5 mistakes that can sabotage your health. Guest post By First Time Mommy

5 mistakes that can sabotage your health. Guest post By First Time Mommy

I first read Anshu Bhojnagarwala‘s blog a year ago. A parent blogger, Anshu also blogs about health and wellness, her approach towards which is a lot similar to mine. And, that’s how we bonded…over our blogs, and our favourite topics!

Swapping notes on blogging, helping solve each other’s blogging-related queries, we bonded further. And, a few days back, when Anshu asked me if I would do a guest post for her blog, I requested her to do the same for me, and we discovered we also published our respective blog posts on the same days of the week!

So, here’s Anshu on my blog today, enlightening us about health-related matters which we tend to take for granted and suffer the repercussions later on in Life.

Over to Anshu Bhojnagarwala…

Mistakes that sabotage our health

Everyone makes mistakes in their youth, more so when it comes to their health. As a young adult (similar to most people this age), I constantly obsessed over my weight, skin and hair. I was not an overweight person, but was not slim either. I wanted to be thin. So there were times when I refrained from eating or started weird diet plans like 1000-calorie diet in order to lose weight. Oh, I even remember taking some slimming powders, even though my mother told me not to.
“These are just fads. They will spoil your health,” she said, but I was not in the mood to listen.
I bought soaps, face masks, face scrubs, shampoos and oils after seeing TV commercials.
It was only when I was in my mid-thirties that the penny dropped. I realized how wrong I was. My health was in my own hands all the time and I chose to play with it. I started mending my ways immediately. And, today, I am sharing the mistakes I made so that you don’t repeat them yourself.

5 mistakes that can sabotage your health.

Not drinking enough water:

We all have heard of drinking 8-10 glasses of water per day. But the question is how many of us actually follow it through?
I had a phobia of peeing in public places. Hence, I would not drink water before stepping out and stay thirsty for hours. I didn’t even visit the loo in my school. That is roughly 8 hours of not peeing and not drinking water. Can you imagine the damage it must have done to my body? It affects the digestive system, kidney function and even ruins the skin.
If I had drunk enough water when I was a teenager and adult, who knows, maybe I would have been spared from teenage and adult acne.
It’s not only me, many girls and women, due to poor hygiene in public toilets in India, prefer to not drink water than to visit a public loo. I have to constantly remind my 8-year old to drink water in the school and visit the loo.
So, if you want a clear skin, drink 8-10 glasses of water.
It is very easy to forget to drink water. What has helped me is keeping reminders. I drink 2-3 glasses of warm water in the morning and then rest over the day.

Avoiding vegetables:

I know, I know, you know about it already. After all, you have been tortured as a child to finish your veggies.
My mother urged me to all kinds of vegetables. I can proudly say that I can eat all vegetables, including bitter gourd and eggplant. However, it was not enough.
The challenge lies not in the fact that you can eat all vegetables, but in the fact that how much you can eat. Can you eat 5 servings of vegetables a day? Most people can’t.
Most mothers are keen on their kids eating an extra roti than an extra serving of vegetables. I tell you, don’t make this mistake for yourself or for your child. Ditch that roti/bread, and help yourself to more veggies instead.
I eat a very small portion of subzi, which is not enough. Hence, I started juicing raw vegetables like white squash, bottle gourd, beetroot, carrot, spinach, etc.
I make different kinds of salads too, for admit it, it’s boring to eat the same cucumber and carrot two times a day every day.

Taking fruits lightly:

I love fruits and can easily eat 2-3 fruits a day. Consuming 5-6 servings of fruits in a day is a little ambitious isn’t it?
A few months ago, my husband visited his physician, who is an expert in body metabolism, with the complaint that he felt lethargic all the time. The reports of medical tests that the doctor made him take showed a deficiency of Vitamin D3 and B12. He started taking those supplements. However, he was also advised to stay off dairy (only buttermilk allowed few times in a week), eggs and meat, and rice. He was told to eat 6 fruits in a day. Thankfully, we were in the summer season where fruits are in abundance. So, my husband started this diet, and what would you believe, within 10 days, he felt much better. His lethargy was completely gone.
Along with him, I started this diet too, which is not surprising. Most homemakers eat what they cook for their husband.
I eat 2-3 fruits in the morning before breakfast and then again 2-3 fruits for evening snacks. Even my daughter eats 3-4 fruits. Yes, she is a little more choosy than us.
Note: No juicing of fruits, it’s not recommended. Fruits should be chewed. Except Coconut water.

