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Live and Express


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A Gentle Introduction to Millets!

In my recent post, I wrote about the major two reasons why as a country and people, India should shift to millets from rice and wheat.

That post received a very good response as a guest post, and several people wanted to change to millets from rice and wheat, but they were not sure what and how.

The good news is that I found a very nice article that gives a gentle introduction to millets which you can use as a starting point to introduce millets into your diet.

The article covers the types of millets that are generally available in India, their content and benefits, and guess what, a few millets-based recipes too!  I would strongly suggest that you go through this post for your own introduction to the millets.

Disclaimer: As with everything that we consume, we need to be careful about the balance and the suitability, because what we eat, we become, and there are medicinal side-effects and consequences too because of what we eat. As the article points out, people with thyroid issues should be careful about replacing rice and wheat completely with millets. The reader is advised to consult their dietitian, doctor and the nutritionist before changing their food consumption habits.

By the way, I found a good book on healthy millet recipes, you might want to check that out too, for your reference – ”

Healthy Food – Wholesome Millet Recipes – A Santha Ramanujam

Happy reading and wishing you a very healthy and joyful life!

 

 

 

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What should India eat?

India has gone through roller-coaster rides in terms of food.  There have been huge famines, but of late, there’s huge availability of food in terms of rice and wheat.  We should be pretty happy, but at the same time, got to be very cautious on what we consume, as the rice and wheat food has led to chronic health conditions because of the unhealthy life style that we adopt.

Last week, I saw an article on how rice and wheat are consuming too much of water to grow, and how it is not sustainable.  No, this is not a propaganda of the Genetically Modified crops lobby. I also read another article on how heart diseases in India has increased in the past 26 years.

Reading these has led me to believe that we should cut down on rice and wheat cultivation and grow more millets, which are healthy as well as consume less water. A healthy lifestyle is of course necessary, but not every one of us get the opportunity (sometimes it is even a luxury) to exercise, work out and stay fit.  Diet is an important component in the equation (by the way, the whole equation is Diet + Exercise + Less Stress) for a healthy lifestyle.

As we already know, because of our sedentary life style, India has been declared as the diabetic capital of the world, so we should only help ourselves with less rice!

Here are some stuff that I have in my list to improve the situation:

  • Cut down on the rice and wheat consumption myself, and let my family and friends know
  • Talk to the land-owners and agriculturists that I know about this and make them grow more millets
  • Talk to the healthy food restaurants chains about this and make them deliver more millets-based food rather than rice and wheat based
  • Oh, and yes, share a lot of millets-based menus and recipes!

So, what is your plan of action?  A small step in the right direction makes a lot of difference!

Thank you for your attention and time!


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International Yoga Day 2018

Warm wishes to all of you on the International Yoga Day 2018 !

Events are organized as reminders for something that need be remembered on a daily basis, probably every moment. The days that are celebrated every year are also reminders for us to incorporate Yoga into our daily life, so that we are in tune with the Universe.

I once asked a spiritual person why Yoga only for human beings. Animals don’t do Yoga, other creatures don’t do.  The answer was that only humans need to work to be in tune with what they aspire to be. With Yoga, you could be pretty much anything you want to be by constant striving. With other creatures such possibility does not exist, and they are fixed to be in the way they are, and there are no opportunities for them to change or transform.  But for humans, its possible. So, we should make use of the opportunity!

Somebody died in our family recently, and that made a distinct change in my attitude in being regular towards Yoga. When that person died, we could clearly see for ourselves that they are not their body (anymore), and we don’t know what happened to that person who kept walking, talking and doing so many stuff daily. It was shown very clearly to me that the life given to us is to find out that we are not just the body and the mind. There should be something more.

Having said that, being in a human body is absolutely important while we live, not just for the compassion that humans show unlike many other creatures, but also for the opportunity to do stuff that others can’t. One fever showed me what kind of dances I had to do with my body to make it okay; body is such a complicated system. So, it needs be maintained properly, and luckily the Yoga system that’s currently offered by many groups, is not that complicated at all – simple practices for great benefits.

