Saturday, May 26, 2018

Forgiveness: A Deliberate Process and a Real Faith

On certain parts of our lives, we cannot escape being hurt by the words or actions of others and this is the reality of inviting people into our lives.  At times, we have loose tongues and careless words that dug in deep.  We can even be hurt by strangers.  We get wounded.  Sadly, our lives can be disrupted by the actions of others.  But it doesn’t mean to make yourself a target or letting the offender off the hook.  Instead, you should help yourself and let yourself come to peace with what had happened.

Whether it’s a simple, straightforward spat with your better half/family member/friend, or a long-held resentment towards them, an unresolved dispute can be extremely stressful.  It can undercut the interpersonal relationships and sometimes it can even go deeper than you may realize.  It can lead to mental anguish and may affect your physical health too.

You may have noticed the changes in your breath depending on how you feel.  When you get angry, your heart beats faster and you tend to breathe more quickly, that activate the sympathetic nervous system, gearing us up for fight-or-flight mode which results in numerous changes in the body.  When you are stressed, your heart rate and blood pressure spike up temporarily; blood flow in the body moves away from your organs, weakening the immune system; you may suffer from insomnia, depression, and even increase the risk of heart disease. However, there is one thing that you can do in order to interrupt this mental and physical response and manage your emotions is to “Forgive.”  Yes! Forgiveness is a strong medicine for this.  It calms stress levels leading to better health and well-being.

But the question is what forgiveness really is?  Is it just about saying the words?

No, it’s not so at all.

It’s not just about saying the words.  Instead, forgiveness is about the goodness in you.  It is a decision that an individual makes to conquer the hurt inflicted upon them by the wrongdoer.  It’s an act of letting go of negative feelings that one have towards someone who has wronged them.

Forgiveness is not just a one-time act, it’s a deliberate process and it might take an amount of time to work through our emotional baggage and pain after certain offenses committed against us before we can truly forgive.  Although you may initially struggle to forgive the wrongdoer, there are still the reasons to “let it go” and set yourself free from the burden that comes with holding onto a grudge.

To forgive someone, first develop empathy meaning try to understand the feelings of the wrongdoer who now seeks your forgiveness.  Put yourself in the wrongdoer’s shoes and then decide.

Nevertheless, your decision to forgive someone doesn’t mean shutting down your own feelings, it doesn’t mean what happened to you wasn’t wrong, it doesn't mean excusing the wrong done to you, nor it does mean forgetting because it's normal and usual for memories to be triggered in the future, but it does mean acknowledging that the price of being alive includes some inescapable pain and forgiving the wrongdoer remove the power for the hurt to destroy you or to define you.

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There is a question that people often ask themselves which becomes more overriding as the months pass by and that question is "to forgive or not to forgive?"

Well, forgiveness is indeed a choice that needs to be made as often as your emotions shift.  It is a kind of gift that you give to yourself to free you from the past hurt, pain, grudges and release you into the present.

Forgiveness is the spirit of forgiving that signifies that we have faith; faith in the God, faith in a relationship with the person and of course faith in a person.  However, one cannot forgive every offender, there may be exceptions and by that I mean if a person has been sexually abused, if a person is murdered, if someone is doing the same things over and over again, in such case they become more empowered if forgiven so we can’t forgive them or at least I can’t.  Because there are some people who are mean-spirited, obnoxious, and/or untrustworthy, who will never change no matter what happens or what you do.  In this case, you need to quit expecting them to be different and should change the way you respond to them.

What if you are the wrongdoer and you seek forgiveness for your misstep?

The best things to do are look into the person’s eyes and express your guilt, your regression, and/or your apology with your eyes, your gestures, your words, and the tone of your voice and basically your heart.  These are the actions that will comfort you both.  So go ahead and apologize for your wrongdoing to the people that you really have to; it is possible you will end up a much better and a fulfilling relationship.

People will continue to wound you through your life and it’s only up to you not to hold on to the betrayals.  As long as you're in a state of withholding forgiveness, you’ll feel like you're being trapped in a prison of your own making.  So don’t let the past offenses keep its arms around your neck.  Leave the pain and bitterness behind by bestowing the gift of forgiveness upon the wrongdoer so you can enjoy the present.

Just remember: Forgiveness really matters, and the forgiver will certainly be its primary beneficiary.

