Jag is a vegetarian by religion but he advocates vegetarianism for others for reasons of health.|
Firstly, animal protein is high in cholesterol compared to vegetable protein. More importantly, nowadays meat contains a lot of antibiotics and hormones fed to the animals to make them grow faster, leaner, etc. Twenty years ago, Jag did not tell people not to eat meat but does so now because the additives are causing illnesses in humans. He is also against canned foods and synthetic preservatives/additives of all kinds because of their ill-effects on the human body.
Food can be cooked without oil, by boiling, steaming, microwaving and stir-frying in non-stick pans or well-seasoned ordinary pans. The reason for doing this is animal fats can be heated to a very high temperature without adverse change to their chemical composition – therefore they are the best kind to use in deep-fat frying and high-temperature stir-frying.
Unfortunately, as we all know, animal fat is saturated fat. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated oils are good for the heart but unfortunately, break down at relatively low temperatures. So the conventional way of cooking by heating oil in the pan and then adding the meat or vegetable means that the polyunsaturated or monounsaturated oil, which was good to start with, ends up being oil bad for the body.
So Jag’s way of preparing food is to cook the vegetables first without the oil, and then adding oil when the pan is off the fire so that the oil is not heated.
The oil of choice is cold-pressed olive oil (extra-virgin). Olive oil is a mono-unsaturated which reduces the undesirable cholesterol (LDL) in the body. Sesame oil is also good.
Vegetables can be microwaved but not meat, because temperatures are not high enough to kill all bacteria. Some viruses can survive up to 400F. So pressure cook. Pressure cooking does not destroy nutrition, only a portion of Vitamin C. This can be added back to the cooking in the form of lemon juice.
Jag says that the original reason for growing and using herbs and spices was for medical purposes.
Nowadays, the original use is forgotten and people think of herbs and spices mainly in terms of aroma and flavour.
Herbs and spices have powerful effects. It is important to use the correct spices/herbs either to enhance a vegetable’s value or counteract its potential ill effects.
For example, legumes are the most important source of protein in a vegetarian diet. Unfortunately, they also cause a lot of wind. Various cuisines have come up with antidotes:
Chinese – ginger
Indonesian – ajowan
India – halba (fenugreek), asafetida
Western – dill
So when cooking legumes, always use at least one of the above in the dish. Legumes, being high in protein, are also high in uric acid. Fortunately, the herbs/spices that are anti-flatulent, also counteract uric acid.
Jag’s recipes all have an Indian flavour and aroma because of the choice of spices/herbs. With the above basic cooking principles and armed with a knowledge of Western, Chinese, Indian herbal and spice usage, it is possible to adapt of a lot of vegetarian dishes from traditional cuisines as well as create your own dishes in a Western or Oriental mode. Besides being tasty, the herbs/spices will also promote well-being, the vegetables will provide vitamins and minerals, your heart and liver will thank you for the meatless and practically oil-less food and you will be gratified with attaining weight loss without hunger.