Monday, February 24, 2014

Indoor green- Health Book Day 53


Terrace garden
My hometown (Dehradun) where I grew up is a beautiful green place surrounded by hills and clouds. In spite of living in a house on first floor,
we never had a dearth of plants as my mother nurtured lot of plants in terrace, balcony and entire staircase. I missed the natural beauty when I came to Delhi. With changing lifestyles and shrinking spaces, houses do not have gardens or lawns anymore. I so wanted greenery around me.

On my last birthday when two of my close friends asked me what I wanted as birthday present, I bluntly demanded for indoor plants. They counteracted it with their frowns and even tempted me with gifts other than plants. I did not budge. They thought I was crazy. At last I got 2 beautiful indoor plants as my birthday presents!

My birthday gift
Why indoor plants? Well they have several benefits that you might not have been aware of. The benefits cover a spectrum from physically cleaner air to direct beneficial effects on psychological health, task performance, illness reduction and productivity. Let me enlighten you with some, in my blog on day 52nd of Year Health Book (YHB)

Makes breathing easier: While you breathe, your body takes in oxygen and releases carbon dioxide. During photosynthesis, plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. This pattern balances the act of nature hence making plants your partners. By adding plants to interior space will increase oxygen levels.

However, at night, plants absIndoor green- YBH Day 5orb oxygen to release carbon dioxide. Wondering how is that useful? You did not know about few plants like orchids, succulents and epiphytic bromeliads which do just the opposite (take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen.) Placing these plants in bedrooms will refresh air during night.
Release water: As part of the photosynthetic processes, plants release moisture vapor that increases humidity of the air around them. Place several plants together, and you can increase the humidity of a room, which helps keeps respiratory distresses at bay. Research proves that using plants in interior spaces helps to decrease chances of dry skin, cold, sore throats and dry coughs. Surprised, isn’t it?

Decorating Indoor

Purify air: Plants remove toxins from air.  – up to 87 percent of volatile organic compounds which are present in present in rugs, vinyl, cigarette smoke and grocery bags. Plants convert these into their food. Now that’s a mutual co-existence!

Improving Health:Adding plants to hospital rooms speeds recovery rates of surgical patients. compared to patients in rooms without plants. Patients in rooms with plants request less pain medication, have lower heart rates and blood pressure, experience less fatigue and anxiety, and are released from the hospital sooner.

Not only hospitals, but adding plants to office settings decreases fatigue, colds, headaches, coughs, sore throats and flu-like symptoms. It creates a friendly and calm environment as well. Few Fengshui plants are known to bring good luck and prosperity. So add indoor greens as much as possible.

Don’t let shrinking spaces take away nature from your life. Add indoor greenery to stay healthy and blessed.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Beet Treat- Health Book -Day 34



Often my mom prepared vegetable soup with a good amount of beetroot in it. The soup looked red..blood red! I used to be scared of consuming the veg soup thinking that she would mix chicken or some nasty non veg piece in it. Since I am the only vegetarian in my family, they regularly conspired by disguising non veg in veg dishes. However, my fears for the red-blooded soup vanished soon as I learnt about beetroot's properties and later the benefits.
  1. My dad had a stroke few years ago. The doctor suggested beetroot soup. Why? because it helps in lowering blood pressure. Beetroot is a great source of nitrates, which is converted to nitrites and a gas called Nitric oxides. These components help to widen the arteries and lower blood pressure!
  2. Beetroot contains large amount of soluble fibers, flavanoids and betacyanin. The latter gives beetroot its red color and is a powerful antioxidant thatreduces cholesterol and does not allow it to deposit on the walls of the artery. Hence making your heart stroke proof.
  3. Beetroot contains a lot of iron. Iron helps in formation of haemagglutinin, which is a part of the blood that helps transport oxygen and nutrients to various parts of the body. It is the iron content  that helps to treat anaemia as against the popular belief that beetroot treats blood loss.
  4. Because of its high soluble fiber content, beetroot is a beats constipation. It cleanses the stomach helping in regularizing your bowel movements.
  5. It is packed with mineral silica which is an important component for the body to use calcium efficiently. Calcium makes up our bones and teeth. 300-500 ml of beetroot juice a day can keep brittleness of bones away.
  6. Beet root releases sugar in the blood very slowly. Hence it helps to keep a check on diabetes. It fills you and fulfills your sweet craving.
Eat it raw, have it in soup or cook with other vegetables. Have a beetroot and say bye to many problems of your body. Eat healthy, lead a good life. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Papadum Show- Health Book: Day 52


The crispy, crunchy snack is a store house of benefits, which many are not aware of. As a child I loved the fried papad served with Khichri or during evening snacks. Now when I am on the healthy track, I was taken aback by what I researched on Papad. No, don’t mistake me for a PhD holder in papad, but I am only adding value to your healthy life style.

