Sunday, 31 May 2015

Five Drinks You Should Have This Summer

Nothing can replace water, true. But just drinking water all day can get boring! It is bad enough that you have to put up with the scorching heat of May-June months, why let heat get in the way of treating yourself a little everyday. And by treat, we mean cool, lip-smackin’ summer goodness! So beat the toasty summer heat with these yummy and chilled non-alcoholic drinks.

Pick a day and get all the ingredients you need for your glass of heaven so you don’t have to run around when you get the craving. Just make sure that you have ice. A LOT OF ICE.

(ice ice baby….)

Pineapple-Mint water

In a jar or thick glass, muddle some mint leaves and pineapple pieces. Don’t slush the pineapple, muddle it just until it has released its juice. Add a whole lot of ice cubes and some water. Mix and refrigerate for a couple of hours or even overnight.

Rooh Afza lemonade

This is as easy as it gets. You can make a whole pitcher of this and still run out in a few minutes. In a pitcher, put a few tablespoons of Rooh Afza and squeeze a few tablespoons of lemon juice. Add some water to dilute the concentrate and then add more depending on how many people you are serving. Add lots of ice cubes and ‘dive in’. The ratio of the concentrate and lemon juice depends on your taste - you can keep adding either ingredient even after you have mixed them in water.

Pomegranate and orange juice 

Just mix pomegranate and orange juice (fresh or ready made), add ice cubes and water. Have a go. This is a sure shot thirst quencher!

You can substitute water for soda or sparkling water.

Mango Smoothie

Take full advantage of the seasonal fruit! Pulp some mango in the blender with no other ingredient. Then add milk, ice cubes and little bit of sugar as per taste. You can replace milk with vanilla ice cream. Blend to perfection and sip away your summer blues.
You can do the same with bananas or strawberry.

Healthy Green Smoothie

Blend together half a cucumber, a cup of green grapes, half a cup of spinach, two small chopped up kiwis , water and ice cubes. A sweet and refreshing drink for any time of the day!
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Monday, 25 May 2015

What’s On Your List?

He’s making a list…he’s checking it twice…
Gonna find out who’s naughty and nice… 

Did it ever occur to you that this might be referring to Santa checking his grocery list twice? After all the big man could use some health-conscious food items in his diet!

So what is on YOUR grocery list this week? This is assuming that you do make a list each time. If you don’t, then we have got some major ground work to cover, my friend.

It all begins with a list - a list of things that you should ideally pick up when you are grocery shopping or else you wind up with a refrigerator filled with unhealthy food items and a sorely pinched pocket. The best way to prevent that is to make a ‘clean shopping list’ and stick to it. This list will discourage you from faltering and “losing” your way in the aisles at the supermarket.

Before you leave home make sure you have your grocery list, your wallet and your breakfast/lunch/dinner. Well, first two are self-explanatory however you should never leave the house on an empty stomach. Especially if you are going to buy food to stock up. On an empty stomach you will inevitably pick up foods that you are craving at the time. Or you might be too tired to look for healthy food items and pick up the first thing you see just to get home quickly. So stay away from ‘naughty’ food items and make way for the ‘nice’ ones.

Here are some recommendations for a ‘nice’ or healthy grocery lists:

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Fight The Pain!

All the women (and girls) out there, this one is for you. 

We all have it…we all go through with it…we all try to deal with it…but we still complain about it. The ‘it’ in question is none other than PERIOD CRAMPS.

We agree that PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome) or period cramps is not as grand as the introduction it just got above but we can certainly help you deal with it. Safe to say that exercising during ‘that time of the month’ is a good for your physical and mental well-being. 

Don’t let the pain cripple you any more! Say goodbye to cramps, bloating, moodiness and back pains with these simple yoga poses.

1. The Bow Pose or Dhanurasana 


Helps relieve back ache by stretching your back,lower abdomen and thighs. Not only does it help to improve posture, it stimulates the organs around the stomach and consequently relieves the cramps. 

2. The Camel pose or Ustrasana

Very similar to the bow pose only done vertically. This stretches the same part of the body as dhanurasana in addition to chest, throat, ankles and neck.

3. The noose or Pasasana

A good twist for your upper body that stretches the back and groin area. Very beneficial for relieving abdomen cramps and lower back pain.

