Quiz Alert: Know Yourself Some More

Hi Friends, have a safe Friday and the rest of the week (and the months…)!

When I started writing this post, I was clear I wanted it to be a light-read, even fun-read. In my whatsapp groups and on Facebook/Instagram , lots of people are throwing fun/fitness/bingo/saree challenges and posting riddles. It keeps many of us busy, connected socially and helps us in staying sane in this difficult time. Join me on Instagram on this link:

https://www.instagram.com/jillofmanytrades_blogger/

Lots of people are working “hard”, even late in the night, to meet these challenges and solves these mind-benders. Many of us, for the first time in adult-life probably, have so much time on hand!

The crisis seems to be deepening and there seems to be no end as of now BUT we all are doing all that we can. Let’s just focus on being positive and find as much happiness as we can 😊

So today, not much of a blog but a quiz link for you. I found this online yesterday and I took it. Found it pretty accurate and interesting hence, though of sharing 😊

We all have taken a pause in life, intentionally or unintentionally. This quiz would be fun no doubt but maybe, also help you in knowing yourself some more…like how it did to me!

http://you.visualdna.com/quiz/whoami?utm_source=WAI-picture-VDNA#/quiz

Before I leave you to solve the quiz and maybe think about yourself, do read this post here too (and take the quiz). I posted it a long while back and it is based on Myers Briggs (MBTI) concept of 16 types of personalities, based on the works of Carl Jung. Super-interesting and super-accurate!

And here is another one (read here), again from a previous post. It tells you whether you are an Extrovert or an Introvert or an Ambivert. Its just perfect! 😊

Have fun and stay home (indoors), stay safe!

Till next Friday

Namaste (no hugs still), Health and Peace

The World Would Be A Changed Place

Hi Friends, have a safe Friday at home!

It feels so surreal these days! I don’t know about you but to me, it all feels like an out-of-the-body experience. Feels like it’s happening somewhere and I am watching it from the outside! Do you feel the same?

Unfortunately, this horror-movie seems very, very long! And the worst part is, no one knows what awaits on the next turn! In a country like India, which is population-dense and full of covidiots – literate and illiterate both, I don’t even want to imagine! Deep inside I know it’s not just 21 days…it’s much, much longer and we have to survive this. We just have to.

And it is not about the survival of the fittest (in a way, it is but you know what I mean), it is about working together as a community….to stay safe and keep those around us safe too! Even if you are fit and might show no symptom or recover from it with just a cold etc…you can still easily pass it on to the more vulnerable family members! One HAVE to be responsible!

And what does it take to keep yourself and those you love, safe? Precautions and discipline. Precautions like staying home, keep washing hands and practice social distancing.

And discipline? Discipline to follow the instructions from the authorities/experts and practice the precautions to a T. Discipline to stay inside when all you want is, to go out and breathe in the fresh air….to stay in when all you want is, to go out and run! Or get some ice-cream, for that matter!

The World Would Be A Changed Place, No Doubt

Once all this is over, we all hopefully would have changed. As a planet, as a nation, as a community and as individuals.

The scars would stay for long. Lot of economical, political and social changes would happen. The power-plays worldwide would change equations. The economies would suffer and eventually come out, stronger or otherwise. The priorities would change for many, many countries as a whole.

As individuals, we would hopefully take better care of personal/social hygiene and personal/social etiquettes like sneezing with mouth covered or using elbows etc. We would hopefully have our priorities right…family and family’s health would be amongst the top ones! We would learn the art of pausing and being grateful, before we move on to the next task. We will value our household-helps and trash-collectors more.

As a good citizen, we would hopefully learn to litter less, separate our trash properly, conserve resources especially water, respect our soldiers and police more! We would hopefully choose our leaders with greater care. We would hopefully be nicer to our watchmen, garbage-collectors, housekeeping staff and delivery people!

As a member of human race, we would hopefully have learnt to pollute less, be more sensitive to animals and our environment. We would hopefully learn to mess less with Nature. We would hopefully learn to co-exist with other earth-dwellers (and that includes humans too). We would know that if we don’t take care now, there is no knowing what comes next! This could just be the beginning if we don’t!

