Monthly Archives: August 2013

What Makes You Beautiful?

I was at my brother’s place and they have Foxtel which also have lots of Indian channels. According to Indian channels only “Fair is beautiful”. In a half hour of watching the TV, I saw more than a dozen fairness cream ads not only for the face but for the body as well and it is not limited to woman alone. They have special fair and handsome cream for men as well.

I do remember watching some of these ads while in Nepal and it seems like they don’t consider anyone with brown or black skin beautiful.

According to an article by Shantanu Guha Ray, sales are outstripping both Coca Cola and tea. Products with names like ‘Fair and Lovely’ and ‘White Perfect’ are selling by the millions, and men are increasingly getting involved. Only fair is beautiful in India. In a society obsessed with ‘white skin’, fairness is a benchmark for beauty, particularly in the case of women.

Look at some of the ads below and you will understand what I mean.

And it’s not just India, in Nepal as well as other Asian country have similar concept and fair skin is consider beautiful.

Most Nepali people consider lighter brown skin more attractive. If you’re a young Nepali girl running around outside you usually have an aunt, grandmother or an older family friend yelling at you to get inside “before you get too dark.” And if you do tan somebody is going to make a comment about it and note: it’s never positive.

Some ads from around Asia for whitening cream and lotions.

While talking about skin, one of my Chinese friends told me that the Chinese are obsessed with white skin as well. She said that skin colour is directly connected to class in China.

If your skin is dark it is like you work in the fields and working in the fields means you are poor. So a woman should always have fair skin otherwise people will think you’re a peasant

I am brown skinned and I have somewhat felt uncomfortable about my skin while I used to live in Nepal; especially when someone commented on it or compared me with my fairer cousins.

But it all changed when I came to Australia. Here everyone loves my brown skin. I get so many compliments on my brown skin that I am happy to be brown. It seems ironic given that many fair-skinned Americans and Europeans use tanning salons and fake tan cream to darken their skin; it’s a whole different world.

When I went to Nepal for my wedding, I received many suggestions from relatives to bleach the skin to look beautiful as a bride but I refused. I am comfortable in my skin and I don’t want to use chemicals on my skin.

I am happy with who I am and beauty is not just what you can see. I believe that you are truly beautiful if you are beautiful inside as well as outside.

There are many people like Waris Dirie, Naomi Campbell, Halle Berry, Gisele Bundchen who don’t have fair skin but are very beautiful.

So for the people from Nepal, India and China and other Asian countries where fair is beautiful, are the people I just mentioned considered not beautiful?

So why are people so concerned about their skin colour? Have your say.

Take care everyone and have a great weekend,

M from nepaliaustralia

XOXO

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What is life?

Today I received a very sad email from a former colleague. She used to work with us but had to quit job as her cancer was spreading and she needed to rest. That was 2 years ago. She used to come to work from time to time and we’d go for lunch.

She is one of the happiest persons I know. Despite of her illness, she is always cheerful and had a positive outlook toward life. She is on my Facebook and I am amazed and inspired by her view in life. She always has many good things on her time line. One of the best was

“Just because you can’t see the air, doesn’t mean you stop breathing.

Just because you can’t see God, doesn’t mean you stop believing.”

But unfortunately, in the last 2 months, her health got worse. She was in hospital for a week and now she has decided to leave Australia to be with her family.

Here is a part of her email we received

Hello all,

First of all, my apologies for I haven’t been in touch for long as you might know about my illness. Things happened so fast in the last two months. I have been in the hospital with critical heath conditions. Unfortunately, the CT Scan did show a bad sign of widely spread cancer. So what the oncologist can do was only try to fix the critical problems. Then the only option will be chemotherapy but there is no guarantee, So I decided not to undergo chemo but flying back home to be with my family instead.

As I am leaving this coming week, I would like to take this opportunity to say Thanks and Good Bye to all of you. I had such a very good time in the past 6 years working with everyone, not just like a colleague but as friends. I was so lucky to get to know you guys and had the best friendship ever. Thanks for everything you have done for me. I don’t think if I can find any words to tell how much appreciated I am to be surrounding by good people like you all.