Papad is made of lentils or chickpea flour, hence it is a healthy thing to consume. However, the way you cook it, gives direction to the nutrition of the same. Many people deep fry it (Like my my Mom did when I was young). Refrain from deep frying that kills the nutrients of papad and adds cholesterol.
The healthiest way of preparing is to roast it on stove or microwave it.
  • Papad is very low on fatty acid and cholesterol. Hence recommended for heart patients or those on dieting plan.
  • It is high in carbohydrates hence a rich source of energy for daily activities or exercising.
  • Papad has dietary fiber content that can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It normalizes bowel movements and helps maintain bowel integrity and health. Because of its fibers, papad is useful for controlling blood sugar levels and it lowers blood cholesterol levels.
  • This is rich in folate which is beneficial especially for expecting ladies, for whom folic acid tablets are recommended. Papad is a good snack for the same.
  • 1 ounce or 28 g of papad contains 48 mg calcium and more than 70mg Magnesium.
  • Other essential dietary vitamins like Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc and copper are also present in parts.
  • The fact that papad is made of lentils, makes it a healthy eating option for all. However, the only disadvantage in papad is a high presence of sodium (489 mg in 28 gm)

You can add chopped onions, tomato, chillies to the papad which is popularly called Masala Papad. Savor the great flavor while eating right!
Get a packet of papad from the grocery store next time and make it a part of your healthy snacks. However, DO NOT DEEP FRY it please!
Stay healthy stay blessed!

Breathe happy- Health Book: Day 51

Have you ever wondered why do people have fresh flowers with a nice fragrance in their rooms? Why are wedding spots showered with scented flowers and petals? Why are aromatic oils used in massage or spa therapy?
Well, fragrance plays a great role in our lives. Let me share few shocking revelations of importance of aroma or fragrance in our lives.

Insomnia and stress with fragrance of lavender, vanilla, coffee and roses-
Of late, I had been complaining of insomnia. Not that I am writing this post because I found a solution to it, but because while researching on the aspects of fragrance, I chanced upon various benefits of fragrance. Treating insomnia was just one of them.

It is said that the smell of lavender can help to treat insomnia, anxiety, stress, and post-operative pain. Aromatherapy with lavender may slow the activity of the nervous system, improve sleep quality, promote relaxation, and lift mood in people suffering from sleep disorders. This is one of the reasons why spas use lavender oils or scented sticks during therapies.

The smell of coffee can also lead to a calming effect. Research shows that Vanilla fragrance has a calming effect, while the smell from roses reduces both breathing rate and blood pressure.

Fragrance has lot to do with concentration-
Long time back, it was practiced in Japan. The factory managers sprayed the scent of lavender during tea breaks. That showed a remarkable improvement in post-break production.
Athletes who sniffed peppermint ran faster and had better concentration than those who had no smell, while children performed better at tests when exposed to the aroma of fresh strawberries. This was unknown to me till date! However, let your child study. Don’t solely depend on strawberry and expect to perform well in tests. (Ok I am just kidding)

Boosts memory
Smells are very powerful triggers of specific memories, and are used in therapy to help recover lost memories. Research proves that memories triggered by smells tend to be clearer, more intense and more emotional. It is believed that that this is because the part of the brain which associates with smell has direct links with parts that are involved in emotion and memory.
Haven’t you noticed that you tend to remember a place you visited that had a nice aroma? A stench will do t he same though!

The healing process with aroma-
Aroma Candles
Your immunity against certain illnesses and infections can improve with aromatherapy. It also results in enhancing digestion and relieves women from menstrual cramps.

One can diffuse oils in the air and allow the aromatic smell to be utilized by circulating the aroma through the air. The smell may help the body and mind by:
* Alleviating headaches
* Energizing the mind and body
* Producing calming effects
It helps relieve mind problems such stress, anxiety and depression and this in turn may also lower the blood pressure.  I will hence make sure to implement this post my dad’s surgery.
With aromatherapy, you will also improve the circulation of your blood which in turn helps eliminate unwanted toxins and improve wound healing process.

