Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Trip To Mahabaleshwar...

This time I had two wonderful occasions to celebrate... First was Diwali and then my husband’s birthday… and the Best part My children had Diwali vacation. What we wanted was a a nice, relaxing weekend & wanted to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city life. So we made a two days trip to mahabaleshwar. Mahabaleshwar is a serene hill station located at an altitude of 1500 Meters (4500 Ft.) above the sea level – and offers some great views of valleys and rivers flowing. We enjoyed some scenic beauty, a quiet environment ,fresh air, good breeze and lovely sight-seeing. Panchgani is situated 20 kms East of Mahabaleshwar and spreads out over five hills. The name actually means 'five lands' and in this very popular hill station, We visited both place.

This picturesque hill station, also known as the Queen of Maharashtra's hill stations, is located in the Western Ghats, cradled in the Sahyadri ranges. An altitude of 1,372 m     gives it the distinction of being the highest hill station in Western India. Mahabaleshwar, is named after Lord Shiva also called Lord Mahabali, enshrined at the Gokarna temple in the form of a self-originated lingam, shaped like a rudraksha, and considered to be the most sacred amongst the other twelve jyothirlingams.
The history of Mahabaleshwar takes us to the year 1215 when it was visited by King Singhan of Deogori. Around 1350, a Brahmin dynasty took over power and gave the area harmony and prosperity. Mahabaleshwar later on was annexed by the Maratha family of Chandarao More in the middle of the 16th century which built the famous Mahabaleshwar Temple. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj defeated Jaoli and Mahabaleshwar and constructed the famous Pratapgad Fort in the year 1656. After the end of his rule, the Peshwas ruled this place until the 19th century. In the year 1819, Mahabaleshwar was included in the territory of the Raja of Satara and it was from 1828 what we do know is that the British developed this place as a health resort was regularly visited in succession beginning with Sir John Malcolm and then by Arthur, Carnac, Frere and many others after whom the famous points in Mahabaleshwar are named.

Mahabaleshwar is known for its many points which offer panoramic views. There are as many as 30 viewpoints, named after notable Britishers within close range. Accessibility of these points is largely by foot or vehicles.  Some of the most popular points we visit are:
Lodwick Point

Located at an altitude of 1,240 m, it is named after General Lodwick, who is said to have been the first to set foot on this point in 1824. A monument has been erected there in his memory by his son.
Elphinstone Point

Named after a Governor of Mumbai, Sir Elphinstone, it was discovered by Dr. Murray in the early 18th century. A great spot for picnicking, it bears a resemblance to an elephant's head and trunk, if seen from the Lodwick Point.
Arthur's Seat, another famous point, and considered to be one of the best, is located at an altitude of 1,348 m and captures a beautiful view of the Jor Valley.  It has been named after Arthur Malet and one can catch the two territories of Mahabaleshwar very distinctly set apart Kokan and Desh.It is fascinating to see the barren deep valley Savitri on the left & shallow green valley on the right. It is more fascinating to know that Arthur's seat is the only place showing geographical distinction of kokan & Desh (Deccan), two territories of Mahabaleshwar, so clear & so near.

Wilson's Point, is the highest point in Mahabaleshwar, thus offering you the best view, at an altitude of 1,435 m. With three observation towers erected here, it is the best place to catch the sunrise, and hence has also been called the Sunrise Point.There are other points also that you will come across such as the points of Marjorie, Savitri and the Castle Rock Point, all rising from the Valleys of Konkan, and on your way to Arthur's Seat.

A kilometer away from here is a small spring called Tiger's Spring, said to be the source of the River Savitri, which leads you, by way of steps, to a small ledge right beneath Arthur's Point, called The Window and offering an absolutely enthralling view.Another great point is Kate's Point, located at an altitude of 1,290 m and overlooking the Krishna Valley. Near this point is the Echo Point, where you can hear your voice echo
Tapola :

Tapola which is only 25 Kms for Mahabaleshwar. Tapola is popularly known as ' The Mini Kashmir ' because of the beautiful view of the dam, the rivers. Koyana and Solshi, the beauty of the hill ranges of Sahyadri and the deep forest. Tapola is to the other side of Mahabaleshwar than Pune - the Popular side. The journey of 1- 1/12 hr is pretty one as one goes between the high hill ranges and the dark woods. The view of Koyana river on one side and Solshi river on the other is beautiful. Both these rivers meet at Tapola. The dam is the biggest in Maharashtra - Known as 'Shivsagar'. It has a big lake with small islands and there tourists can take a boat and visit the various islands.

