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Category Archives: Naturally Better

Look good and feel great naturally….

Homemade Facial Spritzers


On a hot summer’s day, refresh yourself with a homemade spritzer! It’s wonderful for your skin and refreshing. Made at home, you know what’s been in the spritzer, you can change the combination to suit your own olfactory needs! It barely takes a few minutes to make and keeps well refrigerated. You should be able to find all the ingredients at your the local market or pharmacy. will be perfect for finding your supplies.

You will need:

  • A small spray bottle.
  • Distilled/Bottled water or witch hazel solution.
  • A filter (coffee filter works fine) and
  • Funnel to pour your homemade facial spritzer into the spray-bottle.NOTE: Always use clean, sterile equipment when preparing homemade cosmetics. Always test on your wrist before spraying the facial spritzer on your face or all over your body. If any reaction occurs, discontinue use immediately.

Rose And Rosemary Water

  • 6 tbsp fresh rosemary
  • 2 tbsp fresh rose petals
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp Vitamin E oil

Bring the water JUST to a simmer and turn off heat. Add herbs/flowers. Cover and steep for 20 mins. This process can be repeated using the same water and more herbs/flowers for a stronger scent. Add a vitamin ‘E’ oil while mixture is still warm. Cool to room temperature, then strain out the herbs. Put liquid in a bottle with a lid and leave in fridge. Dab on with cotton or put in spray bottle and spray on your face and body as needed. This rinse is particularly good to remove any traces of soap on your face as well. Refrigerate between uses.

This concoction balances, purifies and tones the skin, giving it a cooling sensation. It helps to maintain moisture balance of facial skin and not to forget it smells heavenly!  You can use most any flower or herb of your choice. Try Lavender, Lemon Verbana, Witch Hazel, Marigold for an entirely different experience.

Refreshing Cucumber Spritz
This is a refreshing spritz – ideal for use in a hot climate for all skin types. It quickly rejuvenates the skin and soothes the burning sensation from the sun.

  • Small cucumber
  • 1 Cup of distilled water
  • Glycerin

Cut the skin off cucumber and chop roughly. Mix the cucumber with the distilled water and glycerin. Strain mixture through a fine sieve into funnel and pour into your spritzer bottle. Add more water if needed to dilute mixture. Use liberally for a cool, refreshing effect. Store in refrigerator.

Minty Facial Spritzer
This refreshing spritzer is ideally suited to oily or acne prone skin. It is NOT suitable for sensitive skin.

  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 25 ml distilled water.
  • 1 drop of pure organic peppermint essential oil OR Lipton Peppermint tea.Put 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar into small spray bottle. Add 1 drop of pure organic peppermint essential oil. Top up with distilled water.
    Alternative:
    Make a cup of Peppermint tea and add to apple cider vinegar and water mixture.
    Shake well before each use. Keep refrigerated and use within 3 days.
    Caution: Avoid contact with eyes as it contains Peppermint essential oil.

You can use these facial sprays a couple of times during the day when your face needs attention and moisture. You will instantly feel refreshed, energized and cool. The essential oils give a soothing aroma that lingers on for quite some time. The best part is that is very easy to make and store. The ingredients used are readily available and do not harm your skin in any way as they are all natural. A single batch can be used for 15 days and should be stored in a refrigerator for maximum amount of time. When you are on the go, take it out of refrigerator and you are good to go with a spray on which will rejuvenate your skin instantly. You can also use it for spraying on cotton pads and using as eye patches to relax your eyes. This will be good for your dark circles as well.  Since it is so easy to make, you can make it once a week and store for the entire week. Trust me, once you spray it on, you will realize how simple ingredients can give your skin that much needed boost of hydration during summers. So, go ahead ladies, spray on and rejuvenate your senses this summer!

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Posted by on August 1, 2013 in Naturally Better

 

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Happy Chappy


Many people ask me why I am so happy all the time. For a bright and chirpy “Good Morning” I receive a rather dejected, “So what’s so good about this morning?” or “Can I have the happy pill you’re on?” or “In a couple of days it will be a good morning (indicating the weekend). Why? I always wondered. Why does everyone only look at what they don’t have? Something small no matter how small is still something you have? We spend all our lives looking for happiness and love when we can find it any where and every where around us.