We need development no doubt and there needs to be a balance which is difficult to achieve but not impossible.

One can at least hope! And do one’s bit!

Right now, let’s just remember that while we are saving the world from one crisis (by not doing anything and staying home), lets not lead it to the next one!! By not wasting precious resources like water. Wash hands but keep the tap closed while washing. Let’s save water and electricity whenever we can!! Starting today.

I hope we all would remember this tough time all our lives and learn our lessons. And never be in a similar situation again. Amen.

This is all, for today. Stay safe everyone, stay positive, find your lost hobbies and hidden talents amidst all the chaos. And if you need mental space LOL (Mumbai houses are small, after all), try meditation 😊

Till next Friday

Namaste (no hugs still), Health and Peace

A Normal Day Is A Luxury!

Hi Friends, Happy Friday!!

And a safe one! I am sure everyone of you is doing their own bit at this critical time. I am surely, doing mine!

Please do not treat these as regular holidays! Stay home, follow the rules and guidelines…and be responsible! Don’t forget that this time, your safety also depends on the other person’s safety. You are as healthy as the person next door is!

And if you can’ stop yourself from having fun on expense of others, if living life queen/king-sized is your motto which includes giving a damn about others and feeling above the common crowd…I hope you get fined heftily, at the very least!

So, amidst all this ‘social disconnect”, what are you guys up to? Lot of positive messages suggest to catch up on things, things that you always wanted to do but never had the time to do…a book, some music, a little herb-garden…and what not!

Well, I for one, though am staying home all day, haven’t found any extra time…to catch things in!! The kids are home with all their classes and activities cancelled…the OH is working from home and between all the usual things and all the “add-ons”, where is the time that everyone talks about? Me wonder.

If you ask me, keeping the life running normally, is a huge task in itself! Normal is good, I always feel. A normal day lets you learn so much too!! Gives you enough time to do what you want to do without the constant firefighting, isn’t it?

How I wish for my normal regular life to resume….no wiping lift buttons, no stressing over immunity-boosters, no quarantining courier packets, no dry hands because of multiple washes, no looking at out-of-stock groceries and no missing the safety of a ‘plain regular day’.

Maybe, this slowing down is working for some people. Maybe, corporate-parents are enjoying this WFH and are playing board-games with their kids? Reading with them? Taking time out to replenish the missing bonds, with family.

Maybe a few! Somehow, I doubt the majority is, to be honest!

What I have noticed  so far is that people crave for a normal day! We adapt to a certain way of life and it isn’t easy to come out of that, not temporarily at least. It becomes the way of life and then, any change isn’t easy – especially when it’s temporary. If your normal day is spent at office, you probably start missing it after initial euphoria of holidays weans off!

A corporate-mom, a close friend of mine, hates this WFH (work from home) situation and longs to get out, be in the office and start being much-revered, highly-productive senior executive that she is. Well, you are not gonna get that kind of adoration and applaud at home, for sure!

Anyways, that’s all this time. I can’t think of anything more important and relevant than Covid-19 right now and everything that could be said about it, has already been said by everyone else, over and over again!

So, stay home, stay safe and be responsible. Let’s stay healthy, stay strong and stay grateful. For all the little ‘normalities’ of life!! Actually, these are luxuries that we never realized we had!

And who knows, maybe you are one of those lucky ones who get ‘time to catch up on things you always wanted to do/learn’!! Amen to our hopes!

If you have extra time now, do make an Instagram account and join me on the link below 😊

https://www.instagram.com/jillofmanytrades_blogger/

Till next Friday

XOXO

Namaste (no hugs still), Health and Peace

I Bet You Didn’t Know This About Your Biscuits

Hi Friends, happy Friday!

I am writing this post at the last minute, to be honest. Whatever topics I had in mind, do not seem important enough at present, now that coronavirus is the main talking point everywhere!

The Whats App forwards, the group discussions, the neighbors, the family, the relatives, the kids…everyone is talking about it! I bet my dog would too…if I ever had one! The newspapers are full of it, the social media overflowing and the TV blares on! Though, the corona memes and jokes, kept it light and some useful information was circulated too. Read this post here if you haven’t, on how social media is just a tool in your hand. How you use is entirely up to you!

