An effort to give shelter to those homeless creatures!!!

Kadam Chhota, Change Bada!!!

We lived in a housing colony of a small town in Uttar Pradesh. The locality was a bit far from the main city, in the outskirts of the town. There was a dense forest that connected our locality with the town. That forest was the shelter to many dogs, dears, snakes and even robbers, so people were always cautious while crossing that area especially during the nights because most of the times, those wild creatures used to attack in the dark hours. Gradually, those stray dogs entered our colony too. Those hungry and thirsty homeless creatures were always in search of food and water and used to snatch eatables from people if they find any prey.
Another problem we faced in our colony was that all the houses were interconnected to each other through the terraces which made it easier for the thieves to rob. Every now and then, there were cases of robbery even in the daylight. In the summer afternoons, when ladies and kids were alone at home, sleeping or taking rest away from the scorching heat, those robbers used to attack. Also, they used to target the families which were out for summer vacations and ransacked their nests.
One of my friends also used to live in the same locality who was a dog lover. She and her husband owned an Event Management Company and were also working voluntarily towards helping the stray dogs. They had adopted many such dogs and used to take utmost care of them like their own kids. She was out of town when those stray dogs entered our area and started perpetrating terror. Everyone in the society was scared to death and people were reluctant to send their children outside to play in the park or even schools.
The day my friend Anshu returned from her vacations, I told her about the situation and requested her to help. The first initiative she took was to start putting some food and water outside her house for those dogs. She encouraged everyone in the area to come forward and join her but initially people found her idea insane and life threatening. They thought those wild dogs will attack and bite them so why to unnecessarily get involved. They preferred to stay away. Gradually, people noticed the dogs were well fed and happy. They used to sleep under the tree after eating the food and stopped harming anyone. Then other neighbours also came forward and started leaving food outside their houses.
The same dogs which were causing troubles for the masses and hurting them earlier became not just calm and friendly but also the “protectors”. They were always alert and helped the people in catching a thief also while he attempted robbery one night. After that, there were no cases of theft in our locality.
Anshu, parallelly contacted an NGO that helped people to adopt homeless animals. 2 of the dogs were adopted by Anshu herself, 7 were adopted by the neighbors and rest were sent to the NGO and were adopted by other people over a period of time. All of them got a family. They were well fed, loved and cared.
It was such a satisfying feeling to see those creatures being loved like a kid,
and living happily with their new family. Indeed, its true that small steps sometimes can lead to a bigger change.
PS: Anshu Jagwani, my friend, left for her heavenly abode last year due to sudden kidney failure at an early age of 33 years. She is no more with us physically but will always remain alive in the hearts of not just her family and friends but also with those little ones whom she had loved unconditionally. This article is an ode to her, to the golden heart she had and to the noble deeds she did.
Every change begins with a small step, whether it’s a change within your family, or the whole country! India’s hero, Padman, had its digital premiere on ZEE5, on 11th May. Don’t miss this inspiring true-life story, only on ZEE5. Download the app and subscribe nowFor every subscription, ZEE5 will donate Rs. 5 towards the personal hygiene needs of underprivileged women.

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All I want is a day off this Mother’s Day!

Yeah, you heard it right. This is all I want this Mother’s Day; a day off from round-the-clock motherhood duties, a break from this programmed life. Am I sounding unreasonable or impractical? May be, but that’s all I wish. People may call it being selfish, I call it loving myself because #Happystartswithme.

I don’t want to be woken up by my husband or kids or that devil alarm clock. I just want to snuggle in my cozy bed and sleep as long as I want.

I don’t want to worry about the three hot meals of the day to be served to my family. Ordering in or eating out are better choices and will be much appreciated. Feeding toast and corn flakes to the kids instead of oats one day won’t make them sick. Go Daddy!

I want to have my morning tea in peace without getting up countless times in between. Am I expecting too much?

I want to take a bubble bath instead of 2-minute shower.

I want to give myself a much needed foot massage as every night my legs pain as if I have been climbing hills.

As I am miles apart from my Mom, I just want to call her and talk my heart out and listen to her without any distractions. I don’t even remember when I spoke to her in peace.

I don’t even want to look at the sink full of dirty dishes and fully loaded laundry basket. Excuse me for a day please!

I don’t want to babysit my terrible twos, worry about the mess they make throughout the day, act as a referee to their sword fights, change their leaked diapers, shout every minute on them to stop their mischieves and most importantly I don’t want to sing lullabies and put them to sleep.

I want to go out alone and buy myself some flowers and grab a chocolate without a fear of being caught by my tiny two.

I may be judged for shirking from my duties but I would give a deaf ear to all the comments and prefer a day just for myself. What are your wishes for the day, Mommies? How do you want your day to be? Share with me in the comments below.

Love you all, hope you have a fantastic Mother’s day.

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What’s your individual contribution to stopping rapes and other crimes against women??? #Superbloggerchallenge #Instacuppa

Last few days have been quite disturbing, reading about the shameful news and brutal crimes against girls and women across the country. It has filled every woman’s heart with a fear that “I could be the next” or “What if I was at her place?”. We have become even more concerned and protective towards our daughters, mothers, sisters and secretly praying that they don’t go out at all.

Another inflaming matter to worry about is that the people don’t understand the sensitivity of the case and just whataboutering, connecting the case with other angles like religion, politics and what not. Media is sharing the old videos and photos of the Kathua victim. Think of what her parents and family must be going through while digging her pics and videos for you. For your channel, its TRP but for her family, it was their hearts which have been crushed so brutally. Isn’t it inhuman on our part? I mean a little girl had gone through the worst nightmare and you are raising such topics during the trying times. Really?

Lately, I saw a post blaming a famous Bollywood actress for the revealing clothes she was wearing during a photoshoot. People, do you still think it’s about the clothes? If nudity has anything to do with rapes then females covered in sarees, suits or even hijabs would have never been the victims. And what about these little kids? Are they exposing themselves to the pedophiles? They don’t even know the meaning of the word Rape. And if you still talk about clothing, can you please tell why we get to hear little boys being molested? YES, there had been such unfortunate cases too. In what way were they dressing up wrong? It’s all in the sick minds of the people and this dirty mentality needs to be changed and not the clothes we wear.

