RSS Feed

Author Archives: Sonali Shah-Kadakia

Madhuban Resort and Spa, Anand – Gujarat

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

No Such Thing as a Perfect Partner

I stumbled upon this little quote just when I needed it the most.

“He’s not perfect. You aren’t either, and the two of you will never be perfect. But if he can make you laugh at least once, causes you to think twice, and if he admits to being human and making mistakes, hold onto him and give him the most you can. He isn’t going to quote poetry, he’s not thinking about you every moment, but he will give you a part of him that he knows you could break. Don’t hurt him, don’t change him, and don’t expect for more than he can give. Don’t analyze. Smile when he makes you happy, yell when he makes you mad, and miss him when he’s not there. Love hard when there is love to be had. Because perfect guys don’t exist, but there’s always one guy that is perfect for you.” – Bob Marley

I think I should print this out and keep it somewhere! 🙂

Food and Religion: Maybe our forefathers knew better..

It’s amazing how religions can preach different ways to lead lives or to pray and seek inner peace, yet, at any religious celebration, food is at the core. Be it Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism or any other religion, food forms an integral link with celebration.

 

As a child, any festival would mean we would get sweet treats and fried things. The wonderful part is, some sweets and savory things are made only to celebrate that particular festival. I would always wonder why we couldn’t get my favorite sweets all year round and why did they have to make it only during a particular festival.

 

As I read more and more about diet and nutrition and discover how bad sugar is (some reports suggest sugar be banned or strongly regulated) and how greasy food is harming us, suddenly it makes sense why sweet and savory treats were only made for a particular festival and not all year round.

 

As much as we like to embrace change and prefer to adopt lifestyles that make us feel comfortable and free, our forefathers knew a thing or two about nutrition even without the deep research we have now. They figured it was bad to have sugar or greasy stuff all year round. They realized that one of the easiest ways for the mass to follow particular instructions was to tie it up closely with religion. In those days, many centuries ago, people were more inclined to follow the order of religion and not try to oppose it. So, they decided to put forth instructions that certain foods can only be eaten during certain festivals.

 

The deeper I delved into finding the inter-relation between food and religious festivals, the more I discovered reasons for certain practices. For instance, they recommend you eat certain preparations that have dried fruits in the winter festivals because they have more good fats. These fats help the body store more energy and keep you warmer. The ritual of having certain alcohol with your food is also closely linked to the region you live in. In the areas where it does get very cold, alcohols help bring your body temperature up. In India, we have the tradition of putting a red ‘tikka’ on the forehead. Acupressure suggests that applying pressure on the points between your eyebrows or on your forehead is beneficial. Muslims have to fast all day long during Ramadan, not drinking water sometimes. This helps them develop their mental strength or willpower as well as helps detoxify their bodies. Hindus also fast on certain days to appease Gods. But more than making a God happy, it has the benefits of detoxifying the system.

 

I do not believe certain religious practices should be carried forth in today’s day and age just because the traditions exist. Times have changed. Our life styles have changed. It would not help us in any way if we tried to follow every custom to the ‘T’. It is very important to change and adapt to the changing times. Adaptation is an important step to survival.

 

What intrigued me when I was reading so much into religious festivals and food is how relevant all their research is today. Obesity is on the rise and while our longevity is rising, we are leading less healthy lives. We should try to analyze some of the religious practices preached for a different time and see what would be relevant and helpful today.

101 Easy Healthy Habits

I came across this list the other day and loved it. Let’s see how many of these can I follow!

