10 ways to maintain a baby-soft skin this winter.

So, finally, winter has arrived!

We, living in Mumbai, rarely experience chilly winters. With temperatures rarely going below 15 degrees C, winters for us only mean dry skin, static hair, chapped lips, and cracked heels.

While there are solutions for all of these problems, I have realized how sensible it is opting for home treatments through kitchen ingredients rather than splurging on store-bought, branded products or salon treatments that use all kinds of chemicals that further rob away the moisture or even have adverse effects on the skin in the long run.

Sharing today, 10 quick and easy DIY recipes for skincare during winters. Recipes that require ingredients easily found in your kitchen cabinets, which require lesser time to prepare, and which have zero side-effects.

DIY SKINCARE TIPS FOR WINTER:

1. EVERY DAY FACE/BODY WASH:

DIY SKINCARE FOR WINTER

When you have gram flour or chana dal besan, why do you need soaps that are loaded with chemicals? Even those that claim to be moisturizing because they contain glycerine, can rob the moisture off your skin.

Try out this homemade face/body wash.

Take a spoonful of gram flour, yogurt/ milk, and a pinch of turmeric. Mix the ingredients and use it as a face wash, as well as a body wash.

No soaps are necessary.

2. SKIN BRIGHTENING FACE WASH:

DIY SKINCARE FOR WINTER

It’s the orange season. So, whenever you buy some, do not throw away the peels. Just place them in a plate to dry out in the sun. Once dried, grind them and refrigerate the powder. It stays for months.

Try out this recipe:

A spoonful of gram flour, curd/milk, and a teaspoon orange peel powder. Mix and use on face and body for a gentle scrub.

Use it once and you will fall in love with your baby soft, supple skin!

3. EXFOLIATING BODY SCRUB::

DIY SKINCARE FOR WINTER

You will find shikakai powders at any grocery store or even at a Patanjali store.

For once-a-week body pampering, use this body scrub and see the difference:

Mix 2 tablespoons shikakai powder and some water to make a paste.

Gently scrub your body with this mixture. Wash away thoroughly. Pat dry and feel the smoothness!

4. GENTLE EXFOLIATING FACE SCRUB:

DIY SKINCARE FOR WINTER

Another face scrub that uses sooji, or rava. or semolina and glycerine.

Semolina clears away the dead cells and glycerine is perfect for moisturizing the skin during winter.

Use this scrub once a week:

Mix a tablespoon of semolina and a spoonful glycerine to make a paste that’s not very thin or very thick. Scrub the face gently and wash away immediately.

NOTE: The semolina particles tend to get stuck in the fine facial hair so it’s necessary that you wash your face soon after a quick scrub.

5. SKIN GLOWING FACE MASSAGE:

DIY SKINCARE FOR WINTER

Put the orange peel powder to good use for massaging the face before a scrub. Or, use it to massage the face before bedtime to wake up to pampered skin in the morning!

To a tablespoon of curd/yogurt add a teaspoon orange peel powder.

Wash your face and neck with plain water. Then, apply the above paste all over your face and neck and gently massage in circular movements for a few minutes.

Wash off with cold water and pat dry. You don’t need to apply moisturizer after this treatment because the curd takes care of your skin better than the moisturizer.

Wash your face the next morning with gram flour and curd/milk, as usual.

6. COCONUT OIL FACE AND BODY MASSAGE

DIY SKINCARE FOR WINTER

Coconut oil is the best moisturizer. It’s cheaper than the branded moisturizers and comes without any chemicals, at all.

Just massage your face and body before bath time.

After the bath, too, take a few drops in your palm, and rub all over your body and face as soon as you dry yourself. This locks in the moisture and keeps your skin soft and nourished.

NOTE: Coconut oil also takes care of rashes, insect bites, stretch marks, dry feet, and cracked heels apart from dry skin.

You don’t even need to look for the Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. Even the usual refined coconut oil will suffice.

TIP: You can also use coconut oil for shaving your arms and legs, instead of a shaving cream/gel/foam. Coconut oil keeps the skin soft and safeguards it from itching and dryness post-shaving.

7 HOMEMADE LIP BALM:

DIY SKINCARE FOR WINTER

Ghee, or clarified butter, is my go-to for any issues I have with dry skin. Apart from being nutritious, it is also one of the best fats that contain essential fatty acids that nourish our skin, body and improve overall health.

