All posts by chhavi

#Bglsr recipe: Almond* butter

almond butter by chhavi sachdev
You know peanut butter, but have you ever looked at the ingredients and nutritional values? It’s choking you with its high sodium, sugar and fat content. Here’s an alternative – and it’s SO easy, you’ll stop buying both almond and peanut butter off the shelf.
You do need access to an oven or a microwave. I prefer the oven. To me the nuts feel crisper and the smell of them roasting is so worth it πŸ™‚
You also need a mixer-grinder. I’ve found the smallest jar is the best suited for quick results.


  • 2 cups almonds (*or any nuts, really)
  • 3 tablespoons honey (I use Under the Mango Tree organic honey) OR maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil optional

Step 1:

  1. preheat the oven to 350 F
  2. spread 2 cups of nuts on a baking tray, make sure they’re cheek by jowl but not overlapping.
  3. step away for 10 minutes. Check every 5 minutes thereafter.
  4. You know they’re done when you can cut one easily and the inside is golden instead of white.

Note: if you like crunchy nut butters over creamy, roughly chop up some of the almonds at this stage and reserve.

almond butter by chhavi sachdev

Step 2:

  1. Dump into mixer jar. (I did this in two batches).
  2. Pulse on medium for 1 minutes.
  3. Open, scrape down the fine dust it has become and run it again for 1 minute.
  4. Repeat a couple of times. Add the honey in one of the scrape down pauses between running the mixer.
  5. Add the optional oil if you want it creamier and run again. (I didn’t.)
  6. The nuts’ natural oils will start coming out pretty quick. It took 4 minutes for each batch to become more or less creamy.For crunchy almond butter, mix in the reserve chopped nuts at the end.
  7. Put in an air tight bottle (I reuse clean Nutella bottles) and store in the fridge up to 2 months.

You’re done. Amazing, huh? Spread on whole grain bread, eat with an apple, carry as a snack, bake into cookies, eat straight from the bottle…

The ‘butter’ is low GI, totally natural, no sugar, no sodium and no hydrogenated fats! Almonds are high in magnesium, potassium, calcium, vitamin D, B, E, protein, and the list goes on …

The BigLoser India Podcast #034 (it's a wrap!)

Get your fitness on!


Episode 34 of the #bglsr podcast is the wrap up for S01 and it’s FUN! Don’t take our word for it, listen now! We’ve got the names of the biggest donors for charity as well as the folks who lost the most weight. Are you on it? We’ve got three former #BLOTW’s sharing a little bit with us about their #bglsr experience AND, the cherry on top: We’ve also got our new jingle – recorded outside our host Komala‘s after the tweetup by @ItemMom, @ItemDad, @Sashg, @hiway, @sengupta, @netra, @SamuraiSingh, @suddentwilight, @mehulved, @Prashantdr, @b50, me, i.e. @chhavi, and led by the irrepressible @imayavi (who “had a figure in mind”). Listen loud πŸ˜€
(@ShaaqT, we missed you and @Mokshjuneja after you left early! Did I miss anyone?)


All this in under 6 minutes – hosted, as always, by chhavi and produced by Sonologue.

#Bglsrtwtup S01 finale – Feb 5, 11 a.m.

BigLoser India will have it’s season finalΓ© tweet up on Sunday, February 5. Join us at 11 a.m. at Komala’s in Lower Parel (High Street Phoenix, across Costa coffee on the lower level beneath PVR) and let’s catch up, congratulate each other and share the final tally of pledges πŸ™‚
Are you in?
Comment and rsvp please πŸ˜€

The BigLoser India Podcast #033 (finale)

Get your fitness on!


Episode 33 of the #bglsr podcast is the season’s finale – but worry not, we’ll be back with a bite sized roundup once the pledges and donation count is in. Whether you lost or gained weight this year, @Sashg has 7 to-do’s for life! And @b50‘s got the roundup of what went down in the last weeks! We also have a special #blotw and you can read @ShaaqT‘s excellent post here after you hear the podcast. Download/stream/share…

All in under 10 minutes – hosted, as always, by chhavi and produced by Sonologue.

The BigLoser of the Week #032: @ShaaqT

When one is a skinny kid, playing older sister to the cutest chubby baby ever, one wants to get chubbier. But as we grow into our teens, the grass quickly seems to be greener on the thinner side of things and that is exactly what happened to me. As a 13-year-old sub-5 foot, awkwardly overweight teenager, I found myself wanting to take the easy way out. And that’s where my fight with my body began. When I was dieting I wasn’t really bothering to work out, when I was working out, I was binging far too often. It was only at the age of 22, when I hit 76 kilo mark, did I take my weight-loss efforts seriously. It meant finding an exercise schedule that didn’t feel tedious, it meant making peace with food and it meant taking serious steps to change the way I live.