Even worse, there have been posts about defending the accused with vindications offered like “It was a temple with regular visitors so how can she be kept hostaged there” and “How can a father ask his son to gangrape” and other such utter nonsense. Political parties got a burning topic and are playing blame game here. They can change currency overnight but can’t bring about a robust law for the safety of females so expecting anything from them is useless. But what are we doing as an individual?

Instead of focusing on such futile matters, why don’t we start introspecting and do our bit for the society. We are shaken to the core and our system does not seem to change so it’s time for us to get up and kick some butts if anything is done wrong with us or in front of us. It’s time we should stop giving GYAN to our daughters on how to dress up, where and when to go, how to behave with the in-laws, when to marry etc. It’s time we don’t let a man touch any female in the buses or trains, no matter whether she is a known to us or a stranger. She’s a woman and that’s enough to take a stand! Its time every girl should learn self defence techniques. Its time to stop treating pink as girly and blue as virile. Its time for raising our daughters with equal feathers in her heart and stop setting boundaries for her. Its time to stop expecting your daughter in law to be a Tarla Dalal. Its ok if your Raja Beta cooks dinner if your bahu comes home late from work. Its time not to tolerate any joke or statement that puts women down. It’s time we stop saying “Ultimately, Shadi hi karni hai kya karogi aur padh likh ke” and force our daughters to get married. Its time to stop saying “Stop crying like a girl”. Its time to break the stereotypes set by our society and introduce our sons to the household chores and kitchen. Its time to educate your sons to respect females and if they cant, better be prepared for the wrath coming their way. Its time to make our sons understand that “NO is a NO”. It’s time to stop stating “Choodiyan pehen lo” as a weakness or shame. I have seen many educated, well to do families differentiating between girl and boy child. This should be stopped. The root cause of this monstrous disease is unfair and unequal “upbringing” which should be the same for both the genders.

Remember, learning starts at home only and the seeds sown in the childhood always persist in our kids minds. So, raise equally strong kids and don’t let your daughter feel in any way, she’s lesser than your son, physically or mentally. I am using my pen power to do my bit and making sure my daughters are raised as strong women of the society who would always speak up for the wrong. I am doing my bit, are you?

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Note: This article has been written as a part of SuperBloggerChallenge2018 conducted by Healthwealthbridge.comFashionablefoodz.comAllaboutthewoman.com and should not be repurposed, republished or used otherwise. The content herein is owned by the blogger. SuperBloggerChallenge2018 is not responsible for any kind of infringement caused.

Technology free childhood #SuperBloggerChallenge #Instacuppa

One thing which I am always thankful for is that I was grown up in the era of landline phones, cable connections, posting letters and personal relationships – the real ones. The era when technology did not take over. The era when outings meant going to parks and picnics instead of malls. The era when people used to visit friends and relatives randomly on Sundays without informing them as they did not have the luxury of mobile phones. Yes, this modern amenity was a luxury then which has turned out to be the necessity of today.  Imagining life without this little yet addictive junk box today seems terrifying. It’s like the best companion to us everywhere even bathroom. It has replaced our real friends into facebook / online friends, our diaries into phone contact list, letters to e-mails, phone calls to whatsapp voice notes, feelings and emotions to facebook status.

Now don’t guess my age while reading this post and treat me as a pensioner, I’m still in my sweet 30’s, just missing the good old days and sad about the fact that I won’t be able to give my kids the same atmosphere in which I have been raised – a gadget free childhood.

No matter how hard we try, it’s impossible today to keep the children away from technology. The moment they are born, they are exposed to cell phones, groupfies, selfies (of course taken by parents). And gradually to make our lives easier, we make them watch cartoons on tablets so that we can finish our chores and get some breathe. They get glued to screen and parents become happy to get sometime for themselves and this is how their daily dose of screen time rockets up.

I have seen kids as young as 2 years, well acquainted with ipads, laptops, mobile phones and what not. At the age of playing with blocks, crayons, legos, they own their personal tablet and operate it with such confidence that can amaze anyone. Parents have their own vindication “It’s the competitive world and kids have to be smart since childhood”. They find pride in highlighting this talent of their kids to the society.

If I talk about myself, I learned computers in my school computer lab when I was in class 5-6th or even later. I know it won’t be reasonable if I start comparing our lives with that of our children as it’s altogether a generation gap and things have changed significantly in the last few years but I can’t deny the fact that technology has snatched the innocent and golden period of life from our kids. Poor babies, they don’t even realise it.

I feel sad that they will never be able to experience the joy of playing in the park, those unstructured, imaginative games, with friends, without getting lured to return home and sit on their PlayStation.

They will never have the craze of TV like we had and used to wait for our favourite programs like Jungle Book, Rangoli, Mahabharat as they can watch their favourite shows on Internet anytime.

They will not value the resources like TV, phones, radio as we used to have just one set in the entire huge family and everyone used to wait for their turn to watch their shows, make calls via landline or even listen to their channel on radio.

They won’t understand the fun which we had while checking the cordless phone’s coverage by taking it to terrace or other farther areas.

They will not understand the essence of relationships and family get togethers. Now the wishes are exchanged on Facebook, WhatsApp and presence is marked even by going live.

They will know postmen only for the rarest of rare speed posts or delivering their passports and not for the handwritten much awaited letters which had so many emotions hidden.

They won’t get to feel the excitement we had when we used to impatiently wait to see our pictures clicked by cameras and films were given to photographers to develop. They will miss the fun of guessing the pics by seeing their negatives.

Not sure if they will ever refer a dictionary for their vocabulary doubts as Internet serves the purpose well.

They will not be able to experience the moments lazing around, basking under the sun in winters and sleeping at the terrace in summer nights.

They won’t get the joy of playing on the terrace with cousins when there were power cuts in summers and generators were for only a few rich people.

