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

Skin Troubles? Dull skin? Ageing Skin? Want to try something really effective?

To be honest, am new to Dermalogica. To be honest, I am new to almost all the skincare brands and products! An year back, a sunscreen and a toner was all I had! A random face-pack too, maybe! For many years, plain multani mitti (Fuller’s earth) was all I had, even for a pace-pack.

I have oily-combination skin and I even tend to forget sunscreen many times ☹. I get a few random zits on my face (nose to be precise) sometimes and the same finicky nose gets tons of blackheads too!

However, some good habits (more on those some other time), aloe vera gel and a top-secret formula (all mine) have saved me from any major skin problems till date. Nope, today’s post is not about this top-secret formula! Sorry to disappoint but it is going to be a secret for some more time. It is super-simple but for some other time, honey! Show me some love on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram…and maybe, I would tell 😉

So far, my skincare regime has been simple…very simple in fact but lately, I have started to feel that my skin needs a little outside help, especially the blackheads on nose and the hydration part too. I do use nose-strips from time to time however the blackheads do come back soon, like pesky mosquitoes!

It does become a little difficult to manage your skin as you cross 30! Especially when no creams/moisturizers suit you. Trust me, I have used a few face-creams/moisturizers from premium to luxury brands but none of the creams/moisturizers worked for me! Saved me some money, it sure did!!

Some 8-9 months back, I stumbled upon a few products from a premium skincare brand, for my nightly skincare regime which suited my oily-sensitive skin. They are perfect for me (but more on those later!) however, the blackheads on nose are stubborn. Thus, started my search for a product which would help me in controlling or who knows, eliminate these tiny black pests.

I came across this Dermalogica product that promises to do the job but I have been using it only for a few days now….so far, so good! I’ll do a post on it IF I find it any good. My own Guinea pig, as I say!

Neha and yours truly: no filters, I swear!

However, after researching Dermalogica as a brand so much, I became curious and asked Neha if she had been using any of its products.

As I said in another post a few days back, Neha is more, so much more into skincare and is always in quest for uber-effective skincare products. She has super-sensitive skin and has been using another product from Dermalogica too. When I asked for her opinion on Dermalogica product that I have started using recently…she told me to go ahead and try it. Told me that she has been using another product and the price has been worth it.

Well, it is an expensive brand! Had to double-check!! 😉

Anyways, since she recommended it highly and I am new to the brand, I asked Neha to do a video-review for you lovely people and here we are. As I have said, ask me anything other than legal and medical concerns…and even if I can’t help, will point you to the right direction…hopefully! I am resourceful like that 😉. I am an ENFJ, after all! Oh, more on these personality types too, later! Super interesting and more accurate than Linda Goodman, I say! I promise to share more on that, soon. Am so excited for it, already!

Do you have something interesting, to share with me? A tried and tested (on yourself only) blackhead removal trick or a remedy, other than nose strips, maybe? Please share, pretty please!

Do drop a comment or a message…till then, enjoy the review and do let me know if you have ever used this one and how was your experience?

Neha on her power-packed Dermalogica masque: self-paid BTW!

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A Trip To ‘Barbeque Nation’, The live-grill restaurant, Mumbai

Hi friends

How was the last week for you all? It was a normal one for me. I like normal, normal is good! Normal means the kids were well, the maids were regular and it was going all smooth…mostly!

Let’s talk about culinary experiences today. No, no…not cooking and recipes in our own kitchens but the dining experience! I like that better 😊

Do you like eating out? What’s your style… ‘tried and tested’ places and dishes? Experimental? Fusion? Do you like visiting new places and trying new dishes every time?

I would say I would fall into the last category 😊 I like visiting new places and I like trying new dishes – from all over the world…well, as long as they are vegetarian. Yes, I am a vegetarian and a non-drinker! Having said that, I have to admit that cocktails fascinate me…I have been pretty serious about doing a bar-tending course just for the adventure of it and of course, learning some cool drinks. Didn’t pursue that one because I realized in time, that I am not a big fan of the taste and smell of alcohol…have zero tolerance for alcohol and so, ended the fantasy then and there! Oh well, who said life is fair!!

That could have been me!! 😉

Mocktails is another story…I do like a few but generally they are so sweet and syrupy that it puts me off!

Coming back to the post, this time, I am going to write about my experience at Barbeque Nation, Times Square, Marol, Mumbai on 1st Feb, 2019. Not my first trip but still. Have you ever been to one of their restaurants? Last I knew, they had 102 outlets! Wow!

Live grill on our table!

We actually, initially planned for Mirchi & Mime, Powai. I just love the concept and have been dying to try the place out and interact with the staff there. For those who are not aware of the place, it’s a trendy restaurant serving modern-Indian cuisine, first of its kind in India as it is served exclusively by speech & hearing-impaired service staff.  But blimey! We did not book in advance and apparently the place was all booked for the Friday night ☹ Good for restaurant and bad for us!

