Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Avalakki Chooda
Ingredients :

Telu avalakki                                           4 cups
Groundnut oil                                          1/2 cup
Groundnut seeds                                     1 cup
Hurigadale                                              1/2 cup
Curry leaves                                           10-15
Uppu menasinakai                                   5-10
Grated dry coconut                                  1/2 cup
Red chilli powder                                     1 tea spoon
Menthe hittu                                           2 teaspoon
Sugar                                                     1 teaspoon
Mustard seeds, Jeera, Hing, Turmeric powder,Asafoetida for tadka.
Salt to taste.

Preparation :

Instant Chakli :
This is an instant preparation. Not only during festival, even during other times, it can be prepared instantly.

Ingredients :

Rice flour                                           3 cups
Hurigadale powder                             1 cup
Ajwain ( om )                                    1 tablespoon
Jeera                                                1 tablespoon
Hing powder                                      1 teaspoon
Everest or mdh red chilli powder         2 tablespoon
Ghee or butter                                   2 tablespoon
Fried sesame                                     1 tablespoon
Oil for frying
Salt to taste

Preparation :

Besan laddu
Ingredients :

Kadale hittu ( besan )     2 cups

Pure ghee                      1 + cups ( if you wish to have bean laddoos very soft,increase the quantity of ghee)
Powdered sugar              1 1/4 cups
Cardamom powder          1 teaspoon
Cashew nuts                   20
Raisins                           20

How to Remain Calm and Relaxed during Menstrual Cycle

Do you see your daughter, friend or sister suddenly looking sad, forlorn or depressed ? A lady who is an epitome of cheerful energy and is always full of life suddenly snapping at you? Is unwilling to eat or suddenly starts crying at the smallest possible provocation? Or you yourself sometimes feel that the whole world and life is meaningless, and that nobody loves you or understands you and that everybody uses you but ignores you at the time of your need?
The answer to all the above questions will be in the affirmative by 99% of the women we ask. This is the most common symptom of PMS or Premenstrual Syndrome, a monthly cycle of mental and physical problems associated with menstruation.
What causes PMS
The symptoms of PMS can be both physical and mental and can start anywhere from a week before the menstrual cycle to last up to the first or the third day of the cycle.It invariably affects each and every woman at least some time from their puberty till the menopause.
The physical symptoms can be any of the following :

  • Abdominal pain
  • Pimples
  • Muscles pain
  • Back Pain
  • Weight gain
  • Tenderness or pain in the breast
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Bloating of the stomach
  • Excessive hunger or total aversion to eat
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Skin allergies or rashes
The mental symptoms include :
  • Depression
  • Anger
  • Crying at slightest provocation
  • Snapping
  • Aversion to do any mental or physical work
  • Aversion to interact with anybody
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of concentration
  • Weeping and crying
  • Aggressive and hostile response
  • Agitation and nervousness
  • Extreme mood swings
 What are the Symptoms and Solutions for PMS
The physical symptoms may be the result of excessive bleeding or delayed and irregular menses and scanty bleeding. A horde of medicines across the counter are available in Allopathy, Ayurveda and Homeopathy to alleviate these problems. They may help in reducing the pain but it cannot be considered as the permanent solution and also they are teeming with potential side effects, The best step would be to address the root of this physical pain and try to find a solution.
The cramps may occur if there is irregularity in what is a menstrual cycle or what is a period cycle of a woman. Excessive bleeding [heavy menstrual bleeding] may be a symptom of whole body cleansing at young age but as the age advances, this may cause an alarm. It may not only make one feel warm [body temperature], but may affect the mental health thereby making the mind worried and depressed.
So, in order to prevent excessive bleeding and dehydration, in consultation with the gynecologist the problem needs to be diagnosed to find out what causes the physical pain, and find out if it relates to any stress or obesity or any other health reason.