I can’t deny that I let my kids watch cartoons or I have devoided them of screen totally but I have set a limit to it. There are a few ways I divert my little ones from screen, which you can also try:

  • Get down on the floor and involve with them in activities like playing, singing, dancing.
  • Inculcate a habit of reading. Read stories with them while enacting and explaining. They will copy and learn.
  • There are many activity and craft games available in the market which help kids learn and grow.
  • Beads can be a good option to keep them busy for hours and they will become more creative.
  • Many puzzles are available in the market for all age groups which will help them use their minds and have some brainstorming sessions.
  • Lego challenge is a family fun activity in my home.
  • Painting or coloring books is another creative activity which kids will love.
  • Introduce them to the kitchen gradually, ask them to lend a helping hand in peeling green peas, boiled potatoes or even dressing salad.
  • Encourage them to do household chores depending on their age. My little ones (2.5 years) find pride in doing everything on their own, keeping their dirty clothes in washing machine, unloading the washing machine and putting the clothes on dryer, keeping their dirty dishes in the sink, putting their toys in place after playing, tidying the room before going to bed etc. This will not only keep them active but also make them independent.
  • Go on a walk or enroll them in hobby classes like music, dance, language, swimming, robotics etc.
  • Kids love bubble play, it comes to my rescue when nothing else helps.
  • Many a times, there are meltdown moments also but let them get bored. This way, they will try to explore new things and figure out the way to overcome their boredom.
  • Lastly, remember while you try to limit kids screen time, you have you set an example infront of them by limiting your usage too. Kids need models not preachers.

I am neither a pro in parenting nor I believe in any universal parenting rules. However, this is just my perspective, that I have offered on this subject which many of us ignore. While it may be natural to seek for our children, a childhood reminiscent of our own, we can’t overlook that our society is evolving and with it, the childhood. Rapidly advancing technology and a changing atmosphere will result in a different experience for our kids and in the generations to come. We, as a parent, have to decide what kind of childhood we wish to give to our juniors – a gadget free or gadget freak.

Note: This article has been written as a part of SuperBloggerChallenge2018 conducted by Healthwealthbridge.comFashionablefoodz.comAllaboutthewoman.com and should not be repurposed, republished or used otherwise. The content herein is owned by the blogger. SuperBloggerChallenge2018 is not responsible for any kind of infringement caused.

Thanks to God for unforgettable last 5 months with my father! #SuperBloggerChallenge #Instacuppa

Pouring my emotions and penning down this blog wasn’t easy but sometimes, venting out your feelings is the best catharsis. I wrote it with a heavy heart, teary eyes and shaking hands but as it is said, “Life goes on”, I also have to move on and face the saddest reality of life. I can scream, I can rant, I can get angry on destiny but I can’t flee from the truth.

When my daughters were 4 months, my husband shifted to another country and joined his new job. I was supposed to join him after few months as kids were too small and I needed help. That was the time, I got a chance to live with my parents for such a long time after a decade, as I left my home city after graduation, for PG, then job and finally got married so all of us were thrilled to live together again and this time it was even special as I had my double edi (addi) tion with me.

I was the closest to my father since childhood and quite a pampered and loved daughter. We shared a beautiful bond of silence. He was a man of few words still I could always sense his emotions through his expressions, smile or even his silence, I inherited this from him only as he was a great observer. The most grounded and amazing person I have ever met with a heart of gold, healthy sense of humour, epitome of simplicity, ever ready to help the needy secretly without an inch of show off.

We were a middle class family and Papa was in a Government job who grew up to a decent level through his dedication, honesty and hard work. I remember him narrating us the stories about how he traveled long distances to his office on a bicycle in the initial years of his job. He was transferred to other cities far from home for many years and couldn’t take care of his diet and eating habits. This took a toll on his health and he was diagnosed with diabetes at an early age of 35 only. We were little kids then, unaware about this poison and how it could ruin our happiness. Years later, it affected his liver and he was diagnosed with chronic liver disease. I went to stay with them in March 2016 end and we had the best moments together till June when he fell sick one day and immediately had to get hospitalised. Since then, his health kept declining and he finally left for his heavenly abode in August end just a week after I left for Delhi with my husband.

I’m thankful to God for all those moments that I had spent with Pa in those five months.

I’m thankful to God that I could take him for shopping where he tried a few shirts very joyfully like a kid and picked up three.

I’m thankful to God that I could dine with him at a newly opened restaurant in our city where he had a scrumptious meal of Dal Bati instead of the boring Oats and boiled food that we used to feed him daily. Seeing him relishing food after a long time was highly satisfactory.

I’m thankful to God that I could celebrate my birthday, Pa’s birthday and Father’s Day with him and baked my first ever cake for him. I’m thankful to God for letting me tie Rakhi to Pa one last time on Raksha Bandhan. Though my thread wasn’t strong enough to save him.

I’m thankful to God that we could celebrate kids monthly birthdays and then half yearly birthday with Pa when he didn’t leave any stone unturned to make it the way I wanted. He enjoyed immensely the cake smashes done by the kids.

I’m thankful to God for all the drives Pa used to take us out immediately after coming back from the office, despite having long tiring days.

I’m thankful to God that Pa could pamper me after so many years, daily by calling from office and asking what I wished to eat. The days I used to say “Kuch bhi le ayiyega Pa”, he used to get upset so I always had a special demand which pleased him the most.

I’m thankful to God for all the evening walks and endless talks we had during my stay.

I’m thankful to God that I could serve Pa during his last few days, accompany him during his hospital stays and had few precious father-daughter moments.

I’m thankful to God for giving Pa, the joy of playing with his grandchildren.

I’m thankful to God for all the smiles and laughter filled moments we had together.

I’m thankful to God that I was able to see the real, behind the mask faces of people during these months.

People say the fate is destined and the journey of one’s life is pre determined but I never used to believe in all this until I lost Pa. Today, when I look back, it seems like it was actually a plan of God that my husband relocated to another country, I went to my parents and could spend the best moments with them. I’m thankful to God for planning the things such way.