Come on!! None of us has many years to live, and we can’t take along anything when we go, so we don’t have to pine for what we don’t have and be thrifty with what we do. Spend the money that should be spent, enjoy what should be enjoyed, donate what you are able to and see that the universe will give back to you much more than what you give it.

Some people worry too much about their children. Why? I wonder. They are the most robust things  on earth. They have their own destiny and should find their own way. Neither should you be a slave to them nor make them feel they are your slaves. Care for them, love them, buy them their needs shower them with their wants, but also enjoy your money while you can. This way you will never be able to say to them “I sacrificed everything for you.” As if they asked you to!!!! Life should have more to it than working from the cradle to the grave!! Take that trip, go on a luxury weekend for two and see the glow in her smile. It will add years of happiness to your life.

Don’t expect too much from your children. Caring children, though caring, would be too busy with their jobs and commitments to render much help. Remember you do what you must for your children. Neither did they ask to be brought into this world nor kept in a particular way. You gave them life you do your duty to the best of your ability to bring them up. Leaving them money is futile, for if they are good they will make that much and more for themselves and if they are not they will squander away the wealth you earned. Why make yourself miserable by not buying a lovely dress or that designer bag you have always lusted for? Uncaring children will fight over your assets even when you are still alive, and wish for your early demise so they can inherit your properties and wealth. Your children take for granted that they are rightful heirs to your wealth; but that you have no claims to their money.

As I am ready to hit the half century, I see clearly the writing on the wall. There is no point in trading health for wealth by working yourself to an early grave… Because lets face it, your money may not be able to buy your health… When to stop making money, and how much is enough (hundred thousands, million, ten million)? Think about it… a out of thousand hectares of good farm land, you can still consume only three quarts (of rice) daily; and out of a thousand mansions, you only need eight square meters of space to rest at night. So just enough is enough… more than that is neither necessary nor desirable.

Why do we care about praises and criticism when none of that will really matter when we ultimately are gone. Why do we allow that to affect the way we are feeling? It is just ani integral part of life  when we return to dust, we will feel nothing about praises or criticisms. The time to enjoy the worldly life and your hard earned wealth will be over!  You have to create your own well-being and find your own place of happiness. As long as you are in good mood and good health, and have fun in just being… each day will be a day well lived.

One of the most wise things my mum said to me was “if you don’t like something change it; and if you can’t change it, learn to like it.” You simply cannot change everything around you. Be at peace with whatever is the way it is. Don’t worry about things that you can’t change because it doesn’t help and it may spoil your health. A day that passes without happiness, is a day lost.

“In good spirit, sickness will cure; in a happy spirit, sickness will cure faster; in high and positive spirits; sickness will never come.” Think positive, make health a habit and a way of life. With a positive attitude, mental and physical exercise, healthy eating habits you will alleviate your quality of life. A healthy body houses a healthy mind. Be well. You are the only person who will be with you all your life. Love yourself. Be less critical of yourself. Remember if you treat others the way you treat yourself you would have no friends.

Be less judgemental and you will make and keep friends. Friends are a great source of encouragement, inspiration and happiness. It is very important as you grow older to have friends that think like you and keep creative juices flowing in you. Helping a friend in crisis arms you with the skills to face the same problems when you are faced with them. It also makes for a much needed circle of well wishers to fall back on in times of need. To have a friend you must first be a friend. Be there if they need you. Sometimes in our eagerness to please we may impose our views on them. Remember what’s good for the goose should be good for the gander. You may not always want to hear from others how to lead your life… give them the same respect you expect from them.

That’s it… the mantra to happiness and positivity!!!! I am indeed blessed to have so many friends and family who care because I care. Be, what you want others to be to you… and happiness will follow… A “Good Morning” will really be a good morning.

