How do you talk to yourself ?

I saw the red dress hanging in my closet. I eyed it lovingly. Tonight was the night. I had just turned 40 and tonight I was going to go out for a much awaited ladies night out and birthday celebration with my lovely girlfriends.

As I slipped into the red dress, my feelings of elation gave way to frustration. The dress fit well for the most part, but what was that bulge I was noticing in the mid-section of the body ? Ugh, that was a far cry from the flat stomach I had been craving for… Surely what I was doing wasn’t enough…There must be something lacking in my efforts to lose the pregnancy weight; I mean it had been 4 years since the birth of my second child. And my thoughts went back to the Indian sweets I savored just last week at a festival. “If only I had the self-discipline to say no. If only I hadn’t missed out many workouts  last month because I was too busy ” !! Clearly something is lacking in me, my resolve, my skills.  After all,  just yesterday, I was told at work that I was “too analytical and technical” and I didn’t have the business acumen to do my job.

My thoughts were a whirlwind alternating between irritation and despair and sweeping away every ounce of self-confidence and joy from that night. And amidst the dark gloomy thoughts raging in my mind, I felt suddenly a ray of light as I was reminded of an advice that my sister had once given me.. Treat yourself like you would treat a good friend.

Simple piece of advice….after all you would never be this harsh on your friend, would you ? Instead of lamenting the last 5 lbs of weight still hanging on, I needed to celebrate the discipline of eating healthy and regular exercise that I had cultivated. Instead of keyholing on the “nots” of my skill set, I needed to play to my strengths. So that night, I decided to pick up the shreds of self confidence scattered around me like torn paper and began to piece together the whole “me”- the good and the bad. I embraced myself, literally and figuratively.

As I reflect back, on that night, I had taken a first step towards my journey of self-love. By accepting – understanding and embracing my strengths and deficiencies, just as is. The practice of self-acceptance is the first step to self-love; and while it can be tempting to focus on your deficiencies…it is all the more critical to magnify your strengths. So if you’ve made it this far in reading this piece, lets do this simple activity everyday…know and acknowledge your strengths. And then stand in front of a mirror, look yourself in the eye and say “ I am….” and complete the sentence with your strength. And finally, put that strength to use in your daily life.

This simple, sometimes silly, act can have a powerful impact on growing your self-love and self-esteem and can actually build a safety wall against any negative self-talk or world talk.

So pick yourself up and give this a try.

And yes, just in case you were wondering….that ladies night out turned out to be one of the best times I had in my adult life. Not only had I welcomed the 40s, I had actually turned a new corner in honoring and loving myself – and accepting who I was.

Homemade Anti-aging Face Moisturizer

I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy. While the tragedy of the COVID-19 pandemic is having a profound effect on the lives of millions of people around the world, it is also giving people the opportunity to learn new skills and adopt different ways of working, learning and connecting with each other.

I have been spending a lot of time trying new recipes and cooking. One of the things that I had in my to-do list for a long time was to make my own body and face lotion.

Did you know, almost anything you put on your skin can absorb right through and enter your bloodstream. It’s hard to believe but it is true that our skincare products can impact our overall well being, A lot of ingredients found in traditional skincare products have now been linked to health issues such as allergies, eczema, cancer, hormonal disruption, and reproductive problems. 

This homemade moisturizer is so good for you, gives nourishment and natural glow to your skin, and is made of all-natural ingredients:

Shea butter is the base ingredient. It’s a true skin warrior. As we age we lose a lot of moisture in our skin. Shea Butter is rich in vitamins A and E, super moisturizing and anti-inflammatory.  It may offer mild UV protection and provides the skin with essential fatty acids and the nutrients necessary for collagen production. Shea promotes skin’s natural collagen production and contains oleic, stearic, palmitic, and linolenic acids that protect the skin damage and reduces wrinkles.

Beeswax is a product made from the honeycomb of the honeybee and other bees. It carries antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties that help in fighting dry wrinkled skin and sealing moisture in our skin without clogging up the pores. It repairs damaged skin and reduces the appearance of the wrinkles and fine lines. It also soothes itchiness and creates a hydrating, long-lasting protective barrier against environmental pollutants.

Ghee is not only useful in the kitchen, but it is also wonderful for the health and vitality of your skin. It is known to hydrate all skin types. It contains essential fatty acids and vitamins that induce hydration in the skin cells, thus moisturizing the skin to the fullest. Ghee is also considered one of the best anti-aging solutions for all skin types.

Olive Oil: Research has shown that olive oil can prevent signs of photo-aging and sun damage. it’s been used on skin since ancient times. Some claim that Cleopatra was a fan of Olive oil. It contains antioxidants that fight free-radical damage and a compound found in olive oil, squalene, is extremely hydrating. You can also use Almond oil instead of Olive oil and still get all the amazing benefits.