God brought me here to get to know you so I believe this won’t be forever Good Bye but just temporary leaving for good and get myself back on track again. God will working out thing and will walk with me to get thru this tough time, then he will bring me back to see everyone again. Hope and Faith in God bring me the miracle blossom in this moment. I will never give up life and will battling with my spiritual. Thanks God for his loving and blessing. Thanks God for giving me such a very good friends like you guys. I will be back I promise.

I would love to say Bye to everyone myself but unfortunately I am not be able to do that. I will miss you all heaps and will always think of you. You all will always in my prayer.

God Bless you all

Love and Thanks from the bottom of my heart,

Reading the email, I couldn’t stop crying. It is so sad to read her email. I wished I was in touch with her more in past but I really didn’t know what to say. I did keep in touch but may be not enough. And now she will be very far from here and I know I am going to miss her.

In life, we work for money, live for money and fight for money but without health, money is nothing. We refuse to forgive for tiny mistakes and we hold grudges for a long time. When something like this happens to someone near to us, we realise the value of good health and family.

But what is life without a good health? Why do we need to fight when there is enough in this world to share with everyone? Why do we bitch, gossip and dominate when one day all of us will leave this world empty handed?

I just want to request all of you to pray for my friend and for her good health. I hope with all our prayers she will be better soon and will live a normal life. I hope to see the beautiful smile on her face again and very soon.

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Dark chocolate health benefits

When I was growing up in Kathmandu, Nepal I used to love chocolate like every other child, especially Milky Bar, Cadbury Dairy Milk and Kit Kat. The bigger chocolate blocks were very expensive so it was a a big deal when anyone bought me those big sized chocolates. So every time I used to get one, I would eat only a little and save some for the next day. Normally, I would take a week to finish a block even after sharing some with my brother.

So when I landed in Sydney and discovered that chocolates were so cheap here, I consumed so much in the first few months that I got over chocolate after that. So for the last 10 years I stopped buying and eating chocolates apart from the few times when someone has given me some.

But when AS moved to Sydney with me, he got me into dark chocolates. I used to hate it initially because it was so bitter. So I resist for almost a year but after a while, I started enjoying it. Also AS’s constant reminder that dark chocolate is good for us helped me jump the fence.

Now I loved dark chocolate and have a piece now and then.

As with all the food, over consummation is definitely not good but for all the sweet toothed people out there, here are 7 reasons you should eat dark chocolate.

Studies show that dark chocolate (not the sugary crap) can improve health and lower the risk of heart disease.

1. Dark Chocolate is Very Nutritious

If you buy quality dark chocolate with a high cocoa content, then it is actually quite nutritious.It contains a decent amount of soluble fiber and is loaded with minerals.

A 100 gram bar of dark chocolate with 70-85% cocoa contains :

    11 grams of fiber.

    67% of the RDA for Iron.

    58% of the RDA for Magnesium.

    89% of the RDA for Copper.

    98% of the RDA for Manganese.

    It also has plenty of potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium.

Of course, 100 grams (3.5 ounces) is a fairly large amount and not something you should be consuming daily. All these nutrients also come with 600 calories and moderate amounts of sugar.

For this reason, dark chocolate is best consumed in moderation. The fatty acid profile of cocoa and dark chocolate is excellent. The fats are mostly saturated and monounsaturated, with small amounts of polyunsaturates. It also contains stimulants like caffeine and theobromine, but is unlikely to keep you awake at night as the amount of caffeine is very small compared to coffee.

Bottom Line: Quality dark chocolate is rich in Fiber, Iron, Magnesium, Copper, Manganese and a few other minerals.

2. Dark Chocolate is a Powerful Source of Antioxidants

Have you ever heard of a measure called ORAC? ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. It is a measure of the antioxidant activity of foods. Basically, researchers pit a bunch of free radicals (bad) against a sample of food and see how well the antioxidants in the food can “disarm” them.

The biological relevance of this metric is questioned, because it’s done in a test tube and may not have the same effect in the body. However, I think it is worth mentioning that raw, unprocessed cocoa beans are among the highest scoring foods that have been tested. Dark chocolate is loaded with organic compounds that are biologically active and function as antioxidants. These include polyphenols, flavanols, catechins, among others.

One study showed that cocoa and dark chocolate contained more antioxidant activity, polyphenols and flavanols than other fruits they tested, which included blueberries and Acai berries .

Bottom Line: Cocoa and dark chocolate have a wide variety of powerful antioxidants, way more than most other foods.