Stay Blessed, Be Happy...!! :-)

Sunday, May 20, 2018

5 Foods That Help Lower the Risk of Dementia

Guest post by Masooma Memon

Dementia is a disease of the brain that occurs due to a number of reasons depending on the type of the disorder. For instance, damaged blood vessels that transport blood to the brain are blamed as culprits behind vascular dementia.

Likewise, the most common type of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, occurs due to an accumulation of abnormal beta-amyloid protein in the disease-affected brain. Only a few cases of dementia can be treated, provided the damage to the brain cells is not permanent. The majority of the cases are, however, progressive and culminate in eventual loss of cognitive functioning.

Statistics paint a bleaker picture. According to the Global Voice on Dementia, as of 2015, there were roughly 46.8 million people living with the mental condition around the globe. This number is only forecasted to swell. The same source reveals that the number of dementia patients will climb to nearly 75 million and 131.5 million in 2030 and 2050, respectively. The graph presented below showcases the rise.

This leaves us with a sudden chill that runs down the spine while wondering about such a horrible neurodegenerative disorder. Scientists are still digging out a cure but to no avail. However, the good news is that you are not unarmed in this battle against the progressive brain disease.

You can always take some preventative measures to lower your odds of developing dementia. One effective preventative step is eating foods that protect your brain from damage.

In this regard, here is a look at five foods that help you reduce the risk of dementia:

1.  Omega-3 fatty acids

While omega-3s are not food items to be exact, they are essential nutrients to add to your diet. The nutrients are critical for healthy brain development. These also help curtail inflammation, which chips in the build-up of abnormal protein in the brain.

Some common sources of omega-3 fatty acids are white tuna, herring, and salmon. In addition to the seafood, you can also get your fill of omega-3s from olive oil, flaxseeds, and walnuts. You might recognize these staples from the Mediterranean diet that promotes good heart health. In fact, a study credits this meal plan for lowering the risk of dementia by as much as 35%.

2.  Blueberries

These little blue dynamos are rich in vitamins and are packed with a powerful dose of antioxidants, in particular, flavonoids. Antioxidants are applauded for their role in fighting inflammation that sits at the heart of brain damage. Not only do these berries lower the dementia risk but they also prevent memory impairment.

Researchers highlight that berries alter the way the brain cells communicate. In doing so, these prevent inflammation that culminates in neural damage. Another study found out that participants who consumed 30 milliliters of blueberry juice exhibited significant improvement in brain activity. The study also confirmed that drinking blueberry juice enhanced blood flow to the brain.

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3.  Oats

Oats are a healthy source of wholegrain foods that work to maintain consistent blood sugar and insulin levels. On the flip side, processed or highly refined foods enriched with carbs contribute to rapid fluctuations in the glucose markers.

Pairing these blood sugar level spikes with inflammation is the recipe for injuring neurons and their communication. This is why Alzheimer’s disease is referred to as, “diabetes of the brain.” Oats help beat both these culprits, so you get to kill two birds with one stone.

4.  Curry powder

Curry powder is commonly used in India and other Eastern countries. It not only adds flavor to the dishes but also diminishes the risk of dementia. The number one reason for the effectiveness of curry powder in this regard is the presence of turmeric in it. This golden spice boasts a high content of antioxidants that curtail inflammation.

Studies reveal that this super spice helps in the breakdown of amyloid-beta plaques that are the villain in the dementia tale. These also view turmeric as a potential ingredient that has the ability to treat Alzheimer’s. The researchers write, "Curcumin as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and lipophilic action improves the cognitive functions in patients with Alzheimer's Disease.”

5.  Vitamin C and E enriched foods

The by-product of the chemical reactions going on in our brain is free radicals. These are unstable molecules that generously contribute to inflammation and damage that results in mental decline. Antioxidants are, however, the antidotes that mop up the harmful free radicals. You can get rid of this free radical pollution in your brain by including food items that are rich in vitamin C and E.

Red peppers, broccoli, and strawberries are some rich sources of vitamin C. On the other hand, you can get your share of vitamin E via almonds and olive oil. All these food items assist in minimizing the risk of the degenerative disorder. A study unveiled that folks who took vitamin E from food sources lowered their risk of developing Alzheimer’s by 67%. Research also links the intake of vitamin C with enhanced cognitive functioning.

Key takeaway:

Healthy eating is a crucial measure for reducing the risk of developing dementia. You need to include foods that are rich in flavonoids, vitamin C, vitamin E, and omega-3 fatty acids. If you are looking to follow a straightforward diet plan, then you can try the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diet. It is a cross between the DASH diet and Mediterranean diet that helps cut back the odds of dementia by 34%.

