Food For The Soul – Why Meditation Is Important

“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day unless you’re too busy then you should sit for an hour.” – Old Zen Saying

A lot has been said and written about meditation in the recent past but how important it is to meditate every day? There are many schools of thought on this and there’s no universal answer to this question.

Meditation is a practice where an individual aims to achieve many things like mindfulness, increased or better concentration levels, calm state of mind, relieving of stress, emotional balance, spiritual awakening, etc. There are numerous techniques to perform the act of meditation and each technique is unique in its own way.

Some of the common meditating techniques are:

  • Silent Meditation: In this technique, people are urged to observe silence. This can be done while sitting in one position, lying down or observing silence or maun for more than 24 hours at a time.
  • Chanting Meditation: In this technique, people meditate by chanting a name (usually a God’s name) or a mantra.
  • Focused Meditation: In this technique, people focus on an object as a form of meditation.
  • Visual Meditation: In this technique, people are made to visualize a scene or a setting that would bring them peace or happiness. This technique relies on a person’s imaginative powers.
  • Breathing Meditation: In this technique, people are made to focus on their breathing and typically follow the 4-3-7 breathing rule.

Meditation – Science or Spirituality?

Meditation has been practiced since times immemorial. The roots of meditation cannot be affixed to a particular religion or ethnicity. It has been practiced in various religions like Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Taoism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam alike. Every religion has a different meditative technique that the followers practice.

It won’t be wrong to say that roots of meditation lie in spirituality but benefits of practicing meditation have been proven by science. So, meditation is an amalgamation of science and spirituality.

Benefits of Meditation

Now I meditate twice a day for half an hour. In meditation, I can let go of everything. I’m not Hugh Jackman. I’m not a dad. I’m not a husband. I’m just dipping into that powerful source that creates everything. I take a little bath in it.” – Hugh Jackman.

The sedentary lifestyle is making meditation ever so popular. Meditation is gaining momentum as more and more people have started unearthing the benefits and importance of practicing meditation on a daily basis.

Here are some of the benefits of practicing meditation regularly:

Helps in dealing with Mental Health Issues

Meditation has been scientifically proven to calm a person during an anxiety episode and in dealing with depression.

If I had not been meditating already, I would certainly have had to start. I’ve treated my own depression for many years with exercise and meditation, and I’ve found that to be a tremendous help.” – Judy Collins

Medical research has ascertained the importance of meditating in dealing with depression.

Helps in Reducing Stress

Stress has become a part of the modern lifestyles so much that people often don’t realize that they are stressed out due to their work, job or routine life. Meditation helps in calming down the human mind which helps in combating stress on a day to day basis.

Helps in curing sleep disorders

Insomnia has become a part of the sedentary lifestyles that humans have adjusted to. Besides stress, insomnia and other sleep disorders have become a common occurrence in people these days. Meditating before bedtime helps in promoting sound sleep.

Improves attention span and concentration

The Focused Meditation technique helps in improving attention span thereby increasing concentration levels. It is therefore proven helpful in controlling or curing ADHD in many people.

Helps in reducing or keeping a check on Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is the direct outcome of high stress levels. Since meditation is known to reduce stress levels in a person, it directly helps in keeping a check on blood pressure. There are various studies that show the effect of meditation in maintaining the blood pressure.

The best thing about meditation is that it can be practiced or done at any time and any place. It is the best remedy available for various health issues that the humans face in today’s time. Isn’t it the cheapest therapy available?

Three Stories That Show That Healthcare Is Already Smart

Technology is rapidly changing the way the world operates. Industries across the globe have been accepting technological advancements with open arms. The implication of technology has changed the way things worked. Every industry today is largely dependent upon the technological advancements for its operation. Artificial Intelligence and data computing have made things, which once seemed unachievable, simpler, and faster.

Healthcare is one industry which has benefitted by technological advancements in a great way. In fact, it won’t be wrong to say that the medical and healthcare industry is the one that paved the way for technological innovations and advancement. From X-Ray machines to online access to medical services, the healthcare industry has come a long way in reaping the fruits of technological advancements.

Today’s era is driven by ‘smart’ working and by smart we mean technologically smart ways of working. Every industry today has adopted smart ways of operating – from collecting and maintaining data to providing online solutions, you name it and you have it.

Is Healthcare Already Smart?

Medical and healthcare industry has been the fastest growing industry to adopt technological changes. Here are three stories that reflect how the healthcare industry has changed over the years:

Getting blood tests done is as easy as ordering a pizza these days

“Getting a blood test had never been this simple. Earlier I had to keep aside an entire day for my mother’s blood tests. Collecting the report required another half day’s time to queue up at the centre. Thankfully, that’s not the case anymore. Now I book an appointment online and the representative from the lab comes to our home and collects the sample. Reports are now sent directly to the email address. It has become as easy as getting a pizza delivered to your house!’ – Harman Singh, 45 years, MNC employee.

