The 7 day detox – Smart Nights Challenge.

The 7 day detox – Smart Nights Challenge.

In September, I wrote a post on changing a habit that was taking up a lot of my precious time and energy–usage of the smartphone for nothing but passing time. It was taking a toll on my eye-health apart from wasting my time, which was leaving me irritated with myself.

I did a follow-up post after a month where I wrote about how I had worked on changing the habit and succeeded to quite an extent and benefitted from the experience. Of course, my love affair with the smartphone hasn’t completely ended, which is the reason I am participating in this Challenge.

The 7 day detox — Smart Nights Challenge!

Thankfully, because of my earlier post, I could make some changes due to which my affair with the gadget isn’t a “torrid” one, anymore. I don’t need it by my side all day or night. I usually switch off the Wi-Fi of my phone by 9/9:30 pm and switch it on only in the morning, by 9 am, after completing some of my morning chores, my Yoga and breakfast.

Also, I never take the phone to bed with me, the reason being it is dangerous placing your phone on the bed, or under your pillow as you sleep.

I keep the phone’s volume to its lowest, and place it on a stool by my bedside in case mom or someone from the family called up at night. And, thanks to Cookie, I don’t need an alarm to wake me up, so the phone, too, goes off to sleep!

I usually carry the newspaper to bed, to solve puzzles before I sleep. Actually, it is solving the puzzle that puts me to sleep. Either that, or a book.

Reading induces sleep faster than staring at your phone/computer screens, you know?

The blue light that our phones emit keeps our brain awake and alert. And, to fall asleep at night, you need something that will calm the brain, not keep it on high alert! Not just the light, but the action on our screen awakens our brain. What do you think will happen to our sleep in such a scenario?

During the day, I take frequent breaks from the phone by switching off the Wi-Fi every couple of hours. For example, while writing, reading, helping my nephew with his studies and in the evening, when I step outside for a walk.

I often see walkers peeping into their phones even during their walk. They hardly pay any attention to the world around or to their breathing! What’s the point of the walk if you can’t leave the virtual world aside for sometime and enjoy nature?

So, these frequent breaks from the phone do me a world of good. The constant pings of the numerous notifications, the constant need to check what’s going on out there, the staring at the images as I scroll aimlessly–the absence of it all gives me immense peace.

There are times, though, especially when hubby is to return home late and I have no book to read or movie to watch and still have to stay awake till he arrives, when I do scroll through the Facebook News feed, or Instagram. But, because it strains my eyes and bores me after a point, I put it away soon.

Now that I have taken up this 7 day challenge, I will get an opportunity, and some motivation, to work harder at keeping the phone away. I know I need to do this– for my eyes and for my peace of mind.

As part of the challenge, I will continue doing what I have been doing these past couple of months and some more, and then do another follow-up post next year on how helpful the detox has been for me. Why don’t you join me, too, dear readers?

If I haven’t been able to convince you to make some changes in your phone habits by all that I shared above, let me highlight the reasons why you need to give yourself a break from your phones at night.

5 reasons why you need to put the phone away at night

1. Our brain is used to sleeping at night. It needs some rest, too, you know? But the blue light that the our gadgets emit can awaken the brain.

2..Falling asleep after scrolling through can get difficult because not only did the light awaken the brain, but the moving scenery in front of your eyes leaves the brain asking for more such excitement. Have you noticed how you get pulled into the whirlpool once you begin mindlessly scrolling through your newsfeed? How the time flies and before you know it, you have been staring at your phone screen for an hour!

3. Due to the above reasons, the brain finds it almost impossible to calm down and fall asleep and you tend to stay awake longer even as the world around dozes peacefully.

4. This sleep deprivation leads to a dull and dazed you who wakes up with a heavy head and an irritable mood.

5. The strain on the eyes caused by all the staring at the blue screen in the darkness shows its effects in the form of dry eyes, blurred vision and a pain around the eyes. To learn how staring at the screen constantly leads to pain, move your eyes in a circular motion and you will know.

Our wellbeing is our responsibility. If we don’t understand how our habits affect our health, who will? If we don’t take precautions now, we will be the ones to suffer from the ill-effects at a latter stage, when rectifying the issue might not be possible.

Let’s make a pact to take control of our lives, make changes in our lifestyles and lead healthier lives.

