Bad times are Good

If you’re someone whose life seems to be falling apart right now, here are some Sunday thoughts I wanted to share with you all. Before you go in and read, I want to give you a warm hug and say that it’s easier said than done but know that it will all be okay in the end. And I say this as I myself stand in the middle of some grave problems where some of my family members are suffering from terminal illnesses, my partners’ job is uncertain, financial liabilities are lingering over our heads and my own health is deteriorating all of a sudden.  Basically, the start to year 2020 has not been that great for us. After days of worrying about it all, the situation has sadly not improved much.

As I lay in my bed this morning, wide awake, I was reflecting on how my plans for this year have gone for a toss because life rarely goes as planned, right? Being a positive person that I am, I was trying to figure out what good could be coming out of all this? Right now, it feels like I am in the middle of an avalanche and that the world is crashing. And that’s when I thought maybe it’s just about perspective. Having a deeper thought about the situation, made me see some positivity that I wanted to share with everyone. Life will not remain like this forever. There are a few things we should be looking forward to in times of adversity:

  1. Tough times unite families and reveal true friends: Good times are best enjoyed with Family and friends and Bad times are best endured with the same set of people. Unfortunately, not all people who are a part of your happiness or success would be a part of your bad times. What else was the need to coin the term “Fair weather friend” after all? No matter how widely separated you are, in terms of distance, from your siblings or your parents, their hearts shudder at the thought of your suffering. Adversity does bring a family together – that’s the beauty of blood relationships. And then there are some friends like family who have been with you since childhood and who have seen you go through your successes, your failures, your heartbreaks. These are the people who would kick your ass when you make a blunder. They would also stay the night with you at the hospital after your father’s heart surgery. You can turn to them and cry as loud as you want to because they won’t judge you or get tired of your woes. Hard times make you cherish these people more than you did before!
  2. Character Building: Problems in our life are beyond our control but how we react to them is not. And that’s what character is all about. We can either choose to be miserable and hateful towards the world thinking that all the problems in the world have been bestowed only on us or we can show the strength of our character, facing the problems head on , and set an example for those around us. The choice is ours.
  3. Being Grateful: We (including myself) take good times in our lives for granted. You might be nodding your head and saying that you thank God at every good thing that happens to you but I am sure your definition of “Good” is bench marked higher than what should be. The recent demise of NBA star Kobe Bryant and his 14 year old daughter emphasize that “Going to work and coming back home” is a blessing that each one of us should be grateful for but I am sure most of us take that for granted. That’s what adversities (in our lives or in others’) do to us – they make us see that the life “was not that bad” before this. Why at all did I waste time nagging and complaining that it’s not perfect? It isn’t going to be. For anybody. Ever.
  4. Becoming wiser: Of course, no one wants to learn it the hard way but “bad times are the best teacher”. You’d have never realized the problem with lending out money to “that friend” to help with his credit card bills until you needed help with some money that one time and he didn’t have “anything” to help you with. After you’ve overcome your problems, you’d find yourself to be a much wiser person, for your own benefit and also for the benefit of those around you. If that’s not enough, you’d have heroic stories to tell to your grandchildren about how you survived a tough time with the help of family and friends in turn inculcating similar values in them.
  5. It only goes up-hill from here: The best thing about life is its cyclic nature. The good balances bad in your life. The highs make up for lows in your life. After dusk, there will be a dawn or else the world will stop. So, even if you find yourself in the middle of an avalanche (like I feel right now), believe that there will be a path that will take you uphill from here. Life is constantly changing and evolving. Our role is to accept the change instead of resisting it.

Here’s hoping that life will soon turn out to be a happy place for all of you. Till then, stay strong!

Picture Credits :Photo by freestocks.org from Pexels

He’s not for you!

If he does not
keep you warm on a long cold night
make you feel complete holding you tight
worship every inch of your body
see you as a special somebody,
Then he is not for you!