Ghee makes a better lip balm for chapped lips than a store-bought lip balm. However much the lip balms may claim to contain essential oils and stuff, they never work as effectively as ghee.

Just a couple of drops of ghee are enough to massage the lips.

8. SKIN SOFTENING FACE MASSAGE:

DIY SKINCARE FOR WINTER

Honey is also a good moisturizer and cream softens dry skin. Together they make for a perfect combo to fight dryness during harsh winters.

To a spoonful of cream, add a spoonful of honey. Mix well and apply to face and neck. Massage gently for a few minutes. Wash off after 10-15 minutes with the gram flour face wash.

9. FOOT CARE REMEDY:

DIY SKINCARE FOR WINTER

It’s during these days of dry winters that your feet suffer badly. There are cracked heels and dry feet that torture us throughout the day if we don’t take good care.

Kokum (mangosteen) butter is a good option for heeling cracked feet. It is an emollient (softens the skin) that gets easily absorbed into the skin and is thus ideal for damaged skin. (Google).

It softens the heels and reduces the cracks with regular applying.

Coconut oil is also a good for cracked heels.

TIP: Scrub your feet with a foot scraper or a pumice stone during your bath. Dry the feet thoroughly. Massage the feet with coconut oil and the heels with Kokum butter. Wear cotton socks. Repeat it at night, too. It hardly takes few minutes of scrubbing and a few minutes of massaging the feet. Your feet will bless you. Trust me!

TIP: Kokum butter is available at Amazon, India.

10. COLD WATER FOR FACE AND BODY WASH

Depending upon which area you reside in and the temperatures there, use cold water to wash the face and body.

Cold water does not rob moisture from your skin and saves it from getting dry.

Cold water tightens the pores which keeps them from getting clogged with dirt.

It also improves blood circulation and gives relief from sore muscles.

I know, winters are when one feels like having a leisurely, hot water shower. And, with the chill rising by the day, you can’t even dream of using cold water to wash your hands!

So, instead of cold water, you could try lukewarm water instead of warm or hot water for your bath. You will do a world of good for your skin, and save on electricity, too! ;P

TIP: After a warm water bath, splash your face with cold water. It will help tighten the pores that open up after a warm water bath.

Easy tips, aren’t these? Do try and let me know how you feel.

If you have any queries regarding any of the above recipes, please feel free to ask me in the comments section.

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DIY recipes for skincare

My Word of the Year for 2020 – WELLNESS.

WHO defines WELLNESS as a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

It’s an active process of becoming aware of and making choices towards a healthy and fulfilling life.

This year, my chosen Word of the Year is WELLNESS.

And, because I believe that we need not wait until a particular day or moment to make a change in ourselves or our life, I started working on my WOTY way before the New Year.

Any day is a good day to make the change that will make you a healthier, happier you.

A couple of months ago, when I was on a break from blogging, I had ample time to reflect upon things.

My health and diet, for example, needed to be worked upon as I wasn’t meeting my own expectations of a good, healthy me.  My reading and writing habits needed a revamp, too.

Because I don’t put on weight fast, I took lightly things like having unhealthy snacks before going for my walk, drinking (very sweet) coffee twice a day, and missing out on my Yoga.

My Yoga sessions, which had been regular for the past few years, had fallen off the track as I had been waking up too late to get into exercise mode. I reasoned that because I went for my evening walks every day, I didn’t need to panic for missing out on Yoga! But I could feel my flexibility going downhill, my body feeling lethargic and my mind not being as alert as I wanted it to be.

Ergo, these changes that I made in my lifestyle and diet and which I intend to follow for the coming years:

I GAVE UP COFFEE FOR GOOD

Last year, I gave up coffee only to get back to it with a vengeance! A month ago, I realized how I had grown dependent upon my morning and afternoon mug of chilled, sweet and strong coffee that cheered me up albeit for a short while.

So, last month, after my stock of coffee was over, I did not replenish it. I just set the excess milk into curd and looked up quick and easy smoothie recipes.

Suffice to say, I am GLAD I made this change. My digestive system seems happier!

RAGI MALT FOR LATE-AFTERNOON SNACKS

No more banana chips or bhel (both of which I love) for my snack-time. It’s the homemade, savory RAGI MALT before I leave for my evening walk.

This is loaded with calcium, iron and B vitamins (all of which I need).

