Know your skin type – know yourself

True beauty is the reflection of our inner and outer self. Which largely include our body cells, our skin types and our personal health and habit. Nurturing and nourishing ourselves can bring immense boost to our self esteem, confidence level and general health.

When comes to skin health, it would be sheer foolishness not to take the basic care. Skin acts as a barrier between the outside world and our interior organs. So, it’s time we realized the implications of the changes of our skin.

First and foremost, we need to understand our skin types so that we can take proper care and nourishment. Coming to it, there are 5 major types of skin types.

What are the 5 major skin types

Normal skin:

Normal skin is most desirable since it requires minimum nurturing. It is toned vitalized with the right amount of oil balance.

Oily skin:

This skin type appears greasy and tends to attract dirt, dust and grime easily. If not taken proper and timely care, this may lead to black and white heads, pimples, spots and eruptions.

Dry skin:

This type of skin appears dry and flaky due to lack of moisture due to inadequate secretion from the sebaceous glands. This skin type tends to age fast.

Combination skin:

This type of skin appears dry at the cheeks, around the mouth and the eyes and appears oily at the forehead, nose and chin (the T zone).

Sensitive skin:

This type of skin has a nice texture and is sensitive to climatic changes and chemical ingredients present in cosmetic products.


How to know your skin types

When you wake up in the morning, wipe your face with a facial tissue. If it gathers greasy patches then it is oily skin. If the oil is only in the T zone then its combination skin. If it feels very dry and parched then it is dry and if your skin feels neither too dry nor too oily then you have normal skin and something to be proud of.

Home Remedies that Really Work

Call it mother wit or an old wives’ tale, but that odd remedy your grandma gave you when you got sick really worked—and worked surprisingly well!

Experts say that some old home remedies are very effective at curing’ what ails us.

While the following natural cures are relatively safe, use good judgment If you have any unusual reaction, or if symptoms persist or get worse, stop treatment and consult your doctor.
•Chicken soup for a cold. Medical studies show that hot chicken soup has a better effect on upper-respiratory infections than other hot liquids, the New York Daily News reported. The steam breaks up nasal congestion and the soothing broth, especially if it’s homemade, certainly can make you feel better.
•Sugar to stop hiccups. A teaspoon of granulated sugar, dissolved in your mouth before swallowing, is a remedy for annoying hiccups.
•Coffee for a tension headache. One study of regular headache sufferers found that caffeine boosted the painkilling effects of ibuprofen. Lead study author Dr. Seymour Diamond of the Diamond Headache Clinic in Chicago said that “a big mug of good coffee” may also do the trick, Reuters Health reported, but warned that chronic sufferers should avoid caffeine, which could make symptoms worse.
•Ginger for upset stomach. Research shows that ginger, in moderation, can quell nausea, but it caution pregnant women who take it because it can promote bleeding.
•Honey and tea bags for minor cuts and scrapes. Honey contains a natural antiseptic and vitamins and minerals. Dab it on a wound to kill germs and stimulate healing. A wet tea bag can stop a minor cut from bleeding since the tea contains tannic acid, which constricts blood vessels.
•Toothpick and cotton for ingrown toenail- A toothpick wrapped in a bit of sterile cotton and placed (not too deeply) under the toenail near the affected area relieves pressure and eventually allows you to clip the nail.
•Bananas to lower HIGH blood pressure. High blood pressure increases your risk for heart attack or stroke. Studies show that potassium- rich foods like bananas can lower blood pressure, possibly because potassium causes blood vessels to expand, thus lowering pressure.
•Cherries to relieve gout. Gout, a form of arthritis that affects mostly men, results from uric acid in the blood that hardens around joints, especially in feet, and causes severe swelling and pain. To relieve pain, eat 1/4 to 1/2 cups of cherries daily. Experts believe the cherries contain an enzyme that breaks down and excretes uric arid.

Saw palmetto for prostate problem. Studies show that this small plant, which resembles a palm-tree, is effective in reducing an enlarged prostate gland, reducing the need to urinate and improving blood flow


Children’s Dental Health

Tooth decay is one of the most common chronic childhood conditions. More than 1 in 4 preschool- age children have experienced tooth decay, a significant increase during the past decade.

The preschool-age children, ages 2 to 5, have the lowest rates of dental care of all age groups in the nation, and they miss out on an important time for effective dental prevention.

“The upturn in decay in today’s preschoolers may be expected to continue into their permanent teeth as they grow older.”To keep this from happening, it is essential to identify children at greatest risk for decay as early as possible.”

The children in low-income communi­ties are at a higher risk of untreated tooth decay due to issues of poverty and access to quality dental treatment. Poor oral health and untreated oral diseases can have a significant impact on the quality of life. It may also result in diminished growth, eating and speaking dysfunction, low self-esteem and negative behaviors that interfere with learning and family life.

The good news is that tooth decay is a preventable health problem. As early as age 2, parents should begin practicing prevention and take children to the family den­tist for a check-up.