Harman’s mother, aged 68, has been diabetic ever since his birth and getting blood sugar tested has been an arduous task for them. Not only it required a lot of time, but the travelling had also started to add to his aging mother’s health woes. Getting the blood sample collected from the comfort of one’s home and having the test reports delivered via email, has been a blessing for patients like Harman’s mother.

No more waiting at the doctor’s clinic for getting reports checked

Waiting at the doctor’s for a diagnosis isn’t as painful as waiting to get your reports checked.

“I had once waited for two and half hours to get my son’s reports checked while he was home alone with a high fever. Thanks to doctors who are available via emails and WhatsApp, you don’t need to wait up for this anymore.” – Sunita Joshi, 28 years, homemaker.

Sunita is not the only one who has been in such a tricky situation. More often than not, a patient is not in a condition to visit the doctor multiple times and the care-taker ends up doing so at the cost of leaving the patient unattended for hours.

The doctor’s availability on online mediums like emails and WhatsApp has not only helped people like Sunita but has also helped in shortening the queue at the doctor’s clinic.

No more shuffling between doctors with a load of files

Gone are the days when the patient would require visiting different doctors with numerous files encasing their medical history. The online patient record system has been a boon both for doctors as well as patients. It not only lets the doctor refer to the patient’s medical history at just a click of a button but also helps in accurate diagnosis and treatment.

“My brother met with an accident ten years ago and ever since he has undergone multiple surgeries and many treatments. Visiting a new doctor would be a task for us. Carrying so many reports and remembering every small little detail was challenging. Forgetting even the most minute information could prove to be fatal to his health. With the new online patient data system, it has become so much easier. I don’t get anxiety attacks before visiting a doctor anymore.”– Archana Suri, 35 years, Government employee.

It is essential to remember and recall a patient’s medical history when visiting a doctor. Missing out on anything can become a hurdle in proper diagnosis thereby affecting the treatment of the patient. It is difficult to remember every detail about patients with long medical history. The introduction of online patient record system has made it hassle-free for the doctors as well as patients.

These are just some of the stories that reflect that the healthcare system has become smarter in its operation. Owing to these changes, the diagnosis and treatments have become far more accurate. Technology is helping in eliminating judgement of error in several ways.

 

A1 or A2 Milk – Which Is Right For You?

People choosing to live a healthy life have paved the way for healthier living habits. These habits comprise of adopting healthy lifestyle changes like eating healthier foods and indulging in physical activities to name a few. Organic farming has taken the world by storm and dairy industry isn’t far behind. The arguments about organic milk vs. the industrial milk are rife today. And when there’s a mention of organic milk – you cannot miss mentioning A1 and A2 milk. The arguments are in favour of A2 milk but what is it that makes it a better option than A1 milk?

What is Organic Milk?

Organic milk is obtained from cows that are fed with organic fodder and aren’t given antibiotics and growth hormones. These cows are strictly watched to avoid any stray grazing over inorganic or adulterated pastures. The cows that fall sick and need to be treated with antibiotics are then removed from the organic production utility. Organic milk, thus, is obtained from cows that are bred and raised in 100% natural living conditions without any kind of intervention either through consumption of adulterated fodder or medical treatments.

What is A1 and A2 Milk?

Milk, as known, is a great source of calcium and protein. The easiest and healthiest way to introduce calcium and protein in the regular diet is through consumption of milk. Milk is made up of a variety of proteins and casein is the largest group of proteins present in the milk. Casein makes up to 80% of the total protein content in the milk.

A1 and A2 are the two types of beta-casein that make up the large chunk of casein proteins found in milk. Regular milk contains both A1 and A2 beta-casein. The bifurcation of organic milk into A1 and A2 is done on the basis of the breed of the cow. A1 beta-casein is found in the breeds Holstein, British Shorthorn, Friesian and Ayrshire. Whereas, the A2 beta-casein is found in the breeds Jersey, Limousin, Guernsey, and Charolais. 

Why is A2 milk better than A1 milk?

The entire A1 and A2 debate is based on some studies that show the harmful effects of consuming A1 milk and production of Beta-casomorphin-7 (BCM-7) is one of the major reasons behind it.

BCM-7 is produced during the digestion process after consumption of A1 milk. Studies by a select group of researchers, across the globe, suggest that production of BCM-7 in the human body can have adverse effects. Though everyone is not affected by consumption of A1 beta-casein but studies show that a growing number of people are falling prey to the harmful effects of secretion of BCM-7.

