Ayurveda and Food for Skin

Monday, June 30, 2008

Posted by Dee

This Ancient science is not only a preventive health and healing but also a philosophy of living .It is present in India's most cherished scriptures , the vedas an dates back to 1500 B.C. "Ayur" means life and "veda" means knowledge. The rough transalation of Ayurveda means Knowledge of life. Ayurveda rarely treats the current symptoms instead cures by removing the cause of the disease. According to Ayurveda we are comprised of three elements , the body , mind and soul.One of the most important organs of the body is the skin which we either tend to completely ignore or overload it with chemical food.

According to ancient ayurveda there are 5 elements space, air, fire, water and earth. These themselves are inanimate but in combination, they give rise to three biological forces or principles called Doshas where the literal meaning is impurity.The combination of doshas with their attributes is below

Space + Air = Vata Dosha, meaning "that which moves things" It exists as a movement in the body and is the flow of life. If blocked , decay begins, if the activity is frenetic , one becomes fatigued and spaced-out. Vata controls the movements of the doshas where the other 2 doshas are known to be immobile. Vata gives us inspiration, positvity and freshness as well as fear, nervousness, gas , spasms, tremors and pains. Skin type is Dry

Fire + Water = Pitta Dosha , meaning "That which digests things" It exists as metabolism in the body. Good health depends upon pitta's capacity to fully metabolize nutritional, emotional as well as sensory information we ingest. If the fires become too hot or cold, normal digestion is disrupted, toxins are produced and eyes and skin lose their glow. Pitta gives us warmth, intelligence, perception and understanding . It also gives us jealousy, anger, hate, frustration, burning sensations, rashes and allergies,ulcers and heart diseases. skin type is sensitive

Water+Earth = kapha dosha meaning "that which holds things together". Kapha is the force of cohesiveness. It cements together all the elements to make the material structure of the body,A source of bodily fluids like phlegm, plasma etc, it provides energy to heart and lungs and natural resistance to disease, If there is a depletion of the waters of life, water being the main chemical constituent of the body, or the cement too thick (earth) then heaviness and blockage. Kapha gives us the ability to love, forgive,calmness and wisdom as well as creates greed, envy, attachment , laziness , depression, bloating and obesity. Skin type is Oily.

The doshas are the key to your psychophysiological nature and skin type. Note that all the doshas are present in every individual. But what makes each life unique is the particular balance of these doshas at the time of one's birth.

Also the above types of doshas may further combine and give seven more combinations. For eg, my skin type is Vata-Pitta , meaning I have dry and sensitive skin, where the leading dosha is Vata ie dryness so Dryness is more a distinct charecter than sensitivity. Some also have a tridosha skin type where all the doshas ie Vata-pitta-kapha are imbalanced which is rare.

Skin Food

If you where given a plateful of chemicals that are present in the so called " it works wonders" cosmetic creams would you eat it ? Say for example a platterful of cetyl alcohol, red dye , sorbitol and a few phthalates( commonly used in nail polish)? Im sure if you know what harm they do to us , you wouldnt. I am not saying we should stop using our daily make up, be one needs to be aware of whats going onto our skin, just like our food where we try and use organic and fresh food as much as we can.

Treat your cosmetics like your food. Do not feed your skin with what you wouldn't eat. Start reading the labels on the products which boast about natural ingredients , more often than not , the chemical part is left out for us to know. Making Ayurvedic products for skin and storing is much easier as they are normally made with a base oil, essential oil and herbs and have a longer shelf life. Some things to keep in mind while buying ayurvedic cosmetic products in case you choose to buy them instead of making them .

It should contain exclusively pure plant extracts- no preservatives ,no dyes, no mineral oils,no chemical additives, no dyes, no preservatives, no chemical fragrances, no known carcinogens.

The product should heal and soothe the skin , not irritate or dry it.

It should contain the ingredients appropriate for your skin type.

Coming to the Ingredients suitable to one's skin type , let me introduce you to a few base oils, essential oils and herbal extracts. when you use a combination of these suited to your skin types, you will see an immediate improvement because these are alive, nutritive , healing ,soothing all at once.