Dentists also recommend the following tips: Supervise tooth brushing after every meal and teach children to use dental floss.

Avoid between-meal snacks of sweets, sugary foods and sweetened drinks since they promote tooth decay. Moreover the dental hygiene is also important to prevent tooth decay. The combination of food and bacteria is also an promoting factor for tooth decay.

If your child’s teeth become damaged in any way, take the child to the dentist immediately.

Remember, an attractive smile and good oral health into adulthood begins by taking measures to prevent dental disease as early as when babies begin teething.


Go easy on your life, friend

India is in the  lime light for all wrong reasons. We are one of the ‘leading’ corrupt nations. Corruption is painted boldly on the face of all our leaders and other important people. As of now, the only clean persons are the beggars and ordinary  folk on daily wages.

And now WHO reports that by 2015, 60% of all the heart patients of the world  would be  living in India. Of them 40% would belong to the age  group less than 40.  That’s a terrifying news indeed, isn’t it?.

What are the reasons for heart problems in human beings?

We undergo tremendous stress and strain. due to various kinds of  down to earth difficulties, the chief being financial worry. Domestic disharmony perhaps comes next.  Whatever it is, the doctors during a recent seminar conveyed that we need to take life easy and not weep over the predicaments we come  a cross now and then. Humans, especially those living in cities,  go nuts for nothing, according to the medicos. You know tension could kill you or make you walking skeletons !

How lucky the animals are, particularly our pet dogs. Although they too have a heart each, they  don’t suffer from heart diseases. Pet dogs don’t have heart attacks because they have no burden of any kind that would affect their heart. They develop the same diseases as we human beings do except leprosy.  But heart attack, no. They don’t experience stress of any kind.

One method  to get over our tension arising out of worries   is to take to hard  drinks. A few pegs down your throat around7.30 become a different man, a care free man.  Nothing would trouble you. then.  The Stress would stand far away and not bother you at all. You may even dance and come home  dancing all the way and face an angry wife.  But by then you  couldn’t care less about anything. Nor are you expected to give an explanation  to your wife as to  why you over drank. And  you  hit the bed straightway without dinner.

Once you get addicted to drinking,  doctors tell you to  stop drinking because drinking is bad for health.  What happens then to this fellow Mr. Stress?  I think we should let Mr. Stress and Mr. Drink  fight it out between themselves and let us know who we  should vote for.

You would think that the villagers are relatively  free from stress and strain. A village life is an easy going life. No, no friend.  They   are possibly  subject to heavier stress than the city population.  You see, they take heavy loan from banks and  if there is a crop failure or recession and what not, they would  suffer heavy loss and would be  unable to pay back the loan.  They then would spend sleepless nights or decide to kill themselves.

Some farmers have vowed never to let their male children  take to agriculture which has driven many farmers to suicide. If nobody takes to agriculture, who is going to produce  food grains for us?  The government needs to take notice of this kind of thinking  and do something about it so that a farmer’s sons continue to stay on in the village instead of migrating to the cities.  Even now, our towns and cities are over crowded due to influx of the villagers. Once again the Government  has to do something to confine the villagers to the village boundary only.   We have digressed too much.  Now back to the heart problem.

While the doctors have advised us to go easy and to take life easy, they don’t tell us how to do it. Do we contain it with some kind of medicine or some other action?

One mantra is to sing a song daily  which  should go like this, “Take it easy brother, take it easy, that’s the best policy, take it easy, I say again, take it easy.”   You know singing is very relaxing and would put you in a happy mood.. Once you sing this song at least every hour, you would not be troubled with any stress  conundrum.  If your  boss ticks you off for singing the ‘Take it easy’ serenade, tell him  most  amiably, “Take it easy, Sir.  Life is not all that heavy and stressful. Take it Easy, Sir. You  won’t have any heart complications then.  Okay Sir?”.



What is a balanced diet?

Mrs Mehta was worried over her son’s health. Her 6 year old son is a fussy eater and refuses eat every time he is asked to eat. As a mother, she was concerned and was trying her best to make things work. She is not alone. Many parents face this and do not know how to go about.

If fussy eating behavior persists in children, they may end up having health hazards.

  • Nutrient deficiencies leading to improper growth
  • Weak immune system
  • Long term health issues

The importance of balanced diet is not unknown and most know the benefits and the ill effects of it. To make it simpler here is an overview:

What is a balanced diet?

We all know that the right kind of balance containing the right amount of carbohydrate, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals and fibre in our daily diet comprises of what we call a balanced or healthy diet Each of these nutrients has a vital role in the all round growth and development of children. It is important for all nutrients to be present in the required amount in a balanced diet.

What are the nutrients and their functions?

1. Carbohydrates: these provide a source of energy.

2. Proteins: these are required for growth and repair.

3. Fats: these provide a supplementary source of energy and are required for absorption of fat soluble vitamins

4. Vitamins: these are organic substances required in very small quantities

5. Minerals: these are required for healthy teeth, bones and muscles.

6. Fibre: this is required to help digestion by helping intestines function correctly.

It can’t be bye bye to iddli, vadai and sambhar !