According to a study published by the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism in 2012, following are some of the harmful effects of consuming A1 milk:

  1. Delayed psychomotor development in infants

The BCM-7 has been found to travel to the brain through the bloodstream in infants which hampers their motor development skills thereby delaying the process.

  1. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

The human body is not acquainted with digestion of BCM-7. This can add to weak gut thereby resulting in IBS in some individuals.

  1. Risk of Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is often found in kids. Researches show that kids who consume A1 milk while growing up are more likely to be diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

  1. Coronary Heart Disease

A1 milk has higher fat content than A2 milk. The accumulation of fat in the human body can lead to risk of developing certain heart diseases.

  1. The occurrence of Autism or Schizophrenia in extreme cases

Studies have shown that higher levels of BCM-7 are associated with the ability to perform and plan. The high levels meddle with the brain thereby causing mental disorders such as autism and schizophrenia.

  1. Lactose intolerance

Lactose (sugar) intolerance is the inability to digest the sugar consumed by the body completely. Though A1 and A2 milk have the same levels of lactose, studies have found that a number of people find it difficult to digest A1 milk compared to A2 milk. There are numerous researches being conducted on this across the globe. Doctors suggest that A2 milk is the best substitute for lactose intolerant people as A2 beta-casein is easier to digest which makes it a healthier option compared to A1 milk.

It is well established and well-accepted fact that A1 and A2 milk differ in their compositions. However, in India especially, the bigger problem is the way the cows are managed, and the milk is procured – there are a lot of adulterations that happen in the whole process. When the animals are kept in a clean environment, allowed to graze in open farm, soak in the sunlight, and fed only organic fodder, the quality of milk is certainly better.

 

Quick Tips To Detox After The Festival Binge

What is a festival without food and merriment? And, Diwali is all about indulging your taste buds and forgetting all about calories, isn’t it? Well, now that Diwali is over and we are sure your brain and body must be killing you with the guilt of the entire festive binge that you have done. Oh, we forgot to mention your trainer there! Do we see you smiling and nodding at that? Then, you should definitely read on for these quick tips to detoxify your body after that festival binge.

What is detoxification and why it is needed?

Detoxification is the process of cleaning the bloodstream by getting rid of toxins. Detoxification has been in practice since centuries across cultures. In olden days, fasting was a largely practiced tradition to detoxify and the methods have evolved over the years. The purpose of detoxification is to get rid of impurities from blood in the liver which processes toxins for elimination from the body.

Detoxification process helps in providing rest to the internal organs thereby felicitating the elimination process of toxins from the body. It is known to improve blood circulation and helping to refuel the body with healthy nutrients.

How to detoxify?

There is a plethora of ways to detoxify the body. Rather than opting for a strenuous detox program which is usually difficult to maintain, it is better to adopt and adapt to the following healthy lifestyle routines:

  1. Warm Water with Lemon and Honey

As clichéd as it may sound but starting your day with lemon & honey in warm water is the best thing you can do to detoxify your body. It promotes good digestion thereby ridding your body of bloating and constipation.

  1. Try Fasting

By fasting, we don’t mean to  say that you stay hungry. Here, fasting implies consuming lighter and easy to digest foods. You can fast for a day or two depending upon your body’s needs. Load yourself with fresh fruits and juices and clear soups and salads on the day of fasting. This will provide much-needed rest to your digestive system.

  1. Say no to Processed Food

Diwali is all about binging on fried foods and snacks. Your body is already high on all the puris and laddoos you have had. It’s time to cut down on your sugar and carbohydrate intake now.

  1. Say bye to your regular tea

As heartbreaking as it sounds, it is going to be good for your body. Replace it with either Green or Chamomile tea. They are rich in antioxidants and boost immunity. This will also help in combating the winter season.

  1. Add lots of Vitamin C to your diet

Vitamin C is known for its detoxifying properties. Foods rich in Vitamin C will not only help you in detoxifying but also act as a shield from common cold as winters are almost here; the chances of catching a cold are higher than ever. Perhaps it’s time to soak in the sun and enjoy those oranges.

  1. Eat fibrous foods

Fibrous foods help in promoting healthy gut bacteria which aids digestion. Fibrous foods are also very filling and low on calories. They can also help in maintaining weight.

  1. Replace the regular vegetable oil

The regular vegetable oil along with other oils like peanut and sunflower are heavy to digest. Replace them with lighter ones like coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil or flaxseed oil.

  1. Add probiotic foods or supplement to your diet

Probiotic foods contain live cultures i.e. healthy bacteria which help in combating unhealthy bacteria in the body. Greek yogurt, curd, and kefir are a very good source of healthy bacteria. Or, you can simply start your day with probiotic supplements that are easily available in the stores today.

  1. Replace the sodas and canned juices for fresh juices

Sodas and canned juices are loaded with processed sugar and it’s time to bid adieu to these. Replace canned juices with fresh juices without sugar.

