Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Beautiful Meditation Songs For Good Friday


Do you know that there are great benefits in meditation? Well to understand more about it, I have started meditating, and people around me now say, that they find me more calm, mature and peaceful. And some say that, these qualities have even translated into my writings.

Benefits of meditation

Science has proven that meditation has ample mental health benefits. Curious to find out all about it? Here we go…

.   Meditation keeps your brain young forever, it preserves the white and gray matter of your brain from atrophy.

.   25 minutes of meditation for 3 consecutive days reduces psychological stress to a greater degree.

.   Meditation improves your quality of your sleep.

Meditation strengthens your brain.

   It reduces anxiety and depression and gives you more peace, improves concentration, greater self-awareness and better processing of thoughts and feelings.


Here are some amazing collection of songs for the Good Friday. Step into the world of meditation through this blessed music collection.

Old Rugged Cross




 Above All

Amazing Grace

Lamb of God

You Raised Me Up


Who Am I?

Were You There When They Crucified The Lord?


Take Care,
Swarnam

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Obesity And Diabetes Rates In The Gulf- A Cause of Great Concern


A stunning video where single minded devotion, and perseverance changed this young lady, from being obese to a healthy weight person. You can find the transformation of this amazing woman in this video. Just watch it, and you will be glad you did.

Obesity rates in the Gulf

I read about the weight issues, to be exact- the mounting obesity rates in the Middle East on CNN. It concerned me a lot, because I live here too. The report reads that diabetes rates are staggering in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and UAE.

The CNN report says that, according to the International Diabetes Foundation 37 million people are suffering from diabetes in the Middle East and North Africa. The irony is that 50% of the cases are undiagnosed. And they believe that the cases could double in the next twenty years.

Lifestyle in the gulf

According to my observations the climate is hot, and so, many people stay indoors.  But November to April sees the climate more pleasant and enjoyable. I hope we can put a good use of this climate to enhance our health purposes.

The food choices vary because, the Gulf region, especially the UAE is a melting point of cultures. Generally speaking, there is a luxurious lifestyle mindset, and on most occasions the food is heavy and sumptuous. 

I had a friend who used to make fun of my kids. She would say being in the Gulf the kids should be fat, and then only when you visit India, people will think you have come from abroad, and you are quite prosperous. No wonder both her kids are overweight. How hard I tried, I just could not change her mindset. I just felt sorry for her.

Lately, the afternoon tea custom has taken Dubai by storm. The local magazines, give us the juicy details about this custom. But I am a bit concerned because, along with your tea some famous restaurants serve baked goods and sugary additions. Thinking about the health aspect of it, along with the ticking time bomb that is obesity, my prayer is that, people should become more health conscious.

Talking about the lifestyle of kids in this part of the region, playing is not considered essential at all. The kids are always busy with school work, homework and extra classes

It would be more beneficial if an active sporting lifestyle becomes an everyday norm. While I am writing this my kids built their own version of the indoor basketball net. I hope a little creativity can help us become healthy.

To end on a positive note, having a dream, dedication, perseverance, and a strong will to succeed, will help us, to be the best that we can be.

Take care,

Swarnam

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Smoking Can Cause Heart Problems For Your Kids


Do you smoke? Then pause a moment to listen to what I have to say? Your smoking habit could affect your child, and cause damage that persists even in adulthood. Scary is it not? So before you light up that cigarette, think about the future of your child. Researchers say that parents should not smoke, if they want to provide the best long term cardiovascular health for their children.

Smoking is dangerous

In a nutshell, researchers measured the blood cotinine levels of participants, from samples frozen and collected in 1980. These persons were participants of an earlier study.

Now, cotinine is a biomarker of passive smoking, the unwanted inhaling of cigarette smoke, by people who do not smoke.
The researchers found zero levels of cotinine in non-smoking households. The cotinine levels were higher in the blood samples of children, when both their parents smoked.

The high levels of cotinine in blood samples, could increase the risk factor of developing carotid plaques in adulthood, for those kids exposed to secondhand smoke. It can also increase the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.

Smoking can affect unborn babies

In a recent research study, scientists found that smoking during pregnancy, may affect the facial movements of the unborn babies.
The researchers believe that, the development of central nervous system, which controls movements in general, and facial movements might be affected due to maternal smoking.

The scientists found that the rate of development of the central nervous system, of fetuses whose mothers smoked, was not at par with that of those unborn babies whose mothers never smoked.

I think a simple addiction could hamper the lifelong progress of a future generation. Should we be a part of this?