If he does not
Remain up to listen to your endless stories
Care how you like your morning coffee
Leave you the last piece of cake
Travel miles just to make up your day
Then he is not for you!

If he does not
Comfort when you break down
Feel your pain as one of his own
Appreciate your sensitivity
Remind you of his loyalty,
Then he is not for you!
If he does not
Make you laugh as much as he makes you cry
Pull you in for a kiss after “Goodbye”
Feel the same depth of emotions as you do,
He might be the best you ever knew
But Darling! He is just not for you!

Starting 2020 with a Bang!

This morning, I was reading a thread on twitter which asked people to share their biggest learning as the year 2019 comes to a close. I read through multiple comments and realized that most people had to share what didn’t go well. I was wanting to see if anyone shares what they did well and would like to continue next year. But sadly, couldn’t find any such post. I think we all (including myself) are in the habit of looking at the glass half-empty rather than half-full. Even if a little something is missing from life, we grieve over it. If our needs are fulfilled, our family is healthy and happy, I bet we will still find something that is not quite right. I wanted to share this post to share my perspective around the most common of these feelings and how to see the positive and move ahead:

If you feel cheated on: Can you go back and change the past? Can you change the behaviour of somebody else? More often than not, we bear the burden of someone else’s misdoing. If someone was not loyal, how can that be your fault? And if it’s not your fault, why should you suffer and be morose? You can argue that if you had done something differently, they would not have strayed. If only you were enough for them. The truth my darling is that no matter what you did differently, they would have strayed anyway because it’s a part of their being. So, stop being harsh on yourself and  move on. Practise Self love because you deserve it! Most importantly, stop dwelling in the past and look forward.

If you cheated on somebody: And you’re feeling bad about it. You can’t undo the pain you inflicted on another person so don’t even try to reach out if it’s recent. You should sit down, acknowledge your mistake and also assess the reasons why you did it. Surely, it can’t simply be that the other person was nagging or non-trusting that made you run into the arms of another. If you were unhappy, you always had the option of breaking the relationship unless of course there were kids involved. It’s important to do a complete assessment of situation rather than blaming your ex or even yourself for what happened in the past. Be objective about the situation so that you are not a repeat offender. In some cases, due to your personality types (read here), you might need some expert help and some work on yourself before you can be ready for a healthy relationship again. Now is a good time to start.

If you failed at achieving something: There is one thing that you so wanted, maybe it’s an admission to an Ivy League college , or getting a job of your dreams or getting that perfect body but you failed to achieve your goal this year. You have every reason to be sad about it but unfortunately, you can’t go back in time. But the good news is that there is a brand new year waiting for you to take the bull by its horns. It’s a blank slate that you’re going to write on so why not start with some learning from this year. Sit down and take a pragmatic view of the situation of where your shortcomings could have been. There would be some intrinsic factors (within your control) and some extrinsic factors (outside your control) which lead to the outcome this year. So, instead of blaming yourself for the entire thing, it’s only the intrinsic factors you could have controlled and can carry your learning forward from into the next year.

Here are some tips for starting and continuing to have a great 2020 so that we can be happier same time next year:

Review who is your company: People who surround us define us. If you spend more time in the company of people who are negative and thankless, you eventually start reflecting their thoughts and behavior. Try to be friends with people who have a positive outlook towards life and by talking to whom you gain something. And yes, if you feel good after speaking to someone, that counts too!

Set healthy goals:  Goals that are healthy for you and not just for your body. Just because all my friends are getting married, I should not be in a rush to do the same next year. Peer pressure does lead to a bad decision making including choosing a partner who is not right for us or when we’re not ready to be in a long term commitment. Everyone has their own growth path, if my friend from school has a good job and a family life and I don’t have it yet, doesn’t mean I am a loser. It could just mean that I am relishing where I am in life and might be enjoying more experiences than they would have at the same stage.