Happy new year to all of you… and thank you for being here whenever you have the time to hear my rant 🙂

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2012 in Naturally Better

 

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Thoppu-Karnam (Super brain yoga)


I was very mischievous as a child. In school I was found standing on my seat more often than sitting on it! Now many years later as I sit and reminisce I remember the punishment I got at home… “Thoppu Karnam”. Unfortunately (and now I think, fortunately) it was daily ritual for me. “Stand in the corner and give me 10” was a constant in my life. Basically they were squats crossing the hands in front of the chest, hold the ear lobes asking God for forgiveness. It is practiced as an offering of obeisance to Lord Ganesha, or the elephant-faced God who removed the obstacles in our path and inertia of the mind.

Recently, this ritual has found a lot of attention from Scientists the world over. A study into the method and its effect on the nervous system has gained momentum and shown its immense benefits to the brain. It actually caught my eye when I saw a write-up by celebrated Yale neurobiologist Dr. Eugenius Ang. He has even gone as far as prescribing it for patients with Alzheimer’s and children with autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

The Concept behind the exercise:

So what is the Science behind this exercise was obviously my first question. Western medicine describes the human body as a logical mixture of endocrinal glands. Blockage of anyone gland affects the entire body and mind e.g. inactivity of the thyroid makes you obsessively tired, the pituitary could make you excessively tall or short… so on and so forth. Yoga shastra describes these as Chakras. Each chakra is associated with one of the seven endocrine glands, and also with a group of nerves called a plexus. It describes Chakra as invisible spherical whirlpools of etheric energy that function as pumps or valves, regulating the flow of energy through the body acting as transmitters and receivers of Cosmic Energy drawing various forces and energies into the body. So let us co-relate the Endocrinal Glands with the Chakras:

1. Root Chakra: At the base of the spine and connected to the sacral plexus, the rectum and the prostate gland.
2. Sacral Chakra: below the navel and in the center of the abdomen, is related to the prostatic plexus, the adrenal glands, the gonads, and the kidneys.
3. Solar Chakra: associated with the solar plexus, the spleen, the pancreas, the liver, and the gall bladder.
4. Heart Chakra: connected to the cardiac plexus, the thymus gland, and the pericardium.
5. Throat Chakra: connects to the thyroid gland at the level of the throat, which governs the basal metabolism.
6. Eye Chakra: connected by the vagus nerve and the cervical ganglion and associated with the pituitary gland, governs our sub-conscious mind.
7. Crown Chakra: relates to the pineal gland and governs the entire nervous system.

So how does this magical Yoga work? Its effect is bi-fold. Based on the principles of subtle energy and ear acupuncture firstly it clears our endocrinal glands or chakras. Secondly and more importantly by directing energy from the lower chakras towards the brain (where it gets converted into higher frequency and subtle energy utilized to enhance its proper functioning) and the energy from the higher chakras towards the base transforming itself into other forms of energies with a much lower frequency) evening out the yin and the yang. This exercise if properly executed facilitates the movement of energy and synchronising the spiritual aura with his physical body subtly and easily integrating the intuitive and emotion-based right hemisphere of the brain with the logical left hemisphere.

How hard is it?
Phew!!!! Something so complex to understand should surely be hard to do!!! The good NEWS is it isn’t!!! That’s right! It is child’s play (ok I am serious, not just playing with words). Ten to twelve rounds once a day is all you need to get maximum benefits of this super easy and effective Yoga…

Method:

Step 1: In the morning, stand facing the sun, with your feet pointing straight ahead and spread about shoulder width. Keep the tongue pressed firmly into the roof of the mouth
Step 2: Place your left hand on your right ear lobe, thumb on the front of the lobe with fingernail facing outward and second finger behind the ear lobe. The right ear lobe represents the left brain. When you hold the right ear lobe this way, you energize and activate the left brain and pituitary gland.
Step 3 Now place your right hand on your left ear lobe, so that your thumb is on the front of the lobe facing outward. The left ear lobe represents the right brain. Holding the left ear lobe this way energizes and activates the right brain and the pineal gland.
Step 4 Press both earlobes simultaneously, making sure your left arm is inside your right.
Step 5 As you press on the earlobes, squat down as fully as you can, keeping your back straight. Do 10 to 12 rounds, inhaling through the nose on the way down and exhaling through the mouth coming up.

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2012 in Naturally Better

 

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Say “Cheeeeeez”!!!!


