Diwali Sweets – To eat or not to eat?

Most of us have grown up eating many homemade delicacies made by our mothers, aunts and other ladies, in our case dad and husband too. Indian food and festivals are inseparable. My mom used to have specific delicacies on festivals. She never made anything mismatch to that season of the festival. Say for example, for Nagpanchami ( It is a festival where we pray to the Snake God) she used to make naivedhya of Sakhar Bhat ( Sugar Saffron Rice). On the last day of Ganapati, that is on Ananta Chaturdashi, she used to make Banana Pachadi ( Kelachi Koshimbir) which she used to call as “ Anantachi Koshimbir,” these things were seldom repeated as may be those festive days would be perfect weather-wise to have this all. After her, I have never seen anybody so thoughtful with regards to food. Come rainy season and we used to refrain from Brinjal, Onion completely, and Garlic, the simple reason would be that rains make the digestion sluggish, if we eat something like onion, we would need a good digestive power, as the winter approach, the digestion gets back to normal and after Diwali, we can actually start eating Brinjal, Onions, and Garlic. There is a specific day called “ Tulasi Vivah” when one can start eating everything. Diwali sweets were made well in advance and were allowed to be eaten only on the Abhyangasnan Day ( Narakchaturdashi) the tradition which continues till date.

Why this much thought in eating?

Because our food science is very well advanced and it is as per the season. Seasons affect the gut and digestive power of the stomach. If we eat as per the digestive power, we are never to fail. I totally believe in eating seasonal food. Diwali is meant for eating. Good food and Good times equal Diwali. Diwali Palaharam is a matter of great interest across India. With the talks of diet and nutrition in place, life has become difficult.

How the supply in the market changes our perception of food.

7 to 8 years ago, PepsiCo introduced oats in India. The campaign was making India heart healthy. The campaign was successful and slowly other companies like Britannia, Kellogg’s also rushed to bring in the most healthy cereal of the world “ Oats.” Looking at the facts, it is apparent that slowly with these types of campaigns India has become 200 crore market for cereals which is nothing but packaged food presented wonderfully and advertised really well. Same goes with other packaged goodies such as Wafers, Noodles and so on. The question on my mind is why would we give up our food and go ahead to eat something which does not even taste a bit like Indian food. The answer is the power of ADVERTISING and BRANDING.

How colors, advertising, branding, and campaigns change the food scenario?

Nobody branded Poha, Upma, Idli, Dosa the way we are bombarded with Pizza, Noodles and Masala oats advertisements. Same goes with Diwali Snacks. After Navratri, you can watch Cadbury advertising about how to gift Chocolates ( Cadbury Chocolate Pack) this Diwali to your loved ones, neighbors and so on. I mean really? When did the warmth of homemade ladoo, murukku, shankarpali was replaced by something made in the factory with many other products with loads of preservatives?

Oats Chivda, Ladoo Without Sugar and Gluten Free Chakli

There cannot be Chivda without Poha, Corn Poha, or Sabudana Poha period. There cannot be ladoo without sugar ( palm sugar or jaggery are good replacements of sugar), and there cannot be chakli without gluten as Chakli wouldn’t happen if there is no Gluten in the mix. So, the gist of all the above is, as we always say, eat in moderation. Have those long walks every day consistently to feel good and fit.
No million dollar company can be worried about your heart, and it’s health though they claim. Ultimately, you are the only person who knows your body and its needs. So, eat homemade, think homemade and seasonal. Whether should you have all the sweets? Please have as you wouldn’t get the warmth and thought with which it is conceived and made.

Happy Diwali.

A New Beginning and A New Experience

A new beginning is very exciting, it becomes more meaningful when shared with family and friends.

As our dear blog readers you all are our extended family members and we could not wait further to tell you about our new venture and the kind of experience it has been since last month.

Around a month ago, I had severe headache radiating to right shoulder to fingers. It was so severe that I could barely talk. One such afternoon when all the pain was getting settled, I went to Shrilekha’s place over a tea. We stay just a couple of KM apart so occasional tea is always welcome besides we consider it as a quick huddle over looming matters.

As we were discussing different things, Shrilekha being her usual very enterprising self came up with a thought that Chennai has very poor quality of Phulkas and we should certainly do something about it.

There was no further thought before we decided that we should do Phulkas.

Initially it just started with Phulkas and slowly, as per the demand we started serving dinner. Word of mouth was our main ally when it came to spreading word. We cannot thank enough to our friends who spread the word so quickly. As we were doing dinners which included One gravy and Phulkas, we slowly started getting requests for lunches too. All office goers needed a home cooked lunch, so that requirement was fulfilled. Recently, we completed one month of this endeavour called “Joshi Caterers”

The main mission of this venture is to reach out to people who need home cooked food. As people love pizza, they also love to eat Puran Poli. It is just about the right taste and on time delivery.