I am scared too, more for the kids than anyone else! However, I have decided to stay positive in such a difficult time. Let’s all pray to whoever we pray to…to give us lot of strength – mentally and physically, to get over this crisis. Everyone, please follow the directives issued by the government and only the trusted experts. Take care!

Except for taking necessary precautions, and maybe, isolating ourselves from any other human being including not opening our door to anyone, we can’t do much, can we? Que sera sera. Can’t live the life in constant fear!

Today, I am going to keep it short and sweet for you. Don’t forget to join me on Instagram on this the link, for workout ideas, mini-blogs and motivation:

https://www.instagram.com/jillofmanytrades_blogger/

So, my obsession with reading nutritional labels started when I was comparing some tea-time biscuits for my MIL (mom-in-law), a couple years back. At that time, she was very fond of Good Day biscuits and since she is diabetic, I was against her choice of biscuits. I thought Marie Gold biscuits would be a better option for her. They are less sweet, aren’t they?

So, to convince her one day, I picked both the packets and read the labels and guess what? Not much of difference in anything, including sugar!! That day and today, the truth reveals itself to me every time I read a new label 😊

Let’s compare Marie Gold and Parle-G, shall we?

You can see for yourself that the Marie biscuits (generally considered a better option for diabetics and calorie-conscious people) are neither much lower in calories nor in sugar. They are both made of refined wheat flour too. They both contain artificial colors and flavoring etc.

With this comparison above, I see no reason why Marie Gold should be considered in any way “healthier” or “diabetic-friendly”.

If you wish to have 1-2 biscuits (and I mean, any biscuits) with your tea/coffee, do enjoy it, for taste! Just don’t expect any nutritional value from it unless explicitly mentioned in nutrition labels (or unless they taste like saw-dust which a biscuit high in fibre would).

Best, let your fitness regime take care of your occasional indulgences. In my opinion, one can enjoy everything in moderation if one exercises regularly too.

Have you started some sort of fitness regime already? 😊. Some of you keep sharing, thank you.

After all seen and said, I have decided that I would not be fooled ever again (read a previous post here to understand it better), by these so-called “healthier” versions. What about you? Did you like today’s post? Do share it around, with the people you care for. Everyone has a right to the complete truth and then make a decision on her/his own.

Till next Friday

Namaste (no hug, for the time being), Health and Peace

Know For Yourself: Packaged Juice

Hi friends! Happy Friday!!

As I promised last week, I am starting my series of “Know For Yourself”. I hope to share my research and knowledge with you in this series, as far as the false health and nutrition claims made by various brands…by blatant lying or by omission of real facts, are concerned. The marketing and advertising by these brands leave much to be desired, least of all the truth!

We have a right to have all the facts in front of us, pleasant and unpleasant and we should have a right to decide what we want to do then. At least, the consequences are our own responsibility that way!

The consequence of you joining me on Instagram wouldn’t be bad, I promise. I will keep you updated and motivated, I promise!

https://www.instagram.com/jillofmanytrades_blogger/

Today I am going to tell you how healthy (or not) is packaged juice for us.

We hear fruits, we translate it into healthy in our minds…anything with fruits in it, is healthy in our perception! We are trained like that, aren’t we?

It is true though!! Fruits are healthy. As long as we eat them fresh and whole…with peel, if the peel is edible! Don’t miss this previous post on the benefits of eating your apple with peel intact and how to remove the pesticides etc. before consuming it, too!

Rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber, fruits are great source for all things good and though high in fructose sugar, the good parts negate the sugar part quite effectively if we consume fresh and whole fruits!

When you eat fibers along with your fruit, the fiber binds the natural sugar and this makes the body absorb the sugar much slower, avoiding spikes in blood-glucose levels.

If you are not sure what fiber is good for, stay tuned in for the post, in coming weeks 😊

What About Freshly Squeezed Juice?

Fruit juice that is freshly squeezed, with some pulp retained, can still be alright as it retains many vitamins and minerals. However, since all the fiber is lost, best to consume in moderation, not more than a glass a day to avoid consuming extra sugar (fructose) and calories!

In terms of sugar content, freshly squeezed vegetable juices are a better option however, still best to eat your veggies also whole!

