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Clever Hacks Of Vanilla Extract
Vanilla extract is a natural food item that is used in dessert and other recipes. Apart from using as an ingredient in the food, vanilla extract can be used for other purposes too!
Vanilla extract is extraction of vanillin compound using alcohol. Vanillin is the compound that gives unique fragrance to vanilla. This dark brown liquid of vanilla extract can be used for various purposes.
Here are few vanilla extract hacks one should try:
As air freshener: Fill sprayer bottle with water and add couple of drops of vanilla extract. Spray as needed. Another way to use the extract is place one or two drops of the concentrate close to light bulb. As the light glows, extract evaporates and the aroma spreads.
Paint odor: To reduce paint odor, add few drops of vanilla extract and mix well before applying paint.
Refrigerator odor: To remove odor from refrigerator, dip cotton in vanilla extract and place it inside the fridge.
To relieve burn pain: Vanilla is known for reducing pain. Applying vanilla extract tosmall burns relieves the pain. When alcohol evaporates from extract, it cools down the burning sensation.
As bug repellant: Spraying vanilla infused water repels the bugs
For toothache: Some people use cotton ball dipped in vanilla to get rid of toothache.
Deodorize microwave: Place vanilla infused water in microwave and turn on for few seconds to get rid of unwanted odor from microwave.
For cleaning purpose: Vanilla extract contains some amount of alcohol. It is helpful in removing glue, tape or stickers.
Salad dressing refinement: Adding a little vanilla extract to vinegar based salad dressing will soften the tanginess of salad dressing.
For cold sore: Vanilla extract is useful in reducing cold sore. Dip cotton in extract and place it on cold sore.
There are many other medicinal properties of vanilla plant. You will get to know about it in Grandma’s remedies.
You have been trying various types of diets to maintain your weight and it might be working or not working. It takes time to notice change in weight. However, one can find out whether a diet is working or not working by noticing body and mind expression after going through a diet program for one or two weeks. Your body will express whether the diet is working or not working in different ways.
16 signs that shows your diet is working:
You are more energetic than before.
You feel energized more after a good night sleep
You are happy and cheerful than before your diet change
You are at peace with food that you consume and your body feels great
Celebration of Science & Spirituality: Makar Sankranthi
Respecting and honoring the Sun is practiced in all religions. The Sun stands for knowledge, spiritual light and wisdom. The Sun is source of energy. The movement of Sun into zodiac of Capricorn (Makara in Sanskrit) is called Makara Sankranthi. This day marks the end of cold, winter and gloomy days. What we are going experience next several months is brighter Sun, brighter days and plants coming back to life. On this auspicious day yogis also practice Sun Salutation to achieve the positive aura.
Sankranti literally means “movement.” Makar Sankranti denotes neutralization of inner illusion by lightening inner glow. The day of Sankranti people worship nature and it is also symbolizes harvest season. On January 14 every year or occasionally on 15th January , we celebrate Makar Sankranti. It is the only Indian festival celebrated on a fixed calendared day of the solar calendar. On this day, people make offerings to the animals particularly the cow. Cow which plays a vital role in agriculture is worshipped on this harvest festival. In many villages, on this day cows are decorated with colors, bells & clothes and worshipped along with harvested crops. This signifies that nature is supreme.
On Makara Sankranthi day Surya (The Sun) is worshipped : Sankranti (Sanskrit: संक्रान्ति sankrānti) means transmigration of the Sun from one Rāshi (constellation of the zodiac in Indian astronomy) to the next. Hence, there are 12 Sankrantis in a year. Makara Sankranthi marks the transition of the Sun into Makara rashi (Capricorn) on its celestial path, and the six-month Uttarayana period. The term Uttarayana is derived from two different Sanskrit words “uttara” (North) and “ayana” (movement) thus indicating a semantic of the northward movement of the Sun on the celestial sphere. In India except Makara Sankranthi all other Indian festivals are celebrated as per the lunar calendar, which make days of celebration on the solar calendar vary every year. In India, we follow a lunar calendar; the moon goes from new moon to new moon or full moon to full moon in 29.5 days. We get 12 full moons in 354 days, making a lunar calendar year 354 days long. However, the Sun returns to the same spot in the sky every 365.25 days. This shows there is a difference of 11.25 days between the solar and lunar years. Every 2.5 years, therefore, an intercalary month (the Adhik Maas) is added to the lunar calendar to roughly synchronies the two.
