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    Sandalwood actor Vijay Raghavendra has been on a creative high and is excited that his directorial venture Kismat will be releasing soon. This year, he hopes to work in multiple projects and is looking forward to achieving personal goals as well.

    In a candid chat with Tini Sara Anien, he talks about Kismat and more.

    Whats in store for you in 2018?

    I am hoping to work in a lot of interesting projects and keep exploring myself as an artiste in 2018.

    How is Kismat shaping up?

    I had hoped that Kismat would release sooner but I am not worried. We are awaiting the Censor Board certificate and after that everything should be in place.

    What inspired you to direct Kismat?

    As the hunt for someone who could feel and handle the subject just like I felt, was on, many in my close-knit circle including my wife and friends encouraged me to direct the film. Direction requires a lot of courage. If I was a regular writer or director, I wouldnt have felt the way I do now. It takes a lot to be a director.

    Can you narrate one memorable moment from the sets of Kismat?

    We were at the last leg of a particular scene sequence and one of our artistes, Nanda, suddenly complained of chest ache. Though we all thought it might be nothing major, I immediately told him to get himself checked at a hospital. He had to be admitted for a few days because he has some health issues. We were glad to have him back with us soon and we resumed shoot in a few days. Whenever I think of this incident I feel that we were so lucky; the incident connects with the movie title too.

    Which is easier -- directing or acting?

    It is easier to act in movies than directing them. As an actor, I just have to be concerned about what I am doing in the scenes and how I coordinate with the other actors. I only have to think about how I emote the feelings and if I am doing justice to the role. As a director I had to make sure that a 100 other artistes on the set saw the film through the same eyes that I did.

    What are the different roles you will soon be seen in?

    There are multiple projects lined up at the moment. Apart from Kismat, I will be playing a spiritual person in one movie. I will also be seen in a commercial movie which has a lot of comic elements. Discussions about an action film are also happening at the moment.

    What changes have you seen in the industry over the years?

    When I started my career 15 years back, I would shoot in front of one camera. Acting in front of two cameras was considered a luxury then. The industry has grown technically since then and we have innovative camera angles and so much more now. I am hoping that the industry will keep growing and that directors will be continue to handle subjects differently.

    One thing you want to change about yourself?

    I would like to be a better and fitter version of myself in 2018.


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  • 01/10/18--22:28: A brush with colours
  • Swedish-Greek actor Elli AvrRam made a mark in Bollywood with Mickey Virus andKis Kisko Pyaar Karoon and has appeared in many reality shows on dance. She haswalked the ramp for some of the biggest names in the fashion circuit. The actor has alsoessayed interesting characters in Naam Shabana and Poster Boys. She recently hostedthe Great Indian Laughter Challenge. Elli will make her debut in the Kannada film industrywith Butterfly which is the Kannada remake of Queen.

    Being in the profession that I am, I can never hope to get a weekend all to myself. There have been times when I have worked continuously. If I am lucky then I get a Sunday off.

    And when I do I make the best of it. I indulge in everything that I enjoy doing in my free time which could be anything from cooking, sleeping, painting to just lazing about in my house.

    If I have the luxury of a Saturday and Sunday off then the first thing I do is to catch up on all the lost sleep. I love sleeping and I also find that it has a therapeutic effect on me. Whenever I have some free time, I try to spend it with my closest friend Shweta Rohira.

    She is my soul sister and we spend a lot of time shopping, eating out and always wind up our outings with a movie. I have also had my mother Maria come over from Greece on some of the weekends and whenever she is here, I make sure that we do some fun things together.Cooking is another favourite pastime.

    I love cooking variations of Thai Wok which is a mix of noodles and chicken. I dont mean to sound boastful but I make some of the best chicken dishes. I also experiment with salads. My salad always has cucumber, lettuce and tomato. I also add a generous dose of a herb called oregano. My salads are never complete without adding this herb.

    I have also been painting for as long as I can remember. I have a separate room in my house where I paint. It gives me a lot of peace and helps me disconnect from the rest of the world. I havent gone to any classes but I paint whatever pops up in my mind. I enjoy working with oil paint but the only drawback is that it takes a long time to dry.

    Most of my mornings start with a cup of black tea or green tea. I have a special teapot and cup set apart for this. I drink as many cups of tea and still never get bored of it. I also hit the pool whenever I can with my friends. I spend lazy afternoons in the pool and relax there with a book. When I was back home I loved playing football and still do so once in a while. But now I have taken to mixed martial arts in a big way and this leaves me with very little time to do anything else.

    I also never miss exercising even if it is a Sunday. My days are never complete without hitting the gym.

    While I pack my weekends with everything that I love doing I also make it a point to spend some quiet time.

    This time is used to reflect on my journey so far both as an actor and as a person. This "me time" helps me evolve and look at everything in a positive way.

    Actors lead a very rushed life but I have learnt how to take each day as it comes and be grateful for everything that I have today.


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    In a first of its kind effort, researchers from all over the world have quantified soil erosion due to rainfall by collecting data from 63 countries to prepare a rainfall erosivity map of the world. The study, published in Scientific Reports, is a joint effort of 31 scientists from over 20 countries all over the world.

    Erosivity is the tendency of rainfall to cause soil erosion. Displacement of soil from its original place is called erosion. Rainfall, rapidly flowing water like streams and rivers, wind, or even mass movement of land like landslides or avalanches can cause erosion. Rainfall alone causes more than 50% of soil erosion in the world. Erosion takes away the nutrient-rich topsoil from the erosion site, and in the long run, leads to desertification. The other side of erosion is eutrophication - excessive richness of nutrients - caused by the eroded soil being deposited as sediments in water bodies like lakes and rivers, choking them in the process. This excess of nutrition in the water causes the unabated growth of vegetation and algae, resulting in reduced dissolved oxygen in the waterbody.

    The erosivity factor

    Erosion causes a lot of ecological damage too and impacts economies dependent on local resources. "When the water of the flooded Brahmaputra flows downstream in Bengal, it disrupts the fishing reservoirs of the region. The local fishermen, thus, lose their means of livelihood," says Dr Nabansu Chattopadhyay of the Indian Meteorological Department, Pune, and a co-author of the study.

    Erosivity of soil is the combined effect of the duration of rainfall, its magnitude and intensity. "For example, if a place gets 100 cm rainfall in 24 hours, but it is quite uniformly divided, such rain may not cause soil erosion. However, suppose there is 10 cm rainfall in a mere one hour, then soil may get washed away," points out Nabansu. To determine erosivity, it is also essential to take into account the previous erosivity events that have occurred over a long period of time. Erosion is more likely to happen when the soil is already saturated with water and a heavy downpour occurs. Water can no more be absorbed into the soil, and soil then flows downstream with water.

    Erosivity factor, evaluated based on the duration of rainfall, its magnitude and its intensity, is essential for assessing the extent of soil erosion by water. This also helps in calculating the risk of floods and preventing natural disasters. Suitable mitigation measures can then be taken to prevent losses to lives and property. The researchers of this study collected data from 3,625 precipitation stations all over the world and created a Global Rainfall Erosivity Database (GloREDa). The data came from rain gauges spread over different continents, in different climatic conditions, during different time periods and of different accuracies. Rainfall measurements at short duration, once every 30 minutes, was taken for evaluation.