Underestimating Yoga:

I learnt Yogasana as a child in the school. We were taught all the different poses and also their benefits. If only I had continued practicing Yoga once I quit school. It would have done a world of good to me.
Yoga has many benefits:

  • Keeps your body flexible and loose which prevents injuries
  • Works on your cardio health, respiration and metabolism
  • Increases muscle strength and tones it

I rediscovered Yoga two years ago. However, I had left it till too late because by then I had already harmed my back muscles with poor posture and lack of flexibility.
Now, I practice Yoga 2-3 times a week. Don’t underestimate Yoga, it is one of the best forms of exercises – it is cardio and strength training too.

Being a night owl:

I tell people I am not a night person. They tell me, “You are an oldie!” What has getting old to do with sleeping early?
When someone tells me, “I am a night person.” I feel like saying to that person that it is not something to be proud of. Nature has designed no human to be a night person.
Let me tell you my story:
When I shifted to Mumbai after I got married, I got a super job in TCS. My work timings were not that super though – from 12:30 pm to 10 pm. By the time I reached home, it would be 11. And by the time, I changed and looked after house things, it would be 11:30-45. Then I would sit down with my husband and talk about the day. We would munch while talking and end up sleeping by 1 or 1:30 am. I would then wake up by 8:30-9 the next morning.
I must also tell you that those were the days when I suffered from heavy bloating and indigestion. There were many nights when I woke up clutching my stomach. I used to start my day with an antacid.
Your body goes into inactive mode as soon as the sun sets. So, whatever you do beyond that time is basically you are abusing your body.

A few more nuggets of wisdom for a glorious health:

  • Avoid drinking water half an hour before and after meals. It interferes with the digestion.
  • Don’t go for herbal powders or slimming powders. They harm you in the long run. Don’t trust anything that doesn’t come out of your kitchen.
  • Walk for 20 minutes post meals. It helps in digestion and takes care of bloating.
  • Start your day with a fruit. And don’t eat fruits after meals.
  • Rely on home remedies for common ailments like cold and cough, headaches, loose motions, nose bleeds, gas and constipation, etc. instead of reaching for those allopathic medicines.

These were the 5 mistakes that can sabotage your health, hope you learnt well. These are basic things, but they can actually make a world of difference to your health, as I learnt the hard way. Enjoy good health and wellbeing!

Health related matters which we tend to take for granted

Guilty pleasures of a wellness blogger!

Guilty pleasures of a wellness blogger!

I believe in the maxim, “Eat to live, not live to eat,” but there are certain foods that make me forget these precious words!

For there are times when I wish to pamper my taste buds, indulge my desires and have a good time with nary a concern about my health. Of course, it’s not always that I indulge in my guilty pleasures for the simple reason that doing so makes me feel guilty as hell!

So, on the rare occasions that I do let myself go, I feel fantastic…FANTASTIC!!! For me, food is one of my favourite therapies, apart from art, writing, music and friends, that cheers me up in no time. It’s a part of my self-care routine.

I am conscious of what I eat all the time, but there are also times when I don’t want to be conscious of what I eat! And, it is at such times that these guilty pleasures come in handy.

I do not feel guilty AT ALL confessing about my weaknesses. I am, after all, a human, and we all have some weaknesses, some not-so-good habits, don’t we?

So, here goes…

My guilty pleasures, in no particular order:

1 Paani puri…with the ragda (chickpeas) and not the boondi. I like my paani puri hot and spicy and request my paani puri wala to not add any tamarind chutney. Tamarind hurts the palate of my mouth and troubles my sensitive teeth. I can eat paani puri everyday. EVERY DAY.

