Climate Change crisis – a talk with Franklin Xavier

There are four types of people today: 1) Who start the dialogue (largely the reason for some news trending) but do nothing about it 2) Those who see how something happening can ultimately affect them but don’t know what to do. 3) Those who know the consequences but have given up hope of action 4) People who don’t care.

Given the Amazon rain-forest burning down and the large but controversial climate change strike by school kids (seriously, I don’t see the point), “Global issues” that have a large influence on our daily lives keep flooding our news-feed making us all wonder, “What now?”

There is no shortage of people who talk about what is wrong, but not everyone is realistic or accomplished enough to give you a ground zero perspective of what is happening and what can be done. So I decided to do an e-mail interview with a former collegemate and good friend Franklin Xavier, Climate Change Ambassador for YMCA, Asia Pacific.

I have never seen Frank, exclude anyone or anything in a dialogue, but he would never go past the line of realism, which is why I thought Climate change discussion was best done with him. The thing about Frank that sticks to your memory is inclusivety, polite and real feedback and most of all , his realism. Frank’s positivity is contagious so if Frank tells you something is serious, I’d take it that it is serious as can be.

Shrutthi Prabhu: May I directly ask what do you think about the Amazonian wildfires? Did you see this coming one day or another?

Frank Xavier: No, I did not; not a destruction by fire! I did expect exploitation for it’s richness,but not a wasteful destruction. The Amazon Wildfire is an unforeseen culmination of vulnerable conditions and a very unfortunate accident. The fire cannot be natural as there were no natural triggers like lightening or meteorite fall during the time so, the fire should have be an unintentionally, human, hopefully. If it was a planned operation by any government it shows the future in store for humanity.

SP: Our carbon footprints must have quadrupled when we became an industrial economy, why do you say that Farming is a major contributor to Climate Change, is extensive agriculture the culprit?
FRANK: Take this for example, an athlete was made to practice extensively everyday throughout the year. Energy supplements, steroids etc to make him a winner. But just before the race, he died.
An IT employee committed suicide due to Work Pressure. A Japanese scientist died whilst
walking, after continuous work. The person here, is LAND.
The thing about agriculture is that, it’s not just land dying in lack of natural mineral
regeneration, it is missing it’s friends the earth worms, etc .
Again there is the huge water consumption involved. The pesticides, fertilizers sprayed into air and soil, killing the microbes, insects and other lives that normally would make agriculture easier. Agriculture is process that is intentionally destructive of nature with sadly minimal alternatives or awareness considering the increasingly booming population.
SP:Consuming any form of packaged merchandise lesser, using less electricity, reusing water, can being a minimalist significantly reduce a person’s individual footprint? Is change of attitude the solution?
Frank: Obviously! That’s the only solution. Quoting my most favorite Testla’s claim: “ the solution to all social problems starts only from the enlightenment of each being”!
To realize, accept what we are doing, then, deciding to lead a life which in one way is affecting a fellow life least minimal way, be it animal, insect or tree. Life with less greed and more love, inclusiveness of all life is the only way to sustain life here.
climate change_photo1
SP:There are a million, “clean”, “green” products now, almost all of them come in non-biodegradable packaging, what do you think of this, how can companies cover the cost of cleaner packaging?
Frank: Not all products. If companies want, they can do it. They don’t, because of the market
competitiveness in terms of price. The young generation is conscious, research paints a positive picture, future generations will buy products based on the companies values, initiatives and beliefs more than just marketing or the product. The government can simply lay a mandatory law for eco-friendly packing, or the various association of companies can do it with a minimal increase in price, I believe the future generation will take the step forward.
SP:What does it mean to you to be a climate change ambassador?
Frank: Advocacy is needed in a world where ignorance is still rampant despite all the available knowledge and someone needs to keep reminding people around us to do the right thing. The president of Brazil would have acted fast if he had a friend who talked enough about Amazon and Climate change with him. I am that friend to many students in particular who are pitched to be future leaders.
SP:This may sound skeptical but in a state of emergency are the leaders of Governments doing enough? Because all we see are conferences . How long will it take for them to reach even local governments on policy changes?
Frank :Conferences are inherently good, a lot of policies and programmes are the resultant of them. Ironically, The Earth Summit at Brazil in 1992 was first of it’s kind with impactful resolutions. MDGs, SDGs, Paris Agreement the most successful environmental policies, etc all are results of such conferences.
Reaching local implementation, unfortunately is upto each country, state, corporation, etc. In my views, the hierarchy is the main culprit, environmental measures should be give super power and prime attention to bypass this hierarchy and the politics involved and to put these policies to work.
SP:What is the biggest driver of climate change with reference to India? Is interlinking of rivers going to contribute to climate change?
Frank :I don’t stand with that plan. It’s against the very nature of nature. Creating a new flow path is dangerous as this plan has no moderation. The process is of course polluting. Biodiversity will be lost. We advocate that dams in itself are bad. It’s again out greed to meet our demands and not looking at importance of Eco systems and how what we throw will end back with us. Floods are good, as far I am concerned, as water from land must reach the sea for the survival of the sea life.Flood are the saviors of sea life in this human greed filled world. The devastations are consequences of mindlessness and greed.
SP: As an ordinary individual will converting as much as possible from a consumerist mindset to a sustainable one like producing your own vegetables, composting kitchen waste, upcycling clothes and plastic, solar power installation help?
Frank :YES. Resources reutilization, effective utilization and conscious consumption are the prime keys. On a larger picture, Shared economy/resources are the future. For example , Bike rentals like Bounce, Voho, airBnb instead of building more hotels, car pooling.
DAAS(devices as a service) is the future eg. Furniture for rent by Urban Smith, cars for subcription by hyundai, etc.And fortunately these are also proving economically beneficial and therefore are an effective and disruptive business model of today where needs are skyrocketing.
SP:Do you think climate change is affecting animals and humans equally and upsetting natural functioning and hormone health?
Frank :It’s always the helpless who are first and most affected. Animals or any other life formdo not have sunscreens, hospitals or RO water , or air conditioning like us. We are the culprits and the other life forms are victims.
Polar bears can’t build houses with AC to live in. It’s a losing existential battle for them even as we speak, and all we think we are doing is sharing this information when we should be taking action.
SP: Do you think, there is light at the end of the tunnel?
Frank :If we continue to dig the tunnel deeper, there is only grave ahead. We have to put down our regular, mindless practices, stop what we are doing immediately and detour upwards to reach light or we will have to reap the effects of what we sow, which we already are.
SP:On the ground level, If you were to suggest policy changes to my local government like panchayat or corporation, what would you say?