    The number of years for which data was available also had a large variation; some gauges had only 10 years of data, a duration much shorter than the 22 years recommended for evaluation of erosivity. The researchers had to interpolate this data suitably in the framework used for this assessment. Uncertainty is also introduced in erosivity values due to the variability of rainfall, its duration, its magnitude and its intensity in areas lying between different climatic zones.

    The final map that the researchers came up with indicates that the highest erosivity values are located in Southeast Asia, Central Africa, South America, Central America and the Caribbean islands. The lowest erosivity was found in Siberia, West Asia, Northern Africa, Canada and Northern Europe. The researchers observed that spatial pattern of erosivity values corresponds to the extreme rainfall events observed in those areas. An analysis by the climate zone indicated that the tropical climate group that included tropical rainforest and monsoon climatic types showed highest erosivity. The cold climate group, that includes the subarctic region had lowest erosivity values.

    Mitigation measures

    Another major achievement of this study is the setting up of a global erosivity dataset with a spatial resolution of about one km that is now available. The researchers credit this to the availability of rainfall measurement at short duration, the growing computing power and the development of sophisticated geostatic models. "We acknowledge that this achievement was only feasible through the scientific cooperation between scholars from all over the globe," say the authors. The global erosivity map is now publicly available, and researchers can use it to model soil erosion at a national, continental or global level. This can certainly help plan erosion mitigation measures.

    One way to conserve what is left of the soil is to increase the time of concentration of the runoff or reduce the velocity of the runoff. This allows more water to sink into the soil, and prevents it from carrying the soil along. Building terraces and bunds are one way to prevent the runoff at a smaller scale. On a larger scale, dams and retention reservoirs could also be planned, opine the researchers. Biological measures include planting vegetative strips, protective bushlands and forests in regions prone to increased soil erosion. Certain agricultural practices like contour ploughing, where the land is ploughed across a slope following its elevation contour lines, and mixed cropping, where two or more of plants are grown simultaneously in the same field, could also help.

    For a country like India that is largely dependent on agriculture, soil plays a very important role in driving the economy. So what are implications do the findings of this study have? The researchers believe that soil conservation efforts in India can hugely benefit from the erosivity map. "The Ministry of Agriculture in India undertakes multiple soil and water conservation projects. With a view to better monitor rainfall, installation of automatic rainfall measurement gauges is planned," shares Nabansu. With more such systematic measures, perhaps soil erosion could be a thing of past.

    (The author is with Gubbi Labs, a
    Bengaluru-based research collective)


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  • 01/02/18--22:54: Bulletin Board
  • Music courses

    Global Music Institute (GMI) has opened applications for its spring 2018 courses. The last date to apply is January 8, 2018. For more details, visit www.globalmusicinstitute.in.

    Super 30

    Super 30, which is an IIT JEE entrance coaching centre, is now being offered by iScholar Education Services through their i30 programme. The course curriculum will include 150 hours classes for Physics and Mathematics and 120 hours of Chemistry. For more details, visit www.i30jee.com/super30.

    Graduate scholarships

    The Humanities and Social Sciences Department, Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar invites applications from graduates enrolling in the MA programme for Humanities and Social Sciences Scholarship 2018. The last date to apply is January 15. For more details, visit www.bit.ly/2CuAZZT.

    Social Media internship

    Sofa Clinic is hiring interns for Social Media marketing profile in Bengaluru. Students with knowledge of Adobe Photoshop can apply by January 13. The stipend is Rs 8,000 per month. To apply, visit www.bit.ly/DH-199.

    ICSE scholarship

    Trio World School has announced the ICSE scholarship programme for the academic year 2018-2019. The scholarship test will be held on January 20, 2018. For more details, call 080-40611222.

    Content writing internship

    Sideways 6 is hiring interns for content writing profile in Bengaluru. Students with knowledge of blogging can apply by January 11. The stipend is Rs 10,000-15,000 per month. To apply, visit www.bit.ly/DH-200.

    All India essay contest

    The Council for Youth Development and Research Foundation invites entries for All India Online Essay Competition 2018 at the junior and senior level on the occasion of 69th Republic Day of India from students of Class 9 to 12 and university students. The last date to submit is January 10. For more details, visit www.bit.ly/2qdDtpT.

    WOS-C 2018

    Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India invites applications for Women Scientists Scheme (WOS-C) 2018 from women scientists and technologists who are in the age group of 27-45 years. This is specially meant for women who have their qualifications in science/ engineering/ medicine or allied areas. The last date to apply is January 19. For more details, visit www.bit.ly/2Cvr7zf.

    DRDO robotic competition

    DRDO Robotics and Unmanned Systems Exposition (DRUSE) invites applications for DRDO Robotic Competition 2018 from engineering students pursuing UG or PG courses. The objective of this competition is to identify and develop novel ideas in different parts of our country. The last date to register is January 15. For more details, visit www.bit.ly/2DwgPvC.

    Clarendon scholarships

    The University of Oxford is offering Clarendon scholarships to students who are applying for graduate study. The last date to apply is January 8. For more details, visit www.bit.ly/2fCUPrq.

    City Meet â€" Nexus

    IMI-New Delhi invites students to its first ever City Meet â€" Nexus on January 13, 2018 at the BHIVE Workspace, HSR Layout, Bengaluru.The meet will also happen in New Delhi and Chandigarh on January 13 and in Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Trivandrum on January 20. The agenda of the meet is to address the common doubts that the students have during their pre-college search phase. For more details, visit www.events.imi.edu/nexus2018.

    Operations internship

    Treebo Hotels is hiring interns for operations profile in Bengaluru. Students can apply by January 5. The stipend is Rs 10,000 per month. To apply, visit www.bit.ly/DH-197.

    CIS scholarship

    The Canadian International School (CIS), Bengaluru has announced scholarships for outstanding students in IB and IGCSE for the August 2018 academic batch.For more information, +91 9008607755 or email scholarships@cisb.org.in.


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  • 01/02/18--22:56: Know your forte
  • Dear Madam,

    I have a son studying in Class 11. Though he is smart, he is extremely lazy when it comes to studying for exams and doing his homework. I have tried to reason with him about his attitude towards studies, nothing seems to be working. As a result, I am concerned that his future may be in jeopardy. How can I help him?

    A Mother

    Dear Mother,

    I have often said this in this column before and will repeat it again. We parents need to learn to deal with our anxieties outside of the parent-child relationship. The fact that you are anxious about your childs future is normal.

    But no matter what you do you cannot control his future. It is something only he can influence. Sometimes children have to fall and fail to learn important life lessons.

    Ultimately he has to realise and take responsibility for his actions. He has to face the consequences and enjoy the successes. You cannot do it for him. You may want to ask him if he would like to talk to a counsellor who can help him work through his blocks. The objective should be to help him achieve his
    potential and not short-change himself.

