Thursday, January 18, 2018

Makeup Tutorial


I am not a big fan of too much makeup. However I do wear a tinge of makeup every now and then and wanted to share this 'simple, natural, no-makeup look' tutorial video -


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Lifestyle, health and social circles

All my life I have had non-vegetarian and alcohol loving friends who did not associate or avoid me based on my lifestyle choices, they lived in their delirium and let me live in my own.

I have this closest friend from my college days (we were set apart by distance after college), I asked her recently if she was a vegetarian. She laughed and said she is a non-vegetarian and asked me the same question. So all these years we did not know what we chose to put in our own guts, reason is simple because we connected on understanding, empathy, compassion, care and love. I had like to believe that is what normal people do. So the point being I do not know the food and drink preferences of many of my close friends.

I have heard it from many people that best of their friends started omitting them from a social scene because the ones being omitted did not drink or smoke.

One girl told me that she was avoided by girls living in her society because she didn't speak the same language as they did - of clothes, shopping and jewelry. I can tell you for sure that this girl is highly educated, independent and more successful than the rest of her neighbors. I insisted (but to no avail) that she tell her 'society girls' that she had the biggest jewel of all times - fitness.

Another friend recently told me that he prefers to eat home cooked fresh food everyday (Kudos!) and rest of his friend circle loves to eat at restaurants every other day, he chose to let go of that group who also had started to avoid him, and he formed friendship with people who did potluck, poker, hiking and biking, as simple as that.

Anyway, I think you get the gist of what I am trying to say - do not fall prey to bad habits (like smoking and drinking) or eat unhealthy food at the restaurants frequently or change your food preferences or change your religious beliefs or become a clothes horse - just because you want to adhere to a group of people.

This is a big problem within people living away from their own country - they try to form superficial friendships just to be able to socialize with their own kind and culture. They do not think if my wavelength matches with this group, are their lifestyle choices bothering me, am I just hanging out with them to kill time or just to get a feeling of belongingness.

Believe me the world is full of nice people that you will stumble upon every inch, every corner and you will end up finding more wonderful and interesting people who match your psyche and respect you for who you are.

If you have had one such bad experiences before then don't let it dampen your mood to have that kind of emotional involvement again, just make sure that you are accepted irrespective of the choices you make. Also don't make lifestyle choices based on what your so-called friends are doing - don't succumb to social pressures.

Your social circle (and every relationship for that matter) has a big role to play in the lifestyle that you want live or the mental equilibrium that you need. All I can advice is stay away from relationships that are affecting your lifestyle or physical and mental health.

(I have written about this experience in bits and pieces previously in 'the meaty story-  ').

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

What the health! Part 5

This is part 5 of ‘What the health’ series. You can find earlier parts here – part 1part 2part 3, part 4

4. Mental health - 
Last but not the least is mental health! We are all living a stressful, busy life today, there is no denying or running away from it. Stress affects our physical well being, it can create anxiety, panic attacks, heart palpitations, heart problems, depression, high blood pressure and whatnot. One is unable to enjoy anything happening around if not mentally happy or stressed. Our body releases a hormone called cortisol when under stress, and high levels of cortisol creates havoc in our system.
We need some peace and quiet, time for ourselves to do something that helps us release the stress -  exercise, yoga, good diet and sleep play a big role in maintaining a good mental health and there is more-

1. Have a hobby - read, write, paint, do gardening, cook, it doesn't matter what your hobby is - the important thing is you have one (I would not encourage TV and such as a hobby, creation gives long lasting happiness and stress release than consumption does).

Same thing goes for kids - send them to classes, teach them different things - let them build hobbies! They won't do it if you tell them to go and paint or go exercise because... they are watching you! Are my parents engrossed in binge watching tv shows all day long/ spending time on social media or they are living an active lifestyle? Are they creating or consuming? As they say 'Raise yourself before you raise your kids'.

2. Meditation - Meditation helps a lot with releasing anxiety and stress - it also helps with better quality of sleep. You don't need any Guru or spiritual organization to teach you meditation. Some people sit and meditate on their own, it doesn't work for me, I like guided meditations, like the ones which are available on an app called InsightTimer, Glenn Harrold being my favorite. I am sure there are other apps/ videos on which you will find guided meditations.

3. People and negativity - I go through stress if I have negative people around me, I can not function in such surroundings, even at work. I do like to be around positive, easy going people (who are not full of hatred, jealousy, negativity or comparison) and I have written many posts on the traits that I do not like - bullies, vampires, gossipmongers, male chauvinist pigs, negative people (we all have these traits - I am talking about the extreme cases here).