Take care,
Swarnam



Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Amazing Healthy Breakfast Ideas From Guptaji's Family



Seems like Guptaji’s family members are friendly, especially Mrs. Gupta. I think she enjoys having guests, and entertains them with her amazing home cooked food. How I wish I could have a personality like her, well, I am a bit of a loner and am very comfortable being all by myself, especially with a good book in hand, where I escape to another Universe.

Kellogg’s healthy breakfast ideas

I checked their Facebook page and found some really mouthwatering recipes.
People who eat cereals regularly have healthy body weights, lower cholesterol levels and high nutrient intake.

Walnut Corn Flakes Choco balls
The main ingredients in this recipe are dark chocolate, milk chocolate and walnuts. My goodness! What a healthy way to start your day?

Dark chocolate
It is a rich source of antioxidants. It reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. It improves blood flow and lowers blood pressure. It improves your brain function.

Walnuts

They are rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Walnuts reduce the risk of breast cancer. Improves heart health, aids in weight control and improves reproductive health in men.
All these when added to cereals, can make a nourishing start of a healthy day.

Pixabay.com

The next amazing recipe I checked from their Facebook page was Apple cinnamon cornflakes.

Apples have amazing polyphenols, they give you great antioxidant and cardiovascular benefits. Helps to reduce your blood pressure, has anti-cancer and anti-asthma benefits. There used to be funny saying in my college “an apple a day, keeps the doctor away, if the doctor is handsome keep the apple away”. Oh! All those good old days.

Apples in your breakfast cereals enhances your wellness quotient and keeps you healthy and strong.
The third recipe I am eager to try out is Cornflakes coconut ladoos, the preparation time is just ten minutes.
The main ingredients, nuts, dried, desiccated coconut along with the cereals.

Dried coconut strengthens your connective tissue, it supports your brain function. It is rich in iron and fiber.

Nuts that contain unsaturated fatty acids are great for your health. Nuts reduces the risk of blood clot formation which can lead to heart attacks. They improve the lining of arteries. 
In short, they can be your heart’s best friend.

This recipe is very creative and healthy

Custard apple corn flakes
The main ingredients in this recipe are custard apples, walnuts along with cereals.

Custard apple is rich in vitamin C, thereby aids in the removal of free radicals.  It contains vitamin A which is good for your hair, eyes and skin. It is also a good source of fiber.

Wow! What a great way to start your day?
I think Mrs. Gupta has all these and much more recipes up her sleeve, no wonder she is so relaxed and welcoming.

If ever Mr. Gupataji’s family happens to visit my house, I would serve them this wonderful recipe. Purple smoothie with crispy cornflakes. What would you serve them?

Take care,

Swarnam

This post was written for Kellogg's Waale Guptaji ka Nashta campaign.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Happiness Boosts Your Wellness Quotient

Pixabay.com
“Happiness is making others happy,
Happiness is there for you and me,
The happiness you can’t buy with money,
It can only be received,
It’s free”.

I remember singing this chorus, almost yelling much to the annoyance of my Sunday school teacher, sitting in the front row, when I was a kid.

Happiness

It is a beautiful feeling and a great gift from the creator of the universe. Studies say that money cannot buy you happiness.
A Swedish study points out that people not materialistic things can make us happy.

Many people believe that becoming rich makes them happy. But, studies point out that it may be an ineffective means of pursuing happiness. Wealthy individuals worth $ 1 million or $10 million are not a bit happier even as their wealth increases.

Another interesting aspect to find happiness, say researchers is that experiences bring in more happiness than do material goods. So if you spend your money on trips rather than TV’S and on concerts over clothing, you will be a much happier person.

Two ways to sustain happiness are-

You should strive for new and positive life changing experiences. The second aspect to sustain happiness, is to appreciate what you already have, and not want more too soon. This insight proved very useful to me. I hope you find this useful.

Finding happiness in your profession

Researchers say that, people who are given greater variety and independence, in their work feel less stressed and more satisfied, in their profession. Being open about religion also makes a person happier, and gives him higher job satisfaction, points out one study.

Happiness to me is
The smile I see on my kids’ face,

The gentle breeze that breezes past me when I go for walking,

The smell of freshly cut grass,

The smell of earth during the first drizzle after a long harsh summer,

The strong filter coffee along with newspaper,

The look on my plants when they are watered,

The light bulb moment when I get an interesting topic for my blog post,

Flipkart  e-vouchers from Indiblogger,

Baking a soft, fluffy chocolate cake,

Arranging a party for my kids and their friends with a simple homemade chocolate cake,

Talking to my little niece over Skype,

Going to church and yelling (ouch) singing at the top of my voice,

Taking the photographs of healthy food stuffs I made, for my blog,

Feeding the pigeons who visit me when I prepare lunch,

Going for long walks,

Meditating during my walks at the time when the sun sets and the clouds are of golden hue,

Watching the rain,

And above all having the creator of the Universe to be my best friend.