    Dear Madam,

    As my English is poor, I am often mocked about it by my classmates while making presentations in class. This has led me to not talk as much as I usually do and has affected my confidence level. While I am working on my English skills, it is taking me time. Until then, what can I do to overcome my current situation and boost my confidence?

    A Student

    Dear Student,

    Remember your strengths. English may not be your strength area right now. But I am sure you have many other strengths. You may think you dont have any. But remember all of us do. Sometimes we just dont allow ourselves to think we have strengths because we are only too busy keeping track of our weaknesses.

    Reminding ourselves of our strengths allows us to feel better and more confident about ourselves and that is very important. So make a list of at least ten strengths and these could be things that you are good at, as well as what are the good qualities you have. Then keep this list safely in a place that is visible and easily accessible to you. Look at it often so that you internalise it.

    Also, remember that no one is perfect and the same people who are teasing you also have their own flaws. Yours may be your English skills while theirs may be something else. Just because you do not speak English as well as many of the others does not mean that you are less important or worthy than the others. But the responsibility to let people know your worth is yours.

    Stand up for yourself. Dont let people get away with insulting comments. Let them know how their comments make you feel and that it is not acceptable to you that they make those comments. Remember, the world reflects back to you what you think, feel and believe about yourself.

    If you think that you are not as worthy as the others because you do not speak English well, then that is what you will hear the others saying about you. You may want to reach out to a counsellor who can help you find your confidence.

    Dear Madam,

    My daughter is extremely active on social media. As she is in Class 12, I would like her to cut down on her usage and I have discussed this with her. However, it does not seem likely that she will do so and we even had a bitter argument about her excessive Internet usage. What can I do to make her see that my argument is valid as well? With her exams around the corner, I do not want her to be distracted unnecessarily.

    A Parent

    Dear Parent,

    Parental anxiety is normal because all parents want the best for their children, and they really want to be able to control the outcome, somehow. Unfortunately, that is not possible. We cannot control the outcome no matter what. We may only be able to influence it, slightly. So therefore, I think all parents, especially parents of children at critical stages in their life, should seek some counselling support for themselves to be able to handle their anxiety in a way that does not block and obstruct the parent-child relationship. Talking to a counsellor and working through your concerns and fears will help you to be able to talk to your daughter in a way that is non-judgemental and supportive. That increases your ability to be able to influence her.

    The end goal for you should not be her marks, but to get her to be self-motivated enough to be able to work towards achieving her potential (not your desired potential). For all you know, she may be using social media as an escape from reality because it may be her way of coping with her own fears and anxieties around her exams (which I am sure she has plenty). Giving her access to a counsellor at this time will also help her deal with things that may be holding her back. It will be time well spent. All the best!

    Dear Madam,

    I am from a middle class family. I couldnt complete Class 12 due to a health problem. Though I attempted the board exams a few times, I could not pass. I feel very low when I see the marks card. Though I want to move on, I dont find any way. Please help me to come out of this situation. I know how important education is for a person. But unless I find a solution for my problem I wont be able to concentrate on studies.

    A Student

    Dear Student,

    Like you said, education is important, not the marks. And you can get an education in many ways. There are many online options to gain an education. Information and learning content is now available online in an unlimited way. So go ahead and get all the education you like. Being a constant learner and knowing how to learn is important. The marks and degrees help open some doors for you, but once the doors open, making a success of those opportunities is not dependent on your marks.

    Look for other doors that may open, which are not dependent on your marks, and then make a success of those. After all, success in life depends on several other things like your self-image, your self-esteem, your confidence, your ability to solve problems, your ability to think creatively, your ability to work in a team, your communication skills and many other such qualities.

    There are many people who have been successful in life without a formal education and formal degree. That does not mean that they dont know anything. It just means they did not gain their education in a formal way. They learnt informally, maybe on the job, in their own way. It is often referred to as the school of hard knocks. Read their stories for inspiration.

    Remember doors open for those who let them. And inside every open door there can be an opportunity which we can tap. Good luck!


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  • 01/02/18--22:58: To learn many languages...
  • Language is our primary source of communication. Its the method through which we share our ideas and thoughts with others. When I was younger, the boundaries were thick, the world was way too big for us to connect. But when we look around today, language has gained paramount significance specially with the penetration of mobile, social media and Internet access across every walk of life. The past decade has been a witness to the fact that the world is more connected now than it ever was.

    Organisations are looking to engage with customers on a deeper and more customised level. Consumers worldwide want everything on their own terms, and this includes a preference for communicating in their own language. In India as well, the scenario is no different. The significance of communicating in native languages has increased drastically with the advent of Make in India movement. At the same time, with the increasing access to Internet, India began running on a digital mode. The importance of foreign languages, as a result, has skyrocketed.

    With data moving across the globe, numerous opportunities have come up for linguists across languages and industries. Knowing more than one language can open the door to a wider range of opportunities.

    Translation and interpretation

    According to a recent report, the field of translation and interpretation services is expected to increase by 36% by 2019. In times of mass lay-offs, this is one of the few industries that has projected such growth in career opportunities. Translation of content has expanded from books, documents, technical specifications to websites, mobile apps, games and more. These show the demand for language skills and the amount of growth that the field of translation and interpretation services is going to witness in the coming years.

    Translation is not just limited to documents or books as generally perceived. In fact, there are other areas where translation specialists are needed. Some of possible careers include:

    Voice-over artist: The multimedia industry is always on the lookout for efficient and cost-effective voiceovers for their multimedia requirements. It is here that bilingual or multilingual artistes can put their skills to the test.

    Linguistic testing: This field, also known as linguistic quality check, has
    gained traction in recent times. The ability to authenticate translated content is a skill that is high in demand.

    Interpretation: Gone are the days when interpretation was only limited to a single person providing face to face linguistic support. Today, linguistic support is combined with the latest multimedia tools to provide simultaneous interpretations for events and conferences, among others.

    What makes learning a new language more effective is the possibility to combine it with an existing skill or passion. It could range from a passion for public speaking or a skill in a particular tool. Learning languages also opens the doors to opportunities in various industries like education, information technology and tourism.

    Many benefits

    There are several benefits that one can reap when one learns multiple languages. For instance, one can solve problems faster and become better at multitasking. With the increase in awareness of the benefits and rise in demand for language expertise, language learning is now receiving the much-needed attention.

    Earlier, a good education was perceived to provide a child with a degree or subject expertise. However, a good education today is measured by transferable skills that are desirable in the job market. This implies that language knowledge is likely to be regarded as a desired attribute in the global job market and, hence, language education can be regarded as a substantial requirement for high-quality education.

    Language learning,when it is integrated with education, forms an essential part of developing cultural awareness. Starting early with additional languages results in a native-like competency in the language. They have also influenced the reform of language education policy in many countries. Poland, for instance, has introduced mandatory foreign language learning from the first year of primary education.

    In India, many schools that are affiliated to CBSE offer ones mother tongue or Hindi, English and foreign languages like French at the pre-primary level. This is most likely to increase in the days to come. Various professionals and educationalists are slowly recognising the importance of learning a new language and the demand for learning them is only accelerating. Language, therefore, plays a pivotal role in making the world smaller and bringing people closer.

