Tag Archives: health

Bechara Dustbin Kya Kare?

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How often we blame the government or the administration for not providing enough dustbins for maintaining cleanliness in parks and other public places. But what about the citizens’ responsibility? Why do some careless people throw debris ‘around’ the dustbin rather than into it? Are they afraid that their hand will catch some queer sort of infection if it goes too close to the bin?
It’s all a vicious circle. The scattered dirt will attract flies and mosquitoes and stray dogs- which undoubtedly will result in people catching various diseases like malaria, dengue, now the threat of Zika virus! It also explains to some extent the increase in the number of incidents of dog bites in many regions . So much is being said about the dream of a clean India (swachh Bharat) everyday. Isn’t it time people wake up to their own social responsibilities? What say ?

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Aging (Tanka)

Another year draws to a close, with the beautiful promise of new beginnings and also the reminder of having added one more year to our lives. We should consider ourselves really blessed and lucky to be able to continue to enjoy all that life has to offer. Aging should be accepted gracefully, as at all stages of life there is always something meaningful to look forward to. I thoroughly believe in staying young at heart! There are some days though, when an aching shoulder in the wee hours of the morning ( Lol) may inspire you to pen a ‘Tanka’ poem as I did below:

Aching bones and joints
Threaten to trouble with age
Skin begins to sag
With streaks of silver in hair
Can I trap age in a cage?

 

 

Walking Barefoot On The Dewy Grass

Walking barefoot on dewy grass
Walking barefoot on dewy grass

Hey it’s time for festivities! The festive season has arrived- Halloween just went by and now its time to look forward to Diwali, Gurpurab, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. One just has to strike the right balance in terms of eating, partying and exercising in order to stay healthy. All the hectic preparations can at times be immensely exhausting!

One way to keep a balanced head on your shoulders and keep the health quotient up is walking barefoot on the dewy green grass every morning. It will calm your mind, soothe the nerves and have a cooling effect on your body. It is also believed to have a good effect on the eyesight. Walking barefoot also helps to strengthen the ankles and will help you to achieve beautiful toned legs. Undoubtedly you will be burning some calories too (So important in this festive season!). This technique of walking barefoot on grass or even sand is called ‘Earthing’ or ‘Grounding’.

The scientific theory behind the health benefits seen from this simple practice is that your body absorbs negative electrons from the Earth through the soles of your feet.

The Earth is negatively charged, so when you ground, you’re connecting your body to a negatively charged supply of energy. And since the Earth has a greater negative charge than your body, you end up absorbing electrons from it. The grounding effect is, in my understanding, one of the most potent antioxidants we know of and may have an anti-inflammatory effect on your body. As written in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine:4

“It is well established, though not widely known, that the surface of the earth possesses a limitless and continuously renewed supply of free or mobile electrons as a consequence of a global atmospheric electron circuit. Wearing shoes with insulating soles and/or sleeping in beds that are isolated from the electrical ground plane of the earth have disconnected most people from the earth’s electrical rhythms and free electrons.

… A previous study demonstrated that connecting the human body to the earth during sleep (earthing) normalizes the daily cortisol rhythm and improves sleep. A variety of other benefits were reported, including reductions in pain and inflammation. Subsequent studies have confirmed these earlier findings and documented virtually immediate physiologic and clinical effects of grounding or earthing the body.”

So ladies and gentlemen, tip toe on the balmy, dewy greens and topple the worldly worries away!

P.S: One word of caution though. Limit this exercise to a few minutes only in very cold weather or you risk a runny nose!  Further, it is advisable to  stuff some tissues in your pocket to wipe your feet clean after the exercise , before slipping on the shoes again.

Inner peace and Joy!!

What is the best possible gift you can give to yourself? Exploring the thought through the poetic form – Acrostic!

Adapt the thoughts,
Balance the mind.
Control the emotions,
Ditch the fries.
Exercise your body,
Free your soul.
Gift yourself – the gifts of ;
Health,
Inner peace,
Joy!

 

Moist Carrot Cake

It is winter time in the northern hemisphere,the time when one often craves for comfort food.With an abundance of wonderful fresh fruits and vegetables available at this time of the year, why not cook up something that is tasty, flavorful as well as healthy? A carrot cake? A carrot cake with a twist– rich moist and upside down!