4. The Forward bend or Janu sirsasana

This one leg stretch makes you more flexible if done everyday. This is a good stretch for back pain, stiffness in shoulders and hamstring spasms. 

5. The Backward bend or Matsyasana
This pose stretches out all the muscles in the neck, upper and lower back as well as the abdomen. It is helpful in relieving bloating and that ‘gassy’ feeling we all have but never admit. 

6. Bound Angle or Baddha Konasana 

This pose helps to relieve horrible painful cramps especially if you do synchronized breathing exercise. This pose is known to even help in childbirth as it stimulates ovaries, bladder and abdomen. 

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Tuesday, 19 May 2015

And… that’s a wrap!

Wraps have been around for a very long time. They may vary in names and appearance but they taste absolutely amazing. Besides, they are easy to make and can be eaten on the go.

But if you are still running out of ideas to make your own ‘deli wrap’ or a roll, don’t fret. We have some easy-peasy ideas for you - both vegetarian and non vegetarian using basic ingredients from your kitchen and even left over food!

Although you can find ready-made deli wraps in the market, you can make a more economical and healthier version at home using wheat flour. On to the recipes. 

Vegetarian Deli wraps

Feta cheese wrap
Take a tortilla wrap or a deli wrap and lay it flat. Spread a generous layer or butter and then a layer of salad leaves - rocket/lettuce/iceberg lettuce etc along with sliced tomatoes. In the centre place crumbled feta cheese and sprinkle some salt and pepper. Roll the wrap and eat!
Non-vegetarian version - add leftover chicken by shredding it and throw it in with the salad leaves.

Avocado and tomato wrap
De-seed a ripe avocado and separate the peel. Chop it up or slice it -however you like. Slice the tomatoes and keep aside. On a flat wrap, spread a layer of cream cheese or just some plain cheese slices. In the centre place the avocado and tomato slices and roll into a wrap. You can heat this either on a pan or in the oven just until the cheese has melted.

Leftover caramelized onion and mushroom wrap
This is as easy as it gets. If you have some leftover caramelized onion and mushroom, use it as a lunch wrap the next day. On a flat wrap, spread a layer of cream cheese or just some plain cheese slices. Place the caramelized onion and mushroom in the centre and roll up the wrap. Heat this either on a pan or in the oven just until the cheese has melted.

Baked beans and onion
Spread a layer of mustard on the wrap and place a layer of chopped onion and coriander. Carefully place spoonfuls of baked beans (the tinned version) in the centre. Add more onion or coriander on top if you like and roll the flat bread. 

Non vegetarian deli wraps

Cold cut wrap
On a flat bread, spread a layer of chilli sauce/sriracha/sweet and sour sauce. Place a layer of cheese spread or slices. Spread some salad leaves and lay sliced onion in the middle. Place salami slices (plain or spiced) in the middle and roll it up. Heat until cheese has melted.

Kathi wrap
This requires a little more preparation - just make a flat omelette using one egg and season with salt and pepper. Keep this aside. On a flat bread, place the omelette, some cheese slices, thinly sliced capsicum and onion. Add any sauce or ketchup and roll it up. Heat until cheese has melted and bite into the gooey egg-cheesy goodness.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Work. Stretch. Flex. REPEAT

It is a well known fact that without computers, no job is complete today. It is also a well known fact that your computer makes you stiff and inflexible. But what you may not know all that well is that you can do a mini workout right there at your desk! This applies to just about everyone who has to sit at a desk for more than two hours.

Follow the infographics for some simple stretches and keep muscle spasms and sore necks at bay. In addition to the exercises, there are a few other things to keep in mind:
  • Sleep well using a pillow at an appropriate height. 
  • Wear comfortable shoes to work - carry a change if you need to. 
  • Take the stairs instead of the lifts if you can. 
  • Sit straight in your chair - never slouch no matter how tired you are. Carry a small pillow for your back if you need to. 
  • Make sure you carry a small water bottle around and make it a point to finish the water ever couple of hours. Once you are finished drinking, walk to the water dispenser and fill up the bottle. This way you will be motivated to leave your seat. 