    (The author is with Mayflower Language Services, Bengaluru)


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  • 01/11/18--16:04: It's all in the pickle
  • Garlic pickle

    Ingredients: Around 500 gm of garlic cloves; 1 tsp of methi powder; 1 tbsp of jeera powder; 2 tbsps of dry mango powder; 2 tbsp of coriander powder; 1 tbsp of saunf powder; 1 tbsp of kala namak; 2 tbsp of red chilli powder; 1 tsp of turmeric powder; 1 tsp of onion seeds; 1 tsp of methi seeds; 1 tsp of jeera; 1 tsp of hing; 1 tbsp of salt; a bottle of vinegar and 200 gm of oil.
    Method: In a bowl, add garlic cloves and vinegar. Keep aside for at least 12 hours. Heat oil in a kadai and add onion seeds, methi, mustard seeds, jeera, turmeric powder and hing. Keep aside and allow this mix to cool. Drain the vinegar from the garlic and add all the dry ingredients and mix well. Now add kala namak, red chilli powder, salt, and oil. Transfer the pickle to an air tight jar. It takes four days for this pickle to be ready to serve.

    Gooseberry or amla pickle

    Ingredients: Half kg of amla or gooseberry; 125 gm of green chillies (slit); 125 ml of oil; 50 gm of salt; ' tsp of cumin; ' tsp of mustard seeds; 2 tbsps of sesame seeds (roasted and powdered) and a lemon.
    Method: Wash the amla well; dry and keep them aside. Heat oil in a pan and fry the green chillies for two minutes. Remove the chillies from the pan and add cumin and mustard seeds. Once the seeds start sputtering, add the amla and fry for a few minutes. Sprinkle some water and cover the pan with a lid and let it stay for 6 minutes.Turn the flame to medium and stir well.

    Carrot pickle

    Ingredients: Five carrots cut into wedges; 3 tbsps of chopped ginger; 2 tbsps of chopped garlic; 4 green chillies (chopped); ¼ tsp of fenugreek seeds; 1 ¼ tsps of mustard seeds ; 6 tbsps of Kashmiri chilli powder; ' tsp of turmeric powder; cup + cup + 1 tbsp of vinegar; 1 to 2 tsp of sugar; ¼ tsp of asafoetida; cup + 1 tbsp of oil; salt to taste and a sprig of curry leaves for tempering.
    Method: Add salt to the wedged carrots and keep aside. Heat cup of oil in a pan. Add mustard and fenugreek seeds and let them sputter. Add chopped green chillies and fry for a minute. Add chopped ginger, garlic, and curry leaves and fry them for 2-3 minutes, till the raw smell vanishes. Take the pan off the stove and add turmeric and chilli powder. Mix well. Return to fire and fry for 2-3 minutes till the raw smell goes away and the oil starts separating. Add 1 tbsp of vinegar, salt, and mix well. Add a cup more of vinegar and bring to boil. Simmer and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the carrots and mix well. Add the remaining cup of vinegar and a cup of hot water; bring to boil. Cook on a low flame for 5-6 minutes. Add sugar and asafoetida; mix and cook for 3-4 minutes.

    (The author is co-founder of SaleBhai)


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  • 01/11/18--16:06: Article 18

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  • 01/11/18--16:08: Say freeze!
  • Storing food in refrigerators is a tricky business. But, once we get the hang of it, we wonder how life was in the pre-fridge days. From condiments and flours to dairy and meat to fruits and vegetables to leftovers and marinades, everything goes into the wonder box called fridge. Refrigerated the right way, food items will last long, retaining their freshness.
    * To begin with, set the fridge to the right temperature. The ideal setting would be 0 °C to 4 °C for the fridge and 0 °C for the freezer. To make matters simpler, all the new refrigerators show the ideal temperature the fridge and the freezer should be set in depending on the season.
    * While refrigerating cooked food, especially leftovers, always store them in airtight containers. This not only keeps bacteria out, but also retains the foods moisture content. It is best to use the refrigerated leftovers within three to four days. If you are planning to use them much later, then its best to freeze them. Frozen leftovers are safe for up to three to four months. Leftovers should be refrigerated within two hours of cooking.
    * While storing fruits and vegetables, always place them in separate perforated plastic bags and put them in the tray at the bottom-most portion of the fridge. Since the temperature in the fridge arrests the ripening process, ripen fruits and veggies on the counter top before putting them in the fridge. While most fruits and veggies can be refrigerated, there are a few which are best kept outside, at room temperature - for instance, bananas, avocados, tomatoes, onions, garlic, potatoes.
    * While storing herbs like coriander and mint, it is best to separate the stalks from their roots, and wrap them in a tissue or kitchen towel before putting them in plastic covers to go into the fridge.
    * When it comes to storing raw meat, poultry and seafood, put them in tightly closed containers so that their raw juices do not contaminate the other food items.
    * Milk should always be stored in the shelf thats coolest, like the chill tray right below the freezer. The same holds good for most dairy products.
    * To get rid of bad odour in the fridge, dab a small piece of cloth in vanilla essence and place it inside.


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  • 01/11/18--16:12: For the special glow
  • Weddings are fun. And stealing the show on this day are beautiful brides! Every bride has a personality of her own, which reflects in their style and look. This wedding season, take inspiration from the looks that are fresh off the ramp for your special day.
    Here are the top three looks that are ideal for every bride, and can be achieved in four simple steps. Sounds too good to be true, right?

    #1: The Timeless Bride

    This classic look is inspired by the Mughal era. Use of colours like rust orange, bronze and gold dust around the eye, a strong blush placement and cherry lips give this look a chic complete finish.
    * Prep it up: Start by moisturising and nourishing your skin with an argan oil-enriched product.
    * Get the base right: Even your skin using a dewy foundation. Highlight the cheek bones using a bronzer and add depth to the look with strokes of bronzing.
    * Shimmer it right: Add more hints of gold using a highlighter or a shimmer brick.
    * Pop the lip: For the lips, opt for matte shades like coral or wine colour.

    #2: The Classic Bride

    This is the perfect blend of earthiness and glamour, playing with copper tones, while keeping the feel fresh and natural.
    * Prep it up: Start by moisturising and nourishing your skin with an oil-in-crème.
    * Ace the base: Even your skin using a serum foundation and use a highlighter to contour the cheekbones to give them a beautiful sheen.
    * Dreamy eyes: For the eyelids, use a mix of pink, orange and brown hues to give them a dreamy feel.
    * Pout out loud: For the lips, use a plum shade to make them pop.

    #3: The Contemporary Bride

    This look is a new interpretation of the coloured-graphic liner, focusing on a statement eye make-up, which flaunts a bold metallic purple.
    * Prep it up: Start by moisturising and nourishing your skin with an oil-in-crème.
    * Base it up: Even your skin using a dewy foundation and add a touch of a good highlighter.
    * Eyes say it all: Use a bright-coloured eye shadow with a metallic or silver undertone. Use a shade of purple to give your eyes an edge.
    * Chic lips: For the lips, use a light pink shade.