2 Kaaju katli …An Indian sweet made of cashews and sugar. I just LOVE this one so much, I eat these in twos and threes. I can eat 300 grams of these sweets at one go 😉

3 Pizza, as in extra cheese, crispy crust pizza with loads of mushrooms, capsicum, corn, oregano, and some more cheese. I wish I could have this for my evening snacks. I am a die-hard cheese lover, like Monica Bing, who fantasised living in a house made of cheese. (Remember that episode?)

4 Chocolates are a favourite in any colour and flavour. Dark, brown and white, every chocolate finds its way into my mouth. Once, a dear friend gifted me chilli-chocolates. Those were ‘hot’, but yummy, too, and I devoured them like crazy despite the fire in my mouth.

5 Cakes, pastries, macaroons…good heavens, I am drooling even as I type these words! Imagine how bland this world would have been without any of these goodies!

6 Vodka..yup, the only hard drink I have, occasionally. To make it sort of healthier (and to feel less guilty) I add concentrated kokum sherbet instead of a soft drink. I totally dislike soft drinks. They make me belch and I hate it. Kokum sherbet adds to vodka a sweetness that makes my drink perfect.

7 Butter…I can have spoonfuls of butter, just like that. Usually, it’s during my PMS that I crave butter. So, when I am applying some to a toast, I stuff a spoonful in my mouth, too! The same goes for ghee too. Ghee is, of course, a healthier option, but butter is…well, butter – so unhealthy, yet, so comforting!

That’s all….these are just some of my guilty pleasures that come to my rescue when I need help and no one’s around! And, thanks to my very high metabolic rate, I don’t need to worry about any calories. In fact, for me, a kilo gained is a reason to celebrate! Uh, please don’t feel jealous…I have had my share of body-shaming for years. But, now, I don’t bother about people’s taunts and barbs. I am thin, and I can’t do much about it.

Oh, and just so you know, I am not very good at sharing any of these, so, if we meet in the real world and are having any of the above food items, please DO NOT ask me to share even a bite. I might offer it to you for the sake of good manners, but in my heart, I would be praying you don’t accept whatever I offer. 😎

So, what about you? What are some of your guilty pleasures? Do share with me! If and when we do meet in the real world, we will definitely indulge in them to celebrate our meeting. And, remember, no sharing, okay? 😉

Love,

SHILPA…

Guilty pleasures

Do you have OCD?

Do you have OCD?

To begin with, I am no expert in psychology, but have dealt with mental illnesses as a caregiver and as a patient. I know not the intricacies of the illnesses– the whys and the hows– but I do know a little about how a mental illness disturbs life, and how one can deal with it, and hence these posts that I share on my blog.

I came across an article in the newspaper last week where the writer shared certain habits and thoughts that had become a part of his daily life. I couldn’t have agreed more with him when he said how these habits get the better of him and leave him feeling frustrated and helpless. I, too, have certain habits that are compulsive in nature and try as I might, I can’t get rid of them.

I am sure many of you must sail in the same boat.

Washing hands a hundred times, waking up or sleeping on a particular side of the bed, checking things again and again to make sure everything’s in order. We often joke about how we suffer from OCD–I did that myself–but on reading about the subject in detail, I realised that Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a mental illness and for people suffering from it, it can be a struggle trying to live a normal life.

I haven’t approached my doctor with this topic during my sessions for Generalised Anxiety Disorder yet; maybe someday I will, just to make sure I don’t need any treatment for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

But, on reading the above newspaper article, I realised how so many of us suffer from certain obsessive thoughts and compulsive habits and how we ignore those, thinking that those habits are just a part of our idiosyncrasies.

Sharing today, those thoughts and habits, fears and worries I have on an everyday basis and hoping to get some help in that department, as well.If you are a psychologist, and if you think I need help, please advice me. I would be forever grateful to you!

OBSESSIVE THOUGHTS:

I fear germs, so much so, that when my pet dog was around, I would pet him and then scrub my hands clean–this happened each time I petted him, so you can imagine the number of times I washed my hands in a day.