It is a great destination to beat the heat of typical Indian summer and indulge in some wonderful delicacies made out of corn, strawberries and mulberries.  Wind, water and scenic views detoxified me and offered great relaxation. We were not interested in shopping so didnt cover much. The experience was very wonderful. The atmosphere at Mahableshwar is pleasant and full of greenery; definitely it is heaven. We loved Mahabaleshwar for its wonderful scenic surroundings. Overall, it is definitely unforgettable experience to hang out with loved one in such a beautiful heaven.
To Know more about Mahabaleshwar  go through, which offers valuable travel information on Mahabaleshwar

Friday, October 16, 2009

Festival Of Lights...

It's the "Festival of Lights"
Memories of moments celebrated together...
Moments those have been attached in my heart, forever...
The ancient festival of myth and mystery;
That gorgeous festival of snacks and sweets.
A joyful day for minds and hearts and souls...
When old and young with delight meet
With love and affection all hearts beat
The gifts and sweets from dear ones,

The fragrance of flowers,
The array of Rangoli,
And the dazzling fireworks...
Effusing joys to all abound
It's the season to pay a visit,
To all our friends and relations,
This is what the occasion is all about,
This is the spirit of Diwali.
Let us thank the heavenly might,
In this festival of lights.
All darkness is far away,
As light is on its way;
It seems to be a happy day on Earth!
Wish all of u a very happy Diwali!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Eat Less Rice? Why?

Eat Less Rice!
Rice is arguably the world’s most important food. It is the second most widely cultivated cereal in the world, after wheat, and is a staple food of over half the world’s population. In much of Asia, rice is so central to the culture that the word is almost synonymous with food. In Chinese the line in the Lord’s Prayer is translated as "give us this day our daily rice," and a Japanese proverb states that "A meal without rice is no meal." Roti and Rice are staple foods of India. Staple food is defined as the main food. Other foods may accompany the staple foods. In India, the accompaniments are: dairy products, legumes, vegetables, and meats. Accompaniments revolve around the staples of cooked rice, or Roti.

Recently I read one interesting article about rice.Eat Less Rice The article is very informative. But I wondered while reading this article ;Because we indians have a steady diet of rice for thousands of years and they are about as thin as you go in most cases. I somewhat agree with this article- too much rice is not good. in my views However, there is no such study that proves rice is unhealthy. What researchers have found out long ago is that it contains lots of carbohydrate in the form of starch. The reason they are not promoting ppl to eat rice is because with current lifestyles - minimum physical activity, the excess of carbohydrate will be converted into fat by the body. This applies to all food with high carbohydrate content, for example potato. So if you are eating rice or some other carbohydrate rich food, make sure to do some physical activity.
Actually I am  a Rice addict. Going rice-less may not be easy for me . Eating less rice could be lot easier than you think. And it makes me to think about it… Please read this below subject about rice eating and inviting you all for  open comments.
Eat Less Rice? Why?
1.Eat Less Rice!
The human body was never meant to consume rice! our genes have hardly changed in more than 30,000 years. However, our food choices and lifestyle have changed dramatically. The caveman would hardly recognise our food or way of life.
Caveman food was never cooked as fire was not yet tamed. Thus, he ate only those foods that you can eat without treatment with or by fire.. He ate fruits, vegetables, fish eggs, nuts and meat. Yes, even meat! You can even eat meat raw if you were starving in the forest. You have the necessary enzymes to digest meat.
However, rice, like wheat and corn, cannot be eaten raw. It must be cooked. Even if you were starving in the desert, you cannot eat rice in the raw form. This is because we do not have the system of enzymes to break rice down. You were never meant to eat rice. To make matters worse, you not only eat rice, but also make it the bulk of your food.
In some parts of Asia , rice forms up to 85% of the plate. Even if you take rice, keep it to a minimum. Remember, it is only for your tongue - not your body. Actually, rice and other grains like wheat and corn are actually worse than sugar. There are many reasons:
2.Rice is digested to become sugar.
Rice becomes sugar - lots of it! This is a fact that no nutritionist can deny: rice is chemically no different from sugar. One bowl of cooked rice is the caloric equal of 10 teaspoons of sugar. This does not matter whether it is white, brown or herbal rice. Brown rice is richer in fibre, some B vitamins and minerals but it is still the caloric equal of 10 teaspoons of sugar. To get the same 10 teaspoons of sugar, you need to consume lots of -10 bowls of it.