Aromatherapy-
Aromatherapy is essentially using oils to create a better and more enticing environment. Essential oils can help to calm or can help to 'pick you up' if you are feeling down and worn-out. This can be infused through inhalation of oil or infusion vapors. This is beneficial to the body such as:
* Relief of nasal congestion
* Relief of Lung infection that may be caused by bacteria and fungus
* Aids in expectorating phlegm
* Better sleeping pattern

Spray room freshener with natural ingredients or flavors. I use AmbiPur Newzealand Springs and Vanilla variants to make my room fresh and aromatic. They create a soothing sensation and eliminate bad odor at the same time.

Light a scented candle or stick (Only if your family members are not allergic to smoke) for the aromatic effect. People who come across places with scented sticks perceive the place to be clean, hygienic and well decorated. Walking into a room/ house with a nice fragrance creates a more enticing and inviting atmosphere and is also much gentler on the nose. It only makes them happy hence bringing about a positive energy around. See how an aroma does wonders!
I think I will treat my insomnia as well with aroma therapy! Bingo! Smell nice things and be happy and healthy!

Stay healthy stay blessed.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Toast to roast- Health Book :Day 50


Did you know that roasted grams or bhuna chana has several benefits that can meet the deficiencies of your body? Don't tell me that you didn't know that! Okay you can raise a toast to the healthy roast then :-)
Well, roasted gram or bhuna chana is a healthy snack for everybody. Why should you eat roasted grams, let me cite few reasons in my Year Health Book -

It is an outstanding source of manganese, folate and protein ,copper, phosphorous and iron. I really don't need to quote the benefits of these minerals for you, however let me do that for few of them.

-Maganese contributes to formation of bones, blood sugar control and production of collagen in skin.
-Folate aids fetal development in pregnant woman's womb, production of red blood cells, controls heart diseases and reduces depression.
-Phosphorus forms healthy bones & teeth, improves digestion and helps the body absorb Vitamin B.

-Roasted grams have loads of dietary fiber which and this helps prevent constipation as it promotes easy bowel movement.

-Roasted gram is very low in fat and this is one of the main reasons that many people eat it.
-It is low in calories and controls cholesterol level.

-Maganese contributes to formation of bones, blood sugar control and production of collagen in skin.

-Folate aids fetal development in pregnant woman's womb, production of red blood cells, controls heart diseases and reduces depression.

-Phosphorus forms healthy bones & teeth, improves digestion.
  • Roasted gram has lots of dietary fiber and this helps prevent constipation as it promotes easy bowel movement.
  • Roasted gram is very low in fat and this is one of the main reasons that many people eat it while dieting or those who have been diagnosed with heart diseases.
  • It is low in calories,high in protien & iron.
  • Roasted gram Control Cholesterol level.
Dieting or no dieting, you should eat healthy and exercise- The only mantra of a healthy life. Hence stay healthy stay blessed.

The serious most condition

It was way back in 2004 when I was pursuing bachelor degree and was very new in the capital city of Delhi. Life in a metro for a new comer is always difficult. However, thanks to my two other roommates Divya and Swati, from my hometown Dehradun, who cushioned my life with their warmth through my thick n thins. Not that I liked warm weather, but life was easy with them amid all struggle & problems. And the biggest problem in our life was our landlady.

A middle aged lady with 2 kids and husband working in a different city, had rented the house’s 1st floor to three of us. However, little did we know that she had decided to screw our peace of mind. Since all three of us (Divya, Swati and I) worked in night shifts, we routinely returned home in the wee hours of the morning. The house had a common entrance which became a big setback for us. Initially the house owner agreed to the terms and conditions of our working hours. She happily unbolted the gate for us initially, within the first few days of moving in.
Gradually she grew irritated of our odd routine that spoiled her sleep. Possibly she realized that renting the floor to three girls working in BPO was the biggest mistake of her life. The happy welcome and "koi baat nahi beta" soon turned into frowns. Days turned into weeks and for reasons unexplained she transformed to a circus ring master sans a whip.

I failed to understand how were we three responsible if water supply was stopped by the municipality or if there was power cut for whole day? She kept a close watch on the consumption of water by three of us! Holy cow! Who does that!!! And if the tank ran empty some day she would plug out the motor or conveniently say it is out of order. I started to hate her and staying in the house located in East Delhi.