If you aren’t participating in this challenge, I urge you to do so. We could give each other company, dear reader, and boost each other’s morale if we find ourselves slipping off the track! What say?

Do join me along with my friend, Ashvini Naik, as we try and overcome this constant dependence on the phones and reclaim our peace of mind and our life!

Love,

SHILPA…

P.S.

To participate in the challenge, all you need to do is write a post on how you plan on breaking free of this habit of taking your phone to bed with you, attach this cool badge and share your post on the Linky till the 7th of November. Share your post widely on social media and let’s spread the word!

SHILPA…

 

Stay away from your mobile phones before 9 am and after 9 pm

A drink for your health.

A drink for your health.

Preparing recipes that are nutritious has become a hobby, or rather, an obsession. I do indulge my taste buds, too…you all know that! I mean, what’s life without a bit of sin, isn’t it? But, most of the time, I would rather eat something that’s nutritious than something that is just tasty.

Experiments are often carried out on my taste buds as I don’t mind being a guinea pig.  And, most of my meals are easy and quick to prepare.

There are a few recipes I prepare for myself when alone for lunch/dinner. The oft-prepared one is my favourite soup that has become a health and beauty tonic for me. It hardly requires much time and is highly nutritious, too. And, I could have it everyday.

Tomato-carrot-beetroot soup.

*Tomatoes contain  high levels of lycopene ( a red carotenoid pigment) that makes them good for our skin. The Vitamin A and C present in tomatoes act as antioxidants that nullify the effects of harmful free radicals in the blood. The lycopene also helps to lower the bad cholesterol.

*Carrots are also good for the skin as the antioxidants present in these too help keep skin healthy. The vitamin A in carrots works in taking care of our eyes,  and, their fibre content helps in digestion as well.

*Beetroots are low in sodium and fat. The high content of iron, manganese, potassium and copper in beetroots makes it one of the most nutritious veggies. Beets lower blood pressure, boost energy, are great for heart and liver and promote brain health. They also help treat anaemia, have anti-ageing properties and aid in weight loss. Do consult with your dietician/doctor in case you have high sugar levels, though.

Tomatoes, carrots, beetroots:  2-3 medium sized, or as per requirement.

Garlic cloves: 5 -6

Salt and pepper powder to taste.

Chop the tomatoes and carrots, peel and chop beetroots. Add an onion, if you wish to. You could add a potato to make the soup thick. Add the garlic cloves and cook  all of it in the pressure cooker for 2 whistles.

Once cool, blend all the cooked veggies in a blender.

Pour in a saucepan and bring it to a boil.

Add salt and pepper powder to taste.

Serve hot with a dollop of home made ghee instead of butter. The flavour that ghee brings to a dish is unparalleled!

 Tomato-carrot-beetroot juice

img_20171121_150959.jpg

Like soups are for cool winters and monsoons, juices are for hot summers when we need some drink or the other to quench our thirst. So, it’s during summers that I prepare this juice, and usually have it in the evening before heading out for my walk.

Tomatoes,  carrots, beetroots – 2- 3 or as per requirement (depending on the number of glasses  you wish to prepare.)

Amla (Indian Gooseberry)- 1 medium size – if available.

A one inch piece of ginger

Black salt (rock salt), lemon juice to taste.

A sprig of mint.

Chop tomatoes and carrots, peel and chop the beetroots and put it all in a juicer, or a grinder. Use a sieve to filter the juice. Add black salt and lemon juice to taste. Garnish with mint and drink it up when fresh.

So, isn’t that an easy to make health tonic? You can change the cooking method as per the season and reap its benefits!

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

And, if you have any  recipes you would like to share, or tales revolving around food, do join me and Sunita at #FlavoursomeTuesdays.  All you need to do is add the hashtag, write a foodie post and share it!

You may read Sunita’s post here.

That’s all for today, folks!

Love,

SHILPA…

 

 

What’s your comfort food? #flavoursometuesdays

What’s your comfort food? #flavoursometuesdays

Image source: PIXABAY

Hello, people, and welcome to yet another #flavoursometuesdays!

So, how’s life? Mine is fine, thank you! After having gorged on  sweets during the Diwali week (apart from the spicy, chatpata chaat) life has gotten  back to the same old routine.

And, same old routine consists of  work, chores, a busy schedule, and yes,  food, too, that apart from filling the bellies and providing nutrition, also gives comfort to our overworked nerves.

