The modern lifestyle mantra revolves around the concept of “Detox”. Magazines and social media continuously feed us with umpteen choices and the newest trends in foods and beverages that promise us health.
But very often, we fall in the abyss of marketing, social media trends and forget our traditional Indian rituals, busy adopting imported concepts. How many times are we guilty as charged for ordering a Turmeric Latte and forgetting it is the same ‘Haldi Milk’ or ‘Golden Milk’, made in our kitchens with milk, haldi, kesar and nutmeg. Or simply forgetting our humble ‘Kada mix’, and opting for fancier Kombutcha, Matcha or Chamomile tea.
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The latest to join the bandwagon of social media food fads is the “Dalgona Coffee”, a South Korean import, which is basic whipped cream coffee, made with simple 3 ingredients- instant coffee, milk and sugar.
So, it’s time to look homeward and rediscover our age old traditions to boost our immunity at such trying times.
“It wouldn’t be wrong to say that India has a long history of utilising traditional and organic ingredients to cure many ailments. The contribution of Indian spices to health has been well chronicled since Vedic times. They are addressed as “healing foods” in many such texts,” says Karan Shah, Director, Society Tea.
Indigenous ingredients such as ginger, asafoetida, cardamom, black pepper, clove, cinnamon, green tea extract, turmeric powder amongst others, – know to remove toxins from the body, working towards cleansing one’s system.
“The ingredients used help to accelerate metabolism and build immunity. Refreshing and energising to taste, this tea contains ingredients like turmeric which is known to be beneficial for skin related problems, common cold, etc. Specially crafted for those always on-the-move; to restart a healthy lifestyle,” Shah adds.
And why restrict to only tea concoctions? Some of the best kept secrets of our grandmothers is the good old pickle and chutney. Prepared by the sustainable method of fermentation of fruits and vegetables throughout the year, with seasonal and perennial variants, the pickles are a source of good bacteria to ensure our gut-health. A good gut-health in turn promises better digestion.
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“Heritage pickle recipes that have been passed down over generations, come together to create the spicy Mango pickle, while the amazing combination of mango, jaggery and spices combine and form the Sweet and Spicy Mango pickle. To top it all, the freshest seasonal ingredients and fruits chopped finely and pickled in a traditional a blend of spices come together to create the Mixed Pickle, whilst tangy, plump lemons mixed with crisp, green chilies and select spices combine and form a Green Chili Lime Pickle, says Shah.
And who can miss the Dry Garlic Chutney, pride of Rajasthan made with best of spices combined in a mortar and pestle, while the choicest ingredients come together to concoct the sweet and sour Tamarind-Dates Chutney, or the traditional recipe of pink onions, tamarind, jaggery and select spices that make the timeless Onion Chutney?
So, while we sit at home during the quarantine, it is a great opportunity to explore health wisdom from our kitchens, and incorporate them to daily diets for a healthy lifestyle. (IANS)
The summer has is upon us and with its sweltering heat wave, and all we can fancy is a cooling drink that will soothe our body and mind.
Add ingredients like raw mango or hibiscus which are native as well healthy, to your summer coolers. Mohit Madan, Manager – Rick’s, Taj Mahal, New Delhi shares some tasty and refreshing drinks to beat the heat.
A popular traditional Indian beverage bursting with strong flavours. Serve chilled to bring down soaring summer temperatures! It has a rejuvenating and cooling effect, and is considered to be good for digestion as well.
1 fistful coriander leaves
1 fistful mint leaves
5 ml ginger juice
15 ml lime juice
ï¿½ tsp pepper
1 tsp tamarind
2 tsp roasted cumin powder
Boondi (Crisp and fried gram flour tiny balls) as per requirement
300 ml water
Add coriander, mint, ginger and lime in a blender, add a little water and grind to make a smooth puree. Transfer the puree into glass bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Serve chilled.
Aam Panna is a much celebrated summer cooler in north India and in some parts of South India like Hyderabad. It is made from unripe mangoes. It is healthy, seasonal and easy to make at home. The taste is palate friendly (and children should be encouraged to drink this rather than aerated beverages or those with excessive preservatives). It is rich in Iron and Vitamin C; and hence, builds immunity and works well as a natural iron booster. Aam panna has plenty of heat resistant properties and is best consumed during the intense summer months.
1 unripe mango
2 tbsp powdered sugar
ï¿½ tbsp black salt
ï¿½ tbsp black pepper powder
5/6 mint leaves crushed
ï¿½ tbsp roasted cumin seed powder
1 glass chilled water
Masala Chaas / Buttermilk
Masala chaas, is one of the oldest healthy drinks that is known by many different names in different parts of India. Traditional chaas is wonderful as a digestion as it contains more lactic acid than milk. It is loaded with probiotics which is very important for our health.