 

101 HEALTHY HABITS

Original Post here

Healthy Eating

    1. Always eat a big breakfast
    2. Add 1/2 cup of fruits to your breakfast
    3. Drink 8 glasses of water and carry a bottle of water with you all the time
    4. Start a food diary and track how much you are actually eating (with 2/3 of the Americans being overweight or obese overeating is a real problem today). The general guidelines are 1600 calories for women and 2200 for men (active people would obviously need more)
    5. Substitute fresh and dried fruits and berries for candies and granola bars
    6. Eat fish on most days of the week. Choose fatty fish like salmon, herring and trout as often as possible
    7. Eat only whole grain cereal. Look for at least 3 g of fiber and not more than 10g of sugar in one serving
    8. Add walnuts to your breakfast or salad to increase your omega-3 consumption
    9. Add sunflower seeds, almonds and hazelnuts to your meals to increase your vitamin E consumption
    10. Eat red meat once a week or less
    11. Choose only lean meat and poultry
    12. Do not fry shrimp or any other shellfish. Grill, boil or bake it to reduce cholesterol
    13. Eat fresh fruits as snacks between meals
    14. Eat at least one apple daily

 

  1. Choose fat free or low fat dairy products
  2. Eliminate foods made with trans fats (partially hydrogenated oils)
  3. Make every meal balanced: 40-50% carbs, 25-35% protein, 20-30% fat
  4. Include at least 1/2 a cup of beans and other legumes in your meals daily (legumes are high in protein and fiber, but very low in fat and carbs. They will keep you full longer, lower your cholesterol levels and nourish your body with important nutrients)
  5. Consider going semi-vegetarian completely or at least for a week every month
  6. Ditch soft drinks
  7. Limit your consumption of juices. Opt for freshly squeezed juices to get the most nutrients and dilute them with water to reduce calories
  8. Have small treats every week. Choose a treat that you like the most and have it every week to keep your healthy eating enjoyable (eating a pizza or a chocolate Sundae is not a treat, it is pigging out)
  9. Do not eat heavy meals before you go to bed. If you are hungry go for some fruit, a small bowl of whole grain cereal or yogurt
  10. Exclude foods made with high fructose corn syrup
  11. Eat lots of brightly colored vegetables (spinach, tomatoes, carrots, beets etc.) because they are rich in anti-oxidants, flavonoids and vitamins
  12. If you are trying to lose weight, decrease each of your meals by 25%
  13. Use coconut oil for cooking. Most liquid oils (like olive oil, canola oil etc.) become toxic and turn into trans fats once they are heated to 200 degrees whereas coconut oil stays stable up to 360 degrees
  14. Use olive oil and balsamic vinegar as dressing for your salads. Forget about Ranch and Thousand Island for the sake of your heart and arteries
  15. Drink dry red wine with fatty meals (limit it to 2 glasses for men and 1 glass for women)
  16. Drink coffee (you can enjoy up to 3 cups of coffee daily and reduce your risks of developing type 2 diabetes, Parkinson disease and colon cancer)
  17. Soak meat for 6 hours in a wine or beer based marinade before grilling. It will reduce the amount of carcinogens (chemicals linked to cancer) and other harmful substances for up to 88%
  18. Eat hot and spicy stuff
  19. Eat oatmeal in the morning
  20. Choose cottage cheese and yogurt instead of regular cheese and sour cream when cooking
  21. Eat dark chocolate to cope with cravings and to protect blood vessels as well as to prevent cardiovascular disease (do not go overboard though, one or two squares daily is all you need)
  22. Eat whole wheat bread with at least 3 g of fiber in each serving
  23. Use mustard instead of mayo on sandwiches
  24. Follow a Mediterranean diet to decrease risks of cancer and heart disease (Mediterranean diet is rich in lean proteins, fish, fruits, vegetables, legumes, olive oil and red wine)
  25. Eat only wild caught fish, grass-fed beef and free range chicken to ensure that you get the best nutrients without chemicals or contaminants
  26. Go half-organic
  27. Follow “The Less – The Better” rule when eating
  28. Do not eat in front of the TV, a computer or while reading a newspaper
  29. Drink loose green and black tea without sugar
  30. Decrease your daily sodium intake
  31. Make snacks not more than 100 calories. A 500-calorie piece of cake is not a snack, it’s a meal
  32. Add at least one serving of fruits or vegetables at every meal (one serving is about 1/2 of a cup of sliced produce and 1 cup of leafy greens). Aim at getting 5-9 serving of fruits and vegetables daily
  33. Drink vegetable or tomato juice instead of fruit juices
  34. Stack your fridge with healthy products weekly to avoid last-minute carry outs, unhealthy frozen dinners and eating out