Most of the customers which we came across never ate outside because one can not eat food without onion garlic outside. Similarly, food we should eat when we are fasting like Sabudana Vada or Sabudana Khichadi is never served in any restaurant in Chennai.

We served it and people liked it very much, we are so grateful to each of them who encouraged us with their amazing feedbacks.

Having home cooked food is a bliss. I was outside for 8 long years of my life and I have always felt the dearth of good home-made food so much so that in the last 2 years I started cooking on my own. Even if there was food, it was not made with quality ingredients which is even more harmful to the body.

As every business has its challenges, we too come across some difficulties every now and then. But when priorities are set right and as a team when we work towards getting a solution it all falls back in place.

Apart from Shrilekha and Me, there is a team of 5 people who are constantly working at making this experience better with every delivery. Our families have been extremely encouraging, without them we could not have pulled it up.

Meal planning was being done at the micro level and now it is done at Macro Level. We think and plan all our meals carefully so that they are nutritious and include seasonal varieties of vegetables.

I would always say that nothing can be accomplished without collaboration.

My people Khaleel, Kamakshi, Vignesh, Murali Mama, Mr.Joshi have been an integral part of the whole process. They encouraged us to take a step ahead and are with us in this satisfying yet challenging journey. Deliveries and procurement is entirely looked after Khaleel, Vignesh and Murali Mama. Culinary doubts and issues are quickly sorted by Baba. Kamakshi is an efficient cook and an amazing help. These people are my people and as a close knit family would stand by each other in the ups and downs of the life, they have been there just behind us as pillar of strength.

Well begun is half done..the journey so far was satisfying and god willing, it would be so in future.

 

Freedom from Unhealthy Habit – Hum Fit to India Fit

Freedom is subjective in every aspect of our life. As we go ahead and make vows to make ourselves fit along with many celebrities on the eve of Independence Day, we need to really identify what is that one unhealthy habit which is taking toll on our body. Identifying that first will help us take further steps towards fitness. What is the definition of unhealthy? Well, anything which is not in coordination with your body is unhealthy. Today, we are going to emphasize on sitting. As per the new norms “Sitting is the new smoking”. Knowingly or unknowingly we sit a lot throughout the day. While commuting in the car or the bus, while at the office, while dining at the restaurant, while at home watching TV and so on.

An average human being spends around 7 hours of sitting during the day which is way above the guidelines specified by World Health Organization.

Sedentary lifestyle has been told to be the root cause of many health related problems. Sitting is considered as bad, but sitting with bad posture makes it even worse. I have seen people in mid 30s having severe back problems. This is primarily due to prolonged and wrong sitting posture.

What can you do about it?

Move every thirty minutes from your place to another place if you are working at the office. Take short breaks in between work so that you have necessary break from prolonged sitting posture. You can also have fitbit telling you to complete 250 steps every hour so that you don’t remain sedentary throughout the day.

Bad sitting posture can be improved by getting a proper ergonomic chair. If that is not possible, see to that your back is straight while sitting and you are not exerting pressure on your tailbone. Generally, prolonged sitting makes us spread our legs on a stool or a chair. This changes the sitting posture exerting pressure on the vertebral column.

If you are working from home, sitting on the floor with back straight helps. Sitting on the floor and getting up every hour for short breaks may also help strengthen the joints. We sit on tables, chairs, sofas, car and most of us have completely forgotten how it is to sit down and get up without holding any object for support. There was a challenge on internet sometime before which prompted many people to get up from floor without any support.

Get a standing desk. This is my absolutely favourite. Getting standing desk is very comfortable solution to prolonged sitting. Get a desk with proper height so that you can effortlessly carry on your workday with it.

Instead of doing all these workarounds it is always better to move often and reduce the risks related to sedentary lifestyle. Freedom from something as unnatural as sitting ( on sofa, in the car, on a chair) is necessary today. We are born to be active and we should be throughout our lives. That is the real definition of freedom for the human body.

This blog post is for the independence blog train by UK and Sarah

I failed – In my no sugar challenge :)

I failed – In my no sugar challenge :)

It is ok to fail, many people have told me but I seldom have failed in my many many pursuits if I ignore the surprise math test in 11std. Failure to do something does not feel great, it feels sad to not to have accomplished something.

No sugar challenge started when me and my colleague Vignesh who is a sports person were discussing about how no sugar has helped him.