For Vata( Dry Skin)

Essential Oils
: Nutmeg, Cardamom,ginger,saffron, Jasmine , geranium , redrose, red sandalwood , lemon , vanilla

Base Oils
: Black Sesame , Sesame , Avocado , Olive , almond , walnut , peanut , castor , ghee

Herbal extracts : Shatavari , Ashwagandha, basil or ginger

For Pitta(Sensitive Skin)

Essential Oils : Rosewhite, sandalwood , vetiver, coriander , cumin , mint , ylang-ylang , camphor

Base Oils : Almond, Coconut, sunflower, apricot,kernel, Olive, ghee

Herbal Extracts
: Neem , Shatavari, licorice , fennel , cardamom , mint, saffron , burdock

For Kapha(Oily Skin):

Essential Oils
: Eucalyptus, Camphor , Clove, Lavendar, Bergamot

Base Oils
: Canola, corn, safflower, mustard, grapeseed , almond, apricot kernel

Herbal Extracts
: Sage ,neem, rosemary

Do Cleanse, nourish and moisturize your skin daily

To Cleanse

Take 1 Oz of the base oil suited for your skin , take almond meal( ground blanched almonds) if you have Vata or Pitta skin types or barley meal if you have Kapha skin types add some milk or water and rub on your skin in one direction , wait for a minute and cleanse.

To Nourish

Take 1oZ of base Oil of your liking which is suitable to you , 10 drops of your favourite essential Oil , 5 drops of herbal extract and a little water and massage in one direction on damp skin.

To moisturize

Use cocoa butter melted in a broiler , add any essential oil if you want to and moisturize for healthy and glowing skin. Do not rub in too hard

Ex foliate weekly by using :

Avocado or Banana for Vata Types

banana or pineapple for Pitta types

Berry pulp or papaya for Kapha types.

* Shatavari and ashwagandha are found either in Indian stores or Health food stores or can be obtained from a naturopath.

Please note I am no naturopath , this article is only reference some gained by reading and some notes from my father.

References : Wiki , A life of Balance by Maya Tiwari , A collection of Indian newspaper articles from my father.

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This Post was written by Dee from Ammalu's Kitchen

Tiffin Tuesday - Small Pasta, Big Taste

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Posted by Petra Hildebrandt

While noodles make a great addition to your lunchbox, the choices seem to be somewhat limited - from spaghetti nests to farfalle, from soba to ravioli on a stick. But the noodles used in pasta salads were too massive for my bento purposes.

Lately I discovered small pasta shapes like mini farfalle, quadrucci, ditali - and in this case sorpresine noodles from DeCecco. They unfold to tiny little flower shapes and have the size of a small pea, which makes them just about perfect for pasta salad to be stuffed into veggies.

And with a colorful and tasty shell like roma tomatoes you'll add zing and nutritional value, too.

This pasta salad consists of sorpresine egg noodles, peas, some diced mortadella sausage, and mayo. For crunch and munch I've added a red radish and some cucumber on the side. Second tier: a peach, an organic kiwi, a handful of organic walnuts and an orange pudding from the Asian market.

Since I made the pasta salad the night before, all I had to do in the morning was scoop the seeds out of the tomato halves, fill in the pasta salad, and pack the fresh fruit - packing time 5 minutes, including peeling the kiwifruit.

Are you interested in contributing to The Daily Tiffin? Drop us an email: blogmeeta@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing your ideas.

This Post was written by Petra from FoodFreak

Using Artificial Sweetners - Is it worth it?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Posted by Mansi

The first thing that I was advised to do when I started my weight-loss program was to reduce my intake of calories, and the most obvious thing to avoid was "Sugar". As sugar is a very essential part of my diet, ( read tea/coffee, desserts and other day-to-day foods here!), I had to find an alternative for sugar, and thus decided to go for artificial sweeteners like Splenda. But as I learned more about it, I noticed that its not the perfect solution, and indeed has a lot of controversies attached to it! Recently, a lot of people advised me to stop using Splenda saying it's carcinogenic and has other side effects. So what's the truth behind it? And is it really worth it to substitute sugar for artificial sweeteners??

Splenda is basically a combination of three ingredients--sucralose, dextrose, and maltodextrin. Dextrose is a sweetener, while Maltodextrin is a solids builder and drying agent. Neither of them is known to have any side effects, except for some allergic reactions in persons with allergies to corn or wheat. Sucralose is a chlorinated sucrose derivative used as an artificial sweetener, and with rising concerns about the use of Sachharine (found in Equal and NutraSweet), people gladly embraced Splenda as the new sugar-alternative. As its made from sugar residue, it tastes exactly like sugar, and can be used in the same proportions without contributing to any caloric value. It was like a boon for weight-watchers and diabetic patients, and until recently, it ruled the market for artificial sweetners.