Coconut Oil: Research has shown some potential benefits of Coconut oil including reducing inflammation, keeping skin moisturized and helping heal wounds. The medium-chain fatty acids found in coconut oil also possess antimicrobial properties that can help treat acne and protect the skin from harmful bacteria.

Essential Oils: Essential oils are essentially powerhouse of health benefits and are amazing for your skin- some are good for skin tightening, others for skin lightening. Some essential oils work on reducing acne, while others help in regenerating lost cells. Essential oils can be added depending on your skin and usage type.

If you would like to try this amazing moisturizer, reach out to me at [email protected].  I make it on demand in small batches. All proceeds from this will go to COVID 19 Relief fund supporting Food Pantries.

How to convert your leftover rice into SUPERFOOD?

Rice is one of the most popular grains eaten around the world. It is consumed in many different ways and forms like boiled, steamed, stir-fried? 

Did you know the best way to eat rice is after fermenting it overnight!!

Fermentation increases the bioavailability of its nutrients by multiple folds and also provides a very critical element for our gut – probiotics.

What surprised me the most was that by simply fermenting rice overnight for 12 hours enriches it with different essential amino acids, vitamins, minerals, prebiotics, probiotics, and degrades antinutrients (phytic acid, tannins, and polyphenols).  Fermented rice is good for your whole body including your skin, hair, and gut.

Here are some of the most well-known benefits of Fermented Rice:

Improved Bio-Availability of nutrients: After just 12 hours of fermentation of 100 grams of rice, the availability of iron changed from 3.4 mg to 73.91mg (an increase of 2073%). Bio-availability of other vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B6/12 and Calcium and Phosphorous also increased multi-fold.

Gut friendly: Fermentation harbors trillions of beneficial bacteria that help digestion and has many disease-fighting and immunity developing properties. Consuming rice in this form helps quicker digestion and strengthen the immune system. As this is very fibrous food, it also helps with the regulation of your poop. It is one of the powerful and cheap probiotic foods you can have.

Easy to make: Fermenting rice is one of the simplest dishes you can make. All you need is cooked rice and water and let nature do its work. 

Here is a simple recipe to cook fermented rice:

Ingredients: (makes 1 serving)

  • 1 cup boiled basmati rice
  • 2 cups of water


  • 1 tbsp Coconut oil
  • 3-4 Curry leaves
  • ½ tsp Mustard seeds
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 green chili chopped
  • 1/4 tsp red chili powder (Optional)
  • 1 tsp chopped onion (Optional)
  • Cilantro 
  • 1 tsp Lemon juice or 1 tbsp yogurt


  • Mix the boiled rice with water in a glass or clay container
  • Leave in a warm place overnight or a minimum of 8 hours
  • In the morning strain the water and drink it as a refreshing probiotic drink (Taste alert: it will taste like rice)

Tempering for the rice

  • Heat oil in a pan – add mustard seeds and curry leaves
  • Add chopped onions when seeds start to splutter
  • Stir it for 2 minutes and switch off the gas
  • Add the tempering, salt, and spices to the fermented rice
  • Mix well while mashing the rice well with a spoon
  • Garnish with green chili and cilantro leaves
  • Mix lemon juice or yogurt 
  • Enjoy during breakfast or lunch!

There are different variations of fermented rice enjoyed in various parts of the world. In China, its called “Jiuniang” or “Laozao”, and in Singapore and other adjacent countries, it’s called “Tapai”. These are the sweeter version of fermented rice.

Next time you cook rice, keep some aside for fermentation and enjoy the many benefits of this simple yet powerful probiotic food.

What is hiding in your toothpaste?

You might be super careful about what food you put in your mouth but have you ever thought about the ingredients in your toothpaste?  Commercial kinds of toothpaste are loaded with ingredients you wouldn’t think of putting in your mouth ever.

Your mouth is highly absorbent so even if you are not ingesting your toothpaste, the chemicals in your toothpaste still get absorbed in your bloodstream.

Here are some of the most common harmful ingredients found in commercial toothpaste. : Triclosan, Titanium dioxide, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Artificial Sweeteners, Diethanolamine (DEA) and Flouride.

All of these chemicals have been linked to various health problems like hormone disruptions, gastrointestinal disturbances, behavioral disturbances, and even cancer.

The good news is it is really simple and cheap to make toothpaste at home with only FOUR ingredients.


  • 4 tablespoons raw virgin coconut oil
  • 2–4 tablespoons baking soda
  • Few  drops of essential oils (I have used  cinnamon clove and peppermint – both works)
  • 1 tablespoon  turmeric powder
  • small glass jar


  1. Place coconut oil container in a bowl of hot water to liquefy it
  2. Measure all ingredients into a bowl and stir until completely blended.
  3. Store the finished product in a lidded glass jar.

How does this toothpaste work?