This morning’s newspaper carried a horrible new item – Iddli and Sambhar  are the worst enemies for the heart  and also the major cause for diabetes.  The medicos claim that  Tamil Nadu  has the second  largest  number of diabetics in the country.


Iddli, vadai  and  sambhar are the most  favourite breakfast items for any South Indian, not Tamilians alone. You can get iddlis right from Kanya kumari to Nagpur.  This covers all the four Southern states.


An NRI shouts from across the seas that iddlis are available in New York streets as well.  Also in England, conveys another Indian from London.


So, if the medicos and diabetes foundations want the South Indians to give up iddlis, they are asking for the Sun to shed its sheen ! The Sangam literature has a reference  to  iddlis.  The southerners started consuming iddlis  from  around the year 920 CE.  How can a food item of some 1100 years’ standing could suddenly vanish from the breakfast table? As of now, it is the main dish for breakfast and dinner in most of the homes.  Some wouldn’t mind it for lunch also.  In fact, majority  of the office and factory workers eat iddlis for lunch as well.  Wives would find it easier to pack up four or six iddlis with sambhar in a tiffin box than stuffing  it with rice, samhar and  a few vegetable side dishes for lunch of their men folk. Iddli is a popular  item for the evening snack too.  Thus it is a staple food for the entire day. A Southerner could live on iddlis alone!


That being so, is it correct on the part of the medical scientists and Diet researchers asking us to give it up because it has the potential to  give you heart attack and diabetes?? This revelation was made  at a conference on  “Nutrition in Metabolic  Disorders” at Women’s Christian college, Chennai a couple of days back.  I am sure when these gentlemen went home after the seminar, they would have been served a liberal plate of iddlis and steaming sambhar by their wives.  Do you think they would have rejected the snack as being dangerous material?  No, brother, they would have walloped the  iddlis with great relish


We have devoted much time for iddli and sambhar.  Vadai is an essential partner to iddlis.  Iddli and vadai constitute a pair and could  never be separated.


The NRIs in America and England could have got accustomed to eggs and toast for breakfast.  But did they  kick out iddli and vadai and sambhar from their menu.?  Never. A South Indian may give up smoking and hard liquor but never iddli, vadi and sambhar.


Iddli is always served in pairs and never singly. The  presentation part is very important.  Each piece should be well shaped without any frills dangling here and there along its perimeter or its contour  dented in any way.  Your appetite will shoot up when you see a well shaped and  fat looking iddli in front of your eyes..


And yet I find some eateries  manufacturing them in odd shapes and sizes  and serving them with tasteless chutneys  or sambhar which is most watery without the flavour of sambhar  in it.  Wrong.  Don’t ruin the sanctity  of the fragrance  and aroma of sambhar.


Finding the right words at the right time for the cancer sufferers

Reality bites and having to face your loved one who has just been diagnosed with cancer is pathetically hard. We are at loss for words, tongue tied and do not know what to and what not to speak. However, each word coming out of our mouth have intense implication. We must be careful while choosing the right kind of words and when in dilemma it’s better not to speak at all than to hurt his/her sentiments.

According to LA Times, several peer counselors at ‘National Breast Cancer Organization’ offered the statements they found most and least helpful to hear during their own breast cancer battles.

Right words:

“I’m here for you, and we’ll see this through together.”

“I’ll organize your friends to make dinners, drive car pools, shop, etc. — whatever would be helpful.”

“I know this is difficult for you, but please know I will do all I can to support you.”

“I’m so sorry you have to go through this, but I’m here to help in any way.”

“Would you like to tell me more about it?”

Wrong words:

“You’ll be fine.”

“You poor thing.”

“I know how you feel.”

“I know someone who died from that.”

“Call me if you need anything.”

“Will you be OK financially since you won’t be able to work?”

“I think you should ______ .”


Among many, one change that  all cancer patients undergo is having to fight the ongoing battle emotionally and physically. They become way too sensitive even to normal words or the words that haven’t had hurt him/her before. Even the people who  had the ability to laugh at themselves before start to count on words people around them speak once diagnosed with cancer. ‘ I can’t take the call. I have cancer.’ ‘ I can’t pass the remote. I have got cancer.’ – silly stuffs like that goes to show the terrible agony that he/she is going through.

The psyche of cancer sufferers are hard to understand. You never know what turns their emotional switch on. We must not say things like, “You look healthy,” when they are not, or give instances about those who had cancer and how pathetically they suffered. We should not tell them that we’ve never known anyone who was cured of cancer by using chemo, radiation, etc. Nothing would be more helpful than to be in their shoes and be empathetic.  Render the right kind of words at the right time.

Caregivers can make a difference.

Eat bananas and eat more bananas for better health

I hope the title has not given you a negative meaning.  I really mean that you should eat plenty of bananas;  don’t stop with one.  OK?

Banana is a wonderful fruit and yet we use  the name as an idiom in a derogatory way like “banana republic” (an ill managed country)   and “going  bananas” (go crazy/silly) or “go banana” etc.