However, there's more to this small yellow sachet than what meets the eye. Research has shown that Splenda, which struggled with FDA approval (approval received in April 1998) as it wasn't adequately tested on humans, is suspected to be toxic and carcinogenic. It is said that Sucralose breaks down into 1,6-dichlorofructose, which is toxic and can lead to shrunken thymus glands (up to 40% shrinkage) and enlarged liver and kidneys, Atrophy of lymph follicles in the spleen and thymus Increased cecal weight Reduced growth rate Decreased red blood cell count Hyperplasia of the pelvis Extension of the pregnancy period Aborted pregnancy Decreased fetal body weights and placental weights Diarrhoea. However, it is important to consider that all this research was done on animals, not humans.

A lot of people have observed other side effects of Splenda, including skinrashes/flushing, panic-like agitation, dizziness and numbness, diarrhea, muscle aches, headaches, intestinal cramping, bladder issues, and stomach pain. These show up at one end of the spectrum — in the people who have an allergy or sensitivity to the sucralose molecule. Some of the chemicals that reside in such sweeteners have been stated as hazardous — but the degree to which you experience side effects just depends on your individual biochemistry. Manufacturers are banking on the fact that our bodies won’t absorb very much of these compounds at any one time, which may be true, but with increasing craze about low-calorie and "sugar-free" products, how much of an intake can we avoid??

On the other hand, there are ample pages that endorse this product and deem it to be safe for human consumtion. But the question remains, is this a gamble worth betting for?? I agree, for many people, especially those suffering from Diabetes, sugar is totally restricted, and they are forced to turn to artificial sweeteners as an alternative. But if you already suffer from weight gain, diabetes, inflammation, chronic pain, migraines, headaches, or depression, it means you may have sugar intolerance, in which case, you should eliminate sugar entirely from your diet, or opt for healthier choices like honey, rice syrup, molasses, and maple syrup.

I am neither a doctor nor a nutritionist, but I am a woman who tries to choose what's healthy for myself and my family. And I ask myself, isn't it better to reduce my sugar intake to half and get used to eating less sweet stuff than going for these alternatives which could be carcinogenic or hazardous to my body? Ask yourself the same question, and trust your heart and mind to give you the right answer!

I think I have made my decision and will revert back to Sugar and Honey, but in a restricted amount. Its best to avoid anything artificial, especially when we have ample natural sources to consider! And if you still have trouble deciding, make sure to consult a family physician, and pray to lord he knows the truth himself!

Related Articles:
Green Tea - Healthy or Not?
Acai Berry & its Healing Powers

Are you interested in contributing to The Daily Tiffin? Drop us an email: blogmeeta@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing your ideas.

This Post was written by Mansi from Fun and Food

Grilling Tips 101

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Posted by Kristen - Dine & Dish

In the U.S. the temperatures are high and grills are being fired up everywhere. Like my intentions of every summer of years past, I am bound and determined to finally learn how to grill. I have always left that job up to my husband and rightfully so as he belongs to an award winning Kansas City barbecue team. With my determination to learn how to grill in full force, I finally decided to ask my husband what he feels are some of the best tips for those of us just learning how to grill.

Hubby, aka Nick, first suggests that the beginning step to grilling is making sure you have the right tools. “When cooking outdoors on a charcoal or gas grill, having the right tools available is as important as what you are cooking. I would suggest that the beginning griller start out with a starter set of long handled grill tools. This set should include a pair of tongs, a spatula, skewers, a basting brush, and a pair of fireproof mitts. In addition to these items, a wire brush to clean your grill after each use is extremely important. These items can easily be found at your favorite house wares or grilling specialty store.”

Another tip Nick shares is intended to help prevent flare ups. “Many people want to use sugar based or high oil based marinades, but what they do not realize is those types of marinades, when in contact with the flame from a grill, will catch on fire quickly. Choose marinades that are not sugar based and wait until the last few minutes of grilling to baste your meat. By following this instruction, you can keep the flare ups from being a common occurrence on your grill."

Whether you choose to use a marinade or a rub, prepping your meat prior to grilling is essential to ensuring a full flavored meal. “I like to use rubs on most of the things I grill. When I use a rub, I always make sure to add the rub to the meat about an hour before I plan on grilling it. This way, the essence of the rub has the chance to soak into the meat, and once completely cooked, provides a rich flavor to your meal.”