And Packaged Juice?

Ah! I will let you decide on your own. Let me first tell you how packaged juices are manufactured.

If you have ever had packaged juices-let’s say orange or mango juice, you would agree that every sip tastes just the same: yummy…and exactly the same as you probably had a few months back! Now, eat two oranges/mangoes on the same day. Did they both taste the same? I bet they didn’t.

How is it possible that two oranges do not taste same even if from the same seasonal harvest and the packaged orange juice taste just the same, whenever you pour from a carton? All round the year! Year after year.

The Process

Most packaged juices are made of fruit juice concentrates (the %age might vary), artificial colors/flavors, sweeteners and preservatives, one way or the other!

The packaged juice is highly processed and during the heat treatments for pasteurization/sterilization (an essential part of the packaging process), the beneficial nutrients are lost. Now, during this heat process, the taste is lost too and to add the taste back, additional flavors are added. These can be artificial or nature-identical flavors or can also be made from the dried fruit source. And this is why ladies and gentlemen, it tastes just the same, carton after carton, year after year.

Your juice says, no preservatives added!

Sure, only because it has gone through a specific process called de-oxidation where the oxygen is removed from the juice and its environment, to increase the shelf-life. In this process, the nutrients are lost too.

My Juice Has Pulp In It? Pulp is Fiber, Isn’t it? That’s Good, Right!

Check the label. Do the nutritional values mention the fiber and its percentage? No, then it’s just some added pulp and it has nothing to do with fiber.

A Test For You

So, there is a small pack of Tropicana mango juice, a Real mango juice and a Frooti, which one would you choose for yourself or for your kid?

Have a look at the table below if you are not sure and decide for yourself. At least, you know what you are eating/drinking.

Our best option is to eat our fruits and vegetables fresh, with peels whenever possible. If we want to juice, best do it ourselves at home and consume fresh. If you are consuming packaged juices, enjoy them as any other beverage, without any nutritional expectations!!

Another option is to try expensive cold-pressed packaged juice, with much smaller shelf-lives, no preservatives and more nutrition preserved, including better fiber content. However, on sugar front, I have not found a huge difference.

If you liked today’s post, do share with your family and friends. Do join me on Instagram and stay tuned for more.

XOXO

Hugs, Health and Peace

Don’t Be A Fool Twice!

Hello friends! Happy Friday, how was the week for you?

All good however a bit frustrating for me, thank you for asking!

Why? Because I was reading labels of various food products and also researching guidelines, mostly for food that we eat – fresh and packaged both. The more I read, the more it becomes evident that if I want to eat truly fresh and clean food, I’ll have to maintain my own farm – for clean and organic fruits, veggies and grains…keep a cow for my own free-from-everything milk, churn my own ghee/butter, make my own paneer, cold-press all my own oils, make my own peanut-butter and chocolate spread, bake my own bread and what not. Oh! and make my own haircare, skincare products too because carcinogens, you know?

Someone wise said, “go back to the basics”! I agree, for food in particular. I would love to – ‘go back to the basics’ yes, but going back to the basics is not easy in today’s time…it completely ruins your budget and you still are not sure if you are getting your precious, hard-earned money’s worth! Same goes for organic products.

Sugar, preservatives and organic food items are one of the biggest food-scams these days, I feel… sugar hidden in so many names and layers! As far as preservatives are concerned, you have to be a food-scientist or a biochemist to differentiate them. Companies and marketeers have become so tactically clever today! What is 100% for them is not even 18% for you and you get all the extra sugar and preservatives thrown in, for free! Well, not free. You of course, pay for  all this…doesn’t matter you never wanted it in the first place! Who cares?

The more I read labels, the more alarmed I become. A juice that says 100% real juice is neither 100% nor real. A health-product for calorie conscious or diabetic patients might be sugar-free but who said it was also calorie free? Multi-grain sure, but is it whole-grain too? Otherwise you are eating finely processed, maida-like flour only, just from a variety of grains! Did you think refined food is as good as refined manners? Marie biscuits that my diabetic in-laws ate since diagnosed, are so high in sugar!! Lot of vegan packaged food available, is high in calories! Is there even an end?