Weed out the negative people slowly from your life, the world is full of nice people that you will stumble upon every inch/ every corner and will be able to form new friendships. There is no need to be associated with people who are giving you humiliating, insulting or degrading treatment or the ones who do not give a shit about you. My life and headspace feels so much sorted since I decided enough is enough, that I am going to stand up against and not give in to any of these beastly creatures.

Cut away toxic people and relationships, move away from situations and things and events that make you feel negative. Discuss ideas and not people, don't hang out with people to kill time - first check if your wavelength matches, society and socializing can make you feel drained or feeling empty, socializing is a boon and much needed when it leaves you feeling light and joyous in your heart, don’t let the insecurity, jealousy and negativity of other people affect you or dent you no matter how much you want to react, you can not stop your life from moving on to react to people who don’t matter to you at all, insecure and negative people will try and pull you down always, keep moving forward offering them silent good wishes. 

And lastly - Years ago when I was making a desperate attempt to loose weight - my personal trainer suggested that I try the dietician at my gym, which I did, but I didn't listen to a single word that she said, all I wanted to say to her was 'shut the f*** up'.

Why?... because she herself was four times bigger than me, she barely fit in the chair that she sat on. (to think of it may be she was experimenting what not to eat!)

The point is - In your weight loss journey you will hear advices, suggestions, opinions from loads of people - does not matter if they have a degree in diet and nutrition or are doing research - they are disqualified to give any sort of advice if they themselves are fat and unhealthy.  If you are working on your health and trying to get in shape then people around you will watch every thing that you eat and have a comment on it, stop eating sugar, stop drinking milk, stop eating gluten, this - that - whatnot, some will shamelessly tell you that it is okay to consume alcohol, it is highly likely that these people themselves are in a bad shape so just tell them to 'shut the f*** up' - of course in your head.

My mantra is read books/ blogs/ and listen to people who have fit bodies - everyone else is disqualified (they are obviously free to have opinions but one should not listen to them).

The opinions expressed in this series are influenced by many 'qualified' people, they helped me on my path to health, happiness, fitness and weight-loss - by not just words but by proving through actions.

Most of the fittest and healthiest people that at least I have seen - eat home cooked meals everyday, their portion size is smaller, they understand the difference between food and food like products, they exercise everyday and are not engrossed in any bad habits like alcohol, smoking or drugs. Before you do any crazy diet plans remember that food is not just about weight loss - it is also about health - which means having the right chemical/ hormonal/ bacteria balance/ gut health/ immunity and mental health, so diet plans might help you to loose weight but otherwise create havoc in the system.

One more thing - do not feel let down or lack of confidence or any sort of complex because of a certain body shape that you have, and understand that people who are making comments on you are not perfect either (I have expressed this experience before that a lady thrice my size laughed at me saying 'Rasika, you look too fat'. People do not realize the hypocrisy of their comments, so just  let it go). Most of the people making nasty comments do NOT have sculpted bodies themselves ;-). The only thing that matters is you keep working on your health and weight without giving up.

This is the last part of the series and the last thing I want to say is - when it comes to health and fitness most important thing is continuity, one can not say I am going to exercise, think positive, eat and sleep well for the next 3 months, it has to turn into a lifestyle - it needs to become our second nature and then it will become effortless...

Thursday, January 04, 2018

What the health! Part 4

This is part 4 of ‘What the health’ series. You can find earlier parts here – part 1part 2, part 3
  1. Sleep -
In today’s world, snoozing can be difficult, particularly when all your screens (computers, TVs, cell phones, tablets) lure you into staying up just a little longer. A lot of people also have ‘missing out on life’ syndrome so they don’t want to spend time sleeping. A lot of us make a mistake of popping sleeping pills (like I did for almost 2 years - it was a very bad idea).

The most important thing that I fixed after my diet and medicine usage is my sleep.  Why? Because… being short on sleep can affect your wellbeing and your weight too. While you are awake at night, your body cooks up a perfect recipe for weight gain.

When you’re short on sleep, it’s easy to lean on a large latte to get moving, I used to have a venti coffee from Starbucks everyday. You might be tempted to skip exercise because you are too tired, get takeout for dinner, and then turn in late because you’re uncomfortably full.

Skimping on sleep sets your brain up to make bad decisions. It dulls activity in the brain’s frontal lobe, the locus of decision-making and impulse control. So it is a little like being drunk. You don’t have the mental clarity to make good decisions, it can also affects your mood and the way you behave with people around you. Plus, when you’re overtired, your sleep-deprived brain may have trouble saying no to a second slice of cake.

