12 September, 2008

Beach Holiday- Sunburn-Now What?

Just in case you couldn’t resist the desire to prance along the beaches “one beautiful summer afternoon”, here’s what to do when you come back looking (and feeling) like a fried peanut. Do not panic, we all forget to slather sunscreen and wear a hat sometimes! Look no further than your kitchen cabinet for immediate relief from the nastiest of sunburns.

Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize

The importance of this cannot be emphasized enough and has to be given top priority. Skip your favorite fancy lotions (they are loaded with fragrances and synthetic ingredients) that can irritate sun-burnt skin further. Choose from natural, organic stuff like raw milk or Aloe Vera extract. They work like a magic wand and this, I speak from personal experience. Alternatively, use a basic moisturizer and pop open a Vitamin E capsule to fortify it.

Black Tea

No ladies, we are not talking about a tea party here! Make a diluted version and pour it into an ice-tray. Now that you have a respectable stock of iced-tea cubes, you can rub one over your face and body every few hours. Anything cool would obviously feel blissful over sun- burnt skin. The anti-oxidants in the tea would give a push to the healing process. You could also pour a chilled concoction all over as the final rinse after a shower.

Fruits and Veggies

Soothe parched, sensitive and leathery skin with papayas, tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers and any other “cool” vegetable or fruit that you may have. No citrus stuff please! Either rub a slice over affected areas or just leave them on as a pureed face pack. These darlings are packed with nutrients and minerals that revitalize the skin and speed up the regeneration process. Chuck the science behind it and wallow in the mess. As long as it does the job, who cares!

Do Not’s

As much as you would like to choose the fast track to recovery, lay your hands off scrubs, bleaches and make-up for a while. If you ignore this piece of advice, your skin will scream back at you for a reminder!

04 September, 2008

How Do You Like Your Leftovers?

‘Some like it hot
Some like it cold.
Some like it in the pot,
Nine days old!’

It’s not surprising that the silly sounding nursery rhyme from yesterday bears the universal truth about food and foodies. Are you the type who likes their meals freshly cooked, piping hot and neatly laid out on the table or are you amongst those who would just grab a bite from the refrigerator and have it for lunch on the couch.

Different people have different food preferences. While some people would squirm and turn up their noses on yesterday’s dinner, others would think it rather wise to cook up the entire week’s meals on a Sunday! However, even the latter type has two subcategories. There are people who ‘brighten’ up leftovers by reheating, adding spices or extra ingredients or just eating them in a different form, for example, having last day’s veggies in a toasted sandwich or making them into a roll and shredding leftover chicken to be used as a pizza topping. Many others are not willing to take the trouble and prefer to raid the fridge and gobble up bits and pieced straight off the racks! They do not seem to mind a leathery tortilla or a near frozen sizzler.

Like they say- it takes all kinds to make the world! Even members of the same family and siblings may have contrasting food habits, which means it has nothing to do with upbringing or training. Rather, it is purely a matter of individual tastes. So, which category do you belong to?

The Truth About Health Foods

Next time you sift the supermarket for ‘100% natural’ or ‘preservative free’ foods, be on a high alert. A recent study conducted by Sense About Science, a charitable trust dedicated to public awareness has unraveled that most claims laid by ‘health food’ brands are a hoax and that they use these strategies only to boost up their sales.

Also, the common notion that naturally derived substances are less harmful than the synthetically produced ones has no truth in it. Many chemicals that are used in processed food are also found in fresh, organic food so the intake pretty much remains the same. Many food products bear flashy labels like ‘enriched with vitamin so-and-so’ and ‘fortified’. Although the label may be true, there is no evidence that an extra dose of nutrients would do us any more good. The human body is programmed to derive all the nutrition it needs from the food we ingest. Anything extra is just going to be disposed off by our kidneys because unlike carbohydrates, fats and proteins, vitamins cannot be stored in the body. Rather, the body needs a measured and constant supply of these nutrients.

Consumers today are growing increasingly health conscious owing to the epidemic of life-style diseases and do not hesitate to spend an extra buck or two for a ‘healthier version’ of food. Most companies make use of the consumer’s vulnerability and lure the layman by laying a ’scientific trap’. An unknowing customer is easily drawn to a food packet which has elaborate nutritional details and data printed on it. The fact however is, that these food products are as good or as bad as any other.