What is a normal person supposed to do then? How do we know whom to trust? How to do a mini-Sherlock Holmes with our groceries?

I am thinking of starting a series of such facts, finds and myths, for the next few weeks. These would be mini-blogs or vlogs containing just one fact/find, verified by yours truly. These sure would be eye-openers! Would make you self-reliant, to a lot of extent.

It takes time to research and bring the facts to you. If you appreciate what I do, show that appreciation by joining me on Instagram, on this link:

https://www.instagram.com/jillofmanytrades_blogger/

I will tell you how exactly you can verify the truly organic products in India, how you can read labels for sugar etc and not get fooled by sly marketeers…how to identify what has what nutritional value exactly, even if mentioned otherwise on packaging, how you need to understand that fat-free might not be calorie-free also…the list is endless.

Today, I have made a lot of changes in the way I buy fresh and packaged food in my house. It’s still not enough and every day comes with a new learning…but at least it has begun, for me!  If you have something to share with me and with the world, do that…I will tag and credit you too!!

Also, do let me know if there is something specific you want me to write on! Do pass today’s post and the subsequent posts to your friends and families. Everyone deserves to be given the chance of “not be fooled twice”!

Till next Friday

Hugs, Health and Peace

What You Always Wanted To Know About Planks

Hi Friends, how was the week that went by?

First of all, a big THANK YOU to all of you who have liked my last blog to the count of thousands and a special hug to all those who have followed me on Instagram as well.

A big high five to all of you who have started some sort of fitness regime…if I am your inspiration, YOU are MY motivation! More strength to you all!

Today’s blog is about a very simple, versatile and essential body weight exercise that can be done by anyone, anywhere, anytime of the day. It only takes 15 minutes for a complete set, can be mixed up with other body-weight workouts, even with yoga…and you do not need any equipment!! What’s your excuse now? Bring yourself, is all it asks!

You might love them, you might hate them but you gotta do them! Yes, Planks.

Funnily enough, I am not a big fan of the basic standard Forearm planks. I did them initially just because they were essential but I did find them boring. Once I finished mastering the basic ones, I looked at the variations for next level and suddenly, I found myself a convert. A convert to the ‘I love planks’ tribe!

I still cannot hold my basic plank for more than 2 minutes but the variations are a different world altogether. Fun, challenging and absolutely essential for a solid core! Why core? I have already covered it before, read this post here, to understand how a strong, stable core can change your world!

What Are Planks

Planks are one of the most effective exercises one can do because they offer great returns on small investments of time and efforts!

Planks engage more than 20 muscles all at once. Planks are great as they:

  • Increase core strength
  • Work upper Body – biceps, neck, shoulders, arms muscles
  • Tones your glutes (bums) and thigh muscles

Benefits

  • A stronger you
  • Flatter tummy
  • Stability in posture and overall balance
  • A strong back – thus preventing back and spinal injuries
  • Improved metabolism
  • Better mental health – If you are a part of my Instagram family, you know already how I am a firm believer of the fact that “a healthy mind needs a healthy body”! This needs a separate post altogether because we tend to think that we could be mentally happy and healthy without indulging in any sort of fitness regime and that’s just NOT true! Why? How? Next Friday is that only 😊

How To Plank

I can tell you how to, it’s not complicated at all but best would be for you to find a plank-video online and have a look. Or, watch me doing an advanced version of planks – ‘Weighted Planks’, here on Instagram. The basic ‘Forearm Plank’ is just the same, minus the 50 lbs on my back.

https://www.instagram.com/jillofmanytrades_blogger/

Start with the beginner planks and once you are able to easily hold it for 30 seconds and more, you can move on to the next levels. Slowly, gradually and surely!

Variations

There are many variations to planks once you master the basic standard Forearm-plank and High-plank. My favorites are shoulder-taps, side star-planks, planks with a row, mountain-climbers, hip-dips and weighted planks. Now, I am looking forward to try Spider-man planks and scary-looking swiss ball jackknives and swiss ball pikes.

There are many other variations as you go, find them online or leave me a message for a link or the videos. Follow me on Instagram for daily dose of motivation and fun, challenging work-out ideas 🙂

Looks hard? You would rather try your hands at milder Yoga? Alright, here we go. In yoga, the basic plank pose is called Dandasana or Kumbhakasana (high-plank). No escaping planks anywhere!!