Frank :Read about Ban Paluk a village in Thailand. The world Eco friendly modern village. It’s a social change towards Eco centric life by all people of the village through a change seeded by it’s leaders.
SP: Finally , what do you have to say to climate change skeptics who believe the earth can heal itself?
Frank :I can’t stress enough how serious this is, though it may look like sermonising:
“If we continue cutting our flesh expecting it to heal, we will loose our hand. We have to give it both time and favourable conditions to heal. We can’t expect for an apple tree to bear an apple by the time we devour one.Healing TAKES time.

There’s a complicated web of economic, social and environmental elements we have created.We need to try and untie the knot first and that can happen only when what Tesla said happens, REALISATION, ACCEPTANCE and ACTION.

Franklin Xavier is an alumnus of VIT and CSI College of Engineering has lead community entrepreneurship projects under Enactus , has worked at companies like Century Extrusions and has co-ordinated Not-for Profit projects at Project-DEFY. He is currently employed at Infosys. He can be reached at frank.roxtar@live.in and at his twitter handle: frank_roxtar
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Why do they swatch lipstick on hands? | finding the right makeup for smart shoppers

Everytime we look up ” Finding the right lipstick for my skin tone” we may have had one too many faux pas shopping lipsticks. I have more bad make-up decisions than my childhood toys.

Its harder to find the right nude lipstick than any other colour:

I hardly wore any lipstick all my life until nude lipsticks were a rage. You could wear them guilt free, daily. They accentuated your natural lips, and could go with any outfit or occassion.

After hopping on many shades, I realised that one that looks good on the shopping site doesn’t translate well on my face, because I have not tried it in person, it is either too dark or is exactly my skin tone hence making the lips invisible.

The reason why some lip colours don’t look good on us:

1) The color doesn’t compliment the lipshape. For a better understanding of lipshape and lipstick:

The Correct Way To Apply Lipstick For 6 Different Lip Shapes

2) There is a whole spectrum of shades of the same color that would and would not look great on you. Warmer lipstick colours are less impressive on cooler skin tones and cooler lip colours are less flattering on warmer skin tones and it took me years to understand that, no. It took only one YouTube video linked below.

For more skin tone and undertone wisdom visit French designer Justine Laconte’s YouTube video on the same topic.

3) Uneven toned lips because of too much product use or too little cleansing of the skin on lips or even chapped lips. This can vary the lipstick result greatly

4) Buying them randomly online or under store lighting and not trying them in natural light.

Now, why swatch on hands?why not anywhere else?

1) The inner side of the arm is almost the same tone as your face. When you don’t have time or a mirror to try on makeup before buying it’s best to try them on the inner side of your arm. This would reflect how lip products or eyeliner Colors would look against the skin on your face.

2)Most experts recommend swatching lipsticks on your own hand than watching some youtuber do it on theirs before buying. If you are buying online, be sure to try brands that offer precise Virtual makeup options. There are brands with apps that reflect very less on how their color cosmetics look in sunlight or with multiple coats. Buy in stores for the first time and if it works for you, you can restock them online.

Finally, lets crunch some numbers for some smart shopping:

Women throw away an average of 5800 unused beauty products in their lifetime amounting to €180000 probably the result of bad shopping. I bet most of them should be Color cosmetics and lipsticks should be at the top. This is not the case for minimalists who only wear makeup for occassions.

Aveda is the first beauty product manufacturer to offer 100% clean packaging using a bioplastic called post-consumer recycled polyethylene  This is such a welcome gesture because both plastic AND GLASS take too long to decompose.

Lipstick market or lipmakeup market to be precise, is valued at $9.2 billion as of 2018 and is expected to grow at 6.6% per year, thanks to social media influence, growing image consciousness, e-commerce and a wide range of products maybe, lip stains and lip powders, what not!

Women between ages 20-30 are the largest consumers of lipstick. Probably because this is when career, social and family life actually kick starts and peaks. Studies show we are becoming increasingly image conscious, normalising cosmetics and skin care like it is vital, which is partly good for confidence and a globalised culture but which also means more consumerism, more waste and a market that could easily get saturated, products that can be easily duplicated.

Accidentally or by daily use, the average woman who wears lipstick ( twice daily) most days of her week is expected to eat or consume 4 – 9lbs or 2 to 4.08 kilos of lipstick in her lifetime which also predisposes her to a lot of heavy metals.

