, 2013 at 7:46 pm

Just reading the ingredients of certain foods (especially PB) makes me cringe!

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Alex @ therunwithin May 27, 2013 at 7:48 pm

I think the only health food I like on that list is the non dairy milk. I am pretty picky when it comes to super healthy food so I haven’t jumped on those other bandwagons yet.

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Khushboo May 28, 2013 at 10:50 am

Sometimes less is more 🙂 !

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Sara @ Nourish and Flourish May 27, 2013 at 11:21 pm

When I first started reading healthy living blogs, I bought nearly every trendy health food out there—amaranth, guar gum, millet, carob, nutritional yeast–you name it! If it was featured on a blog, I most definitely *had* to have it. How many of those products do I use today? Probably about 10%–ha! In fact, many of those purchases are still sitting in my pantry, completely unused, three years later. However, a few discoveries that I couldn’t live without today include quinoa, almond milk, PB2, and coconut flour. I completely agree with you about natural nut butters, too–the hydrogenated oils skeeve me out, and I honestly now prefer the natural flavor!

Hope you’re having a great Monday, Khushboo! Hugs! xoxo

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Khushboo May 28, 2013 at 10:51 am

I’m still yet to try PB2 but tell me one thing: does it hold a candle to PB…i.e. worth stocking up on? 🙂

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Sara @ Nourish and Flourish May 28, 2013 at 9:32 pm

Most definitely not!! In my mind, PB2 is in a completely different league. I use it as a flour in pancakes and baked goods, or as a high fiber snack. Sometimes, I’ll just mix a 1/4 cup with water and eat it like pudding (with a few chocolate chips thrown in). Sounds strange, but it’s so good!

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Khushboo May 28, 2013 at 9:38 pm

Awesome….I think I’d be a fan- thanks, Sara 🙂

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Meghan @ After the Ivy League May 28, 2013 at 12:54 am

I am totally on board with all of your staples too! And it’s so true, they are definitely not the norm anywhere else. My family is still all “almond milk? chia seeds? what?” They have no idea what I’m talking about when I mention a new recipe I tried or something.

And yay for your sister being in town!!

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Khushboo May 28, 2013 at 10:52 am

Thanks Meghan, it’s great having her here 🙂

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Amanda @ .running with spoons. May 28, 2013 at 2:59 am

Sometimes I have a hard time remembering that these foods aren’t staples for other people too – even my parents give me funny looks sometimes when I try to get them to try new things 😆 And while I’m not necessarily on board with chia or quinoa (I like it, but prefer rice), I couldn’t agree more about the natural nut butter. My favorite brand (Maisie Jane’s) is only ground up almonds, and I’m so used to eating it like that, that even the ones that have added salt and sugar seem way too fake to me.

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Khushboo May 28, 2013 at 10:52 am

Maisie Jane’s sounds awesome…so wholesome and I’m sure u can really appreciate the almond flavor in all its glory :)!

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Jess May 28, 2013 at 3:58 am

I am not huge into “health” foods these days, mostly because I haven’t had the money in my budget. There are certain things I love, but I see them as a real decadent treat and look forward to the day when I can afford them more often. (Real peanut butter would totally be on that list). I’m finding I love foods from scratch these days so much more than processed counterparts. They are usually cheaper and just have basic ingredients, a bit more time consuming, but worth it. I should try making my own nut butter! 🙂

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Khushboo May 28, 2013 at 10:54 am

Although I’m yet to try making my own nut butter at home, I’ve heard it’s very easy…definitely worth a shot 🙂

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honeywhatscooking May 28, 2013 at 6:27 am

Khushboo, I’m just so impressed by your business setup at such a young age. You are wise beyond your years. The earlier you start the better off you will be. I have quinoa, but I need to make a big batch of it. I wanna try all these recipes in my head with quinoa. I love peanut butter, but I always buy good products from Whole Foods without hydrogenated oils. Another healthy food item I can’t live without is CHEESE.. I know it’s fat, but it at least as protein. Love cheese, it’s scary how much I can consume and then I wonder why I have a little pouch.

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Khushboo May 28, 2013 at 10:55 am

Thanks so much for your encouraging words, Nisha :)! i’m with you about cheese…love it in all its fatty glory ;)!

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Min May 28, 2013 at 5:45 pm

It is soo true! It’s mind-blowing to think that some of the foods that I eat on a daily basis are foreign to others! It’s like second nature to add chia seeds to oatmeal or reach for almond milk rather than the dairy kind (btw, I just stole couple of sips nephew not too long ago and I don’t remember it tasting that horrible!). I like to sprinkle flax seeds whenever possible. I LOVE cheese though, esp brie. And I still try to eat an avocado a day. No reason to stay clear from healthy fats!

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Khushboo May 28, 2013 at 7:02 pm

It’s very rare for me to go a day without cheese days…even if it’s just a small bit- love the stuff!

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Alexis @ Hummusapien May 28, 2013 at 6:49 pm

My list is pretty much identical to yours 🙂 I, too, couldn’t live without oats, almond milk and chia seeds. I’m on such a chia pudding kick lately!

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Khushboo May 28, 2013 at 7:02 pm

I feel like such a crazy health nut every time I proclaim my love for chia pudding but I really can’t get enough of the stuff lately! 🙂

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table May 29, 2013 at 12:51 am

I love all of these foods! I’d add greek yogurt to the list… it’s high protein and great for a night time snack since it has casein for muscle recover and (most importantly) can easily be made into a healthy dessert. 🙂

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Khushboo May 29, 2013 at 8:27 am

If we are adding in Greek yogurt, it would be wrong to forget about cottage cheese 😉

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Allie May 29, 2013 at 2:16 am

Such a good point–people make eating well seem so complicated, but pfft, you can stick to regular ol’ foods and still have delicious great-for-you meals, no problem. That said, yup, I need my almond milk.

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Khushboo May 29, 2013 at 8:28 am

I just wish that almond milk packets were available here…I’m here whizzing my own up 🙂

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Miss Polkadot May 29, 2013 at 5:20 am

Oh, that’s something I noticed, too. Ever since getting aquainted with healthy living blogs I discovered so many new foods that my staples now are vastly different from my family and friends’. I’m trying not to jump on every new trend anymore but some – now – oldies but goodies are oat and wheat bran, coconut flour, nutritional yeast and almond butter. Regarding the latter I fully agree that nut butters should contain no more than nuts and maybe – if you like it – salt though I prefer mine without. My mum recently got herself some of the nasty hydrogenated oil/sugar/salt added PB and … well, it’s not for me.

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Khushboo May 29, 2013 at 8:29 am

Although I’m yet to try wheat bran, I love oat bran too 🙂

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Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl May 29, 2013 at 7:32 am

I must be “weird” because I love all of these!! 😉 My current favorite “weird” food obsession is kale chips!

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Khushboo May 29, 2013 at 8:31 am

Kale chips are pretty great 🙂

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Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets May 29, 2013 at 4:13 pm

Back to the basics…I really like this post. All the above ingredients, with the exception of chai seeds (I haven’t boarded that train yet) are very familiar to me, but only in the last couple years when I switched my eating habits. I also really like flax seeds, kale and any type of fruit. Fruit will always be my favorite, and I could give a flying fig about the sugar in it. 😉

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Khushboo May 29, 2013 at 6:00 pm

Oh man, I’m waiting for the day that someone blames diabetes on fruit 😉

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Anon June 29, 2013 at 9:11 pm

Hmm is PB2 selling in Singapore’s Brown Rice Paradise??

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Khushboo June 30, 2013 at 9:02 am

Not that I’m aware of- I haven’t back in over a year!

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