5 Steps to Connecting with Nature in the City!

Living in a big city, surrounded by concrete and often confined to indoor spaces, do you feel disconnected with nature?
Having lived in cities like Delhi and Mumbai most of my adult life, I have been there too and felt intuitively my health and wellbeing quotient go up when in nature!

Lately I have delved deeper into this, and come to discover that no matter where we are, nature is abundant and omnipresent. And we can connect and derive its benefits, free of cost.

So here are my top 5 steps how you can connect to nature, no matter where you are, and gain enormous health benefits. The best part? They are take MINIMAL TIME and are absolutely FREE OF COST.

1. Deep Breathing.  Have your ever realised that every time you inhale, a part of the universe enters you and each time you exhale a part of you merges with the cosmos. So inextricably connected are we to the universe through each breath. Yet (in my Yoga Guru’s words) we are ‘breathe illiterate’.

Observing our breath and deep inhalation even for a 2-3 minutes with our eyes closed, few times a day can refresh our mind, relax our heated nervous system, and can positively impact our stress levels, hypertension and even regular aches and pains.

  1. Fresh air. City life often restricts our contact with natural fresh air. We live in air-conditioned homes and offices, and travel in air-conditioned cars in between the two! It is like washing many rounds of clothes in the same water, even though it gets dirtier with each round.  Besides air conditioning reduces up our skin’s natural capacity to take heat or cold. Hence whenever possible, open the windows and allow fresh air to come in. Turn off the air conditioning from time to time. If at office, come out to air conditioner free zone at least every 2 hours.

If you can get yourself to go for a brisk walk or a run at the crack of dawn, (that’s the time you will find the air to be the freshest), then you’ve got 2 birds (deep breathing and fresh air) with one hand!

  1. Sun-gazing. You’ll be surprised how accessible the sun energy is in the city, especially from high rises, and this makes it easy to practice sun gazing to gain its miraculous benefits.

One of the biggest impact sun gazing has shown is that it impacts the size and health of our pineal gland, our master gland that regulates all hormonal activity in the body and consequently our energy levels, cell functioning, absorption and utilisation of nutrients and healing.

To begin with all you need to do is watch the rising and/or setting sun (when it is red) for 3-5 min to allow its healing energies to penetrate through the eyes. Gradually increase the amount of time as per your eyes capacity.

  1. Grow your own potted plants. We are genetically programmed to touch and be in contact with plants and soil and, spending even 5 minutes a day nurturing a plant has been known to cause positive changes in our blood chemistry and consequently our state of being. Plus the delight of harvesting the herbs we are growing and throwing them into a fresh salad, is simply priceless!

Don’t have space for a couple potted plants? Go for micro greens, as they can even grow in a small dish on a windowsill (and micro greens contain up to 40 times more nutrients than their grown counterparts).

  1. Walk barefoot. For all the antioxidants we are looking for in our super foods and berries, the simple act of walking barefoot on the ground is the most powerful (and cheapest) antioxidant on the planet.

Walking on sand or grass increases your skin’s exposure to a larger surface area, hence it is even more effective, however, do not shy away from walking bare feet on soil or a concrete surface in your building area as that too works!


Farm to Fork in the City

Fresh food tastes the best right? This is because its bio energy is most alive when it has just been plucked/harvested. Research shows that as more time passes, this bio energy keeps reducing, even though technically its nutritional quotient does not change as much. This is how nature intended us to eat – just pluck or harvest and consume immediately. Leafy greens, that are responsible for converting the energy of the sun into food energy actually do not survive long. They wilt or get spoilt anyway, even if refrigerated! This is how fast their bio energy depletes.

Living in a city, it may be impossible to have access to everything completely fresh, or live Farm to Fork, but here are few things that can surely try.

  1. Grow your own micro-greens. Micro-greens are shoots of any seed, that have just sprouted their first leaves. They are nutrition power houses, quick to grow, low on maintenence and practically take no space except the tray on which they are grown!
  2. Grow your favourite herbs such as mint and basil in small potted plants, that can be accommodated even on your window sill.  If you have a balcony with a wall, you could create a vertical herb garden on it.
  3. Look around your housing society. You may be surprised to find trees or shrubs that are edible that you never knew. A friend of mine had a Moringa tree growing in his backyard, and never knew till I pointed it out!
  4. Get together with others in your housing society and create a little kitchen garden on ground or on the terrace of your building!
  5. When planting trees in your housing society, plant edibles rather than just to beautify. You will find that this even attracts more birds and butterflies into your society as they too love flowers and fruit.

I am lucky that my parents  have a superb edible garden back in a small city at the foot hills of the Himalayas. Whenever I am there, I literally overdose (well, there’s no such thing actually) on the goodies of nature, in my smoothies, salads and cooking! Below is a snap shot of my latest discovery here  – Radish seed pods, which we harvested and cooked into a yummy vegetable for lunch. The pods had a yummilicious crunchy radishy sweet and stingy flavour, that would go wonderfully well in a salad or pickle too!





