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Holistic Wellness

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Happy New Year 2015.

What an honor and a gift to be amidst the Bkhush community. Trust everyone had a great start to their New Year. May 2015 be rewarding and enriching for us, and all who we love. 

I use the word Trust, because essentially, despite our not being aware of it, much of our lives revolve around the Trust we place in all the systems that serve us daily. Trust also comes with the underlying Hope and with inherent Faith. These are among the beliefs that serve us daily. However, do we honor these virtues when it is our turn to represent or demonstrate them?

From the moment we wake up in the morning, to the time we hit the pillows at bedtime, our trust is upheld in several small ways, even offering conveniences we take for granted. The electricity is available to brew our morning beverage. Our hope is the transport will run on time, or that traffic will flow smoothly. The children are off to school, and we trust their teachers are doing a good job of imparting them knowledge and imbibing wisdom. We trust the house will be safe in our absence, and the family will be home without incident. We trust all to be well at the workplace and expect the cooperation of our colleagues. We trust our paychecks will arrive on time. Some even plan two or three paychecks in advance.

On a larger scale, we expect our elected representatives to do their due diligence, so our Governments can function in the best interests of the people. We put our trust in our politicians when we elect them.  

All of this and then some, happens everyday. To put it crudely, these are the expectations of the daily grind, to which we do not even pay any attention. They are taken for granted. Or as someone I know would say, "Its their job, they get paid for it." 

We all get paid for what we do. The question is how well we expect others to do their job, and how well we do ours. The goal is to have no discrepancy. At the very basic level this is how societies function. These are everyday examples of how our lives revolve around Trust, and why it should not be betrayed. At the very least, to prevent domino effects. It can be a small issue, or sometimes serious disasters, like the BP oil spill, which wrecked havoc and massive damage, impacting several communities and wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico, off Florida's west coast. 

Let us make Trust one of the guiding lights for our thoughts and actions in 2015. It can be the first of several virtues we discuss in the following days. Instead of questioning 'them', we should reflect, on how 'we' delivered. It is as simple as that. That is one of the foundations of Wholistic Living. Living every day, with purpose and with pride in what we do. .

It would also serve us well to remember the role of trust in our personal relationships, with our partners, parents, children and siblings. Many lessons can be learned from interactions within this world of ours, which causes us the greatest grief, and also has potential for utmost joy. While this little paragraph will not rescue or resurrect relationships, it can certainly be a reminder on how to steer the course for the future.  

Now for the tangibles. Wholistic Living, or Holistic health, is nothing new. It may be a new buzz word, but essentially, it is all that has been said or done before. There is no point in reinventing the wheel. Holistic living, is holistic health and vice versa. 

Our ancestors developed certain traditions that have served us well. We would do well if we honored the wisdom of these traditions. One example I would like to use here, since most of us in the community are South Asians, is that of GAJAR KA HALWA, or Carrot Halwa! What does that have to do with holistic health you ask?

Carrots were abundantly available at the onset of winter. Nature provided us all these colorful foods like carrots, pumpkins and sweet potatoes, in the fall and winter for a reason. They prepare our bodies for winter conditions, when all our energy is needed to fulfill the bodily functions required to carry out our daily tasks. 

Despite all the strides we have made in Science, technology and even health, we have no control over environmental conditions, such as weather. The inhospitable winter weather conditions, makes us vulnerable to infection. Common winter illnesses are colds, coughs and sore throats.

 

Carrots contain a large amount of Vitamin A. One cup of carrots gives us enough for our Daily Value (DV) requirements. The importance of Vitamin A lies in the fact that the mucosa which lines our mouth and throat (and all the mucosal linings in our body) feed on Vitamin A! This mucosa needs to be strong enough to fight off infections like sore throats and associated illnesses and stop the bad guys from infiltrating further. 

Vitamin A is the Infantry of our immune systems. Any guesses on which Vitamin may get the honor of being General? 

What about Vitamin C and Vitamin D, you ask? 

Vitamin C is very important, but its work and utilization by the body, is very different. Vitamin C, among its other functions, works with the immune system. Being water soluble, the excess is not stored in the body and is eliminated in urine etc. 
 
Vitamin D however is fat soluble, and also has several important functions in the body. It promotes calcium absorption, supporting strong bones. Many cells in our bodies have Vitamin D receptors, so the recent importance given to this nutrient is very justified. 
 