Exercise

  1. Walk for at least 30 minutes every day
  2. Start your day with morning exercises
  3. Buy a pedometer and make at least 10,000 steps every day
  4. Schedule your workouts beforehand
  5. Have 10-15 min workouts several times throughout a day (you can do push-ups and sit-ups, go up and down the stairs, walk around the block, have a mini Yoga workout)
  6. Get yourself a dog and go for a walk with it every day
  7. Walk with a weighted west to burn more calories and to prevent bone loss
  8. Add weekly Yoga sessions to relieve stress and improve you mind and body connection
  9. Buy a jumping rope and jump as often as you can
  10. Exercise with your kids and your partner
  11. Add muscle strengthening workouts at least once a week
  12. Start a physical activity log
  13. Get at least 2 hours 30 minutes of moderate activity weekly (brisk walking, dancing, gardening, swimming) or at least 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous activity weekly (jogging, cardio aerobics)
  14. Follow “The more – The better” rule with your physical activity
  15. Sign up for a community event like a walk for a cause, 5K, triathlon etc.
  16. Increase your physical activity by 10% weekly
  17. Make your own motivational collage and keep it in front of you all the time
  18. Stretch out every 1-2 hours at work
  19. Invest in a mini home gym – buy a few dumbbells, resistance bands,a jumping rope, a medicine ball or a stability ball. This way you can squeeze in a short workout at any time
  20. Buy exercise DVDs, find workouts on YouTube or sign up for a workout podcast and work out at home
  21. Employ an “I think I can do” attitude to stay on track with your workouts
  22. Create back-up plans for your workouts in case of obstacles, e.g. “If there weather is bad I’ll …”, “When I have to work late I’ll …”, “When I am tired I’ll …”
  23. If you are a runner or a walker then buy new shoes every 300-400 miles
  24. Find your best workout and start it today
  25. Try new activities monthly to keep you enthusiastic about working out
  26. Use your imagination when working out (imagine that you are climbing a mountain when you are working out on an elliptical machine or that you are competing in a marathon while running on a treadmill)
  27. Add balance exercises to your workouts – complex movements force your mind to work harder engaging multiple parts of your brain as well as multiple muscles (try dancing, Pilates, Yoga)
  28. Join an online community where you can track your progress and talk to people who have similar interests or goals as you do. Most popular fitness magazines have free (or almost free) personal trainer tools and online communities on their websites (menshealth.com, shape.com, runnersworld.com). Other great websites are sparkpeople.com and bodybuilding.com
  29. Get inspired. Read blogs, websites or magazines that share exercise success stories and find your inspiration every day
  30. Walk a few laps around the mall before you start shopping

General health

  1. Use sunscreen all the time
  2. Spend 15 min in the sun daily to boost the production of Vitamin D in your body
  3. Take Vitamin D supplements in winter or if you do not spend enough time outside
  4. Take multivitamins and mineral supplements
  5. Go to sleep earlier and sleep longer (get your 8 hours of zzz-s daily)
  6. Do not forget about your regular medical checkups. You can visit www.HealthTestingCenters.com to schedule a testing
  7. Keep your vaccinations up-to-date
  8. Keep track of your health. Control your cholesterol levels, your body measurements, your food intake, exercise and just the way you feel to avoid serious problems in the future and to realize when something goes wrong. A great website to track everything is thecarrot.com