These things may sound trivial to you all but it means the biggest asset to me which I treasure the most.

Through this blog, I also want to share a message with the readers that never take your parents for granted. Never disconnect their calls, even if you are busy, take the call and inform. Never leave things for tomorrow as it never comes. If you want to do something for your parents, be it taking them out for a movie or lunch or a vacation or anything you feel might give them happiness, do it today. Give your time to them and express your love as much as you can. Parents are irreplaceable and the loss is irrevocable. Their absence hurts, it fills your life with a vacuum which can never be filled. The feeling of never been able to see them, meet them, feel them, touch them, hear them rips you apart and you can just groan. Instead of regretting in front of their photographs later, make memories today.

Those five months were indeed a blessing in my life full of mixed emotions. Where on one hand, there was happiness in abundance, on the other hand there was a fear of his deteriorating health. Though I have a lot of grudges in my heart that the Almighty took away Pa so early but I am thankful to Him for letting me spend the last few days with him which I will cherish whole of my life.

I don’t want readers to feel sorry for my loss because I don’t feel it that way, my connection with Pa is getting stronger everyday & I feel immensely blessed and proud to be his daughter even more. I am thankful to God for fixing our meetings often in dreams.
Note: This article has been written as a part of SuperBloggerChallenge2018 conducted by Healthwealthbridge.comFashionablefoodz.comAllaboutthewoman.com and should not be repurposed, republished or used otherwise. The content herein is owned by the blogger. SuperBloggerChallenge2018 is not responsible for any kind of infringement caused.

Are you eating Cancer? #SuperBloggerChallenge2018 #Instacuppa

What is Cancer: “Cancer” – one barbaric word that gives me jitter every time I encounter it. It is a very common disease nowadays and according to British Journal of Cancer, 1 in 3 people will get it at some point in their life. It is a fatal disease which starts when cells grow uncontrollably and crowd out normal cells making it difficult for the body to function the way it should. Every cell in our body has its own certain job and when these cells are damaged or worn out, our body produces new cells and old cells are replaced by the new ones. The cancer cells keep on growing and making new cells, crowding out the normal cells.

How it is treated: Some cancers spread and thrive rapidly while others grow slowly, hence the treatment for both is different depending upon the type and stage of cancer a person is. Few are treated with surgery, few with radiations while others respond well to chemotherapy. When surgery is the best option and is performed to eliminate the cancer, there is a possibility that the surgeon might take out some or all of the cancer affected body part. Like in breast cancer, a part or the entire breast might be removed. Similarly, the entire prostate gland might be removed for treating prostate cancer. However, surgery is not needed to treat all types of cancer. Blood cancer (leukemia) is best treated with drugs and this process is termed as Chemotherapy (Chemo). Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells or slow their growth. It can be given by IV (into a vein through a needle) or via pills to swallow. Chemo drugs travel to almost all parts of the body hence they are useful for cancer that has spread. Radiation is another way to kill or hinder the growth of cancer cells. It can be done alone or along with surgery or chemotherapy depending upon the type and severity of the disease. Radiation treatment is like getting an x-ray.

Types of Cancer: Cancer cells can spread to any part of the body causing cancer of the particular organ. Various types of Cancer are lungs, breasts, cervical, prostrate, skin, blood (leukemia), endometrial, thyroid, stomach, pituitary, cervical, anal, liver, esophagus, eye, gall bladder, penile, pancreatic, kidney, uterine, vaginal etc.

Causes of Cancer: There are various causes to this complex disease, however doctors may not be able to tell the exact cause. A few common causes are smoking, consumption of tobacco and alcohol, sun radiations, heredity, obesity, unhealthy eating habits, lack of physical activity, sedentary lifestyle etc. I have lost my beloved one to Cancer, seen her in extreme pain, fighting but finally losing to it. Lately, I have heard many cases where people who had been healthy eaters, much focused on their health, fitness and diet were still battling with this frightful scourge and unable to find the answer for their question “WHY ME?”. This made me wonder and ponder about the possible eating habits which are overlooked because of ignorance and lack of knowledge, hence I did a lot of research on the topic and concluded “Having a healthy diet is important but alone it will not help you. You need to delete cancer-causing foods and add cancer eradicating foods in your daily diet”.

Here I am sharing a list of few commonly used foods which are said to have carcinogens and can cause Cancer, measures to avoid them and ways to stay away from this brutal curse.

Smoked Foods: According to NCBI, smoked foods contain injurious carcinogens called “nitrates” and “nitrites” that prevent them from rotting and keep them fresh for a longer time. When we cook smoked foods, nitrates and nitrites are converted into N-nitroso compounds which include nitrosamines and nitrosamides which can increase your risk of developing cancer. Frequent intake of smoked foods has more chances to develop cancer hence regulate the consumption. Excess of everything is bad.

BPA lined Canned foods: You must have heard this term “BPA” a lot. Ever thought what exactly it is and why many products mention “BPA free” on their packing? What’s the difference in BPA & BPA free? Well, it stands for “Bisphenol A”. Its a toxic chemical which is used to make certain plastics and products like CDs, DVDs, plastic bottles etc. Sadly, it is linked to several illnesses like cancer, obesity, sugar, reproductive abnormalities, heart ailments etc. Many food companies coat the lining of their canned foods with BPA which gets mixed up with the food later and could harm us severely. Many countries like Canada, the European Union, China and the US have banned the use of BPA in baby products like baby bottles, sippers and baby food packaging too. Canned foods are quite convenient these days and easily available like tomatoes, kidney beans, soups, corns, fruits etc. but it is up to us to decide and choose between comfort and health. Prefer using fresh food only instead of buying the canned and preserved ones. In case, fresh vegetable is not available, prefer frozen over canned but prefer fresh as first choice. Use glass and stainless steel containers instead of plastic. Look for foods packed in glass jars or tetra packs. Never heat food in plastic containers in microwave, even if it is microwave safe and BPA free.

