Organic is Not the Same as Natural – Know the Difference

Eating healthy seems hard, you can take all the efforts to cook a variety of foods from various groups, but you may still be doing damage to your health. This damage can be attributed to the production process of your ingredients. While browsing the aisles of the supermarket, you will be bombarded with terms within the health foods zone such as ‘natural’, ‘gluten-free’, ‘organic’ and so on. Some food items suspiciously have all three labels slapped on them which may make you feel as though you’re purchasing the healthiest food on the block but don’t be fooled, this is just a marketing strategy and has little to do with the adoption of processes and regulations. To understand this better, let’s zoom into two words in particular, ‘organic’ and ‘natural’. Are they the same? In short, no. Although these two processes may sound similar to a layman, there are a few key differences that you must consider before you decide which is better for you.

1) The definition itself

The very meaning of these terms used in the context of products differs. Organic foods refer to foods which are produced using calculated, artificial ingredients which enhance the quality of the food. For example, most vegan nut milk is fortified with B-12 because plant-based diets are lacking in this vitamin. This is a healthy addition that helps vegans and lactose intolerant people meet their daily nutritional requirements without compromising on their ethical and lifestyle choices. Organic foods must pass stringent quality checks which include evaluations of the machinery, processes, raw ingredients and environmental impact studies. You may notice some organic products may also have a label which says ‘fair trade’, this means that the product is organic, and the materials used to create it were sourced responsibly, sustainably and ethically. Natural foods, on the other hand, are those foods that are minimally processed and synthesized but have no guarantee of the manufacturing and handling process. So in a nutshell, organic products have a strict set of rules and regulations and are monitored by third-party organizations whereas natural products retain their natural form as far as possible, but have no guarantee in terms of the production process. You just have to take the brand’s word for it!

2) The ‘certified’, healthier option

What’s the healthier option- eating a store-bought, organic granola bar, or, consuming a handful or raw dates, almonds, figs, and oats? Most people would think that the natural ingredients may be healthier, but they overlook factors such as hygiene, the growing process and the sustainability. The granola bar may just be the healthier option, even though it may appear “unnatural”. Besides the loopholes in the production process, organic is better in this department because getting your product “certified organic” is a huge deal, and is extremely hard to obtain. Certification bodies exist in most countries, however, the most widely recognized, international body is the USDA, or the United States Department of Agriculture. When buying a product, look for the labels “USDA approved” and certified organic. The USDA takes on full responsibility for the authenticity of the products that it certifies so you can rest assured that what you’re consuming has gone through a top-notch production process. There are no such regulatory bodies for natural foods.

3) Hard-earned labels

If you look closely, organic food labels differ from natural ones since the processes are double-checked by a third party. You can’t say the same for natural foods. Anyone can put a label saying 100% natural because there are no governing bodies to monitor and verify these things. If you’ve studied nutrition labels closely, you may have noticed fruit juice brands which say ‘natural’ fruit juice, but if you read the fine print, you’ll always find a disclaimer that states “contains no real fruit”. This is how some brands are sneaky and market their products as “natural” because most people will blindly buy them thinking that they’re ‘natural’. In the case of organic products, it can take years to get certified, and once you are, you can expect surprise quality checks at any time!

4) The product itself

Experts suggest that organic foods are much healthier, more hygienic, and are safer to consume than natural foods. This is because of the production process. Organic foods follow processes which eliminate the use of toxic pesticides, GMOs, antibiotics and other harmful substances. In the case of organic fruits and vegetables, the soil used is absolutely safe and free from these harmful chemicals and growth enhancers. When you buy ‘natural’ products, on the other hand, you can never be sure about the production process. Did you know that animals are pumped with growth hormones, antibiotics and in case of dairy cows, estrogen and testosterone? Not only is this incredibly cruel from an ethical perspective, but this is also highly dangerous to human health. Organic meat production eliminates all this, organic meats are free range, grass-fed and are not pumped with any hormones or fatteners. Same goes with vegetables.

5) Shelf life

Do you associate the shelf-life with the quality and health of a food? This is a rookie mistake. Just because some foods have a very long shelf life does not mean that they’re unhealthy, and vice versa. Organic foods have a higher shelf life due to the presence of the permitted preservatives and packaging practices. These processes do not affect the overall health and nutritional value of the food, they only help preserve it. Most natural foods are perishable, but this is not a sign of freshness because one can never be sure of the production process itself. What’s the point of having a super fresh vegetable if it was pumped with chemicals in order to grow? One can also never be sure of the storage conditions of natural foods. All this is eliminated with organic food because of the third party regulators.