Mental and Emotional Health

  1. Laugh every day, several times a day
  2. Make a list of up to 100 personal pleasures and pursue one every week
  3. In order to gain balance in life make a list of things “My life would be complete if …” and see what areas of your life you need to focus on
  4. Make a list of the happiest moments of your life and think about one of these moments every day. This will be decrease your stress levels and make you a happier person
  5. Keep an uncluttered to-do list. Avoid to-do lists that are longer than 9-10 tasks and update them as you go
  6. Add mini relaxation sessions (1.5 – 2 minutes) throughout the day: close your eyes, relax, breathe slowly and deeply, imagine a peaceful and serene place
  7. Read books every day
  8. Play brain games as often as possible
  9. Feel younger no matter what your age is – do things that are not “appropriate” for your age, hang out with younger people, be optimistic and less serious about life
  10. Learn a new skill every week
  11. Spend money on memorable vacations and trips with money you’re saving rather than shopping.
  12. Try balance exercises with your eyes closed – this will improve your brain’s plasticity. Stand on one leg with your eyes closed or try Yoga poses with closed eyes
  13. Ditch TV
  14. Practice media detox days weekly (no TV, no cell phone, no Internet)
  15. Become spiritual (consider prayer, religion, meditation, positive beliefs). Spirituality is linked to longevity, better health and lower stress levels as well as a general sense of well-being.

Good luck everyone and healthy living!

Tom and Jerry – Childhood Revisited

Sunday mornings were always awesome when we were growing up because Tom and Jerry would come on the television in the morning and we were allowed to eat breakfast while watching them! I know I started eating cheese only because Jerry loved it and always drooled when he saw cheese. As a child, I always felt bad for Jerry because the poor guy was being tortured by the big, mean Tom. Now I realize that it was poor Tom who was being hurt and yelled at and thrown out of the house because of sneaky little Jerry! But I still think Jerry is cuter than Tom and I would happily pick a stuffed toy of Jerry over Tom’s.

For some strange reason, Tom and Jerry hardly shows on TV anymore! I know there has been a lot of debate about the show because it promotes ‘violence among children’ but I don’t think we ever thought of trying any of those tricks when we were young! We just laughed a lot at the sheer simplicity of the pranks and the running around trying to get each other. I mean, even when I was super annoyed with my kid brother, I never wanted to put him in the freezer or try and get a mouse trap to snap on his hands just because I saw it on the show! 🙂 I do hope the people opposing it has a strong reason to do so. Cartoons today just don’t seem to hold the same appeal.

My favorite Tom and Jerry show is the one where Jerry makes Tom believe that Tom has measles! It always makes me laugh no matter what! I can’t get over the awesome imagination that the creators had. To think of all these things up really does take some creative minds. I always wondered and still wonder what the maid’s face is like. They always show the lower half of her body.

I can’t help try to think of the wonderful lessons Tom and Jerry have taught me:

  1. Just because someone is your “enemy”, it doesn’t mean you don’t help them in times of need.
  2. Friends always stick up for their friends.
  3. A love-hate relationship can exist.
  4. Always watch carefully what you bite into – it could be your tail!
  5. Sun bathing is the BEST way to relax.
  6. Music can bring you together.
  7. Pies are not meant to be eaten – they are supposed to be thrown in other people’s’ faces (!) 😀 😀

I am so glad I could find a few of the episodes from a friend. This Sunday morning, I’ll be getting my cereal and a cube of cheese and will be watching my Tom and Jerry shows! Can’t imagine any better way to spend Sunday morning! 😀

 

50 Lessons Life Taught Me – A very interesting read

Its my father’s 5th death anniversary and even though it seems like a long time ago, this day is never easy. I still can’t forget the event that occurred on this day. It’s never easy to get over the loss of a loved one and even harder when you lose a parent at a younger age. What I have learnt is that life goes on. Each passing day helps ease the pain in the heart, though it never goes away entirely. It takes time, but you do manage to remember the person without bursting into tears. I am still not at that stage and I still cannot talk about my father without bursting into tears. But, I know I will be able to one day.