I worry about getting involved in a road accident, so each time hubby revs up the engine of his car, I start palpitating. It’s related to my anxiety, I know, but I have no problem travelling by the bus or the train.

I fear a theft taking place when I am not home.

I have this age-old fear of the gas bursting and also a short circuit burning our house down.

I find it difficult to trust people as I think they aren’t being truthful to me and might have ulterior motives. There are only 3 to 4 people I trust blindly, no offence meant to others who are equally close to me!

I am obsessed about the idea of a perfect life (which I know doesn’t exist) but the obsession is so much, that even if I daydream, I make sure Life is perfect! Do I make any sense here?

I like everything in order…ORDER..and get disturbed even if a tiny thing, like a cushion, for instance, is out of its rightful place. I tend to lose my peace of mind, but I leave everything aside to go arrange the cushion correctly.

I like to make to-do lists and follow my schedule. But, I also wish others around me maintained a to-do list and worked accordingly, and get annoyed if they don’t!

I get very irritated if my schedule gets disturbed and it takes me some time to come up with Plan B, even if it’s something as simple as missing my evening walk.

 

COMPULSIVE HABITS

I am a cleanliness freak and cannot stay in a place that’s dirty or unkempt. And, if I do visit such a place, then I am sure to get some really disturbing dreams full of filthy places…The dreams stay on in my mind for days on end and it becomes difficult getting them out of my head! I feel like puking even as I type these words.

I have the habit of checking if the door is locked perfectly each time someone opens the door, or before going to bed at night.

I check the padlock by tugging at it multiple times fearing I may not have done it correct.

I check the regulator of the gas a few times to make sure I switched it off before bedtime or before I go outdoors.

I am petrified of touching the door handles of public washrooms. I also think a hundred times before holding onto the handle of the seat in a bus or a train, wondering how many germs might be residing on that handle.

I arrange my kitchen cabinets weekly and make sure the labels on the jars face the front.

I can never share my comb or my towel with anyone, not even with hubby!

To be frank, I am not so much of a cleanliness freak as some other people I know. I don’t get disturbed if my nephew spreads his toys all over the room while playing. My home may not be as spic and span as a 5 star hotel, but I like (and need) order, and often get disturbed if I find things in a mess.

I know, there are people out there who suffer from worst symptoms and can’t do without medical help. It is, indeed, a sad life they live.

Calling oneself OCD is definitely hurtful to those who suffer from severe symptoms of this illness. Yet, it is very important that we seek help for what comes in our way of living a healthy and peaceful life.

Do share your own habits and thoughts that you think hinder a normal life. You never know how severe things might be unless you have it in front of you, in black and white!

Take care,

Love,

SHILPA…

 

P.S.

The one person I trust to give me the right advice on this post–my friend, and psychologist, Sanch–has shared her views on the topic which I am sharing here.

Sanch @ Sanch Writes:

OCD is one of those illnesses portrayed as being quite funny in the media and sometimes, the irrationality of it can be amusing. However, having worked with clients who have OCD, I can say this – it is hard!!!
It’s not just about obsessions and having quirky compulsions but rather, behaviours that significantly impact on day-to-day functioning. For instance, I have had clients with fear of contamination/germs who wash their hands so much and so often that it bleeds or those who take 90 minutes to 2 hours in the shower, or those whose families get sucked by OCD and have to wash their hands before preparing meals or touching something related to them.
Or those who fear germs so much, they will not use public toilets and end up having infections by holding things in. Or being dehydrated because they will choose to not drink water in case they have to pee.
And that’s just the obvious ones. I have had clients where they have intrusive thoughts about something bad happening to someone or themselves and they have to engage in some repetitive behaviour or thought process regardless of where they are because of the distress it causes.
The important thing to remember about OCD is that it has to interfere with your and your family’s functioning on a daily basis.
Our quirks or routines or preference for things to be a certain way are probably more obsessive-compulsive traits as opposed to OCD. The movie ‘As good as it gets’ probably came closest to portraying just how debilitating OCD can be.
Monica in FRIENDS would probably be diagnosed more with OCPD {Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder}.
A lot of the obsessions/intrusive thoughts you talk about for yourself could be the generalised anxiety anyway.
Also, finally, hope you don’t mind this but it’s preferable to ask if ‘do you have obsessive-compulsive traits’ as opposed to ‘are you obsessive-compulsive’. Language matters when we talk about mental health disorders. We are not them. We have them.
******************
Obsessive Compulsive Traits

 

 

 

Art that soothes the heart.