Lessons from Bali

When you walk into an ice cream parlor in the middle of the market, and find out the entire range his vegan, you know you have arrived in the right country!

It is not for no reason that Bali is called the Island of the Gods. People ascribe this to the presence of a thousand temples here, but truly, this land has a soul. It’s a place where one can say idealism is not just an unrealistic romantic idea, but something its people live and breathe!

There’s a café called Down to Earth. The entrance to their café says ‘Peace through Nutrition’. I am already bowled over. This is something I envisioned, they have already done it. Down to Earth serves the best quality organic, vegan cuisine. They also have store, where they source the best quality organic vegan, fair trade stuff to be sold off the shelf. Wherever they open a branch, they source local produce in a fair manner, ensure the growth of the local economy, they hire only locals, train them well so that their capabilities grow. They run a film club, where they run documentary films on health and environment. I found their staff to be smiling so much and so helpful that I couldn’t believe they didn’t feel like they are one with this enterprise.

The Down to Earth Kitchens are not your run of the mill commercial kitchens. They have banned aluminium and Teflon coating and use only steel, and their chefs are trained to follow macrobiotic traditions. The more I get to know about Down to Earth, the more look up to the vision behind it.

Bali is full of such examples. Another company that I took note of is The Big Tree Farms, famed for producing the best quality organic Raw Cacao in the world. To think that the world’s best raw cacao is produced not by China, India or the U.S., but a small underdeveloped island in Indonesia. This is a company with a fantastic vision of development, committed to giving the world the purest and the best, as well a s committed to give back to the local economy.

One of the best places for food I found was Sayuri Healing Food, a café started by Sayuri, a raw chef.. The first page of the menu reads ‘ this place is for us all to become KUU, as the logo of our café represent, where each one of us become the shine on each uniqueness of its existence, which is the pure purpose of here and now for each. Therefore it is the most powerful force to impact everything around you.’

And then, they serve food that not only tastes as delicious as it looks, but is also the purest and most nutritious food on the planet. You cant beat that!

Same goes for another café Moksa, except that this place has a beautiful setting, amidst a permaculture farm! A perfect farm to fork taking place right in front of you.

Bali is full of places and concepts like this. Concepts are just what the world needs right now, or rather a consciousness that the world needs right now!

Photos on https://goo.gl/photos/s9BD4hNZZgnkRUAb6



Lord Krishna and the Butter connection

Living in India most of us grow up consuming milk and milk products as a staple part of our daily diet. If we just a little food diary exercise, we’ll see how not a single meal may be complete without some dairy in it. Of course this assumption of milk being good for us has a logical history and background.

Going into scriptures, we hear of Lord Krishna’s love for butter. Now Krishna was a cowboy. He used to herd a whole lot of cattle. And there should be no dearth of milk around him. Yet he had to steal butter to eat it!

Obviously this means there was not enough. Back then, cows were treated and taken care of like family members. Milk secreted by the cows was given to their calves (for whom it is meant). Only, the little that was left from them was kept for children and aged people as a way to secure them, since food too could be scarce sometimes.

Today India is the largest producer of milk and milk products. Super market shelves are filled with gallons and gallons of milk. Dairy products find their way into almost every packaged food and bakery products, and most people don’t even realise how much dairy they end up consuming unknowingly. The milk available to us today is far different from the milk in Lord Krishna’s days.

Cows in dairy farms are treated as milk producing machines, artificially inseminated to make them pregnant, their calves separated from them at birth, and regularly injected with hormones and antibiotics. Hence the milk we have today is a deadly cocktail of chemicals, stress hormones, antibiotics and pus cells, creating all sorts of hormonal and other imbalances in our body.

Cows milk is the ideal food for calves, not for humans (just the way we consider human milk to be perfect for our babies). It is addictive as well as acidic in our body, ( more on this in another post) therefore far from bringing benefit, milk comes in the way of good health.

So ditch dairy and embrace good health!

Eating Healthy Tips for the Weekend

If weekends are what you live for, then chances are that binges and overeating may be the centre of it, followed up with feelings of guilt and overcompensation by dieting. If you’re wondering how to break from from this viscious cycle, read on.