If only you know and you will  know all about banana by reading this article, you will never look down upon this fruit at all and on the contrary glorify it to the skies.

Do you know, bananas contain three natural sugars –sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fibre?  A banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy.  You would have seen our cricketers swallowing some pieces in the middle of the game.   Someone tells me that it prevents cramps as well.

Research shows that  just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous  workout of ninety minutes. Thus it is  the number one fruit all athletes and other games players  prefer.

Further, it can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet. You will never undergo any kind of depression if you eat it daily; it contains  tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood  and  generally make you feel happier. It’s good to eat a couple of bananas  before you go to meet your girl friend !

It contains vitamin B6 and regulates your  blood pressure.

Your brain would function better and more effectively. Some 200 students wrote their exams successfully  and were very alert in the exam hall after they had had a couple of bananas before the exam  started.

Banana is also a grandma medicine to cure constipation. Don’t go in for any laxatives.  One or two bananas would set your stomach right.

Do you suffer from hangover after heavy drinking night? Take one banana milk shake  and  sweetened with honey and you would be a fit person for the day.

Mosquito bites could be healed  by rubbing the inside of a banana skin on the affected area; instantly you would feel free from irritation.

Are you a smoker?  Do you want to give up smoking? The B6 and B12 contained in a banana would help the body recover from  the effects of nicotine withdrawal.

According to another research carried out in New England, eating banana routinely  as part of a  regular diet can cut the risk of death  by strokes by as much as 40%

If you want to get rid of a wart, take a piece of banana skin and place it on the wart with the yellow side out;  carefully hold the skin in place with a plaster or surgical  tape.

A bun and a banana is a wholesome lunch  for several laborers who work for some eight hours carrying heavy loads or doing hard work.  And they don’t need anything else.

So,  banana is a natural remedy for many ills.  When you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrates, three times the phosphorous, five times the vitamin A and iron and twice the other vitamins and minerals.  It is also  rich in potassium and is one of the best  foods around.

Therefore, don’t you think it is time we gave up using those damaging idiomatic  phrases and replaced them  with a  phrase  like   “A banana a day, keeps the doctor away !”

I wish to thank my colleague  Anil Bhat for providing quite a bit of the above  information on the subject  in our Army Signals  network.  Please forward this article to as many colleagues as you can.

No good deed goes unpunished!

Sometimes however good we try to be, however good we try to do for others, we end up hurt and sad. Even with the best of intentions, we can have the worst of ordeals. This is something, we have no control over.

Last week, when a patient was counting money again and again for the diagnostic tests advised by the doctor, he looked broke and perplexed. He certainly looked shattered both from within and without. Long term illness has made him frail and the expense involved in his healthcare has made him lose his self esteem. This was not the first time that I met someone like him. I knew exactly what to do. I have the privilege of waiving off the consultation charges for my boss, a senior cardiologist in the country. I did exactly, what I was supposed to. I sent the patient to the billing counter asking him to do the minimal billing for the non-invasive tests at a reduced rate. The patient didn’t know what to do but his eyes glittered telling me a lot. It felt good.

I expedited the procedure and tried to wind up things for him since he had a train to catch. He is living in a remote suburbs that takes him nearly five hours to reach. The examinations went passed fast and even faster he got the reports. Even the ones that was supposed to be delivered the next day.

As I forwarded the reports to the doctor and guided the patient to the office, I was complacent. It feels good when you genuinely do something from your heart. The patient came out after a short while with a comprehensive prescription and guidelines. I explained to the patient the whole thing again. When and how to take the medications and what and what not to do for a better living. It was a long counseling, but I never felt bored. I never feel actually. As a matter of fact it gives me immense pleasure to have people understood me. The challenge still lies in their conviction to imbibe those in daily life though.

The patient smiled at me – his way of thanking me and went off only to return after half an hour. Now, he asked me something that took me by my feet. He told me that the doctor hadn’t seen him properly. When asked the reason, he told me that why else he didn’t charge him! I was taken aback by his question. did not know what to answer. Couldn’t even blame him since the healthcare industry everywhere has been so commercialized today. No one can imagine having complimentary visits to doctors’ offices.

That day, I realized something. Somethings in life never change. Who you are, some people with good values and ‘no good deed goes unpunished’.

What’s coming between you and your productivity?

Jane manages just about to reach office after dodging the hectic traffic. Punching the ID card, she rushes to the desk, declutter, gets herself a cup of black coffee. Minutes before she could even breathe deep, she gets down to check her twitter and facebook accounts and finally dives into her email boxes. Her mind is already scattered with too many things at the same time. It’s obvious that she won’t be productive as she should. This is a snippet of average citizens now. We are thriving on the stupidity of the inboxes and adopting a desk jockey lifestyle, we in turn is giving us a life full of toxicity.

So, what is coming between you and your productivity?

Your obsessiveness to the virtual world

Checking the inboxes and texting often do little to keep you up to date. As a matter of fact, you lose our creativity and thinking ability in pursuance of something that might have been avoided.

