What matters the most in our life?

A few weeks back, I asked this question to myself. When I’ll be taking my last breath what will it be that I will think about – Job, Money, House, Car, Bank Balance or Fame!

Hope I am not running out of breaths any time soon. 🙂 But whenever that moment will come (and I know it’s bound to come), I am dead sure, I will not be wasting that last breath on any of these things how much ever they mean to me right now. I would want to be sitting close to all my loved ones. My eyes will surely be set on their faces to hoard as much as possible for the after-life (I believe there is one!). I’ll be holding my husband’s hand one last time to tell him how much I loved him, hugging my son to tell him be happy and all such sweet caring things.

While piecing together our lives, I sometimes forget to spend time with those who really matter to me. I keep postponing it to the next day after I meet a work deadline.

I no longer want to wait till the last breath to tell them how much I loved them and care for them. I want to do it NOW every moment.

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Our dinner conversations is a ritual to catch up on the day’s events… though these days my son hijack most of it but we are delighted to listen 🙂

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We spend time with our parents/grandparents asking for their wellbeing and life (even if through a phone call).

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Short family getaways to break away from the monotony keep us rolling.

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We hug, we laugh, we joke and we know ‘family’ is where our heart lies.

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Holding hands to feel belonged…..sometimes such small things make life happier.

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Health is…..spending time with loved ones to see them smile!

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What’s on your plate?

Health is – Making smart food choices consistently.

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Last weekend, I read an article in newspaper about how Hritik Roshan, the Bollywood heartthrob, got his body back in shape. Somewhere it said health rests  90% on diet and 10% on exercise. I try to choose foods that are lighter on stomach and nutritious for the body! 

I am putting on dining table more of…

20140916_080058healthy salads/steamed veggies with sprouts, red onions, cherry tomatoes, black olives and cucumber,

IMG_20140917_175358traditional Indian bread ‘roti’ to get the essential carbs,

IMG_20140917_174720 plain yogurt as probiotics for better digestion,

20140917_170840and fruits such as papaya to detox the body, boost energy and get fibers. 

Health is….nutritious food!

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Green Tea substitutes my morning cup of coffee/regular Indian milk tea

Those who love their early morning cup of coffee or ‘chai’ will know how difficult it is to give up the habit. I don’t recall when and how did I pick it up but drinking that morning brew has become an indispensable ritual.

Being a health enthusiast I hate anything that is addictive – be it smoking, alcohol or drugs Mind you, I have never touched any of these ever in my life. Except two things – tea and my husband I am hardly addicted to anything. I decided to keep the second object of my addiction which is not so bad 🙂 and to try let go of the first one.

Green Tea

I had been hearing for quite some time now that drinking too much tea/coffee is not good for our liver and the one that we drink on empty stomach is particularly bad. So, began my battle with the old habit.

Like they say, one step at a time. Today morning, instead of drinking the usual tea, I went for the green tea which is known to be loaded with antioxidants and have multitude of health benefits. I added one teaspoon of honey to make it taste better…..yes otherwise green tea didn’t taste so great to me!

Well, I did miss my regular ‘chai’ but this one Cheers to Good Health!

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Veggie Couscous Salad Recipe

Here is a healthy recipe that’s oil-free, sugar-free, simple and easy-to-cook. For all you moms there who find it difficult and time consuming to fix different foods for yourself and your family at mealtimes, this recipe is a sure winner. I call it Veggie Couscous Salad. It can be eaten for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner or even mid-day snack. 

Veggie Couscous Salad

Tasty, filling and healthy 

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Veggie Couscous Salad

Ingredients

1 cup Couscous, also known as ‘dalia’ or broken wheat

1 small Carrot, peeled and chopped into small cubes

½ cup Fresh Green Peas

1 small Cucumber, peeled and chopped into small cubes

1 small Tomato, finely chopped

3-4 French beans, finely chopped

1 chopped Onion, peeled and chopped into small cubes

½ tsp salt,

Lemon and Fresh Pomegranate seeds (optional)