Remember

  • If you can’t hold the basic plank at first, start with a bent-knee plank
  • Hold the proper posture every time, don’t let your hips sag
  • Practice every day, increase the time by 10 secs every few days
  • Mix-up with other body weight/functional exercise such as push-ups, squats etc for overall health and fitness

However, if you have an already existing back-injury or other medical conditions including extra weight, please consult your doctor/physiotherapist/trainer beforehand and/or go real slow. In fact, in such cases, under initial supervision, planks could prove to be great alternatives to crunches or sit-ups, as they put less strain on your back, spine and hips!

Hope you found today’s post informative. Do share around with like-minded people.

Till next Friday

Hugs, Health and Peace

A Little ‘Love Note’ For You!

Hola everyone! Happy Valentine’s Day!! What a perfect day for today’s post!

Last week was good for me, definitely, as my help is back!! She is a huge part of my support system and her assistance allows me to do the things that I want to do. By the way, did you guys read this blog-post about how behind every successful women is…always, a trusted help? I posted it a while back. Do read,  if you have time now.

A couple days back, once the morning yoga-session finished, my yoga-mates and I decided to sit down in the pleasant morning sun for just 5 minutes, for Vitamin D and a pause. I have come to realize that the most precious moments are when you make yourself deliberately pause even for just 5-10 minutes when you are super-busy and running! Have a cup of tea/coffee and put your feet up the table for 5 minutes kind?

Not only do these moments fill you with a kind of warmth and peace but also fill you with gratitude for everything!

That’s the true meaning of smelling the roses, I guess.

So, somewhere in the conversation, in a context, I said that I ask myself every day in evening – if I am tired or how I was feeling or did I need anything from myself, can I do this, do I want to do this etc etc. They all looked at me surprised and I realized not everyone does that – talk to themselves, I mean.

Thankfully, the yoga-mates, all being more positive and aware than normal, didn’t find it too weird and agreed it’s a good thing. Phew!

No doubt, we all have lots of thoughts running in our minds all the time…lots of planning and sorting processes always on. But talking to ‘another-yourself’ in a structured manner, in a to and fro communication, is not very common.

I do it yes…in proper sentences. I talk to myself though silently and even ask myself proper questions as if me and my brain are two different people, as if I am talking to another ‘Me’. I have also known some introverts doing the same, much more. No, I am not an introvert, I am an ambivert. How do I know? Take this super-interesting quiz here to know whether you are more of an introvert, extrovert or ambivert!

Do you? Talk to yourself, as a separate part of yourself? If you do, a high-five! If you don’t, maybe you can give it a try.

I would like to put it under self-care and self-love. Under self-importance too. Doesn’t mean you talk to yourself loudly all the time but why not have a conversation with yourself sometime. But for that, you need to keep that phone down for a minute!

Self-love and self-care is not all about taking cute pics of yourself and posting them on social media…that could be a tiny part of it, sure! But there is much beyond. And it is the polar opposite of being self-righteous and self-obsessed!

It also includes being self-aware and self-trusting too. It includes being mindful i.e. paying attention to what you are doing…be it eating, running, talking to someone else, breathing, taking a decision or simply tuning-in to your internal or/and external environment!

Self-care could be a vast topic. Let’s focus on “talking to oneself” part today. One should have an internal conversation to herself/himself sometimes because:

  • it is not just normal but actually healthy for you
  • it helps you to clarify/organize your own thoughts or analyze a situation better – however small or big it is
  • your mind/brain might give you another perspective or another side of the same story
  • you can use it as a tool to release any negative thoughts from your mind, many a times…talk yourself out of the negativity
  • it connects you to yourself
  • it helps you to de-stress and uplift your mood, on your own
  • you prioritize things better, remember things better
  • you respect yourself more and believe in yourself more too

Just Make Sure:

  • that you don’t overdo or over analyze things.  Talking to self has to be a positive experience
  • make sure you interact with other people also (in general) and not get into the habit of talking to just yourself only, for everything

A Warning:

Well, if you are constantly talking to someone other than yourself all the time or imagining someone else with you many times, you might need medical help. It could be a sign of schizophrenia or Multiple Personality Disorder ☹

In The End:

I am curious, how many of you already talk to yourself? Everyone has many thought processes running thorough their mind/brain – almost always. I am not talking about them. I mean actually talking to a part of yourself, with proper questions? A proper two-way dialogue? Let me know.