3. Dark Chocolate May Improve Blood Flow and Lower Blood Pressure

The flavanols in dark chocolate can stimulate the endothelium, the lining of arteries, to produce Nitric Oxide (NO), which is a gas. One of the functions of NO is to send signals to the articles to relax, which lowers resistance to blood flow and therefore reduces blood pressure.

There are many controlled trials showing that cocoa and dark chocolate can improve blood flow and lower blood pressure, but the effects are usually mild . However, there is also one study in people with elevated blood pressure that showed no effect, so take all this with a grain of salt (8).

Bottom Line: The bioactive compounds in cocoa can improve blood flow in the arteries and cause a small but statistically significant decrease in blood pressure.

4. Dark Chocolate Raises HDL and Protects LDL Against Oxidation

Consuming dark chocolate can improve several important risk factors for heart disease.  In a controlled trial, cocoa powder was found to significantly decrease oxidized LDL cholesterol in men. It also increased HDL and lowered total LDL in men with elevated cholesterol . Oxidized LDL means that the LDL (“bad” cholesterol) has reacted with free radicals. This makes the LDL particle itself reactive and capable of damaging other tissues… such as the lining of the arteries in your heart.

It makes perfect sense that cocoa lowers oxidized LDL. It contains an abundance of powerful antioxidants that do make it into the bloodstream and protect lipoproteins against oxidative damage. Dark chocolate can also reduce insulin resistance, which is another common risk factor for many diseases like heart disease and diabetes.

Bottom Line: Dark chocolate improves several important risk factors for disease. It lowers the susceptibility of LDL to oxidative damage while increasing HDL and improving insulin sensitivity.

5. Dark Chocolate May Lower The Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

The compounds in dark chocolate appear to be highly protective against the oxidation of LDL. In the long term, this should cause much less cholesterol to lodge in the arteries and we should see a lower risk of heart disease over the long term. It turns out that we have several long-term observational studies that show a fairly drastic improvement.

In a study of 470 elderly men, cocoa was found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular death by a whopping 50% over a 15 year period . Another study revealed that eating chocolate 2 or more times per week lowered the risk of having calcified plaque in the arteries by 32%. Eating chocolate less frequently had no effect . Yet another study showed that chocolate 5+ times per week lowered the risk of cardiovascular disease by 57% .

Of course, these 3 studies are so-called observational studies that can not prove that it was the chocolate that caused the reduction in risk.

However, given that we have a biological mechanism (lower blood pressure and oxidized LDL) then I find it plausible that regular consumption of dark chocolate can in fact reduce the risk of heart disease.

 Bottom Line: Observational studies show a drastic reduction in heart disease risk for the people who consume the most chocolate.

6. Dark Chocolate May Protect Your Skin Against The Sun

The bioactive compounds in dark chocolate may also be great for your skin. The flavonols can protect against sun-induced damage, improve blood flow to the skin and increase skin density and hydration .The minimal erythemal dose (MED) is the minimum amount of UVB rays required to cause redness in the skin, 24 hours after exposure.

In one study of 30 people, the MED more than doubled after consuming dark chocolate high in flavanols for 12 weeks .

If you’re planning on a beach vacation, consider loading up on dark chocolate in the prior weeks and months.

Bottom Line: Studies show that the flavanols from cocoa can improve blood flow to the skin and protect it against sun-induced damage.

7. Dark Chocolate May Improve Brain Function

The good news isn’t over yet. Dark chocolate may also improve the function of the brain.

One study of healthy volunteers showed that 5 days of consuming high-flavanol cocoa improved blood flow to the brain . Cocoa may also significantly improve cognitive function in elderly people with mental impairment. It also improves verbal fluency and several risk factors for disease .

Cocoa also contains stimulant substances like caffeine and theobromine, which may be a key reason cocoa can improve brain function in the short term .

There is considerable evidence that cocoa can provide powerful health benefits, being especially protective against cardiovascular disease. But of course, this doesn’t mean people should go all out and consume lots of chocolate every day. It is still loaded with calories and easy to overeat on. Maybe have a square or two after dinner and try to really savor them.

Be aware that a lot of the chocolate on the market is crap. You need to choose quality stuff… organic, dark chocolate with 70% or higher cocoa content. Dark chocolates often contain some sugar, but the amounts are usually small and the darker the chocolate, the less sugar it will contain.