  1. In a saucepan, add water and bring it to boil. Put the couscous and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes or till it becomes fluffy. Drain the water, transfer the ingredients to another bowl and let it cool down.
  2. Boil water in the saucepan and add chopped carrot, french beans and green peas to it till they become tender. Drain water and let the veggies cool down.
  3. Chop cucumber, tomato and onion into small cubes and put them in a mixing bowl. To this, add the above cooked veggies and mix.
  4. Add cooked couscous to it along with salt (as per taste) and few drops to lemon.
  5. If you like pomegranate, then throw in some seeds into the salad. It’ll taste even better 🙂

P.S. For Indian kitchens, the best way is to put all the ingredients (except cucumber, tomato and onion) into a pressure cooker with little water. Heat till 2-3 whistles, just the way we cook rice. Let it stand for a while. Drain the excess water or heat till it evaporates. Let it cool down and then add cucumber, tomato and onion slices. Put few drops of lemon and pomegranate seeds (optional).

Take a spoon and dig in 🙂

Try Veggie Couscous Salad for your next meal and let me how was it!

Healthy eating. Healthy you. 

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Is it time to shift to organic food?

Is it time to shift to organic food

Whenever I hear anyone ‘hale and hearty’ suddenly falling prey to the deadly disease ‘cancer’ I get a jolt and only thing that comes to my mind is ‘but why this person’.  My mind starts racing from spiritual to genetic reasons but could never reach a concrete answer that gets me to make amends in my own life. And, unfortunately I am getting these jolts too often these days!

Couple of weeks back, I decided to research extensively to get my answer and find out what, how and why this deadly disease is engulfing the mankind. Recently I finished reading the third book of the Shiva trilogy series, The Oath of Vayuputras written by Amish (another IIM graduate who quit his lucrative banking career to pursue his writing passion). The impeccable arguments presented to the looming question in the protagonist’s head ‘Why Somras is Evil?’ also answered my question.

Two arguments that particularly caught my attention were ‘The Excess of Good becomes Evil’ and ‘With every step of prosperity, a price has to be paid’ (hopefully my understanding is correct). For those of you who would have read the book will understand what I mean. I relate Somras (in the book) to the pesticides and chemical fertilizers.

Probably the increasing rate of ‘cancer’ in our country can be attributed to these two reasons…which might sound philosophical-on-the-surface but I’ve failed to get a better answer than these. To increase our agricultural yield, we promulgated the use of pesticides so to meet the food demands of our exponentially growing population as well as to cut down on our skyrocketing food imports in 1950s. Limits were forgotten and side-effects were kept on side only. What was thought to be the ‘Somras’ actually became ‘Cancerous’ – the good became evil.

There is widespread use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers in crops, hormonal injections in cows to give more milk……I wonder when our indulgence with MORE will stop and we will begin to value human life.

Like in the book, there were people in Meluha who were aware of the ill-effects of ‘Somras’ and has stopped using it long before, I think it’s time to stop consuming the conventionally-grown food items to avoid exposure to pesticides, toxic chemicals and (God knows) what more.

Well, somewhere in my mind the balance has tilted in favor of buying organic food but before that I’ll have to start a new research on how to buy organic food?  And feel the need to explore is it easily accessible and affordable?

Look forward to your valuable comments and suggestions. You can also write to me on shailjakaushik17@gmail.com

 

 

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Bid adieu to under-eye dark circles

Radhika is a news journalist for a popular TV channel of the country. Many a times, she has to stay awake covering breaking news or interviewing someone in the studio. When not at work, she loves to treat herself to a full-night party in a disco or at a friend’s place. Stressful job and erratic working hours coupled with night-time parties, pizzas/burger take-away, caffeine and excessive sun exposure has changed the topography of her face. Dark circles under her eyes makes her look 35 when she is just 27 years of age.    

Do those black rings under your eyes also glare at you every time you look in the mirror? Nightmarish they are, like ghosts and parasites. I can empathize with those who face this issue. Nothing makes you look older than these dark circles – not even those grey strands or wrinkles. They just steal away the charm and glow of the entire face. Don’t get frustrated by them – they are telling you something, listen to them!

Dark circles don’t appear suddenly but are rather a gradual manifestation of your prolonged lifestyle habits. Under-eye skin being delicate and thin as compared to the rest of the facial skin is the first one to show the signs of your internal health and external environment. 