Be realistic: Set realistic timelines for your goals. I have realised that having monthly or quarterly goals in fact helps better. The breaking down of a bigger goal into smaller sub-goals helps with close monitoring and helps to remain focused. It will help you remain consistent through the year rather than relying on last few months of the year to pressure yourself with.

Practice Self Love: It’s okay to think about yourself. Making yourself happy is no crime as long as it’s not harming anyone.  It’s okay to distance yourself from relationships that don’t nourish your soul. There are ample people out there who love you, don’t fret about that one person who didn’t. No matter what you do, don’t forget to acknowledge how good you are, in one way or the other, even if no one else says this to you.

Picture Credits

Things no one told me about Croatia

On our recent Euro trip in October covering three countries, we had expected Croatia to be different from the rest of the European experience and thus we’d decided to visit it last. Croatia has beautiful blue waters of the Adriatic sea surrounded by mountains – a sight we’d never seen before. What awaited us there was a multifaceted experience . Although I’d researched many blogs before our travel but there were a few more things that I feel would be helpful if you’re planning your travel to the pearl of Adriatic:

It’s warm – If you’re traveling in October when the winds in the rest of the Europe are chilly or if you’re traveling in April, when the other countries are still waking up from the slumber, Croatia would be your best bet for Euro travel. The warm weather and plenty of sunshine through the day just feels so good especially after you’re traveling from a prominently cold country.

The Food – Is certainly more flavorful and varied compared to what you get in other European countries. Reason being that theirs is a heterogeneous cuisine influenced by the Greek, the Turkish and the Roman cuisines. When we reached Croatia, we were craving for something that is not “cold meat and bread”. The food surely didn’t disappoint us . Although the sea food is a specialty here but don’t fret if you’re not a huge fan . Almost every restaurant serves a large variety of Pizza and the Risotto which we absolutely loved!  The best part is that there are plenty of options available even if you’re a vegetarian.

Gregada (contains 3 types of Fish)
Prawn Risotto

Very child friendly – We were traveling with my 3 year old son and were bit apprehensive about it. To our surprise, wherever we went, we were greeted with a smile and everyone tried to make us comfortable in the best way possible, be it on the Buses or on the Catamaran or in the restaurants.

Rocky beaches –Now, this is what we should have carefully planned for. My son is fond of playing in the beach sand. We went to Hvar island (from Split) especially to let him play on the beach but most of those beaches (on an archipelago called Pakleni Island) were rocky. The only beach which was sandy would have cost us 500kn through a speedboat transfer so we skipped going there due to the budget constraints. But on our last day in Croatia, we decided to go to Bacvice beach in Split which we’d heard was always crowded and we were not keen on visiting to begin with. But surprisingly, we had a wonderful time there. It was crowded, yes but our son had a great time playing with the sand at the beach.

Making the best of a Rocky beach in Dubrovnik
All smiles at the Bacvice beach

Uber – We found that there was a good Uber network there which is cheaper than the local taxi by almost 30%. Unlike most of the European countries, the network of public transport  is not that great in Croatia so keep your Uber app handy while you travel especially if you can’t walk for long distances and have not hired a car

Game of thrones: Being a GoT  fan, this is fondest memory of my Euro trip . If you’re in Dubrovnik, you’ll instantly recognise the “Westeros”. Game of Thrones walking tour is a must for every fan. Our tour guide was superb. She took us through the important locations where the scenes were shot, told us history behind the scenes, the cast etc. and also told us stories about how the local public of Croatia was engaged while shooting the series. The two hours tour makes you feel a part of the show itself! A word of caution : The guided trip involves climbing up stairs and hence is not suitable for prams and strollers

My favorite – Westeros!
Our guide showing us around

Restrooms: The restrooms don’t tender change unlike what we saw in the other countries. So, advise you to carry local currency Kuna (smaller denominations).