So go now and indulge in some dark chocolate  🙂

Do you like dark chocolates?

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Source : http://authoritynutrition.com

City2Surf 2013 – 14km fun run

As I mentioned in my last post, we went for the City2surf 14km fun run on Sunday. Luckily, this year, unlike last few years, the weather was fine and sunny and it definitely made the run better.

City2Surf (2)

Since 1971, Sydneysiders have been joined by participants from all over the world, elite athletes rubbing shoulders with locals to run, walk, or watch the 14km race from Hyde Park in Sydney’s CBD to the finish at Bondi Beach.

We normally register for the race in April. I like to think ourselves as healthy people so once we register, we go and make a plan for exercise and diet. We both are so excited and start our regime but after a few months we slack off a bit. As it is winter in June/July our enthusiasm slows down a bit. But we have managed to successful complete the run for the last few years.

The run starts from the city centre and passes through the suburbs of East Sydney, Kings Cross, Rushcutters Bay, Double Bay, Rose Bay, Vaucluse, Dover Heights and ends at Bondi Beach. The most difficult part of the course is “Heartbreak Hill” at the halfway mark, a 2 km long steep ascent from Rose Bay to Vaucluse along New South Head Road.

This year we ran in the blue group as we  able to register quickly. So our run was to start at 8.30 am. We caught a train to city and joined 85,000 other runners.

Like every year, just before the start of the race everyone throws their jumper so charity can collect it. It is a great idea as the runners become hot during the run but they need a jumper before they start the run. Look at some of the jumpers that landed on the trees looking like they grew on them.

city2surf (1) city2surf (6)

When the gun when off me and AS along with everyone else took our pace. This year we decided to pace ourselves so we are not too tired half way through. Therefore, we ran and walked alternatively. It really helped as I didn’t feel too tired at any stage at all. I have to thank AS for that as he knew we need some planning to complete the run easily.

As every year, there were people dressing up for charities as ballerinas, smurfs, Spiderman, flash, wonder women, a pie (seriously) and people in onesies . We also had opposition leader Mr Tony Abbot running the race as the support runner for blind runner Nathan Johnston, with the pair crossing the finishing line in 1 hour 21.16 seconds for the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Like every year, there were many people cheering along the way as well as many water and Gatorade stations. There were lots of live bands and mascots as well.

As it was a warm day and there were a few people hosing down runners to keep them cool. Also there were people giving away oranges, chips, lollies etc. Isn’t that nice and what a spirit to join the race.

This year I felt a lot better about the run. With AS’s plan I was never too tried to have to stop. We did really well until the last 500m when AS’s leg started to cramp. But I am just proud to say that we both finished the race.

City2Surf (5)

It was a good feeling when we crossed the finish line and knew that it was done for one more year.

City2Surf (4)

After the run, we went straight in to a Cancer council tent for a massage. For $10 for charity, they were giving 10 minutes massage and it was a great idea. Last year we missed out because we didn’t have cash but this year we made to carry cash for this. The people offering massage were university students studying to be chiropractor.

City2Surf (3)

After the massage, we jumped on the queue in the first food stall and had bacon and egg sandwich. We were just happy not to have to wait too long for the food. It was time to go home after the food.

I have to admit, I am less sore this year than the last year and the year before. I guess the massage and AS’s techniques definitely worked for us.

So official results for the City2Surf are in and I can be proud to say that I have beaten my last year record. I managed a time of 1:47:32, which I think is pretty decent with great experience and can’t wait to do it again next year.

Do you run long distance? Share tips if you have any to become a better runner.

