Debug Your Life!!

mosquito repellent natural

Mosquito Planter (abundantliving.com)

Mosquitoes and flies rampage through our life in the summers.Veganlifestyle is similar to Jainism in many ways.Vegans are against harming organisms as well. Whether going out or enjoying a bit of breeze in your own home, mosquitoes play spoilsport in all spaces. These mosquitoes are not only a nuisance they alsocause diseases like Dengue and Malaria. These are highly debilitating diseases and in some extreme cases they are also life threatening. The obvious choice during these seasons is to use a mosquito repellent, but it is also important to know the tradeoffs involved in getting rid of mosquitoes through conventional methods.

Most conventional insect repellents contain DEET (also listed on labels as N, N-Diethyl-m-toluamide or N, N-Diethyl-3-Methyl benzamide). DEET is highly effective at repelling mosquitoes, but is also an eye irritant and can cause blisters and rashes on some users. More rarely, DEET has been associated with lethargy, confusion, disorientation, and mood swings.In addition to popular forms such as aerosols and pump sprays, DEET is also found in lotions, creams and gels. The chemical keeps insects away for hours after application and can be applied over sunscreen. As long as DEET has been around, it has raised questions over its safety from both citizens and scientists. Some are bothered by the smell, while others worry that it may irritate skin; many have also felt the sting of accidentally spraying insect repellent over a small cut.

DEET is a persistent environmental contaminant that breaks down slowly in soil. It stays in soil and water over a long period of time harming all creatures and plants that come in contact with that soil and water. This disrupts our ecosystem in ways unimaginable. All the plants that grow on that soil, animals that eat those plants and humans that feed on those are ingesting these contaminants over a period of time. Long term studies regarding the ingestion of this chemical over a sustained period of time are not easily available.

Different insect repellents contain different active ingredients, some natural and some artificial, but all of them work in a similar way. Insects, particularly mosquitoes, are drawn to the carbon dioxide people release when they breathe, as well as certain odors from the skin. The insect repellent works by masking this smell and replacing it with a smell that is not to the liking of the insects.

Insect repellent should not be the first line of defense against insects, since these products can carry risks for the environment as well as your health. For people living in regions where mosquitoes are plentiful, it’s important to use repellents as part of their protection against diseases like Dengue and Malaria. Insect repellents made of plant-based oils may offer protection against insects. They might not be as effective as DEET or Picadarin but they are less harmful to environment as well.

DIY Mosquito Repellent

DIY Mosquito Repellent (realfoodenthusiast.com)

Insect repellents are a necessary evil. The effects of natural plant based insect repellents have not been explored in great detail. Vegan options prepared from plant based oils that contain essential oils like Peppermint, Citronella, Lemon grass and Clove oil are also highly effective means of repelling mosquitoes. Also methods like wearing long sleeves and long pants in light colors in summers can be a precaution as mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors. Another way to avoid bugs is to keep doors and windows closed from dusk till dawn, when the insects are at their worst. Putting netting in doors and windows to avoid bugs at home and preventing any water clogging are also important for keeping home insect free. Since mosquitoes can breed even in tiny pools of stagnant water, inspect your property for potential larvae infestation. Make sure that your window nets are hole-free

Essential oils like Citronella, Lemongrass, Peppermint, and Cedar wood oils are good insect repellents. Be sure to test them on a small area of skin first, as some people are allergic to citrus or other aromatic oils.  You can use them in diluted form on your body or use them as aroma oils in your household. Remember to purchase them from organic or vegan stores to ensure high quality of the product oils.

A Diet That can Rid You of the Pill !!

Safe food for diabetics

               Reverse your Diabetes
                Diabetessupport.com

People who suffer from thyroid or diabetic disorders have to be on strict and regular medication. Missing even a single dose can affect their daily life and normal activities. Often these two diseases are interrelated and the incidence of finding them together in one person is rather high. Untreated or under treatment of these disorders can lead to long term complications including Hypertension, Heart disease and Renal diseases. Diabetes is often known as the silent killer. Thyroid is a tiny gland at the base of our neck that controls to a huge extent the quality of our life. It controls our physical and mental well-being and also the glasses through which we look at life. Thyroid and Diabetes are auto immune disorders that attack the host body. Vegan lifestyle promotes a holistic lifestyle aimed at addressing these imbalances in the human body. The debilitating effects of weight gain, hair loss and bad skin that are often the result of these disorders are often highly discounted by the society. Recent studies have pointed out the important part played by diet in controlling and sometimes reversing these diseases. People whose diets were based mainly on plant-derived whole vegan foods—that is, bown rice, noodles, beans, and vegetables—were less likely to develop diabetes, compared with people whose diets were more focused on animal based fat and protein. These studies suggested that meaty, fatty diets cause the body to be more resistant to insulin’s actions. Research has shown that adopting a low-fat, plant-derived vegan diet improves insulin sensitivity, helps with weight loss, and reduces blood sugar and cholesterol.

