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Archive for the ‘Beauty, Health & Fitness’ Category

Cucumber
  1. Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day, just one cucumber contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphoru s, Potassium and Zinc.
  2. Feeling tired in the afternoon, put down the caffeinated soda and pick up a cucumber. Cucumbers are a good source of B Vitamins and Carbohydrates that can provide that quick pick-me-up that can last for hours.
  3. Tired of your bathroom mirror fogging up after a shower? Try rubbing a cucumber slice along the mirror, it will eliminate the fog and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance.
  4. Are grubs and slugs ruining your planting beds? Place a few slices in a small pie tin and your garden will be free of pests all season long. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests crazy and make them flee the area.
  5. Looking for a fast and easy way to remove cellulite before going out or to the pool? Try rubbing a slice or two of cucumbers along your problem area for a few minutes, the phytochemicals in the cucumber cause the collagen in your skin to tighten, firming up the outer layer and reducing the visibility of cellulite. Works great on wrinkles too!!!
  6. Want to avoid a hangover or terrible headache? Eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed and wake up refreshed and headache free. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body lost, keeping everything in equilibrium, avoiding both a hangover and headache!!
  7. Looking to fight off that afternoon or evening snacking binge? Cucumbers have been used for centuries and often used by European trappers, traders and explores for quick meals to thwart off starvation.
  8. Have an important meeting or job interview and you realize that you don’t have enough time to polish your shoes? Rub a freshly cut cucumber over the shoe, its chemicals will provide a quick and durable shine that not only looks great but also repels water.
  9. Out of WD 40 and need to fix a squeaky hinge? Take a cucumber slice and rub it along the problematic hinge, and voila, the squeak is gone!
  10. Stressed out and don’t have time for massage, facial or visit to the spa? Cut up an entire cucumber and place it in a boiling pot of water, the chemicals and nutrients from the cucumber with react with the boiling water and be released in the steam, creating a soothing, relaxing aroma that has been shown the reduce stress in new mothers and college students during final exams.
  11. Just finish a business lunch and realize you don’t have gum or mints? Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath, the phytochemcials will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath.
  12. Looking for a ‘green’ way to clean your faucets, sinks or stainless steel? Take a slice of cucumber and rub it on the surface you want to clean, not only will it remove years of tarnish and bring back the shine, but is won’t leave streaks and won’t harm you fingers or fingernails while you clean.
  13. Using a pen and made a mistake? Take the outside of the cucumber and slowly use it to erase the pen writing, also works great on crayons and markers that the kids have used to decorate the walls!!

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Posted on: August 12, 2008

Fasting and YogaIn nature cure, one of the very important tools for health and disease cure is fasting.
Many people are learning the trick of curing their colds, headaches, nervous spells and other acute troubles by missing a few meals or taking a short fast. It is the simplest and the most efficient way of relieving the overloaded and “food-poisoned” system. You would be surprised to know how little food is actually required to keep the individual healthy.
One of the commonest complaints of the sick is that they have “lost their appetite”. In fact, the greatest blessing to them would be to lose their appetite long enough to find their hunger. Loss of appetite is an indication that the system is overcharged with toxins and nature is trying to correct this by giving a chance to the waste accumulation in the organs to escape from the system.
Fasting as a remedy is fully in harmony with the “nature-cure” philosophy of the cause of disease. If the disease is created by an abnormal accumulation of toxins in the system, it stands to reason that fasting will help in their elimination from the system. The membranous linings of the stomach and intestine which act as a “sponge” to absorb food materials are now “squeezed” to throw out the waste matter from the system.

Exercises While Fasting

The idea prevails that during a prolonged fast one should have complete rest. This however, is a serious mistake. There is no reason why one should not take the usual amount of or accomplish the accustomed daily tasks, provided, these do not strain the physical and mental energy to the point of exhaustion.

Source: http://www.healthandyoga.com/html/fasting.html

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How Tos of Fasting

The Obligation

Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam. It is an act of obedience and submission to Allah’s commands through the highest degree of commitment, sincerity and faithfulness to seek Allah’s mercy, to atone for sins, errors, and mistakes and to avoid condemnation to Hell.

It is done out of deep love for God, with a genuine virtue of devotion, honest dedication and closeness to Allah, for Fasting is for Allah and Him alone.

The fasting during Ramadan is obligatory on every adult, sane, and able Muslim.

Denial of the obligatory nature of fasting in the month of Ramadan amounts to disbelief.

One who avoids fasting without genuine reasons is a sinner and transgressor according to Islamic Shariah (Law).

Time: When to fast

Fasting in Islam involves abstinence from three primal physical needs of human beings- food, drink, and sexual intercourse from dawn (approximately one and a half hours before sunrise) to sunset during the entire month of Ramadan.

Who is exempted from fasting

1. Children under the age of puberty and discretion;

2. The insane people who are unaccountable for their deeds. People of these two categories are exempted from the duty of fasting and no compensation or any other substitute is enjoined on them;

3. Men and women who are too old and feeble to undertake the obligation of fasting and bear its hardships. Such people are exempted from this duty, but they must offer at least one needy poor Muslim an average full meal or its value per person day.