How to relax and relaxation tools 
Unlike physical pain, the emotional and mental symptoms can be addressed with a systematic approach. The key is to adopt [relaxation techniques] and follow guided relaxation tools.
Relaxation breathing techniques :  
  • Stay calm and take deep breaths.           
  • Sit in a padmasana or sukhasana or lie down on your back and breath slowly and steadily.
  • Perform anuloma viloma pranayama. Hold your ring finger and thumb on both the sides of your nose.Close the left nostril and inhale slowly and deeply throw your right nostril. Then close the right nostril with your thumb and exhale slowly with your left nostril. Now inhale slowly through your left nostril keeping the right nostril closed with your thumb. Slowly close your left nostril and exhale through your right. This is one cycle. Repeat this in twenty, thirty or forty circles.
  • You can put relaxing pictures where you perform these mental relaxing techniques.
  • This progressive relaxation technique can be used not only during PMS and menstrual cycles but also throughout the month for better results. They are the relaxation tools for the entire body and soul and help in the overall well being.
 Hot water elements 
Prior to the starting of menstruation when one starts feeling the symptoms, or immediately on its starting it is always better to have a hot water bath. If one is taking bath in advance, it is better to have a warm castor oil massage, and take bath after sitting in the sunlight for half an hour. When this eases the physical pain, the mind naturally relaxes. If one takes this oil bath, hot water heating elements advance the menstruation process and helps in easy and healthy flow. Heating oil and water and taking bath in hot water can be extremely relaxing.
Besides taking bath, one must have the habit of drinking hot water not only during menses but every morning throughout the month on empty stomach. Drinking hot water with carom seed will ease the pain due to menstrual cramps.
It has been an established fact that the teenage eating disorders is having a serious effect on the teenagers' health. further this is also a contributing factor for the irritation symptoms during menstruation. A healthy mind always accompanies a healthy body.
Nutrition for teenagers can consist of any or all of the following :
  • Flax seed nutrition,
  • Bean sprout nutrition
  • Fruit desserts recipes
  • Healthy dinners                                                
  • Freeze dried fruits
  • Fresh fruits
  • Honey roasted cashews
  • Hot milk - The protein in milk acts as a mood booster.
The nutrition fact of honey and the honey health benefits have been very well established. The honey energises the organs, boosts our immune system and fights bacteria. So with its remedial qualities it ensures prolonged good health which naturally have a bearing on our emotional health.

The therapeutic healing powers of the music in mind relaxation have been effectively used by the physical therapists and sages from ancient times. To heal the mind of its tensions, irritations and depressions make extensive use of radio, videos and TV.
Lie down, breathe deeply and slowly and let your mind drift and float along with the soothing music and its lyrics. Take in its beauty, forget the unnecessary irritation. Make concerted efforts to forget the depressing thoughts, count your blessings and force your mind to linger on happy memories or expectant beautiful dreams.
Recall the pleasant moments you have spent with your friends, family and your loved ones. Remember, this is just a temporary passing phase and it is totally meaningless and not worth to brood and spoil the surrounding atmosphere.
Take a break and read magazines and books. Make a note of which magazines and books you have liked and enjoyed the most and always keep them by your bedside  Remember we all have certain favorite books which we don't mind reading repeatedly and which lift our moods. There are some movies which bring an involuntary smile to our lips. Keep them handy.
For some people this period causes some rashes and allergies. Find out the culprit, where you are getting allergy from. Avoid eating and using these, but still better, don't let them spoil your mood. There are many natural cures if the allergies persist and follow these strictly. The alternative method of medicines have a very rich resources in finding solutions. There are home remedies too. Go to a spa or create an atmosphere la spa in your tub by adding therapeutic herbs and perfumes and take a hot bath. Go for natural massage therapies like psychotherapy and hot oil massage therapy or aroma massage, if you are not comfortable having them at home.
Watch youtube videos to learn about some natural therapeutic massages from the things you get in your kitchen and garden like aloe vera  cream and turmeric, fig paste etc. Indulge and pamper yourself. It can be a great morale booster.

