Food, Lifestyle

How to deal with Winter Woes?

During winter, we like to relax over the holidays, play in the snow and enjoy the chilly weather. All this is subject to us being fit andhealthy and not being down with the seasonal flu, or having a cough, high fever or the painful achy joints.

Winter is the time when the earth is dry, days are short and nights are long. Most people feel sluggish and depressed as we see the sun less.

How do we improve our immunity and keep our joints supple? What foods and lifestyle changes do we need to embrace to keep us healthy andhappy through the winter?

During winters, our digestion is at a peak and is perfect for digesting fats and heavy starches that will nourish us. Even though, doughnuts, french fries, ice creams etc are fatty and starchy, they don’t nourish us . Hence they are not suitable for any season even if they fit into our macros.

Let us look at a few tips and easy ways to improve our energy levels and to keep seasonal depression at bay during the winter:

  • Time for Tubers – Just like summers are for fruits, winters are for tubers.

Starches and carbs have got a bad reputation and most ‘Diets’ avoid carbs except for sweet potatoes. There are many different tubers that are native to India and other countries.

Traditionally we have used tubers in several dishes during the winter (like puzhukku that is made in Kerala, thaalaga kozhambu in certain parts of Tamilnadu and Undhiyo that’s made in Gujarat).

Tubers are excellent for hormonal balance

This is significant now as we have higher number of PCOS , fertility and reproductive issues than ever before. Tubers are excellent for hormonal balance.
Products like progesterone creams and bio identical hormone replacements for hormonal issues (like PCOS, PMS, endometriosis etc) contain compounds that are extracted from yams and other tubers.

  • Intensify your physical activity – Double the intensity of your Physical activity during winter whether it is running, hiking, biking,lifting weights, favourite sport or yoga. The reason for this is that in summer we get exhausted or tired soon and the same levels of exertion doesn’t exhaust us but will only energize us in autumn,winter and spring.
  • Include more seeds and nuts – Sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, chia and the liks are wonderful to keep our joints, skin, hair and nails healthy in winter. Unsalted nuts are also a rich source of essential fats and minerals like zinc, selenium, magnesium etc that are essential for immunity, blood sugar regulation and hormones.
  • Care for the citrus – Nature provides whatever is needed to protect ourselves during that season. When we ignore that and start eating other fancy foods (sometimes in the name of a diet), we weaken our immunity.

Winter is the time for citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, tangerines, grapefruits, mandarins, gooseberries, guava and other sour fruits that are abundant in Vitamin C. 

  • Be sweet and spicy–  Jaggery is another winter hero as It warms andnourishes the body . It is unrefined, wholesome and also a good source of Iron, phosphorus , potassium and calcium .  Stevia extract, time to go back to shelf !!! ( it is still refined and ultra processedwith virtually zero nutrients)

With the falling temperatures, it is natural to yearn for spicy food. Listen to your body and be generous with the spices. Ginger, pepper, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, clove etc helps in improving the digestion and immunity.

  • Self indulgence – Give yourself a warm oil massage with sesame or mustard oil and a relaxing bath. Massages are great stressbusters and a nice way of increasing hormones like DHEA , Serotonin and other pleasure hormones which are crucial to keep ourselves stress-free and happy.

 It is also evident from the fact that we become gloomy when the sky is grey and cloudy. After all we are not peacocks .

Each season comes with its own pros and cons. Winter is the time to rejuvenate metabolism, mind , immunity and use the stillness and chillness to our advantage with the steps mentioned above , rather than be indoors , binge watch and booze.

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Lifestyle, Uncategorized

What is the reason behind your hormone imbalance? Printable to toxin proof your home included.

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Be it acne, pimple, hair fall, skin pigmentation, brittle hair, dry skin or other skin and hair problems, they are all symptoms of an underlying health issue – Hormone imbalance. It can range from painful menstruation, cramps, PMS, Thyroid issues, PCOS, Diabetes, reproductive /Fertility problems and so on.

Did you know that these can be caused even by the products that we buy to improve our skin and hair?