It is crucial to avoid animal-derived products. All animal based fat and protein must be

diabetes friendly vegan food

                 Manage your Diet
                        Flickr.com

eliminated from one’s diet.  Animal proteins accelerate kidney damage in people who have already lost some kidney function. They also increase the loss of calcium from the body, potentially increasing the risk of osteoporosis. Plant sources of protein do not present these problems. Excellent sources of plant based proteins are available in vegan stores. I have also put up a chart on the blog vegalyfe.wordpress.com about the vegan sources of protein. Eating a vegetable-based diet reduces levels of a key blood-protein called Glycated Hemoglobin (HbA1c). For people with diabetes, the higher the HbA1c in their blood, the greater the risk of developing diabetes-related complications such as nerve damage, eye problems, and heart disease.  A plant-based diet improves blood sugar, body weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol all at the same time, which is something more than a pill can do.

Vegan food also provides healthier, plant-based sources of iodine that includes cereals and grains, such as whole wheat and rye. Plant based proteins and fats are very helpful to combat such conditions. Gluten sensitivity has been linked with autoimmune disorders including autoimmune thyroid disease. People with autoimmune-caused hypothyroidism must also test for gluten allergy.

Selenium is essential for healthy thyroid function. It is needed for enzymes which help control thyroid hormone synthesis and metabolism. The B vitamins play an important role in the control of Auto immune disorders like these. They are found in whole grains and vegetables based diets.

Vegan food choices when made mindfully are all about healthy eating. This introduces us to a rich and nutrient dense variety of produce that work as enablers for our body.  They suffuse us with greater energy and lightness of being.  Just avoid eating cruciferous vegetable (such as cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage and similar leafy vegetables) in raw form as they contain chemicals that interfere with the absorption of thyroxine. They are much better in their cooked form. Also avoid eating them for a few hours after taking medication. In addition to becoming healthy yourself, the thought of not harming other creatures for our selfish gains in the process is a reward by itself.

A Private Oasis

Herb Garden

          Basil the perfect starter herb
                        Flickr.com

In the hustle and bustle of the urban life all of us long for a spot of green. Vegetation is good for mind body and soul. Who among us has not looked at a beautiful flower or fruit on the tree and felt at peace with nature. The concrete jungles that we live in and lack of space, leaves this need in us to nurture and grow unfulfilled. The good news here is that acres and acres of land and a gardener is not required to maintain a satisfying and helpful kitchen herb garden. Ever looked at supermarket basil and cilantro and felt like just picking some up fresh from a planter near you, well it is not so difficult. People looking for Healthy food choices and most Vegans eat a lot of greens in their regular diet. It is a great idea to connect with your food by growing it, liven up your balcony and get fresh ingredients to perk up your cooking. Herbs are among the easiest plants to grow.  Fresh herbs are one of the greatest ways to jazz up the taste of vegan food without adding harmful spices.  One of the great perks of growing your own herb is that you know what goes into it and it can be organic and chemical free. Also you can use as much of it as you like at one go and don’t have to buy bunches of herbs and store them in your fridge.
Healthy eating and Vegan lifestyle involves eating a lot of nutrient dense whole foods.

Herb Garden

                        Pots and Planters
                               Flickr.com

Leafy greens are a great source of healthy food. Greens like spinach, lettuce, and arugula grow similarly as the herbs. You can buy them as seedlings, plant them, and use them as and when required. They can be harvested more than once. This is a particularly good time of the year to get started on your herb garden.

All you need are a few basic materials like some pots or planters, some potting soil that is specially used for pots and is easily available at any farmers markets (visit vegalyfe.com to know about one in Gurgaon), some seedlings to get you started again available at farmers markets, some natural fertilizers to reenergize your soil regularly, a trowel and a watering can but that is entirely optional. For me I love those cute little watering cans and cannot resist them. Buying seedlings is always a better option as they are more likely to grow up as healthy plants rather than if you try to do it all by yourself.

Make sure that your pots have proper holes for drainage so that your herbs don’t get waterlogged. The herbs should be properly spaced and not crowded together. Herbs like mint and oregano grow savagely and take over their surroundings. Make sure to give these kinds of plants their individual pot.

Basil is a great starter herb. It grows sturdily, requires little attention and produces handsomely. It can be used in various vegan food preparations as well. Herbs are different from other houseplants such that they require regular attention. Watering regularly keeping track of sunlight and wind conditions is an important part of growing an herb garden. Some other herbs that are easy to grow in home gardens are rosemary, cilantro and mint. Dill, Sage and Chives are also a good choice for your herb garden.