Sleep is brain’s nutrition. Most people need between 7 and 9 hours each night. Insufficient sleep impacts your hunger and fullness hormones, including two called ghrelin and leptin.
Ghrelin signals your brain that it is time to eat. When you’re sleep-deprived, your body makes more ghrelin.

Leptin, on the other hand, cues your brain to put the fork down. When you are not getting enough sleep, leptin levels plummet, signaling your brain to eat more food.

Put the two together, and it is no wonder that sleep deprivation leads to overeating and extra pounds.
Then there’s the cortisol spike that comes from too little sleep. This stress hormone signals your body to conserve energy to fuel your waking hours that means you are more apt to hang on to fat.

Sleep deprivation makes you ‘metabolically groggy’ that means - your body’s ability to process insulin - a hormone needed to change sugar, starches, and other food into energy - goes awry. When your body doesn't respond properly to insulin, your body has trouble processing fats from your bloodstream, so it ends up storing them as fat.

So it’s not so much that if you sleep, you’ll lose weight, but that too little sleep hampers your metabolism and contributes to weight gain.

How do you ensure a good night’s sleep -
  • Shutdown your computer, cell phone, and TV at least an hour before you go to bed. No gadgets on the bedside.
  • Save your bedroom for sleep, rather than work, dining or entertainment.
  • Create a bedtime ritual. It's not the time to tackle big issues. Instead, take a warm bath, meditate, or read.
  • Stick to a schedule, waking up and retiring at the same times every day, even on weekends.
  • Avoid eating heavy meals and alcohol close to bedtime, which may cause heartburn and make it hard to fall asleep. And steer clear of soda, tea, coffee, and chocolate after 2 p.m. Caffeine can stay in your system for 5 to 6 hours. I stopped drinking coffee completely since last 2 years.
  • Turn out the lights. Darkness cues your body to release the natural sleep hormone melatonin, while light suppresses it.
I do have sleep issues - I am oversensitive to sounds, any small sound wakes me up and if I wake up in the middle of the night I have hard time going back to sleep again (mostly thoughts keep in awake). So the thing that helped me the most with my sleep issues is the app InsightTimer - it has loads of guided sleep meditations/ hypnosis. I absolutely love it, Glenn Harrold’s meditations are my most favorite. Whenever I am having trouble sleeping I play his sleep hypnosis and sleep like a baby… no more sleeping pills for me.

Monday, January 01, 2018

What the health! Part 3

This is part 3 of ‘What the health’ series. You can find earlier parts here – part 1, part 2

There are a few key elements when it comes to health... it is no rocket science... everyone knows what they are -

1. Exercise -
Take out some time everyday to exercise! Not having time to exercise is like saying I don't have time to do the basic things like brush my teeth. A lot of people do not want to join gym because they do not want to spend any money on it, while they do have the money to gather material possessions. Health is the best investment one can make!

Running a marathon once in a blue moon and then forgetting all about exercising until there is a marathon again is not the way to go about it. Exercise everyday, rain or shine, even if it is just 30 minutes of yoga each day.

Think of making exercise a fun time so that you don't have to struggle each day to find motivation - join some fun classes like Zumba or dance of any sort, kickboxing, pilates, do yoga - there are so many good videos available on youtube, go hiking/biking or play sports with friends, try weight lifting, the list is endless. Whatever you do, do not do lazy man's workout. You will see these kind of people when you hit the gym, they are there may be to watch TV, listen to songs, look around at some good looking people, I don't know but if you are spending time on something then might as well make the best out of it.

Not only does exercise tone your body so you can wear your favorite jeans, it strengthens your muscles, keeps your bones strong, improves your skin, increases relaxation (stress release), betters sleep and mood, your immune function gets stronger, and a lot more …

If you haven't then exercise today!

2. Diet 
When I was little eating out at restaurants was an event, the event probably happened once a year...
Times have changed and we eat at restaurants casually. Most of the social gatherings happen around food and drinks, it has become a social norm... Looking at the kind of schedule today's parents have I am sure the next generation of kids will be saying 'when we were little, eating home cooked food was an event'.

Our treatment towards our gut has definitely become very casual, to add to that we engage in things like frozen, processed foods, alcohol, coke/pepsi and whatnot. The wealthier that our wallets get the unhealthier the food choices that we make.