  • Abstain from alcohol

Alcohol messes up big time with your body’s metabolism. It’s time to give rest to your liver. Avoid alcoholic drinks post the festivities. It will help in better digestion and detoxification.

  • Hydrate your body

Water is all that your body craves post the festive binge. Consume as much water as you can. Water is the best source of flushing out toxins from your body.

  • Sweat it out

The best way, after consumption of water, to flush out toxins from your body is through sweat. So, get done with your festive lethargy and hit the road. Get back to your exercise regime without much ado.

We know it is difficult to get back to a healthier routine post the festivities but as much difficult as it is, it is essential to detoxify your body. Taking a break now and then from your routine is completely fine but then one shouldn’t prolong that break especially when it is about your body and health.

 

 

 

Getting Selfie-Ready for New Year’s Eve Starts Today

Diwali is over and the next thing on everybody’s mind is the New Year’s Eve. The time between these two just rushes by in a blink, isn’t it? Most of you must have already planned and booked for your NYE getaway. And we are sure you wouldn’t want to look sullen eyed in all those amazing pictures that you would be clicking. Are we right?

Having a naturally glowing and beautiful skin is what we all want to have but how much do we take care to put in efforts to have that flawless glow on our face? Most of us don’t – and the reason that we hide behind, more often than not, is our busy schedules and routines. It is a myth that you need to put in long tiring hours to get that amazing skin. The fact is that you don’t!

Here are some skin care hacks that will help you in preparing for your New Year’s Eve getaway:

  1. Reduce creases on face by changing your pillowcase

Yes, it is that simple. Sleeping on cotton pillowcase robs your skin and hair of its natural moisture. Dry skin is prone to breakouts and creases which are visible in form of fine lines. Switch to a satin or silk pillowcase and see the difference. It will not only provide a healthy glow to your face but will also help in curtailing the frizzy hair. Now, that’s a bonus, isn’t it?

  1. Cut down on sugar for a radiant skin

Intake of sugar can result in inflammation of the skin which often comes out in form of acne on dry skin. By cutting down on your sugar intake you can be assured of kicking off those unwanted acne during the celebration hours.

  1. Store up on Aloe Vera gel

Aloe Vera is panacea for skin and hair. It can help in getting rid of major issues like acne, pimples, and dandruff. You can use Aloe Vera gel directly as a substitute to your face cream or simply mix it up with your moisturizer or the face cream.

  1. Moisturize, moisturize and moisturize!

Umm no, we are not asking you to keep on applying moisturizer every other second. Winters tend to make your skin drier. It is wise to invest in a heavy and nourishing moisturizer preferably body butters which keep your skin hydrated and moisturized for longer hours even during the harsh winters. Of course, choose the right moisturizer as per your skin type.

  1. Always have tea tree oil in your closet

Tea tree oil is known for its anti inflammatory properties which help in combating sudden acne breakouts. Dousing a bit of tea tree oil on fresh acne breakout for a couple of days can help in decreasing the visibility to almost negligible.

  1. Carry green tea teabags with you

Green tea is known for its antioxidant properties. While consuming green tea will help in getting good skin but the little do people know about the magic potion it can turn into for puffy eyes. Festive season is all about long sleepless nights enjoying with family and friends which end up in puffy and tired eyes. Cold green tea teabags work as magic to soothe those puffy and tired eyes.

  1. Nourish your lips

The skin on the lips is far tenderer than the rest of the body. Winters can be harrowing for lips if not taken care of and you would certainly want chapped lips during the NYE. Always carry a moisturizing lip balm with you and reapply it at regular intervals. Apply a coat of lip balm before the lipstick. It will help in keeping your lips moisturized for a longer period of time.

  1. Hydrate your skin

Consume as much water as you can. Nothing can give a radiant and flawless skin like consumption of water can. No beauty product can beat that glow.

  1. Catch on sleep

No matter where you are and what you do, don’t forget to catch up on your beauty sleep. Skin on the face is the first place where the exhaustion shows. You wouldn’t want to have a sullen face while partying. Though we know it’s difficult but, do listen to the body while you are busy partying hard. Don’t forget to rest!

  • Cleanse your face no matter what

And we mean it. Cleanse your face no matter how tired and exhausted or late you are. Never go to bed with the dirt or makeup on your face. A healthy bedtime regime of cleaning and moisturizing your skin can take you a long way.

Getting a healthy and radiant skin is not a one day affair. You need to put in efforts everyday to get that envious skin. And by efforts we don’t imply hour long beauty and skin care sessions. The above list is simple and doable even with a hectic schedule. Imbibing these simple skin care hacks will make you selfie-ready not only for the NYE but for life. So, start following these tips today and be selfie-ready for life!