It also leads to a lighter dinner as it is filling and keeps me from piling food onto my dinner plate like I used to.

EARLY DINNER

Dinner time is now 8:45 pm, as opposed to 9:30 (or even 10 pm!) like earlier.

This gives me time to digest my food and sleep without that heavy, bloated feeling we get when we eat too much, too late.

EARLY MORNING YOGA SESSIONS

I wake up earlier now than I used to, either by 5:45 or 6. I have my spoonful of flaxseed powder and two mugs of warm water and after a while, I sit down to do my yoga asanas.

I enjoy doing my yoga when the rest of the world is fast asleep, especially my birdies. That quiet hour, when even the sun hasn’t risen, is the best time for my Yoga practice.

TRIPHALA TEA BEFORE BEDTIME

GLOW, by Vasudha Rai, (a book for which I must thank my friend, Shalini Baisiwala),  taught me a lot.

I read about Triphala churna, an Ayurvedic herbal formula that helps not only in improving digestion, but also the skin, hair, and overall health. It also helps you sleep well. And, boy do I need my 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night!

My sleep pattern had been erratic for the past few months now. I would sleep By 10:30 or 11 pm only to wake up by 2:30 or 3 am. Then, it would be 2 hours of tossing and turning and counting countless sheep before I would fall asleep again only to wake up dull and groggy at 7!

Sleep is one of the most essential, and often undervalued, aspect of our health. If you don’t get a sound sleep at night, how are you going to face the day, stay healthy, peaceful and productive?

The Triphala Churna is definitely helping me with my sleep and I feel better when I wake these days.

READ MORE, WRITE MORE

My reading and writing habits needed improvement and I guess the Universe heard my prayer. I am getting books to read right, left and center and I am writing a lot more these days.

Reading and writing, due to their therapeutic nature, help one stay mentally healthy, alert and peaceful. These activities help divert the mind from stressful thoughts, take you away from a stressful situation, and help you express your feelings better.

Mental health is the most important aspect of our health and it needed my attention and I am glad I realised what it was that helped me feel at peace.

It pays to work on our overall health by making changes that we really need.

I know I will be able to fulfill these goals because they are doable goals, that I understand, are necessary for my health. And, because there isn’t anything more precious than my health, I intend to give it my all.

It’s only when we reap the benefits of a particular habit do we understand how important it is to make that habit stick. It is then that we make it a part of our everyday life.

I know that nothing about life is in my control, so what I can do is do as much as is in my control!

So, WELLNESS it is for me, this year.

How about you?

Do you have a WOTY? Any goals, resolutions you’ve listed?

Make sure you break down those goals into mini-goals that you can follow on an everyday basis.

But also make sure you don’t give yourself a hard time if you are not able to follow the routine once in a while. Life often gets in the way, you see? You just gotta go with the flow!

Also, we need to maintain balance. It’s what’s most necessary for a healthy, happy and peaceful life.

So, do cut yourself some slack once in a while. Your mind and your body need this leisure, the leniency, and the pampering. It will keep you emotionally healthy. And, after mental health, it is our emotional health and wellbeing that’s an important part of our health and wellness.

WISHING YOU ALL A VERY HAPPY AND A PEACEFUL NEW YEAR!

LOTS OF LOVE,

SHILPA…

WOTY 2020

 

 

Turma Boost – Turmeric in a capsule.

Disclaimer: This is a Sponsored Post. I received the TurmaBoost Capsules (a Rusan product) in return for an honest review, and I have shared my views of the same. 

Turmeric has been an important part of Asian food and Ayurveda for years. Not only its pungent, bitter flavours and its bright yellow colour, but also its medicinal properties have made turmeric a favoured spice.

Its antioxidant properties that fight infections, its anti-inflammatory properties that give relief from arthritic pain, its use in skincare, and its general usage for treating minor ailments, as well as major, is common knowledge.

Curcumin, the active component of turmeric, according to studies, might help stabilize blood sugar levels. Of course, more studies need to be done to ascertain this factor.

However, because curcumin on its own can’t be absorbed properly into the bloodstream, taking it in combination with piperine from black pepper could help with it.

*Piperine is the alkaloid responsible for the pungency of black pepper (Wikipedia).

 

ROLE OF PIPERINE IN ABSORPTION OF CURCUMIN (Rusan):

Curcumin, as such, can’t get fully absorbed by the body. Piperine makes curcumin more bioavailable as it holds back certain intestinal digestive enzymes, which in turn results in curcumin being absorbed into the bloodstream.