Ingredients:

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

3 eggs

1 cup sugar ( take about 2 tbsp lesser)

1/4 cup sugar for topping

2 tbsp butter for topping

3 or 4 carrots

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

pinch of salt

3/4 cup refined oil or butter

1/4 tsp cinnamon powder

A handful of mixed dry fruits like almonds, walnuts and raisins

Method:

Peel 2 of the carrots and cut into medium thickness round slices. In a saucepan heat the 1/4 cup sugar along with 2 tbsp butter and 1 tsp water till it melts and is bubbling. Do not stir. Pour into baking pan and arrange the carrot pieces so as to cover the whole base of the pan.Grease and flour the sides of the pan and keep aside.Sieve together all the dry ingredients except the dry fruits. Peel and grate the other two carrots. Meanwhile beat the sugar and the butter/refined oil till fluffy. Add the eggs one by one as you continue beating. Now add the flour mixture in small batches and continue to beat. You can add some milk between each addition of flour if the mixture becomes too thick. Finally fold in the grated carrots and dry fruits. Beat a little bit more till combined.Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake immediately in preheated oven at 180 degree Celsius for about 45 minutes or till done. Let the cake cool in the pan for a while, but not too cool. When still slightly warm, run a knife along the edges of the pan and carefully invert onto a plate. Fingers crossed – your beautiful ,succulent , colourful carrot cake is ready to serve! It makes an excellent tea time accompaniment and can also be used as a dessert along with some ice-cream

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Use of whole wheat flour along with some all purpose flour makes the cake healthier. To enhance the health quotient , the white sugar can be replaced with brown sugar.

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A Walk through Rose Garden, Chandigarh

The mere mention of the Rose Garden fills the air with romance!.Undoubtedly its like paradise for a leisurely walk as a tourist or a brisk walk or jog in order to keep fit.

As one enters the garden, walking through the canopy of orange showers, along with the tall and stately silver oak treesIMG_1219 lining the path, you are greeted with thousands of roses of different hues bobbing their pretty heads in the breeze. You breathe deeply – mesmerized by their sheer beauty. The Dr. Zakir Hussain Rose Garden in Sector 16 of Chandigarh was established in 1967 under (late) Dr. M.S. Randhawa, Chandigarh’s first Chief Commissioner. It is the largest Rose Garden in Asia spread over an area of about 4000 acres and has around 825 varieties of roses and more than 32,500 plants.

Continuing with our walk along the periphery of the garden, we cross several bottle brush trees and walk along side the majestic eucalyptus trees. Walk further and you come across a cluster of Bael trees laden with fruit around the time of  ‘Shivratri’. Walk a few steps more and you can see trees like Fiddle wood (a tree with fragrant flowers and useful for making sound boards of musical instruments) and Kachnar (ever tried making ‘raita’ from Kachnar buds ?) Several other trees like Amaltas, Gulmohar, Burr, simbal, Devil’s trees, Koelreuteria (golden rain tree) and Pride of India dot the garden either individually or in small clusters. As you complete your round, you meander through rows of neatly planted roses with fancy names such as President Giri, Queen Elizabeth, Iceberg, Pink Perfect etc. Kiss of Fire is a vibrant yellow rose with a fusion of blushing pink and Arabian Nights; a red rose that makes me sing from John Boyle O’Reilly’s poem, ‘A white Rose’,

“The red rose whispers of passion,IMG_1222

And the white rose breathes of love;

O, the red rose is a falcon

And the white rose is a dove”

The Rose Garden is home for several birds too like parrots and Great Indian Hornbill. It is fun to chase a little squirrel nibbling away at a seed and watch it vanish into its abode in the great Jamun tree. The coloured water fountains add to the joyous mood of the place. The garden is very well maintained, thanks to the annual feature of the Rose Festival in February. The lawns are perfectly manicured and there is sufficient lighting for walkers to feel safe during their evening walk. There are three solar arrays to meet some of the electricity requirements. There is also an open air stage to host quizzes during the festival. The garden also boasts of well–maintained toilets and a play area for children.

One word of advice, dress properly as it’s a busy place and you may meet many acquaintances (sometimes four times in two rounds, if walking in opposite directions) along with the usual tourists!

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All pictures are by Anil Nanda and Ritu Nanda

Tips for Sparkling Eyes

The gift of eyesight is one of the biggest blessings that the creator has bestowed upon most living creatures.Without eyes the whole world is just like one dark and deep void.You may be able to touch and feel an object ,but would not be able to appreciate its beauty. A flower would yes, feel like a flower to touch but it would be just one colour without eyesight – black.

Eyes are a storehouse of myriad expressions: loving eyes, mischievous eyes,smouldering eyes,pensive eyes,piercing eyes, round astonished eyes,crinkling  with laughter eyes and pensive eyes with a deep far-away look in them.They add to the beauty of a face and many a poet have used expressions such as almond eyes, doe eyes or getting lost in the depths of  deep blue eyes of a lovely damsel.