Expensive – Every meal cost us around 250kn (1 EUR = 8kn). Now, because of the Kuna currency being weaker than the Euro, we didn’t expect Croatia to be more expensive but it actually was a big surprise so plan your budget accordingly. Staying in an apartment and cooking one meal can save you some money

Pick pocketing – Like any other country which is flocked by tourists from all over the world, this country has attracted pickpockets and petty criminals too. My wallet was stolen from within my backpack (thankfully not too much cash in it) and that too in broad daylight. Suggest you to always carry your valuables in front and not on back and you’ll be fine.

Our overall experience in Croatia was enchanting and it is one country I would love to go back to very soon. I hope this post was insightful and has added Croatia to your list of travel destinations if it already wasn’t there.

Spruce up your sandwiches without worrying about the fat intake

Sandwich is a staple breakfast for many of us. It’s simple to make and there is a variety of sandwiches we can make at home, thanks to the different spreads available in the market. But have we ever thought about the amount of fat each sandwich is bestowing on us? When I was on diet to shed the extra kilos, my nutritionist would ask me to have a sandwich on some days and I was happy to be able to eat some bread after days of having a high protein diet. But the moment I referred to the list of don’t’s in my diet chart, my happiness was thrown out the window as I could not have mayonnaise or any other spread high in fat. Even the sandwich spreads that claim to be low fat were not really low fat. As a rule of thumb, anything that is more than 3% of fat per 100g is not acceptable as part of healthy diet. That’s when I explored other options of dressings that are simple to make at home. And in this post, I am going to share with you all some simple sandwich spreads that you can make at home without worrying about the fat intake.

  1. Hung curd: I bet this one would make you forget mayo. Take some curd on muslin cloth and tie it and hang it for at least an hour. When you open it, you’ll get some thick remain that will be the base for your spread. Just throw in some coriander leaves, onion, carrot, cucumber, tomatoes, salt and pepper and your dressing is ready. You can store hung curd (without salt) in fridge to be used later as well. But the grilled sandwiches I make with this base are a win with my family. Nutritionally speaking, hung curd is high in protein, maintains gut health and also aids in weight loss. Tip : The whey or the water that remains behind while making hung curd can be collected and used for cooking purposes
  2. Mint sauce or chutney: If you like to eat spicy, then this one’s for you. To a grinder, just add in a few mint leaves, coriander leaves, some lemon, green chillies (optional), salt and pepper and grind this to a coarse paste. Add some water to get desired consistency. Although for sandwiches, I’ll suggest to keep this thick else your sandwiches can become soggy. You can save this spread in refrigerator for up to a week. Whenever you want to use, just apply it to both slices of bread, add desired veggies in it and grill it. You can add some healthy cheese of your choice if you like. And I bet you won’t be disappointed.  Everything in this recipe is excellent for health and mint specifically aids in weight loss and has got anti-inflammatory properties. Tip: You can use this chutney as a side with rice and other curries as well to increase the flavour of food
  3. Hummus: If you like Mediterranean food and dips, then you’re going to love this spread. This can be had in sandwiches or just with simply toasted bread. I have this for dinner many times. This one can be stored for upto a week as well but it’s best served fresh. This one, unlike the previous ones, need some preparation and a bit more time taking to prepare.  But once you like the taste, you’re not going to mind the effort it takes. To make Hummus, you need chickpea soaked overnight, boiled until they are just cooked. Add cooked chickpea to the blender, along with some curd (added 1-2 tbsp for tanginess), salt and pepper and blend this mix to get a smooth paste. Add water to get desired consistency. Add a few drops of olive oil in the end to add to its taste and that’s all, your hummus is ready. It’s advisable to let this cool in refrigerator before you eat. This spread is high in protein and can be had at any time of the day.

I hope you find these ideas useful and tasty. Let me know if you have any feedback or any more healthy ideas to share.

Oktoberfest – Things to know before you go

Oktoberfest is the world’s largest beer festival held each year in Munich, Germany towards the end of September. Around 6 million people across the world attend this event over a period of 2 weeks.  It is certainly one of its kind and if you’re a beer lover, you should totally attend it at least once.