Streamlining the to do list and understanding the priorities

Most of the times, you fail to realize that in 24 hours you cannot live up to everyone’s expectations. You have to decide on your priorities in life. What should come first and what should be done first. Understanding the need of the time and doing things at the right time will make you sharp, happy and productive.

Say no to procrastination

Many of us sideline the major task and hang on to the peripherals. Saving the crux for the last doesn’t always help, especially, when you are multi tasking. Do the primary task in fresh mind, in the beginning of the day, steadily. The tertiary would be done no matter what. Procrastination is one deadly sin that keeps us off from being productive.

Eating lunch at office

You are so bogged down with job that you even want to work in lunch time. So much so that you are snacking all the time while working and do not quite getting up, stretching back, walking straight , looking up, breathing the fresh air. This doesn’t do any good to the quality of work you are doing. As much as we think that eating lunch at office would extend the working time, it actually eats up the quality time. You are slouching more, eating often and stretching the one hour job to four.

Working late at night

Whoever coined the adage, ‘early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise’, was certainly a wise man. Staying up late at night, working late hours does little to increase our productivity. We need a good sleep after the day’s work. Our biological clock doesn’t understand deadlines.

Drinking too much coffee

Caffeine does not give us lasting energy; caffeine that’s loaded with sugar is toxic. The sugar in the coffee is likely to make you hyper, spike your insulin levels, crash, and then get stored as fat. In other words, it’s not really the best thing for boosting productivity. Eat a balanced breakfast instead to keep your energy up.

Dental care during pregnancy

The happiest moment in every woman’s life is her pregnancy. Giving birth to a new life is the most beautiful gift that the Almighty could bestow us with. Every child is precious and we must take utmost care when it is still in the womb to ensure a safe delivery to a healthy baby. Routine health check ups, blood tests, sonography and not to forget, the need of regular dental examination should be parts of prenatal care. Along with others, dental hygiene is very important since gum diseases not only will affect you but also your baby.

Dental complications could arise, as a part of physiological changes, due to hormonal imbalances during pregnancy. This could relate to bleeding gums, cavity scars, mouth stinking and mouth ulcer.

Pregnancy is most nutritionally demanding time. So, its important that we fed our body by eating right for our dental hygiene.  This will ensure a healthy baby eventually. A good diet will also keep you away from morning sickness, general fatigue, stress and emotional doldrums and other pregnancy syndromes.

What to eat for healthy dental care during pregnancy?

Eat balanced diet containing dairy products, cheese, yogurt, food rich in minerals, calcium, vitamins, iron. These help in baby’s  overall growth and well developed bones, skin and teeth and a healthy heart and lungs.

What to avoid?

Avoid snacking on sweets, jellies, chocolates, soft drinks, junk food.

Avoid unpasterurized products, certain fish like exotic shark, swordfish and anything high in mercury content. Do not eat  undercooked meat and stale food.

Stop smoking and do not consume alcohol. We tend to lose control over our addictions. So, its better we quit them altogether. Remember, you are not the only one who smokes – your baby does too!

Follow good oral hygiene by brushing right and rinsing after every food intake.

Any complication including gingivitis or mouth ulcer, tumour, unusual growth in the cavity consult your dentist without delay.

What is Avocado?

It is said that the original place of avocado was Central America. It spread to Asia mostly in the middle of 19th century. Avocados are now grown in most tropical and sub-tropical countries.

Avocado shape is like a fleshy pear-shaped. It has a single large seed covered by buttery pulp. It is yellowish-green to maroon and purple in colour. The avocado tree is evergreen.

Very few fruits possess the virtues of an extraordinary character as avocado does. It is pure and wholesome.

Avocado has the finest quality of protein. Its composition is almost identical with that of milk. Its pulps are free from fibre and with water a fine emulsion can be formed which closely resembles milk in appearance. Because of this characteristic the avocado may be given safely to young infants and do the feeble invalids.

It contains more fat than any other fruit. This fat is of the highest quality, free from butyric acid. It contains a good amount of vitamin A to maintain high resistance against bacterial infection. Avocados cannot survive freezing, hence they should be eaten as fresh as possible. Avocados should not be stored refrigerator but kept at room temperature and that too only for a short time.

Tips to stay healthy with diabetes

Once a diabetic is always an diabetic. We cannot change this fact. However, we can live healthy even with increased blood sugar level. Following is a stepwise guide to live a healthy life even with the deadly disease.

Decrease your blood sugar level by monitoring your glucose level regularly. Keep digital glucometer handy for checking your sugar levels at home.

Maintain your cholesterol and blood pressure level. Increased levels of both aggravate diabetes and kills our body slowly. Periodical check on the cholesterol and BP levels help in controlling the diabetes level as well.

Stop smoking and moderate your alcohol consumption habit.

Brush your teeth two times daily, keep your gums healthy and maintain a good dental hygiene. Visit the dentist once in every year or as and when required.