Bhagatchand Tarachand was our Plan B but we realized that the place (that we were banking on), at Inorbit mall, is not a dine-in or a restaurant but rather a food-counter in the food-court there. Yummy and all, we did not want to go to a food-court counter to celebrate dad’s birthday.

Now what? After we cut his birthday cake at home, we left the house anyways. After a bit of brain-storming inside the car, BN was a last-minute decision. We were already in car and moving when I called their reservation no. that I googled on my phone. The no. I called on, got connected to their centralized reservation system. It was 8pm and the earliest reservation that we got was for 9:45. All out of our options, we thought we would go and see if we could get a table quicker.

Glad it was a late reservation as the traffic on the last 2 kms was horrible! What with all the construction for Metro line going on and so many of heavy trucks on the road, we missed the left turn to the Times Square and we had to take a U-turn.

We reached at 9:20 and were so tired of the traffic that we decided to wait it out. Luckily our table was made available to us by 9:30 only. By then, I had already made my first washroom trip of the day with the younger one and found out that the place was noisy, happy and everyone seemed to be celebrating a birthday (or an anniversary or some get-together of sorts), most of them in large groups.

It also made me very, very glad of ‘no-smoking in restaurants’ policy. I’ve had very uncomfortable passive-smoking trips to some restaurants in past ☹. It was noisy but the music wasn’t loud and thank god again, for small mercies! The kids generally don’t like loud music with their dinners!

Again, for those who are not aware of the chain, Barbeque Nation is famous for live-grills on your table and they serve veg and non-veg starters plus a buffet for main course and desserts.

Did I sit that dinner?

Anyways, we settled down and the two grills were put in. Our starters on skewers arrived. It was a new experience for parents and the kids. Since the kids didn’t care to try the starters, we did not order for refills but upon noticing this, the person taking care of our table got us some paneer starters on his own, which were very yummy.

Next, the girls looked at the buffet food spread and decided quickly that nothing was worth eating (insert eyeroll here). No pasta? No Hakka noodles? No good (insert a bawling me here)!

I force-fed the elder one a few bites but the younger one had already moved to the desserts and was busy mashing tiny gulab-jamun balls in her bowl. Once done with mashing, she moved to small pieces of brownie and chocolate cake which she thankfully, ate too.

By now, I was worried and the kind host came to my rescue again, by offering some French-fries for the kids. Now don’t get me wrong, am all against French-fries for kids but this was a crisis!! I gave in.

As far as I am concerned, honestly, I am not sure what I ate…I took a bit of everything…the dum-aloo, the biryani, the fried noodles, the Ratatouille, the dal makhani…I ate everything in a daze between the girls and their numerous washroom trips! Wanted to try golgappas/pani-puri also, but never got to it.

In the end, for desserts, I tried shahi-toast/tukda (bread fried/toasted and dipped in sugar-syrup and topped with thickened milk) and a strawberry kulfi at the Kulfi-station. Both were pretty decent.

Shahi tukda or shahi toast have been my favourite since my childhood days when my mom used to make them for my school-picnics and I always feel good if find them somewhere now 😊

shahi tukda/toast, yumm!

Once we were done with the food, a small cake arrived, on-the-house – which my father happily cut and a couple of staff, clapped and cheered, with the birthday song on the central-speakers. Meanwhile, some other members of staff also came to check on us time to time and they all wished him too.

The birthday boy!!

After cutting the cake and settling the bill, we moved out and took our car from the valet. The tip we left at our table was returned to us and the valet refused the tip too!

All in all, a satisfactory trip! Other than the kids not having any options beyond the regular Indian fare, the trip was good, the service was quick, the staff was extremely warm and attentive…the food alright.

Next day I received a feedback call too to check on the ease of reservation, the service, the kulfis etc etc which I duly provided. Hoping they would heed and add some pasta for kids to their buffet spread!

Have you ever been to BN? How was your experience? What do your kids eat there? Do share your slice 😊

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Cross fit in open and a simple but effective post-sun remedy

Hi everyone

How was the last week for you all?

For me, last week was super hectic, both the girls had their Annual Sports Days in school and between their rehearsals and the main event, the week just flew by. Happy to report that both of them won gold in their respective races! YEY, so proud of them!

Having said that, I won’t lie…winning DOES keep you motivated, nothing inspires you more than a solid win (and a good no. of blog-followers !)…as long as you can handle the failures too AND not take the winning for granted! I told the girls the same thing before the event and after the event too! Catch them young, I say!

On another note, I have now decided to put up a new blog-post once every week. Please read it, share it, subscribe to my blog and leave comments also! Follow me on Facebook, Instagram  and Twitter too. Show some love 😊

I did functional training on Friday, out in the open, in a partially-shaded area and got tanned as a result! The workout was very satisfying but the tanning was definitely not!