Here are a few things you should know if you’re not from Munich and attending Oktoberfest for the first time:

  1. Getting there: The public transportation system in Munich is great. The rail network run by Deutsche Bahn is spread to almost every nook and corner of this vibrant city. The trains are either S-bahn (run on ground) or U-Bahn (Underground). The nearest underground train station to get to Oktoberfest is Theresienwiese. The entire city is divided into Zones for travel purposes. So, if you’re coming via train , you need to buy ticket which will get you to the inner zone of the city (where Theresienwiese is). From Theresienwiese , it is just a 5 min walk to get to the Oktoberfest fairgrounds (Popularly known as Weisn). There are plenty of boards to direct you to the grounds but in case you still can’t locate, just ask and people will be happy to help.
  2. Luggage: If you’re in the city just to see the fest and are traveling to/from another city/country with your luggage, it’s very possible to do so. The moment you reach the entry gates of the grounds, there is a facility for you to deposit your luggage. They charge 6-8 EUR per bag depending on the size of the bag. One thing that I didn’t know was that they don’t allow bags bigger than a certain size to be carried inside the grounds and their criteria is very subjective! They allowed my friend to carry a small backpack inside and didn’t allow my same sized bag to be carried inside. So, I would suggest carrying just a sling with yourself to avoid all the hassle. I also realised that there are cheaper luggage lockers available at Hauptbahnoff (The central train station) which rent out lockers from 6 hours upto 72 hours. And there are many many of them so you can try those as well.
  3. What day is the best: Since it’s the largest beer fest, it attracts crowds on all days alike and at almost all times of the day. But, if you don’t have prior reservations at any of the Beer tents, I would suggest going there on a weekday rather. It’s easier to enter the grounds but the Beer tents would have limited space and a limited number of people they can cater to (which by the way is huge). What we realised was that it’s easier to get entry on a weekday noon (even on a Friday) than on a Saturday morning.  What this means is that you can place the order at the tent for foods and drinks, but you can’t enter due to the long wait times in queues. So, plan your travel accordingly.
  4. A place for all: Who said that you can’t enjoy the fest if your kids are accompanying you? Okoberfest is not just about beer. It’s a large carnival for people of all ages. The moment you enter the grounds, you’d be welcomed by the grounds looking like a large fair for kids enjoying various rides and activities. There are different varieties of fruit chocolates and candies that kids (and even adults) can gorge on. It’s just that it was cold and windy when we got there so make sure the kids are covered and ready for the outdoor fun. Some kids were accompanying parents to the beer tents as well and I think there is a time limit till when the kids can stay in the tents. It’s best to check beforehand.
  5. What to wear: The traditional Bavarian costumes that most wear to the Oktoberfest are simply beautiful. I couldn’t help but observe all women dressed beautifully in Drindls and the men looking handsome in Lenderhosen. You can buy these costumes or rent these out for ~50EUR.  You can never be overdressed for this event. Any amount of makeup you apply is fair.
  6. Where to go: Once you cross the carnival area, you’ll hit the lane with beer tents. The first one I encountered was the Augustiner Beer tent and it’s the oldest one here. The entry to this one is free. A very large tent with one of the best beers I have had to date. It has got some comfortable seating arrangements and they also serve at the bar. There are plenty of clean washrooms too. Even if you can’t enter the tent because it’s a weekend and you don’t have a prior reservation), they take your order and serve drinks and food outside. The food and the drinks across tents are expensive so expect to shell out 8-11EUR for 500ml of beer. In fact, many people start drinking on their way to the fest which is a cheaper way of filling yourself up and have fewer drinks  at the tents and just enjoy without ending up with a huge bill at the end of the day.
A glimpse of what you can expect inside the Beer tents 🙂
Augustiner Beer tent