Companies that offer all natural makeup: https://www.thegoodtrade.com/features/18-natural-organic-makeup-brands-your-face-will-love-you-for

Studies show that consumers are slowly shifting to environmentally conscious brands because they resonate with their personal values. Smart and conscious consumerism is the need of the hour today because it’s not just the oceans that are getting dumped but our smaller water bodies as well. When reservoirs that domestically supply water to our homes are polluted, we would begin experiencing first hand the effects of our choices.

( There is a river behind my apartment that has stopped flowing because of all the trash it brings from inside the city??

Shop smartly.

Is eating only when hungry good for weight loss?

In short, Yes, IF you know the difference between REAL hunger and cravings and if you stop exactly when you are FULL.

This practice is gaining popularity among the “mindful eating” community and is often mentioned by Healer Bhaskar.

What it is:

Mindful eating or eating-when-hungry is a practice that encourages proper breakdown and assimilation of food by eating when hungry, chewing well and stopping when full. You must know what “fake hunger” and “real hunger” is. You can easily differentiate the two by ignoring the hunger pangs. If it returns after a while, it is real hunger and you must start eating.

Benefits of “mindful eating”:

It has immense health benefits like helping food be digested and absorbed better, better salivary secretion hence better carbohydrate processing ,preventing excess stomach acidity and reflux, improving and curing GERD, improving liver and pancreatic health, maintaining good appetite, avoiding unnecessary fat gain, feeling satiated at the right time, knowing exactly when you are full and enjoying the overall eating experience.

Is Mindful eating new to us?

Not exactly, it was the norm .Humans, regardless of demography had a non-scheduled eating system some years ago. When man was hunting, by the time he found and prepared food, the entire clan was hungry. Remember that we were hunter gatherers for atleast 2 million years.

Civilization grew and as we became an Agrarian community (We have been farming for 12000-23000 years now), we produced and stored food. Even then, there were no hour clocks, physical work was dominant and we either ate telling time looking at the sun or ate when hungry. Rich, sugary and fatty food were rare and occasional. All this changed in the past 100 years or so. Wholefoods became processed and we began ignoring the body’s natural cues. We put nature under a tight schedule, began treating meal-times like an unproductive part of the day. Ever since then, we have paved way for a lot of metabolic diseases largely unknown to our grandparents.

One of the following questions must pop up when we say “eat-only-when-hungry” :

 Does it work, if so how and for whom does it not work?

Eating-only-when-hungry aims to maximize nutrient absorption and hence fastens a sluggish metabolism. It follows the same principle intermittent fasting does. It works by utilising your natural digestive cues to prevent you from fuelling up more than you really need. Occassional consumption of food to heart’s content is okay but regularly eating too much in one meal is over working the digestive system.

But like all health practices, there is a catch. For example, it may not benefit people with the following conditions because hunger cues may mean different things for them:

1) People with already low blood sugar.

2)Diabetic patients.

3)People with low blood pressure.

4) Anaemic and anorexic people.

5) People with any type of ulcer.

6) Pregnant women.

7) School going children.

8) Toddlers and infants ( they already eat only when hungry anyway so don’t force it on them)

9) If your work or travel depends on physical stamina eg. Sports, trekking,

10) If you normally feel faint often.

It is safer, if you either cure or bring these conditions to a manageable level before following the “eat-only-when-hungry” principle.

How does it work?

Remember that fats and carbohydrates get metabolised fast whereas proteins and key nutrients don’t successfully get into the blood stream if the digestive system is not in good shape. The digestive juices and the gut ( intestinal barrier between the blood stream and bowels) need to work harmoniously for proper nutrition.

Again, this has nothing to with counting calories.

So why should I stop when full?

Because everyone needs different food proportions on different days.The body has a different clock as opposed to the 24 hour schedule, some people feel hungry exactly at lunch, some feel hungry just at the thought of food. One cannot eat the same sizing proportion a super model eats and expect good results, one may need more or less that day, and it’s best to let the body decide.

For whom does it work?

We must understand that weight loss(fat loss to be precise) is not the only concern for many people. A lot of people have hormonal and digestive disorders like gall stones,GERD, leaky gut or low stomach acid that prevents them from absorbing important nutrients crucial for normal body functioning. It works for all people, whatever diet or workout you are following. Just wait until you are mildly hungry and you can have your meal.

I am working or traveling often, how can I set meal times that sync with hunger?

Carrying healthy home cooked food packed with you is a good strategy. Try to fit complex carbs, protein and fiber rich food so that you don’t feel hungry just because of low blood glucose, like veggies, eggs and meat combo or falafel, nuts, quinoa black/ brown rice etc for vegans

3) Is it just another popular diet strategy that will disappear soon?

That is less likely, because lesser and lesser people are following fad diets. Everyone is looking into diets methods ( one or combined) suitable to body type that help them reach their goals. When more people want consistent practices, the ages old tradition of eating when hungry will be followed more.

If I am already on a keto/paleo/vegan diet schedule, is this going to hinder my progress?

No, because you are not changing your diet, you are only modifying when you should eat and how you eat.

 

Final verdict:

Try Eating-when-hungry on the days you are at home, like weekends. How you feel will tell you, if you want to follow it on the longrun.

Richard Branson to Robin Sharma- The many ways that self-help books may be losing potency

Not an avid reader?  Heard of names like Richard Branson, Brian Tracy, Deepak Chopra, Robin Sharma, Rhonda Byrne? They have got to you then. They have very successfully got to you. Behold the, Success Gurus. Life Hack experts, welcome to the SELF HELP INDUSTRY.