BPA-canned-foods-300x199

Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils and Trans fats: Hydrogenation is a process in which hydrogen is added to liquid unsaturated fat to convert it into solid fat and during this process, a type of unnatural fat is made which is termed as “Trans fat”. Trans fats increase your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and lower your good (HDL) cholesterol levels increasing the risk of heart disease and diabetes and breast cancer too. Example of foods containing hydrogenated oils and trans fat are cookies, crackers, doughnuts, fried foods, muffins, pies, cakes. Limit how often you consume these. On the Nutrition Label, check the amount of trans fats and pick items with “0 g trans fat”, also look for “No hydrogenated oils” in the ingredients list. Use non hydrogenated vegetable oils such as canola, mustard, coconut, sunflower or olive oil. 

Non-Organic Vegetables and Fruits: Crops that are grown using pesticides, harmful chemicals, GMO seeds and herbicides are likely to cause cancer because all these chemicals contain carcinogens and are dangerous. Prefer buying locally grown produce or organic vegetables and fruits, if they are not available and you have no choice but to eat non-organic ones, then make sure you wash them very well using a brush before consuming. Washing does not eliminate all the pesticides residue, but can reduce it. Try to have a kitchen garden of your own. You need not to have a huge space for it, you can grow them in pots too.

ORGANIC

Excessive Sugar: I had read many posts about sugar stating it as “White poison” or “Cancer’s favorite food” and I regulated the use of sugar in my daily diet but later I did a lot of research and found that there is no evidence that sugar causes cancer but yes, there is an indirect connection between sugar and cancer. Consuming lot of sugar is not good for body, we all know, as it can lead to weight gain and increases the risk of obesity, diabetes and certain cancers too. According to NBC News, after tobacco and smoking, obesity is the one of the biggest cause for cancer. So, people having a sweet tooth, check on your sugar intake. Nothing is bad if eaten in moderation. To satiate your sugar cravings, pick up a fruit, raisins, dates or even dark chocolate. Avoid sugary drinks, flavoured yoghurts, breakfast cereals as these contain excessive sugar. Check the ingredients list and choose lower sugar options. Don’t say NO to sugar but limit the usage as its good for overall health perspective, not cancer alone.

cancer sugar

obesity

Microwaved Popcorn: Who does not like to munch on this healthy snack but you need to monitor how it is made. If you are consuming popcorn prepared in a microwave, think again! Microwaved popcorn is one of the cancer-causing foods because the bags are lined with Perfluoroalkyls, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) to prevent the oil from leaking through the bag on heating it. When we heat the popcorn packet in a microwave, these chemicals end up in the popcorn. Many studies show that PFOA has been associated with tumors in animal organs. Also, PFOA plant workers are highly prone to develop prostate cancer. Rely on the traditional way of making it in a pan as its safe and healthier. Takes few minutes only.

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Grilled Meat: Grilled meat is heaven for non veg lovers, isn’t it? But research shows that it can increase the chances of getting cancer. Barbecuing and cooking meat under a fire can form carcinogenic compounds “heterocyclic amines” and “polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons” which are linked to cause cancer based on the research and studies carried out on animals. According to Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, the 5 worst foods to grill are:

  • Chicken breast, skinless, boneless, grilled, well done
  • Steak, grilled, well done
  • Pork, barbecued
  • Salmon, grilled with skin
  • Hamburger, grilled, well done

But there is a good news too!!! Research suggests ways to  lower levels of carcinogens in your meat by marinating it well before cooking. This will help to keep the surface of the meat from getting very hot. Microwaving before barbecuing can also help.  Ensure it is cooked well as undercooked meat is not suitable for consumption. Cook at proper temperature, not too hot.

grilled-meat-su-659333-x

Soft Drinks and Sports Drinks: As I have mentioned above sugary drinks can cause cancer, many studies have confirmed that soft drinks like soda, sport drinks can cause cancer. Due to excessive sugar, they increase the insulin production in the pancreas doubling the risk of pancreatic cancer. Try natural drinks like nimbu pani, coconut water, buttermilk. Infused water can be a great alternative too.

infused

Processed Foods: According to a report commissioned by The World Cancer Research Fund, based on a review of more than 7,000 clinical studies that examined the connection between eating habits and cancer, it was founded that processed foods and meats are not healthy and should be avoided as much as possible. Processed meat is made with meats from animals, raised in animal feeding farms. These animals including farm fishes are fed growth hormones and many other drugs. These meats also contain nitrite to add color and flavor to the food. As I have mentioned above, nitrite are converted into nitrosamines in the body; which are strong cancer-causing chemicals and increase the risk of stomach and other cancers.

processed foods

According to The BMJ, another major cancer causing agent is processed food as it contain artificial colors, humectants, emulsifiers, artificial sweeteners and flavoring agents. Many processed foods have large amount of white refined flour, which is also a very unhealthy choice for eating as it goes through a dangerous process of manufacturing and contains many harmful chemicals.

Stick to the food in its natural state as much as possible. Add whole grains, fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables in your diet. 

Preservatives: Preservatives are used to keep food fresh, edible and safe for a longer period of time. Many flavoring agents, colors, additives, salt, sugar, MSGs, dyes, extracts, oil etc. are the most commonly used preservatives. According to Cancer Council NSW & International Agency for the Research of Cancer (IARC), preservatives increase the risk of cancer. Instead of packed juices, consume the fresh ones. Mother Nature has so much to offer, why to opt for artificial foods?

preservatives

JUICES

How to prevent Cancer: As there are many causes for cancer, there is no foolproof way to stay away from this evil, however certain changes in diet and lifestyle may lower the risk. Apart from the italicized tips given above, consider a few more below:

1. Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and healthy fats: Add Carotenoids rich foods in your diet. These are the pigments that give color to various fruits and vegetables like carrots, brussel sprouts, squash, cantaloupe, sweet potato, kale etc. Add antioxidants like artichokes, all type of berries, pecans, kidney beans, dark chocolate etc to your diet. Non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, spinach and beans. Fruits and vegetables rich in Vitamin C like oranges, guava, kiwi, green and red peppers, papaya etc. Add fibre rich foods. Add seeds, nuts, whole grains, omega-3 fatty acids for healthy fats. Add immune boosting herbs and spices like garlic, ginger, turmeric, basil, rosemary, and coriander.