What about dark circles under the eyes? Nah! But its true, if you don’t take care of your eyes (particularly after long hours of blogging, staring continuously at the computer screen), this is what you get.I was in for a shock recently when I saw my latest picture. Dark circles! So I resolved to take care of my eyes and restored them back to their sparkling beauty.This is the beauty and care routine that I followed:

  1. Go for regular eye checks: Visit the ophthalmologist on a regular basis, or at least whenever you feel an eye strain in reading or watching T.V.
  2. Get adequate sleep: Festivities and guests in the last month had kept me occupied on account of which I probably did not get enough sleep, causing fatigued eyes. Now I have resolved to get my quota of  7 hours of sleep.
  3. Resist looking into your mobile phone every minute there is a notification: I have said that before in my earlier posts and say that again. Don’t be tempted to peep into your mobile every now and then ;it causes tremendous eye strain particularly if you are careless enough to ignore your reading glasses if you require them.
  4. Exercise your eyes: Rotate your eyeballs to the extreme left first and then to the extreme right. Now move the eyeballs to up to the farthest point you can see and then downwards.Do this 5 times.Blink your eyes 5 times. Now rub your palms together and cup your eyes. you will immediately feel relaxed.
  5. Splash cold water: First thing in the morning and at least once more during the day splash eyes with cold water. The water could be slightly lukewarm but never hot. Our eyes are made of protein, which coagulates with hot water ( just like boiled eggs). You don’t want that ,do you?
  6. Beauty Treatments: Age old grandmother’s kitchen secrets always work! Lay down,relax and place used tea bags or potato slices or even cucumber slices on tired eyes. Cotton pads dipped in rose water too are quite refreshing. A good quality eye cream also helps. Discard very old make-up like eyeliners and eye shadows.
  7. Replenish vitamin A: Eat colourful fruits and vegetables which are a rich source of vitamin A and very good for your eyes.
  8. Think Happy Thoughts: Positive and happy thoughts always bring a sparkle to the eyes and make them alive!

Pledge to care for your eyes, treat them with respect and make them sparkle!  Lastly if possible, before you die try to pledge your eyes for eye donation. Bring colours in someone’s life. In all honesty I’ve not done that yet but will ,soon.

 

 

Picture source: Google images

Easy, Healthy and Yum- Tomato Soup!

Come November and winter is just round the corner.

“October extinguished itself in a rush of howling winds and driving rain and November arrived, cold as frozen iron, with hard frosts every morning and icy drafts that bit at exposed hands and faces.”
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Well, the winter is not so harsh in the Indian subcontinent,but yes, it has started to become slightly cold in the northern parts of India.and we are rather enjoying this weather. With the slight chill comes the desire for warm and comforting food as evening descends. What could be better than a simmering bowl of tomato soup?

Ingredients:

1 kg ripe tomatoes roughly chopped

3 medium size onions sliced

4 to 5 cloves of garlic

1/2 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp black pepper powder

2 pieces of cloves (optional)

1 tbs butter (optional)

1 tbs cornflour

Salt to taste

Method:

Boil all the ingredients in 5 cups water (pressure cook if possible for up to 4 whistles), till the tomatoes are soft and the skins begin to peel off.Decant the liquid in another container with the help of a large sieve with medium sized perforations.Mash the tomatoes now trapped within the sieve so that the pulp and juice passes into the rest of the liquid, leaving the seeds and skins behind. Discard them. Put the soup back on the flame to cook for a few more minutes.To thicken the soup, 1 tbs of cornflour dissolved in a little water can be added. Alternatively,a trick is to add 2 tbs of thick Knorr or Maggi tomato soup powder .It adds to the flavour and makes it more delicious! Lastly add a knob of butter and voila, soup is ready to serve! Garnish with fresh celery or coriander.Cottage cheese pieces added to the soup taste great too!  Serve with bread sticks.

5 Anytime and All time Foods !

We have all experienced hunger pangs at some point of the day, some day, in our busy lives.A growling tummy does interfere with the proper thinking process,makes one grumpy and is surely bad for general overall health and wellbeing ! Here is my list of 5 anytime and all time favourite foods that help to keep those hunger pangs at bay and at the same time can be quite nourishing too.So here goes–

  1. Sandwich : One of my favourite foods, it has many variants and can be prepared in a jiffy. Just slash a couple of slices of brown/ white / multigrain bread with butter and some tomatoes and cucumber slices and viola, you’re done ! Don’t like butter – use cheese or peanut butter or nutella instead.
  2. Fruits : Packed with nutrients and the best part is they need no cookingPick one on the go and say cheers to your health.
  3. Nuts : Another superfood that keeps one satiated and happy. Regular intake of nuts, preferably unsalted,are excellent for your skin hair and bones.
  4. Roti : Eat it anyway you like- the traditional way with a gravy vegetable or rolled up with a delicious filling of chicken, cottage cheese or just some pickles !
  5. Eggs : They come to your rescue when there is nothing else in your fridge! Eat them boiled,scrambled, poached or fried. Eat them with plain toast ,roti or just mix with salad.

Eat well – Stay happy!