Ganesh Chaturthi 2014

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Preparing your body before a vacation – Part II

Here are a few of my tips that will help you get through the process of eating clean and working out, to help you achieve your desired results faster.

Quick tips:

1. Put up a picture of the kind of body you idealise on your mirror and visualise yourself getting there.

2. Lock up all the sugar, cookies, and processed foods in a cabinet and ask someone in your family to keep the keys with them.

3. Lock up your liquor cabinet as well. Cocktails and beer are a strict NO.

4. Make a chart – one with your meals for the day and their timing. Carry it with you everywhere. If you really need help sticking to your diet, make it your laptop or mobile phone wallpaper. That way you will never forget.

5. Make one more chart – with your exercise schedule and STICK TO IT. If you know you will be working late the next day, wake up 30 minutes early and pack in your workout. Do 25 squats every time you use the loo. Find a way to get some movement. Whatever you do, don’t skip your workout.

Here are the challenges I took up this month. MUST BE DONE!

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Preparing your body before a vacation – Part I

Flight tickets – √

Hotels – √

Visa – √

Summer dresses – √

Vacation body – Can I finally tick this off my list as well? I say YES! √

It’s almost September and my much-deserved vacation is here! I’m off to Greece with cousins and friends, my first trip without my parents and I think I may be a little too excited. Everything has been planned to the T (a big shout out here to my travel agent, Euphoric Traveler what a brilliant job!) since the last 6 months and it’s finally time to go!

The one thing I’m always nervous about when going on vacation is putting on weight. I don’t believe in controlling your diet when you’re exploring new places, and learning about new cultures, because a great way to understand it is also through its food. You know you’re going to have to watch your weight when it’s all over so you may as well not skip those gorgeous Baklavas or that decadent tiramisu.It can also be a little hard getting in a workout whilst traveling (but that really just depends on how dedicated you are to your body) therefore; it’s good to knock off little weight before you take off. This way you have a slight margin and don’t have to feel guilty about eating an extra macaroon. Sounds like a plan? I think so!

I decided to start preparing my body a month in advance and found the perfect plan for myself – to lose 1.5 kilos and tone up. Here are 6 general things that will work for anybody that’s committed.

1. Know your body

This is of utmost importance. Understand your body type. Know what works for you and what doesn’t. A lot of us make the mistake of blindly following what we read on the Internet or what our favourite celebrities are doing to stay in shape, etc. This is a big NO. Just because a particular diet regime worked for your friend who lost 7 kilos in 2 months, does not mean that it will work for you. If in fact it doesn’t work for you, there’s a chance you will find yourself putting on weight, or even worse, not getting enough nutrition.When exercising, LISTEN to your body. Nobody ever benefitted from over doing a workout, especially if you aren’t used to exercising regularly. You will end up injuring yourself and you certainly do not want anything jeopardising your travels.

2. Pen down your plan

A lot of my friends think I’m OCD but when did planning ever hurt anyone? Writing down your goals will ensure that you remain thoroughly focused and committed to your end goal.

3. Stay off that scale

Check your weight and measure yourself once before you begin your plan, once after 15 days and then on the last day. If you weigh yourself at more frequent intervals and find that you have put on a couple of grams or haven’t lost any, you WILL panic. Paranoia will only derail you from your path. There’s a good chance you that you will eat less or work out a little more, neither of which will be of any help. Trust me, I learnt this lesson the hard way.

4. Eat right

Being healthy and eating clean is a way of life. If you try this just for one month, you will automatically find yourself reaching out to a banana or an apple instead of a giant cookie every time you crave something sweet.Have a heavy breakfast and then break up your meals – eat a little something every two hours. Forming this habit will ensure that even on vacation, you will not go overboard. The first couple of days maybe hard on you but once you get into the routine, you will find your body asking for food at well timed intervals.

5. Get moving

Getting into a daily routine of exercising is the best thing you could possibly gift yourself. Even if you’re not a gym enthusiast, it’s not too hard to squeeze in a good workout at home. I stumbled upon a YouTube channel called POPSUGAR Fitness that has some awesome home videos. You want to check them out! Here are a few of my favourites.