In short, piperine acts as an absorption catalyst for curcumin in the body.

 

And, that’s why, Rusan Pharma has introduced TURMABOOST – a combination of Piperine from black pepper and curcumin from Turmeric in the form of a health capsule that improves immunity, relieves pain and acts as a natural detoxifier thanks to its antioxidant properties.

Curcumin in capsules

 

TURMABOOST comes in the form of softgel capsules and each capsule contains:

CURCUMIN – 95% (400 mg)

PIPERINE – 5 mg.

DOSAGE:

1 or 2 capsules twice daily.

COST:

Rs. 165/- per strip that contains 10 softgel capsules.

curcumin in capsules

 

TURMABOOST

BENEFITS:

Piperine in the black pepper helps reduce pain.

Curcumin helps in the treatment of arthritis thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties.

Both these – turmeric and black pepper in combination – could fight high cholesterol levels, diabetes and obesity.

These two spices when combined can also give relief from gastric mucosal damage caused by peptic ulcers.

These provide protection to the brain and cognitive functions

These give you a smoother skin and a clear complexion

Being a natural detoxifier, curcumin supports liver health and helps in detoxification

It also helps improve vitality and better mood balance.

 

TURMABOOST AND DIABETES:

Diabetes and foot problems:

Diabetes, over a period of time, causes nerve damage, which results in tingling and pain in the feet. If left untreated, it could also result in losing any sensation in the feet. 

My hubby, who suffers from Type 2 diabetes, has been experiencing tingling in his left foot. He does take medications for treating the problem, but with the help of TURMABOOST for 10 days, he did notice a change.

The tingling had reduced significantly. 

Other than this, he did not notice any change or improvement in his overall health, the reason being the capsules need to be taken over a longer duration.

 

An OTC (Over-the-counter) health capsule, TURMABOOST helps us much more than consuming turmeric in the form of root powder would. Also, with turmeric being recognised with the GRAS status (Generally Recognized as Safe) by the USA FDA, it can help us enjoy better health. You could try out the capsules if preparing the root powder in combination with black pepper feels cumbersome!

 

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Curcumin in capsules

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to improve your bone health.

We have all heard about the benefits of Ragi, or Finger Millets, as they are known.

Loaded with calcium, iron, vitamins B1 and B3, vitamin C, vitamin D, and some important amino acids, this is precisely the food we need to include in our daily diet as opposed to the vitamin supplements that we depend on to meet our nutritional requirements.

READ THIS 6 health benefits of Ragi

Adding just this one food to our diet to benefit from all these nutrients seems a lot appealing, too.

Its high amount of calcium is required for strong bones and to keep away osteoporosis.

Its high fibre content and low Glycemic Index makes it perfect for diabetics.

A good source of iron, millets helps us fight anaemia.

It keeps you full for long and thus keeps you safe from the terrible hunger pangs, resulting in easier weight loss. 

It is also said to help relax our mind thus helping those suffering from anxiety, depression, and sleeplessness. 

Naachni, as Finger Millets are known in Marathi, has been a part of my pantry. I use it to make flatbread, especially along with stuffed brinjals, and baingan ka bharta. But, using naachni flour to make porridge was something new to me.

It’s really simple. From making the malt at home to cooking the porridge, it’s one easy recipe I am sure you will love.

HOW TO PREPARE RAGI MALT:

Malt means the germinated grain, which has been soaked and then dried to avoid further germinating. (Source Wikipedia)

You will find ragi malt in supermarkets, but I find that the store-bought variety is costly. Also the homemade one feels purer in comparison.

RECIPE FOR RAGI MALT:

Take about 250 gms of ragi, and soak it in water overnight.

The grains of ragi are really minute, so be careful when you rinse the grains. Use a fine strainer to rinse it.

Ragi malt recipe

 

The next morning, rinse the grains and once the water drains away, carefully collect it all in a clean cotton cloth.

Ragi Malt recipe

Air it for a while and once it feels just slightly damp, bundle it all up and place it under a vessel to give it some warmth, and help the grains sprout.

It may take around 8 hours, or more, to germinate.

Ragi malt recipe

Then, remove it all carefully from the cloth into a clean, dry plate and place it in sunlight (if you have access to direct sunlight pouring in through the windows.)