Take care,

M from nepaliaustralia

XOXO

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Lemon Cupcakes

Ingredients

Cupcakes

  • 150 g unsalted butter
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 175 g self-rising flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon

Icing

  • 150 g unsalted butter
  • 250 g icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons hot water
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon

Steps

  • Preheat oven to 180°C.
  • Line 12 cupcake pan cups with paper liners.

lemon cupcake (1)

  • Sift the self-rising flour, butter, sugar, vanilla extract, eggs, and lemon together in a bowl.

lemon cupcake (2)

  • Beat the mix for 2 mins until creamy and light. Do not over mix.

lemon cupcake (3)

  • Fill the prepared cupcake liners with batter 3/4 full, and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

lemon cupcake (4)

  • It is cooked if a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

lemon cupcake (5)

  • Let the cupcakes cool on a wire rack

lemon cupcake (7)

  • To make the icing, place icing sugar and butter into a bowl and beat until smooth and creamy.

lemon cupcake (6)

  • Add the vanilla extract, hot water and grated lemon rind and beat unit smooth.
  • Once the cupcakes have cooled, pipe the mixture evenly onto them.

lemon cupcake (8) lemon cupcake (9)

  • Enjoy

lemon cupcake (10)

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Healthy eating

Spring will be here in no time so I am trying to eat healthy and detox. If you want to detox your body, did you know it can be as simple as eating the right foods? Here are some food I have started in my diet.

1. Avocados

Do you love avocados so much you would put slices of them on just about any food you eat? There’s no reason to feel guilty about doing this, especially because this is such a great food for you to eat. Avocados are packed full of antioxidants, including glutathione. This detoxes the body by transporting harmful toxins right out of it. By reducing the chemicals and toxins in your body you will be healthier and feel better.

2. Cranberries

These might be great for preventing urinary tract infections, but they can also get rid of toxins inside of your body. These get rid of waste from the body and are antibacterial so they remove toxins.

3. . Cabbage

This food has sulfur inside of it, which is essential when it comes to breaking down chemicals in the body. Sulfur can help get rid of everything from pesticides to prescription drugs, which could be harmful if they stuck around.

4. Lemons

These are great in drinks and recipes, but they are also packed full of vitamins and antioxidants. These protect the liver and they get rid of chemicals inside of the body. Consuming lemons on a regular basis can improve health.

5. Broccoli

If you’re the type of person who doesn’t like broccoli, you should try it out once again! It’s full of antioxidants that can cleanse your body. It’s also high in enzymes that help to get your digestive system running efficiently. Raw broccoli is best because it has a high level of nutrients inside of it.

6. Garlic

Packed full of sulfur, this is another great food to use for body cleanses. It also has antibiotic properties so it can help internally heal your body. There are a lot of advantages to eating garlic on a regular basis; it’s even available in supplement form!

7. Beetroots

These can be incorporated into a lot of different recipes or they can be eaten raw. They are full of betaine and pectin, which help protect the liver and the digestive system. These can cleanse the body so you have fewer toxins.

8. Grapefruit

This fruit helps cleanse the digestive system and it can prevent kidney stones from developing. It’s also low in natural sugars and calories, so it’s great for dieting.

9. Sunflower Seeds

These are great to snack on and can detox the liver so it’s healthier. It can also get rid of harmful toxins floating around in the body. In addition to this, it prevents cholesterol from building up and causing body damage.

10. Lentils

These aid the digestive system to cleanse and detox your body. Lentils also lower the cholesterol and help balance the blood sugar inside of your body.

So start eating these healthy food and stay happy.

What is your healthy food? Do you detox?

I am going to run 14 kms  City2Surf on Sunday so wish me luck. Take care and Happy weekend everyone.!!!

M from nepaliaustralia

XOXO

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You are my Pumpkin Pumpkin Hello Honey Bunny

Sometimes some random thought comes to your mind and makes you smile. This post  is in that category. The other day one of my colleagues came and asked me if I had listened to a popular Nepali song called “You are my Pumpkin Pumpkin Hello Honey Bunny.” I was surprised because first of all he is not a Nepali and secondly the name of the song sounds so funny. He told me that one of his Nepali friends told him that it is a very popular song and he should listen to it.

Not being in Nepal, I am not very aware of the pop culture there and it is not easy to keep up to date. So I Googled it and found the following song.

I also found a Bollywood song similar tune to this Nepali song.

When I was watching these songs, I couldn’t stop smiling. They are so different and if I am allowed to say it, a bit weird too.

The other day when I was at my brother’s place, I mentioned this song and to my surprise, it is my one year old nephew’s current favorite. He will stop crying if someone plays that song. This makes me conclude that I am getting so old that my one-year-old nephew is beating me in current trends.

PSY’s Gangnam Style is another of my nephew’s favourite songs right now 🙂

Have you listen to this song before? Wahat is your thought on these songs?

M from nepaliaustralia

XOXO

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