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  • 01/11/18--16:14: Fashion forward
  • Q. I am a 26-year-old who likes to dress conservatively. I have joined a corporate set-up recently, which invariably means I have to make presentations and attend board meetings. I am comfortable in Indian wear and I am not confident of pulling of a western formal attire. How best can I dress for meetings without compromising on comfort? - Swarna S

    If you are comfortable in Indian formals, use plain cotton saris or salwar kameezes with plain dupattas. Avoid low-cut necklines. I suggest you go for light pastel shades and minimal colours over bright hues. Avoid bold prints, designs and too much embroidery. Wear collared kurtas with minimum accessories. Your hairdo also plays a important role in making you look professional. Tie a bun to keep your hair from falling on your face especially during board meetings.

    Q. I am an overweight 18-year-old and I am extremely conscious about the way I look and dress. Being a plus-size person, I have struggled to find the right clothes. I want to dress in an age-appropriate manner. Can you please suggest the ideal cuts and colours for my body type that will help me look younger and trendier? - Brenda Gonsalves

    Any big print can look overwhelming. Go for vertical stripes or patterns facing up and down that will make you look slimmer. Skip dresses that are big and boxy. Your goal is to accentuate your body, not hide it entirely. Unless you need them, avoid belts, as they can make you look wider. A long hanging scarf can make you look slimmer. Wear darker shades like navy blue, grey, and black for a slimming effect. Since your young, accessorise with fun pop colours.

    Q. I am in my early 30s and I am looking for the right girl. I want to stand out in a crowd. How do I dress to impress on casual dates and at parties? - Varun Vaz

    Wear a relaxed outfit but not a sloppy one. Stay away from clothes that make it seem like you didnt put any effort into dressing - work clothes look bad, so do sweatpants or athletic pants (unless its a jogging date). A jacket has time and time again helped men look more masculine and authoritative. A pair of dark-wash jeans in black or deep indigo strikes a nice balance and can be teamed with anything from a short-sleeved collared shirt to a dress shirt and sports jacket. Match a leather belt with a pair of similarly coloured leather shoes and you are good to go on your date.


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  • 01/11/18--16:18: The bling & the beautiful
  • Weddings are a grand affair in India. From dreamy themes to extravagant arrangements and mouth-watering feasts to authentic Indian wear; wedding season is the best time of the year. And whats an Indian wedding without jewellery. Lets take a look at some of the top jewellery picks for this season:
    * Multi-layered necklaces: Multiple necklaces, multi-strand pieces are definitely a rage. Known as maharani necklaces, these are the perfect blend of tradition, fashion and elegance. For a truly royal look, pair a gold-layered necklace with your lehenga.
    * Polki or uncut set: Polki or uncut jewellery is a style statement. These handcrafted gold and diamond sets can be worn together or individually to create a luxe look.
    * Gold & pearl kundan set: A timeless metal, gold now gets a contemporary makeover with pearls to create a kundan set perfect for the modern bride. Wear this on a gown for a chic Indo-western look for your wedding.
    * Chokers: This trend from the 90s recently made its way back to the runway and brides around the world are incorporating this. Big, bold designs with plenty of bling are ideal.
    * Maang tikka: Inspired by the royal legacy of the Mughals, maang tikkas are perfect for an ethnic look. These can be worn in many styles, our top picks being the traditional jhoomar style or a more contemporary one-side style. Although they have been traditionally worn in the middle of ones head, break traditions and wear your maang tikka on one side for a look that shapes your face and puts a modern spin on your outfit.
    * Big nath: There is something alluring about big bridal nose pins and naths. Big and bold bridal naths with floral details are in vogue this season. They give you that royal look that you desired.
    * Statement rings: Rings are not just ornaments; they hold great emotional attachment too. Statement rings add more grace to your bare hands. If you are looking for something simple yet elegant, go for diamond embedded rings. Or pick out a ring with a mix of stones and intricate engravings.
    * Bejewelled bracelets: A bit of sparkle and bling is just what you need on your wedding day. While most brides prefer wearing bangles, dazzling bracelets fitted with precious stones are trending these days. Pair these with a matching neck piece for a look thats modern and classy at the same time.
    * Traditional kamarbandh: Kamarbandhs are making waves this season and for all the right reasons. This accessory is worn around the waist and is the perfect embellishment to complete any outfit. Accentuate your lehenga with a multi-chain kamarbandh.

    (The author is the CEO Reliance Jewels)


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  • 01/11/18--16:18: Look your bridal best
  • It is that time of the year when the big fat Indian weddings abound. And with the new trends and rise in the number of fashion-conscious brides, designers have come up with new fusion trends in the traditional wedding outfits. Weddings dont have to be about traditional Kanjeevarams or Banarasis. You can add your own fun twist to them by going for fusion designs.
    This winter, opt for comfortable dresses for all the wedding ceremonies like mehendi, haldi, sangeet, pre-wedding cocktail, post-wedding parties, and show-off your desi avatar with some fun and flirty styles. Mixing of colours with sequins, motifs, embroidery and gotta-patti work will give your d-day outfit a touch of uniqueness.

    Lehenga with pockets

    The Indian bridal wear has witnessed a sea of changes. Lehenga with pockets is a unique twist in the traditional bridal wear, and it looks as elegant as a traditional lehenga. Add an edge to your ceremonies by sporting a lehenga with pockets that is not only chic, but also comfortable. This is ideal for a tom-boy bride.

    Dhoti sari

    Want to look ramp-ready on your big day? Why not try the dhoti-sari. These days, saris have become a style statement. A dhoti-sari is a no-fuss solution for brides who want to look elegant yet modern. The dhoti-sari look is for brides who want to make a bold style statement and stick to their traditions at the same time.

    Full-sleeved blouses

    Full sleeves is the most followed trend in the bridal wear category. Designers have experimented with full-sleeved cholis and created the off-shoulder and cold shoulder looks too. These are ideal for winter weddings, as they add an element of cosiness and lend a sophisticated touch. One can go for embroidery or colourful prints in fabrics like silk, chiffon, etc. In case your lehenga, sari or dupatta is heavily embroidered, you can go for a plain choli or blouse to give your ensemble the right balance.

    Double dupatta

    A double dupatta is not just an accessory, it is a crucial piece of clothing that can add a rich feel to your trousseau. Take your first sheer and light pallu in front and drape it like your normal chunni and pull on your heavily embroidered dupatta like a veil on your head. You can also drape your front dupatta like a shawl. Dont your cover your neck completely with front chunni; keep it low to reveal your lavish necklace.

    Jackets & capes

    Look uber elegant with long-sleeved jackets and capes to match your bridal wear. Cape jackets are being worn on saris now. You can try all types of cape styles this winter like cropped cape, jacket cape and floor-length cape. For more regal touch complete your look with pearl jhumkas and chandbalis. This will work well for pre-wedding cocktail events.

    Digital-printed bridal wear

    Dresses painted in geometric patterns, abstract shades or 3D floral prints give an appealing look. Along with modern prints, some traditional colours like red, pink, off-white and beige are in this season. Pastel colours are in demand for modern bridal wear.

    Floor-length maxis

    Maxi dresses never go out of fashion and seem to be more popular than ever this season. Floor-length maxis with gold print paired with ethnic capes are again a perfect Indo-western option for the brides who want to go from drab to fab in seconds.