  • Park at a considerable distance from your building which means you will get another excuse to work those muscles before you sit behind the wheel again. 
  • Get up every 30 to 40 minutes from your desk to give your muscles a break. If you absolutely cannot leave your desk, then follow these at-desk workout even when you are on a very important con-call! 
Remember this - nobody will worry about your fitness other than you. A few giggles from your colleagues, while doing these workouts, is way better than painful soreness in the neck that lasts for days together.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Guilt-free Skinny Meals

Now we all want to eat delicious yet healthy food but by skinny we don’t mean dressing your food in size two dress. We mean that but the calorie count in your food can be 300 or less.

We bring you some good options for snacks as well as meals that help you keep your weight in check and keep your stomach full. And don’t worry, dear readers, this post is not about some lazy snacking ideas like a fruit or cup of yoghurt.We have for you some proper, filling meal ideas that you can whip up easily and not feel guilty about eating it! And all this under 300 or less! Can we all just pinch ourselves already? 
For the vegetarians :

  • Hummus and vegetable sandwich:

Click for recipe

  • Quinoa/Cous-Cous salad:

Add whatever vegetable you like to this dish and customise!

Click here for recipe

  • Swap pizza dough for some cauliflower dough:

Grate or blitz raw (but thoroughly washes) cauliflower and mix one egg, grated cheese, salt and pepper. Spread it flat and top with your favourite toppings.You will definitely make another one.

  • Cheesy salad:

Throw in some rocket leaves, spinach, lettuce, shredded carrots, chopped cucumbers and add a dash of extra virgin olive oil in a bowl. Finally top it off with either crumbled feta cheese or goat’s cheese. Best side dish ever!

If you want to crank it up a notch try the Asian fried rice, Red pepper lentil bake or Chickpea and sweet potato curry for that good old Indian taste. Click here for recipes.

For the non-vegetarians:

  • Citrus chicken salad:

Summer is here which does not mean that you can’t enjoy your meats! Throw this citrusy chicken salad together especially for a hot summer day.

Click here for recipe

  • Easy peasy Chicken salad: 

No peas here but plenty of easily available ingredients. Greek Yoghurt can be well substituted with hung curd or plain old thick curd. Click here for recipe

  • Fancy some chicken chilli?:

What, chilli with chicken? Swap beef with chicken for a healthier and lighter version.

Click here for recipe
  • Sausage Zucchini boats:
Turn that weird looking vegetable with a peculiar (read confusing to pronounce) name into something delectable with this recipe. Click here

  • Chicken Fried rice:

A classic favourite! Can this get any healthier? Click here for recipe

Wednesday, 13 May 2015


We think it’s high time that we all take a moment to thank our desk jobs that have made our bodies lazy and our muscles rigid. NOT! 

Little exercise and more work is resulting in inflexibility in a lot of us. We may be going to the gym and trying our best to workout but what is the use if our hip muscles are too tight to begin with? Especially those who are working desk jobs - which covers basically everyone today

We stretch our arms, legs, back and even neck but more often than not we tend to ignore the hip area. Tight hips can also be an issue with regular runners and sports persons. Doing proper stretches can actually open up those hip muscles, prevent injury and back pain. 

It is essential that we stretch these hip muscles before we begin any workout or sport. The hip area needs to be as mobile as it should be flexible. An important thing to remember is to take it slow and steady. 

Follow the exercise in the images/graphics below but be sure to consult a trainer in case you experience pain or are already suffering from a weak/sensitive back. 

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Monday, 11 May 2015

Oops! I’m Dieting Again

If you have an ‘On again-Off again’ relationship with your dieting plan, then you are not doing it right. Guess Britney Spears realised it a long time ago, she just passed it off by calling it a ‘mistake’ about a random guy who got her jewellery (!) Okay then. In this day and age, where there is no dearth of information and of course, food - why don’t our diets work for us?

We have put together some legitimate reasons as to why we mess up on our diets. Which one is yours? 
Regular exercise can help you lose only if you are truly utilizing it to burn additional calories, not as motivation to eat more. Don’t overeat during the day and tell yourself that you will shed it the next day. That will not help nor will you reach that goal overnight.

Having said that, do not simply reply on workout to help you lose weight. You will inevitably feel hungry post exercise and reach for a sandwich or a bowl of salad (even though it is a ‘healthier’ option). But that will not be enough. One needs to cut back on portion size as well as servings in one meal in addition to fat burning workout.