Share this post if you find it thought-provoking and join me on Instagram on this link:

https://www.instagram.com/jillofmanytrades_blogger/

Remember, social media is a tool in your hand, how you use it depends on you. I use it for information and inspiration…what about you?

Till next Friday

Hugs, Health and Peace

To Peel Or Not To Peel The Mighty Apple

Hi friends

This time, I am not going to ask how was your week that went by? Because if you ask me in return how mine was, I’ll start howling. Yes, so bad! No helps – endless chores and deadlines, school-work, the elder one got a finger fractured and the house a constant WWE ring (as usual)! Why? Two kids, duh!

One small achievement for the week was that my elder one started eating apples with their red skin/peel. Is it a big achievement? You might ask. It is for me, as with this, she has begun to understand the nutritional value of food beyond the taste part. Catch them young, I say!

Have I got you wondering what is so exciting about eating apples with their peels? Peels are rich in lot of nutrients – vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and most importantly, fiber. The amount of these nutrients varies from one fruit/veggie to another but the fact is, peels are sometimes, the most nutritious parts of a plant, let alone the fruit.

What Is The Big Deal With Peels?

Unless hard, hard to clean, bitter or inedible (e.g. pineapple, melons, onions, citrus fruits etc.), peels are nutrient-dense and should be consumed along with the pulp. They are super-rich in:

  • Fiber – Peels are fiber-dense. Consuming fiber along with the pulp would keep you full for long
  • Antioxidants – Antioxidants are concentrated in peels and removing peels may significantly reduce the antioxidant-content of the produce

Why Do People Peel Veggies and Fruits?

  • First reason is always, taste
  • Out of habit
  • The outer skins might contain traces of pesticides or wax, as in the case of mighty apple

Honestly, it all depends from fruit/veggie to fruit/veggie. Some are good with peels, some not. I am going to talk about only “Apple” today.

Apple: Did You Know?

A raw apple with skin contains up to 332% more vit K, 142% more vit A, 115% more vit C, 20% more calcium and up to 19% more potassium.

If you peel an apple. You lose one third of fiber, all of the folate, half of the iron and most of its vit E and K.

Benefits of Eating Your Apple With Peel:

  • The biggest advantage is the fiber, of which about 77% is insoluble and helps you in relieving constipation etc. Also, the fiber keeps you full for long and helps in weight management
  • Second is the precious antioxidants (27.5%) – Vit E and flavonoids which neutralize free radicals and keep us healthy on cellular level

If you are worried about the pesticides etc that might be present on the apple skin, here is what you can do.

While Buying:

  • Buy locally-produced apples which are generally not waxed or buy non-waxed apples rather than bright-red imported versions
  • Buying certified organic produce is a good option though it is a little more expensive and unless duly certified, there is no guarantee

While Consuming:

  • Wash apples with clean, washed hands
  • Wash your apples under a cool running tap then rub and wipe clean with a clean cloth/paper napkin, before consuming. This would remove dirt, bacteria and other microbes from the apples as well as wax and most of the pesticides/chemicals etc.
  • Avoid washing apples with hot water as it can increase the contamination penetration
  • Do not wash the apples with regular soaps or dishwash soaps either
  • Washing them with a mix of baking soda and water is also highly effective. Leave apples in this solution for 12-15 minutes, rinse with running cold water and wipe clean, before consuming
  • Wash preferably before consuming as storing wet produce harbors bacteria
  • I have also seen ads for a gadget that uses ozone and claims to clean all traces of pesticides etc. from the veggies and fruits. Anyone who tried that? Any first-hand reviews? Do share please!

In the end, the decision to peel or not depends solely upon you. I have chosen not to peel my apples however I dip them in baking-soda solution and rinse with cold running water, just before consuming!