She often came to us and complained of noises that caused her disturbance. Where did she hear noises from? In our absence at night was there some ghost dancing on the floor? While we slept during the day, we never heard noises. We wondered if she was mentally sick or she hated our presence. God knows! I only know one thing, that her condition was serious. Her tantrums were disturbing and we moved into a new house post few months of stay there. She was Case#1 a serious case of mental disorder without any reason. I assume she had tenantomaniasm (Don’t laugh. I coined the term for those who hate their tenants)

We relocated to a new house in South Delhi. Congested and crowded, South Delhi did not appeal to me. I wondered why it was the most posh area of Delhi. Houses were like pigeonhole, lanes as narrow as rat maze, and markets that encroached roads. The landlord of our pigeonhole was a soft spoken gentleman who was never concerned about our office hours or nature of work. Who on Earth knew that it was his wife who would give us all the trouble? On Sundays Divya noticed the landlady cleaning the house early morning. Smita noticed her sweeping the floor two hours later. I saw her mopping the floor somewhere in the afternoon. All three of us noticed her repeating the activity in the evening. That was our first weekend in the new house. She politely remarked, “Beta ghar saaf kar lia karo” (Please clean the house at times)

Our tight schedules of night shifts and sleep during the day left us with no time for ourselves, let alone cleaning the house. She would often sneak into our room and scold us for the messy room or the cobwebs near ceiling.
She dusted, swept and mopped the floor atleast 6 times a day! The maid whom she had hired was instructed to clean the terrace and staircase only. Rest was the landlady’s kingdom which she looked after day night! I wouldn’t be surprised to see her cleaning the house at night as well. She needed treatment for her serious condition of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)
So much was her obsession with cleanliness that she did not allow her husband to enter the house when she mopped the floor. Her house was undoubtedly clean, but she skipped her social gatherings, events or parties just because she was busy cleaning the house! Would you laugh if I’d say she sat crossed legs on the floor to have lunch with newspaper spread in front of her, instead of using the huge dining table of her house?
Swati pulled her leg one day asking her to sell the dining table to us. Obviously, the woman grew furious.
Her obsession for tidiness grew with leaps and bounds and that became apparent when she instructed us to hire a maid for cleaning our room. That was not mentioned in our contract! Yet we reluctantly hired a maid to clean the tiny rooms.
In a month’s time, the maid quit the job. Why? Because the landlady was after her life to clean the ceiling everyday and mop the floor twice! God! I knew that #conditionserioushai!
We were suffocated and moved to a new house, this time with no landlord/lady staying in the same house.
Their condition was seriously serious! God bless them with something like Cadbury Five Star. I would have given the dose to them myself, but alas I don’t want to relive the horror by meeting them again. I am happy without any landlady around!
This is an entry for Indiblogger Cadbury Five star #conditionserioshai contest. Don't be so serious and click on https://www.facebook.com/cadbury5star

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Condition Serious?

The hostel was immersed in dark apart from the porch light at the hostel entrance near the reception. It was 3 am by the clock. I felt thirsty and woke up to refill my water bottle. It was a pleasant April night and Bangalore has always been known for it's lovely weather. We were through with our 2nd semester exams two weeks ago and all of us were relaxed, looking forward to some newness and fun. We had been 'promoted' as 'seniors' and officially possessed the licence of ragging freshers! Alright, lets not call it ragging, because it was banned in college. We called it "Interaction with juniors".

When Smita was missing
I dragged myself to the refrigerator with eyes half open, only to realize that Smita, my room mate was missing from the room. I rubbed my eyes to get a better view of her bed.

"Shit!" my heart skipped a beat. "Where the hell had she vanished at this odd hour? Ghosts wont do that. Did the bed swallow her?" I murmured to myself and almost panicked while switching on the light of the room. The hostel management had allotted my room to Smita after the 2nd semester exams and till that day I didn't know the reason for the shuffling. Perhaps, that night I knew the reason. Before I could wake up the hostel warden or bang the doors of the adjacent rooms, I spotted her in the porch. She was couched on a chair with her head bent.

I assumed she was sleepwalking. I went downstairs to wake her up and fetch her back to the room. However, my assumption which I had made a minute back, crash landed right on my head, when I found her reading a book instead of sleeping. With her head bent and crouched back, she was deep engrossed in reading something.
"Holy shit! Is she reading some adult book?"
No body reads an adult book like that! I walked towards her to see what was she reading at the odd hour of the night when everybody was sound asleep. She sat motionless, with all her concentration towards the book. I saw her lips moving.