About the Author

Masooma is a freelance writer by day and a novel nerd by night. She is a multi-niche writer who crafts content on everything ranging from marketing to mindfulness and health.  You can learn more about Masooma’s work and read her blog at Masooma's Portfolio

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Mother's Day Special: Rasaje (A Mock Meat) Recipe

There is an old saying – “A man may work from dusk to dawn, but a woman’s work is never done;” which is probably as true today as it was back then.

No doubt “mothers” have the hardest jobs in the world.  They do so much for their children and families each and every day of the year, often sacrificing their own happiness.  And what we do to them?  Though we love our moms and do/try to do things to make them happy, sometimes we don't realize their value and even take them for granted.  On this mother’s day, let’s make them feel special because they deserve it.

Mom is the cook in almost every family and nothing in this world can be compared with the food cooked by our mothers.  So mother's day, a day dedicated to mothers, should be easy on the cook, hence “the cook” should not be a mom.  So let’s show your love and cook for your mom because the food is a perfect expression of love.

The special Indian recipes that come out of mom's kitchen have no match.  On the occasion of mother’s day, I am sharing one of such recipes that come straight from my mamma's kitchen which is named as “Rasaje.”  This dish is as unique as its name.  Rasaje is a “mock meat” (vegan meat) that is made from gram flour.  This is one of such dish which can not only be relished by your family as a regular meal but also makes a great menu for festive occasions too.  Rasaje tastes great and this gives an amazing look to your meals.

Let’s check out the recipe.

Ingredients (Serves 5)

For Dumplings:
Oil for frying
Gram flour – 2 cups (300 g)
Garlic cloves – 3-4 (Chopped)
Brown mustard – seeds ½ tsp
Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
Ginger, garlic, fresh coriander paste  – 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Red chili powder – 2 ½ tsp
Water – 2 cups.
Salt to taste
Desiccated coconut (1 tbsp), white poppy seeds (2 tsp), a handful of roasted peanuts, and fresh coriander for garnishing

For Curry:
Oil to cook
Garlic cloves – 3-4 (Chopped)
Roasted rice powder 1 tbsp
Onion 1, ginger 1 inch, garlic head 1, fresh coriander handful, cinnamon 1 inch, black cardamom 1 – paste
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
Coriander powder – 3 tsp
Water – 2- 2½ cups.
Salt to taste
Garam masala powder – ½ tsp
Fresh coriander for garnishing


Cooking time approx 1 hour.

For Dumplings:
1.  Grind ginger, garlic, fresh coriander to make a paste  – 1 tbsp.  Keep it aside.
2.  Take a pan and put 2 tablespoons of oil in it.
3.  Add 3-4 chopped cloves of garlic, ½ tsp brown mustard seeds and cumin seeds along with the paste that you kept aside (#1).
4.  Add turmeric powder (½ tsp), red chili powder (2 ½ tsp), salt to taste, gram flour and 2 cups of water.  Mix them all to make a tight dough of gram flour.
5.  Now place the dough in a greased plate and pat it with your palm or spatula.  Garnish it with desiccated coconut, white poppy seeds, roasted peanuts, and fresh coriander.   Let it cool completely.
6.  Cut the dough into pieces of desired shapes.
7.  Now, heat the oil in a wok.
8.  Deep fry those pieces of dough till it turns golden brown. Your dumplings are ready.  Keep them aside.

For Curry:
1.  Grind garlic cloves, one-inch ginger, one garlic head, a handful of fresh coriander along with one fried onion, 1 inch fried cinnamon, and 1 fried black cardamom.  Keep it aside.
2.  Now, take a deep pan and heat the oil in a wok.
3.  Add 3-4 chopped cloves of garlic and ½ tsp of cumin seeds.  Let them fry for few seconds.
4.  Then add the paste that you kept aside for gravy (#1) and fry it for 5 minutes.
5.  Add all the other spices now (turmeric, red chili powder, coriander powder, roasted rice powder and salt to taste).  Mix it well and cook until oil separates.
6.  Pour 2-2 ½ cups of water and bring it to boil.
7.  Add garam masala powder.  Here your curry is ready too.

1.  Add the dumplings into the curry and let it cook for 10-15 minutes on low flame.
2.  Garnish with fresh coriander.
3.  Your dish “Rasaje” is ready to serve with Indian bread (roti) or rice.

It was an enormous pleasure to recreate this recipe from my mamma's kitchen and heart.  Thank you, Mamma, for sharing the recipe with the world!