Off-paper, most of these authors spend time conducting workshops and conferences for corporates, sales professionals,  schools and the general public. I really like all of their work and their insights they offer. But with so many Life changing Gurus, the world is just churning out new problems or a large part of the world is still un-motivated or worse- BURNT OUT. So it begs the question, Does self-help really help a person grow?

This is not to say that all these authors/ publishing houses are conspiring together to make money off our weaknesses-but the usefulness of this industry seems  recently under debate.

Why do we choose these books and listen to these authors?

Innately, at all stages of my life, I have wanted to be better  than the next person or be the equivalent of a successful person until I realized I want to be the best version of myself. Yet I don’t know how to do it perfectly. So I constantly look for motivation and quick hacks to help me make the best decisions. We are probably the only mammals that measure our traits and abilities against others or against our past selves almost constantly.

What has changed since the social media boom?

Digital marketing, New York times best sellers, paid partnerships, video lectures, free subscription for one year etc, etc.

I feel  no less chased after by  books, leaders and authors than by products. A decade ago, we were prowling for books. Now all the gurus seem to be hunting for more and wider range of disciples. It is almost as if they are in a rat-race themselves now that youtubers, review sites  and bloggers seem to be far reaching and influential than legit professionals in the life-hack industry. Only recently many self proclaimed industry “leaders” and experts (who were only famous on social media) were debunked for “Renting out” their villas, luxury cars and yachts inorder to lure people by marketing videos into their subscription and webinars.

What decides a book/author’s longevity in the reader?

If I looked for the next self help book, it means the first didn’t work too well, right? It didn’t serve me LIFE LONG. Self-improvement needs can change. One time it is public speaking, another time it is health and fitness. “Get anything you want, faster than you ever think” may have been an inspirational catchphrase but if any content doesn’t unknot  the logic knots that the real world throws at you, you may not remember it too well.  So does that mean all that these served was a temporary spike of motivation that fades with real experiences? Not entirely. Books of both inspiration and reason, great language stick around more in our memory. The longer it is in memory, the more often we go back to fetch excerpts and use its recommended methods.

Nobody has all the time in the world to read book after book for motivation

When the Blinkist App came by, it was like a slap in the face for me. the Blinkist app, which has over 2,000 nonfiction book summaries that you can “read” in under 15 minutes, was very welcome, highly promoted on social media and could have done a much better job if it came any earlier. That way we could compare content an take what we need.YouTube channels like Fight Mediocrity summarize books with animated clips. All we really want from self-improvement books and seminars is jump to the core of the subject without the hustle and ado.

Blinkist app pricing: https://www.blinkist.com/en/nc/plans_v3

We bought  a lot of books because of their blurb (The backside of a book), a good ruse that is fading because of online piracy and online ratings .  We are more likely to pick a book that says “New York times bestseller” than  ‘Life changing masterpiece”. This is because it is human instinct to lean on peer and expert opinion.

They hold good when we are in need of immediate motivation  but the real deal is when people actually start weighing in on “The help” the books can do.We  practice all the preaching, and it seems to be working, then  when real life kicks in, the algorithm seems blurry, then  a little impractical, then after a while, we may need new motivational lectures and videos. Strangely I haven’t seen one successful person who credited his success to these motivational books or speakers or gurus than praising REAL LIFE experiences for shaping who they are. Turns out most Kung-fu movies might be right. The answer, the fire must come from inside, if it has to fuel you consistently.

Here are some straight facts:

Either way, the self-help industry takes advantage of people’s weaknesses. Earlier, religion did that quiet successfully.

The Self improvement industry is worth $10Billionand self improvement audiobooks stand at $769 million, growing annually by 5.6%

Women are more likely to buy and read self help books than men.

Americans spent $563 million on self help books in the beginning of the millennium (2000).

People resort to self-help books mostly because, it is cheaper and discreet than going to a psychiatrist or psychologist.

Self help books and audiobooks fall under 4 main categories: Identity, Growth, Coping with stress, Personal relationships.

Self-help books cannot treat undiagnosed or chronic mental health conditions.

The bottomline is, all self-help merchandise are accessible, but their usefulness and longevity varies for different people. Simply put, do not judge a book by its cover.pexels-photo

 

 

When is the online mental maturity going to pervade our real lives?

The internet is full of awareness and breaking stereotypes but how much of that online positivity, maturity is incorporated into our everyday real life? A lot of us are still afraid of helping strangers. We first judge the race, color, sexuality and morality of someone before we see the human in them. We take kindness for flirtation. We judge a young mother for letting her child cry because she s tired while we laud online posts.  We function around fear of tomorrow whilst caring less about twenty years into the future. We care more about achievement than the effect it leaves on our peace, morale and our world. We function on desire in secrecy and pretend to be grown up outside. Do something good and you have to explain yourself. We question the morality of the weak while we celebrate arrogance of the powerful. Are you and me, regardless of age doing the right thing? Is this the madness we are going to teach our kids?

__________________________________________________________________________________________

A little story on how we function these days :

There is an old abandoned building in a crowded town that can either be re-used as a shelter, apartment, grocery store or warehouse or can be demolished.

Most people ignore the building largely and keep complaining about the lack of space in the town.  They keep teasing each other about their inability to make money because of lack of opportunity but nobody does anything about it. When little children and others question the purpose of the structure, they are told, “That is the way things are, just do what you do, this is what we did and don’t think too much”. These people who have a say-so, do not let anyone do anything, get jealous easily, shame the under-achievers but tag themselves, the “KNOW-IT-ALLS” , the “MATURE” ones in the society.