How to remain a “sane” Mom

It’s very natural to feel like your life is changed forever once you’re a mother. Motherhood is joy but it’s not all as rosy as it looks in pictures. Early motherhood is full of sleepless nights leading to a tired you all the time. And just when you think that your baby has started sleeping through the night, there is a constant need to match with their high energy levels through the day. It’s a great feeling re-living your childhood through your them but this stage can also burn you out if you are not careful and don’t plan wisely. Here are some ways that you might want to try to maintain a balance between your life as a mother and your life as an individual (the one you were living before becoming a mother):

Ask for help: Being a mother is a full time job whether you’re working or stay at home. So don’t be shy to ask a family member – your partner, your sibling, your parents or your partner’s parents to baby sit while you’re away. Families are a strong support system when it comes to child care. The safety and the comfort that a family member can offer are unmatched. But having said that, if it is not an option, look out for other options such as a day care or a nanny not only when you’re working but also when you need time off for yourself – for activities such as going to a beauty parlor, or meeting your friends or while having a date night with your partner. Some of these activities are important aspects of who you are as an individual and are contributor to who you are today. So there is no reason you cannot continue doing these with proper management.

It’s OK to put yourself first: Since childhood, we’ve always been taught to keep others’ happiness first. Especially if you’re a female, there are numerous compromises that you would make throughout your life. The truth is that you can’t make others around you happy if you yourself aren’t. So once in a while, it is okay to put yourself first and say NO if you don’t want to accompany your partner to his cousin’s family thing.  It is okay to take care of yourself, take time out for your interests in between your busy schedule and do what makes you happy, even if that means sleeping till noon on Sundays!

Don’t lose yourself: Nobody is going to judge if you are not with your child 24*7. Stop considering yourself a bad mommy if the child has got rashes because you left him with a nanny who did not change his diaper as frequently as you asked her to. No hell will break loose if you were 5 minutes late to pick him up from school because your meeting at office overran. As long he is in safe hands, it is alright. We often undermine our role as a financial support and still consider that our major role as a caregiver is our benchmark for success. With the constantly evolving society, it’s important to talk to your partner openly about your needs and divide the child care responsibilities almost equally.

Go easy: In order to bring perfection to the way our children conduct themselves, we sometimes tend to burden ourselves. So while they’re creating a mess with colors, we try to control them because we want our home to be clean as if , if it is not, it will reflect badly on our report card! I mean what’s the worst they’ll do? They will create a color mess that will require dry cleaning the carpet later on? Now imagine the 30 minute of uninterrupted afternoon nap that you can catch up on or your favorite TV show that you can watch while they’re having fun with colors? Wonderful, isn’t it?

Don’t feel like cooking on a Sunday? It’s okay to order in food and let him have some fries if he’s not had junk food all week. This will keep them happy as well as keep you relaxed too.

In reality, mothers are normal human beings who get tired, frustrated and sometimes angry too. And none of these is good for the development of your child. Hence, it is important to take a break from judging ourselves and go easy. Do things that make you happy and see that happiness reflect off your child.

How to be a part of any group and make friends

Have you recently joined a new workplace where you don’t know anybody? Do you feel alone at lunchtime where everyone is talking to each other and you just quietly eat your food in the cafeteria or sometimes even at your desk? Do you have trouble initiating conversations? Do you want to have colleagues you can talk to at workplace, then this article is for you. I am sharing some simple tips from my experience that will allow you to enter a group and be a part of it