1 cup yoghurt
2 cup cold water
2 green chili (add as per taste/ preference)
ï¿½ cup cilantro
ï¿½ inch piece ginger
ï¿½ tsp roasted cumin powder
ï¿½ tsp chaat masala
Pinch of salt
Combine all ingredients in blender and blend to smooth consistency. Serve right away sprinkled with little bit more cumin powder. Serve chilled.
The Virgin Sangria
Sangria is traditionally made with wine, but, here we have an innovative version that is a combination of juices. It is both refreshing and healthy and should be served as a chilled summer beverage.
ï¿½ cup cranberry juice
ï¿½ cup apple juice
30 ml honey syrup
15 ml lime juice
ï¿½ cup sparkling water
ï¿½ cup Strawberries, Blackberries and Raspberries
Lime wedges and Mint sprigs
Combine all ingredients into a small pitcher. Stir to perfection to combine. Pour it in glass and add fruits. Serve with garnish mint sprigs on top.
Pour loose hibiscus tea into pitcher and set aside. Bring water to boil. Once boiling, remove from heat and pour it over the loose tea. Add raspberry, mint, and honey and let tea steep for 15 minutes. Pour tea through a fine strainer in separate pitcher and place it in refrigerator until its cold. Serve tea over ice and garnish with mint. (IANS)
A banker from Canada, a resort director, a top executive in a leading IT company and a senior corporate communications professional with a major hospital chain. Defying all stereotypes and preconceived notions of farmhands, an increasing number of highly qualified professionals from both genders are quitting their lucrative professions and getting back to the soil in Punjab full-time,making responsible farming their way of life.
Using social media including WhatsApp to spread the word, participating in pop-up organic farmers’ markets across the region and organising day-long farm tours, these new-age farmers, compost kit makers and teachers are ascertaining that those wanting pesticide-free food grains don’t have to look too hard.
Rahul Sharma’s wife would always laugh when on a typical IT sprint meeting call, he would be discussing his project at Flipkart, and a few hours later, talking about manure collection with a farmer.
This organic farmer who now grows cereal grains, pulses, oil seeds, turmeric and garlic at his five acre farm in Kapurthala full time, insists that the ongoing lockdown has made people aware about the importance of growing their own food, and that too pesticide-free. “But yes, if the government is serious about providing nutritional security, then it must ascertain economic benefits to farmers so they can go in for sustainable agriculture,” he stresses.
For someone who started doing organic farming in 2016, the thrill that comes with growing safe food for others is unparalled.”The fact that there is a patch of land which is now free of poison, where life thrives, and that I am contributing towards healthy soil.”
Not regretting his switch from a corporate IT job, which never allowed him to pursue his passions like photography, Sharma has now decided to streamline production and ordering process. “I have now a set rotation of crops which provide nutrition to the soil, as well as work well in the consumer market. I am also working on an online platform to make it easier for my consumers to order grains and be in touch with me,” he adds. He also lectures and interacts with school and college students at his farm about the importance of sustainable agriculture/lifestyle.
Shivraj Bhullar, who has a four-acre farm in Manimajra and grows a variety of seasonal vegetables, leafy greens and fruits left his cushy banker job in Canada to start organic farming on his piece of land in 2014 post volunteering at different farms across India to learn the ropes. “The organic farming convention that was held in the region in 2015 brought a lot of people together. Since then, the movement has been growing with greater awareness amongst consumers in this part of the country,” he says. For someone who has always been interested in Yoga and nutrition, one of the major factors that keeps him excited is the community around the organic farming movement in Punjab. “Farmers go out of their way to help each other out. It’s been a humbling and continuous learning experience for me,” he adds.
Planning to take his farm to the next level by installing a drip irrigation system and rain water harvesting for water conservation, Bhullar is all set to buy more animals so as to decrease his dependence on outside sources for manure.
Coordinator of the Chandigarh Farmers’ Market, Seema Jolly, who owns a five-acre farm in village Karoran in Punjab and grows vegetables,fruit, grains, oilseeds and pulses wants her farm to be a school for organic/natural farming, yoga and Ayurveda in the near future. One of the directors of the Baikunth Resorts Pvt Ltd, Jolly started organic farming in 2011 and there has been no looking back since then. “There is a certain joy in knowing that what you supply is not harming the consumer in any way,” she says. Instrumental in organising trips for school children to different farmers across Punjab and Himachal Pradesh, Jolly also helps small organic farmers with logistics and selling their produce. “The organic farmers market initiative, in July 2015 was a landmark in bringing relief to the marketing problems of organic farmers and encouraging more farmers to turn organic. Frankly, what is needed is small markets like these in all districts. It may take time, but people are bound to tilt towards organic if there is easy availability.”