6) Legal implications

Did you know that there are legal repercussions for misusing the ‘organic’ label? Brands must be certified by a regulated body to be able to call themselves ‘organic’.  This is not the case with natural foods, anyone can slap on a ‘100% natural’ label on a product since there are no active governing regulatory bodies to rectify this.

So which is the healthier option for YOU? A healthy, well-planned, balanced and informed diet can consist of both, organic and natural foods, as long as they are responsibly sourced. When it comes to things like vegetables, growing your own food is your best bet, but that may not be plausible for everyone. If you can, try to opt for organic vegetables and meat as far as possible because these are the foods that contain the most toxic elements such as pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics and getting the organic variant ensures that the food you buy is free from these harmful chemicals.

5 Healthy Summer Snacks for Your Kids

It’s summers and holiday season is here! It’s that time of year when kids are at home, mostly playing outdoors with mothers asking them not to play in the harsh sun. Well, we aren’t taking away anything from the moms but hey, kids gotta play! The summer heat can be harsh for your child’s skin and health especially from mid-April to June. Playing in the sun for long hours can cause dehydration and it is difficult to ask kids to keep themselves hydrated with water or liquid intake during their playing hours. To get rid of this problem, we are going to talk about super summer foods that will not only make your kids enjoy their meals without any fuss but will also help in keeping them hydrated.

Drinking water or consuming liquids is not the only way to stay hydrated during summers. You can eat your water too! Yes, you read that right. Give your kids foods that have high water content like melons and cucumber. Such foods will keep your kids hydrated as well as provide them with energy so that they won’t feel drained out by the end of the day’s play.

Here are give healthy summer recipes to keep your kids energetic and you, stress-free.

Fruit Popsicles

Summers are incomplete without gobbling down popsicles. Instead of letting your kids indulge in the roadside ice popsicles, make healthy fruit popsicles at home. You can try fruits like watermelon, muskmelon, lemon, kiwi, oranges etc. The homemade popsicles won’t just be healthy but also nutritious. Fruit popsicles will help in keeping your kids’ energy levels high.

Vegetable Cheela Rolls

This is the simplest recipe to feed some veggies to kids. The chana dal is high in proteins. Add as many veggies you can to meet the nutrition requirement of your kids. If your kid is still fussy about eating veggies in a roll, grate a cheese cube over it. Cheese is the most delicious way of consuming healthy fats.

Healthy Sandwiches

We all love sandwiches, don’t we? Now you might be thinking how a sandwich can be a healthy snack, isn’t it? Well, replace your regular white bread with a healthier option. You can opt for whole wheat bread or multi-grain bread. These breads are healthier than the regular bread. Replace the mayonnaise with hung curd. Sandwiches are easy and quick to make as well as to eat. This is one no fuss snack that we vouch for. Add vegetables or corn or cucumber or anything that your kids like. Add some cheese and ketchup and voila!

Raagi Cookies

Kids love munching on chocolate cookies and cream biscuits which have high contents of sugar and are unhealthy. Replace those cream biscuits and unhealthy cookies with raagi cookies. You can bake either butter raagi cookies or add choco chips for kids.

Fruit Smoothies

Summers are the time where one can simply live on a liquid diet. Summer provides with many options for beverages. If your kids don’t like to eat fruits, make them a smoothie! The best part about making a smoothie is that you can use any fruit that you like or is available in the kitchen, grapes, bananas, mangoes, strawberries, watermelons, muskmelons, et al. If the fruit is sweet enough, skip adding extra sugar. Watermelon, mango, orange, lemon, and berries are the best fruits to have in summer.

In addition to these, make your kids drink salty lassi or chaas. It helps in keeping the kid hydrated during long outdoor play hours. Imbibe chaas or lassi in your daily lunch menu. If the kid doesn’t want to have chaas or lassi, make cucumber raita for them. It has same effects as chaasor lassi has. Besides this, give them a glass of aam panna every time they move out in the sun. It helps in keeping fatigue away.

Limit direct exposure to sun and keep your children indoors. Apart from this, in our this blog, we also share some tips to avoid heat strokes in summer.  Summer can be a beautiful season for kids – you just have to take a little care when it comes to their health and food.

