Tuesday, August 19, 2008

HAppY BIrtHDAY to my SweETheaRT!

Wish u a very, very Happy Burrrrrday Shav! :-) and today is also the 2nd anniversary of my driving license.lol! Remember how you just took me for the Driving test on your bday Saturday morning before we went to Tahoe! Was that my 1st bday gift to you - A driving license?:)
And then last year on your bday, we bought a bike for you - a happy 1st bday to our bike:)

So, now we'll wait to celebrate your bday over the long weekend in Big Sur/Monterey..:-) No 'Eating Right' there please!!!!:)

Wish you lotsss of good luck and happiness in life ahead..

Friday, August 15, 2008

Keeping yourself awake at work!

I have figured out a few ways which can help you keep yourself awake at work and actually make you feel quite active:

1. Do some workout in the morning - it makes you really active. The more strenuous the workout, the more it helps. I know waking up early is a big problem (atleast for late-sleepers like me) but the days I do not go to gym in the morning, I am usually sleepy at work- dont feel active at all.

2. Have tea with breakfast, specially ginger tea - it helps. Atleast Tea is healthier than Coffee.

3. Bathe with COLD water. If you cannot - bathe with hot water and then once you are warm, get the cold water on. I am sure this helps - I read this tip somewhere and was making fun of it till I actually tried and made a few others try this. I still don't understand the 'garam-sard' (hot-cold - not getting/eating/drinking anything cold immediately after something hot) funda back in India but again whatever - it helps me!:)

4. The more you sleep, the more sleepy you are in the morning. Get the minimum sleep needed by your body to keep you active - 6-7 hrs is a good sleeping duration, they' say.

(All these have reasons behind why they keep you active - which I am being too lazy to write them down)

Anyone having anything more to share on this, would love to try:-)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sacramento Heat

Fourteenth day of the eighth month of 2008 at around five after two in the after noon, my Firefox weather extension is showing 'Sunny, 94 degree F'.

I just came back from a 20 minute walk around a few blocks in downtown Sacramento, and it sure feels like 100+ degrees outside. Little bit outside my comfort level. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE sun and am big fan of sunny hikes in humid climate, but it sure is uncomfortable in office khaki's, tucked in shirt and leather shoes.

This year we have been saved by the wrath of Sacramento heat though. I don't remember any other day this summer being 'really really hot' (read: 110+); coz it does get really scorching. I remember a couple of days from last summer and the one before - my Mitsubishi's thermometer was showing 124 F on the freeway and both me and Ruchi were damned by the sight of it. Lucky for us, the AC of the V6 3.1L engined was chugging along pretty well.

Its amazing to see early morning also. Like today at 5.30 am it was much darker as it was almost 2 months ago; but it was also much warmer than 2 months ago. Days are getting shorter as we are well into later half of august, but the heat sure seems going the wrong way.

Fall semester for Ruchi starts last week of September - I sure am waiting for some 'fall' like weather and some rain FALL.

I loved the dilbert strip today :) [I know, I know totally off topic]
( http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2008-08-14/ )

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Abhinav Bindra

“He has been shooting since the age of five. I spotted his talent when I saw him shooting balloons, kept on our maid’s head, with an air gun”, he recalled.

Chandigarh, August 11

Surprise and ecstasy marked the instant reaction of the city on the unique achievement of the local lad, Abhinav Bindra.. His “bulls eye” in the 10-metre air rifle shooting finals at the Beijing Olympic fulfilled the dreams of the nation of a billion but for Chandigarhians it was a special moment that they’ll never forget.

While people were expecting Abhinav to do well, no one had perhaps thought that he would strike a gold and create history. But when the news came in, the spontaneous reaction was of boundless joy coupled with the proud feeling of being an Indian.

“We are on the top of the world,” said Abhinav’s parents, Babli and Dr A S Bindra amidst beating of dhols and bhagra at their farmhouse on the Zirakpur-Patiala road. “My son has proved that Singh is Kinng,” said an elated Dr Bindra who credited Abhinav’s success to his sheer hard work and dedication.

“He has been shooting since the age of five. I spotted his talent when I saw him shooting balloons, kept on our maid’s head, with an air gun”, he recalled.

The Bindra farm was virtually taken over by media personnel this morning. OB vans stationed outside the house and photographers flashing cameras and ‘bite’ hungry correspondents vying with each other to get their ‘breaking quote” surrounded Dr Bindra and his wife. And obviously he had not complaints and he obliged everyone even if it meant giving a retake.