Scallions are easy to grow through their bulbs and can be used to liven up Chinese vegan food (stir fries); mushroom and scallion pasta sauce is also one of my favorites. You can trim the greens as required and the bulbs will go on producing.

Pruning also plays an important role in growing a healthy herb. Prune often to grow a sturdier plant. Be sure to prune wisely from the top, also leave the larger leaves at the bottom intact as they provide the required sunlight to your herb.

Growing a garden at home can be a very rewarding experience, if it does not take well this can turn into a frustrating experience in no time. The trick is to approach your herb garden in a planned manner. Get your equipment ready, read up on the herbs you want to grow, what kind of conditions do they require to be healthy and then shower them with love and affection. As a person with healthy and/ or vegan food choices this will be an enriching experience that will connect you to Mother Nature in no small way

VEGAN ALMOND MILK KHEER

A recipe for a vegan dessert to show respect to the Holy Cow during Navratra when we worship all forms of  the Mother Goddess.

Vegan almond milk kheer

Almond Milk Kheer (vegan-fare.blogspot.com)

ALMOND KHEER (RICE PUDDING)

(Time to cook 45 min- 1 hour)

Serves: 6

INGREDIENTS

  • ¾ cup Basmati rice
  • 1½ cups water
  • 4 cups Almond milk
  • ½- 3/4 cup Sugar or Jaggery (to taste)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp. Raisins
  • ¾ tsp Cardamom powder

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Wash the rice and cook it with water. When it comes to a boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 10-15 minutes until the water is absorbed by the rice.
  2. Add to this the almond milk, vanilla essence and sugar, depending on how sweet you want it to be.
  3. Let the kheer simmer, stirring occasionally, until it has thickened. Let it remain a little fluid because it will thicken as it stands.
  4. Add the raisins and cardamom powder and stir for about a minute.
  5. Enjoy!

This Kheer can be had both warm and chilled, I like it chilled in the summers.

 

Virgin Pina Colada Popsicle (vegan)

Coconut cream popsicle pina colada

Summer cooler vegan Popsicle Image Blackpeppercorn.com

Virgin Pina-Colada Popsicle

1/2 pineapple (large, chopped, about 4 cups)

400 ml. cream of coconut

3 Tbsps. fresh lime juice

1 pinch fine salt

Sweetener to taste  (Sugar or Agave or Maple syrup)

Puree the pineapple, cream of coconut, lime juice, and salt in a blender until smooth.

Pour the mixture into 12 ice-pop molds, dividing evenly. Insert ice-pop sticks and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours. It stays good to eat for up to 4 days.

Adapted from real simple@yummly.com

Tips : Tupperware molds are easy to use and the Popsicle come out easily..

Vegan Thandai Ultimate Summer Refresher

Holi Drink Vegan Thandai
Almond Milk Thandai Image Buzzintown.com

 

Ingredients

1 liter almond milk
3/4 cup sugar (or according to taste)
1tbsp. Melon Seeds( magaj) soaked
1 tbsp. Poppy seeds( khus khus) soaked
Fennel seeds 1 tsp. (Saunf)
Few strands saffron
6-8 green cardamom
4-6 peppercorn( Kali mirch)
Rose petals 15-20
Pista chopped for decoration

Preparation

Grind soaked Melon seeds, Poppy seeds, Fennel seeds,Cardamom, Pepper,  and Rose Petals together.

Make a sugar syrup with equal parts of water. Put the saffron strands in the sugar syrup.

Mix a little almond milk to make a smooth paste.Mix the rest of the almond milk  with the paste and strain through a fine cloth or sieve. Add the sugar syrup.

Pour in glasses add ice and garnish with chopped Pista

Drink  Fresh

An Indian Take on Spiced Pumpkin Curry not Latte:))

image

Spicy pumpkin curry

Ingredients (serves 2)

200 gm peeled and cubed red Pumpkin
A five spice tempering
cumin,coriander, onion seeds, fennel seeds, fenugreek
Salt to taste, sugar 1 tsp., 1/2 tsp chilli powder,1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp mango powder
Olive Oil 1 tbsp
Coriander and green chilli to garnish

image

Method

Put a large wok to heat. Add the oil and the five seasoning fenugreek in the end
Add the chopped pumpkin to the wok and add the rest of the seasoning. Leave the mango powder aside.
Add a cup of water and bring to boil.
Add the mango powder when the pumpkin is done.
Garnish with green chillies and coriander.

Serve hot with stuffed lentil Indian flat bread ( recipe to follow soon)
Keep looking!!

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