Sleepwalking?
Another assumption came crashing down like Mig plane. "Is she performing planchette or calling some spirits from the book?" I froze. I could not move. I was scared to death at the thought of sharing my room with an exorcist or perhaps a killer! Her unkempt and carelessly open hair were all over her shoulders and face.
I wanted to scream but my throat choked. I wanted to run away from the sight, but I felt my feet glued to the ground. My heart beat accelerated, cold sweat rolled down my forehead and my palms turned ice cold.

Suddenly Smita looked up from the book and turned her head towards me.
"Shilpi? Hi. Why are you here?" Smita asked me, looking straight into my eyes. I was speechless. In my head I asked her "Why shouldn't I be here? Did I disturb you during your evil rituals?" but I spoke nothing. My mouth felt dry and tongue felt paralyzed.

"Oh my God, she has been doing all those nasty things on me! She has my spirits under her control and I will be her servant for her whole life!" A shudder passed through my body as these thoughts struck my empty mind.
The world had come to a standstill at that moment. I almost fainted when Smita got up from the chair and shut the thick book.

"Organic Chemistry volume-2?"  I looked at the book and managed to speak.
Smita lowered her eyes feeling embarrassed and forced a smile on her face.

"Well, I am preparing for the next sem exams. I did not want to disturb your sleep, so I came here to study. The porch is the only place which has the lights switched on the whole night you see," Smita said innocently.
My body started returning to normal and I gathered all courage to speak at last. "Damn! I panicked when I didn't see you in the room. I thought you sleepwalk! By the way, goddamn which exams are you preparing for? Semester exams are 6 months away and we just appeared for one 2 weeks ago!" I demanded.

"I am quite concerned about my grades Shilpi. I want to top the class. Moreover I am used to studying till late night, so I thought why not utilize the time by studying," a clumsy Smita said, with the book wrapped in her arms, as if I was going to snatch away that prized possession from her. I noticed her uncut nails and un-waxed arms.  Studies kept her so busy that she became shabby and dirty. Rather she kept herself busy with studies. Her condition was seriously serious.

"God! Your condition is serious! Here I had so many thoughts in my mind and you...are...so...huh!!"
"Why serious and what thoughts?" she asked instantly.

"I thought..you..were kidnapped or something," I controlled my emotions and wiped the sweat from my forehead. I did not want to get into an argument with a half crazy girl who happened to be my room mate lest my nightmares should turn into reality! I did not want to tell her how serious was her condition, because I wanted to sleep peacefully.

#conditionserioushai became the tag word for Smita thereafter. She is still known as the crazy bookworm of our college. I seriously wish that a dose of Cadbury Five Star was prescribed to her that time!
This is an entry for Indiblogger #conditionserious hai blog contest. https://www.facebook.com/cadbury5star

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Wrist 'watch'- Health Book Day 44


Do you work out on the entire body but your wrists show thin and weak? Ah! This holds true especially for those who don not do weight training or are more focused into abdominal exercise. I am no different. I was fully focused on cardio and abs exercise with least or no efforts on my wrists, resulting which they appear thin and weak.

Sharing few exercises my gym coach taught me to build strength in wrists.


1. Wrist circles : Warm up with rolling your wrists. Make a fist with both hands and slowly make a circular motion in one direction a few times, then switch to counterclockwise. Repeat the process with both the hands.
Wrist extension
Wrist flex





















2. “Jingle the” dumb bell: The lightest weight of the gym for women and beginners is ideal to start. All you need to do is rest your elbows on a flat hard surface and hold dumb bells with palms facing ground. Without moving your arms, move your wrists up and down in a slow motion. Reverse the position of your wrists and roll your wrists up and down with the dumb bell in your hands.


3. Punch the bag: Punch a punching bag or a heavy bag lightly for a minute. Repeat 4-5 times.
    Doing push-up exercises also helps build strength in wrists.

4. Ball Squeeze: Take a stress ball, small rubber ball or tennis ball or a rolled up sock and grasp it in your palm as tightly as possible with your fingers. Hold for 5 seconds and relax for 5 seconds. Repeat about 10 times. Switch hands.


5. Bar hang: I shunned this exercise initially thinking it to be a waste of time. However, my gym coach told me that this activity is a great way to strengthen not only wrists, but grip and forearms as well. It may seem easy at first but trust me its not! The idea is to hold onto the bar as long as you can which would determine your grips strength. You can use both an underhand and overhand grip. Do 3 sets of 10-20 second holds.