Be consistent - chalk out a workout plan as well as a meal plan and stick to it. Moderation is the key to dieting and life, in general. Don’t give up on your plan after a week or so. To see results, you need to give your body time. More importantly you need to muster up a ‘will’ to say NO to more food and YES to more exercise.

Your diet is full of fibre but no protein. Protein is an essential part of your nutrition intake. Your body requires protein to build muscles and maintain them.

Where there is alcohol, there is fat. Don’t kid yourself by skipping food and sticking to just drinks in order to avoid overeating. Alcohol slows down the fat burning process.

Don't give up completely on sugar and carbohydrates. These are great sources of energy and if you opt for low-carb or low-sugar foods, your craving for sweets will go up and make you give up eventually. Include the good fat in your diet and eliminate trans fats.

Water water everywhere except in your system. Drink up as much as you can in a day - especially before a meal. This helps you in portion control and if you drink cold water, it can even speed up your metabolism rate. Steer clear of aerated drinks and fruit juices.

Under no condition should you exercise on an empty stomach. Not only will this keep you from pushing yourself, you will also overeat post workout. Exercise on empty stomach means you overwork your muscles not the fat.

Last but not least, be patient and get enough sleep.

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Sunday, 10 May 2015

Take It From The Trainer

If there is one person who will make you sweat, work and maybe even cry at the gym is none other than your mom trainer. When it comes to exercising, your trainer knows best. We bring you some tips form trainers all around the world. 

  • Sleep well before you hit the gym for a strenuous workout and wake up at a reasonable time, everyday. Exercise is meant to revitalise your body not stress you out and leave you drained. Make this a habit. 
  • Eat a good breakfast one hour prior to workout is essential. (Read our post on Pre workout foods
  • Get in tune with your body - what it can and cannot do or which workouts suit you the most. Spend sometime on this little mental exercise and you will see that you will enjoy the physical exercise more. 
  • Start with a small fitness goal, say spending not more than 20-30 minutes at the gym each day. As you get better and fitter, increase it to 45 minutes and so on. Increase the level of workouts alongside the time spent at the gym. Push yourself little by little to stay motivated. Log your food intake, time spent, variation in workout etc to keep track of your fitness.
  • Find a way to squeeze in a workout in everything you do. Whether it is walking to the mall for shopping, walking your baby in the park, doing the laundry, walking to work, taking the steps instead of the elevator, carrying your grocery bags etc. You will continue to burn calories through the day and not do it all at once.
  • Treat your time at the gym as the most important thing in your schedule. And ensure you work everything else around your workout, like an important doctor’s appointment. If this seems impossible with your routine/meetings, write down a minimum number of workouts you want to achieve in a week and most importantly, stick to it. Otherwise you will do everything to miss the gym!
  • More than how to look, working out should make you feel fit from the inside. There will be days when you will simply want to stay in bed because your legs won’t move. But once you hit the treadmill, you will see how good you feel. Exercise should make you feel more energised and invigorated. So don’t waste time checking yourself out in the mirror or weighing yourself every other day.
  • Reward yourself each time you achieve a weekly goal - we are talking about small materialistic rewards not a fancy meal. Something that is enough to reinforce your motivation and keep you going. 
  • Eat right and you will see that you will need to spend less time breaking a sweat at the gym. Do let loose once in a while but think about all the calories you will have to burn at the gym the minute you start going overboard with that plate of fries or an extra burger. 
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Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Egg-celent Facts You Should Know

Whether you are an eggetarian or a non-vegetarian, you will agree when we say that an egg is a superfood. There is simply so much you can do with an egg - baking, poached eggs, boiled eggs, scrambled eggs, sunny-side up, deviled eggs, fried, salads, mayonnaise, desserts and more!