    Neon ghagra

    Pastel-coloured choli paired with a neon ghagra is a perfect pick for wedding ceremonies. One can opt for a silk choli and team it with an embroidered
    neon-coloured ghagra. This will definitely make you stand out in the crowd.

    Flowy block-printed lehenga

    A block-printed lehenga is the finest piece of clothing you can own for any wedding-related event. Contrasting crop tops with a pleated skirt is another amazing option for young brides or bridesmaids. Be it dark, deep, light, pastel or coral, you wont fall short of options. Pair them with maang tikaas or a traditional choker necklace to complete the look.

    Banarasi touch

    Banarasi lehengas, embellished with intricate zari work or delicate embroidery, spells opulence. Ravishing Banarsi silk lehengas are all-time classics. A Banarasi silk lehenga-choli is an essential take away during wedding ceremonies. If you wish to go bold and loud, you can choose a heavy kundan set studded with gemstones; it will add required bling to your attire.
    Designers are now experimenting with varied colour palettes, contemporary silhouettes, and modern lines. Colours ranging from pastels and neons have made a statement this season. Powder blue, mint green, tea pinks, soft peaches, maroon, nude, salmon, royal blue and sea green pastels are a rage. So go on and experiment to look stunning on your big day.

    (The author is founder & creative head, AKS)


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    Overdose of alcohol is one of the major health problems worldwide. Everything in moderation is always safe, especially in case of alcohol. Binge drinking can be divided into three categories - acute intoxication, chronic usage and withdrawal.
    People who gulp down excessive alcohol experience the following:
    * Impaired vision
    * Impaired hearing
    * Liver infections
    * Cardiovascular diseases
    * Diabetic complications

    At times, alcohol acts as an anti-depressant for the brain, which induces a momentary high and happiness. In general, alcohol slows down the performance of nerve cells. It does not stimulate the brain; rather it shuts down some of the areas that control our reasoning capabilities, judgement and instincts.
    When our judgments are impaired, everything takes place slowly, resulting in slow reaction time, impaired vision as well as decreased coordination. The coordination and balance in the brain are handled by the inner ear and cerebellum, which can be affected by alcohol.
    Alcohol damages the nerves of feet and legs, which is known as peripheral neuropathy. The absence of sensation causes unsteadiness, numbness, pain, burning and tingling sensations.


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    Call it postpartum depression (PPD) or baby blues, new moms experience this with variable intensity. PPD is a depressive disorder experienced by women post childbirth and can cause sadness, anxiety, hopelessness, exhaustion and numbness.
    Seasons play a critical role in managing PPD and for that matter, it has been observed that having a baby in winter or spring may have a protective influence on mothers, making them less likely to develop the condition.
    There are some health-related challenges in winters, as we often associate colder, darker months with worsening mental health, especially for those with seasonal affective disorder - linked to lack of sunlight and vitamin D exposure. However, the studies have found that having a child in winter months can protect mothers against PPD.
    PPD is experienced by at least in 10% of women, and it arises from a combination of hormonal changes, psychological adjustments to motherhood and fatigue.
    Delivering in winter or spring may have a protective effect against PPD, as women enjoy cold weather by staying indoors with their newborns. New moms can relax with their babies and engage in deep breathing, meditation or take warm baths, to cope with the stress of motherhood.
    Researches and studies have proven that women who delivered babies at a higher gestational age will typically be more mature and prepared at the time of delivery. Studies also reveal that the mother will do better and be less mentally stressed while delivering a full-term baby, as opposed to a premature one.
    We need to be careful about PPD, which is a serious condition. Educating family members, partners and friends can go a long way in protecting the mother and the baby.


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    Its hard to ignore protein when you are trying to get healthy. High protein diets, keto diets, low-carb diets, it seems like you cant turn a corner these days without someone talking about protein and why you need it. Protein provides the building blocks of tissue in your body; it helps create muscle. Apart from this, protein helps you stay full for longer, which is why it can also aid weight loss.
    * Requirement: While women need less protein than men, factors like activity levels and lifestyle can affect the quantity. As a general rule, you would need 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of weight.
    * Right dose: There are plenty of natural sources of protein. While most people tend to think of meat as their primary source, there are many vegetarian options too such as nuts, seeds, lentils and dairy products.
    * Complete protein: It is important to note that protein from different sources is not the same. To begin with, not all protein is "complete". A complete protein is one that has enough of all nine of the essential amino acids needed by the human body. Some sources of protein, such as plant-based protein may be lower in one or more amino acids. However, when had in combination with other foods, these amino acids will balance each other out, like peanut butter with white bread.
    * Bioavailability: This is a percentage or scale that tells you just how much protein your body will actually use from what you consume. For example, while a whole egg has a bioavailability rating of a 100, peanut butter has a rating of just 49.
    * A little research on food and nutrition can help you decide which sources of protein are for you. Additionally, choosing a protein supplement may help you to reach your daily protein goals with ease.

    (The author is CEO, GNC India)


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  • 01/11/18--16:28: Diet-tribe
  • Q: I am 33 years old and my menstrual cycle has become irregular in the last two years. I get my periods once in four months. I had consulted a doctor and he told the frequency is normal. Is there any medication, which can solve my problem? I have also gained weight and doctor advised me to shed a few kilos. Please suggest a diet plan for PCOD that can help normalise my menstrual cycles. - Asma Zaiba

    It is important to know about PCOD to follow few important rules and guidelines. You must be aware of the reasons for irregular periods. It can be due to nutritional deficiencies. Often PCOD results in weight gain, which you have to manage to normalise your cycle and retain energy in the body.
    Reduce the intake of simple carbohydrates that are present in baked goods and aerated drinks. Instead increase amount of complex carbohydrates by consuming oatmeal, whole wheat, broken wheat etc. Replace red meat with fish and poultry, as red meat is high in fat content. Make sure you are fortifying your body with multivitamins, calcium and magnesium. Avoid processed food, fast foods, sweets and consume less amount of saturated fats. Include plant-based proteins, lean meats and fibres in your diet.

    Q: I am 5 ft 10 and weigh 55 kg. I believe that I am still thin in proportion to my height. I want to gain a few kilos, but dont really know what diet plan to follow. Could you please suggest a diet that is easy to follow and helps me gain weight? I want to remain healthy, energetic and fit. - Monica

    To gain weight, its essential to focus on your eating habits and having the right amount of food at the right time. Consume protein-rich foods like eggs, lentils, beans, dairy, chicken, fish, etc. Carbohydrates help in weight gain. You can include rice, barley, wheat, beans, chickpea, oatmeal etc. to increase the carb content in your meal. Snack on nuts and dry fruits like apricots and raisins, as they are high in carbohydrate and fat-free.
    Dont binge on foods like cakes, fried snacks, soft drinks etc., as they are high in carbs, but low in nutrients. Your aim should be to focus on healthy weight gain to avoid future complications. Smoothies are calorie-dense and rich in nutrients. Take 150-200 ml of milk, add a banana, a few dates, a teaspoon of flax seeds and blend it. Have this once a day and gain weight in a healthy manner.