Are you

  • Not sleeping properly or irregular sleep pattern?
  • Getting tired too fast?
  • Facing too much sun exposure?
  • Eating unhealthy diet devoid of vitamins and minerals?
  • experiencing emotional troubles?
  • Smoking and drinking alcohol excessively?
  • Stressed out?

There are many approaches to get rid of dark circles ranging from home remedies and lifestyle changes to cosmetic procedures. However, the fundamental principle for correcting any health issue begins with changing your own lifestyle habits stands true for dark circles also. Adopt the following habits to prevent or cure dark circles:

  • Pre-plan and stick to a nutritious well balanced diet consisting of whole grains, dairy, sprouts, fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Drink at least 2-3 litres of water every day
  • Ensure you take 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep
  • Quit or at least cut down on smoking and alcohol
  • Practice meditation and deep breathing exercises to de-stress
  • Squeeze-in daily exercise like walking, swimming or yoga
  • Apply sunscreen 10-15 minutes before you step out in sun
  • Remove makeup before you go to bed

Most of these habits will yield results in the long-run only when followed persistently but what to do when you have an important wedding or friend’s party coming up this weekend – how to hide these hideous rings? Nothing works better than granny’s home remedies of applying tomato juice and placing cucumber slices on eyes or simply, splashing cold water. Give rest to your eyes by keeping cotton balls dipped in rose-water on them – good way to pamper and soother your strained eyes. I find concealers from Lakme, Loreal, Clinique and Revlon also quite effective to veil them out to look best of myself. Being light textured, they don’t break and give an even tone to the face. Don’t forget they just mask the dark circles but not treat them! Then there are cosmetic skin clinics like Kaya and Olive which offer host of non-invasive treatments like laser resurfacing, clinical peels, microcurrent etc. to treat dark circles.

In my personal opinion there is no harm to benefit from these cosmetic approaches to cure dark circles but don’t exploit their use to ignore the bigger underlying problem. Seek an expert cosmetologist advice and adopt a healthy lifestyle for that perfect face devoid of dark circles!

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Healthy living is forever!

Commit to healthy living everyday and not just for a week or a month for that weight loss program! This is my biggest learning in the past few days. I have committed for my well being. HOW ABOUT YOU?

Healthy living is forever!

Healthy living is forever!

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I resolve to shed few kilos!!

On Sunday was the biggest Hindu festival of ‘Diwali’. I, along with my family, celebrated the occasion by exchanging gifts, visiting friends and doing fireworks. Well, now that the festivities have ended, I awaken to the new reality that a week or two of enjoyment has added about 5 kilos to my body with a quite visible paunch and love handles:)

Thanks to the gifts – most of which turned out to be either Cadbury’s chocolates or Haldiram’s rasgullas (a kind of Indian sweet) – both my favourites!!

I had always been a big admirer of lean and fit physical appearance of the likes of our bollywood beauties – Karishma Kapoor, Sonali Bendre, Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone and more recently, Katrina Kaif. But I know this necessitates certain amount of discipline in one’s lifestyle. Well, losing this extra flab is not something new to me. In the past too, I had managed to lose 22 kilos of post-pregnancy weight. Yes, that’s true – I was 52 kilos before pregnancy and when I delivered I was touching 77!!! I could not believe this myself. But the reality donned when I saw myself in the mirror and wondered who that fat middle-age woman staring back is when I still thought I am a young girl in her 20s. In all those parties for welcoming my new-born baby one can find me in those lose sack-like ill-fitted clothes trying to cover my big hanging belly. Oh god!

But then within one and a half year, I lost all those extra kilos to be graciously tagged as yummy-mummy with 54 kilos wearing clothes to complement the new lean look. Like it happens so many times when we achieve the desired success, we become complacent and lower our guards to once again find ourselves back to square one. Thankfully, this time around it is not 77 but just 59 – an additional 5 kilos that have to be removed.