To begin with, I went on a heavy duty detox diet under medical supervision. I gifted myself a good pair of shoes, made best friends with my iPod and started walking. Initially, within 15 minutes, I found myself exhausted, but with time I built the stamina up. As a family, we stopped using sugar in tea and coffee, Mom reduced our oil intake to nearly half the regular amount. We stopped eating out for a while, and I had my sister inspiring me every step of the way (she herself lost a good 25 kilos).

After losing the first 3 kilos, I was addicted to the feeling. Imagine people telling you, you look thinner and knowing that they aren’t just saying it to make you feel good! After losing nearly 20 kilos, the fitness stopped being about the weighing scale and was a lifestyle decision. (I have blogged about this here)

Though I joined #bglsr earlier in 2011 wanting lose 5 kilos, I have, in fact, put on a few kilos. This is because of repetitive illnesses. And this year made me realise that beyond exercise, eating right and feeling good, I need to get enough sleep, because an unrested body when pushed beyond limits, breaks down. And a leftward leaning weighing scale or a tiny waistline does not make up for loss of immunity and lack of general good health.

In 2012, I resolve to sleep better, feel better and I resolve to stick to being on track with #bglsr. My sponsors @ashwinmushran and @hiway have been supportive all the way, and though I let them down this year, I hope I can make them real proud next year. #Bglsr forces you to take that first step towards fitness and then keeps you on track. No, you can’t lie lazing in bed when you see that @b50 has hit the gym at 5am and @asfaq has finished a long run. You want to put that piece of cake down when you read that @sashg snacked on bananas and almonds. And when @baxishweta tells you that your Runkeeper updates are the reason why she walks an extra few minutes with @baxiabhishek, you feel good about yourself. #bglsr is more than just weightloss, #bglsr is more than a support group. It is an inspiration to live better.


Congratulations to our #blotw @ShaaqT, she wins a 6 month subscription from @PopSciMag and a gift from @thebombaystore

The BigLoser India Podcast #032 (NY eve + contest)

Get your fitness on!


Episode 32 of the #bglsr podcast brings you all your fitness information in a quick and easy format. Anxious about looking your best on New Year’s Eve? Worry not, @Sashg has 8 to-do’s and don’t do’s. @b50’s missing in action BUT we do have a roundup of what went down in the last weeks AND a contest! Find out more in the podcast. Download/stream/share…

All in under 10 minutes – hosted, as always, by chhavi and produced by Sonologue.

The BigLoser of the Week #031: @aar4

With regards to ‘weight loss’ and overall ‘fitness’ my journey has been going on over the last 2 years. But it has been intermittent. The main culprit was my inability to achieve a ‘fair’ division of time between work, family and self. I have found this, for the major part, the main reason for the regular breaks I have had on this journey.

However, at the beginning of 2011, I made a conscious decision to allocate time to ‘self’ and within that to fitness. The driving factor was my doctor telling me that I needed to watch my bad cholesterol and that, while I wasn’t overweight, I should lose some weight. When @b50 came up with the concept of using the ‘weight loss’ to donate an X amount of Rs to a chosen charity, the charity got my attention. Weight loss got me hooked. I was game. Hook, line and sinker. I knew that my weight loss target would really raise an amount that would really make a difference. Which is why I decided in turn to sponsor a few folks on twitter – in order to achieve a higher Rs value.

Are you wondering why sitting in the US, I got involved in something that is going in India? I’ve been on Twitter just a few years. But it has provided me a ‘connection’ to India. The people. Their lives. More importantly, via mainly the Mumbai bigwigs, I have had the opportunity to have a direct impact in various projects and have been few of the first ones to jump in and ‘raise my hand’. The Wall Project – where I supported via tweet and spread the word to creating a ‘video’ of all those wonderful murals. Then came @anaggh‘s ‘deep’ project. I was able to and had the pleasure of donating a decent amount to the chosen charity. Such ‘direct impact’ opportunities I cherish and thank twitter for.

Back in Feb 2011, my weight was 178lbs. My goal is to try and get to 170lbs or just under. Not a big ask looking at the numbers. However, to date it has been hard. That said, weight as such is not my main concern. It is the ‘spare tyre’ around the waist that always bothers me! In general, without making a song and dance about it, my goal(s): Weight down to 169/170lbs; Loss of the ‘spare tyre’; and overall muscle growth (no no, not like Salman Khan)

Right now, I’m really back to square one with regards to my weight, sadly.
I was doing wonderfully well going into summer. I was down to 171lbs and feeling extremely proud and good about myself. Then my parents came over and stayed with us. With them came all the home-cooked (mum’s cooking) food, the shrikhand, the gulab jamuns etc. It was just a spiral. The spare time was lost. The controlled diet went quickly out of the window with two full ‘rich’ indian meals daily. Within no time I shot up to 180lbs. I had just given up. That old ‘culprit’ – division of time – came in the way again. The day they left, I was back on the ‘weight loss’ wagon. But it has been hard. Change of habit. Change of lifestyle. Great difficulty. But am truly back on the road again.