Art that soothes the heart.

It’s been a long time since I made a Mandala. So, last week, I decided to work on something complicated and share it on the last Tuesday or Friday of every month at Metanoia.

Beginning today with this Mandala that I named, ‘The Cosmos’. I was thinking about our solar system while working on this group of Mandalas.

I had a fabulous time making it. Last night, I sat working on this piece till almost 1 a.m.. Well, I generally forget about food or sleep when I am immersed in my work.

How about you? What is that one activity that makes you oblivious to Life around you? Indulge in it as often as you can, for it is the best way to look after your mental health!

 

Love,

SHILPA…

 

 

Mandala

ACTIVITY THAT SPARKS JOY-

 

Menstruation and Self-care.

Menstruation and Self-care.

28th of May is celebrated as the World Menstrual Hygiene Day.

For a woman, menstruation is practically a life-partner, isn’t it? No wonder then that we refer to our Periods as “Chums”! And, these chums can be a big pain in the…you know what!  But, it’s these very chums that we need to be grateful for giving us the ability to carry within our womb a life–a blessing the species of the opposite sex is deprived of.

And, it’s these chums that deserve to be celebrated on World Menstrual Hygiene Day!

It’s, indeed, a great platform to also share menstrual care and hygiene that we need to follow.

 

MENSTRUATION AND SUPERSTITION:

We have heard of customs in our country as well as in certain foreign countries, about how menstruating women are considered impure. 

Instead of considering Periods as just a physiological process, like any other,  happening inside the human body, they are regarded with disgust, and a woman on her period, impure.

It’s only awareness about the process, and education, that can banish such age-old myths and superstitions and help women lead better lives.

So, yes, thanks again to the Menstrual Hygiene Day, we can openly talk about this “taboo” topic, and express the need to accept it as a natural process and help women get the support they so need.

 

 PERIOD PRODUCTS AND THEIR AVAILABILITY:

If you are reading this post, you are one of those blessed ones who have access to period products of the best quality, without having to make any adjustments in your monthly budget. But, as you know, there are millions of women out there who have no such access to any products that can take care of them during those five days of the month.

I am sure you must have read about how women belonging to the poorer sections of our society have to make do with anything they can find to protect themselves during their periods.

Rags dirtier than the dusters used to clean floors,  leaves, ash, paper, mud…my fingers tremble as I type these words, wondering how these women go through their entire lives living in such squalid conditions when they actually deserve better.

Thankfully, we do have some kind samaritans who, through the sheer goodness of their heart, have made affordable sanitary napkins available for these women. May their tribe increase!

We could also lend a helping hand to women, like our domestic help, for example, with period products that they might find unaffordable. It could make a world of difference to them!

ECO-FRIENDLY PERIOD PRODUCTS:

Today, the focus is on sustainable living and women are opting for products that are manufactured from natural fibres that do not pose a threat to either our health or our environment.

Reusable sanitary napkins made from cotton, disposable sanitary napkins that are bio-degradable, intimate washes made from oils and rose water and without any harmful chemicals can be bought online or from stores that stock up on such products.

These products are skin-friendly, do not cause rashes or irritation to the intimate areas as they are made specifically keeping our skin in mind.

These also do not put our environment at risk, considering a sanitary pad takes almost 800 years to decompose!

Do check out such websites that speak about sustainable sanitary products.

MENSTRUATION AND SELF-CARE:

Today, at the age of 46, I am not so bothered about the PMS or my periods. It is definitely a painful period, no doubt, but I have learned to take care of myself and manage it well with certain lifestyle changes.

However, there are many youngsters who suffer from lack of information about self-care during periods and find it difficult to handle the PMS as well as the time during the periods. And, hence this post.