How Doctors Can Leverage Mobile Technology For Patient Retention

The mobile wave has engulfed the world and its impact on healthcare has been nothing less than overwhelming. According to a research conducted by Markets and Markets, the mHealth technology market is expected to grow by 33% to cross USD 60 billion by 2020. Another survey by GreatCall showed that 93% of physicians believed that mHealth could contribute greatly to improving patient health. As mHealth cements its place in healthcare, let’s evaluate how doctors can leverage mobile technology for patient retention.

Reduce Wait Times

Long wait times could be listed as one of the biggest banes that patients face when going for a doctors’ appointment. Even with prior appointments, most patients have to wait endlessly to meet their doctors. And often after a seemingly endless wait, the patient is informed during a consultation that they have to come back after conducting a certain battery of tests. This is not only a waste of time for the patient but the doctor as well. With the consumerisation of healthcare, doctors can now leverage mHealth apps to take a look at patient history and intimate them of the tests that need to be done before they even meet them. Further, using mHealth apps, doctors can avoid appointment overlaps and post-appointment confirmation and notifications which ensure a smoother interaction with the patient during his/her physical visit.

Effective Communication

The right mobile apps can play a great role in making the doctor-patient communication more effective. Patients can easily store all their medical records and health history on comprehensive mobile health apps and access them anytime and anywhere. This solves the problem of the missing documents that we ever so often face when meeting with a doctor. With all the information stored in a central repository, doctors can spend the face time with the patients more productively and promote better interactions to manage the patients’ health better. This also leaves the patient more satisfied and less likely to shop around for another doctor.

Better Patient Management

Using mHealth doctors can improve patient management and become more proactive with their patients. Proactive patient management in the form of timely communication regarding patient appointments, important notifications, and updates, post-appointment messages etc. can be delivered to the patient using an app to ensure that the patient does not miss out on any vital piece of information needed to maintain their health. Along with this, doctors can centralise all patient-related information in a central data repository that can be accessed anytime and anywhere which can be of great help to manage a patients’ health remotely.

Pre and Post-Operative Care Management

One of the biggest pain points that patients have is regarding pre and post-operative care. While information is provided to them both regarding pre and post-operative care, it is usually disseminated in one session making it hard to retain the information. Using mobile apps, doctors can send out relevant information to their patients at the right time so that the patients can take the measures both pre and post operation. This not only helps in better health management but also reduces readmission rates and helps in reducing healthcare costs for the patient.

Better Transparency

Patients today demand greater information access. While the healthcare sector has adopted digital technology, they are still trying to play catch up with other sectors such as retail. Patients today demand faster information access regarding their health. Research shows that a majority of healthcare consumers prefer using digital technology to visiting a hospital to get clarifications regarding the care that they are receiving. A 2017 study by American Well states that 26% of patients are likely to change healthcare systems to find a provider offering tele-visits. Doctors leveraging mHealth can help their patients access all the health information they need and proactively answer all questions that go into better health management.

Pre-emptive Care

mHealth applications also provide a treasure trove of data that physicians can leverage for pre-emptive healthcare. Leveraging data analytics, doctors can plan better service delivery dependent on the patient requirement, and analyse and predict health conditions based on the patients’ health records to enable preventive healthcare. Further, doctors can upload tutorials on preventive healthcare and give practical advice to their patients on how to manage their health and health conditions better. All these things help in keeping the patients, the current consumers of healthcare, happy and satisfied as they find doctors becoming more invested in their health.

As they say that numbers do not lie, and going by the adoption rate of mHealth it is becoming clear that this technology trend is not only here but is soon on its way to becoming the enabler of better interactions and better patient outcomes. Using mobile technology doctors can create greater engagement with their patients and enable better outcomes. Patient retention then becomes an automatic consequence of this effort.

Not Just an Adult Thing – Mental Health Issues Can Affect Children Too

Children are exposed to a lot of different environments as they are growing up. As they grow, they learn new things, their body’s transform, and it’s all a very dynamic process. There are a lot of factors that need to work out properly for a child to smoothly transform into an adult. Many times, this process adversely affects the children, which might lead to mental illnesses.

Just as adults, mental health issues affect children of all family types and cultural backgrounds. Studies have shown that 1 in 10 children suffer from mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, psychosis, conduct disorder, etc. About 50-70% of these mental illnesses show up before the age of 18, and thus, have a huge impact on the child’s development.