Ragi malt recipe

If not, move the sprouts to a thick-bottomed pan and roast for 10 – 15 minutes on low flame.

Use a spatula to keep stirring the ragi so that it doesn’t get burnt.

After about 15 minutes, switch off the gas and move it into a dry plate. Allow to cool.

Ragi Malt recipe

Once cool, grind it into a powder. You need to grind for longer if you want a fine powder. I grind it to a coarse powder that I relish much more than the finer, store-bought variety.

Ragi malt recipe

Store it in an airtight jar and refrigerate it.

RAGI PORRIDGE:

Earlier I used to prepare the sweet porridge, now I prefer the savoury. Both of these are easy to make.

FOR THE SWEET PORRIDGE:

INGREDIENTS:

Water – 300 ml (or a mugful)

Ragi malt – 3 tablespoons

Jaggery – 1 tablespoon (or, as per your preference).

A pinch of salt.

Ghee – 1 teaspoon

METHOD:

In a vessel, bring the water to a boil.

Add a pinch of salt and the jaggery. You could also use dates instead of jaggery. Just chop two dates and add it to the water, just before you add the ragi malt and mix well.

In a bowl, take 3 spoons of ragi malt, add a little water to make a paste.

Once the water boils, add the ragi malt paste and keep stirring continuously to avoid lumps from forming.

Stir till you get a porridge-like consistency.

Switch off the gas.

Add a spoonful of ghee, and serve.

FOR THE SAVOURY PORRIDGE:

INGREDIENTS:

Water – 300 ml.

Ragi malt – 3 tablespoons

Salt – to taste

Oil – 1 tablespoon for tempering

Beetroot or carrot – 1, chopped into thin slices. (Optional)

Curry leaves and green chilli – chopped.

Mustard seeds and cumin seeds – for tempering.

Ghee – 1 teaspoon.

Cooking time – 15 minutes

METHOD:

In a vessel, take 300 ml or a mugful of water. Keep it to boil.

Add slices of either beetroot or carrot. This step is optional. I add these veggies alternately as it enhances its nutritional value.

Add salt as per taste to the water.

Ragi malt recipe

In a small bowl, take 3 tablespoons of ragi malt, add a spoonful of water and mix it to get a thick paste. You will have to add some more water till you get a paste-like consistency. Keep it aside.

Once the water comes to a boil, slowly add the ragi paste and keep stirring. Do not allow any lumps to form.

Ragi malt recipe

The mixture will slowly thicken after continuously stirring. Once you get a porridge-like consistency, switch off the gas.

In a tempering pan heat 2 spoons oil, or ghee, if you wish to.

Once the oil is hot, add mustard seeds and cumin seeds and allow to splutter.

Add curry leaves and chopped green chillies. Once these splutter, add it to the porridge.

Mix well.

Add a teaspoon of ghee to it and serve hot.

 

I have this porridge as my evening snack before I go for my walk.

It’s filling and doesn’t make me hungry even after I return from my walk.

I also feel less hungry at night and have a light dinner of maybe 2 chapatis and sabji, or daal.

Ragi malt - recipe and benefits

So, if you wish to lose weight, do switch to the ragi malt. It will not only keep you well-nourished but also help you reduce the pounds the healthy way, without weakening you from within.

In ‘Glow’, a book I am reading presently, the author Vasudha Rai suggests consuming millets with fat as they are drying in nature. So, add a teaspoon of ghee to your porridge. Moreover, ghee always enhances the flavour of a dish, apart from making it healthier.

That’s all. isn’t it so easy?

Read: Some more ragi malt recipes here: Ragi malt recipes

Do try it out and let me know how you liked it.

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Ways to improve your bone health

 

‘Man and wife’ in Zentangle.

To get your creative juices flowing, all you need is to look around. Words spoken or written by someone make for the best prompts to write or draw when you are suffering from an artist’s block.

So, yesterday, I came across a post shared by my blogger friend, Corrine, who expressed her views on this rather amusing hashtag doing the rounds of social media: #couplegoals.

It gave me the idea of making this couple in Zentangle.

I loved this hashtag, really. It just shows how hollow we all are–living miserable lives behind closed doors, but showing a completely different face to the world for the sake of Likes on social media. As if that’s going to help us in any way!

So, what do you think about this couple? Do they give you any serious competition as far as #couplegoals go? 😜

Love,

SHILPA…

Zentangle

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