2. Done overcook food as it kills many useful vitamins and minerals. Undercooked food is equally harmful.

3. Use vegetable stock for cooking your vegetables, soups, dals or even kneading flour.

4. Use steel and glasswares and try to avoid plastic as much as possible.

5. Prefer to cook oils on low heat as low-heat cooking or baking (less than 240 degrees) prevents oils or fats from turning carcinogenic. Consider other healthier cooking options like baking, boiling, steaming, or broiling instead of deep-frying, pan-frying which require high heat cooking.

6. Store oils in in airtight containers in cool dark place as they become rancid when exposed to heat, light, and air.

7. Maintain a healthy weight: Weight gain, overweight and obesity increases the risk of many cancers like bowel, breast, prostate, pancreatic, endometrial, kidney, gallbladder, esophageal, and ovarian cancers, so keep a check on your weight always.

8. Exercise for at least 30 mins daily, stay physically active and say no to sedentary lifestyle to decrease the risk of colon, endometrial, and postmenopausal breast cancer.

9. Limit alcohol intake. 

10. Breastfeeding is highly recommended for mothers for up to 6 months. More the merrier. This not only decreases the risk for the mother to develop breast cancer but also breastfed children are less likely to be overweight.

11. Regular check ups: Regular annual check ups are always advisable for timely and early diagnosis of any disease including Cancer. Don’t wait for any symptom to get it checked. Make sure to get an annual complete health check up done for yourself and your family.

12. Vaccinations: There are vaccines available to prevent cancers like cervical cancer, liver cancer, anal cancer, vaginal cancer etc. Talk to your practitioner about it and get it done.

Hope you like this article. Do share your thoughts with me. Eat healthy, live healthy.

Note: This article has been written as a part of SuperBloggerChallenge2018 conducted by Healthwealthbridge.comFashionablefoodz.comAllaboutthewoman.com and should not be repurposed, republished or used otherwise. The content herein is owned by the blogger. SuperBloggerChallenge2018 is not responsible for any kind of infringement caused.

Tips on buying a New Car!

             This is a sponsored post

For a middle class family, the two biggest investments are housing and car. So, if you are planning to buy your first car and clueless how to go about it, I am here to help you with a few tips from my personal experience which might help you to make a decision wisely:

Research and homework: Walking in casually to any outlet to explore the cars would not be a wise idea as you will end up nowhere and come back home totally confused. Moreover, the smart salesmen will smell and circle you like a prey. So, before visiting any dealer, do some research and don’t let them take you for a ride. Points to keep in mind are:

  1. What is your requirement, make, model, style of the car.
  2. How much you are willing to spend – the budget.
  3. What features you actually need and what are the extras which can be avoided like heated seats, built-in navigation, built-in music system which can be bought at a much better and less expensive price. VIN etching, rear camera, dealership maintenance plan, extended warranty, rust proofing, paint protection are a few add-ons that can be avoided.
  4. You need to determine the affordability also, whether you want to purchase a diesel or petrol or gas driven cars.

There are many online car compare sites which you use and search cars matching your requirement. Once you know which all cars are within your budget and meeting the other needs too, you can read experts and users reviews about those cars on various internet sites and get an idea about the overall performance.

Explore and Compare dealerships: The market is full of car dealerships offering various brands under one roof so when it comes to choosing a dealer, there are few points to consider like what is the final invoice cost of the car offered by the dealer, what are the delivery options, what discounts or sales they have, after sales service, what loan options and schemes they have. You also should ask for the complimentary products they will offer after the purchase like paint protection, an extended warranty, prepaid maintenance plan etc. Different dealers have different prices based on their location and other dealers are aware of this fact, so you can use this point in your favour and bargain. Stick to your guns and ask for a discount politely.

Take Test drive: Before buying a car, taking test test drive is as important as trying clothes before buying. You need to know if its suits your requirement or not. If you plan to fit a child seat in your car, bring it during your test drive and practice. It is the best chance to observe how comfortable the seats are, how relaxing the driver seat is, boot space, suspension, will it fit into your parking area or not, how smooth and quiet the car is, how much is the leg space, easy to use controls are there or not, performance on various roads, what are the safety features, consumption cost, mileage, view from the mirrors is clear etc. Don’t hesitate to ask any questions or use any features during the drive. You are going to spend a lot of money on this purchase, so being sure is important.

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Financing: Once you finalize a car in you mind, check about the loan with the car dealers and your bank. Most of the times, the dealer’s rate are much higher than that of the banks but there is no harm checking with them and you never know you get a better deal, hassle-free, at one place only. It’s always advisable to take a loan for a shorter period – 40 months or so.

To calculate your car loan, here is a link that will help you: 

https://www.cars.com/car-loan-calculator/

Close the deal and take delivery: Take a final look of the car for any dents, scratches that might have occured during the transport and after proper demonstration, if you feel the car, dealership, rates, loan, insurance all are in place and look OK, it’s time to pay and take the delivery. You can do the paperwork and take the delivery at their outlet and drive your four wheeler home else you can request the dealer to deliver it at your place. You can ask the salesman about any features like pairing bluetooth with your phone or switching on headlights, fog lights or any other safety feature etc.

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Last and the most important step: Enjoy your long drives!!!