Pets are your best friends.They are the most 
selfless and understanding creatures on this earth.When we cuddle our puppies, cats and dogs, we feel we are pampering them, but what we forget is that when we caress and cuddle the pet animals and talk to them, our body releases a neurochemical cocktail as the one released when we are being affectionate with our loved ones. It gives a high like a drink. Studies have shown that cuddling with the dogs reduce the blood pressure, releases the hormone oxytocin which makes us feel fuzzy and warm.
So go ahead and give your pet a hug. Let him lie by your side and share his warmth. Talk to him, he understands and empathises with every word you speak to him. You would say I always want to be with My Sleeping Dog,
 Relax !                                       
Since this syndrome is most common and affects every female body, the men have an important role to play. Since it is a genetic syndrome and women are helpless, they have to bear this - either in a relaxed manner or grudgingly - the men can be understanding and sympathetic and co-operative. They can be pragmatic and understand that this is an inevitable but a passing phase every month and they better grin and bear it.
And a tip to all the women out there. To keep your family, office and surrounding peaceful and cheerful, keep your male partners informed that you are making sincere efforts to bear and grin, you can seek their understanding and cooperation  Keep them informed about the reason for your mood swings. Better make them read this !
Relax ! It is in your hands to grumble and feel miserable or breeze right through that time of the month !

Maha Kumbh Mela - The cultural extravaganza of India
The images of Indian cultural extravaganza, The Maha Kumbh Mela are flashing across the media - both print   and visual, all over the world.  There are images of sadhus, tents, temples, lamps and of course foreign visitors. But I am afraid instead of highlighting the essence and the cultural value of the mega event, the focus is more on getting the snaps of the nude sadhus or sadhus smearing ash on their bodies or wearing odd costumes, lengthy hairs or nails. Besides the ash smeared ascetics, wide-eyed stars and
tourists and millions of pilgrims thronging the Ganges for a holy dip, there are a lot more interesting facts and intricacies involved in this mystique event.


Back Pain Treatment

         Health care centre in India @ Ujire - Dharmasthala - 
"Spine and Back"
Ever since my youth I remember having back pain neck pain and leg pain. There has never been dearth of family care or attention. We tried several home remedies, exercises and yoga which used to give some relief albeit temporarily. Spine and back playing a vital role in day to day functioning, I wanted to find a permanent solution.I visited many naturopathy centers [ health care centers in India ] but there was no pain relief.Since I was mildly obese I Practiced Yoga, Pranayama and lost Weight. But that didn't help in finding a solution to my problems.

Though there had been chronic pain, it got worst three years back when I had a slip disk. This added to my woes. I continued to do workout exercises as I was always aware of the importance of exercise for a healthy life. Initially after slip disk I even started having arthritis back pain too. Though at the back of my mind I knew that for spine and back pain, back pain operation [ spinal fusion surgery ] was the only and ultimate solution especially for conditions like mine. Initially I was petrified to go under the scissors because of the assumed risk [ operational risk ].
Then the inevitable happened. The back and neck pain and the leg pain increased to such an extent that I could hardly sleep at nights. Free fitness programs could give pain relief to minor pains or for the initial stages of the pain. I was forced to visit a doctor for a final diagnosis who advised me that not the pain control options but a corrective method i.e spine fusion surgery was the best solution.