St Columbus in Delhi once had a quote which read, “Smile a while and while you smile another smiles soon there are miles and miles of smiles.” The face is a complex palette of emotions. A slight turning up of the lips and a crinkling of the eyes can signal pleasure, contentment, happiness, or satisfaction. Wow so easy to do!!!!!!! Yet it denotes so much.

It is true, I cry very easily. But I do laugh and smile a whole lot too!!! It is assumed that a bright smile stems from happiness. But really that is not true. On the contrary, a smile called forth when you don’t necessarily feel like smiling can trigger the release of endorphins, brightening your day. And you know sometimes a forced smile, which only involves the muscles of the mouth, turns into a true smile, which lights up the entire face. “Just fake it till you make it” and make it you will!! Innately each one of us feels drawn to people who smile. A smile is the X-factor that makes you noticeable. One always wants to know “what the hell is so good”. See a smiling face and notice how their presence lightens up the room, changes the moods of others, and makes things happier and lighter on the nerves. One who smiles appears more confident, well networked, more successful and more likely to be approached. I remember once I changed a room full of “Yeah whatevers” to “Oh yeah, whatever you say”!!!! All with just a friendly smile.

You know those times when we cross paths with a stranger or accidentally catch someone’s gaze, and you’d suddenly look away in awkwardness or pretend you are looking at something else? Well, the challenge is to give them a big smile. A genuine smile, showing teeth and everything. One that reaches your eyes. That you acknowledge his presence. Why not? It doesn’t cost you anything. Plus, it’s a lot more fun than feeling awkward and pretending you’re not there. I also love to see people’s reactions when you smile at them, and they aren’t expecting it. Some blush, and others are surprised and smile back, which makes me feel all warm inside.

And a laugh takes you all the way!!! I know of some people who can’t laugh!!! They find nothing funny!! Life is too serious to find that funny bone…. Jeez!!!!!!!!!!! If only I could walk up to them and tell them what a fantastic internal work-out a belly full of laughs is. Laughter reduces the level of stress hormones like cortisol, epinephrine (adrenaline), dopamine and growth hormone. It also increases the level of health-enhancing hormones like endorphins, and neurotransmitters. Laughter increases the number of antibody-producing cells and enhances the effectiveness of T cells. All this means a stronger immune system, as well as fewer physical effects of stress.

In ancient China, Taoists taught the benefits of the inner smile because they believed it insured happiness, health, and longevity. Smiling is a great way to make yourself stand out while helping your body to function better. Smile to improve your health. Smile to look more attractive. Smile to look younger. Try this test: Smile. Now try to think of something negative without losing the smile. It’s hard. When we smile our body is sending the rest of us a message that “Life is Good!” Smiling is universal and looks great on everyone. A smile, directed inward, outward, or at nothing in particular brightens the world and is a gift to those who see it.

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2011 in Naturally Better

 

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A cuppa a day keeps the doctor away…


Tea is the buzz word these days with its multiple benefits are getting louder and more difficult to ignore. Tea and its healthy benefits have been receiving wide attention in the media. With more and more studies being published it is becoming more evident that the complex brew of chemicals that make up this seemingly simple beverage is truly a “wonder drug”. Enlightened tea drinkers are rediscovering the protective and revitalizing benefits of this ancient drink.

Tea has been an integral part of everyday societal life in many of the world’s most populous countries which has made it the second most widely consumed beverage in the world, exceeded only by the most necessary of all liquids – water. Ever notice why the Chinese and Japanese have some of the longest life-expectancy rates in the world? Its all in a cuppa…. The Japanese have believed for centuries that the Polyphenols in tea help prevent blood clotting, lower cholesterol levels thus reducing heart diseases and stimulate the immune system. More research has shown that they do actually neutralize enzymes that aid in the growth of tumours and deactivate cancer promoters. It has fluoride for strong teeth and half the amount of Caffeine found in and equally-sized cup of coffee.

Traditionally, it is said that a warm cup of tea warms you up. To the English it is a ritual and more like having a picnic indoors. It’s a famous saying in Japan that a man that has no tea in him is incapable of understanding truth and beauty. A daily cup of tea, say the Chinese, can starve the apothecary. So what is it about this humble cup of tea that makes it an elixir of life? Here is a few benefits that have come out of research being done in the field. Not all of them are conclusive and continuous research is proving most of them to be right.