Cooking temperature is one of the trickiest things about grilling. Nick says, “Unlike an oven, the temperature of the grill heat is one variable that people find difficult to work with. If your heat is too high, you will end up with dry and overcooked food. If the temperature is too low, you take the risk of your meat being undercooked. One way to safeguard against having temperature issues is to sear your meat on both sides at a high temperature and then lower the flame and cook until your meat is done. To ensure that your meat is fully cooked, invest in a good instant read thermometer. Piercing your meat constantly to check doneness releases the flavor. An instant read thermometer will keep the flavor trapped inside and will allow you to easily tell if your meat has cooked to your desired doneness. For those of you who are like me and find grilling to be intimidating, it is time to put those fears to rest. Grab your tools and these tips, fire up the flame and go get your grill on.

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This Post was written by Kristen from Dine and Dish

Skewer it!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Posted by Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

When three generations of women in one family came together for a cooking class to celebrate the birthday of 14-year-old Brianna, they let her choose the menu.

Brianna chose "Skewer It!", an entire appetizers-to-dessert menu of food on a stick.

Everything looks fancier on a skewer, and this meal was all about presentation and playing with your food. Skewered food is the ultimate party fare.

Bamboo skewers are easy to find, either in the grocery store, an Asian market, or online, and come in lengths from 6 to 14 inches. Most are round, but some are flat and wide -- great for shish kabob, shrimp, or anything that is apt to spin on a round skewer. If you're cooking food on the skewers, soak the bamboo skewers for 30 minutes or more in a bowl of water, until the moment you're ready to cook.

For Brianna's menu, we used skewers as serving utensils, so we didn't need to presoak them.

Our party featured dishes with mix-and-match dips. We didn't make shrimp, because one of the participants was allergic, but I'd definitely do some steamed or grilled shrimp (instead of the Thai chicken balls) with this menu:

Caprese skewers with roasted red pepper pesto
Teriyaki chicken chunks with spicy peanut dipping sauce
Thai chicken balls, with cilantro and sweet chili sauce
Veggie skewers with smoky black bean dip
Chipotle barbecue meatballs
Honeydew, mint and kiwi skewers with lime-yogurt dipping sauce
Mini ice cream sandwiches (rolled in cocoa powder) on skewers
Confetti kabobs

All of the skewers were a big hit with Brianna and her family, but one of the favorites was the caprese skewers, named after the mozzarella, tomato and basil salad so popular in Italy. 

The pesto is a great dip for any veggie skewers; make extra to use as a pasta sauce. Makes 24 skewers.

For the pesto:
1 cup roasted red peppers (good quality store-bought OK)
1/2 cup firmly packed fresh parsley leaves
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Blend until smooth. Set aside.

24 bocconcini (small mozzarella balls), in the cheese section of your supermarket
24 cherry or grape tomatoes
24 basil leaves
24 pitted kalamata olives

On a small skewer, thread an olive, tomato, basil leaf and cheese. Dip in red pepper pesto.

Here's Brianna with the dessert skewers she made: confetti kabobs (frozen marshmallows dipped in melted chocolate, and rolled in colored sprinkles), and mini ice cream sandwiches (chunks of ice cream sandwich, rolled in cocoa powder).

Are you interested in contributing to The Daily Tiffin? Drop us an email: blogmeeta@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing your ideas.

This Post was written by Lydia from The Perfect Pantry.

10 Reasons to be a Volunteer

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Posted by Nupur

Who is a volunteer? Someone who gives a bit of his or her time, free of charge, to a cause, or an organization, or an event, or another person. When people speak of volunteering, it often becomes this big issue of giving to others, performing “social service”. Well, I volunteer for strictly selfish reasons. I do it for myself. Here are my top 10 reasons for being a volunteer whenever the opportunity arises.