Doing these exercises regularly will build strength in your wrists gradually. Keep practicing and build a healthy you. Stay healthy stay blessed!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Where does heaven exist? (Guest Post)


This is a guest post from a budding poet Sumit.
Sumit Chaudhary who writes under the pen-name "Armitunum" is pursuing his Bachelor Degree from IIT Kharagpur.  Apart from writing he has keen interest in music and plays piano. His poems and short stories are very simple, articulate and inexorable.

I interacted with him on a forum in Facebook and was surprised to see pure and poetic thoughts in a young person like him. Perhaps it is the IIT that makes him serious? Just kidding! Reach him at  www.facebook.com/armitunum and TheArmitunum@gmail.com.

This is a touching poem titled "Where does heaven exist" by Amritunum




I don't know why Maa went there,
I miss her more and much and more today,
Mumma please come back here,
I need you right away.

Does heaven have a phone number?
Or its way goes through platform 9-3/4?
Is it in books made of ivy timber?

Or is it somewhere deep down my floor?
If it has a phone number how many digits is it?
Will it be an international call or call for free?
Does it have digits; digits very complicated?
Or it's a simple one like three hundred thirty three.
If heaven in Howards, is Maa under guidance of Albus Dumbledore?
What is she going through there? Is it mayhem?
On the railways, I asked papa once where is that door?
But papa says our station has only seven of them.
If heaven is in those dusty old books, what page do I have to read?
Is it on the page where an old man lies with nasty looks? Or the one that says 'human too born through a seed?
If heaven under my floor, how much I have to dig?
Yesterday I hit an axe on the floor, it hurt me but Maa now I am fine,
Maa I don't know what to ask more so I leave you a sign,
"Why you went away maa, I am only nine!"

Cornot Snack- Health Book- Day 43

"Let's go for coffee!"

"Lets have tea and biscuits"!!!

"How about cold drink and bread pakoda"?

I grew tired of listening to my energetic colleagues during every break that we take. While I had shunned unhealthy eating a long time back, it becomes difficult to keep the temptations under control. I chalked out an easy way for these tea/coffee breaks. Instead of throwing trash in my body, I'd rather eat something healthy and nutritious. And this is what I made- Cornot Salad! Wondering what it is? It is a mixture of corns and carrots, the term Cornot was of course devised by me!

Method- Pressure cook a cup of corns. (Corns are easily available in Safal/Mother dairy stores and even with the local vegetable vendors)

Chop 1 medium or 2 small sized carrots.

Squeeze lemon juice and add chaat masala.
Cornot
You can make the mixture and store in refrigerator overnight. Carry it to your office next day and enjoy a healthy snack. I certainly don't need to cite the benefits of cornot, but for the sake of humanity I will.
  1. You get Vitamin A & C from this dish.
  2. Corns is fibrous and super nutritious.
  3. No fat or cholesterol in this chaat mixture.
  4. Fills your stomach without letting fat accumulate.
  5. Better than tea/coffee or high calorie snack/beverage.
Stay healthy stay blessed !

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Poetry- Guest post


Meet Andrew Alpin,born and brought up in Kolkata, loves music and to read books on philosophy and occult. His love for mountains brought him to Darjeeling where he stayed for 6 years. Now works as a restaurant manager and a part time web content specialist in Kolkata. He has been writing poetry since the age of 19. Inviting him for a guest post was a great experience. You can reach him at andrewalpin1@gmail.com or get in touch with him through his FB profile https://www.facebook.com/andrew.alpin.5?fref=ts

Can you imagine somebody writing such beautiful verses of poetry in childhood? I was very young when this poem was written.  Read two verses penned by Andrew in 1989 and 1990. 

Wind on the ridge

Wind on the ridge
Blowing strong and free
I hear your mighty voice
Roaring through the trees
Wind on the ridge
You shall not seem to mind
Each time I cross these rocky paths
My spirit I come to find
1989

Pain
Life is weary
And living is full of pain
Like a tired flower all withered
I long for the comfort of rain
1990

10 reasons to have Green Tea- Year Health Book: Day 42

Cuppa Green Tea
Originated in China, Green Tea was used to heal wounds and control bleeding. The practice continued in Chinese medicine and later in traditional Indian medical science too. Just like the difference between white bread and brown bread, green tea happens to be better than black tea pertaining to the processing. Green lea is not fermented unlike black tea hence retaining the antioxidants  and other beneficial properties.
A cup of green tea can give you several benefits like no other thing. For some, green tea tastes bad. However, green tea is a powerhouse for you. 