I find that comfort in the humble dal and rice. Or, varan-bhaat, as we in Maharashtra call it. Just the utterance of the food cheers me up. First of all, it hardly requires much cooking time. And, secondly, the sheer simplicity of this recipe gives our taste buds and our tummies a chance to relax.

I enjoy food, really. I relish all kinds of recipes – mostly veg, which I can experiment with – but there are times, when all I want to do is give some time off to my digestive system. It too needs its break!

I love dal rice – as in the dal with the tadka and steamed rice. The sputtering mustard seeds and the cumin seeds,and the asafoetida, bring flavour to the humble dal. Apart from these, the curry leaves, the green chilly and the freshly chopped coriander that we use to garnish the dal with add their own unique flavours and aroma, making it heavenly to taste.

Accompaniments are a necessity, of course.  So, the thing I love seeing in my plate is the mirchi ka achaar, or the chilly pickle. At times, the aam ka achaar, or the mango pickle also join in the fun. And, yes, a dollop of ghee. Now, that is a must!

No papad for me, though. I dislike it as it sticks to my teeth which can be rather irritating while eating.

I also find comfort in curd rice, or dahi bhaat. Along with the tadka of cumin seeds and dry red chillies, it tastes out-of-the-world – this humblest of foods. But, at times, when laziness is at its peak, then I just mix curd with rice, add some salt and some mango pickle and devour it as if it were a delicacy!

Rasam rice is another of my favourite comfort foods. The piping hot, spicy and tangy rasam poured on a mound of steamed rice, the aroma that wafts from the plate…all of it makes me drool. Although we call these “comfort foods”, I can have these daily.

The most common comfort food, Khichdi, is not something I count as a favourite. It does take lesser time to cook, and caters well to the lazy me (Boy! I must come across as a sloth to most of you!). But, I would much rather have it on the rarest of occasions. I find it too bland and my taste buds don’t seem to favour it much.

Could you share with me your Khichdi recipe if it is something that is not only easy to make, but tastes awesome, as well? I would be glad if you do!

That’s all for today.

Do join me and Sunita Rajwade at #flavoursometuesdays with food tales of your own. We would love the company! Food does need company, isn’t it? Friends sharing interesting anecdotes add to the gay atmosphere  that FOOD can often help generate.

 

So, what’s your comfort food?

 

Love,

SHILPA…

Are you a Joey Tribbiani? #flavoursometuesdays

Are you a Joey Tribbiani? #flavoursometuesdays

 

Image source: Pixabay

Hola, peeps!

How you doin’?

Fine, I hope. Welcome back to this week’s post on  #flavoursometuesdays with me and Sunita Rajwade, where we talk about food, food and food!

So, as I asked in the title of this post, are you a Joey Tribbiani?

Erm, those who have binge- watched FRIENDS, the most popular sitcom, ever, will definitely know who Joey Tribbiani is and what is his most popular characteristic feature.

Joey Tribbiani does not share his food!

Image source: Google

Yes, that’s what he is famous for. For not, NOT sharing his food.

And, that’s something many of us can relate to. Many of us, who don’t have it in them to share the food from their plate with anybody! So, well, are you?

I am. RIght since childhood! Mother narrates an incident often, when, eons ago, she had invited members of the extended family for lunch. Shrikhand – puri was on the menu. And being the perfect hostess that she is, she was urging everyone for a second, third or even a fourth helping.

Me – then a mere 4 year old – could just not fathom as to why she was doing it! After some time, I followed her to the kitchen and reproached her for serving my favourite Shrikhand , again and again, to all those present! “It will all be finished and I won’t have any left!” I whispered in an angry tone, making it clear that I was just not happy with this behaviour of hers!

Mother giggled and reassured me that there was enough for me, so I need not worry. Relieved, and only after checking to see if there was indeed enough for me,  I went back to the drawing room to finish my lunch.

And, the story continues. I mean, the habit – of finding it difficult to share my favourite food with anybody.  If and when anyone does try to taste something present in my plate but not in their’s, my heartbeat goes for a toss! I keep staring wistfully at the quantity of food lessened in proportion to what it was before they took the bite!

Of course, it’s not every time and with every meal that I eat, but only with that which is my favourite. Like, pizza, or pasta, or chaat, or even a simple and crispy sada dosa. Or, some desserts that I am crazy about, like chocolates, pastries, kaju katlishrikhand, rasgulla, or even a cube of cheese..oh, the list is endless! I am a foodie, and I love my food! ;P

Basically, if it is in my plate, it’s my food, and I am the sole owner, oops, I mean, eater of that food. If you do want to have a bite from my plate, well, you are not permitted. And, if you still go ahead (despite the glare I give) and do grab a bite, then heaven help you! Hahaha!

So, kindly keep your roving eyes and hands away from my plate, because, I DO NOT SHARE MY FOOD! 

Hehe! I am not very generous with my food. And, I am not even ashamed of admitting it!

So, what about you? Are you a Joey Tribbiani?

Do share your, er, food habits, with me, here in the comments. You could even do a post on it using the hashtag #flavoursometuesdays.

Do read Sunita’s post on flavoursometuesdays here

That’s all for now, folks! See you all next Tuesday, for another post on, what else but FOOD!

Love,

SHILPA…

 

 

Something’s fishy! #Flavoursometuesdays

Something’s fishy! #Flavoursometuesdays

Hello, and welcome to flavoursome Tuesdays, with me and Sunita Rajwade, sharing stories revolving around food, memories sweet and sour….or, to put it simply, bonding over food!

Today’s post is a memory from 20 years ago. A memory that has stayed so fresh, it feels like it was just yesterday that I found myself in a soup, or rather, fish curry!

I was a new bride on my honeymoon to Srivardhan, a coastal village of Maharashtra. Hubby and I were staying at his bro-in-law’s house in a quiet lane that wound all the way to the  beach. Coconut trees dotted every corner of the  village which smelled of the sea. In the dead of night one could hear the waves rushing towards the coast, drenching the golden sands with its salty waters.

The peace and quiet of the place was bliss after all the hullabaloo of the wedding and we lapped it all up hungrily. As there was no cook in the house we were staying in, we would go to the market, buy stuff we needed and cook it ourselves, Well, hubby cooked mostly as I was really not a great cook back then.

The first time I cooked rice in a vessel instead of the rice cooker, I burnt it! So, after that episode I preferred playing the role of the sous-chef and helping in cutting and chopping the veggies and kneading the dough for the chapatis (which I could prepare, thankfully!). So, the days were passing by beautifully, discovering the sights around and relishing the local food.

One fine day, hubby’s uncle who had a house nearby dropped in when he learnt we were in the vicinity. And, to make us feel welcome, he invited us for lunch at his place. I was glad we didn’t have to cook, so we grabbed the invitation with both hands and landed at his doorstep at lunch hour.

He was in a buoyant mood as he had cooked the lunch himself! He kept on boasting about how he had learnt to cook since aunty stayed in Pune most of the time and he at Srivardhan so he had to be independent. I felt in awe of the men of this family since they all seemed to be such good cooks…until..

Until the food arrived.

Now, it being a village in the coastal region, you can guess what the staple diet of the locals can be! Well, it was fish curry and rice. ONLY.

I being a Brahmin, was not used to eating fish, at all. All I knew was dal, rice, veggies, salads and chapati, and here there was just fish curry and rice! Those not used to eating  non-veg food can understand my plight, I hope. I was in a dilemma – to eat or not to eat, was the question. But, there being nothing but fish and rice, and me being a new daughter-in-law, I had no choice but to eat what had been served. And, be a good girl!

So, I ate it…fish curry and rice – the very first non-veg lunch of my life! Hubby, being the straightforward guy that he is, gave a candid opinion about the lunch being so vegetarian-unfriendly. I nudged him to keep quiet and let it be, but he is not  diplomatic, like his wife. Uncle – the poor old man – was embarrassed no end. He apologised profusely, making me feel so much more awkward. But, there was really nothing he could do either.

I just thank God I didn’t retch that day! It would have been too much for the old man to handle!

I began eating non-veg after that incident. And, relishing it, too. That’s a different story, altogether. But, I wish I had been initiated into this whole diet change program with a bit more planning and all. It would have been easier on the nerves. Or, rather, my stomach!

That’s all for  today, folks!

Do read Sunita Rajwade’s post on #flavoursometuesdays here.

Do you have any food-related stories you would like to share? Happy stories, or memorable incidents revolving around food are all welcome here. Just add the hashtag #flavoursometuesdays and write away!

 

Love,

SHILPA..

 

Image source: PIXABAY