Let me tell you that for any treatment or surgery it is of utmost importance that you get the services of an efficient and confidant doctor. For me it was Dr.Sujayrao, a back pain operation specialist from St.Philomena's who came like a messiah. Not only was he confident of himself, he instilled such a confidence in me that I got ready for the spinal fusion surgery. He reassured me that pain after spinal surgery will be almost negligible and not only would I be on my feet doing my things independently just after one month but I could even climb Lord Venkateshwara's abode at Thirupathi after just three months. His only condition was that I should get prasadam for him!
True to his words, in the ICU unit just a few hours after operation I could bend my feet and fingers and the very next day I could roll over in the bed and sleep in every comfortable position.Within a week I could walk slowly and after just a month I could go for a walk to the nearby park. Before sending me home post spinal surgery, I was sent to a physical therapist under a rehab program. At Manipal Hospital they provided excellent physical therapy services and rehab services and taught me the mild physical exercises I was supposed to do after going home.
Fortunately for me I did not have to go for a loan in view of the heavy medical expenses incurred. Family Insurance by way of health insurance has been provided to me by my employers LIC of India. Without proper medical insurances things would have been extremely difficult.

So friends, let me reassure you contrary to the notion that spine fusion surgery is dangerous or painful, it is the best solution and there is absolutely no reason to be afraid of. There are some dos and don'ts which we need to take care of like avoiding bending or lifting heavy objects. We can bend at the knees instead of back. If we continue to do mild exercises as advised by the physical therapist and maintain a healthy diet and exercise regime then we can live happily ever after :-)

Monday, 28 January 2013

7 Cup Burfi
             What is 7 cup Burfi ?

This delicious Indian sweet, as the name suggests, is prepared with 7 cups of ingredients. It is extremely simple, can be prepared at a very short notice and tastes heavenly :-D Ingredients are simple, what we always have in the kitchen and can be prepared in minutes. Be it the unexpected or sudden arrival of guests, or when the kids demand or when suddenly you have a craving to eat fresh sweets it is the time to prepare 7 cup Burfi. Go ahead and indulge !

How to be a successful Blogger ?

Hello senior bloggers ! I am a fresher here and already have become a big fan and have got addicted to blogging. When I tried to explore the to learn more about it, one thing I noticed that most of the experienced bloggers have taken pains to give tips and have written posts to give guidance to the freshers. How endearing and thoughtful!

I think as an experienced blogger when one come across questions and doubts at bloggers' forum one feels obliged to guide and write such a hub. To be frank though I am a raw new comer, I am also tempted to give advice and guidance sometimes on forums when I know the answer. But naturally! It is like one week old baby giving advice to the newborn " cry! then only mother will give you milk!"

How to do the Diet-that-works and The art of Living

                        Nutritional Diet Plan    
How to diet? I think this is the oft repeated question in this universe. God up there is very smart. He knows the weakness, the greediness of we human beings. He created so many wonderful things to eat and enjoy but created us in such a way that we can eat so much and not more. Therein he kept a message, " Ati sarvatra varjayet" - too much of anything is too bad. But in spite of this we tend to indulge and over eat and then start visiting the internet asking " How to diet? "
There are as many diet programs as the number of people who want to do it. But here I am giving not just diet tips but tips to a healthy living, and take you to a place where not only can you follow a strict and proper diet but can recoup yourself and regenerate your body.The Place is Ujire - Nature Care Center - about 2 kms from Dharmasthala in Karnataka, India, a place which teaches us a healthy way of dieting.
Natural Healing College                                 
I visited ujire in the month of August 2012. I had heard a lot about this naturopathy center, but was under the wrong impression that it had only a weight reduction program. But on the contrary it is a place which teaches us the art of living in a healthy and positive way. Before visiting this place, a few years back I Practiced Yoga, Pranayama and lost Weight, but wanted to visit this place for their holistic healing process.

This center is promoted by natural healing college which teaches right from - how to lose weight, what are organic foods, what is organic method of growing, - to - how to massage, what is massage, and what is nature and natural healing.
The center organizes yoga and pranayama classes, teaching [bhramari pranayama] , bhastrika pranayama, imparting in- depth knowledge as to what is yoga and how holistic yoga is helpful for our overall well being. Having learnt yoga and pranayama by watching videos, [pranayama videos by baba ramdev] this practical training session was an unforgettable experience for me.
There are varying accommodation facilities, suitable to every purse.The cost for boarding and lodging together is in the range of Rs. 3000 to Rs. 12000 for a stay of ten days. Additionally, for every massage or treatment or therapy, they charge an additional 100 rupees per day. 