My Regimen:
Workout: When I had dropped down to 170lbs, I had divided up my week days – Mon~Fri between weight training and cardio — Weight training for the purpose of developing and growing muscle, while losing calories -& thereby the fat; Cardio to allow muscle recovery and help additionally in burning calories. Mon, Wed and Fri were weight training days; Tue and Thu were cardio – brisk walk/cycling or on a Gym treadmill. Sat/Sun were rest days, but i tried to put in some brisk walking – just to keep the momentum going.
At the same time, I had a very controlled diet. Protein rich foods, greens, and lots of water. This was the biggest change in my lifestyle. Everything I ate had to have some sort of value to my ‘fitness’ goals.

Diet: (In general)
2/3 egg white omelette with grilled chicken (when available) but egg whites – the barest minimum

Mid-Morning Snack:
8oz Protein Shake with 2%milk – killed the snack gap

Green leafy salads with chicken and cheese

Post workout:
Protein Shake – helps recovery and muscle repair and growth

Indian dinner (desi-gujju)- but have kept away from wheat and rice – to avoid the starch/carbs contributing to the fat

As much as I could starting with atl east 8-10 glasses. No sodas. No artificial juices. When eating out the weekends, eat healthy and have Iced teas as treats – instead of water! πŸ™‚

My sponsor is @b50 and in turn i sponsor: @rupalimk @apnavi @gupta-aastha @rhebbar @timepass and @iyamalhotra (which we collectively called #MooSha – Movers & Shakers — hopefully this will help me achieve a good Rs value as my contribution to the charity.

Does BigLoser help? Absolutely. BigLoser has been a wonderful idea and carried through to fruition. I often mind it difficult to stay motivated (which is why I ‘easily’ fall off the ‘fitness’ path. BigLoser essentially crowd-sources the encouragement. I tweeted to another great tweetpal @chet6 – Social networks and the group of like minded folks is like ‘Encouragement sans Frontiers‘ (Take off from Doctors sans Frontiers). Further, BigLoser facilitates creating of benchmarks, targets, and more importantly, a level of accountability. When you’re ‘on your own’ it’s just so easy to ‘readjust’ the targets/goals/efforts to suit the lethargy and fatigue that creeps in quite frequently.
It is for this reason, that I like using Runkeeper app (record my activity, follow and share with a ‘street team’ of a few folks from twitter) and also blabber away on twitter. Both Runkeeper and Twitter are a good source of encouragement and support.

(Talking about @chet6 – I am now following his #30dayChallenge where in he has decided to ‘come what may’ put in a walk every single day. I in turn took up the challenge of ‘fitness activity – making up of weight training and atleast a 3.5mile walk – daily for 30 days consecutive. Due to work timings this week, I have had to miss my workouts, so the walks worked as a replacement. Completed Day 5 today making is a total of 22.81miles walked / each involving a .66mile climb of 493ft – and back down again, of course!)

Besides this, BigLoser and the team regularly provide tips and suggestions. Eating the right foods is just as important as working out and all the fitness regimes. The weekly podcasts have been wonderful and I find myself looking forward to Mondays. I listen to them on my way to work in the car on Monday mornings. Like a booster for the rest of the week.

My personal biggest challenge has been staying motivated and being able to allocate time to ‘my’ fitness schedule. The time I allocate often gets considered as ‘not important’ in relation to time needed by family and/or work. But again, I have realised that I need to really needed to be rigid with time of my self (fitness) and this has happened. And guess what? The world didn’t stop with me! It kept on moving on.

Thank you again, for the recognition. But more importantly, thank your for the encouragement and support via Twitter.

Congratulations to our #blotw @aar4/Rakesh!

The BigLoser India podcast #031 (challenge)

Get your fitness on!


Episode 31 of the #bglsr podcast brings you all your fitness information in a quick and easy format. This time, we don’t have our tip from @Sashg BUT we do have a roundup of what went down in the last week from @b50 including an international 30-day challenge πŸ˜‰ Find out more early in the podcast. We also have our #BLOTW – big loser of the week – @aar4!

All in under 10 minutes – hosted, as always, by chhavi and produced by Sonologue.