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  • 01/11/18--16:28: Counting sheep all night?
  • Sound sleep seems to be eternally missing from the eyes of millennial India. In fact, according to a 2014 Nielsen survey, sleep disorders plagued 93% of the people living in cities, with 87% agreeing that a lack of sleep is taking a toll on their health.
    Sleep, as experienced in everyday life and substantiated by scientists, is the best rejuvenator for our body. Certain segments in the brain, which carry out the repair and restoration of the bodys processes, are at their most active when we are asleep. However, due to an imbalanced lifestyle, lack of physical activity, stress, the evolution of binge watching TV shows and movies, and an idolisation of celebrities and achievers who, according to the words of Thomas A Edison, consider sleep to be a criminal waste of time, urban India has been having some serious trouble sleeping.

    Sleepless millennials

    Sleep disorders are one of the most overlooked problems afflicting a significant section of the Indian population. Lack of sleep causes problems such as sleep apnoea, which creates obstacles in breathing leading to reduction in flow of oxygen to the brain.
    Although a malady that is largely ignored, sleep apnoea can be the precursor for a plethora of other grave conditions such as heart diseases and complications in the respiratory tract.
    In fact, various sleep labs have been established all over the country to look into the ill-effects sleep deprivation can have on the body. Till date, more than 80 kinds of sleep disorders have been identified, ranging from insomnia, restless leg syndrome, sleepwalking etc. Forgetful behaviour, a common grouse of most young Indians, also finds its roots in this disorder.

    Why are we not sleeping?

    It is no secret that urban Indias greatest folly is unhealthy lifestyle. Long hours at the desk combined with excessive use of electronic devices and poor eating habits have compounded obesity and sleep disorders.
    Young India, with its always online motto, is ready to compromise on sleep to respond to WhatsApp or Facebook notifications or catch the latest season of their favourite shows on their cellphone. The cumulative effect of these three factors has essentially tag-teamed to keep Indians from a peaceful slumber.

    A potent solution

    Normal sleep can be divided into two categories - four to five hours of core sleep, which includes the non-REM (Rapid Eye Movement) part and the rest consists of gradual, slow-wave sleep. It has been noted that in most cases, the first 15 minutes to one hour after a person hits the bed is crucial in determining the quality of sleep he or she gets. This is where various sleep products come into the picture.
    Estimated to be a USD 80.8 billion dollar industry by 2020 globally, several products such as anti-snoring devices, throat sprays, noise reducers, sleep masks etc. have facilitated people to get a good nights rest. Of these, however, the most popular products are mattresses. We are gradually realising the importance of what lies beneath us, on how well we sleep. Mattress manufacturers have introduced different products to give consumers enough choices. Memory foam mattresses are the latest find. Essentially, memory foam mattresses comprise polyurethane, which takes the shape of the body, providing optimal support to the spine and all the major pressure points, thereby providing complete comfort for the night.
    The effects of sleep deprivation are evident all across the world, ranging from body aches and uneasiness after a night of troubled sleep to cases of accidents, memory loss and psychotic behaviour due to utter sleep deprivation. With the fast-pace of urban life, it is essential that we make sleep a priority, to improve our quality of living and wake up to a world full of possibilities, with the desire and energy to realise them.

    (The author is founder & CEO, Wakefit)


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  • 01/11/18--16:30: Get food conscious
  • Unless you have been living under a rock, you wouldve been swamped with news about - super foods and functional foods. One may wonder which is which, so as to gobble them up!
    As it turns out, you might be asking the wrong question. Public understanding needs to keep up with these private marketing techniques. So, let us take a look at what these two terms mean, their trends and what savvy consumers like us, need to know.

    History

    Around the same time the iPhone was thought of, apples went out of business. You and I admit, with KFC, McDs, coke, cheese, pizza and the lot, emphasising the importance of consuming a diet low in saturated fat, and high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes and stroke, were inevitable.
    Scientists also started identifying physiologically active components in foods from both plants and animals (aka phytochemicals and zoochemicals) at that time. These components could potentially reduce the risk of these chronic lifestyle diseases. These events, coupled with an ageing, quick-fix health-conscious population, changes in food regulations, numerous technological advances and a market ripe for the introduction of health-promoting products, coalesced in the 1990s to create this new trend of superfoods and functional foods.

    Definition

    There is no scientific or regulatory definition for a superfood. It is rather just a health marketing term used to describe a food with a superior nutritional composition, and it is a term one shouldnt happen to like. If the superfood helps us meet our requirements for a particular vitamin, a mineral or a fatty acid, thats great. But that is all there is to it.
    You might find it interesting to know that functional food is a canopy under which nutraceuticals, health supplements, individual vitamins or minerals and plant/animal extracts, exist. When a food is labelled as any of these terms, they are not a marketing gimmick unlike a superfood. In fact, they are called so since a regulatory body (FSSAI) has scientifically established sets of nutrient compositions for each of the above terms.

    Benefits of superfoods

    There is no standard criteria or an approved list of superfoods. One could call the finger millet or ragi, a superfood because of its high fibre, calcium and phytochemical content. Superfoods worldwide are mostly international foods such as kale, chia seeds and quinoa. They have come into India at the cost of our rich variety of Indian foods. Lest we forget, people used to come to India in search for spices and food items, these superfoods have existed in India for centuries.
    In India, the label "superfood" is being associated with the forgotten foods like millets, amaranth, basil seeds and the likes. For instance, chia is purely a product of the marketing efforts of the West. Compositionally, chia is similar to basil. Both are rich source of omega 3 fatty acid and dietary fibre. Both swell and become a gel in liquid. However, when it comes to price, chia seeds are almost double the cost of basil seeds. There are many such examples - groundnut oil and olive oil, gojiberry and amla, kale and cabbage or millets and oats.

    Benefits of functional foods

    Functional foods go beyond meeting basic nutritional needs in order to enhance or improve a physiological function or reduce the risk for a known disease. Functional foods are more holistic in nature or nutrient-dense, tailor-made for specific disorders. For example, papaya leaf extract capsules are prescribed to people suffering from dengue. Since one may not be able to eat kilos of the leaf all together, a high dose extract in a capsule is a convenient option.
    Many of us have unrealistic expectations about functional foods thinking that we will be protected from chronic diseases and other ailments if we consume them. Although many functional foods may hold promise for public health, you should be cautious about one thing. A superfood is not an extract, powder or a single nutrient, but a whole food (unprocessed), so the chance of toxicity through a bioactive component present in the whole food is rare. However, a functional food not consumed as advised, could be toxic.
    Analyse this. If you want to experience the benefits of garlic or neem, you would have to eat two to three whole garlic pods or an entire branch of a neem tree in order to attain the same concentration, the extract would have to offer as a functional food.