Papaya health benefits                                       
There is a very simple procedure of admission. Immediately on arrival there will be a medical check up by the in house doctors, and depending on our health needs the treatment card is prepared and the diet plan is prescribed. Attention is given to the smallest details like the juices to be given to us, the quantity of food and fruits and the type of yoga class we must attend.

Hey! don't start smiling or heaving a sigh of relief at the thought and the mention of the word juice and food. It is just plain simple healthy nutritious diet with a very BLAND taste. The idea is to give healthy food but to stop us from craving for it. Were they successful ? May be they were, but we were not! Throughout the stay of ten days the only thing we could think of was the tasty food or rather lack of it!
So you are invited here only if you have a strong will power and willingness to get healthy and lose weight, else you will be running back home within no time! There are ABSOLUTELY NO SHORT CUTS.
 Best eating habits for weight loss
Though the admission and treatment procedures are simple, the rules and regulations are very strict, reminding you of your school days! On arrival at the gate of the center, all our bags will be whisked and each and every bit of eatable we have will be confiscated. No outside food is allowed, there are no tea or coffee shops, and the only shop allowed inside the premises sells just soaps and towels!.
As a result, the sights you witness at the dining area are worth watching. Those who had indulged in every possible snack and CHITRANNA back home will be holding their fruits and juices precariously in their hands, munching lingeringly with a forlorn and lost look in their eyes. I bet they would be dreaming about their kitchen and dining room back home !
There are different diet foods provided : boiled diet, raw diet, and juice diet. The food tastes the same on every day and for every meal. If you have tasted the food on one day, then you have tasted it for all the days! The boiled diet is a cup of boiled rice with a little green gram dal, and a few vegetables - cucumber, ash gourd or sorekai – that's it! - and just a pinch of salt and pepper. To drown it there is a choice of soup or buttermilk - Soup is vegetable stock of the boiled vegetables mentioned above and butter milk with no salt or sugar ! Plus one cup of ripe papaya cubes or one apple i had started getting aversion to, after eating everyday.

 The evening food again will be the same set of vegetables and two dry chapatis and everything else remains the same. Those on raw diet get a salad of cucumber or carrot – except the cut vegetables, it has nothing else which merits it the name salad. – if you are lucky on a day you may find finely chopped apple or pineapple in your plate! No salt or spice !
And if the doctor so feels, he may further cut down you food to one apple or a cup of papaya with either buttermilk or soup. Mind you, if you think of having buttermilk instead of soup – sorry madam, you need doctor's permission – who will be supervising the activities in the dining hall - before taking your plate. Once you cross this step, you will not get a change of food, Sorry.
And for the unfortunate souls, who are facing the problem of obesity, only a glass of juice four times a day and during lunch time and dinner, they will keep the juice made from lime and honey and one can have an extra cup or two! But beyond that if there is tiredness, the only option is to drink lots of water. In spite of this strict diet, though the faces are sullen and steps are dragged, there will be a glint of light in the eyes of those inmates, who most probably will be looking at themselves post diet regime in a slim and trim avatar. I was also eagerly waiting to my POGO, My Sleeping Dog .
 Healthy dinner ideas
Have I drawn a very bleak and scary picture? cheer up! If you are not able to hold or sustain, you can approach the doctor who will visit your room twice and your diet can be switched to the better level or the number of chapatis can be increased albeit at the risk of reducing the chances of your weight loss.
For the fortunate few who need not worry about their weight, there is an option of ragi ganji in the morning and sprouts and cucumber slices in the evening, plus a cup of milk at 9 pm in the night. But once you enter here you can forget about the taste, salt and spice ! The idea behind this, as per the booklet provided by the hospital is that not only should you eat SATWIK food, but should lead a satwik life too.