In short, I hate the way most people in their 40s today think and thought and act. I hate the things they say even more. So does that make me immature? Read on and decide.

In my years of existing (that is all I have done anyway) I have met only a handful of people who are kind, who do their duty religiously, who are not critical or judgmental of others and are humane whenever possible. Among the worst people I have met, from classroom to family, if I could publicly mention the things they did to others, in an attempt to make them realize how bad they are at living, I would. BUT… I can’t. That would be immature. We shall all keep our struggles to ourselves and never speak about them, because that is maturity. Wait.

What is maturity? Learning how to give opinions about everything, learning to mingle with the crowd,  suppress all emotions and act calm in public? I don’t think so.

Maybe it is true that we never really grow up, but only learn how to act in public. Sometimes I feel I act differently under pressure and don’t exactly follow the same things I teach my child. I felt grappled to even realise that I am very anxious and conscious of being watched in public while teaching my son to explore the world, of which I am still uncertain. Social media has only magnified what we already have in our culture or perhaps even human nature- the feeling of inadequacy and want of being accepted. Despite people breaking stereotypes everywhere equality and maturity has still a long way until it can reach everyday, real life dialogue.

The nature of the things we want as a child change as we grow older but the need to be appreciated and heralded remains the same. So again, do we really grow up?

The answer is tricky because it is very personal.  Only I would know how grown up I am now from who I was because it happens only in my head. And like cancer, it can relapse.  Hard times, failure or criticism can send someone back to being the person they wanted to grow out of. In earlier days, when someone wanted his inner journey to be deep and complete, he did it without having to explain why he hadn’t achieved the things others hadn’t. But today, you seem to have to achieve something inorder to simply exist in society, mostly because food is not free, but that is a topic for another day. You are afraid of your parents, your parents are afraid of your relatives, your relatives are afraid of their secrets so they ask you as many questions as possible and the cycle goes on and on, until you have grandchildren or until someone questioning you, you know passes away. We all know, that we are headed towards a pointless destination satisfying only our FEARS along the way.

There is another quote that goes: We remain stuck in that age where we received least love. As philosophical as it sounds, there is a lot of psychology to it. There is a popular “Need hierarchy triangle”.  Unless we don’t achieve the needs in tier 3, we can’t cross over to tier 2. The simplest example is when you have had a strict or abusive parent. No matter how much educated you get, how far you travel, when presented with the same stimulus at 28, you respond how you did when you were 8. Getting over any type of trauma is a Himalayan task because in our society, we celebrate perfection, we are not allowed to be hurt or embarrassed. That was until people began speaking up and finding like minded people around the world. You can tell a forum member, your struggles that you can’t tell your cousin. Still though,  all around the world, humans are humans’ first and last problem. Thankfully both internet forums and social media groups have allowed everyone regardless of their influence a voice. We have definitely changed into a more positive, informed, aware, broad-minded, supportive community online despite what the secret societies if any wanted to morph us into (Just saying). But to materialise the good wave into everyday action requires us simply to stop judging those who do it first. 

Peace and light.

From sunscreens, skin toners, scrubs to serums- what you can DIY at home

There is always this thought that crosses the mind when choosing pricey organic, plant based products: can I make them myself?

Well long story short, you CAN. But one, they won’t have as much active ingredient content as specifically extracted for.

Two, you can’t store them as efficiently for longer periods because they are not sterilised for shelf life and we don’t have as many preservative options that are sure to work. So the bottom-line is, you can make your own products if you make them for short term use or in situations where you don’t have your own packed product.

These are easy diy alternatives with available ingredients.

1) Peanut butter and fine sugar exfoliating body scrub.

Have a jar of peanut butter nearing expiry? Don’t throw it out. The following recipe can give you polished skin that is not parched dry.

  • Two – three tbsp of peanut butter .
  • Fine sugar or powder glucose- 3 tea spoons
  • Olive oil or almond oil – 1 TSP

Melt the peanut butter in microwave oven or double heat it in a pan of water until fully melted.

Wait until it cools for a minute and add the oil ( to increase runniness) and sugar/ glucose and whisk.

Apply on skin and scrub gently until the sugar melts away or peanut butter gains thick consistency on skin. Wash off with mild foaming cleanser. Works best when done before shaving with a blade and after waxing to sooth skin.

Note : avoid fine sugar if you have very sensitive skin . Avoid olive oil if you have extremely greasy skin.

Do not apply on face unless you have tried peanut butter on face before.

2) peppermint and rosewater toner:

Visible pores are any woman’s headache and toners are here just to tackle that. In case you run out of your regular toner, you can try this DIY toner with ingredients popularly used in many brands.

  • Rose water : 2 tbsp
  • Ground peppermint juice, strained: 2 tbsp

Mix these two in a bowl, refrigerate for 20 minutes and apply with cotton pad generously over face and neck in upward motion. If there is acne do not apply too much pressure and only gently tap over sensitive areas. You can follow up with moisturizer or your regular serum.

3) calamine and coconut oil sunscreen:

The debate over whether sunscreens are safe, doesn’t seem to have hit an end for now. Carrot seed oil and other natural substances with a fair SPF are now used in many green brands with the only downside, they are pricier than your average sunscreen. But if you feel you could try a simple, DIY mineral based sunscreen, give this a try.

  • Drugstore calamine lotion or the brand “Lacto calamine” , 3 tbsp
  • Coconut oil 1 tbsp
  • Talcum powder 1tbsp
  • Vegetable glycerine 1 tbsp ( optional)

Mix the above ingredients and store in a clean container. Use when necessary throughout the day. (Quantity for one day use)

So wait, what is calamine?