Former National level hockey player Mohanjit Dhaliwal who has two farms — one if Ropar and another in Fathegrah Sahib, the latter being part of permaculture food forest in ‘Sanjhi Mitti Food Forest Community’, has been involved in organic farmer for more than 10 years now. Talking about the roadblocks when it comes to shifting to organic, he feels, that the government’s policy of 100 per cent wheat paddy procurement has to change. “Farmers, who used to be entrepreneurs and solutions finders are now behaving like robots.Nothing is going to change unless policy makers get out of whole process.”
Besides holding regular workshops on permaculture which is attended by people from around the country, Dhaliwal, who is working on a forest therapy centre, adds, ” Our Eco library at the farm where anyone can read or borrow books on related subjects is quite a hit with both children and adults.”
Chandigarh-based Jyoti Arora, who supplies odour-free composters in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Chandigarh to houses, hotels, institutions, municipalities, and engages with Swachh Bharat teams of different municipalities, says, “I also do a lot of lecture demonstrations to sensitise people and encourage people to go green. In fact, my farming is a by product of the compost generated from my domestic waste in which the produce comes solely out of the compost.”
Everything changed for Diksha Suri, a former corporate communications head with a major hospital chain when she spent time at Auroville in 2004. “Being there and learning from experts started a journey of a more conscious approach towards the living greens and browns. I attended formal workshops and started experimenting an organic way of living,” says Suri, who, along with a friend set up Chandigarh’s first Nature Club in 2012.
From organising organic farm visits, forest walks and fossil sites for children and their parents, Suri says that she has been able to make hundreds of children conscious about what they eat. “A lot of them are now at ease with composting, growing vegetables, identifying birds, and more than anything, being in sync with nature. We now regularly hold talks and workshops on organic farming, composting, waste management, across schools, colleges and corporate offices in the region.”
Chandigarh-based Rishi Miranshah, who has made the nine-part docu-series ‘The Story of Food – A No Fresh Carbon Footprint’ which is available to watch online on Films for Action website and YouTube says, “Considering what chemicals have been doing to our food and the need to switch to organic, it was important for me to make this documentary which is an investigation, tracing the trail of devastations bringing us to the point where we are today. Food being the thread that connects us to life; and the way we obtain our food being that connects us to a way of life, the movie begins by examining our agri-culture, our very relationship with the land.” (IANS)
Exasperating for many, intense heat and humidity leads to dehydration and salt-loss (Sodium and Potassium) causing a series of health concerns. People with underlying cardiac issues also face a host of health problem during this season. Beyond the escalated heat levels, some of the other contributing factors that might impact heart health include not having a salt-restricted diet, increased alcohol intake, poor blood circulation, consumption of certain medications like sedatives or diuretics in combination with blood pressure medications, points out Dr Vivek Mahajan Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Fortis Hospital, Kalyan & Mulund.
For patients with high blood pressure, when temperature and humidity is extreme during the summer, it causes added blood flow to the skin; the heart is then required to beat at a faster rate. This may cause the blood to circulate double the time per minute, Dr Mahajan informs.
“Intense heat and constant sweating lowers the fluid content in the body, resulting in dehydration causing a strain on the Heart. This along with BP medications may result in a drastic fall in blood pressure. The low BP and fast Heart rate are big risk factors for those who are predisposed to or have a history of cardiac issues.”
Patients with the risk of heart-failure should consume up to 1.25 litres of water per day and limit salt intake. Water and salt-loss caused by sweating and intake of medications may lead to dangerously low levels of sodium and potassium, he suggests
Low sodium in blood results in nausea, vomiting, headache, confusion, drowsiness, fatigue, restlessness, irritability, muscle weakness, cramps and seizures, or coma in extreme cases. Low potassium levels due to less water consumption may lead to muscle aches, cramps, palpitations and disturbances in heart rhythm leading to death. So drinking optimum amount of water is crucial in summer.
Elderly patients have less water content in the body, so the impact of water and salt-loss are all the more prominent in elderly patients with high BP and heart failure. The risks of heart attacks increase in these individuals during the summers and are hence the most vulnerable group in need of care.
Dr Mahajan shares some summer-friendly tips for patients with cardiac issues:
Avoid vigorous physical activity in high heat (not even in balconies & terraces) – exercise indoors