He was talking about refined sugar and how completely stopping it helped him.

I was impressed and thought let me start it at once. It was exciting..no sugar..whatsoever with a resolve.

Next day I woke up to banana as always and some time later I tried having the no sugar tea. One sip of it was not great but overall it was fine. May be my taste buds were happy with the sweet taste of banana already so they did not complain much about the no sugar tea. I generally take one coffee around 11 pm, so my dear cook Kamakshi had to be told specifically that I am having this “vratam” please don’t indulge yourself in giving your akka (that is me) a great cup with a good quantity of sugar.

She was surprised because I am the one against all possible fad diets and fad rules about food.

Her coffee is out of the world but having it with no sugar was 🙁 never mind. I was ok with it. 6th day was Sunday. Little Ms. K is fond of chocolates and kulfi so is her dad. Both love sweets to the core and they indulge as they please. This Sunday, I really refrained from all types of indulgences deliberately. I was the topic of discussion at the breakfast table and everybody was condemning my resolve of no sugar.

I am not a foodie and I do not crave for sweets too but still people felt like I am depriving myself from my free will of having sweets.

Around 10 days of no sugar I started feeling as follows:

  • I was more alert
  • Slept well through the night
  • I felt that my oral cavity was healthy and fresh
  • No sluggishness throughout the day
  • My overall energy was constant without a slump.

It was around 12th day that I got a call from one of my friends. She invited me as a sumangali for Varalakshmi Vratam and I had to indulge myself in the naivedya that she served. It indeed had sweets and I did eat everything she served. That day we attended an evening food award function where dinner spread had an amazing variety of sweets which I have not tasted or had..I tasted around 5 sweets that day…TASTED (not indulged). So, my vratam actually failed that day and my belief that none of the fad rules work got reinforced.

Though I am back to my no sugar routine, there is practically no point in refraining from anything. Balancing is the key. You got to balance everything, your food, sugar intake, rice intake, salt intake and workout to maintain healthy lifestyle.  

I have failed in my resolve but I like my no sugar coffee. Kamakshi is also used to no sugar coffee for akka..that is more than enough at this point 🙂

Left Doubters Behind with Pinkathon

Left Doubters Behind with Pinkathon

I have been obese all my life. The brief duration that I was my ideal weight lasted around 2 years during my hostel stay and the other time when I was suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome ( IBS).

In the hostel, I was super malnourished and was homesick. I never quite liked food made in a mess and a couple of times I had to rush back home with gastritis during 4-year tenure.

After marriage and delivery and 2.5 years of breastfeeding, I wanted to shed some weight and landed myself in trouble because of the foolish diet food which was sold by a famous gym in the city. I followed that diet for around 1 year and lost a right amount of weight, only to find that I was in this vicious cycle of stomach pain, diarrhoea and vomits. Here again, I would like to say that I was my ideal weight

( weight loss can also happen with diseases, and you can lose those last 10 pounds to diarrhoea too) but in an acutely malnourished body which used to give up often.

I have written a lot about sustainable food habits and lifestyle, and I can not emphasize the importance more. After IBS, I was on medication for the whole year to the point that putting a tablet in my mouth would give a gag. But then, one day, I decided against it. I decided that if it pains I will bear it all and I did..slowly changed my food habits..brought myself back to regular food eating routine. I did not avoid anything but did not overeat. Started training myself with cardio, strength training, and HIIT.

A bit of more HIIT and you may injure your knee, heels and so on.

For a brief period again I was THIN (literally), this time it was no diet, it was workout which would go on injuring my body slowly…By this time I had already run the Wipro Chennai Marathon. It was a 10km distance. How did I do it? Well, it wasn’t easy. I was running for the first time. So I did not know how it would work. I completed it successfully.

The second 10k I ran, at a whim, registered just 2 days before and no practice.

But Pinkathon was different!

I was already doing 100 days of running.

100 days of running is an initiative taken by runners around the world, where one should run 100 days.

It does not have to be a 5km run, it can be 2km, 3km or the bare minimum that you can run every day. One can log in the information on their portal to assess the progress. This was a kick start. I had already started walking 10k every day and knew that it should progress to jog or run. Slowly, with 100 days of running, I could run 2km every day.

Body is a wonderful machine. Slowly, it got used to the 2km, and I felt nothing. Initially, there were many changes, but as I got used to it, it was more of a routine. I had to break the plateau, and I decided that I should run a 10k and see whether I am really capable of it. There were around 15 days for Pinkathon, luckily and we (Shrilekha and I) registered. Most of you have seen the journey of preparation. We were running every day (2-3-5 km) and slowly, we were ok with 5 km distance. Shri was covering it for around 45 mins and me about 50 mins. The day of Pinkathon arrived. Had a Chevazhai ( Red Banana) before going, we got ourselves dropped near Napier Bridge and walked around 2 km. There was a lot of buzz with Zumba and all happening around.