Take care,
Swarnam

This post was written for Coca-Cola International day of happiness campaign.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Top Nutrition Ideas to Eat Smarter And Live Better


You are a successful professional, but it hits hard when you manage the family and work schedules. You find it difficult to prepare healthy meals at a short span of time, yet that inner voice tells you all about the awesome benefits of healthy food. What are you going to do? Here is some great advice from Harvard health scientists.

Top health advice

Harvard health professionals advise you

To forget all about whole fat milk and milk products, if you cannot go cold turkey, then try reducing the fat content step by step. I feel something is better than nothing.

Reduce your salt intake

Salt affects your kidneys, brain and heart, so say a big no-no for excess salt.

Pack your own lunch

Do this at least once a week, plan your weekly menu and do your weekly grocery purchase. If you have a plan charted out for the course of the week. Then it will come in handy during your busy schedule. You can jot it down and stick it onto your refrigerator.

Include more veggies and fruits

Include 5 or more servings of veggies and fruits daily. Harvard scientists say one serving= one half cup of veggies or fruits. For spinach and lettuce, and other green leafy vegetables 1 serving= 1 cup.

Set the table with healthy foods

Once or twice a week, have a feast, make it simple, with easy to prepare dishes, which are not time consuming at all. So you can have time to relax.

Eats nuts

Nuts are rich in folic acid, potassium and fiber. They contain unsaturated fatty acids, which are heart healthy. Almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, cashew and pistachios can be your best bet.

Contributing Editor Linda Milo, of Institute of Food Technologies talks about Superfoods that are natural, and minimally processed. They include Chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, blueberries, Acai berries, sunflower seeds, tart cherries, avocados and crown berries.

You can use these fruits and seeds in salads and other recipes according to your imagination. Here are some healthy and delicious recipe ideas. You can try it.



Whole wheat, toasted bread with organically fed hen egg omelette and apples



Labenah with shreds of cucumber and mint. A drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of chili powder. Spread it on Arabic bread. The taste is refreshing.




Kiwi berries and blueberry salad



Take care,

Swarnam

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Together- Good Social Relationships Promote Your Optimism And Health

Pixabay.com




Having lots of friends, especially the ones who are positive and spread positive vibes around you, can promote your health and wellness quotient. Have lots of friends who are positive, so that you can enjoy this beautiful journey called life.


Beautiful memories

It was back in those good old days, just the kind of tales you tell your kids sitting by the fire, with the steaming hot cup of coffee in your hand. Those lovely memories, where you can even bring to mind the texture, aura, aroma and the atmosphere as good as new.

A Christmas story

My aunt was very famous for making handmade Christmas trees. She would make the framework, and then painstakingly cut the green glass paper into bits. She would tie them with a string, and make the most beautiful, awesome tree you have ever seen on this planet. OK, I am exaggerating a little bit.

After seeing her Christmas tree with all those nice decorations and lights, my primary goal in life was to make a beautiful handmade 
Christmas tree.

The version of the Christmas tree was quite different in our house. We used to cut the tree from a neighbor’s house. It is not the usual natural version you find on cards and shops. But a local one, we used to pay Rupees 5 for one branch. And that neighbor is the stingiest man you have ever seen. He used to give us the smallest and scantiest branch.

Anyway, we used to collect it, and decorate it with all the Christmas cards and even the get well soon cards. My granny used to make crepe paper roses, and order us kids to decorate the tree with colored paper of all hues.

It would look funny, not a bit more beautiful, but anyway we enjoyed decorating it as a family. Many of my neighbors would chip in to complete the decoration. My mother would make hot tea, and serve it along with Christmas murruku.

There would be fun and laughter echoing from all the corners of the house. The elder women used to sing some old Christmas melodies. It would be horrible to hear, but out of courtesy, you have to say that the song was amazing.

The new tree

Since I was so adamant, my father bought an artificial tree, and it was very easy to decorate. I soon felt an emptiness in the atmosphere, there was no laughter, no silly talk, just quietness.
And guess what I did? To bring back the happiness and the lively atmosphere, we shifted to our old local natural version of the tree.

And in a moment everything was given back to me. That’s when I realized it is not the materialistic things that make you happy. It is the people, the love and warmth you share. The happy times you share together, the silly talk, the good food, the joy of just being together, with the ones that matter most would make life worth living for. You get optimism, feel secure and loved when you are in the midst of people who value and adore you.

To enjoy all these beautiful experiences in your own home, with your family, visit https://housing.com/ they have some amazing news for you.
Take care,
Swarnam