And tomorrow if you see me, you wouldn’t notice the tanning, I swear! And the secret – Aloe Vera gel!! 😊

Aloe Vera plant: The natural skin-healer

I know, I know, it’s a done to death thing…the internet is full of benefits of Aloe Vera gel but most of them are generic write-ups. So, I am just going to talk about some benefits of Aloe Vera gel which I can personally vouch for…and a brand that I keep handy, always! As I said, am my own Guinea pig!

So, once I got home and took a shower, I applied the Aloe Vera gel topically, all over my face and neck and any other sun-affected area and just left it be. What it helps me with is:

  • it helps me in post-sun recovery i.e. it reduces tanning post sun-exposure.
  • it helps in minor burning and bruises – works as a cooling gel.
  • I have also used it post epilation and it definitely helps with the sting!

My mom eats the raw gel directly from plants that she grows, for the anti-oxidants and other nutrients but I have never tried it either. She swears by it though! Maybe, someday!

I have tried using it for my hair, a couple times however, found no difference…so am not sure of that one! I am going to try again by mixing it with my hair-oil and if I notice anything positive, will post here.

I keep my bottle of Aloe Vera gel in fridge so that it stays cool and handy for when I need it.

I have tried many Aloe-Vera gels from many brands but so far, the best one for me, is from a brand  called WOW. It’s a small handy bottle, green in colour – though the gel inside is transparent, with no smell or added colours, and thank God for that! I never understood the logic of a green Aloe Vera gel!

WOW Aloe Vera gel: the gel inside is transparent in colour
WOW Aloe Vera gel: the back-side label

What The  brand Says:

Pamper your skin and hair with wow skin science aloe vera gel, the purest and the finest you can get in a bottle. Guaranteed 99 percent pure, wow skin science aloe vera gel has been hygienically extracted from ripe, robust and succulent aloe vera leaves and packaged with care to retain its natural healing and rejuvenating goodness. Aloe vera has been used for thousands of years for beauty and medicinal benefits across cultures. Aloe vera is loaded with over 75 beneficial nutrient like vitamins, enzymes, minerals and amino acids. When applied topically on skin, it inhibits microbes and germs, moisturizes skin. Similarly, when applied to hair and scalp, it conditions and protects hair from dryness and damage.

WOW Skin Science Aloe Vera Gel has been hygienically extracted from ripe, robust and succulent Aloe Vera Leaves and packaged with care to retain its natural healing and rejuvenating goodness. Pamper your skin and hair with WOW Skin Science Aloe Vera Gel. Great for use as an aftershave, hair gel, or leave in conditioner for shinier, healthier hair.

My Verdict:

WOW aloe vera gel 99% is pure aloe vera gel. This one is frangrance-free, is free from artificial colours, gets quickly and nicely absorbed in the skin, is non-greasy

It contains xanthum gum as a plant based natural thickener. In the name of chemicals, all it has is sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate and citric acid.

I buy it from Amazon India site. You can visit this link for more info and to buy it. The MRP is 299/- for 130ml but I often get it in lightening deals for a steal!

https://www.amazon.in/WOW-Aloe-Multipurpose-Beauty-130ml/dp/B078Z9JWRW/ref=sr_1_6?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1549025033&sr=1-6&keywords=aloe+vera+gel

I have made repeat purchases and so far, so good. No smell, no irritation..only pure aloe vera gel and it gets absorbed in the skin quickly.

Stay tuned dearies, coming up next week is the video-review of a Dermalogica Masque which the guest reviewer Neha has found really good. Neha has spent lakhs and lakhs into her quest for uber-good and uber-effective skincare products. If she says its good, its gotta be good! 😊

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** Disclaimer – This is not a paid review! The review is solely based out of my own experience with the product and I bought it myself!

My favourite gym-wear

Why is it important to choose the right workout-wear? Because other than looking and feeling chic and comfortable, it also helps you in your fitness regime.

Not just your confidence, they boost your performance truly.

Under Armour Women’s sports tights

What the Brand Says:

Locked-in UA compression fit makes you feel more powerful. Super-light heat gear fabric delivers superior coverage without weighing you down. Material wicks sweat and dries really fast. 4-way stretch construction moves better in every direction. Anti-odor technology prevents the growth of odor-causing microbes. Ergonomic flatlock seams deliver a comfortable, chafe-free fit. Super-soft elastic waistband with interior wordmark.

Composition: 87% polyester and 13% elastane

Try this link to read more about it or buy it:

https://www.amazon.in/gp/product/B071HPS5R6/ref=oh_aui_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

My Verdict:

Capri-style, good fit, soft, comfortable, stretches well, stays put well, the broad belt doesn’t get loose or slide down, keeps your tummy contained. Me love!