As many success coaches say, regular regimes are important. Sticking to them as far as possible is important. So, if we care for our body, our breath, flexibility, agility, liveliness and all the goodies, it’s important to do Yoga daily. And a diet that won’t strain the body but make it malleable, strong and vibrant.

Our life expectancies have increased – people live till 90s very easily, thanks to the advances in medical sciences. It’s important that we be hale and healthy while we live for such long periods of time. It would be cruel to see our body suffer because of non-flexibility while it is still maintained by medicines. Thus it is important to do Yoga daily irrespective of the age.

Thanks for listening. Have a wonderful International Yoga Day, doing Yoga, today and every day!

 

 


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On social media and channelizing the minds

Why social media for me :

It was one of those strenuous days in 2017. I had too much to do in 3 or 4 activities spread across the day.  I like focus, and that’s the way I have been for the past many years. I like channelizing my mind, body and my energies in a task. But then, there are some boring moments when you would like to just get off for a minute or two, wander your body and your mind, and then get back to the task.

Social media (Facebook, Twitter, et al) have been a cure (or a curse on how you see it).  That one of two minutes of wandering of the mind away from the task using social media extended to 10 minutes, 20 minutes, and before you know, it had consumed a full 43 minutes!

“Well, that’s not good”, I told myself. I decided to take a mental inventory of HOW the time is spent on social media. I sat down and wrote a diary of all the posts I read, I liked and shared, and just “browsing”.  Though it was just my break time that I spend on social media, I wanted to justify myself on how the time is spent, because it’s my precious breath and life after all, moment after moment, before I die!

My findings!

The notes I saw alarmed me. 89% of the time was just browsing post after post in Facebook and Twitter, without any focus, learning or practicing a skill.  A typical “browse” Facebook session contained a book advertisement from a book club, an advertisement on how to “opt-in” more customers to your blog site, a post in a school group asking whether this school is better or that, a post in a music group with a picture of a guy with a violin, a group post about the latest trend in western cinema, a post in a railway group about that fantastic engine….You get the drift.

A rattling mind and the consequences

If your mind travels this fast with no focus on a specific subject or related thinking, you know where you will get to – nowhere.  It not only puts your brain in an ever-shifting mode, it will strain your brain to no-end resulting in nervousness, a sense of loss, depression, anger and a deprived feeling!  Many studies have also shown the same.

Social media tools for streamlining

Social media tools that help you segregate topics as streams based on hashtags or keywords are helpful. It helps browse through the social media posts and organize your thoughts on one direction, learning a thing or two about a topic and participating in a discussion.  But many of us do not use those tools on a native basis, but login to the social media sites directly.   In this year, I have reminded myself to use these tools instead of logging into social media sites directly, and save myself of the mental stress!  If I ever wanted to take a 2-minute break, that should not be and won’t be on the social media sites, but a short walk, a visit to the restroom, a cup of water and then back to work again.

Not just the break time!

We all know the three things that are required to excel – Learn, Practice, Network.  A typical successful person’s time management has these components.  For all of these, accessing the Internet has become a necessity.  For learning and networking, social media has become important.  We just need be careful that our learning and networking time is used productively, not just during the break time, but during our work time also, and be conscious that our precious time is not wasted in endless, mindless browsing.

So…

I thought I would just share my thoughts on this, which I had been postponing for a while now. I wrote a Facebook post (there you go!) on this sometime back, but not sure how many people it reached, so here I am, writing a blog.  Hopefully it’s useful for you!
Thanks for listening!


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Can we leave coffee, tea and milk for good ?

Please feel free to re-blog this blog. This is public information, written for awareness for everyone’s well-being.  Spread it far and wide.

Some 10 years back, I left coffee. I was told by someone that coffee and tea are nervous stimulants, which, when taken without discretion, will lead to nerves weakness. The effect of nerves weakness will be the inability to sit peacefully at one place. No, I am not talking about meditation. Even for getting your work done at your computer, looking and attending to files in the office in a careful way, doing any work diligently, studying for your exams be it school or college, you need calm and alertness, which will be available to you only if your system is stable.