Aging
If you are the type to fret over the appearance of wrinkles, age spots and other signs of growing old, oolong tea may be the answer to your worries.

Allergies
The wonder cup just got even more wonderful. Green tea, rich in antioxidant treasures that protect against heart disease and cancer, now shows promise as an allergy fighter. Green tea may be useful against a wide range of sneeze-starting allergens, including pollen, pet dander, and dust.

Bone Density
Tea flavonoids may be bone builders. Drinking tea regularly for years may produce stronger bones. Those who drank tea on a regular basis for 10 or more years had higher-bone mineral density in their spines than those who had not. Consumption of green tea may be prophylactic for arthritis and may benefit the arthritis patient by reducing inflammation and slowing cartilage breakdown.

Cancer
“Tea is one of the single best cancer fighters you can put in your body,” according to Mitchell Gaynor, MD, director of medical oncology at the world-renowned Strong Cancer Prevention Center in New York City and co-author of Dr. Gaynor’s Cancer Prevention Program. Green tea extracts were found to inhibit the growth of bladder cancer cells in the lab — while other studies suggest that drinking green tea protects against developing stomach and oesophageal cancers.

Heart Disease
Tea is a rich source of the flavonoids quercetin, kaempferol, and myricetin, and research shows that high dietary intake of these compounds is associated with a reduced risk of fatal heart attacks. In one study, people who drank about a cup and a half of tea per day were almost 40% less likely to suffer a heart attack compared to tea abstainers. Drinking black tea may lower the risk of heart disease because it prevents blood from clumping and forming clots. “Better to be deprived of food for three days than tea for one” ~ Chinese proverb.

High Blood Pressure: Tea lovers may be surprised to learn their beverage of choice touts yet another health benefit: blood pressure control. Drinking a half-cup of green or oolong tea per day reduced a person’s risk of high blood pressure by almost 50% in a new study. People who drank at least two and a half cups per day reduced their risk even more. Their risk was reduced even if they had risk factors for high blood pressure, such as high sodium intake.

Oral Health: Rinsing with tea may prevent cavities and gum disease. Antioxidants are thought to be behind the benefits of tea on dental health as well. A number of studies have suggested that rinsing with black or green tea may lead to better oral health. Studies have shown that the antioxidants in black tea will suppress the growth of bacteria in the mouth that cause cavities and gum diseases and inhibit or interfere with the attachment of bacteria to the tooth surface.
Parkinson’s Disease: Research is being conducted as we speak on the correlation between the consumption of tea and protection against developing this debilitating neurological disorder.

Weight Loss
Trying to lose weight? Reach for a cup of green tea instead of a diet beverage. Green tea contains high concentrations of catechin polyphenols. These compounds work with other chemicals to intensify levels of fat oxidation and thermogenesis, where heat is created in the body by burning fuels such as fat safely and naturally. Additionally, drinking tea also causes carbohydrates to be released slowly, preventing sharp increases in blood-insulin levels promoting the burning of fat.

With so much compelling research, isn’t it about time for everyone to consider brewing up more of this potent potable?

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2011 in Naturally Better

 

Desiderata


Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
Remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender
Be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
And listen to others,
Even the dull and the ignorant;
They too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
They are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
You may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, 1927

 
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Posted by on July 3, 2011 in Naturally Better

 

The Fable of the Porcupine


It was the coldest winter ever. Many animals died because of the cold.

The porcupines, realizing the situation, decided to group together to keep warm. This way they covered and protected themselves; but the quills of each one wounded their closest companions. After awhile, they decided to distance themselves one from the other and they began to die, alone and frozen. So they had to make a choice: either accept the quills of their companions or disappear from the Earth. Wisely, they decided to go back to being together. They learned to live with the little wounds caused by the close relationship with their companions in order to receive the warmth that came from the others. This way they were able to survive.

Moral of the story: The best relationship is not the one that brings together perfect people, but when each individual learns to live with the imperfections of others and can admire the other person’s good qualities…..

 

 
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Posted by on June 30, 2011 in Naturally Better

 
 
Women in Bollywood

A journey through heroine-oriented cinema

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