 

 

My favourite 3 holiday destinations in India #Superbloggerchallenge2018 #Instacuppa

I am a travel enthusiast and very fond of traveling and exploring new destinations. This travel bug bit me in the very early years of my life when we used to plan a trip mostly to the hill stations during summer vacations. I have a lot of cherished memories of my childhood with my family and cousins. Here sharing my top 3 picks in India which I would love to visit any given day:
A.) The city of lakes, Nainital: As I have mentioned above, I love traveling and have travelled extensively in India and abroad but my first choice and the most loved travel destination is and will always be Nainital. I was 6 years old when I first visited this breathtaking place, situated in the Uttrakhand state of India. Every single memory is still afresh in my mind and I have been there 6 times so far. It is one of the most popular place to visit for North Indians during summers as its close to Delhi and other neighbouring cities and just an overnight journey from my city, Lucknow. It is a great escape destination so people flock there to beat the heat in summers. It’s one of the favorite choices for honeymooners too because of its accessibility and mesmerizing charm.
How to reach: The nearest railway station is Kathgodam and you can take bus/taxi from there till Nainital which is an hour drive. The nearest airport is Pantnagar Airport. Taxis and buses are easily available from the railway station as well as airport.
Best places to visit: 
1. Naini Lake: The main center of attraction and the most relaxing spot of Nainital is Naini lake which is the first sight you will get on reaching Nainital. It’s in heart of the city, surrounded by the splendid natural scenic beauty of lushy green hills. There are many other lakes also which are at Bhimtal, Khurpatal, Naukhuchiatal, Sattal & Shymaltal. You can take a stroll around the serene lake enjoying the “bhutta” and pop corns and also go for boating.
naini lake
2. China Peak or Naina Peak: If you are interested in trekking, this is a place for you as it is situated at the highest peak of Nainital. It gives a panoramic view of the city and valley. People visit it to view the sunrise and sunset.
 
3. Tiffin Top: Another beautiful spot that gives you a stunning view of the city and The Himalayas. Its famous for hiking, horse riding and “not to miss” sunset and sunrise.
4. Snow View: This is my most favorite spot as it can be reached by a cable car, which itself is an adventurous thing to do. This gives amazing views of The Himalayas, lake, city and the highest peaks.
5. Cave Garden: This is a hidden gem of Nainital which I discovered lately in my last visit. There are 7 interconnected caves which can be reached through quite narrow paths. Kids love this place because of the adventure and musical fountain. Definitely a must see place.
 eco-cave-gardens
6. Naina Devi Temple: This is an ancient temple located near the Tibetan market and can be reached on walk. I relish the special peda prasad there. It gives a beautiful view of the Naini lake too.
 