Coffee and tea will give you the sudden briskness with which you can carry on with your immediate tasks, but on a long run, it will lead to inability to focus and sit calm and alert to attend to whatever you are doing.

More so in the old age, when you have nothing much to do – you are retired, your kids are settled, and you enjoy your bliss – if you find yourselves restless, that will be very sad. Your mind will want to be active, but your body won’t co-operate, and you will be a mess.

There’s one more aspect to it – which is milk that’s added to the coffee and tea, in the Indian context.  If you don’t add milk, it’s even worse, because the ill-effects is more-prone and immediate.

But, if you have coffee and tea with milk, just consider where the milk is coming from. In western countries, there are complaints that cows are being artificially milked and they are sent to death long time before they are supposed to die – because they extract the milk faster and faster, and the cow loses the ability to give milk pretty soon.  Even in India, you might have seen loads of cows and buffaloes being carried in lorries and trucks. Where do you think they are being taken to? To get killed because of their inability to give milk.

Food that goes inside us is supposed to nourish us and give energy. Cow’s/buffalo’s milk, however, makes us dull and lethargic. Cows’ milk is meant for calves, and not for humans.

And food that goes into us is supposed to be a blessing and enable us to become better human beings.  Food that come from sources as mentioned above, and having the properties that tend to negatively influence our ability to perform at our full potential may not be good food options, isn’t it?

Especially in the context of India Population, where loads of milk is consumed by millions of people, it’s pretty necessary that we consider.

Please feel free to re-blog this blog. This is public information, written for awareness for everyone’s well-being.  Spread it far and wide.


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Muhammad Yunus – the inspirator!

My friend, who works for RangDe had invited me to watch a video that was to be screened on the event of RangDe’s 6th birthday, on January 26th.

I was a bit familiar with RangDe’s work, and I have had the opportunity to interact with their people a couple of times. I was thinking probably it’s about the work that RangDe is doing in the areas of microcredit to needy people in India.

What I saw was totally incredible – it was a documentary video called ‘Bonsoi People’ by Holly Mosher, which talked about how Muhammad Yunus transformed the lives of millions of people in poverty-stricken Bangladesh. The model is ‘Teach a man to fish’ instead of giving them the fish. It totally made sense to me, as I think – enabling them with the little capital that they need to stand on their own legs will make them take their lives in their own hands and thrive.

A typical example was shown in the video – an enterprising mother, who started with a small loan – how she expanded her economic wellbeing by slowly – educating her child and making him to dream to become a fashion businessman, constructing a house, helping her neighbors by giving them work, etc.

This particular case in Bangladesh – The Grameen bank – for which Muhammad Yunus got the Nobel Price for Peace (Note: not for economics) – strongly displays the point that microcredit is not sucking money from people, but enabling them at grass roots. Muhammad believes that peace can be achieved only if there’s economic wellbeing among the masses – and it shows. His Grameen bank has touched the lives of millions of people in Bangladesh to take their lives in their own hands. 97% of them are women!

It was also interesting to note that Grameen Bank didn’t just stop by giving loans and then collecting them- they have a bank representative who becomes like a family member and cares for what’s happening on a day-to-day basis with their clients. If they have a problem, they try to address it. They give directives to the people on how to live – for example, they stress that having a strong house and roof is important for people – because if they get wet or infected, their health is affected and sometimes they even die.

They have 16 such directives. The one that touched me the most was ‘Limit the no. of babies that you have, so that you can care for them’. How true! How much I wish this message is passed on to the central Indian states where people are having babies just for labour! How are we going to spread the message of having less children, so that they can care enough for them, and also thus not contribute to the country’s burgeoning population! Yes, I feel, an attempt should be made.

India might be a different story from Bangladesh. The dynamics might be different, and the approach could be different to eradicate poverty, bring economic wellbeing, and then bring sense into them to make them not have more and more babies. But, the concept is the same. How it needs be made aware, communicated to the most economically backward rural, is what needs be worked on.

If you are interested in this area of work, please leave a comment with your contact information in the comments section, and I will get in touch with you!