Calamine has been in use since 1500 b.c. It is made of zinc oxide, ferric oxide along with ingredients such as phenols and calcium hydroxide. Originally used to treat a variety of skin irritation and sunburn. The lotion offers a “mineral based” sun protection that sits on your skin rather than penetrating into the skin and offering sun protection.

Inorganic minerals such as titaniumdioxide, zinc oxide and calamine act as a physical barrier to UVB and UVA (especially zinc oxide)”. – Science direct.

4) Hair vitalising serum.

Serums work better than oils in promoting hairgrowth because they get absorbed better and have more active ingredients per ml than an oil does. I looked up many natural growth serums and found they have a lot of common ingredients. You can make your current serum bottle ( I am using Vedix) last longer, if you alternate it with a DIY you can use every other day.

Note: increase the quantity of ingredients by half with every two inch increase in hair length. The recipe below is for my medium length hair for three days.

  • Kalonji seeds or black cumin : 1 tbsp
  • Fenugreek seeds : 2 tbsp
  • Cedar wood oil : few drops
  • Rosemary essential oil : few drops
  • Hibiscus flowers 2, ground to paste and strained.
  • Baby ginger root juice 1/2 tbsp.
  • Calamus root or vasambu or vacha powder 1/2 tbsp

Grind the calamus root or the powder with soaked kalonji seeds, soaked Fenugreek seeds and strain them well. Add hibiscus juice, ginger juice, the essential oils and transfer them to a clean glass bottle. Apply over a period of three days ( after which it may loose it’s freshness) regularly with a stopper at hair roots.

What other DIY quick products can you use for makeup and personal care? Do share your knowledge in the comments below.

The real problem with your health supplements

You may be a consumer of fish oil, protein, rare herbs and spirulina supplements or you may be the cynical kind that needs nothing of the sorts.

Either way, our society is booming with cosmetics and supplements alike. And this trend is going nowhere any sooner.

The health supplements market will hit a whopping $194 billion by 2025, which is just a 5 years, 6 month gap from now.

So how did we go from food and prescriptions to consuming supplements for health and beauty?

Proprietary and supplementary food has been around for decades now. But the needs of consumers has changed. We now pick products that gives targeted benefits. Nobody takes random Multi-vitamins now as much as they did ten years ago. People take supplements for deficiencies they know for sure they have. People either look up their own symptoms or take diagnostic blood tests.

We must thank diagnostic labs for now allowing tests to be taken in self-interests without recommendation from doctors giving us the flexibility and power over our health.

The boom of internet, health bloggers, alternative medicine, diets, influencers and nutrition becoming common knowledge has led a lot of people to believe they need supplements to makeup for the nutrient void in regular food ( which is only partially true because you CAN get all nutrients only from food).

This combined with technology and knowledge to harvest material that targets specific needs ( like hair growth supplements) has given the big pharma another detour from making profit only from sickness. So now we have the “wellness” industry, a distinct ecosystem thriving and growing on its own. And I do not see much harm with that except on two things.

1) We CAN’T be sure of the CLEANLINESS of the source or of the packaging at first glance

There are different standards to the same supplement. For example, Omega 3 fish oil capsules priced at $3 dollars, can have rancid fish odour, whereas a cleaner but pricier one will deliver benefits without rancidity. This comes down to multi step processing, which the end consumer is less likely to know about.

Rancidity is the general term used in oils when they undergo self oxidation or hydrolysis, reducing the shelf life and nutritional value.

How do you get hold of clean Omega 3 capsules?

Sometimes you can’t figure this out without trial and error. A rancid capsule will leave a fish odour in the oesophagus few minutes after consumption, while a cleaner one won’t. Reading on the consumer reviews will help get an idea if the tablet is rancid or not.

You can check if your product complies with International Fish Oil Standards (IFOS) here:

http://consumer.nutrasource.ca/about/how-certifications-work/ifos

Another example is the spirulina supplement. Dubbed the super food, spirulina supplementation is on a steady rise but the source from where they are harvested is a little tricky to track.

Spirulina assimilates most minerals from the environment and tends to assimilate heavy metals, if present. So for the price of great protein and nutrients you would be consuming free heavy metals like lead, arsenic and mercury. These are the last things you would want in your system.

So how do you know if the spirulina is grown and harvested from clean waters?

You can call up the manufacturer to know if it was grown in tanks, river water catchment or the sea. If it is sea water you can be half sure, that the spirulina may have imbibed some heavy metals and inorganic chemicals. When it is grown in other sources you must be sure to ask if it was grown in effluent water from industries and dyeing units. Always opt for spirulina from fresh water. Never take a protein supplement unless you are physically active enough to promote muscle mass. Always consume more water to flush out protein byproducts that may settle in the kidneys.

How about biotin, iron and zinc supplements?

It is always safe to get blood work done to find out what exactly is lacking before taking vitamins. Excessive inorganic residue can be harmful to the liver and kidneys in unprecedented ways. Opt for supplements from plant or natural sources, because they are absorbed better. If you experience heartburn or develop ulcers on supplementation, you should stop the product or switch brands because the fillers in vitamins may be corrosive to the stomach lining. Always take supplements with, during or middle of the meal than minutes after eating for better digestion.

2) What do you do with all the empty packaging?

The one problem I dealt with in great pain was finding ways to reuse or dispose the empty packages. You may use them as containers for other things, if your city does not have a dedicated recycling plant. Find if the product you use has a disposable refill pack.