4. Sick people whose health is likely to be severely affected by fasting. They may postpone the fast, as long as they are sick, to a later date and makeup for it, a day for a day;

5. People expecting hardship. Such people may break the fast temporarily during their travel only and make up for it in later days, a day for a day. But it is better for them, the Quran says, to keep the fast if they can without causing extraordinary hardships;

6. Expectant women and women nursing their children may also break the fast, if its observance is likely to endanger their own health or that of their infants. But they must make up for the fast at a delayed time, a day for a day;

7. Women in periods of menstruation (of a maximum of ten days). They must postpone the fast till recovery and then make up for it, a day for day.

The How To’s of Fasting

Niyyah or Intention of Fast

To observe the fast, the intention of fasting is essential (Wajib). The intention should be made daily, preferably before dawn of each day of fasting (in Ramadan).

Provision is made if someone has forgotten to express his intention before dawn. In such a case one is allowed to express intention of fasting before noon to avoid the invalidation of the fast.

The wording of Niyyah may be as follows:

“I intend to observe fast for today.”

Suhoor

Suhoor is a light, predawn meal, recommended before actually fasting. It is a blessing and hence recommended but not essential.

Any consumption of food or drink should cease at least five to ten minutes before the onset of dawn.

Iftar

Iftar is an Arabic term meaning breaking the fast immediately after the sunset. Iftar is a light snack consisting of dates or desserts, along with liquids, such as water, juice or milk.

This is eaten after making the following Dua (supplication) for breaking the fast:

“Oh Allah!  I fasted for your sake and I am breaking my fast from the sustenance You blessed me with, accept it from me.”

What breaks the fast

  1. Intentional consumption of food, drink, medicine, or smoking during the fasting.
  2. Any injection which has some nutritional value.
  3. Beginning of menstruation or post natal birth bleeding (even in the last moment of sunset).

The conditions mentioned above invalidate fasting and require “Qada” (making up only the missed day or days). However, intentional intercourse during the hours of fasting invalidates fasting and not only requires “Qada” but also additional penalty (Kaffara-see the explanation of this below).

What does not break the fast

  1. Eating or drinking by mistake, unmindful of the fast.
  2. Unintentional vomiting.
  3. Swallowing things which are not possible to avoid, such as one’s own saliva, street dust, smoke, etc.
  4. Brushing the teeth.
  5. Bathing: if water is swallowed unintentionally, it does not invalidate the fast. However, while fasting gargling should be avoided.
  6. Injection or I/V (Intravenous) which is solely medicinal and not nutritional.
  7. In some special circumstances if the food or drink is just tasted and immediately removed out of the mouth without allowing it to enter into the throat.

Kaffara

During the fasting period, if one deliberately breaks his or her fast, s/he must free one slave, or fast for sixty continuous days, or feed sixty needy persons, or spend in charity an amount equal to feeding sixty persons.

If one chooses to fast sixty days and the continuity is interrupted for any reason, except menstruation, one has to start the sixty day cycle all over again.

Breaking of the fast under exceptional conditions

Muslims are permitted to break their fast of Ramadan when there is a danger to their health.

In this situation a Muslim should make up his/her fast later. The missed fast(s) can be made up at any other time of the year, either continuously or intermittently, except on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr and the day of Eid-ul-Adha

Tarawih

These are special Sunnah prayers in the month of Ramadan. They follow the Isha prayers.  A minimum of eight and a maximum of twenty Rakat are offered in pairs of two.

Lailat al-Qadr

Amongst the nights of Ramadan, there is one special night of Power (Qadr) which is highlighted in Surah al-Qadr (Surah 97 in the Quran).

It has the significance of being better than a thousand months (Quran 97:3).

This was the night when Quran was revealed to mankind. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) recommended Muslims search for this night of Power (Qadr) in the odd nights of the last ten nights in Ramadan.

Muslims spend the night in Ibadah (worship), asking forgiveness of their sins and reciting the Quran.

Source: http://www.soundvision.com/info/ramadan/howfast.asp


A professional cut is the basis of any style. Expert stylists evaluate your hair and lifestyle before they pick up a pair of scissors. The best way to choose a salon is by personal recommendation. Remember that the exterior can be deceptive, so have a look at the interior as well. The salon should be clean and welcoming, with a style and ambiance that appeals to you, and sales material that is new and fresh. The stylists should also reflect an image that you like.

The first visit: Once you have chosen a salon, make an appointment for a consultation. Wear clothes that reflect your lifestyle. Discuss your hair’s idiosyncrasies and explain what you like and dislike about it. Spare a few minutes to discuss how you are going to manage the style between salon visits. If you want place with the flick of a comb, say so. If you are prepared to spend 15 minutes a day scrunching a perm to perfection, then speak up. Hairdressers are not mind-readers; neither can they wave a magic wand. However they can, with technical expertise, make the most of any type of hair. Listen to what they offer, but never be coerced into something with which you don’t feel happy about. Good hairdressers translate fashion trends into what is right for you. Yet you must be realistic: if your hair is thick and curly it will never hang in a straight, shiny bob, no matter how good the cut.