Eggs are rich in high quality protein, vitamins like B12, B6, D and minerals such as zinc, iron and copper. Although they are high in cholesterol content, certain eggs brands now come with Omega-3 fatty acids which are the good kind of fats. What’s better - eggs contain the essential amino acids that we need to intake from our daily diet. 
Some of the other important benefits of eggs are: 

  • Eggs are full of muscle building protein. 
  • The protein in eggs is good for hair growth and skin as they are loaded with sulphur-containing amino acids. 
  • Eggs help boost your immunity. 
  • They improve concentration and are a good source for brain development especially in children. 
  • Eggs are a rich source of iron so they are also helpful for pregnant women (as long as they are well cooked). 
  • An egg a day can keep the weight away. It has been recently found that eggs help with weight loss if had for breakfast. They cut down one’s craving to eat by keeping one full. 
  • Being a good source of Vitamin D (the one that comes from sunshine), eggs can protect our bones. Eggs absorb calcium better from the dairy products that we consume. 
  • It is not a very well known fact that eggs are rich in a nutrient called choline that is used by the body to build cell membranes. 
  • Recent studies have actually proved that eggs reduce the LDL - bad cholesterol which in turn reduces the risk of heart disease. 
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Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Vacation Workout

Do you pack your workout clothes with you when you are packing for a vacation? Either way, this article is for you. In our last article we discussed how you can stay healthy on your vacation by eating right and in moderation. We have for you some tips on how you can make the best of your vacation by not having to compromise on your fitness routine.

Now if your hotel has a recreational space or a gym, then by all means sweat it out in there! But if you find that there is no such facility around, then don’t fret. You can quite easily make some space in your hotel room for a little workout. All you need to really do is make time to do it.
Most hotels have a garden or a lawn around with benches or stools. You can easily do workouts using some steady garden furniture. 
A few things to keep in mind when you are working out on vacation:

Drink water regularly and hydrate yourself whether or not you are moving around.

Make a workout routine, type it out and save it either on your laptop or your phone.

Always walk to places. Instead of taking a bus or a cab, it is advisable to walk around the new place. In addition to exploring the places, you will burn calories faster by just walking around.

If you are vacationing near a beach, try running barefoot in the sand. This gives your lower body muscles a good workout.

If you are on a long vacation and have forgotten to carry appropriate clothes, then head out and buy some. The key is to carry your workout no matter where you go. Whether it is a yoga mat or resistance band, jumping rope etc.

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Monday, 4 May 2015

A Health Conscious Vacation

Vacation and health don’t always go together. Vacation is supposed to be free of worries and guilt of not eating healthy food. But being on vacation does not mean one should splurge on eating out and eating ‘exotic cuisine’. It will be that much more difficult to lose all that holiday weight once you are back home. We don’t want all that hard work in the gym to go to waste, do we?

A few tips to guide you on your fancy vacation so you are on top of things as far as health is concerned. And health, as we know, is always a concern.

Have a big breakfast and jump start your day. Don’t keep lolling in bed because you are taking time off. This will throw your eating routine out the window and you will inevitably eat rubbish to satisfy nasty cravings.

If you are planning on taking a guided tour or a walking tour, make sure you are packed on snacks. By snacks we don’t mean the crumbly packet of chips like you carried on a school field trip. Make your own healthy snacks instead of picking it on the go. Salads and cut fruits are really good options.

Don’t splurge on high-fat, high-calorie food items no matter how amazing they sound. Some people have a policy - if they can’t pronounce it, they don’t eat it.

Certain restaurants serve huge portions which makes us happy. Worth every penny, you think? Not worth the calories! In a bid to finish off your meal to get your money’s worth is going to make your weight a Herculean task. Instead, divide your portion in half or split it with someone. Not only do you save money but also save some calories, for another day. Another option is to order half portion, if the restaurant policy permits.

Start your meal with a hefty salad. By the time you are done with chomping on all that fibre, your hunger would subside. Subsequently you will not order that burger loaded with calories. Instead go for something baked or grilled. Get a side of sautéed vegetables and you are set.

More and more hotels and eateries are now becoming open to customising the customer’s request. So go ahead and find out if you can use that option. If you are in luck, then go ahead and order it the way you like it. Get honey instead of maple syrup or replace plain flour with wholemeal flour or even oats!

Carry water with you, no matter where you go. Even if you go to a fancy restaurant, make sure you have plenty of water before you step in. This will keep you hydrated in case you are having hard or dry alcoholic beverages. As we are always having a great time on our vacation, we tend to drink less water.

Don’t keep telling yourself “I’m on Vacation, OKAY!?” This will make you overeat every time. Moderation is the key. You should know when to stop. Your body will tell you to go easy, just remember to read the signs.

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