Without wanting to steal the thunder from Vitamin A, let me just acknowledge, that Vitamin C is the General, Vitamin D the cavalry, but it is Vitamin A, which is the Infantry. I leave it to your imagination to decide who gets your vote. 

 

Ghee, the second ingredient in the Carrot Halwa, has long been revered in Ayurveda as a medicine, for its ability to improve digestion. It is also a valuable ingredient in traditional winter foods in South Asia, not least due to its nutritional content. An important reason for traditionally using ghee in this carrot dish is that Vitamin A, as also Vitamins D, E, and K are fat soluble. Fat soluble vitamins need fat to be absorbed and utilized by the body. Ghee is also credited with helping build strong lipids membranes which protect red blood cells. 

 

Milk provides bio available calcium, Vitamins A and D, and even protein. Some studies credit milk for assisting with weight loss.

 

Sugar of-course gives instant energy, and its feel good factor is always welcomed by our taste buds. Sugar is getting a bad rap these days, not because sugar is bad per se, but because we are 'ab'using it. Everything in moderation is another rule of Holistic health.

For Vegans who may find the use of bone char in the processing offensive, Turbinado sugar and Sucanat are good alternatives.

Here is my simple and super easy BASIC GAJA KA HALWA recipe. You can add your own personal twist to it as per personal preference. This can even become a healthy hot breakfast with a generous sprinkling of some hemp and/ or ground flax seed over it. Use your imagination, and share your ideas here! 
 
Ingredients:
 
Carrots: 1 kg/ 2.2 lbs 
 
Water: 1 8 oz cup
 
Ghee: 2 tablespoons 
 
Sugar: 4 tablespoons
 
Low fat Milk: 1 (8 oz) cup.
 
Optional garnish: Almonds, pistachios, cashews,pumpkin or sunflower seeds, and, or raisins.
Optional flavorings, added just before you are done cooking, can be green cardamom, a few strands of saffron, or cinnamon. Some people prefer a hint of nutmeg. Every family has their favorite flavors.
 
Method:
 
1. Grate the carrots and put in a pressure cooker. Add one cup water. Give it three whistles and reduce heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. 
 
2. When cooled enough to open, add 1 tablespoon ghee, and put it back on a high flame. Monitor and stir, as you allow the water and ghee to cook till carrots are dry. 
 
3. Add half the sugar, and stir again, letting it caramelize a little, without letting it burn. Taste for sweetness. 
 
4. Add milk a little at a time, and let keep stirring, as alternating with sugar, till desired sweetness is reached
 
5. Add the remainder of the ghee and cook another five minutes till the halwa folds nicely. 
 
6-8 servings. Enjoy it warm!
 
How is that for a sweet start to your Happy New Year!
 
Disclaimer: The information presented here and on my blogs and website is for information and educational purposes only. It has not been evaluated by any government agency. I write about and from my own personal experience and study. It is not my intention to provide medical advice, diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any condition. This should not be construed as medical advice. Please consult with your qualified medical professional or health provider before starting any diet or lifestyle modification programs. 
 
Next month: 
Communication and keeping the romance of Valentine's Day ignited all year round.
 
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About the Author : Wholistic wellness has been an inherent and lifelong passion. It was born out of the environment I was raised in. This appreciation dawned upon me when I realized that as I moved several homes across three continents, my constantly growing library of books on health and spirituality moved with me. 
 
I am a certified health coach and wellness facilitator. When graduating from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York city, I also obtained additional Continuing Education Units from Purchase College, State University of New York (SUNY). I am certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP) and licensed by the Commission on Religious Counseling and Healing (CRCH). 
 
My working style reflects the Wholistic Unity concept and tag line: Good thoughts, good feelings, good health. Approaching wellness from the inside out, I believe that balancing our inner Energy, or Qi, is a vital component of wellness. I have attended professional workshops in Reiki, Touch for Health, and the Gerson Therapy. Having also done Qi Gong, and an extensive Acupressure Mastery course, I am currently doing Vegetarianism and Homeopathy. Knowledge of these varied protocols is valuable in achieving the best outcomes for my clients.
 
I enjoy sharing my knowledge and experiences on my blog http://veenubanga.blogspot.be and my website,www.wholisticunity.com
 
Image Courtesy : https://cookingwithsapana.wordpress.com
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how beautiful is that Veenu -

how beautiful is that Veenu - we trust you to come up with these just when we need these values to be reinforced within ourselves..thank you as always. JD

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