Consume prescription drugs as and when prescribed. Do not self medicate yourself for you never know.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle by modifying your food habit. Walk regularly for at least 30 minutes, go to gym and relax in between work.

Learn to cope with your stress. While it is impossible to get rid of stress, we can handle with with ease and stress free.

Prevent yourself from dehydration. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables and fluids.

Use mouth washes after every meal. This will help prevent gum diseases

Clean yourself. Check your feet for cuts, bleeds, blisters, sores, toenails and swellings

Lastly, stay informed, stay aware and stay fit.

One In Which I Mention Two Infections

It was the season of change and infectious diseases when even close bosom friends would avoid looking at your maturing infection. Into this change of season, one day, I let myself awake with my eyelids sticking together. But I shall avoid any sticky details here and rush straight to school because it was after all a school day and I have already been late searching for my goggles. In school I joined the goggle-eyed gang featuring spectacular spectacles over their eyes. We were the kings for the day and walked unopposed despite being late. Even Lawrence sir was not at his post to tackle the late-comers just to avoid us. Had He Man come out of the comics and held aloft his sword to say aloud, “I have the power”, he would have felt much the same as I felt that day. I would take out my goggles and in the same fashion say, “I have the Conjunctivitis.”

The classrooms were agog with students talking about the aliens penetrating amongst them. It was done surreptitiously as if in a horrifying science-fiction thriller. An innocuous-looking class, with no signs of extraterrestrial invasion, would suddenly become a Petri dish of chimerical infection. A boy, right in the middle of the classroom, would without warning stand up and declare that he has the infection. The whole class around him would burst out like a bomb being detonated inside a pomegranate. And if it so happens that an under-prepared teacher is present in the class at that moment then he or she is more likely than not to fall off his or her chair. Moreover, if there was one student, soon there were two and three and four and more until the despicable gang became a force in itself. The infection targeted without any discrimination. From the laggers and shaggers of the last benches to the pretentious elites of the front benches, all hierarchies and classifications were diluted.

Soon the word came in whispers that those who have conjunctivitis are to take leave for the day and to come to school only after they are fully cured. But who sent the word? Who authorized the mass leave? Was there any authenticity in the news? And what about the class tests that the students who take leave would miss? These questions remained unanswered. So the gang decided that we would go to Father Peter Arulraj, the Prefect, for confirmation and clarifications. Thus ventured out of the classroom the boys in white, flaunting their chic sunglasses, to seek out the Prefect. Father Peter, being experienced, anticipated such a move and was found nowhere in his office. We stood exasperated as did another similar group from another class. Christie blew at his fake Ray Ban. Talib did a Rajnikant with his sunglass. And we all decided to pursue Father to the remotest corner of the school, although the office staff did confirm our leave. We combed floor to floor, room by room, always missing him by a fraction of a minute. Many a class found Father entering their room at inopportune moments when he apparently had no business being there. It was only when we split into two groups that we were able to trap him from opposite sides into a classroom. Father Peter was a man of good disposition. And he dismissed us quickly with some words of consolation.

The second infection, which I have avoided naming in words, but which pervades the previous three paragraphs, is bonhomie. Anyone who enters the precincts of St. Anthony’s High School is bound to be infected by this spirit of exuberance and good-naturedness. The spirit seeps into the relationship between students and teachers. It is this bonhomie inculcated in me since my schooldays that helps me to spread the joy of living as I go about the world. But of late I find that some misguided people are trying to cure this infection by questioning the wisdom of the teachers. Providence forbids such a cure. Otherwise, how will the lamps be ignited without the spirit?

Create a New Way to Eat

Your Friend: Whole Foods

With so many popular diets available it’s easy to get caught up in the low-carb versus low-fat debate. Don’t. Instead, concentrate on the quality of the foods you eat. If you eat “whole” foods high in pro­tein, fiber and natural fats instead of processed foods you’ll lose weight. Fiber, especially, fills you up and slows down the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream. This helps stabilize your blood sugar level and reduce cravings. High-fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans and whole-grain products tend to be low in calories as well. When you eat healthy “whole” foods rich in the nutrients your body needs, you naturally regulate your appetite, lose weight and protect your body against disease.

Examples of whole foods include:

• chicken

• milk

• meat

• olives

• eggs

• yogurt with no sugar added

• strawberries

• whole-grain bread

• just about any food that isn’t packaged

• The Enemy: Processed Foods

When it comes to losing weight, processed foods, especially processed foods made with white flour and sugar, are the main roadblock. First, these foods don’t have enough of the filling nutrients and fiber your body needs. Second, they can cause your blood sugar level to spike too high, then drop too low. Whenever your blood sugar level is low you get hungry and you eat more even though your body might not need those extra calories.

Culprit #1: Refined (Enriched) Flour

Refined flours are made from grains but they contain very little—less than 20 percent—of the nutrients, and none of the filling fiber, found in the natural whole grains from which they are made. Most packaged food products arc made primarily from refined or enriched flours unless the labeling specifically states otherwise.