Taking notes: While you are having your hair done, watch how your stylist does your hair, how mousse or gel is applied and how they dry your hair. A good haircut should need the minimum of styling products and drying to achieve the desired result. Ask for advice on how to achieve the same look at home. If you are not satisfied with the service you have received, then complain. Ask to see the salon manager, explain the problem, and ask what they are prepared to do about it. You should expect an apology, but don’t expect to be offered a refund. If you suffer serious damage, for example, an itchy, burning scalp, blisters, cuts, hair breakage or hair loss, then immediately seek advice from your family doctor or a trichologist. However, remember that hair grows, blisters heal and memories fade. So, act quickly and if necessary, make certain you have some photographs taken to reinforce your claim.

— The writer is a hair expert and runs Peaches Salon and Spa in Bengaluru

Source: http://www.deccan.com/Beauty/Beauty.asp

Calorie Count

There are many people who have a sweet tooth. Chocoholics are one segment. How many times haven’t we seen people, drool over that sinful bar of chocolate? Now digest these facts too — a small bar of 49 gms of Cadbury’s Fruit n Nut, comes with 240 calories. So what, did you say? Well, go on, eat it. Just ensure you get your one hour of exercise the next day with any of these options — aerobics, moderate bicycling, walking or gardening.

Source: http://www.deccan.com/Beauty/Beauty.asp

Yoga Janu Sirsasana (Head to Knee Pose)

Method:

Sit on the floor on a block of wood or folded blanket. Lengthen your left leg straight out from the hip joint. Bend your right knee and place the bottom of the foot comfortably against the inner left thigh. To create a deeper stretch, place the right heel back towards your perineum. If the heel is drawn into the perineum, the shin bone will be at a right angle to the left leg. The right leg and knee should comfortably release into the ground.

Exhale and fold forward from the base of the hip joints. Keep the right foot flexed while pressing the back of the right thigh down on the floor.

To keep your back from collapsing, lift the chest as long as possible as you come forward. When you reach your limit, bring the chest and head down towards the ext ended leg. Reach your hands forward all the way to hold the left foot.

Be mindful as not to pull yourself forcefully into the forward bend. You may hold on to the extended leg or place the hands on the floor wherever they reach. During each inhalation, extend the spine long, and during each exhalation, deepen the forward bend. Repeat the pose on the other side.

Benefits:

Stretches the spine, back muscles, hamstrings and groins. Massages and stimulates internal organs like the liver and kidneys. Improves digestion and helps heal gastric ailments, calms the mind and central nervous system, relieves anxiety, fatigue, headache and menstrual discomfort. It also helps relieve symptoms of menopause. This asana is therapeutic for high blood pressure, depression, diabetes and insomnia too.

Caution:

Knee injuries: Avoid flexion of the injured knee if discomfort occurs.

Try performing with the bent knee supported on a folded blanket.

Those suffering from low back injury or diarrhoea should avoid this asana.

Source: http://www.deccan.com/Beauty/Beauty.asp

A string of festivals are set to ring in much cheer. Raksha Bandhan is coming up this week. Soon Gowri-Ganesha will follow. Then will come the bigger festivals — Dusshera, Diwali, Id-ul-Fitr and Christmas. All this means binge eating and giving the gym a miss!

Are you worried about your fitness plans and diet plans going awry? You need to stay on course, come what may.

Says Santosh Kumar, managing director of Figurine Fitness, Bengaluru, “It’s not easy being sandwiched between so many festivals. It’s also the time for guilt trips. But there are some basic rules which can help control cravings and stay focused on your exercise plan.”

The best way to do so would be to never go hungry before any meal, he says. “Ideally, snack on something healthy like cucumber or carrots. Drink water. They may not appeal to your palate during festivals, but they will help you go slow on the portions. The next day, no matter how hard it seems, make the effort to get out of bed and hit the gym or park. A basic cardio workout and crunches will hold you together without tiring you out. If you are not up to your gym workout, walk for 45-60 minutes in a park nearby or cycle. And if motivation is the problem, sign up for a group workout session either for aerobics or salsa till the festival season lasts. Or get a friend or family member to exercise with you,” advises Santosh.

As for food, chief dietitian and nutritionist Manipal Speciality Hospital, Bengaluru, Sreemathy Venkatraman says, “There is no need to deprive yourself of any foods, including sweets. Food cravings need not be suppressed. But when you see foods that you cannot say no to, accept very small portions. For example, if you like kheer and you love the gulab jamuns too, take one tablespoon of kheer and half a jamun. That way, your palate is satisfied and you won’t need to look the other way when you see that line-up of mouth-watering sweets.”

A traditional South Indian meal, even during festivals, is quite a balanced one. There is a mix of pulses, sprouts, veggies, rice, sweet, rasam, youghurt and pickle which takes care of all food tastes. “But moderation is something you have to train your mind to accept. And never go without exercise the day after a festive meal. Do any kind of exercise that makes you happy,” Sreemathy advises.

So keep those running shoes well within your sight as you enjoy a meal with family and friends during this season of festivals.

Source: http://www.deccan.com/Beauty/Beauty.asp