Milind Soman is a brand ambassador of Pinkathon, he came on the stage, and I could just say “ Wow.” Such an inspired morning it was.

Milind flagged the race, and we were on our own ( Shrilekha and I ). Yeah, we don’t run together because she is much faster than me.

After running two, 10km races, I knew that

I do not have to rush and run with other people that are the biggest mistake anybody would do while they are running.

When the race started everybody started running, I was the last person to leave Napier Bridge of all 10k participants. But that did not bother me.

First 1 km of the run is building my ammunition, I have a severe issue of breathlessness. So,   I have to make my lungs and body ready for the long run.

As I crossed 2km mark, it was good, I was leaving behind most of the junta who were walking. Till 5k it was easy. I did have some water at 5k.

The km marks were very haphazard, I never saw 6k, 7k mark.

8k was tough because there were two bridges, which were tough to climb especially when I was running out of my ammunition.

What did I learn yet again?

Running is a mind game, you quit in your mind, your body stops

Never compete or compare your performance with anybody. Everybody prepares; differently, everybody has a different lifestyle.

While running, get your lungs to work first which would later fuel your performance, if you are running on the breaths which you are taking on the go, it will deplete your energy ( Too technical but I felt it so..)

Never ever gulp a lot of water at the water stations, SIP it.

And celebrate your effort and pace whatever it is. 🙂

I am proud of Shrilekha who completed the race in 90 mins which is a great feat. I have learned from this race and would undoubtedly work hard to perform at my best.

Thank you all for constant encouragement. For those who are thinking, we did this for weight loss, I only have a thing to say, we are way past weight losses.. 🙂

It was a great journey, more so because all of you were a part of it. Let’s gear up for The Wipro Chennai Marathon in Jan 2019. See you at the start of the preparations. Speaking of doubters..I am one of my biggest doubter..so I believed in my capacity of running this time..hope the streak continues.

Is Something Bothering You?

Is Something Bothering You?

Such a direct and straight question isn’t it? In the changing times, things that bother us are many more than things that make us happy. If you just sit and relax, your mind quickly revolves around stuff which you did not like for that day or for that week.

In fact, there would be thousand other good things that must have happened to you in due course but our mind concentrates on the stuff which we did not like.  When something is really bothering us we are seldom at peace.

The other day I met one of my friend in the market. She is a great girl having a good sense of humour and seeing her at the market was a pleasant coincidence. We both were very glad but she quickly talked to me about something which was bothering her all these days. I lend her a patient ear but I really felt her need to be talking to someone even if that someone is not so close.

Here there are two things at play, first is her restless mind which is focussing on stuff which was bothering her for a long time. And the second is that

whatever was bothering her was stopping her from looking beyond that particular aspect. I do not blame her but we are wired to think it that way.

Venting out is perfectly fine but when it bothers beyond venting there is always a solution

“Ask yourself, will this issue bother me 5 years down the line?” if the answer is “No” then it is not worth thinking about.

 

Now a day, I don’t remember what was bothering me a week ago 😉

One of the accounts manager at a renowned bank is an acquaintance, he has been in the business since last couple of decades. He has a happy family and overall great career just as one would want in the early forties. I met him some days ago and he started talking to me about how the bank leadership is changing and the challenges he is facing at his workplace, he was restless, wanted to go back to the earlier scenario which existed at his workplace but it was in vain.

There was an interesting survey conducted in an organization where they asked every employee “ Would you rather work for change or just complain?” More than 80% of them answered “Do I have to pick?, This is hard.”  🙂 🙂 🙂

Most often we do not want to step out of our comfort zone and resist change which might open a new door of opportunity. Discussing the status quo with someone and working a way out of it could be a great workaround.

Recently I saw a video on facebook where a man has a pen and paper. He has an ant on the paper. As the ant walks from one end to other, the man draws a line in front of the ant. The ant thinks that it is an obstruction and finds another path. Actually, it can very well cross the line but it does not. That is how our mind is.

We confine it as per our convenience and think it as an obstacle which is non-existant.

Letting something bother you is okay, for sometime, we all are humans but letting it take a toll on your thought process is not worth it.

 

Is something bothering you? Pour your questions in the comment.

SurveyRef: http://derekodwyer.com/2013/05/business-needs-to-change-team-do-not-want-to-ireland/