The over dependence on supplements can lead you to think there is no optimal health without them. It can lead to a sense of helplessness when you can’t get your hands on the packs in time. This common psychological side effect of dependence can be overcome by finding natural, alternative and raw sources of the nutrients and reducing the regularity of consumption.

Eat fish oil once in 5 days while you get enough mild sunlight, eat flax, chia, pumpkin seeds, and eat oily fish like salmon the other days of the week.

Either way, we can’t actually guage how much we eat gets absorbed as much as we know what our food and supplements contain.

Finding natural sources of healthy food, eating a balanced diet, being physically active whenever possible and supplementing wisely are the sure steps to mental, physical and environmental health.

What is exfoliation and how often should you exfoliate skin?

20190616_120344_0000.pngExfoliation literally means shedding.

The skin naturally sheds skin cells by the thousands by moving older and dead cells on a superficial layer over the epidermis. In evolutionary terms, this is a natural barrier for skin shielding it from humidity, temperature and sunlight. Artificial exfoliation is the act of removing that dead layer of cells along with dirt and pollutants (though not very cell targeted, you will chip away some new cells too) by using physical and chemical exfoliants.

By nature, the skin on the face and neck is more soft and sensitive in comparison to the rest of the body. Which is why experts do not recommend using the same product on the face and body.  Regular and customized skin care routine is necessary from the teens for healthy skin with minimal problems.  A daily routine consists of cleansing, toning and moisturizing whereas a facial consists of cleansing, exfoliating, specific mask , toning and moisturizing.

What happens when we don’t exfoliate?

You exfoliate passively everytime you rub your face with a towel. Cleansers help in gentle daily clean up of the face but regular and well spaced exfoliation can improve skin health and appearance in many ways. Not exfoliating for months and years together leads to product buildup and makes blemishes appear prominent, can lead to product buildup, clogged pores and hence more acne. Appearance of fine lines and wrinkles will become very noticeable because the new cells cant get to the surface. Over buildup of dead cells lowers the effectiveness of any product you use, be it sunscreen or a serum because it gets absorbed lesser into the dermis.

What happens when we exfoliate too much?

Recent research suggests that over exfoliating skin, reveals the more sensitive portion of the skin open to the environment. This opens pathways for skin infections, clogged pores, more blemishes and exposure to radiation. Either way, exfoliating everyday is unnecessary when cell turnover is slower than the rate you scrub off dead cells. Further the upper harder and protective layer form a natural barrier to sunlight and the environment.

Physical exfoliants:

All herbal scrubs and apricot, walnut bead scrubs and  brushes fall under this category. The thumb rule is as long as you don’t have acne or open wounds or sensitive skin, physical exfoliants can help shed dead skin cells, improve blood circulation and leave a freshened effect.

Indian skin is used to using Ubtan, turmeric or sandal as natural cleanser/exfoliant since ages. As much as it helped our mothers and grandmothers with skin care, abrasive exfoliants like these seem little help to this generation with an array of skin problems. The reason? We are more exposed to harmful products and environmental pollutants from air to water and eat far less healthy foods than our ancestors did. Think of a piece of silk washed using a rough brush. Physical exfoliants will only do MORE harm to damaged skin however natural the product is. If you have acne wait till the acne clears out before you use rough exfoliants. Use paraben and silicone free gel based scrubs for regular exfoliation.

Chemical exfoliants:

They are essentially exfoliating acids . Chemical exfoliants contain acids AHAs, BHAs  and glycolic acid that function by oxidizing and chipping away the upper surface. Plant based exfoliants contain papaya, pineapple, pumpkin enzymes and extracts from peppermint etc. Chemical exfoliants and scrubs can cause as much damage as physical exfoliants if over used.  A good skin care routine that involves cleansing, toning and day/night product is enough on a daily basis with occasional scrub or exfoliation on the face. If you feel too clogged and sweaty, using a body scrub should do no harm but the same must not be used on the face.

 

How often should you exfoliate?

The skin replenishes with a completely new layer of skin on an average of thirty days .Most people think once in two weeks (if you cleanse and tone regularly) is ideal or once in a week if you are a very active person who goes outdoors a lot. Exfoliation after heavy makeup worn for longer periods is necessary to remove left over product buildup. Listen to your skin, feel unfresh and cant feel skin properly when you run your fingers over even after cleansing? Exfoliate using  gentle exfoliating gel. If your skin feels so sensitive even when your hair falls over your face, don’t use an exfoliating product and settle with mild cleansing and recovery product

I grew my hair visibly longer with these products in two weeks

Disclaimer :Not a paid promotion

I used these products in combination and saw  visible hair length results in 3 weeks. It took me a year & half to get from a short pixie crop to a shoulder length bob and I couldn’t wait to grow it out.

Before I tell you how I got here because of these products that I was rather sceptical about, here are some hair facts I wish somebody told me:

  1. Early to bed and early to rise affects cortisol and adrenaline levels and hence hair growth. You can’t grow back hair just because someone else did if you can’t reduce these hormones in blood stream.
  2. Popping vitamins alone without blood work/test done without a balanced but happy, loveable diet can cause more harm than hairgrowth.
  3. If your body alkalinity-acidity isn’t in balance and if your gut is unable to digest your nutrients, you are going down the wrong road.
  4. If you are chronically worried or stressed about something in life any number of ingestible and external products aren’t going to help.
  5. If you are chronically exposed to artificial light, WiFi and mobile radiation and if you sleep with your bedcovers covering your face and hence low oxygen, cut out the hair growth idea from your head.
  6. Using the wrong drugstore products when you have plant based alternatives can change and damage follicles ( the mother bulb of hair) beyond repair

I didn’t believe in eating wrong food but depending on external products to grow hair but watching some people eat all the junk food they want but still having great hair and swearing by their special oils or shampoo got me thinking.