Would it be too much if I said 90% of the health troubles we go through are because of bad diet and unhealthy gut? It is true. Quarter of what we eat keeps us alive and the rest keeps our doctors alive.
We are what we eat and most importantly we are what we digest. Gut health is responsible for so many things - the chemical, hormonal, bacteria balance, for strong immunity, a good emotional/mental balance, healthy skin and feeling of wellbeing. Having a strong digestive system is a key element in losing weight too. People who are depressed or committing suicide have a bad digestive tract and I am not talking out of my ass, it is proven scientifically. Read the book 'Gut: an inside story' to find the details about the research on this topic and more on gut health.

We need to think before we put anything inside our own gut... are we adding value and nutrition to our own body or poison? Our gut is strong but not as strong to take the insults that we perform each day. Do not take your gut for granted and treat it as a garbage can just to sweep the dishes clean.

And PLEASE provide your kids with home cooked fresh healthy food - healthy does not mean organic and raw food. In their growing years the kids need nutrition, what they consume right now is also defining the kind of food habits they will have in the future and what you give them right now is building or destroying their gut health. A lot of people are under the risk of catching ailments and getting obese at a very young age because since they were kids they were fed restaurant food/ unhealthy/ frozen/ processed foods by ignorant, lazy and irresponsible parents.

Good gut health and exercising habit is the best heritage you can leave for your kids.

For gut health -

  1. You can make your gut stronger by eating simple, non-spicy, healthy, easy to digest food.  Spicy food, pepper, chillies destroys stomach lining and causes acid imbalance. Remember food stays in your mouth only for a few seconds while your stomach and intestine has to deal with it for a longer time.
  2. If I may say so consume a poor man's diet and by that I mean Indian poor man's diet and not an American poor man's diet.
  3. Don’t go after fancy diet plans, fancier the names the crappier that they are. Our body needs wholesome food, it needs carbs, fats, proteins and everything - remember moderation is the key.
  4. Recognize the difference between food and food like products.
  5. Take out some time during the day to plan and cook home cooked meals, eat clean, fresh, home cooked, simple food - as easy as that.
  6. Don't forget to drink a glass of fresh homemade buttermilk everyday (not yogurt, but homemade buttermilk), it encourages good digestion.
  7. When travelling - I ate the unhealthiest food when I traveled and always put on at least 5 pounds as an aftereffect. Now when I travel I book houses with kitchens through airbnb and such and cook simple meals even on vacations.
  8. Use of medication - I popped in loads of pills for all my health troubles. As evolved beings it is our way of dealing with health. Who has the time and patience to decipher the cause of an ailment and make minor changes to bring the body back to equilibrium when it is so much simpler to just pop a pill and banish your symptoms while the disease surreptitiously festers away. I did not want to spend time being sick, who does? So antihistamines, antibiotics, painkillers, sleep medication, cold medications and such were my constant companions. But remember... medicines cause bad side effects, it is as bad as junk food and alcohol. I should have fixed the troubles by taking a step back, by giving my body some rest, and with natural remedies, by fixing my diet, stress levels, routine, sleep pattern, etc., instead I relied on medicines. But the thing that I used to fix my health issues turned out to be the cause of my biggest problems later on. I had say avoid medicines as much as you can. Try herbal medicines (Ayurveda) if you have to.
  9. And last but not the least Alcohol - Call me uncool if you had like, I really don't care - but DO NOT drink alcohol (I know it is for some reason considered a status symbol these days), some people drink wine everyday saying it is good for the heart, it sounds ridiculous- there are so many better options for the heart like running for example - opt them and not wine. Alcohol affects the acid levels in the body, it affects the quality of sleep, it can cause many health conditions like heart ailments, it affects the liver and pancreas, it also increases the risk of cancer (throat, mouth, esophagus, breast and liver). Cocktails and hard liquor is loaded with unwanted calories that you just wanna avoid piling on. I am high on life and I don’t understand those who are dependent on alcohol to do that job and ones who drink do not understand how can one be high on life… some people come under social pressures and drink to give company, I don’t do that (not anymore). I have been asked many times at parties that if I don't drink alcohol or carbonated beverages then what do I drink. Stupid question. I drink many things - tea, coconut water, lime juice, freshly squeezed orange juice, turmeric milk, buttermilk and mostly water! I am not a fun bob (someone who needs to be inebriated to have fun, loose inhibitions or enjoy life). I enjoy life even when things are painful or not going so smooth. Accept that hardship is part of life. Pain, sickness and sadness is as much a feeling as health and happiness - embrace it, sooner the better - it is useless to be afraid of the existence of unhappy feelings and to forget it getting numb (and dumb) under the influence of alcohol/drugs.


Food and water is an important part of a balanced diet, yes, we are what we eat…. and drink.

to be continued...