I have set a personal goal of losing 5 kilos in the next 1.5 month with a healthy but rigid diet plan and regular targeted exercise. Keeping my fingers crossed, I aim to look my all-times best for the New Year Party:)

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Good recommendation for weight management (Source: Indiana State Department of Health)

Good recommendation for weight management

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Unraveling the little known health food ‘Miso’

My previous post about probiotics, Are there ‘good’ bacteria in your food? talked about a healthy food ingredient called Miso. While doing the research on other articles about Okinawan Lifestyle and Superfoods, the name Miso had also appeared several times in lot of information sources on digital and print media. So this time I thought why not to find out a little more about this ‘wonder food’ that is enjoying so much attention of food scientists, nutritionists and health enthusiasts around the world. Here is a brief overview of what I found.

What is Miso?

Miso is a healthy fermented seasoning made from rice, barley and/or soybean with salt and the fungus Kojikin. It is like a thick paste and tastes very salty. There are different varieties and flavours of Miso, common ones are – Shiromiso – white miso; Akamiso – red miso and Awasemiso – mixed miso. Shiromiso is a lighter variety with low salt content and Akamiso is a darker one with stronger flavor due to higher salt. Greater the content of salt and soybean, more pungent will be the taste.

Miso is a very popular ingredient in Asian cooking especially Japanese, Korean and Chinese etc. Probably, that is also one of the contributors to the good health of these people. It has a high nutritional value and is known to be a rich source of antioxidants and phytonutrients. It provides zinc, manganese, amino acids like tryptophan and choline, Vitamin K, copper, omega-3 fatty acids. Now, do you realize why it gets applauded for increasing our overall health? Being a good source of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals; miso is a great way to nourish each and every cell of your body adding to the holistic health and vigor.

Health benefits of miso

According to the research by Dr. Hiromitsu Watanabe, miso is known to have positive impact in reducing the risk of cancers such as breast, colon, lung and prostrate as well as in protecting from radiations. Those who are interested in understanding the detailed biological effects of miso can read the research paper at http://yufoundation.org/watanabe.pdf.

Linda Page explains the benefits of miso in her book Healthy Healing: A Guide to Self Healing for Everyone. She talks about how miso helps in strengthening immune system, has anti-ageing properties, keeping skin soft and blemish-free as well as its probiotics effect in improving digestion.

Quick and simple vegetarian miso soup recipe

Nourish yourself to this simple-to-cook miso soup recipe with lots of vegetables. Put a pan on medium flame. Add ½ tsp sesame oil. When warm, add 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste. Cook for a minute. Add water (6 cups), wakame seaweed, carrots (long thin-sliced), broccoli (5-6 florets), mushrooms (1 cup sliced and without stem), baby corn and zucchini (1 cup square pieces). You can also add any other vegetable of your choice. Note: Keep all the vegetables chopped before cooking. Cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes. Add uncooked noodles (1/2 packet). Cover and cook until noodles become tender. From this, take out ½ cup soup broth, add 3-4 tsp of white miso to it and whisk until fully dissolve. Add back to the pot and stir. Keep the flame low and do not boil. Just heat a bit and put down the flame. Boiling kills the active microorganisms which are good for health so avoid boiling. Serve 4-5 people

Few concerns before including miso to your diet plan

The World’s Healthiest Foods (www.whfoods.com) places soy foods including miso on its 10 Most Controversial Foods List. This is due to two factors – first, its allergic reactions in certain sensitive individuals and second, high sodium content which puts those with hypertension at risk. So before you include miso in your diet, it is advisable to speak to your doctor, dietitian or nutritionist.

Buying miso in India

In India, as of now miso is not widely available. Either you’ll have to check in high-end supermarkets or hyper-city. Few online stores such as Godrej Nature’s Basket, Gourmet company and eemli.com have ready to use packets of miso. You can buy Maido’s Instant Miso soup priced at Rs. 250 from Nature’s Basket, Clearspring’s organic miso instant soup paste with sea vegetables priced at Rs. 490 from Gourmet and Clearspring’s brown rice, barley and sweet white varieties of miso priced at Rs. 900-1200 from eemli.com. When you make your purchase, go for certified organic soy miso, check the label for date of manufacturing and ensure there are no added preservatives like MSG. Always store in a tightly sealed container in refrigerator.

Look forward to hearing back your experiences with Miso.

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