I came across this article and for some reason, it gave me some calm and peace.

 

50 Lessons Life Taught Me

by Regina Brett

  1. 

Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.


  2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
  3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.


  4. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.


  5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
  6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.


  7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
  8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.


  9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.


  10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
  11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.


  12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.


  13. Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
  14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.


  15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.


  16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.
  17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.


  18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.

  19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.


  20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
  21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.


  22. Overprepare, then go with the flow.


  23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.


  24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
  25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
  26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: “In five years, will this matter?”


  27. Always choose life.


  28. Forgive everyone everything.


  29. What other people think of you is none of your business.


  30. Time heals almost everything. Give time, time.


  31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

  32. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
  33. Believe in miracles.
  34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
  35. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.


  36. Growing old beats the alternative – dying young.

  37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.

  38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.
  39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.


  40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.


  41. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.


  42. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.


  43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.


  44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.


  45. The best is yet to come.
  46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.


  47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.


  48. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
  49. Yield.


  50. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift…
     
     

    To end with, I would like to share two of my favorite quotes that always give me some comfort:

    “If tears could build a stairway,

    And memories a lane,

    I’d walk right up to heaven

    And bring you home again.”  ~ Unknown

    “Life is eternal, and love is immortal,
    and death is only a horizon;
    and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.
    ~Rossiter Worthington Raymond”

     

Tea time!!

Drinking tea seems to have become so passe for some reason! Everyone around me prefers to drink coffee and talks about cappuccino, lattes, fancy blends, coffee from some unheard place around the world, iced coffees, eiskaffees and on and on and on. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against coffee! I enjoy it sometimes for sure, a nice cup of Americano is my favorite, but give me a choice and I will choose tea! More specifically an herbal or  a green tea!

I love the legend about how tea was discovered. According to legend, tea was first discovered by the Chinese emperor and inventor Shennong in 2737 BCE. The emperor liked his drinking water boiled before he drank it so it would be clean, so that is what his servants did. One day, on a trip to a distant region, he and his army stopped to rest. A servant began boiling water for him to drink, and a dead leaf from the wild tea bush fell into the water. It turned a brownish color, but it was unnoticed and presented to the emperor anyway. The emperor drank it and found it very refreshing, and cha (tea) came into being.

I do wonder though if I would ever drink water that us a funny color with an odd-looking leaf, especially if I am paranoid about having clean water. But, I do have to say I am glad he did drink it and the world was introduced to tea!

I discovered green tea after I read a bunch of articles about how great it is for your health. The first time I tried a cup, I detested it. It’s a taste you do have to get used to. I probably over steeped it and so it was way too bitter for me. I tried having herbal tea when I was studying and I was hooked! My favorite was non-caffeinated herbal tea ‘Sleepy Time Tea’. I love peppermint and any combination with peppermint! 🙂 I enjoy cinnamon and spiced apple, lemon, orange and jasmine tea. My favorite is any mint tea –  peppermint, spearmint or mint!

But to get the full benefits of tea, I started drinking ‘Tulsi Organic Green Tea’. This tea blend has holy basil, which has many medicinal properties according to Ayurveda and green tea, beneficial according to Chinese medicine. Easy to make and is delicious though I do add some honey to mine. I honestly don’t enjoy green tea on its own.

My favorite kind of tea, though, has to be the Indian chai! Its milky, sweet and spiced. It complements a rainy day like nothing else can. If I wasn’t so worried about all the sugar I eat, I would have this tea everyday! Now, I reserve it only for special occasions.

But, nothing can beat the combination of a wonderful herbal tea and a nice book for me. It is so calming and relaxing. I know people who unwind at the end of a hard day with a nice scotch. Give me tea any day!

Here’s to tea! I can’t wait for it to become fashionable again….

%d bloggers like this: