29 October, 2008

Russell Peter, Madonna

Today I went for Russell Peter live show which was held in Sirifort. I loved it. But I had gone with my two teenaged boys and it was a bit embarrassing to be with them and hear him constantly swear. Rest we had our dose of laughter medicine.

My client today asked me as to what Madonna does for her workout.

Madonna is really old, but she's in amazing shape! She can put young girls to shame with her toned body. Madonna is a devotee of Ashtanga Yoga, which is a particularly strenuous form of yoga. Kareena Kapoor who achieved size 0 also claims that power Yoga helped her achieve that. Madonna is regularly spotted cycling to the gym. That's two workouts in one! A healthy diet is also part of Madonna's game plan. She barely touches junk food, preferring a diet of natural unrefined foods, like whole grains and tons of vegetables. Similar statement about diet plan was also made by Kareena.

Power Yoga is really strenuous. Unlike other forms of Yoga, this is not static. It is dynamic. You continue to move and hence there is cardio and strength training involved. My clients who have done this form with me, absolutely agree that it is a killer workout. It burns about 800 calories in an hour approximately.

I have recently launched a DVD of one hour of workout of Power Yoga which is selling like hot cakes. Many people are working out at home along with the DVD and emailing me that the weight loss which is happening is "to be seen to be believed". No equipment required. No gym, no trainer.

I am ecstatic with the feedback.

28 October, 2008

Happy Diwali Everyone

These pictures are for you and for all of you who are away from home and missing India's Diwali. I hope you can feel at home ( just a bit) by seeing these.

Past few days have been lots of Diwali parties, visiting friends, distributing and receiving Diwali gifts, bad traffic jams on Delhi roads and lots of fun.

Right now I am in my room, with my lap top and I can hear Dhol (drum) beats and crackers on the road outside. Soon it is going to be Puja time.

Thats my Mandir ( Puja Room).

                                                This is the passage to my fitness centre.

My Home

27 October, 2008

Wedding Affair article

This article, written by me appeared in October issue of magazine- The Wedding affair. It is a nice, bright, glossy, very popular magazine meant for people about to get married. I write regularly for this magazine. This article is titles- Festive Fitness and gives tips on keeping trim during Diwali festivities. I always model for my own article. In one of the pictures, you also see my adorable dog who appeared in print for the first time and is on her way to becoming a celebrity dog. Ha ha.

Yes taking your dog out for a walk is an exercise in itself.

26 October, 2008

Sun, Vitamin D, SAD

When I was a young kid, most of my afternoons, after coming back from school, were spent on the terrace of our house, basking in the sun. Mom would keep hot meals ready for us and we would enjoy vegetable pulao, hot and fresh, with curd and pickle. We would do our homework there and sometimes I would sleep with my grandmom, there, till the time it was evening, and sun had gone down. Mind you, we were very unaware of sunscreens and all, at that time. Yet, we had the best possible skin, hair, nails and health.

Similarly, at night we did not have AC. We would sleep on the terrace, in cool breeze, gazing the starlit sky and listening to my grandmom's stories. We would wake up when the Sun started hurting our eyes. At times at night, when it started raining, we would quickly have to get up, fold our sheets and run down, with our pillows in hand.

Such things are unheard of now. I have not seen any of today's kids ever experiencing this. They would not compromise their AC rooms and sun would not disturb them early morning because the rooms are covered with heavy drapes. They would mock, if you tell them to have an afternoon meal at the terrace.

Recently, I spent two months in US. I noticed how weather was a general topic of discussion amongst everyone there. Plans for the weekend depended on weather forecasts. We seldom discuss weather in India. It is October in Delhi. Yet it is not winter. I still enjoy nice beautiful sunshine. In US, I was freezing in the month of May, June. In India, I am wearing a nice floral skirt even in October. Now I think, India has the best weather. Yes we do have polllution, but we also have SUN.

Do you know that Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a mood disorder, is caused by the lack of light in winter? It is a specific type of major depression. It can appear as the onset of major depression in the fall (September through November) and the symptoms abate in late winter to early spring (March through May). Also, the frequency of SAD can vary depending on the amount of sun in relation to the geographic location. The lack of Vitamin D may contribute to chronic fatigue and depression.

The benefits of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is critical to the proper formation of the skeletal structure. Its purpose is to maintain blood levels of calcium in the correct, normal range and to tell the body to absorb more calcium from food as needed.

Osteoporosis is strongly associated with low Vitamin D. Maintaining normal storage levels of Vitamin D in your body helps keep bones strong and may help prevent osteoporosis in elderly, non-ambulatory individuals and post-menopausal women.

Food sources of Vitamin D include: Milk, which is fortified with Vitamin D. However, it is important to know that dairy products such as cheese, yogurt and ice cream do not contain Vitamin D.


I am elated. I am on top of the world. I am overjoyed. I am flattered. I owe all this to Shalu, who has written such a cute blog post about me. Please do read it. Thanks Shalu. You are a star.


and Pushpanjali has left such a nice comment for my previous post.

You both have given me my best Diwali present. Thanks girls. Thanks for being what you are.

Aaj main upar aasman neeche....

25 October, 2008

Diwali Time

Diwali is so close. Everyone is in festive mood. People are shopping, exchanging gifts, etc.
My clients are still doing their fitness sessions religiously. Strangely they are not making any excuses about traffic jams etc. Everyone seems to be sticking to their fitness regimes. I am also keeping a very tight check on their diet. No one is allowed to binge on extra sweets, chocolates etc. Yes they have late night parties and sleep is getting affected but thats about it.

These days spend extra time, cleaning up your houses and making them spic and span. Visit beautiful fairs that are going on. I particularly like Akshay Pratishthan in Swiss Embassy. Then I also went to Blind School Diwali fair. These are huge fairs where the crowd is great and I do all my Diwali shopping of beautiful candles from. I must confess I am very fond of aroma candles, Incence sticks, reeds, etc. I also host amazing Diwali party for all my friends where I like to decorate my house with fresh flowers, floating candles and serve traditional home cooked food.

Various good malls are hosting flee markets and creating another festive ambience. Try not to indulge in heavy sweets. Enjoy the festivities in healthy manner. Refrain from burning crackers. They spread pollution and are hazardous. Meet up with friends. Go to parties. Dance all night but do not have calorie loaded drinks.

Spread Happiness and Cheer and Wish You all a Very Happy Diwali.

20 October, 2008

Healthy Drinks

What are the options of healthy drinks when you go out.
Lets have a list of some here
1. Iced Tea
2. Fresh Lime/lemonade
3. Fruit Juice
4. Ginger ale
5. Smoothie
6. Green Tea/ Jasmine Tea
7. Kombucha
8. Turkish Mint Drink
9. Fresh fruit juice/ vegetable juice
10. Mango panna
11. Buttermilk/ mango lassi/ lassi
12. Flavored seltzer. Carbonated, but zero calories.
13. Apple cider. Has 120 calories per cup, but packs a tangy, substantial flavor.
14. Ovaltine made with skim milk. It’s chocolaty, fortified with vitamins and minerals, high in calcium and protein and 170 calories per cup.
15. Soya Milk shake
Kvass is a very refreshing Russian beverage which is made in many Russian households about once a week. Kvass is a lacto-fermented beverage made from stale rye bread. It tastes like beer but is not alcoholic. Kvass is considered a tonic for digestion and excellent thirst. It is also recognized that kvass is safer to drink than water.
Kvass protects against infectious disease, there is no worry about sharing the glass. In wealthy households, various kinds of kvass were made either with rye bread or with currants, raspberries, lemons, apples, pears, cherries, bilberries and lingonberries.
17. non-alcoholic mojito!
To make non-alcoholic mojito (nojito) you need:
Fresh mint
1 lime
1 packet sugar substitute
Crushed ice
6 fluid ounces lime-flavored sparkling water
Crush a sprig of mint in the bottom of a cocktail glass. Squeeze the juice of one fresh lime into the glass. Add 1 package of sugar substitute, crushed ice, and 6 ounces of lime-flavored sparkling water. Garnish with mint and serve.
Or you can try this variation of nojito (mojito) recipe:
crushed ice
8 mint leaf
3 ounces lime juice
1 1/2 ounces sugar syrup
2 ounces club soda
garnish with mint
Fill a pint glass 1/3 full with ice, then add mint leaves. Add the lime juice and sugar syrup. Lightly mash the leaves together with the liquid using a muddle stick or wooden pestle, careful not to tear the leaves. Fill the glass with more ice, then add club soda. Garnish with mint, serve, and enjoy!
18. Coconut Water
19. Milk shake (your choice- mango shake, vanilla shake, strawberry shake etc)
20. Granita
21 Rooh Af Za
22. Sherbet, Thandai and squash made sugar free ( from crushed almonds etc)
23. Soups
24 Barley Drink
½ cup hulled barley
• 1/4 cup leafy green water
• 2 cup water
• Pinch of turmeric
• Pinch of cinnamon
• Pinch of cardamom
• 1/4 tsp bibhitaki powder
• 1/2 tsp honey
1. Bring water to boil in a medium pot. Add barley, cover, and simmer over medium heat for 2 hours. After 2 hours remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
2. Place a colander in an empty pan and drain barley.
3. Combine resulting creamy barley water with spices, herbs, and vegetable water.
4. Simmer over medium heat for 2 minutes and allow to cool for 5 minutes, add honey and serve.

Now you add your suggestions/recipes about some healthy options (preferably non alcoholic) that you either make at home or go and have outside at some particular place.

19 October, 2008

Gardens, Parks & Picnic Spots in Delhi

Ajmal Khan Park
Near Karol Bagh, spread over an area of five acres, has musical fountains run by Delhi Tourism that provides a refreshing getaway from the bustle of the city. The scintillating lights synchronised with music, and the cascading water turn this complex into a quiet heaven, particularly during the heat of summer. The musical fountain is in operation for two hours every day after sunset except on Tuesday.

Buddha Jayanti Park
Good picnic spot. In commemoration of 2,500th birth anniversary of Lord Buddha. Get there from the Ridge Road, Shankar Road or Sardar Patel Marg.

Children's Park
Near India Gate, has swings, slides and an aquarium.

Deer Park
A paradise for morning walkers, has huts for staying and is approachable from Hauz Khas Village, Safdarjang Enclave or near the Delhi Lawn Tennis Association courts side.

Dhaula Kuan Complex
Near Dhaula Kuan. It has an artificial lake, hanging bridge, playground and waterfalls. A cooling experience especially during the summer.

Green area around the Idgah in Hauz Khas Enclave.

India Gate Lawns
Beautiful lawns over a large area, a popular evening location. Ice cream and other snacks available from mobile vendors.

Ideal place for bird lovers in Chirag Delhi. It also has well developed forests.

Kalkaji District Park
With lakes and beautiful terraced gardens a quiet spot near the Nehru Place office complex. Kalindi Kunj
Near the NOIDA border near Apollo hospital, a good getaway with fountains and colourful lights during the night.

Ladakh Buddha Vihar
A closed area next to ISBT on Ring Road.

Lodhi Gardens
Another picnic spot and a joy for morning walkers with lots of greenery and trees. Access from Lodi Road and near Khan Market.

Mughal Gardens
Located in the Rashtrapati Bhavan complex, it is open to the public only during February and March.

On the outskirts of Mehrauli near Qutab Minar, the Phool Walon ki Sair is held there in October every year.

Mahavir Gardens
Located on the Ridge it is named after the founder of Jainism, Lord Mahavir.

NDMC Lake Park
Has a musical fountain and is located near the Safdarjang Flyover in Lakshmibai Nagar.

Nehru Park
Near the Ashok Hotel in the Chanakyapuri, it is spread over an area of 85 acres landscaped. Popular picnic spot.

Okhla Dam
Near the Yamuna Canal it has facilities for fishing. Close to the Holy Family Hospital it is a picnic spot.

Rose Gardens
There is one at Shantipath in the Diplomatic Area, Chanakyapuri and another in Hauz Khas opposite Safdarjang's Tomb.

Yamuna Water Front
South of Rajghat, it is a 4 kilometre long boulevard with green lawns and a floral clock.

Zoological Garden
Designed by the West German zoo specialist, Hergenbeck it is between Purana Qila and Humayun's tomb. Closed on Fridays, it is a good picnic spot.

Sports- Delhi

If you are looking to pick up some sports activities in Delhi, there are many options available. Let us see one by one.

For Horse riding, there is a riding club in Race Course.

There are two fantastic Sports Complexes in South Delhi, which have a variety of sports. Sirifort and Saket sports complex. These are managed by Delhi Development Authority (DDA). In Sirifort, there are Total 12 tennis courtss including 8 synthetic courts, Tennis practice wall, Indoor Multipurpose Stadium, Badminton, glass back wall Squash Courts, Table Tennis, Billiards/Snooker, Basket Ball, Hockey, Cricket, Cricket Practice pitches, Football, Jogging Track, Children Park, Skating, Golf Driving Range, Pitch & Putt Course, Olympic Size Swimming Pool, Toddlers Pool, Air Rifle/Pistol Shooting Range, Aerobics, Yoga, Taekwondo, Fitness Centre, Naturopathy Centre, Health & Nutrition Centre, Reiki, Sports Shop, Snack Bars. A Multipurpose Indoor Stadium has been recently added.

In South Delhi, there are also other Sports Complexes, situated in Jasola, Vasant Kunj and Munirka.

For Golf, choices are Delhi Golf Club, Classic golf resort (Gurgaon), Qutab golf course, Jaypee Greens Golf Resort (Noida).

For Bowling and Go Karting, there is 32nd Milestone.

For Tennis, there is DLTA.

For soccer best place is DIFL

With so much happening in Delhi, you can easily take up a new sport of your choice and make it a part of your fitness regimen.
Which sport are you interested in? Where do you go to play in your city? Share a few words about your choicest sport and about the facility you go to.

Buy Organic Vegetable in Delhi

I am quite particular about the quality of food I eat. I am a vegetarian and the quantity I eat is really less. So I rather make sure that the quality is very good. I like organic fruits and vegetables. One place that I can recommend in Delhi for buying organic products is Namdhari. They have one shop in Green Park Extension and the other in New Friends Colony.

They would have most exotic vegetables and other grocery items. Despite the fact that they have organic fruits and vegetables, their prices are reasonable.

Earlier they were in Green Park Market and also had amazing salad Bar. Talking about the Salad Bar, I would highly recommend Nirula's Potpourri in CP, where they have the best spread of salad buffet for lunch.

Another place worth mentioning is Modern Bazar in Vasant Vihar. I like this because I get everything that would not be available anywhere else. A variety of cheese- low fat, fresh Mozarella, some imported herbs and spices, snacks for my growing up boys to pack in their tiffins, etc.

Similarly there is Morning Store in GK-I, M block Market. These are bit expensive stores but known for their variety.

17 October, 2008


Today is Karva Chauth. For those of you who are not from India, let me tell you that it is celebrated mostly by North Indians. The event of Karwa Chauth is growing bigger with each passing day. Along with traditional items such as henna, beauty products and fashionable clothes, the demand of special eateries are also gearing up. Nowadays, Karwa Chauth is more of fun than a serious festival. The festival of Karwa Chauth provides an opportunity for all married women to get close to their in-laws. It possesses a tremendous social and cultural significance.

In Hindu Dharam, the goal of life is Self-realization or the attainment of God and fasting has been a much sought after path to attain this. All Hindu fast have a deep spiritual and religious significance. According to Hindu scriptures, fasting helps create an attachment with the God by establishing a harmonious relationship between the body and the soul. This is thought to be imperative for the well being of a human being as it nourishes both his/her physical and spiritual demands.

'Karwa Chauth' is a ritual of fasting observed by married Hindu women seeking the longlife, well-being and prosperity of their husbands. Married women keep a strict fast and do not take even a drop of water. It is the most important and difficult fast observed by married Hindu women. It begins before sunrise and ends only after offering prayers and worshiping the moon at night. No food or water can be taken after sunrise. The fast is broken once the moon is sighted and rituals of the day have been performed. At night when the moon appears, women break their fast after offering water to the moon.

Importance Of Fasting

Hindus believe it is not easy to unceasingly pursue the path of spirituality in one's daily life. Therefore a worshiper must strive to impose restrains on to get the mind focused. And one form of restraint is fasting. However, fasting is not only a part of worship, but a great instrument for self-discipline too. It is a training of the mind and the body to endure and harden up against all hardships, to persevere under difficulties and not give up.

Medicative Properties

The ancient Indian medical system of Ayurveda sees the basic cause of many diseases as the accumulation of toxic materials in the digestive system. Regular cleansing of toxic materials keeps one healthy. By fasting, the digestive organs get rest and all body mechanisms are cleansed and corrected. A complete fast is good for heath, and the occasional intake of warm lemon juice during the period of fasting prevents the flatulence.

16 October, 2008

10 questions

 I am posting 10 questions for my readers to answer

1. What do you do as a part of your fitness regimen? (e.g walking, yoga, tennis, aerobics, etc)

2. Which meal of the day is most important to you and why?

3. Which fitness fads have you followed in the past which proved to be useless?

4. What is your fitness goal? (e.g loose weight, build muscle, get more flexible etc)

5. Do you think hiring a personal trainer makes sense? Do you have one? If you don't then why?

6. Which is your favourite brand of fitness apparel, shoes, gear?

7. What is the weirdest advice you have got till date as far as fitness/beauty/some beauty product/ some particular exercise, is concerned? Or share any myth that you heard.

8. What all changes in your body have you seen when you start to exercise?

9. Which food items are you addicted to/ crave for? What is your favourite cuisine?

10. One fitness tip that you would like to share.


Another pill worth mentioning to cure acne is Diane 35. Diane-35 is a contraceptive pill that doubles as a very effective acne treatment.
Diane-35 provides contraceptive protection as reliable as other pills while it also relieves acne, greasy skin and hairy skin.
Essentially, Diane-35 works by regulating your hormones: estrogen and progestogen (reproductive hormones) and androgen (which can cause acne, by prompting excess oil production in your skin).

When can you start using Diane-35?

When taking the Pill for the first time or after being off the Pill for a while, you should take Diane-35 on the first day of your period or menstruation.
In this case, contraceptive protection is provided from the first day of Pill intake.

How is Diane-35 taken?

A package of Diane-35 contains 21 Pills. Start with a Pill marked with the correct day of the week. You should take one Pill each day following the direction of the arrows.
After the entire package has been consumed, take a 7-day pause during which you will have your periods. Menstruation generally comes 2-4 days after the completion of the pack. You will notice a more regular, shorter, lighter and less painful menstruation compared to periods before using the Pill.
Start your new package exactly after the 7-day Pill-free pause, even if menstruation has not stopped yet. Thus, each new package is started on the same day of the week as your previous one, making it easy to remember.

How soon can contraception be achieved?

If Diane-35 is started on the first day of your menstruation, then its contraceptive effect is immediate. Contraception continues also during the 7-day Pill-free period.

How do you remember to take it every day?

For best results, make it a daily routine and take your Pill at about the same time / occasion every day (e.g., after breakfast, after brushing your teeth in the morning or at night). Keep your Diane-35 pack in a place where you will easily notice it.
Always have an extra pack of Diane-35 available so that you will not run short of Pills (you may leave the new full pack over the Pill-free period at the same spot so that you will remember to start the new cycle exactly after 7 Pill-free days).

How does Diane-35 work in treating acne?

As an acne treatment, Diane-35 works by blocking the effect of androgen on your skin. Receiving no stimulus from androgen, your skin produces less oil -- thus reducing the formation of new spots and blackheads. After regular treatment with Diane-35®, your acne clears.

The special hormone in Diane-35, Cyproterone Acetate (CPA), attaches itself to androgen receptors in the skin and then blocks the receptors ("like the wrong key jammed in a lock") . The androgens then cannot affect the skin.
Additionally, as a contraceptive pill, Diane-35 also reduces the activity of the ovaries, so that much smaller amounts of hormones, including androgens, are produced.

15 October, 2008


This post is dedicated to mea culpa, who in my previous post asked me about treatment pimples (acne). Years back, I also had this acute problem of acne on my face. It used to really bother and concern me. I had tried everything possible with my limited knowledge (basically all the home made packs recommended by my mom).

Some people told me to drink extremely bitter neem juice. I even did that (foolishly). I used to think that it was due to excessive sweat that I had because of my workout. For quite sometime, I would pacify myself thinking that only teenagers had it, so it was a sign of me being forever 16.

Finally I was training a client of mine, who told me about a dermatologist, whom she was consulting. I took his name and number and consulted him. He gave me a prescription of a drug called Roaccutane. That time, only the imported one was available in Indian market and it was very expensive. Now there is Indian version also available called Isotretinoin. This drug miraculously helped me have a very clear skin. But I must confess that it made me gain tremendous amount of weight which I had to deal with later.

Roaccutane capsules contain the active ingredient isotretinoin. (NB. Isotretinoin capsules are also available without a brand name, ie as the generic medicine.) Isotretinoin belongs to a group of medicines known as retinoids, which are derivatives of vitamin A. Isotretinoin taken by mouth works by reducing the production of the skin’s natural oil (sebum).

Acne occurs due to an excessive production of sebum from over-active sebaceous glands in the skin. The sebum blocks the sebaceous glands, which prevents the oil from flowing freely out and causes an accumulation of sebum under the skin. The bacteria associated with acne thrive in these conditions. They feed on the sebum, and produce waste products and fatty acids that irritate the sebaceous glands, making them inflamed and causing spots.

Isotretinoin decreases the size and activity of the sebaceous glands in the skin, which reduces the amount of sebum that is produced. This stops the glands becoming blocked, and means bacteria are less likely to thrive. It also reduces the inflammation in the skin.

Isotretinoin can have serious side effects and its use must be supervised by a dermatologist. It is reserved for the treatment of severe acne (such as nodular or conglobate acne or acne at risk of permanent scarring) that has not improved with standard treatment involving oral antibiotics and topical medicines.

Be aware of some expected side effects of your Acne Treatment.
Whilst on Roaccutane, you will experience some side effects. These include dryness in several parts of the body and possible tiredness of the muscles and bones.

ROACCUTANE can cause birth defects.

Under absolutely no circumstances should Roaccutane be used by pregnant women or by women who intend to become pregnant - during treatment and for one month after stopping Roaccutane therapy.
All possibility of pregnancy must be ruled out one month before and after you start your Roaccutane treatment. This should include the strict birth control methods.
One month after you've finished your treatment, life can continue as normal, only better.

Who's suitable for ROACCUTANE

Roaccutane is suitable for any person (male or female) with acne, regardless of age. The only people who shouldn't take Roaccutane are pregnant women or women who are breast feeding.

14 October, 2008

Home Made Face Packs

My Mom always recommends using home made face packs from her kitchen. Though I personally find them quite useless, I must share what all she does recommend.

1. As a teenager, when acne started erupting like a volcano on my face, she told me to grind moong sabut dal (pink colored), mix it with water or milk and apply it. Must say that this was the worst face pack I have ever ever applied.

2. She used to tell me to apply milk with cotton. She said it works like a cleanser, toner, astringent.

3. Multani mitti (clay) was another recommendation.

4. She still applies tomato pulp, cucumber paste, lemon juice on her face, just as she religiously applies mehendi (hena) to color her hair and keeps it overnight. This she does on weekly basis.

5. I also used to apply a paste of chandan (sandalwood) and haldi (turmeric). That was not so bad. At least it smelled OK.

6. I know a guy who applies a juice of potato on everyday basis on his face and swears by it. He says that it takes care of his pigmentation.

Which all products do you use? Do you prefer home made face packs or the ready made ones? Have you tried any that you found great/ridiculous/awesome/awful? Share your experiences.


I Just saw this song from our very famous Hindi Movie Sholay. So many people have watched this. It is a blockbuster. Do view this once again. I find both of them so GAY. Wonder why has anyone not noticed this ever. Every move, action, wording of the song is GAY.

13 October, 2008


Another product I like is Origins.
I have tried quite a number of their products and they all seem reasonably good. One of their face pack is Out of Trouble® 10 minute mask to rescue problem skin

I use it as a quick fix to clean my skin and feel fresh. The colour and texture are like a toothpaste- very white. But in 10 minutes, it does its job well.

Then I have an Active charcoal mask

It feels very warm on the face and I decided to use it only in winters. It does not work well in Delhi summer heat. Here you need something cooling and refreshing.

This is a black coloured face mask. It helps to clean up even the clogged pores. With lots of pollution in Delhi, it does work well.

Recently I bought Getting Warmer™ Purifying clay mask.

For the body, I tried Ginger body smoother

Must say is a great scrub with mesmerizing fragrance.

Their sensory therapy is another exquisite.

What I am not particularly fond of are their cosmetics like mascara, lip gloss etc.

But They have one of the best sunscreen and eye cream that I have ever tried.

Srinagar pics

Shalimar Bagh

The beautiful Fountains

Entering Mughal Gardens

Very Unusual Tree

Distant view of Pari Mahal

Gate of Mughal Garden

Entering Pari Mahal

Helipad seen from Pari Mahal

Dal Lake and Chaar Chinaar


Golf Course

House Boats

Shikara Ride

10 October, 2008

Awesome Beverage

The promise was to dedicate this week to beauty products. But I had a quick trip to Srinagar. And I must dedicate this post to the most awesome hot beverage that I had there. And that is Kashmiri Kahwa.

I am a person who has never tasted tea or coffee in my life. So when this was offered, I outrightly refused. But my host told me that it is not regular tea. It contains kashmiri green tea, saffron, cardamoms, almonds, cinnamon stick (dalchini), cloves (laung), sugar or honey. I found it so refreshing and healthy, that I actually lost the count of number of cups that I drained.

It is served in a samawar which has burning coal in its centre, which keeps the kahwa piping hot. Confession: I have come back addicted to it.

08 October, 2008

My new title image

Guys if you have noticed the change in my title image, it is all thanks to Abhinav. Do check his blog at http://thephotoshopper.blogspot.com
He has been very helpful with giving me a new logo. In fact, following were the logos he suggested and then mutually we agreed to the one above. If you have any suggestions, they are always welcome.

Initially I liked this one the best

07 October, 2008

Forest Essentials

An interesting range of beauty products from India is Forest Essentials. They have a beautiful range of skin care, body care, hair care products. Recently I have seen even their baby care products. I love their aggarbattis (incense sticks) and oils.

Their fragrances are so very ethnic and refreshing, unlike other fancy products. I love their sandalwood and mogra range. Though my mom likes Indian Rose better. But we both like their bath and shower oils in our own chosen fragrances. The skin feels so supple and nice if you put these light oils after a bath.

The range meant for babies has a lovely picture of Bal Gopal (Lord Krishna). All the products from Forest Essentials are purely herbal and ayurvedic.

They have very nice gift hampers as well and I have gifted these to many of my friends. So far all my friends have appreciated them. My mom, who is a firm and staunch believer of naturopathy and prefers homemade products and ubtans to any other, also fell in love with these, when I gifted them to her.

06 October, 2008

La Mer

Monday morning. A new week has begun. This week I am going to be focussing on beauty products, face packs, scrubs....

One product and brand that I can swear by is La Mer. All their products are exceptionally good. In fact, I have never been to a parlor to get a facial etc done. These are the products I use at home and the job is done. They are expensive but worth it. Out of many of La Mer's products, one that I like especially, is The Refining Facial.It is white coloured scrub. It has tiny Diamond particles in it that stay even after you have washed the face. It makes the skin so very radiant. Trust me, I don't even need any make up like foundation and compact after this.

The Creme de la mer is an OK product- nothing great.

Do watch their video on their website.

It is indeed a miraculous product. If you know of any such miraculous products- home made or off the shelf, do share them.

04 October, 2008

Breast Cancer

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Symptoms associated with Breast Cancer

The most common outward sign of breast cancer is a hard lump in the breast that is usually not movable and may or may not be painful. The skin over the lump may be thickened and dimpled (like the skin of an oranges) or indented in areas where the cancer has spread. The nipple may be inverted (turned inward) or leak dark fluid.

Possible symptoms of breast cancer include:

A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm area.

A change in the size or shape of the breast.

Thickening, swelling, distortion, or tenderness of the breast

Skin irritation or dimpling

Nipple pain, scaliness, ulceration, or retraction.

A change in the way the skin of the breast, areola, or nipple looks or feels (for example, warm, swollen, red, or scaly).

Swelling or lump in armpit.

Breast pain is commonly due to benign conditions and is usually not the first symptom of breast cancer.

02 October, 2008

Human Body is a perfect machine. Let it remain so.

My clients often ask me as to what do I do for my fitness regime. Is it aerobics, or is it Yoga? Do I go for a walk? Do I always take care of my diet? Don't I have cravings?

My answer to all the above is- Don't unnecessarily complicate your life and your workout. Human Body is a perfect machine. We have, so much written about fitness. There are many fitness blogs and websites. Everyday we hear about a new fitness fad, new gadget and every day a new research comes up which tells that the previous one was wrong. There are contraindicated exercises each describing how 'A particular' exercise is wrong or harmful.

Reebok manuals always said that backward bending is wrong, ballistic stretching can lead to injuries, squatting beyond 90 degree knee bend can cause injury. I used to then wonder, Yoga has so many asanas involving backward bending. Are they alll wrong and to be avoided? I used to see Indian cricketers on the field doing lots of ballistic stretching (involving bouncing) with their trainers. Were they fools? Indian toilet seats used to require a person to sit in a full squat not just 90 degree knee bend. Was everyone getting injured?

Later, with my experience, as a trainer, I realized that, I should have a sound knowledge about the anatomy, physiology and Kinseology. When I prescribe a specific exercise, to a person, I should have a sound reasoning behind it. I should have evaluated its pros and cons. Yes, every exercise is not meant for masses but I have to evaluate a person's fitness levels, fitness goals, fitness interest, medical history, age, gender and based on that, I can formulate a program plan for the individual. If a person coming to me is already complaining of knee pain and problems, I might not even make him/ her attempt 90 degree squat. But if I see a person who has been training, has strong quadriceps and hamstrings and good core, then why would I not challenge him/ her to go for full squat?

Your own body is the best guide. It will tell you when to stop and when to push it further. Just listen to your own body. You may not even invest in fancy gadgets. Play with your own body resistance and gravity. These are the best tools.

Keep your diet simple. What is easily available, fresh, seasonal produce, is nutritious and healthy. Do not opt for processed, fancy foods.

Make your diet and your workout simple. Exercise for the love of it. Exercise because it makes you feel good, energetic, healthier, younger within. Do not exercise to loose 5 kg in one month. Exercise because then, you can sleep better, you look refreshed when you wake up, you stretch better, have a pep in your step, are free from ailments, have better skin. Exercise will help you to develop body awareness, strength, power, endurance and overall performance capacity. You can see a tangible improvement in your physique and the clothes that once tightly clung to you are falling off. Your friends and family can't take their eyes off you and are amazed at the transformation you've made. But if you want to burn body fat, it comes down to genetics, stress management, quality sleep and quality nutrition.

A good exercise program can enhance the effects of a healthy lifestyle, but it is only one variable in the equation for fat loss and health. Your training is merely a stimulus that helps you to reach your objectives efficiently.

For Lifestyle management, keep the following things in mind.

1. Quality nutrition
2. Stress management
3. Sleep
4. Smart training specific to your goals, interests, past fitness and medical history.

01 October, 2008

Keeping Fit During Diwali

Keeping trim during Diwali festivities would seem to be a paradox because mithai and Diwali go hand in hand with each other. You give and receive laddoos, barfis & chocolates as gifts and they certainly aren't low in calories! Keeping fit is also difficult because shopping trips, traffic, and fatigue (because of the shopping and traffic) disrupt your regular fitness routine.

Does this mean you should give up and resign yourself to gaining, on the average, seven pounds by the time December rolls around? Not if you consider these suggestions for a healthy and guilt-free festive season.

Eat only the foods you really enjoy.
Special (usually high calorie) foods are part of this special season. Food plays a big part in celebrations and parties. It would be miserable to have to gnaw on salads while watching everyone else descend on the food-laden family table. Let yourself go and join in the festivities. However, limit yourself to eating only those foods you really enjoy. Do not use the season as an excuse to over-indulge in everything else.

Use the same control when it comes to all those food goodies you receive as gifts. If you don't really like kaju katli, you don't have to eat them. Give them away at the office or to charitable institutions. Keep and enjoy only those gifts you really like to eat. Don't waste your calories.

Watch out for emotional eating.
Parties can be a very stressful time. Watch out for stuffing your mouth to relieve some of that stress. Use other means to relax like a soothing massage, lighting aroma candles, decorating & cleaning the house.

Get enough sleep.
It's easy to lack sleep during the parties. There's always one more party to attend. Believe it or not, some studies have shown that when people are short on sleep, they eat more. It's as though the body is trying to obtain energy from food that was meant to come from adequate rest.

Have realistic expectations.
Diwali is not the time to try and lose weight. Consider yourself successful just to maintain your weight. Don't feel guilty either if, in spite of your best efforts, you put on a pound or two. A few pounds are easily taken care of when your schedule gets back to normal in December.

Beware the "all-or-nothing" attitude.
This time can be deadly if you have the "all-or-nothing" attitude towards food. This attitude says: "What's the use? I overate during the Diwali party. I might as well stop watching what I eat and go all the way". Going all the way means giving up all control, eating every fattening morsel that comes your way, feeling terribly guilty, eating some more, etc. So what if you succumbed to the Chocolate Cake? It's not the end of the world. You can always eat a light low-calorie dinner to balance it out.

Create lower calorie versions of high calorie favorites.
If you are talented in the kitchen, consider modifying some of your favorite recipes to make them lower in total calorie content. For example, lessen the amount of sugar by ¼ of what the recipe calls for. Most people will not even notice the difference. Use brown instead of white sugar. You will use fewer calories if you use loosely packed brown sugar instead of the same amount of white sugar. Or when the recipe calls for milk, use skim milk instead of full-cream milk. It's worth experimenting because any which way you can cut calories makes in a difference in the long run.

Eat low-calorie at home, high-calorie when eating out.
To really enjoy all the rich food that is served at parties without putting on too much weight, eat low calorie meals at home to even out the total damage. To eat high calorie meals in and out of the home all holiday season long will spell disaster on the scale when the day of reckoning comes.

Modify your fitness routine.
You need exercise now more than any other time during the year to manage stress levels and to burn off all those excess calories that come disguised as gifts from well-meaning friends. The problem is it can be very difficult to maintain your regular fitness routine as the Diwali comes closer because of frenzied shopping and chaotic traffic.

Instead of not exercising at all, try modifying your usual routine by cutting down on either the frequency or the duration of your workouts. If you are used to working out daily, try cutting it down to two to three times a week. If you are used to one-hour workouts, try doing only thirty minutes. The whole point is that you should continue to do some exercise instead of none at all. Not only will this maintain your fitness till the end of year, but it will also help calm your frazzled nerves.

Navratra food/fast/ diet

These days I am fasting during Navratras. So are most of my clients. People do keep asking me what all they can have during the 9 day fasts. Some people do it for religious reasons, while others do it for dieting. Is typical Navratra food real low in calories? Everywhere in Delhi, there are advertisements about Navratra food/thali/platters being sold. Haldiram has many options. When we were kids, mom used to make exotic Navratra dishes at home. But now I see most of the people going to eat Navratra food available at Nirula's, Evergreen, etc.

Typical Navratra food is fattening. Kuttu ki roti/puri are heavy. People fry the potatoes, swang ke chawal, saboodana ki tikki or khichdi, kheer, saboodana papad, pakodas- these are all high calorie foods, which would make you put on weight rather than loosing it.

What I do is have milk and milk products. Chach is my all time favorite. Low fat yogurt, smoothie, raita of cucumber, boiled potato is other option. I also have low fat paneer (cottage cheese), all fruits and some salads like cucumber etc. To make it little spicy, I add a dash of lemon and sendha namak (This is the salt which is ideally to be had during vrat). You can also have a handful of nuts.

Yesterday, I was out with my friend most of the day, and did not get to eat much. We were famished by evening and did not want to eat a full heavy Navratra thali. We were thinking about nutritious, healthy, low calorie options. We were in Select City Walk Mall. So the restaurant we chose there was Sattvik. It is a pure vegetarian restaurant. Sattvik also had exotic Navratra thali. But instead what we ordered was something from their drinks menu. I had a drink called Nirvana. It came in full pineapple, which was scooped hollow from inside. It was an amazing blend of strawberries, pineapple etc. I found it so refereshing, filling and rejuvinating. My friend had another drink callled Maya. This was beautiful pink colored frizzy drink. One drink and we were full. So you see there are low calorie healthy options available. You just need to be prudent while considering your options.

But for those of you, who do not care about the weight and want variety of foods during Navratras, there are many interesting websites, that have recipes of various Navratra delicacies.