  • Listen: Listening is the first step to initiating a conversation. Be an active listener. It will help you to understand more about the group you’re in, the kind of people they are, things that interest them and whether you want to be a part of this group eventually or not. So listen carefully!
  • Find out: Does the group look alien to you? Do they talk about football and you know nothing about the sport other than that there is a player called Cristiano Ronaldo who’s very popular! Worry not! In every group, there are people of all kinds with varied interest. You just have to identify the one you can relate to easily. Is there a movie buff who shares your interest? Just mention one of the movies you watched last night while getting a cup of coffee together and they’ll make sure to include you in group conversations next time.  And if nothing else works, politics is one topic which interests almost all of us! Just pick up a news from this morning and mention to the guys and get everyone talking and lo! you’d be the center of their attention
  • Show care: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” Be genuinely caring. If someone mentions that their aunt died last week, don’t just keep waiting for finding “common topics”. Be attentive listener and show genuine care. Human relationships are built on care and empathy. If there’s no such topic, offer something that shows care – it could be helping one of the colleagues with their work, sharing learning from your past experience or bringing them some good homemade food and you’re sure to make a way into their heart
  • Dress up: I am not saying that you put loads of makeup on if you don’t usually do it but be hygienic – take a bath and put on fresh clothes (preferably smart) every day. Believe it or not, if you look fresh, you radiate energy and people are attracted to you
  • Smile: Nothing works if you don’t follow this. A smile is the best way to let people know that you’re willing to open up. Smiling keeps you positive and attracts people towards you.  So, flash that beautiful smile of yours and see people smiling back and get them talking to you in no time

5 simple food habits to lose weight faster

There’s no doubt that a well-managed diet and an exercise regime are most crucial in dropping those extra pounds but what if I tell you that your goal weight can be achieved faster if you follow some simple food habits through the day? Everyone talks about how green tea or black coffee are rich in antioxidants and aid in weight loss but for people like me who cannot drink these at all, the below ritual helped instead. The food items mentioned below are in addition to your meal plan (whether you’re following 3 main meals or 6 smaller meals).  It’s not only about eating these foods but also the timing at which you eat them helps aid in weight loss. So, read carefully

  1. Fenugreek Water : Feel thirsty after a long night’s sleep? Having water as the first thing in the morning is generally a good habit. What if we replace this normal water with something that will work on your weight loss through the entire day? Yes you heard that right! 10 – 12 fenugreek seeds soaked in a glass of water overnight is what you should be having the first thing in the morning. These seeds are rich in water soluble fibre and have been proven to be good in blood sugar regulation and appetite control. Galactomannan, a water soluble component found in Fenugreek is said to be very effective in suppressing appetite by slowing down emptying of stomach.
  2. Early morning fruit: Once you’ve had the water, give a 10 minute break and gulp on any seasonal fruit. And by season fruit, I mean you can have bananas too which many people think lead to weigh gain. But when eaten in morning, they provide fuel to body and are ideal to be had before you hit the gym. Having a fruit as the first thing kick starts your metabolism and suppresses your sugar cravings through the day.
  3. Curry leaves: Before you eat your breakfast, chew on 4-5 curry leaves every day. The curry leaves consumed in any form help in digestion that keeps the gut healthy. When consumed regularly as one of the first thing in morning, they fight bad cholesterol and attack the body fat. They lower the lipid levels and triglycerides stored in the body, the major weight gain contributors
  4. Soaked dry fruits: A handful of soaked dry fruits is a mini meal in itself before you eat your breakfast. All of them are rich in fibre and keep bowel movement healthy. In addition, each has qualities of its own such as:  Almonds are good for regulating blood pressure, Raisins are rich source of iron, Walnuts help in reducing the abdominal fat and are good for liver health too.
  5. Mid-morning snack: A few hours after you’ve had your breakfast, do you start to feel hunger pangs but realize that lunch time is still a couple of hours away? This is the time when most of us tend to gulp down a cup of high-fat coffee or a muffin which are laden with sugar thus all the effort we’ve put in diet and exercise since morning goes down the drain! Why not smartly replace this snack with something that is rich in fiber such as a fruit bowl or salad. Even a glass of lime water or buttermilk can keep your hunger under control at this time.

Additional tip

Cumin and carom water: So you’ve deviated from your diet plan today and feeling guilty? Worry not, this easy to make concoction when consumed as the last drink of the day helps in digestion and in reducing flatulence. Just take ½ tbsp of cumin and ½ tbsp of carom in 2 glasses of water. Boil the mix until the volume reduces to half. Let it cool , strain it and drink it. You will immediately start to feel less guilty 🙂

I hope you find the above useful. Do leave a comment if you have more ideas that can be added to the list above.