7. Kainchi Dham: This is a peaceful place around 20kms from Nainital and I visit every time because me and my family are devotees of Neeb Karoli Baba, who was an incarnation of Lord Hanuman. Divine place totally. People still experience the miracles here. You can reach there by taxi or bus.
Kainchi
8. Shopping: Traveling without shopping is no fun. I never miss visiting Tibetan Market during my trip to Nainital. You get excellent stuff – clothes, pullovers and even toys at a negotiated price. Also Nainital is famous for its candles which you can buy from any roadside shop across the city.
Another attractions of the city are Nainital Zoo, Hanumangarhi temple, Mukteshwar Dham, differents Taals, Governor’s House, Gurudwara situated near the Tibetan market and many more.
Special Food: Bal Mithai, a sweet that tastes like chocolate, perfect for people having a sweet tooth. Two types are available, with or without white tiny sugar balls. I prefer without balls as it makes way too sweet.
bal mithai
B.) Goa: Another favorite location of mine is definitely Goa as my love for beaches is undying. I visited in Sept 2014 with my husband when the monsoon just hit turning the city even greener and more captivating. I find it the perfect time to visit as the weather was lovely with little drizzles sometimes and less crowded. Though we miss water sports because of off season but no regrets as rest fun compensated the adventure especially bike rides in rains. Sounds romantic right?
Goa is divided into two parts – North and South. North Goa is famous of its nightlife, clubs, happening beaches and hip hop life whereas South Goa is for nature lovers. It’s a peaceful part of the city and have equally thrilling beaches. It’s one of the top honeymoon destinations in India and an eternal favourite choice for foreigners too, visiting India.
How to reach: Then nearest railway stations are Madgaon and Vasco-da-gama and the nearest international airport is Dabolim. Taxis are easily available there and can transport you to Goa in 40 minutes.
Best places to visit:
Goa is a versatile location where you can relax your bum enjoying the sunset on sandy beaches, drive through lush green areas, have fun at clubs, cruise and casinos, experience the adventure of watersports and much more. My top favorite sights to visit are:
us
1.) Baga-Calangute beach stretch: Situated in North Goa, on the shores of Arabian Sea, Calangute is known as the “Queen of beaches”. It is the most happening spot where you can experience the popular water sports, parasailing, jet ski and the best nightlife. You get the best seafood which you can enjoy at the beach side restaurants in candle light with some rock music around. Colorful souvenir shops will draw your attention selling leather goods, exquisite handicrafts etc.
calangute
baga
2.) Benaulim Beach: Situated in South Goa away from the hustle bustle of the city, a long stretch of empty sand, this beach is a great place to relax and perfect location for tourists seeking peace and tranquility. This enchanting serene beach has loads of scenic beauty and is famous for fishing and is mostly less crowded which makes it an ideal spot for rejuvenation. Here you can also enjoy the watersports and rocking nightlife in bars /pubs around or enjoy a candle light romantic dinner in the starry night in the presence of moon and beach.
nightlife
goa
Other popular beaches are Colva Beach, Anjuna Beach, Agonda Beach, Vagator beach, Candolim beach etc.
3.) Aguada Fort: This is one of the most visited destination in Goa. It has one of the oldest lighthouses of Asia, constructed way back in 1864 by The Portuguese to guide ships into safe harbour. This well preserved lighthouse overlooking The Arabian sea, gives breathtaking views and is a perfect sight for camera lovers for capturing the best pictures. There is a jail (prison house) in the fort which remains closed for the public. Accused of the crimes like narcotics abuse, drugs sale and trafficking were lodged there.
aguada fort
4.) Chapora Fort or “Dil Chahta Hai” Fort: This is another popular destination for tourists which overlooks the Chapora river, hence the name. The classic fun movie “Dil Chahta Hai” about male camaraderie was shot here in 2001 and this destination became even popular for the tourists to click similar pictures posing with their friends. People spend their evenings here chilling out and admiring the spectacular sunset. A must go place for sure.
chapora-fort
5.) Basilica of Bom Jesus: This is one of the oldest churches in India which gives you a feel of ancient architecture. It contains the body of St. Francis Xavier and holds paintings of scenes from his life. This Saint was said to have miraculous power of healing.
1200px-Besilica_of_Bom_Jesus_front_view.jpg
6.) Spice Plantation: I absolutely loved this place. It was a treat to eyes and body visiting Spice Plantation situated in a lushy green area. Learned about various flora in a guided tour along with Goan cuisine in authentic earthen pots and Feni tasting. If you are nature lover, I bet you won’t regret as it will give you altogether a different experience in Goa. You can also buy authentic herbs and medicines for many ailments from here.
spice plspice
7.) Dudhsagar Falls: This magnificent waterfall forms the border between Karnataka and Goa states, surrounded by deciduous forests and rich biodiversity. The best time to visit this attraction is monsoon when the falls are fed by rains forming a huge force of water. You can reach by road and the nearest railway station is Castle rock station. You can get in a train from here and disembark at the Dudhsagar stop. There is no platform, so travellers have to climb down the steep ladder of the compartment in a short 1-2 minute unscheduled stop and from there, they have to walk about a kilometer on the tracks to arrive at the falls. Its not at all easy to reach this place but if you are an adventure lover, you can give it a try.
dudh
Dona Paula: Earlier known as Oddavell, Dona Paula is another sought-after spot in Goa situated few kilometres away from Panaji at a breathtaking beautiful sea stretch. It is a secluded bay and quite a picturesque location which makes it a not-to-miss major attraction. The amazingly spectacular views and stunning beaches makes it a perfect place to sunbathe and relax. It holds the renowned National Institute of Oceanography, which is a also a popular sight to visit. Many movies have been shot here as the location is so serene and alluring especially during the monsoon. Cabo Fort and Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary are the two must visit spots nearby.
Must do things in Goa are water sports, experience the nightlife at Mambos and Tito’s club, cruise and bike riding.
Other places of interests are Church of St. Cajetan, World Wax Museum, Museum of Christian Art, Goa Science Centre, Chitra Museum, Church Lady of the Rosary, Shanta Durga Temple, Mangeshi Temple (Temple of family deity of The living Legend Lata Mangeshkar and her family)
Special Food: Feni, a cocktail made of cashews and liquor, cashews, Bebinca, a type of cake.
bebinca.png
C. Backwaters of God’s Own Country, Kerala (Alleppey Houseboat): I went to Kerala on my honeymoon way back in 2008 and its indeed the most beautiful and magnetic state of India. It was a 8-day trip and we covered Munnar, Thekkady, Kumarakom, Alleppey, Kovalam and Kanyakumari. Every destination has its own charm, be it the tea plantations and hills of Munnar or wildlife of Thekkady or windswept, stunning beach of Kovalam or the villages and backwaters of Alleppey and Kumarakom. However, my most loved part during my trip was the houseboat stay and I always recommend people to travel to Kerala and experience the backwaters and houseboat trip once in your lifetime. We were isolated completely from the world as there was no network connection in our phones and no internet. We leisurely explored the beauty of the place, the wind, the rain, serene ambience, the most splendid wonder of Kerala to the most.
alleppey-houseboats-day
The most popular backwater destination of Kerala is Alleppey. It has scenic beauty in abundance, magnificent lagoons, lakes, villages and freshwater rivers. To explore the attractions, taking an overnight cruise or a day cruise would be a great idea. We took overnight cruise, boarded at 12 Noon from Alleppey to Kumarakom and were offered coconut water as the welcome drink. Meals are included in the package, we opted for vegetarian meal and were served fruits, rice, curry, papad, sambhar, salad and many other delicacies. Meals are cooked fresh in the houseboat kitchen only. Snacks, tea/coffee/juices are served time to time. Honeymooners can request special arrangements like flower decoration, candle light dinner etc. which can be honored to make them feel special.
backwater-sailing-in-a-houseboat-in-ashtamudi-lake-kerala.jpg
Special Note: Don’t forget to carry mosquito repellant as they will be your companion there throughout.
There are three types of houseboats available in Kerala:
  • Standard Houseboat
  • Deluxe or Premium Houseboat
  • Luxury or Super deluxe Houseboat
How to reach: The nearest airport to Kumarakom and Alleppey is Cochin International Airport. You can book a taxi from there to reach there.
So, these are are my top 3 favorite holiday spots. Would love to know about yours too.
Note: This article has been written as a part of SuperBloggerChallenge2018 conducted by Healthwealthbridge.comFashionablefoodz.comAllaboutthewoman.com and should not be repurposed, republished or used otherwise. The content herein is owned by the blogger. SuperBloggerChallenge2018 is not responsible for any kind of infringement caused.

And I Ask Myself, “When I Got So Blessed?”

Every morning, I find myself longing for few more minutes of sleep when I feel your tiny fingers on my face trying to open my eyes and waking me up.

I find myself whining secretly when you ask me to play blocks for the nth time in a day.

I find myself praying more and more and asking Lord to give me more patience than I can seem to marshal on most days.

I find myself wishing having some “ME” time, alone, pampering myself, during the day.

I find myself wishing mealtimes were not so much of a struggle, and that you eat whatever served to you happily.

I find myself wishing for a magic wand so that the mess on the floor that you do the whole day, vanishes in a jiffy.

I find myself longing for carefree get together with my buddies without worrying about anything.

I find myself yearning for sipping coffee in your Dad’s hug and the same cuddling from him every morning, before you came to us.

I find myself dreaming about a vacation, far far away from the round-the-clock demands of parenting.

I find myself plunging through the bedtime routine, which gives me a few extra minutes of “me time” once you are in your dreamland.

But in the midst of all this, you cuddle your warm little body against mine. You look up at me with those twinkling eyes, grinning, and say in your kiddish and most harmonious voice, “Mommy, Mommy” and if I get lucky sometimes “I love you”. In that moment, I feel, despite all the odds, all the imperfections, both of you still love me so purely and perfectly. And I ask myself, “When I got so blessed?

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