1. You learn new life skills and to get a peek into a profession different from your own: Volunteer opportunities often give an inside view of a profession other than your own. Folks who volunteer to build homes learn all kinds of useful carpentry and plumbing skills. Those who volunteer in community kitchens get to be "chefs" for a little while. I have learnt to scale up recipes to 100 or more servings with ease, and to make complete meals out of odd collections of the ingredients at hand. Many volunteer opportunities are exercises in management and organization.
2. You get fabulous opportunities. Being a volunteer can provide the opportunity to travel abroad, learn new languages and so much more. Those who volunteer to run marathons sometimes get access to professional trainers. I recently got the chance to teach a cooking class. I have also had the opportunity to attend classes taught by professional chefs by simply being the volunteer helper for that class.
3. You get some exercise. If you are bored by the thought of exercising alone in a gym, consider a volunteer position which could get your muscles to work, such as working in a community garden, lifting heavy pots and pans in a community kitchen or doing a walk/run for an event. Some of my most inspiring friends are "regular" people who have become athletes and run in marathons.
4. You get to be around motivated people. It turns out that the people who spend their free time doing volunteer work are often wonderful souls with big hearts and great attitudes. I have learnt a lot from being around these inspiring people, and have made valuable friendships with those who volunteer at the same places that I go to.
5. You get a chance to meet people very different from yourself. Most of us have friends who are in the same tax bracket, age group and socioeconomic group as ourselves. When you volunteer, you meet people who may come from completely different backgrounds and it is an eye-opening exercise to get to know them. I learned to appreciate people as individuals, that the elderly person who needs donated meals is not a statistic but has funny stories to relate and life experiences that I can learn from. My biggest lesson in sharing came from a malnourished homeless child (in a school for street children) who, when offered a cookie, broke it in two and gave me one half. Over the years, I have been learning to get off my high horse and learn “where people are coming from” and it sure has made me a little sober about my views and attitudes.
6. It provides a surge of positive energy. It is just depressing to watch the news or read the papers and see nothing but injustice and destruction everywhere in the world. But going out there and doing something small- smaller than even a drop in the ocean- can provide a ridiculous amount of hope and happiness. It makes you feel like you do have some amount of control over what goes on in our world.
7. It makes you feel more connected. When I moved to St. Louis, I had several months on my hands while I looked for a job, and in a new city without many friends, the days could become long and lonely. When I started volunteering, I suddenly felt useful and connected, as if I was now part of the local community. In a few weeks, people at the place where I volunteered started to rely on me as their “vegetable cook” and I finally felt like this city was home, where I had a place in the grand scheme of things.
8. You learn to count your blessings. Seeing the relentless hardships that people encounter- crime, poverty, disparities, illness- makes me grateful for everything I have. When I get into a petulant mood and start whining about small things that go wrong, I am more compelled to stop and look at the big picture and allow myself to be happy and contented with my own life.
9. You develop a problem-solving attitude. There is no end to the problems in this world and it is all too easy to rant about them. It is much harder to do something about it. The volunteer spirit teaches you to think about ways to do something about any problem you come across rather than watch helplessly or simply complain.
10. It is a great team-building exercise. At the community kitchen, I often see groups of coworkers come in to volunteer as a group. It is fun to see the "office" barriers drop and how the group dynamic improves as they make banana bread (or whatever) together. Many people who have children don’t feel like they can take time away from their families to do volunteer work. But for children of school-going age and beyond, the whole family can volunteer together. What a great way to teach children some solid values!

Being a volunteer is a state of mind. It can be something that we do for a hour or two every week or month or it can be a one-time thing. It is something thoroughly enjoyable and fulfilling and it is such a pity that more of us don’t do it more often. Whether you donate blood, spend the morning planting flowers in a community garden, conduct a bake sale, run a marathon, train your pet to be a therapy animal and take it to hospitals…there are volunteer opportunities for everyone, in every place, to fit every schedule.

I think it is really important to think of volunteering as something we do for our own happiness and well-being rather than some form of charity that we do for others. As giving BACK; as gratitude for all our good fortune, rather than simply as giving something away as if we were such magnanimous souls. As something we do on an everyday (or weekly or monthly) basis as an integral part of our lives rather than something we plan to do in the intangible future, in that mythical moment “when I have more time”. I say- the time is now! Do something good for yourself- become a volunteer.

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This Post was written by Nupur from One Hot Stove

Mixed Grains

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Posted by Ann

I love whole grains and we eat a lot of them, usually mixed together. Wherever I used to prepare white rice or couscous I now substitute some sort of mix of whole grains. I do this for the health benefits, of course, but also because I've come to prefer the more complex textures and flavors.

So what are the health benefits, anyway? Whole grains are good for you because they still have their outer covering, which is rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber. They're also low in fat and a good sources of protein.

Eating whole grains, instead of processed grains, has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and many types of cancer. They may also help regulate blood glucose in people living with diabetes. Other studies have also shown that people who consume more whole grains consistently weigh less than those who consumed less whole grain products.