Tip:  While making this dish, make sure to stir the dough in the pan continuously so that lumps won’t form.

Stay Blessed, Be Happy..!! :-)

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Calcium: A Core Secret of Good Heath

Hello Everyone,

As you’re likely aware that in the human body if there is one thing that almost every tissue and organ use then calcium has to be it.  I remember how my teachers in school kept emphasizing the importance of dairy products for the overall health and growth.  Being a kid, I actually never realized why they kept saying that over and over again.  Not until I found myself learning about it in my science and especially in my dietetic classes.

Calcium is absolutely an essential mineral that is required by our body for a variety of its important functions.  Not only it helps in maintaining teeth, joints, and bones strong and healthy, but it goes beyond that.  This mineral involved in building nails, maintaining healthy blood vessels, keeping the heart healthy, proper functioning of muscles to move and nerves to carry messages between the brain and every part of the body.  In addition, calcium plays a vital role in the secretion of hormones and enzymes that are essential for the human body to function efficiently.

Although calcium is widely distributed in the soft tissues in the body, it is primarily found in the bones and teeth.  About 99 percent of the calcium in the body is deposited in the bones and teeth and the remaining 1 percent is found in soft tissues.  Calcium is one of the minerals that are not produced by our bodies.  Thus, it is important to include this mineral in our diet.  When our food intake fails to meet our body's calcium requirements, body extracts the calcium from our bones and if this occurs over a period of time then it leads to weakness of the teeth; osteopenia, weakness of the bones and eventually osteoporosis.  Nonetheless, calcium deficiency (a condition resulting from inadequate amounts of calcium in the body) can also cause a number of other health problems including hypocalcemia, muscle cramps, confusion, memory disorder etc.

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You must have noticed that many people nowadays complain of having brittle nails and bones, muscle cramps, joint pain etc. isn’t it?  Well, this is just because people do not make a conscious effort to include calcium-rich foods in their meals.  In today’s world, people are so busy with their hectic lifestyle that they don’t even have time to look at their health.  Unfortunately, almost we all mostly eat whatever is available to us and hence, the calcium in our diet gets diminished.  Therefore, it is of utmost importance for us to include a certain amount of calcium in our routine diet.  But it is not just enough to have calcium in our diet because our body cannot absorb calcium alone properly.  It needs vitamin D along with it.  Vitamin D ensures that our body absorbs calcium effectively.  Daily ingestion and proper absorption of calcium, as part of a balanced diet, is essential for maintaining optimal health.  So it is imperative that along with calcium your diet must also include the foods that are rich in vitamin D too.

However, it is essential to maintain the right amount of calcium in your diet as an excess of calcium can also be harmful.  It may cause dry mouth, nausea, kidney stones, soft tissue calcification, and even heart strokes.

So let’s dive into the foods that are rich in calcium.

You're probably already familiar with the most well-known calcium contenders i.e. dairy products, but they aren’t the only sources.  There are a number of choices beyond dairy products.  Getting your calcium intake from foods that are rich in calcium may be the most beneficial way to do it.  It's true that meat and chicken are also a great source of calcium, but there are other different sources too.  Calcium can be derived from certain green and leafy vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, ladies’ fingers (okra), and spinach; legumes like beans and peas, fruits, oranges, nuts, some seafood like salmon, perch, and rainbow trout.  Breakfast foods, cereals, breads, snacks, soymilk and other fortified products also contain added calcium.

If you find it difficult to remember these foods all the time then there is a simple and easy way to add calcium to many foods recipes and that is to add a tablespoon of nonfat powdered milk which contains about 50 mg of calcium.  One can add about 2-4 tablespoons to most foods preparations.

And when it comes to vitamin D, the well-known source from where we can get it is sunlight.  Vitamin D is found in very few foods which include fatty fish like salmon and tuna; egg yolks, milk and other dairy products, orange juice, soymilk, and fortified cereals.

For certain people, dietary supplementation may also be necessary to get adequate calcium and/or Vitamin D, following a discussion with their physician.

So when there are plenty of sources to help you keep your calcium level up then there is simply no reason to let it dip too low.  No matter how you get it, taking in enough calcium is necessary for a strong and healthy body.

Stay Blessed, Be Happy...!! :-)

Thick, Curvy, or Thin: A Healthy Woman Comes in All Shapes and Sizes

I wanted to write on this topic for long, but couldn’t make it possible for some reasons.  And now I thought this is the time when I sho...