Hope you liked today’s post. Do share with your family and friends. Everyone deserves to make informed decisions 😊

Till next Friday

Hugs, Health and Peace

All About Carbs

Hi friends, how was the week that went by?

A little more chaotic than usual for me as my laptop’s keyboard got stuck and now I am working with a borrowed keyboard. My help announced that she is going on a leave for a week. Can’t even tell you how crazy it is at home, many a times, right now!! Anyways, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do!

A few of you have asked me about a very popular diet-concept which works on low-carb and high-fat concept. I am sorry I have never gone that route and I can’t say if it is a good choice in general. My only problem with fad-diets is that they are not sustainable for long. Calorie deficit and moderation concepts have worked for me so well that I do not need to restrict my diet in any way. I prefer that. It’s fun and healthy!!

However, I can tell you about carbs/carbohydrates today and you can make the choice yourself 😊

What Are Carbs?

In nutrition terms, carbs or carbohydrates to be precise, are one of the three macro-nutrients – the other two being protein and fat. Each has a unique role to play within our body!

Carbs can be divided into three broad categories:

  • Sugar – We all understand sugar. Sweet in taste and short-chained carbohydrates. Sugar is a huge category in itself and is pretty vast. I have already written in detail so would leave it today. Read this post here, here and here to understand sugar better if you want
  • Starch – These are long-chained glucose molecules. Our body’s digestive system further breaks these down into simple glucose molecules
  • Fibre – Fibres can be soluble or insoluble. Our body  can’t digest fibres mostly however these are very important for many other reasons especially good digestive health

Types Of Carbs

Carbohydrates are further divided into Simple and Complex carbs:

  • Simple carbs are found in sugary stuff including sugary drinks, juices, baked goods, white breads/pastas/rice etc. It includes no natural fibre and is mostly highly processed. Considered unhealthy in general
  • Complex carbs are found in whole fruits, vegetables, pulses/legumes and whole grains. These are generally healthy in nature

Did You Know?

Technically, our bodies can survive on zero carbs. A few fad-diets rely on this technicality. Our brain can use ketones for energy in emergency. Ketones are made of fats.

However, just because it is not essential doesn’t mean our bodies doesn’t need them or we should skip them! Lot of carb-containing foods are healthy and contain so many nutrients that skipping them is a bad idea!

Why Do We Need Carbs?

The main purpose of carbs in out diet is to provide our body with energy. It is our body’s main fuel source. Our body is capable of breaking down carbohydrates in to simple glucose molecules to be used as energy. Our body also stores excess carbs as fat, for use when needed later.

Fiber can’t be digested in our body except for by some gut-bacteria and these bacteria can produce fatty acid from this fiber, for energy again.

Which are Good Carbs?

As a thumb rule, good carbs are with natural fibre intact and these are healthy. Non-processed and whole!

These are essential for human body and are rich in nutrients, without most of the disadvantages associated with bad carbs e.g. fresh veggies (including potatoes and sweet potatoes), whole fruits, yoghurt, milk, nuts, seeds, whole grains (including brown rice), legumes/pulses etc

Moderation is the keyword.

And Which Are Bad Carbs?

  • Associated with many health problems including Type 2 diabetes and obesity-related illnesses and many chronic diseases
  • Provide empty calories
  • Cause insulin spikes and crashes

All the sugary drinks including juices, bakery items, biscuits, ice-creams, chocolates, candies, breads, pastas and anything that falls under the category of junk-food. Avoid these or indulge occasionally only, if you have to!

In The End

Every body’s carb requirements are different. Don’t think of carbs as plain calories. Your carb-intake should depend upon your individual goals and requirements. If weight loss or managing a specific health concern is your goal, your carb-intake should be regulated. However, if you are a healthy person, you need your carbs – just make sure you get your carbs from healthy, wholesome sources – rich in fibre, protein, vitamin and minerals!

Sudden and drastic cut in carbs can result in headaches, bad breath, cramps, fatigue, rashes and upset digestive system. If you choose to highly regulate your carb intake and experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms, please see the doctor immediately.

Remember, it’s the type and quantity you eat, not the carbohydrates themselves!

If you liked today’s post, do share it with people you think might benefit from it. Till next Friday,

Hugs, Health and Peace