I always make more than I need because I like them so much for lunch (or even breakfast!) the next day. The grains in the photo above are a mix of brown rice, millet, diced hot peppers, onion, garlic, dried cranberries, sunflower and pumpkin seeds with a melange of spices (I was making a vegetable curry to go with it). I don't follow any set recipe anymore, but adapt some basic principles to whatever I happen to be cooking for dinner.

The recipe changes each time I prepare it, but here are some basics that make it foolproof:

1) Combine grains with similar cooking times. If you try to combine quinoa with hulled barley you'll either have overcooked quinoa or tooth-breakingly al dente barley! Grains with similar cooking times are:

Brown rice, wild rice, pearl barley and millet
Amaranth, quinoa and cracked wheat
Hulled barley, farro (or spelt), rye berries and wheat berries

2) Saute whatever vegetables, fruits and spices you're using in a little oil and then add the grains, stirring them until they're well coated, before adding water or whatever cooking liquid you've decided to use.

3) Check for the recommended amount of cooking liquid for each grain you're using. Brown rice requires 2 cups of liquid for every cup of rice, as does millet. So if you're cooking a half cup of brown rice with a half cup of millet you will need a total of two cups of liquid.

4) Add seeds, nuts and/or dried fruit to your mix for extra flavor, crunch and protein! I like to toss in some sunflower and pumpkin seeds. I usually add a little more cooking liquid to allow for the liquid absorption the additions will require.

Are you interested in contributing to The Daily Tiffin? Drop us an email: blogmeeta@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing your ideas.

This Post was written by Ann from Redacted Recipes

Avoiding The 3 o’ Clock Slump

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Posted by Suganya

Its that time in the afternoon. You can barely keep your eyes open, even though there is a pile of work to do. The extent of afternoon fatigue differs from individual to individual and it can happen at work, or at home.

What causes afternoon energy slump?

While there are several medical reasons such as anemia, hypothyroidism, diabetes, hypoglycemia, sleep apnea, adrenal gland insufficiency, clinical depression, Chronic Fatigue Immunodeficiency Syndrome (CFIDS) and fibromyalgia, that can cause afternoon fatigue, simple lifestyle factors like diet, dehydration or stress can also be the cause.

What can one do to avoid afternoon fatigue?

1. Diet

One of the main reasons for an energy slump, is because of sudden fluctuations in blood glucose levels. The lower your blood glucose, the more sleepy you feel.

Foods that are rich in simple carbohydrates or sugar provide you with instant energy by elevating the blood glucose level. While they are a useful part of diet, when taken in excess, they drop your energy level as quickly as they elevate it. As a result your body goes through a roller coaster ride of high-energy and low-energy levels.

The idea is to provide your body with a constant supply of energy. This can be achieved in many ways.
  • Don’t skip meals, particularly breakfast. Starvation and skimpy meals lead to as much exhaustion as a high-carb lunch does.
  • Replace three big meals with five or six small, nutrient dense meals to keep the blood sugar level less fluctuating.
  • Reduce or avoid sugar and simple carbohydrates. Even though a candy bar or white bread or rice can give an instant energy hike by elevating the blood glucose level, it will only make things worse shortly thereafter.
  • Avoid sugary snacks. Keep peanut butter crackers, yogurt, nuts or an energy bar handy for a quick, but sensible fix. Our body needs fat, which is a concentrated source of energy. Hence, a tbsp of nut butter or a handful of nuts provide the necessary fat to fight fatigue.
  • Try taking a balanced food that incorporates unrefined carbs, proteins, vitamins & moderate amount of fat (Yes fat!!! Our body requires fat as well to maintain a proper balance).
2. Hydration

Dehydration contributes to fatigue by reducing blood flow to organs and slowing the brain. Keep a bottle of water by your side and stay hydrated by drinking at least eight glasses of water a day. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty, because your body is already dehydrated by then.

3. Fitness

Making time for exercise in your weekly routine. Regular, but moderate exercise will help increase your energy levels. Also, it helps reduce tension and stress, hence aids for a better night’s sleep.

4. Sleep

Sleep deprivation will most likely lead to fatigue. Get plenty of sleep the night before. If your situation allows, catch a wink in the afternoon. Instead of spending the whole day drearily, an invigorating, short nap can make a day much more productive.