The key to good health and healthy eating habits lies in progress, not perfection. So throw that restrictive diet out of the window and focus your efforts on building healthy habits through a little bit of self discipline. Here are five things you can do (this weekend) –

  1. Get good rest over the weekend. Rest is food too! Take some ‘me time’ out. You will be surprised at how nourished and satiated you will feel with some extra sleep, a head massage, a spa or just doing nothing for a couple of hours. This will eliminate the need to satisfy yourself with wrong foods
  2. Always eat something healthy before stepping out. It could be a bowl of fruits, a green smoothie, a sprout salad or a big vegetable soup. This will ensure you are not super hungry and do not end up stuffing yourself with unhealthy foods when out.
  1. When eating out, always order a simple salad (no creamy, oily dressings please) along with meal. It is lighter on your system and provide live enzymes to help break down other foods too!
  2. Stick to one grain per meal only. Avoid multigrain breads or mixed grains in any other form.
  3. Leave the dessert for home. Even when one has gone out for a meal, one usually comes home and wants to eat something before sleeping. So why not use that to have a good dessert at home? Mumbai is now brimming with dessert suppliers that are sugar free and dairy free. Stock those up at home, and return to their sweet comforts:)

Wishing you all a happy, healthful and guilt-free weekend ahead 🙂



All about Probiotics


6126690_origPro biotics simply means – pro meaning affirming, biotics means life.

Probiotics are foods that contain strains of healthy bacteria.

Probiotics have become a necessary for us in the modern day, to offset the damage caused to the healthy gut bacteria because of all the inorganic chemicals that we take in our foods, as well as medicines. They would not be required had we been having 100% organic foods.

We all know that we have lots and lots of bacteria in our bodies right? In fact the number of bacteria in our body are 3 times the number of cells. So we are more bacteria than human being!

The bacteria in our gut, which is also called the Gut Flora, has a lot of important functions – such as digesting and absorbing certain carbohydrates, producing vitamins, absorbing minerals, eliminating toxins and preventing various kinds of allergies. Another really important task they do is inhibit the growth of unhealthy bacteria.

Biologists even go to the extent of saying that the root of any illness lies in the gut, and if our gut is healthy, it is unlikely we will be unhealthy or sick.

Excess of unhealthy bacteria in the gut can be seen in various symptoms – such and bloating and gas, fatigue, sugar cravings, nausea, headaches or indigestion. Despite a healthy diet and and an active life, many people have difficulty shedding weight, if the number of bad bacteria is high

Organic foods have a much higher percentage of healthy bacteria that inorganic, because commercial pesticides, and various chemicals used in different stages of food production such as artificially ripening etc. kill the good bacteria.

What can we find probiotics in?

We can find them in fermented foods such as idli, dosa, miso, kimchi, cultured vegetables, pickled vegetables, probiotic curds, vegan curds, Kefir and nutritional yeast. if our gut is weak, then we should add these generously in our daily diet, along with some physical activity to help boost circulation. Probiotic capsules too are available off the shelf and can be taken in consultation with you doctor.

Building a healthy gut takes time, so we may need to supplement over a long period of a few months at least. Another thing that can help is to get enough fiber in your diet daily. As fiber is necessary to build good bacteria colonies.

Lastly cut back on processed sugar as it feeds the unhealthy bacteria, yeast and fungus in the gut.

Vitamin B 12

Statistics say that approximately 15% of the world’s population suffers from B12 deficiency, due to our lifestyles. Even among my clients I have often noticed that they don’t know enough about this important nutrient. B12 is important for replication of our DNA. It is vital for the formation of Rd blood cells and for the proper working of our central nervous system.

Symptoms of B12 deficiency are wide ranging. Some of the common symptoms are weakness, apathy, memory loss, acidity, loss of weight, nausea and vomiting, anaemia, mental confusion, delusions, paranoia, respiratory symptoms, allergies. Long-term deficiency can even lead to heart attacks or stroke and irreversible damage to brain and nervous system.

What is interesting to know is that B12 in fact is not a vitamin at all. It is a bacteria produced by soil microbes that live in symbiotic relationship with plant roots. In a more natural world, vitamin B12 would be naturally available in organic fruits and vegetables straight off the farm and water in natural sources such as ponds and rivers. We would never find an outdoor person working in the soil such as a or a farmers would always have enough of B12, because they would absorb it directly from the soil. However most of us living in the city do not have enough contact with soil and hence are always short on B12.

We tend to look B12 in animal foods such as milk and meat, as these animals are getting the B12 from the soil. However these days, vegetarians and non-vegetarians may be deficient in B 12 for a number of reasons. There is not enough b12 in the animal foods, because animals are being farmed and they don’t feed form the soil any more. Their food is inorganic, and hence lacks the bacteria. Secondly, B 12 may not be getting absorbed if our gut flora is destroyed.

Use of pesticides, chemical fertilizers in the soil, and injection of chemicals into food, use of preservatives chlorine in the water, chemical toothpastes which destroy oral bacteria, all end up destroying the naturally existing and available B12.

The best way to get B 12 naturally would be to eat as much organic produce as possible and get out in the soil. However, if you’re suffering any symptoms, do get your levels checked and consult a doctor for supplementation!