The word ‘pollution’ and ‘pollutants’ are not new to us. When we hear the word pollution, we imagine smoke and soot coming out of a factory chimney or hundreds of vehicles stuck in a traffic jam. These are examples of outdoor pollution, for which we blame everyone including the government and various industries.

We feel good when we are in our personal space, be it in our office, home, gym or car. Has it ever occurred to you that we are at exposed to pollution even here? Can the air that is enclosed between the walls of our house/office or in the confines of our car with the air-conditioned running and a subtle fragrance of our favourite air freshener be a source of pollution?

Many studies have proved that ‘ indoor air pollution ‘ is one of the major causes of cancer and leading breathing problems like bronchitis and asthma. The toxic indoor pollutants are caused by  asbestos, paint, aerosol sprays, cleaning products, laundry products, personal care products like deodorant, nail polish removers, cosmetics, hair styling sprays, smoke etc.

With celebrities endorsing these products, we tend to forget the side effects and chemicals in these products. The volatile organic compounds – VOCs present in these products contain about 350 different kinds of chemicals like ‘ phthalates’ (read as ‘fragrance’ or ‘parfum’), ‘ parabens’(causes hormonal problems), dichlorobenzene ,carbon monoxide, toluene, formaldehyde(causes cancer), lead & heavy metals(neurotoxic), butane , propane and more. The VOCs in these products are atomised and are of very small size that it enters our breath, and can pass through the blood – brain barrier within a matter of seconds and that’s how our brains identify the fragrance.

Since the regulations for these products are not very stringent, industries easily find loopholes to mask these toxic chemicals while listing the ingredients.

What are the health hazards of these products?

Most of the chemicals in these products are synthetic, toxic, carcinogenic (cancer causing), lung irritants, neurotoxic and endocrine disruptors meaning they can mimic the action of hormones in our body and can cause hormonal and reproductive issues.

They can cause or worsen thyroid problems, PCOS, Type 2 Diabetes, pneumonia, asthma, bronchitis , cancer, kidney and liver disorders and more.

Since the chemicals are atomized, our body doesn’t have any way of getting rid of them once it mixes in blood. It is also bio accumulative i.e. they accumulate in our fat cells or blood o ver a period of time (as often as we are exposed to those)

What are the products that could cause this?

  • Car/room/bathroom/air fresheners
  • Deodorants/anti perspirants ( Remember , skin is our largest organ)
  • Perfumed cleaning liquids & laundry detergents, bleach, disinfectant, glass cleaners
  • Fabric softeners, dryer sheets
  • Cosmetics like lipsticks, hair styling sprays, sunscreen sprays, shampoos, condtioners
  • Nail polish and nail polish removers
  • Paints, thinners, asbestos
  • Perfumed candles
  • Smoke from cigarettes, cooking meat at high temperatures
  • Insect killers/insect repellants.

How do we avoid these  pollutants?

Download the printable on how to toxin proof your home from here.

  • Try and stick to the natural methods and products for cleaning. Replacing the perfumed cleaning liquid with vinegar/salt and an essential oil is a good move.
  • Reducing the use of chemicals and cosmetics will be bliss for your skin, health, and wallet. Go make up free often. Use coconut oil mixed with essential oil of your choice instead of moisturizers, lip balms and lotions.
  • Reduce/Avoid the use of fabric softeners, dryer sheets and perfumed laundry detergents. Instead mix a drop or two of an essential oil if you want the fragrance.
  • Choose shampoos and other personal care products that are paraben free or switch to natural hair cleaning products like hibiscus leaf powder.
  • Avoid the use of deodorant/anti-perspirant sprays, instead use essential oil roll on that is made from natural sources.
  • Choose lead-free paints, reduce/avoid the use of pesticides.
  • Avoid smoking – be it indoor or outdoor
  • Use baking soda instead of air fresheners to absorb the bad odours from your room/car, or simply use flowers that give fragrance like how it used to be several years ago. Essential oils and fragrance from flowers like jasmine and rose have therapeutic properties too.

There is always a natural and safe alternative to these chemicals, if we decide to follow this path.

The next time you pick up a household/personal care product ask yourself these questions.

Answering these questions will help you save your family’s health, environment and money too.

If you found this post useful, feel free to share it with your friends too.

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