Culprit #2: Sugar

Sugar, just like refined flour, is an empty source of calories. Try to make every food choice count toward providing the nutrients you need. You are much better off eating foods that contain energy plus nutrients andfiber instead of empty calories. That doesn’t mean you have to give up sugar entirely, just eat it in moderation.

Weight-Loss Goals

Setting the right goals can make all the difference

your success or failure, so always:

• Set goals for changing your lifestyle, rather than losing a specific number of pounds. If you eat healthfully and exercise, you will improve your life in a number of ways, not just by los­ing pounds.

• Make your lifestyle goals specific. It’s easy to say, “I’ll eat more fruits and vegetables,” but you’re more likely to stick to the plan when your goal is, “I’ll have a fruit salad with my lunch every day this week.”

• Make your goals measurable. Instead of saying, “I want to be more fit,” say,”I want to be able to walk for an hour without getting winded.”

• Choose a realistic way of reaching your goal. If you eventually want to exercise for an hour a day, start with a goal of twenty minutes three times a week, and work up to an hour slowly.

• Don’t make your goals too rigid. Who could possibly stick to a goal of “I’ll never eat sweets again”? Instead, say, “I’ll start by substituting a piece of fruit for that vending-machine candy bar I’ve gotten into the habit of eating at work.”

• Set a time limit for achieving your goals, or you may never get around to them.

• Pick a reward for meeting your goals, such as, “If I meet my exercise goal for this week, I’ll treat myself to a movie on Saturday night.”

Some of you have a goal in mind. Before reading further, let’s make sure your goal is medically appropriate and realistic. One way of getting a handle on what your weight should be is to use the doctor’s preferred tool, the Body Mass Index (BMI) chart for adults. Measure your weight and height, then see where you fall on the chart following.

The ugly side of Budget 2011: More taxes on Healthcare

The finance minister has announced a 5% hike on health care taxes in the recent budget 2011. This means that the patients have to pay Rs 5000 to 25,000, at least, on the heart surgeries, kidney transplants, knee replacement surgery, brain surgeries and all those expensive life saving treatments. Now, who on earth going to suffer?

Presenting the Budget for 2011-12, Mukherjee proposed  ‘a tax on all services provided by hospitals with 25 or more beds that have the facility of central air-conditioning.’ He further added: “Though the tax is on high-end treatment, I propose to sweeten the pill by an abatement of 50 per cent so that the actual burden is kept at 5 per cent of the value of service.”

According to the central government only the air-conditioned, privately run, hospitals are going to be taxed by the new tax hike. I think this is silly. The rich people have to pay the tax because they are the ones who go to the air conditioned 2,3, 5 star hospitals. I have no idea where the central ministry is coming from. Is there any decent hospital in the metro cities or even urban towns where the OT does not work without the air conditioning?

Instead of providing affordable and free health benefits, it has now hiked the healthcare taxes. Couldn’t they have spared the common people from the healthcare taxing? In a country where the bulk of the population cannot afford the minimum healthcare privileges, this is indeed a farce. With the new budget and the announcement of the new healthcare tax, they are intimidated beyond anything.

Getting treated in a medium-sized hospital will now cost us more. The expense going to go up all round. The doctor’s fees, the diagnostics, the hospitalization, the non-invasive treatments – will also have to pay the service tax. Earlier, only cashless payments were under the service tax axe, now even reimbursements will be taxed.

India spends less than 1% of the GDP on healthcare industry. So, where does the money to maintain the healthcare infrastructure come from? It comes from the common people. With the new announcement, the private hospitals will have more excuses to pass on the burden to the patients. And the patients who need optimum care and benefits will now going to be burdened with an additional physical and emotional burden. I think, India can do better than this, just as it can do in all other spheres. We need some responsible and empathetic government who understands and cares. I am waiting for that day.

Why do children need to drink milk?

Calcium constitutes a very important part of our health, especially for the growing children and youth who require it to the optimum. The fact that it is not produced by our body makes it all the more important. It has to be supplemented from outside sources, both natural and chemical.

Why do we need calcium?

provides bones with rigidity and strength.

confers rapid growth of bones in children

plays vital tole in message transmission to the brain

helps in the regulation of enzymes and hormones

aids in bl0od clotting, heart functioning

plays vital role in the pregnancy

helps in the production of lymphatic fluids

helps in transport of nutrients and other substances

helps in the transformation of light to electrical impulses in the retina

What are the dietary sources of calcium?

Our body cannot produce calcium on its own. So it has to be supplemented either through natural food resources or lactates, gluconates and carbonates.

Dairy products contain huge amount of calcium. So it is important that we include dairy products in the diet of the children on daily basis. This could be anything from milk, milk shakes, chocolates, ice-creams to butter, cheese and chhana, kheer. Other natural food rich in calcium includes meat, seafood, green leafy vegetables, peanuts, seeds and all varieties of seeds, legumes and nuts.

What does deficiency of calcium cause?