Most parents are not ready to accept that their child could be suffering from a mental issue because they consider it as an abnormality. However, in reality, either the child is born with such issues, or it’s just a consequence of the environment and circumstance surrounding the child. The parents end up making the matter worse by not taking the help of psychiatrist counselling. It is extremely important for the parents to acknowledge that their child could be suffering from mental health issues and that they should support him/her to come out of this difficult period.

The emotional wellbeing of a child is equally as important as the physical wellbeing. Good mental health allows a young person to cope with change and deal with the various facets of adult life by developing them into mature people that can take care of themselves.

How to recognize if your child is suffering from a mental health issue?

The first and most important step in treating mental health issues is to figure out whether your child is suffering from those. Here are a few symptoms to look for –

  • Sadness of mood
  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Lack of interest in everything
  • Aloofness
  • Disinterest in pleasurable activities
  • Change in eating and sleeping habits
  • Thoughts of hopelessness
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Extreme rage or anger and disappointment
  • Extreme thoughts like death or suicide
  • Staying away from family or friends
  • Lack of concentration

What are the various types of mental health issues?

Once you have identified that your child could have mental health problems, it is important to understand the exact issue. Here, the parents must take the support of a phycologist to better understand the illness of their child. Knowing the type of illness will allow you to make a proper plan so that you tackle it effectively.

Some common types of mental illnesses are:

  • Depression: Depression is more common in adults as compared to children. However, it has started affecting more young people today, than in the last few decades. Having said that, depression is seen mostly in teenagers as compared to young children. Depression usually affects the emotions and attitude of your young ones and makes them feel sad and irritated.
  • Anxiety Disorder: This disorder is the most common among young ones. About 6% of the kids suffer from this disorder at some point in the childhood and usually happens because the children are afraid of things or situations that happen in their everyday life.
  • Conduct Disorder: This disorder is also common in young people. Children who suffer from this disorder are generally averse to rules and can also exhibit an aggressive and destructive attitude towards other people.
  • Eating Disorders: Eating disorders generally start in teenage years and are, thus, more common among teenagers than young children. Eating disorders can severely affect the health and physical development of the concerned young person.
  • Self-harm: This is another very common problem among young people. Due to certain situations in their lives, young people suffering from this problem feel that by hurting themselves, they can manage their intense emotional pain and suffering. Examples could be cutting or burning themselves.
  • ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder): Just under 5% of the young people suffer from this problem and ADHD makes it extremely difficult for them to settle down and keep their focus on things for long.
  • Schizophrenia: This is a rare case but it does affect a few young people. This disorder makes it difficult for people to talk and behave in an organised way, with them losing touch with reality in certain cases.
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): This disorder is a result of witnessing something extremely traumatizing or could be as a result of being a victim of bullying, sexual abuse or violence.

It is important that parents seek help and guidance from doctors and experts to resolve the illness affecting their young ones. This brings us to our next step.

Ways to help children suffering from mental illness

Parental Support

The biggest and most primary support for the children suffering from a mental illness has to come from their parents. As mentioned earlier, it starts with parents accepting the fact that their child is suffering from a mental health issue and then going on to deal with it. If parents can keep a warm and a loving relationship with their children, it makes the situation much easier as children are not afraid to share their discomfort with them. The most important thing here is for parents to listen carefully to their child’s problems and take those seriously.

Counselling

There is no shame in taking help from a psychiatrist or a doctor for a child suffering from any mental health issue. In fact, it is the best possible way to deal with the issue as psychiatrist and doctors are experts in these matters and can help. The psychologists know how the children suffering from a mental disorder feel and hence, are able to communicate with them in a way that allows them to come out of their shelves and slowly but surely resolve the issue. Also, there is no need to worry because these experts keep all the discussed matters completely confidential. Your family’s information will be completely safe with them.

Medication

There are many medications available for children suffering from certain types of mental ailments such as ADHD, mood swings, and anxiety. If you are concerned about the medications and how will they affect your child, then you can have an in-depth discussion with the doctors and they will tell you about the various risks and benefits of the medication. 

Support Groups

Sometimes, it helps to meet other people suffering from the same or similar difficulty. This is the logic behind the support group. Children suffering from the same or similar mental health issue come together as a peer group to help better their issues.

Just like adults, even children suffer from mental health issues. It is of utmost importance that the parents recognise the child’s illness and provide the right help and support so that the child can grow up to be a socially and emotionally healthy adult. Remember, mental illness is not a stigma. It is real, common, but definitely treatable.