Coconut oil is antibacterial, so it reduces inflammation and fights bad bacteria in the mouth

Baking soda discourages the formation of plaque and helps to prevent gum disease. It has also been found to effectively remove surface stains on teeth

Turmeric is anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and contains antioxidants. It helps in treating gum disease.

Use this toothpaste in place of your regular toothpaste to experience whiter, cleaner, healthier teeth and gums!!

Top 5 food additives to avoid

You don’t just eat what you think you are eating. For eg. If you are eating potato chips, you would think it is potato, oil, and salt. Right? WRONG! Here is the ingredient list on a bag of potato chips I recently found in my grocery store: Potatoes, cottonseed oil, salt, whey, maltodextrin, spices (including black and white pepper), sunflower oil, sugar, dextrose, onion powder, sodium diacetate, buttermilk, garlic powder, autolyzed yeast extract, natural flavors, yeast extract, citric acid, disodium inosinate and disodium guanylate, malic acid

There are hundreds of additives, added flavors added to our food before it reaches our plate. All packaged products are enhanced, fortified and have added chemicals to increase the shelf life. Even though these additives are approved by FDA and identified as safe when consumed in small quantities but what most people don’t understand is that when we are eating multiple food items /multiple servings of these additives throughout the day, it causes havoc to our body. It makes us SICK!

Multiple studies have shown the impact of these additives on our health and causation of diseases in our bodies.  The simple rule is to eat as much raw, fresh or home cooked meals as possible but it is not always feasible. The sad part is that they are present in the organic foods as well so even if you are buying organic bread or from your trusted brand (See my last post ) it is still advisable to read the ingredient list to make informed decisions.

Here are some of the top food additives I avoid when buying packaged foods.

  1. Artificial Sugars: Some of the most commonly found artificial sweeteners are: Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet, NatraTaste Blue), Sucralose (Splenda), Acesulfame K (ACE K, Sunette, Equal Spoonful, Sweet One, Sweet ‘n Safe), Saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low, Sweet Twin), Xylitol, Sorbitol. Artificial Sweeteners are found in diet/sugar-free sodas,  jello (and other gelatins), desserts, sugar-free gum, yogurts, drink mixes, baking goods, tabletop sweeteners, cereal, breath mints, pudding, kool-aid, ice tea, chewable vitamins etc..Artificial sweeteners, like Aspartame, are believed to be carcinogenic, make you gain weight and have an impact on memory. These toxic sweeteners may lead to a wide variety of ailments including brain tumor, lymphoma, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue, emotional disorders like depression and anxiety attacks, dizziness, headaches, nausea, mental confusion, migraines, and seizures.
  2. Food Colors: Food colors are one of the most widely used and dangerous additives. In Europe there regulations on labeling food dyes to inform consumers of the health risks, the United States has no such requirement. Some of the common food dyes used today are Blue #1, Red #40, Yellow #5, Yellow #6 etc. They are found in baked goods, beverages, desserts, candies, cereal, drugs. Studies have established a strong correlation between the food colors and hyperactivity in kids. They have also shown to cause tumors in lab mice.
  3. BHT: BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are widely used by the food industry as preservatives, mainly to prevent oils in foods from oxidizing and becoming rancid. They are found in many chips, cookies, and cereals. They are also used in used as preservatives in lipsticks and moisturizers, among other cosmetics. According to EWG research: Some data has shown that BHT can cause cancer in animals. Rats fed BHT have developed lung and liver tumors (EFSA 2012). BHT has also been shown to cause developmental effects and thyroid changes in animals, suggesting that it may be able to disrupt endocrine signaling (EFSA 2012). A neurobehavioral study of rats exposed to BHT throughout development described effects on motor skills and coordination before the animals were weaned.
  4. Nitrates or Nitrites: Cold cut meats like Turkey, Ham, Salami are usually treated with nitrates or nitrites which are chemicals commonly used as coloring agents, preservatives and flavoring. They are used to prolong a food’s shelf life but they come with health concerns. Studies have linked nitrites to stomach cancer. There is also evidence that nitrites may be associated with brain and thyroid cancers, but a causal link has not been established.
  5. Carrageenan: Carrageenan is everywhere – in yogurts, nut milk, cold cut meats and a lot of organic products. You can find it in organic yogurt, tofu, coconut milk and the list goes on and on. It has a long and controversial reputation as an emulsifier that damages the digestive system. Even though Carrageenan is derived from red algae or seaweed but it goes through a processing process, which makes it degraded and harmful for consumption. Studies have established that consumption of carrageenan induces inflammation in our body. Various sources claim that individuals experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms (ranging from mild bloating to irritable bowel syndrome to severe inflammatory bowel disease) have noticed that eliminating carrageenan from the diet leads to profound improvements in their gastrointestinal health.

Here are few in the top of my list but there are many more that you should be careful about like Trans Fats and Partially Hydrogenated Oils. Try eliminating or reducing these chemical additives from your diet and observe the difference in your overall health.

What other additives do you avoid when buying packaged foods?