Is there some magic product that keeps tresses permanently fine for some people while they go on their wild eating spree?

Well… It’s both a yes and no. The answer lies in body chemistry. Some people’s hormones and inflammation levels are all under safe levels, hence they don’t seem too bothered by what goes in or out. But that luck may run out anytime. A fairly good diet and good scalp care regime seem the key in growing and maintaining locks,

Vedix and Biotique for long hair Vedix & Biotique both claim using pure ayurvedic formulations. Vedix puts you on a quiz to find which formula is perfect for you. You could be vata, pitta or kapha dominant or could have combination imbalance. It takes about a week to ship these to your location.

My pack was formulated for vata- pitta ( which was accurate diagnosis) and I could see my hair becoming more lush long( in ages). Biotique conditioner helped soften and protect as Vedix doesn’t give you a post shower conditioner. Vedix serum was night use and hence Biotique serum in the day time. Vedix oil-shampoo-serum-breakday-oil-shampoo routine was indeed worth the money.

Whilst Biotique is relatively affordable Vedix has what looks to be loyal promising genuine customer reviews so I couldn’t think of it as a hoax so I decided to get a one month pack.

🍀#Biotique  seakelp hair conditioner -120ml ( 4.06 FL.oz)

🍀Biotique mountain ebony  vitalizing serum 120ml ( 4.06 FL.oz)

🍂 VEDIX KHOOB anti hairfall oil customised for me- Vata-pitta100ml ( 3.38 FL.Oz)

🍂VEDIX KHOOB hair regrowth serum

🍂VEDIX KHOOB anti hairfall shampoo – 100 ml( 3.38 fl.oz)

Price breakdown: Vedix package of oil, shampoo and night serum- ₹1699 ( 24 dollars)

Biotique conditioner -₹135 ( around 2$) Biotique  serum that I used as day serum – ₹185 ( 2.66 $) The 1 month Vedix pack lasted me 2 months when used in alternative combination with Biotique conditioner and serum. Verdict : despite the price, worth the money & use Vedix with biotique if you want package to last longer.

Buy here : https://www.nykaa.com/brands/biotique/hair-care/c/5758

Take the vedix quiz here : https://vedix.com/

6 ways to waste time and life- for women.

Photograph by Aishwarya Shakthi1. Tell people that the other person had it the easy way:

An example : “She is able to do things because her parents take care of her kids”

The world is too crowded for opportunity to waltz into anybody’s living room.

No two woman’s challenges, capabilities or temperaments are same for obvious reasons. We constantly compare our challenges and accomplishments with others. The best way to waste your capabilities and your time alive is assuming the role of a spectator to everyone’s failures and successes and keeping others in line while not focussing on yourself. Excuses are no way to live life.

2.Blame life and the people around :

Example : “They ruined my opportunity”

This is the foolproof way to let life end not having achieved any peace or success : giving other people, however important the power to decide what must happen in your life.

Life isn’t fair, not for most people. Even being born into successful families
will have its own challenges. Most
people’s lives look easy because they make it look that way.

3.Laughing at others while making a joke of the self:

Example : “Alice may have got a promotion but she looks like a terminally-ill person”

The easiest way to get higher than others for sadists is bringing another down so they can stand tall. Finding potholes in other aspects of a person’s family life or appearance or finances to make their other successes look small is a reflection of an inability to appreciate others. If people only find that you have bad things to say, they will eventually stay away from you.This superficial superiority is a way human subtle and passive aggressiveness shows itself Continue doing this by assuming it’s normal and life genuinely will
run out before they even realise it.

4.Collecting intimate information about others:

Example: “Alice diets, hence she lost her baby weight” ( like we know everything that goes on)

“Great minds discuss ideas, mediocre minds discuss people”

The core of the gossip culture is nosing into others lives while pretentiously looking indifferent . Gossip is so normal that “gossip show” is now a thing in the showbiz.

Any information that doesn’t directly or indirectly translate as benefit is trash for the brain. And is definitely no stuff of a useful conversation. When we assume nobody gets successful the straight way, neither can we, because we think it’s impossible. It only reflects on the inability to look at life positively or find anything worthwhile to talk about.With a mindset as this, doubt, frustration, blame mentality and sabotaged relationships will be all that it leaves.

5.Following others pursuits:

Example : “She started doing this, so I will too”

There is nothing wrong in finding inspiration from other people but if someone is always on your trail, it’s not a healthy thing, for them. Some people don’t start doing anything until they see you doing it. This is partly because they set no personal goals. Their life is mostly about happenings in other people’s lives. These are ways an empty heart fills itself. Some women compete with everyone they meet and all their pursuits are short lived.

Seasonal pursuits are like flings than like committed relationships.
They are too occupied with staying ahead of the crowd than figuring out a path of their own.People can take care of their lives. You must take care of yours.

6.Character assassinating the lead runner:

Example : “She neglects her family, husband and children, hence she finds time”

“Slander is the final tool of the loser” goes a saying. What better way to stop another’s growth than to paint their character badly?. Slander may initially work but will ultimately end up destroying the very person who uses it. No sane or happy person has slander for breakfast.
Cant succeed? Try harder than getting hard on criticism. Most people don’t want to hear useless information.

The more often you bring people down, the more people will stand in your way when you try to succeed.

Pave a self motivated path irrespective of other women. The strongest women find no reason to compete and judge.