Are you still feeling sleepy?
  • Do a few breathing exercises and fill your lungs with fresh air. Deep, cleansing breaths can restore energy.
  • Learn a few stretch routines that can be done even while sitting in a chair. Stretching not only increases blood flow to the body, but stimulates the brain due to increased oxygen supply.
  • A quick, brisk walk raises energy and wards off inertia. Take a walk when you feel sleepy. Walking outside is also an opportunity to inhale fresh air. If you don’t have the time for a 10-minute walk, then run up and down the stairs for two minutes.
  1. Conquering fatigue, by Debra Waterhouse, M.P.H., R.D.
  2. Rev up your energy
  3. The cure for exhaustion? More exercise

Are you interested in contributing to The Daily Tiffin? Drop us an email: blogmeeta@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing your ideas.

This Post was written by Suganya from Tasty Palettes.

Tiffin Thursday - Halloumi

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Posted by jokergirl@wererabbits

This bento contains fried Halloumi cheese drizzled with thick balsamico vinegar, couscous and baby spinach salad, cherry tomatoes, ecological garden salad, a wedge of grapefruit and spices plus some grapes and a Mr. WA Mozart chocolate truffle.
Mmm, lots of my favourite tastes.

This is my BF's bento - you know your bentos make an impact when the male members of your family ask you to make one for them as well!

Are you interested in contributing to The Daily Tiffin? Drop us an email: blogmeeta@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing your ideas.

This Post was written by jokergirl from WereRabbits.

The GirEleCroc - or a lesson in creativity

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Posted by Dharm

When I was younger, so much younger than today,
I never needed anybody's help in any way.
But now these days are gone, I'm not so self assured,
Now I find I've changed my mind and opened up the doors.

Oooops! Sorry. I didn't mean to start singing that good ol' Beatles song. However, once I started typing this post, the song just popped into my head. It kind of makes sense of what I was going to say anyway. Let's try again, shall we. From the top...

When I was young, life was full of rules. There was no room for 'artistic 'licence or creativity. Everything had to be as it was supposed to be. For example, I couldn't colour the sky purple in my colouring book. Skies are blue. If I wanted to colour my roses green, I was told they had to be red. Trees had to have green leaves and trunks of brown. And heaven forbid if I were to colour a rainbow with colours other than VIBGYOR, or in the wrong order! See, I even remember VIBGYOR from my childhood days - Violet, Indigo, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, Red!

I suppose that's why Louis Armstrong constantly reminds us in his deep, husky voice:

I see trees of green, red roses too....
I see skies of blue, clouds of white

Times change though and kids these days have so much more freedom. They are encouraged to 'think outside the box' and colour the roses any darned colour they want to. I guess it makes a lot of sense too because, nowadays, you have roses that are yellow, pink and even blue - although I understand the blue roses are artificially coloured by feeding them with blue coloured water.

Just because leaves on trees in Malaysia are usually green doesnt mean you don't have red leaves and other brightly coloured leaves in the rest of the world. Especially at Autumn, right?!

So when my daughter wants to colour Snow White's hair a revolting purple, I don't stop her. When my son wants to colour his dinosaurs in different shades of blue, red and yellow, I shake my head in acknowledgement when he proudly declares that no one has seen how dinosaurs really look so maybe they were multi-coloured. Yeah, and spotty and striped and two-toned too.

My son made this Lego animal when he had just turned 6. My first instinct was to make him conform and tell him that there couldn't possibly be such an animal.

I bit my tongue though and just asked him what animal it was. He rolled his eyes, looked at me in disbelief and said:
"It's a GirEleCroc Daddy. See? It's even got something to spray out and something to suck things up - like a robot."

He then proceeded to explain to me that it was a cross between a Giraffe, an Elephant and a Crocodile. He had also put a wing on top that enabled the animal to fly. He logically explained, that that meant there was some Dragon thrown in too.

I had come so close to stifling his creativity just because he had created something that was out of the ordinary. I took the opportunity to join in the fun and relive a bit of my own childhood. He broke out into a broad smile as I asked him more questions about what this marvelous animal could do and he took even greater delight in explaining everything to me.

Children have such an active imagination and to make them conform to what we think is right can be so limiting to their creativity. So the next time your child does something different, ask them what they are doing rather than correct them to suit our own perceptions. Let them break the rules. Sometimes you'll be surprised that they have a perfectly good reason why they've coloured the sky red or green. Perhaps its the sky of Jupiter, Venus or maybe Pluto...

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This Post was written by Dharm from Dad ~ Baker & Chef