Before you get Pregnant

Becoming a mother is a wonderful gift of nature. Most of us, girls, love surprises but it’s best to be prepared for receiving this one. Here’s why.

With increased stress and deteriorating quality of lifestyle (food,air,water), the risk of health issues is now more than ever before. Females are making their way through the professional world, while managing their homes and family. This means increased stress, bad food choices through the day resulting in a poorer health.

Quotes image of In a healthy body a healthy spirit.

It’s important to maintain a good health always but it becomes even more critical when you’re trying to become a mother. A good diet is something that everyone talks about but there are a few additional tips that can help in conceiving and maintaining a healthy pregnancy.

  • Prenatal supplements: It’s important to take these supplements months before you’re looking to conceive. There are two important supplements:
    • Folic Acid – It’s recommended to take 400mcg of Folic acid every day before and during pregnancy. This superhero supplement helps prevent birth defects in baby’s brain and spinal cord. In some kinds of anemia as well, this supplement is helpful
    • Iron –   Hemoglobin is the carrier of oxygen to different parts of body and hence it is essential to have good hemoglobin else it can affect oxygen supply to baby’s body parts posing risk to growth. Almost all females undergo a mild anemia during pregnancy.  Most common type of anemia is caused by iron deficiency and hence it is recommended to take this supplement daily (exception being the Thalassemia patients) before and during pregnancy   
  • Watch your weight: It’s a common myth that you can eat all what you want before and during pregnancy as you’re eating for two! An excessive weight gain can lead to complications for both you and the baby. Probability of conception is more if you are at an optimum weight. To maintain a healthy weight before and during pregnancy it’s important to
    • Eat smaller meals : This helps in maintain weight and also in some cases helps deal with the issue of heartburn (which is common during pregnancy)
    • Exercise: I can’t stress enough the importance of a 45 minute cardio workout before and during pregnancy. If you have otherwise a healthy pregnancy (no low lying placenta etc.), you should be able to continue exercising till the day of your delivery! And by exercise I don’t mean heavy weightlifting. A brisk walk is good too. Exercise helps in regulating blood sugar and increases your chances of a having a normal delivery too!
  • Alcohol and Smoking: It is believed that any amount of alcohol reduces your chances of conception so avoid it as much as you can. Once you’re sure that you’re pregnant, having any amount of alcohol can pose risk of birth defects in the baby. Similarly, nicotine found in cigarettes can cause extreme complications in pregnancy including preterm labor, low birth weight and brain damage of the unborn baby.
  • Pre-pregnancy check-up It’s important to consult with your gynecologist and let her know that you’re trying to get pregnant so that she can assess for any possible health issues with the baby arising due to any parent’s current health condition or due to their respective genetic history.
    • Heath screening: This will include full range of tests such as pap smear or blood tests to check for illnesses such as:
      •  Thyroid problems (Hypo or Hyper)
      •  Sexually transmitted diseases such as Chlamydia, syphilis
      • HIV
  • Genetic Testing:  Genetic testing tells you the possibility of the child inheriting a disease (25% only if both parents are carriers). The findings of tests can later be confirmed by tests such as amniocentesis during 10th to 12th week of pregnancy. Common conditions for which genetic testing is done are
    • Cystic Fibrosis
    • Sickle Cell diseases
    • Thalassemia

 There could be other health risks too so please consult with your gynecologist.

Finally, if you’ve been diagnosed with any of the above medical conditions, it’s still possible to have a healthy pregnancy in most cases with proper medical care. I myself have got a Beta Thalassemia trait which means I had extremely low hb levels (6g/dl). I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism during the first few weeks of pregnancy. But the preparation we’d done (refer tips above) helped us overcome the health issues and we received our healthy gift at the end of 9 months. I hope through this post of mine, I am able to help at least some of you get ready for the most beautiful chapter of your lives.