 

Super Simple But Effective Dadi Ma Ke Nuskhe For Summer Care

Summer is here and it’s again that time of the year where you would want to head outdoors and bask in the glory of the sun. The harsh summer sun can have an adverse effect on your skin, hair and body but let not that deter you from stepping out and having some fun.

Summers can be harsh; there’s no questioning that but you can take care of yourself and your loved ones with some simple tips. No need to rush into the world of toxic cosmetics full of chemicals. We have some fantastic Dadi Maa ke nuskhe for you to take care of your hair, skin and overall health this summer.

Skin Care During Summers

The harsh sun rays tend to make your skin oily thereby making it prone to breaking and acne. Following a regular skin care regime is essential. We see a few of you cringing there, but hey, Dadi Maa has easy hacks for you. Follow these simple steps to take care of your skin during summers:

Cucumber & Lemon Lotion

Stepping out in summers mean getting a horrible tan or sunburns in extreme cases. Cucumber and lemon are known for their lightening properties. Make a lotion with cucumber juice and lemon and apply on the exposed parts of the skin before stepping out. It will not only protect you from tanning and sunburn but will also help in keeping your skin feeling cool. Tip: For more effective results you can add a little coconut oil to this formation.

Curd and Multani Mitti Facepack

Both curd and multani mitti are known for their cooling properties. Rejuvenate your summer skin by applying this face pack. Mix a teaspoon of multani mitti in two teaspoons of curd and apply on your skin. Keep it for 10-15 minutes and wash with cold water. This pack can be applied all over the body. This combination provides moisture and cools down the skin. Since it’s an all natural thing, you can apply it as often as you deem fit for your skin.

Hair Care During Summers

More often than not, people tend to overlook their hair while focusing on their skin. Hair needs as much care and protection as your skin. Here are two best summer hacks by Dadi Maa for summers:

Oil Your Hair

Yes, you read that right. During summers people tend to skip oiling their hair considering that the hair already gets quite murky but that’s the biggest mistake you can commit. Hair needs as much moisture in summers as in winters. During summers, you can opt for coconut oil which is a natural coolant. Massage your scalp for 5-10 mins after oiling. Leave in the oil for at least 30 mins before washing.

Aloe Vera and Curd Hair Mask

Hair needs nourishment just like your skin. Deep conditioning is one of the best and most effective ways to repair the damage caused to your hair. Aloe Vera and curd have cooling properties. Apply this on your head and keep for not more than 30 mins. This mask not only relaxes and rejuvenates your hair; it also helps in fighting dandruff. Yes, dandruff happens in summers too!

Health Care During Summers

Dehydration is the most common issue that people face during summers. Keeping yourself hydrated can be a task if you are on the go the entire day. Here are two simple and easy Dadi Maa ke nuskhe to keep you hydrated even on the go:

Change Your Diet

Water is not the only way to keep your body hydrated. Dadi Maa says that you can eat water too. Yes, you can! Supplement your diet with food that has cooling properties and high water content. Add melons, cucumbers, celery, and strawberries to your diet. If you have a long outdoor day planned, consume these foods or carry them with you along with water.

Avoid Fatigue

Feeling exhausted and drained out is a natural thing during summers. The heat and the physical activities can make you feel tired more often than the usual. In order to fight fatigue and energise your body, you got to stay hydrated. Yes, we know it is clichéd, but that’s the way. Avoid caffeine and carbonated drinks as much as you can. They tend to reduce the water content in the body thereby making you feel fatigued.

Sleeping Better During Summers

We know you all are prepared with your air conditioning and other cooling systems but despite that, you need to take care of certain things in order to sleep better.

Choose Proper Clothing

Ditch all your fancy nightwear and make way for simple, loose, and comfortable cottons. The material of the cloth of your nightwear plays an important role. Our bodies sweat and release natural oils during the night and in summers they do even more. Cottons help in absorbing all the excretion from the body thereby helping you sleep better.

Consume Light and Cooling Food Items

Make sure that you don’t binge during dinner time. Dinner has to be the lightest meal of your day and in summers it becomes even more essential to follow this. A heavy meal will make your body feel warmer which in turn causes trouble with the digestive system. Consuming cooling food items will keep your body temperature down.

Summers may be harsh but you don’t need to lock yourself up indoors. Following these few basic tips can help you in keeping your overall health in check. Whenever stepping out in the sun, make sure that you have your UV protection on and don’t forget to carry your scarf and sunglasses!