Sharing 10 reasons why should you have green tea-
  1. Prevents Cancer- The natural chemicals of green tea, called polyphenols provide anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic effects. Research shows that green tea drinkers compared with non-drinkers are less likely to develop pancreatic cancer, particularly in women. 
  2. Reduces Cholesterol- Green tea reduces bad cholesterol in the blood and improves the ratio of good cholesterol to bad cholesterol. It also protects against the formation of clots, which are the primary cause of heart attacks.
  3. Anti-aging: Green tea's antioxidant (polyphenol) fights against free radicals. Hence it helps you fight against aging and promotes longevity.
  4. Skincare. Green tea also helps fight wrinkles on skin.  This is because of their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. Green tea reduces sun damage and helps your skin glow.
  5. Controls Diabetes. Green tea regulates glucose levels in blood, thereby slowing the rise of blood sugar after eating. This can prevent high insulin spikes that result in fat storage.
  6. Aids in weight Loss. Green tea increases the metabolism of your body. The polyphenol works to intensify levels of fat oxidation and the rate at which our body turns food into calories. Green tea may promote a small, non-significant weight loss in overweight and obese adults.
  7. Regulates Blood Pressure. Regular consumption of green tea is thought to reduce the risk of high blood pressure. It works on the lining of blood vessels, helping keep them to stay relaxed and withstand changes in blood pressure. 
  8. Prevents cold and flu: Green tea prevents you from getting a cold or flu. Vitamin C in green tea helps you treat the flu and the common cold.
  9. Controls Asthma: The Theophyline in green tea relaxes the muscles which support the bronchial tubes, reducing the severity of asthma.
  10. For Bones: The high fluoride content found in green tea helps keep your bones strong. If you drink green tea every day, this will help you preserve your bone density. This is advisable for women in late 30's who lose their bone density.
Green tea of several brands are easily available in market. All you need is a cup of hot water and green tea bag. When we know that prevention is better than cure, then why wait till anything happens wrong? Stay aware, start early and keep the nasty illness away!
Happy healthy brewing!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

De stress with SPA- Year Book, Day 39

Amidst my daily exercises, yoga and healthy diet, I suddenly came across something that I had never tried before. It was an amazing Spa therapy! I had always been apprehensive about getting a spa done pertaining to the odd stories heard from many. Secondly, I never had a chance to experience wellness through spa. This one just fitted the picture so well.


Located in the main market of Delhi’s South Ex-2, Four Fountain Spa, specializes in massage and spa therapies. You can rejuvenate yourself while de-stressing and healing by the physiotherapy way. “Touch therapy” has been known and practiced in India since ages. Four Fountain Spa helps you feel de-stressed by working on the points of your body. I opted for half an hour foot-reflexology to awaken my tired legs.


The ambiance takes away half of your stress. The moment you enter the place, the soft lights, the sweet aroma, the comfortable seating arrangement and unique aesthesis, instantly have a soothing effect on you.  The friendly staff immediately attends to you, and caters to your requirements. They are not pushy, and I give them one extra point for that!



Jyoti, the therapy expert, showed me the way to the massage room. The room had a row of neatly arranged sofa and comfortable stools covered with towels. The Buddha statues and bonsai plants immediately got my attention. 


                            

Jyoti cleaned my feet with a warm wet towel and tapped my feet with her fingers. She touched and stimulated the important points of my feet one by one. I came to know that every finger of our foot has a nerve that has a direct effect on our lungs, heart, kidneys and eyes. She pulled each finger of the toe gently and moved her fingers pressing the nerves. She massaged aromatic oil on my legs and made sure to arouse the sleeping muscles and veins.


 Jyoti moved my toe 360 degree and ran her fingers on my toe. Her magical hands were just perfect. The pressure on the points released all my stress gradually. I started feeling light and fell asleep for some time. The effect of the soft music in the room added to the enchantment. I woke up from my short slumber after she ended the foot reflexology.

I could not stop myself from asking where she had learnt the therapy art and I was surprised to know Four Fountain Spa has an institute in Pune. That’s where Jyoti was trained and is successfully leading her career from the past two years. Massage and spa therapy is a part of many physiotherapy treatments.  I was too tempted to go for a body massage at that time, but could not, because of less time in hand.