 

PERIOD PROBLEMS:

Mood swings, body ache, tenderness of breasts, stomach cramps, giddiness, fatigue, irritability are all problems that we face before and during periods. Around 10 days before our period starts, ovulation takes place, and the hormonal changes that take place in our body bring about the symptoms that announce that our periods are just round the corner.

Our moods swing from ecstasy to irritability, and we can shed tears at the drop of a hat! Our anger too can shoot through the roof if we don’t control it in time. It’s really a tough time to handle. But, there are certain changes that you can make in your daily life, diet and lifestyle that will help you manage the symptoms better.

SELF-CARE TIPS FOR A HAPPY PERIOD:

1 First of all, breathe. And, the first instant you start feeling like you are not yourself, know that you are PMS-ing.

2 Our diet plays a huge role in managing our moods, so eat well. Include vegetables, fruits, nuts, eggs in your daily diet.

Flaxseeds are known to reduce depression and irritability thanks to the Omega 3 fatty acids present in them. Dry roast and grind flaxseeds and fenugreek seeds and have a spoonful of this powder every morning on an empty stomach. Follow it with two glasses of water that has lemon juice, grated ginger, tulsi leaves and carom seeds.  Just boil the water for 5 minutes and drink it when warm.

3 If you are suffering from unbearable stomach cramps, use a hot water bag to give yourself some relief. Check with your family physician or your gynaecologist for painkillers.

4 Take it easy when you feel too tired or sore. Sleep for some more time (if you can), or try and reduce some workload if you can’t take a leave from work/college. You deserve all the rest you can get.

5 Try practicing Yoga asanas that give relief from backache, stomach ache, and pain in the legs. Breathing exercises or Pranayam (learned from a Yoga teacher) will definitely help keep your moods under control.

6 Do visit a counsellor or a psychiatrist if your mood swings are uncontrollable. There is really no need to feel ashamed. It’s for your health, my dear!

7 Do go for a walk in the evening to fill your lungs with some fresh air if you have been sitting cooped up at home all day. It will do you a world of good! Your need the exercise because sitting for long hours does more harm than good.

8 During PMS, one does crave chocolates or spicy, junk food. Whenever I start craving chocolates, pizza or chaat, I know my chums are just round the corner and I go indulge myself without any guilt. Do not bother about calories on such days; just pamper yourself. it’s an advice given to me by my gynaec friend!

9 Call up or meet your girlfriends to share your PMS woes.Your girls will understand you better than anyone else, coz they too go through it all and know the exact words that will soothe you.

10 Pamper yourself on days when you feel morose and/or melancholic. Opt for your favourite comedy TV series or movies, and not something tragic or depressing. But, if you do feel better after shedding some tears,  then stock up on a handful of tissues and just have a good cry. It can be quite the therapy you need! I do it…all I have to do is watch dog videos or read something sentimental and I cry a bucketful! It does give me a lot of relief.

 

Your Periods need not come in your way as you work towards building a Life for yourself. A little bit of TLC (tender loving care) is all it needs to live a healthy and happy life…even during “those five days”!

Looking after yourself (before, during and after your periods) is your duty and your responsibility towards yourself. For, if you don’t, no one will. Trust me!

Our face doesn’t often reveal that we are on our periods, except when we are cranky or fatigued. And, even then, we have to continue working–at home or at the office–for no one’s going to sweep us off our feet, lay us on a bed and offer to do our work for us! All they will say, is, “Come on, it’s just something that happen every month! What’s the big deal?”

Forgive them, for they are ignorant.  Take extra care of yourself and shower yourself with loads of love, ‘coz you are worth it!

 

Love,

SHILPA…

 

P.S.

A note to men:

Dear men,

If you are reading this…those five days of the month when we aren’t ourselves are tough on us. We aren’t enjoying a picnic–it’s all because of the hormones, you see, that we “go crazy” (as you like to call it). So, some amount of sympathy, and empathy, with a dollop of caring words will help us a lot.

Thank you!

Shilpa…

 

 

It's important to look after yourself, for if you don't, no one will!