Tomato Sambar – Phase 1

This is my go to lentil soup/curry for my Phase 1 lunch and dinner. The tomatoes count for your fruit serving, so you don’t need to have the extra fruit for lunch.

Lentils – 1 cup (use toor dal/masoor dal/moong dal/ or a mixture of these)

Tomatoes – 3, chopped

Onions – 1, chopped

Green chillies – 3, chopped fine

Ginger – 1″ thick, minced

Garlic – 4 cloves, minced

Curry leaves – 1 sprig

Sambar powder – 3 tbsp.

Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp

Asafoetida – 1 tsp

Water – 2 cups

Additional veggies are optional – example spinach, beans, carrots, bell peppers, mushrooms, sweet potato

Salt to taste

Cilantro – a handful, chopped


Add all ingredients into a pressure cooker and cook for 2 to 3 whistles. After it’s cooked, sprinkle the cilantro over the top – do not forget this step because it lends the tomato sambar that signature flavor. It’s that simple!

You can have it with brown rice, and a side of other veggie dishes.

Note: For those of you who do not know what Sambar powder is.. its a powdered spice mix of roasted lentils and spices. You can get them easily at Indian stores but make sure it doesn’t contain anything that isn’t allowed on the diet. Otherwise you can make your own – here is one link for a large batch, and here’s another for a small batch.


Update: 4 weeks on the Fast Metabolism Diet

So I have completed the mandatory 4 weeks on the Fast Metabolism Diet.

As of the last day, I lost 8 pounds. This was good as per my expectations – an average of 2 pounds per week is a good rate of weight loss.

My verdict – I liked the diet for many reasons. First of all, I ate a lot of fruits and vegetables – before the diet, a lot of it will just rot in the fridge and eventually thrown out because I never made the time to eat it or make anything with it. This diet forced me to think ahead and plan meals. It also made me think about what is the nutritional content of the meal I’m about to eat. Ok I have carbs and veggies, now where’s my protein? Or that has fat, so I can’t eat that today. Things like that.

I also liked the frequency of the meals. It forced me to eat meals and snacks when otherwise I would have 2 or if I’m serious about my stomach 3 meals a day. I must admit that the eating 5 times reduced to 4 by the last 2 weeks. But that’s because the morning snack and breakfast were too close to my lunch time. In the end, I always made sure I never stayed away from food for over 4 hours.

It also made me enjoy eating fruits a lot more. Since sugar wasn’t on the diet, I feel fruits tended to taste more sweeter and it really felt like I’m having dessert.

It taught me that you can make meals without a drop of oil, and you can survive without oil for days. Not sure if I can do this when I’m off the diet too, but I don’t mind the roasted vegetables and the soups which can be included in my diet from time to time.

It made me eat more protein and lesser rice. And I still felt full. As Indians, its usually the opposite – we eat a mountain of rice with some vegetables and protein.

Also I feel the diet made me more assertive about saying no to foods that I shouldn’t be eating. Yes it’s tasty, or yes my husband made it with love, or my colleague offered it because she is being friendly, or it’s yet another team dinner. But I had the excuse of saying no because of the diet. Even if I’m off the diet, I can carry this assertiveness because I have taught the people around me that I can decline and really mean it. Also I have taught myself that I can live without feeling guilty for missing out or declining.

Now that I’m off the diet, I still try to incorporate some of the things I liked about the diet. Especially the frequent eating. Water drinking was there before too, so I just need to ensure I continue that.  Using up the fruits and veggies.

I want to include dairy again in my diet. Its winter so that could be my main source of vitamin D with the sun not being around for long. Not to forget calcium.

If I feel like I’m about to eat something unhealthy I will allow myself that indulgence however I will not let myself get carried away by eating more unhealthy foods on that day.

I have gained 2 pounds since getting off the diet. I had eaten at a Chinese restaurant – so corn, soy, wheat and lots of sugar was definitely consumed. Then I also stopped at a dosa restaurant while Indian grocery shopping. I had a ghee masala dosa – the ingredients weren’t too bad except for some ghee and the potato filling, it actually conformed to the phase 3 diet. I also had madras filter coffee – maybe about 4 oz. of it – caffeine, sugar and milk but it wasn’t a lot. I also had kibbeh meatballs with a yogurt tahini sauce – the bulgur is wheat and sauce has yogurt. Is that really bad? I think not. But anyway, for whatever reason I gained 2 pounds and I’m not pleased.

Now one important thing about my diet was that I hardly did any exercise that was recommended. Despite that I lost 8 pounds which is a lot to say! So I can’t imagine what may have happened with the exercise.

The main reason I did not get the exercise was because it’s winter – I’m cooped up inside my apartment with squeaky wood floors and every step annoys my neighbor downstairs. It’s horrible I know! So my plan now is to try to eat as healthy as possible so I do not gain the lost pounds back. And come spring, I will be able to increase my physical activity. By summer, I maybe able to try this diet once again with the exercise.

If I try this diet again, I would start it on a Thursday. That way I have Phase 1 and Phase 3 on weekdays, so I can eat like a normal person at work. Meaning my snacks won’t look weird. I hated the idea of eating protein for snacks in front of my colleagues. Fruits, veggies and healthy fats look normal. So Phase 2 would be on the weekend – where I can eat all the protein in peace with veggies to boot.

Now that I’m not under a lot of pressure with meal planning and sticking to the diet, I have gotten into a sort of groove with my eating habits. So now I feel I can get the time to work more on this blog though I’m not really documenting the diet. I will post more recipes that I made for each phase. Review some of the recipes from the book or Haylie’s pinterest.

Thanks for visiting.