I was offered complimentary green tea after the session. The staff also gifted an aromatic balm to rub on forehead and sole to ensure good sleep. Loved that!

Four Fountain Spa is located in many places across India. They have a huge variety of therapies and massage sessions which is done with the aid of natural oil and healing ingredients. The packages are really economical. Click on the website for details- http://www.thefourfountainsspa.in/

Do try spa and massage at least once, which releases stress and invigorates you instantly. I added this to my YHB from now!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Destress thyself- Health Book Day 38

Exercise, coupled with good nutritious diet is the key to a healthy body and mind. We don’t have open space to walk around. We stay in high rise apartments with every item that makes life comfortable. But does that make life healthy? Even if we have space, we don’t have the time to utilize it. We seem to be on our toes always. After returning home from a tiring day at work, 90% people don’t feel like exercising. Either they would be too tired, lazy or stressed out. Alright then, if you fall in the above category, these exercises are you-

Practice deep breathing or Bhastrika- Sit in padmasan (lotus pose), bring the tip of your index finger and thumb together and place your hands on your knees, palms facing up. Arms should be straight. Close your eyes and inhale slowly. Hold your breath for 4-5 seconds and exhale slowly but deeply. Repeat the entire process 3 times. Then inhale exhale deeply with full force. Repeat 5 times.
While exhaling, imagine your fatigue and negativity flushing out of your body. Eventually you feel relaxed and calm.

Pronounce Aum- After deep breathing, practice “Aum”. The process more or less remains the same.

Inhale, hold your breath for 4-5 seconds. Pronounce “Aum” in the process of exhaling. Remember while pronouncing “Aum”, in the initial few seconds your lips would be oval like fish mouth. Purse your lips together and your nasal cavity vibrates with the M sound. The latter (M sound with lips together) should be longer than the “O” sound with oval lips.

Ideally these are practiced during the morning. However, one can do that in the evening too. These are great stress busters and make you feel rejuvenated.



Bhraamri- Your sitting position remains the same. Press your earlobes with your thumb. Index fingers to touch your forehead. Rest of the three fingers would cover your eyes. Do not exert pressure on your eyes. After deep inhaling, exhale from nose vibrating the M sound loudly. Repeat the whole exercise 3 times.  This exercise leaves your mind with a vibrating sensation.
If all 3 exercises are practiced in a sequence daily, gives you immense benefits-
  1. Regulates the right amount of oxygen throughout your body
  2. Increases your concentration
  3. Acts as stress buster
  4. Relieves you of fatigue& laziness
  5. Refreshes mood, counters mood swings
  6. Helps you relax
De stress yourself the yogic way and lead a happy healthy life!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Back ache? Health Book- Day 37

Recap- Yesterday was Dhanuraasan (The bow pose). Read the full post here- http://bit.ly/1gOoAiG
Today is a simpler one, named Bhujangaasan or the Cobra Pose. This is a back bend that stretches muscles on the front of the torso and strengthens your arms and shoulders. This is also a part of the sun salutation (Surya Namaskaar) sequence.

Step 1- Lie face down on the floor on yoga mat with your palms flat, placed beneath your shoulders. The tops of your feet should be flat on the floor.
Step 2- Spread your hands on the floor under your shoulders and brush your elbows against your rib cage. Close your eyes and inhale slowly. Feel the stability in your pelvis, thighs and tops of your feet.  Exhale gradually before opening your eyes.
Step 3- As you inhale, steadily straighten your arms and lift your chest from the floor. Do not fully straighten them as if may feel uncomfortable. Extend through and deepen your stretch to create an even arc in your back.
Step 4- Push your upper body off the floor and straighten your arms as much as is comfortable while keeping your hips, legs and feet planted on the mat. Tilt your chin upward and lift your chest toward the ceiling. Press your tailbone towards your pubis and lift your pubis toward your navel, narrowing your hips. Keep your shoulders broad, but relaxed, with the blades low on your back.
The amazing benefits of this aasana- 
  • Stretches muscles in the shoulders, chest and abdominal cavity.
  • Reduces stiffness of the lower back, Strengthens the spine
  • Strengthens the arms and shoulders, increases flexibility
  • Improves menstrual irregularities
  • Firms and tones the buttocks
  • Invigorates the heart
  • Improves circulation of blood and oxygen, especially throughout the spinal and pelvic regions
  • Improves digestion

Monsoon Palace, Udaipur