Perhaps the most touching appreciation came from none other than Olympian, Milkha Singh, who said, “my dream has been fulfilled”. In an emotional reaction he said, “I had always wished to see India winning a gold in an individual event before my death and Abhinav has done it”.

While celebrations - beating of dhols and bhangra- began at the Bindra farm as soon as the news came in, Abhinav’s school, St Stephens, in Sector 45 also witnessed an outburst of emotion as students came out of their classes. With the national flag in their hands, the students hailed Abhinav’s victory. School Principal, Harold Carver, said, “my prediction made 11 years ago at the school assembly has come true”. He said as a mark of honour to Abhinav the school will remain closed on Thursday.

The general reaction of the public was no different. Radhika a young girl in sector 17 said, “I am proud to be an Indian today. Abhinav has proved that this nation of billion is on the rise”. The ecstasy among the youngsters was also visible in Sector 10 where girls, with their faces painted in tri-colours, gathered with Abhinav’s photo. “It’s the youth power,” they said.

(Extracted from: http://www.tribuneindia.com/2008/20080812/main2.htm)

All about the terrible HFCS

Interesting story about HFCS:

Why is High Fructose Corn Syrup bad?
HFCS was developed in Japan in 1971. It is made from corn, and in the mid 1970’s we had an excess of corn crops in America. At the same time, sugar prices were high, which meant that food prices were higher for the consumer.
The brain actually doesn’t get the signal that our stomach is full when we eat foods that contain it.

Since HFCS is made from corn and is grown right here in the States, it is very cheap to produce, while at the same time being six times sweeter than cane sugar. This meant that all of the excess corn could be used to make HFCS, and food that used to be made with sugar could be produced at a much cheaper cost. Sounds like a good solution because the farmers were winning by selling their surplus crops, and the American consumer could buy sweetened foods at a lower cost.

High fructose corn syrup makes food taste really good, however it serves a few more purposes beyond that. It is a great preservative so it can be used in (almost all–check your labels and this site for a list of some of them) processed foods to extend their shelf life. It protects processed, frozen foods from freezer burn. It is also fabulous for making baked goods look tasty: it was found that by adding HFCS, it would make food appear more “natural looking”, as if it had just come out of Grandma’s oven! (I hope you’re catching my sarcasm here ;) )

With all of these wonderful benefits that high fructose corn syrup gives us, why should we care about it, especially since it makes our food taste good? What does it matter that it was banned in Mexico and is rarely found in foods in New Zealand. Is it really that bad? Why should we care about HFCS?

There are several different names and forms of sugar, fructose, sucrose, and dextrose being three. Here we are focusing on fructose, which behaves differently than the latter two in regards to our metabolism.

Both sucrose and dextrose are broken down in our body before they ever make it to our liver, however fructose does not breakdown and reaches the liver “almost completely intact”. This feature of fructose (which in HFCS is of an even higher concentration) has been named “metabolic shunting” since the fructose is “shunted” or sidetracked towards the liver.

Fructose is used to build triglycerides in the liver, which it does by imitating insulin, causing the liver to release fatty acids into the bloodstream. The flood of fatty acids then causes muscle tissue to develop insulin resistance.

Do humans actually consume enough high fructose corn syrup to activate this process in their livers? HFCS is present in fast food, processed food, food found in convenience stores, sodas, cereal, energy bars, and more.

How much of this type of food do many people consume daily in their busy lives? A study was actually done on golden hamsters (their metabolism is very close to ours) in the year 2000 in which they were fed diets with high levels of HFCS. It took only weeks until they had high triglyceride levels as well as insulin resistance.

Studies have also been done on whether or not fructose causes the body to burn sugar as opposed to burning fat. It has been found that our metabolism veers towards fat storage when consuming high levels of fructose. Therefore, HFCS contributes to obesity not only by the fact that our brains don’t know that our stomachs are full, but also by causing the body to burn sugar rather than fat in our cells.

High fructose corn syrup is a man-made, processed sweetener. I was in a convenience store recently and was reading labels to find out whether or not they contained HFCS. I did not go through every processed food on the shelf (I read 10 labels), I only found one item that did not contain HFCS (and the other one contained sugar). I stopped at 10 because these were foods that I used to eat and I didn’t want to look at them anymore.

I obtained most of this information while reading the book “Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World” by Greg Critser. If you would like to learn more about this topic, I would recommend this book to you. It’s easy to read and it gives the fascinating history on how our current food industry evolved to what it is today.

(Extracted from: