Life is more fun and interesting if there is a challenge before you. This book was definitely interesting to write and of course challenging because my focus was totally on making oil-free food look great and taste good. And believe me, gone are the morose days when oil-free meant boiled steamed food with a dash of salt and pepper. It does not mean khichdi and dahi any more. Mealtimes are eminently more fulfilling if there is some access to recipes that you can enjoy along with the family given the fact that the food has to be oil-free. A lot has been said and written about low-oil or no-oil diets, but how well the subject has been understood is the moot question. Modern life brings with it loads of stress, tension and related health problems. The progress in science has introduced various gadgets and means to relieve physical strain but then that very relief has given rise to ailments: though we have adjusted to the modern way of life we have not really been able to adjust our diet accordingly. I should say let us forget the journey but enjoy the final destination: in other words, my recipes are for everyday cooking. In this day and age when middle age diseases referred to so nonchalantly as lifestyle diseases are on the rise, I am sure some of you would welcome this new addition to the kitchen. There are recipes for all courses in a meal, and each of them has been totally researched and perfected. Oil has always been an important constituent of most cuisines around the world for it not only adds taste, but also imparts its own flavour. For example, coconut oil, olive oil, mustard oil etc. But along with the flavours comes the high fat content and the dense calories which are restricted for some of us for medical reasons. As you go along the book you will see that we have tried not to use any oil or ghee or cream or even certain ingredients with a high fat content. But at the same time, great care has been taken to ensure that the taste factor has not been much affected. These recipes are meant not only for weight-watchers, they are for you and me who are health-conscious, who want to look better, live better and longer. My mantra is to eat well but sensibly and follow a regular exercise regime. These recipes are suggestions to bring a change into the daily diet and by all means, use them whenever the need is to try out oil-free cooking. Each active person is allowed 15 grams of visible fat a day. But the truth is that we end up having a lot more than the allowed quantity because most of us are unaware that all foods contain some percentage of fat. Be it wheat, pulses, vegetables, fruits, skimmed milk, cottage cheese, yogurt, cloves, cinnamon, sesame seeds and even the miniscule single mustard seed. So if we do eat a variety of foods each day, in a variety of menus, balancing the carbohydrate and protein intake, all invisible fat included in this way is just perfect for a healthy diet. My point here is that no-oil does not mean that the food is totally free of lipid content. It is important to keep the taste buds pampered because they rule the roost. The contents of this book do just that. All the recipes are written to provide for four portions. The portion size has been set keeping in mind that they form part of a menu which will have other complementary dishes and will be shared by a group of people. So just tie up your aprons and armed with non-stick cookware try out this wonderful array of dishes thatwill not only help you live a healthy life but will also win hearts along the way.
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