Rice cannot be digested before it is thoroughly cooked. However, when thoroughly cooked, it becomes sugar and spikes circulating blood sugar within half an hour-almost as quickly as it would if you took a sugar candy. Rice is very low in the 'rainbow of anti-oxidants. '
This complete anti-oxidant rainbow is necessary for the effective and safe utilisation of sugar. Fruits come with a sugar called fructose. However, they are not empty calories as the fruit is packed with a whole host of other nutrients that help its proper assimilation and digestion.
3.Rice has no fibre.
The fills you up long before your blood sugar spikes. This is because the fibre bulks and fills up your stomach. Since white rice has no fibre, you end up eating lots of 'calorie dense' food before you get filled up. Brown rice has more fibre but still the same amount of sugar.
4.Rice is tasteless-sugar is sweet.
There is only so much that you can eat at one sitting. How many teaspoons of sugar can you eat before you feel like throwing up? Could you imagine eating 10 teaspoons of sugar in one sitting?
Rice is always the main part of the meal. While sugar may fill your dessert or sweeten your coffee, it will never be the main part of any meal. You could eat maybe two to three teaspoons of sugar at one meal. However, you could easily eat the equal value of two to three bowls (20-30 teaspoons) of sugar in one meal.
There is no real 'built in' mechanism for us to prevent overeating of rice: How much can you eat? How much fried chicken can you eat? How much steamed fish can you eat? Think about that!
In one seating, you cannot take lots of chicken, fish or cucumber, but you can take lots of rice.

 5.Eating rice causes you to eat more salt.
As rice is tasteless, you tend to consume more salt-another villain when it comes to high blood pressure. You tend to take more curry that has salt to help flavour rice. We also tend to consume more ketchup and soy sauce , which are also rich in salt.
6.Eating rice causes you to drink less water.
The more rice you eat, the less water you will drink as there is no mechanism to prevent the overeating of rice. Rice, wheat and corn come hidden in our daily food. As rice is tasteless, it tends to end up in other foods that substitute rice like rice flour, noodles and bread. We tend to eat the hidden forms, which still get digested into sugar.

Rice, even when cooked, is difficult to digest. Can't eat raw rice? Try eating rice half cooked. Contrary to popular belief, rice is very difficult to digest. It is 'heavy stuff'. If you have problems with digestion, try skipping rice for a few days. You will be amazed at how the problem will just go away.
 Rice prevents the absorption of several vitamins and minerals. Rice when taken in bulk will reduce the absorption of vital nutrients like zinc, iron and the B vitamins.
7.Are you a rice addict?
Eating carbohydrate-containing foods, whether they are high in sugar or high in starch (such as rice), temporarily raises blood sugar and insulin levels. The blood sugar-raising effect of a food, called its “glycemic index,” depends on how rapidly its carbohydrate is absorbed. Many starchy foods have a glycemic index similar to sucrose (table sugar). People eating large amounts of foods with high glycemic indices (such as white rice), have been reported to be at increased risk of type 2 diabetes. On the other hand, eating a diet high in carbohydrate-rich foods that have lower glycemic indices (such as brown rice as opposed to white rice), is less likely to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Heart attack
Eating a diet high in refined carbohydrates (e.g., white rice) appears to increase the risk of coronary heart disease, and thus of heart attacks, especially in overweight women.
Going rice-less may not be easy but you can go rice-less. Eating less rice could be lot easier than you think. Here are some strategies that you can pursue in your quest to eat less rice:
8.Eat less rice-cut your rice by half.
Dieticians advises 'eating rice like spice'. Instead, increase your fruits and vegetables. Take more lean meats and fish. You can even take more eggs or vegetables and nuts.
 9 Have 'rice less' meals.
Take no rice or wheat at say, breakfast. Go for eggs or fruits and nuts. Go on 'riceless' days. Go 'western' once a week.
Take no rice and breads for one day every week. That can't be too difficult. Appreciate the richness of your food. Go for taste, colours and smells. Make eating a culinary delight. Enjoy your food in the original flavours.Avoid the saltshaker or ketchup. You will automatically eat less rice.
Eat your fruit dessert before  your meals. The fibre rich fruits will 'bulk up' in your stomach. Thus, you will eat less rice and more fruits. Dietician Dharini Krishnan advices “Eat more of vegetables almost 200 gms per meal. Eat less rice or roti and include plenty of fresh fruits Use less oil in cooking and continue to exercise regularly in order to maintain good health".

It's our life. Decide what we want to eat to maintain good health!