10-Minute Bikini Workout | Legs & Butt | Class FitSugar

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlqHSA1A7k4

Victoria’s Secret Model Workout: 10-Minute Fat-Blasting

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWEdJRRndkQ

Bye-Bye Cottage Cheese Thighs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zT50JEqjRN8&list=PL7E70CF0C6EE6813B

40 Minute Full Body Workout (this one had me burning up in 12 minutes)

6. Finally, be kind to yourself

Enjoy the process of watching your body transform. Don’t beat yourself up if you cheated a little bit on your diet. There’s always tomorrow 🙂 And always remember to wear a smile and be happy; when you’re happy it shows.

Bon Voyage!

Mithais (sweets) this Ganesh Chaturthi

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My favourite time of the year is finally here! Ganesh Chaturthi, also known as Vinayak Chaturthi, is celebrated by Hindus as the birthday of their beloved Lord Ganesh or The Elephant God. It falls in the Hindu month of Bhadra and lasts for 10 days, ending on the day of Anant Chaturdashi.

This year it will be celebrated on the 29th of August with much joy and grandeur in my beautiful city of Mumbai. I plan on making Besan laddoos as an offering (or Prasad) to my Lord.

This article was originally supposed to be titled Laddo made laddoos (super cheesy right? But hey, that’s me !) since some of my closest friends know me by that name (you know who you are!); but since this is my very first post and I am launching my blog on this auspicious day, I decided to dedicate it solely to my Lord.

For years my mum has depended on HER Mom’s hand written recipe book for fresh, home cooked Indian food, and on the late Mrs. Tarla Dala’s cookbooks for more esoteric vegetarian fare; so when I decided to teach myself how to prepare laddoos for this festival, I figured I didn’t need to look anywhere else. I’ve grown up staring and simultaneously salivating at the photographs in her cookbooks so I reached out for one of mum’s many books and used the following recipe:

BESAN LADOOS (makes 12 SMALL LADOOS)

 Ingredients:

1/3 cup ghee (at room temperature)

1 cup besan (Bengal gram flour)

½ cup powdered sugar*

½ tsp elaichi (cardamom) powder**

a pinch nutmeg powder

almond slivers and kesar (saffron) strands for decoration

*I suggest using ¾ cup powdered sugar, since I felt the laddoos could be a little sweeter

** I used ¼ tsp elaichi powder simply because I’m not its biggest fan

Method:

1. Head the ghee in a kadai, add the besan (once it starts to simmer and your kitchen is filled with that nasty smell)

2. Sauté on a (very) slow flame till the besan turns golden brown*

3. Once it’s done, take it off the heat and set aside to cool

4. Add the sugar, elaichi powder, and nutmeg powder to the (cooled down) mixture. Mix well

5. Divide it into equal portions (I was able to make 12 with this recipe although the original mentions 10) and shape them into round balls

6. Pretty up your laddoos with the almond slivers and kesar strands **

*Keep an eye on that besan because it’s extremely tricky, especially if you are a novice. When it comes to besan I have found that there is a very fine line between golden brown and brown, so do be careful.

** To me, presentation is as important as taste, so I took the time to carefully place every almond sliver and saffron strand on each laddoo.

Serve immediately or keep aside in an air tight box. Do not refrigerate. They will remain fresh up to 3 days.

Quick tip: Mrs Dalal’s recipe mentions that the powdered sugar must be sieved to ensure that there are no lumps in your laddoo mixture. I say, follow this BLINDLY.

I do have one request to everyone celebrating this festival – Please bring home an eco – friendly idol, one that is made from bio-degradable clay. Perform the visarjan (immersing the idol in water) in one of the many artificially created ponds in your city. The Lord takes no joy in being immersed in a sea causing harm to sea life.

I pray that all your wishes get fulfilled and He blesses you with much health and prosperity!

Ganpati Bappa Morya!

Meal fit for a King