Deficiency of calcium can lead to innumerable problems in grownups. This happens due to improper diet during childhood. It’s important that the basic diet of children contains enough of calcium products. The conditions that may arise due to deficiency of calcium includes:


bowlegs, knock knees

poorly developed bones

poor growth

cramp in legs

irregular heartbeat

poor sleep disorder

Why do children need to drink milk?

Milk and milk products are loaded with calcium and other nutrients. So, it is the easiest way to include dairy products and get the sufficient amount of calcium in diet. If milk is removed from diet, it can lead to insufficient ingestion of calcium – something that’s going to stay with the kids forever.

The ‘Julie and Julia’ syndrome – day5

Understanding the changes within

Till the last day of her life actress Parveen Babi was convinced that Amitabh Bachchan was trying to poison her. Parveen Babi had suffered from Schizophrenia all through the later part of her life.  The height of “innocence” they say is “madness” where one is unaware of his own self.

Is it fate then, that lead to these circumstances and conditions in life? Are we doomed to it? Or is there a way out?

Don’t we all live schizophrenic lives to some degree or other? Can we guarantee that our view of this world is always clear and correct?.
Every time we perceive something, it is always filtered through our emotions, our desire, jealousy, pride, ignorance, or aggression. And when insecure we pass judgements, we compare and get defensive.

The origin of perception is always from within and not outside. A piece of music may bring pleasure to some and discomfort to others. The same  tourist place may bring happiness to some and displeasure to others.
All the different perceptions we have, arise from our very own minds. Through our prejudices, which is our own creation. Or sometimes through external conditioning, when  we accept what has been taught to us without analyzing or examining its  reliability or authenticity.

The sum total of all our experiences ( the internal reactions to the external events ) and conditioning condense within us and we form a belief system. This belief system is what takes us through our life. Either towards prosperity or towards doom.

Lets have a look at what then could be the winning formula.
Studies show that our brain vibrates at Alpha level (9 to 14 Hz) when in a calm meditative state and at Theta level (4 to 8 Hz) which is the deep relaxation or problem solving state, when all the distracting thoughts are blocked out and  a state of awareness is brought about. Awareness provides the presence of mind to see the assumptions and false beliefs before we invest in them. And when we no longer live by the false beliefs in our mind we no longer have unnecessary emotional reactions. With practice we can choose in the moment not to believe what our mind is saying. This allows us to see the emotional roller coaster coming.

Meditation brings about a stability in the mind and takes us to a state where we no longer ‘react’ (with our emotions), but we ‘respond’ (taking responsibility of our role in the situation and remaining conscious of our feelings, thoughts and reasons and being aware of the bigger picture ).

Self-awareness is empowering. We almost always perceive ourselves as a part of the system outside . We believe that the system and the design outside is fixed and perfect and that we need to fit in there. With self-awareness we can  look at ourselves in isolation. It is in the simplest terms, the discovery of one’s own personality.

Making meditation an integral part of one’s daily routine is the key to the whole predicament.

The mind can weave itself warmly in the cocoon of its own thoughts, and dwell a hermit anywhere.” – James Russell Lowell


Today is the  27thday of my self-proclaimed exercise regimen (read my post “The julie and Julia syndrome – day1”). The compulsion I have laid upon myself to be accountable in my blogs for the same has turned out to be a very very successful experiment. I am feeling light. All the aches and pains in my body have disappeared. I have lost most of the flab.
But certain areas like around the waist etc still measure the same.  I have not only, not broken my consistency, but I now aim to link it to some sport. Though I have yet to decide upon something specific. Meanwhile I completed  the basic course of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s ‘Art of Living’ .

There is paragliding, there is bungee jumping and then there is the Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s  ‘Sudarshan Kriya’ . Only experience will speak. The thrill is something that cannot be put in words.

Keep your germs to yourself

Pathogenic germs are there everywhere, all around us, in the environment. The so called filthy, dirty places are the hub of germs and deadly infectious diseases – this we all know but it’s the clean and supposedly germ free places that should be our concern. For instance your dinner plate can have millions of germs thriving on it. Or the sparkling clean floors, walls, your kitchen? All could be the thriving place for tiny warmongers. You never know!

There are various ways by which you can keep yourself germs free – both preventive and curative. Beside, vaccinations and inoculation, which are the popular ways, antibiotics impede the growth of germs by killing their growth and spreading all over the organs. Our personal hygiene and the consciousness of a cleaner environment add to the germs free and disease free life. It’s also important that you know the priority of keeping the germs to yourself. Here is how:

How to keep your germs to yourself

Cover your nose and mouth while sneezing, coughing, blowing nose.

Discard used tissues in the trash immediately. Cover the trash bin.

Wash your hands after sneezing, blowing your nose or coughing.

Use warm water and soap or alcohol base gel, sanitizers, disposable wipes to wash your hands.

Try to stay at home since that not only helps you recover fast but also helps the environment from spreading the contagious germs.

See a doctor and abide by his prescription. Take rest.

If asked, use face mask.

This doesn’t take much, does it? So, make sure you do your best to keep your environment germs free and the people safe. Happy living safe and healthy!