So once we realize the benefits of healthy protein snacks, healthy dinner ideas, fruit snacks and healthy dinners recipes being offered here,it is easy to follow the routine of food - as to what is good for our health, what good for our skin and what all should be our ideal recipes back home. We will start liking and indulging in health care, forgetting the unhealthy snacks and start having healthy dinner ideas.
Weight loss spa
The daily routine at the slimming center is : getting up at 5 AM, going for a walk, yoga and pranayama from 5.30 to 7 A.M. After that it is juice time – whichever juice the doctor has prescribed for you , it can be lemon and honey, carrot juice, ash gourd or bitter gourd juice and then it is time for mud pack in our rooms, where we will sleep with a mud pack on our eyes and tummy for 20 minutes. Thereafter it is on to the treatment area where we will be receiving the treatment our doctor has prescribed for us.
These treatments are any day better than the best of world class spas' treatment. It consists of a verity of water treatments like hip bath, whirlpool bath, spinal bath, cold and hot water immersion bath, jet bath.... Then there are steam bath and sauna and a whole lot of oil massages or the unique and most effective mud pack and haldi pack on the whole body... you name it and they have it. It is totally a concept of being back with the nature - treating us with five elements earth, wind, water, fire and the sky. And a big salute to the attitude of the staff involved in the treatments. With a smile on their lips and a spring in their feet they carry out their services diligently. They are virtuous to a fault.
Independence Day ! 
Each treatment is given with utmost sincerity and dedication and you will feel like you are in the lap of your mother.
On a bright and sunny Sunday morning on 15 th of August we had the fortune of being at the place and in the serene environment witnessing the flag hoisting and singing the National Anthem with a pride. After the ceremony like school children we were thrilled when trays filled with some covers were brought to the venue. There was excited murmurs of laddoos, chocolates, sweets all around. I was a scene to look at the faces of the recipients when they opened the covers only to find two dry dates and two tiny pieces of rock sugar! What a healthy celebration!
 What is nature - Get the answer here.
The building spread over a vast area designed by a french architect is such an architectural delight that you can view a garden and rain from the window of each and every room and hall.
Look at this! It is the photo of our bathroom window and the scene beyond. The well ventilated and strategically located rooms a midst greenery, treatment and yoga center, green gardens and beautiful blooms everywhere, birds chirping all around you, soar your spirits and you will have springs in your steps when you head back home, not just because you are returning home but also because you have lost all those extra pounds !

On the last day of our stay, they conducted classes on how to diet, how to have a good healthcare plan, and have a healthy living without medicines and medical needs. On cooking pattern, we were advised to eat healthy natural food minimizing the usage of gas and electricity and electric equipment, to drink organic milk and maintain diet and follow the fitness programs taught to us. Like a perfect host, they guided us on the advantages of having required milk and sugar products which is far better way of our health insurance than running for loans to maintain our medical needs.

Sankramana - The Harvest Festival of India
Sankranti, the festival of harvest is here. I can't help getting nostalgic about the festivities we enjoyed back then in North Karnataka where the celebrations meant devouring in the  rustic and ethnic flavors, eating loads of sweets, Sajje (bajra) roti, butter, ennegai palya and ellu holige and wearing new clothes. This is the festival of harvest, the til or sesame seed crops are brought home and it was a way of expressing gratitude to the elements of nature and mother earth.

Every Festival in India has a great significance, worshiping different Gods, savoring a particular dish during that festival. This cannot be termed as a mere custom or meaningless ritual. The great Indian sages had a specific purpose behind every ritual. A prayer is not to ask God to give us what we want but  to make us strong to learn to accept what we get. Sankranti, the festival of India, also popularly known as Pongal in south India signifies the transmigration of Sun from one rasi to another. Makar Sankranti refers to transition of Sun from Dhanu rashi to Makara rashi.