    Conclusion

    We know there is no magic potion for any disease or disease prevention. Somehow these Clark Kent foods have been defined as panaceas. You will be shocked to know that as much as these bioactive nutraceuticals help particular parts or functions of the body, a higher dose or longer frequency tend to vitalise malignant cells in the body. High amount of turmeric is a carcinogen.
    It truly is a challenge to shop for groceries today. The labelling of foods are hyped and we are lured to buy them. However, their effect is masked because of our inconsistent dietary habits throughout the day.
    As consumers, we are seduced to think that if we have one superfood or a functional food mix, we need not eat mindfully otherwise. These terms tend to detract us from healthy eating, which is to choose from a wide range of natural foods.
    So if you want to keep the super in superfoods or the functionality in functional foods alive, you must incorporate them in your daily healthy diet along with an active life.

    (The author is a nutritionist, Pristine Organics)


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  • 01/11/18--16:34: Pitfalls of perfection
  • Many people feel great about being perfectionists. And why not? After all they are striving to do something perfectly, how can that possibly be a bad thing! Well the truth is that besides driving themselves and everyone else up a wall, perfectionism is really driven by fear, anxiety and a need for control. It is a façade to cover up ones deeper insecurities. Lets take a deeper look at this.
    Perfectionists have unrealistic expectations from themselves. They focus on results - often unattainable ones - and are only satisfied if those results are achieved a 100%. They take no pride in the effort they make to achieve those results, and are highly self-critical if their goals are not met. Pushed towards their goals by the fear of failure, rather than pulled towards them by a healthy desire to achieve, perfectionists are their own worst enemies. Perfectionism is self-abuse of the highest order! Here are the different ways in which this self-abuse gets manifested:
    * Perfectionists may be so driven to meet their goals that they feel guilty about any leisure activity.
    * Their need to make the perfect choice, which makes even a simple decision difficult.
    * They may get derailed if things dont go as per plan.
    * They may be so intent on finding the perfect romantic partner that they are unable to commit to long-term relationships.
    * They get angry at their "laziness", unaware that the real reason they are unable to do something is because their obsession to do them flawlessly makes the tasks appear impossibly large.
    * Perfectionists are driven by the mantra that if they try their best, they can perform flawlessly and be the ideal person in every situation.
    If they make mistakes they would not be seen as competent as they "should" be. By being perfect, they can ensure their own security as they dont give others a reason to criticise or reject them. They truly believe their worth depends on how good they are, and how well they perform.

    All in the head

    In their book Too Perfect: When Being in Control Gets out of Control, Allan Mallinger and Jeannette Dewyze take a peek into the way perfectionists think. They say their thoughts go something like this: If I cant do it perfectly, whats the point? I should excel at everything I do. If I goof up some things wrong with me. People shouldnt criticise me. I always have to stay ahead of others. Every detail of a job should be perfect. Things should be done right the first time. There is only one right way to do things. Id better not make a mistake or people will think Im no good. Im a wonderful person if I do well; I am a lousy person if I do poorly. If I cant do everything right, Im not good enough; Im stupid; Im unlikeable. Clearly everything is judged as black or white. Greys are unacceptable. Just writing these thoughts down is exhausting for me, imagine having to think them every day.
    This makes perfectionists over commit themselves. They have a hard time making choices. They always need to be in control. They compete fiercely and get carried away with the details. They never seem satisfied with their work or that of others. They procrastinate. They arrive late because one more thing had to be done. They constantly keep themselves busy with something. They frequently criticise others, but refuse to hear self-criticism. Perfectionists pay more attention to negative comments than positive ones, and call themselves "stupid" when they do something imperfectly. The self-abuse is endless.

    Excellence vs perfection

    Now, thats a lot of emotional baggage to carry around. Naturally it has its consequences. There could be several reasons why a person develops perfectionistic traits, but the causes are not important. The important thing is to recognise them, and get the help needed to not let them hold one back from achieving their potential.
    Perfection is often justified as the pursuit of excellence. But there is a fundamental difference.
    * The pursuit of excellence is about openness to being wrong and taking risks. Perfection is about having to be right and is driven by fear.
    * The pursuit of excellence is driven by confidence and is a journey. Perfectionism is driven by doubt and is a destination.
    * The pursuit of excellence involves spontaneity and getting into the flow (to use the term of Mihály Csíkszentmihályi), while perfectionism causes pressure and seeks the need to control.
    * A perfectionist sets standards beyond reach and reason. One striving for excellence sets high standards, which are just beyond reach.
    * A perfectionist will throws a fit if the editor of the book tampered with the copy, but one striving for excellence will notice the way the editor improved the copy!
    * Perfectionists constantly struggle under the weight of a massive inner rule book and an overarching sense of duty, responsibility and fairness. They believe in the myth that ultimate control is possible - as they try to control themselves, others and lifes events.
    Self-control may take different forms - students not allowing themselves to take a break; those on a diet being obsessive about it, not necessarily because they think one slip up will matter but because they may think they have lost control. To them, no action is an isolated step and so everything has major ramifications.
    They love to control others and want them to do things their way, never considering how this dictatorial attitude makes others feel. Yet they want others to view them as kind and non-judgemental. Putting on this image of being perfect becomes difficult when in reality they recognise their flaws. And if someone criticises them, the realisation that others have seen their flaws becomes anxiety-provoking.
    Perfectionism is often at the root cause of procrastination. Perfectionists fear they wont be able to complete the task perfectly, so they try to put it off as long as possible. The vast majority of college students are perfectionists and have trouble getting their work done. The reality is that any task looks larger than life if it has to be done flawlessly. Under this pressure, some perfectionists actually miss their deadlines, while others meet them, but at a terrible personal cost.
    Perfectionists are sensitive to demands placed on them, either real or imagined. They tend to hear of demands in an exaggerated way. Even if they want to do something, like taking care of a parent, they think they "should" do it and it becomes a demand - removing the joy from it. They are also resistant to demands by others as they experience a loss of control.
    Perfectionists are self-reliant, but may guard their autonomy too fiercely. Intimacy can be extremely challenging for them as they fear being found out. To trust requires a leap of faith, and that is hard, as is dependency. They prefer to stand alone and stay emotionally reserved and secretive.

    Being systematic

    Perfectionists are systematic thinkers who sort and analyse all information about whatever is happening, rather than experience it. They strive to remember all the data they have acquired and have an amazing memory for facts and trivia. This not only brings intellectual mastery, but also wins the respect and admiration of others, so it has real practical value. However, when combined with rigidity, it can blind one to valuable new ideas. They can worry about physical concerns, day-to-day activities, money, loved ones - actually just about anything.
    Those seeking perfection have trouble discarding things and always have some rationalisation for it. Or they may be excessively clean about every surface and restrict disorderliness to one area of their lives, like one cupboard. In many cases, the ironic underlying cause for the mess is perfectionism, as cleaning up requires scrubbing every surface, removing every molecule of dust. And that can be stressful.
    Perfectionism often drives a compulsive need to work as it provides protection from things that they actually fear - like intimacy, pressure of other demands, ones emotions. Work also gives a sense of control. But the costs of workaholism are high. It poisons personal relationships. Children feel short-changed, spouses feel neglected, friendships get forgotten, leisure gets deprived and productivity declines.
    So if you recognise yourself in any of these traits, dont lose heart, because you can get help. And get help you must! Reach out to a counsellor. It is worth the time, the effort and the money. If it lets you live a more unshackled life, why not?


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