Many astrological books are based upon solar calculations. The sun is the most important and the most prominent of our stars and the undisputed lord of our planetary system. The sun always comes first. First day of the week commences with Sunday (Ravi). Science attaches great importance to the sun. The sun is the inexhaustible storehouse and the source of light and energy. Without sunlight, creatures and vegetation would cease to exist. People will lose their life sustaining vitality. Lack of nourishing substances would lead to the end of creation. This is why the sun’s existence, movements and positions in the cosmos are so important and that is why the sun earns our respect, admiration and reverence. As Makar Sankranti is one of the oldest solstice festivals and falls on the equinox, day and night on this day are believed to be equally long. Post the festival, it is officially the beginning of spring or the onset of Indian summer and the days become longer, and nights shorter.
According to Hinduism from Makar Sakranti onwards when the sun is travelling northwards, innumerable auspicious things start happening. Climate and atmosphere improve. Children born during this period are naturally progressive, well mannered, pleasant and of noble disposition. The Puranas say that on this day Sun visits the house of his son Shani, who is the owner of Makar Rashi. This day symbolizes the healthy relationship of father & son. It is responsibility of the son to carry forward his father’s dream and the legacy of family.
Makar Sankranti is the festival of seeds and sweet – sesame, ground nut and jaggery where sesame and jaggery laddoos or chikkis are distributed among all. While eating sesame & jaggery people say “Til-gul ghya ani gud gud bola”, meaning ‘eat these sesame seeds and jaggery and speak sweet words’.
Fungal toxins can cause severe illness and could be fatal. Food contamination with mycotoxins is a serious issue and over several years FSSAI has been taking action to revise the method of analysis of mycotoxins in food.
Quite recently FSSAI has issued a revised manual for analysis methods of mycotoxins including aflatoxin, vomitoxin, ochratoxin in various foods. Aflatoxin is atype of mycotoxinproduced by a fungus that grows on seeds and cereals and produces toxins. Aspergillus is name of the fungus.
As per FSSAI’s new revised manual, all food samples suspected of being contaminated with fungal toxins must be handled with extreme care, especially the aflatoxins are carcinogenic toxins. In the manual a description regarding safety precautions, what precautions one must take during analysis, how to handle the glassware for aflatoxin analysis is explained.
The regulatory limit for all mycotoxins in food as defined by FSSAI is 15 micrograms per kilogram for cereals, cereal products, pulses and nuts. If the nuts are further processed, then also the same 15 microgram per kg is the upper limit. For oil seeds for further processing is also it is set at 15 microgram per kg. The limit of aflatoxin in ready to eat products and dried figs is 10 microgram per kg. For spices the limit is 15 microgram per kg.
In case of milk the limit is 0.5 microgram per kg. The other type of toxin called Ochratoxin A, produced by Aspergillus and other fungus like Penicillium that infects wheat, barley, rye, wine and coffee the limit is 20 micrograms. Patulin is a mycotoxin found in fruits and fruit juices like apple juice. It is produced by P. expansum, Aspergillus sp., and Byssochlamys fulva. The limit is 20 microgram per kg.
Deoxynivalenol is a mycotoxin produced by fungus Fusarium species. Fusarium infects corn, wheat, barley, rice, oats and other grain either in field or in storage. It is also known as vomitoxin. The limit of Deoxynivalenol in case of wheat is fixed at 1000 ppm.
Why the Mycotoxin limits are set and monitored in food?
Mycotoxins are dangerous toxins produced by various types of moulds (fungi) and can cause adverse health issues and can pose serious threat to humans as well as to livestock. Moulds that infect cereals, dried fruits, spices and nuts during storage, harvest or when the food is warm, damp and humid conditions. Most of these mycotoxins are chemically stable and able survive the food processing.
The most found mycotoxins in foods are aflatoxins, ochratoxin A, patulin, fumonisins, zearalenone and deoxynivalenol also known vomitoxin or nivalenol. Anyone can get exposure to mycotoxins either directly by eating mould infected food or indirectly from livestock that are fed with contaminated feed, in particular from consuming milk.
From the acute poisoning to long-term effects such as immune deficiency and cancer can occur due to mycotoxins. World Health Organization jointly with Food and Agriculture organization of United Nations (JECFA) has set international standards and codes of practice to limit exposure to mycotoxins from several foods that are established by the Codex Alimentarius Commissionbased on JECFA assessments.
Carrot laddu is a tasty dessert that takes less time to prepare. On the occasion of Makar Sankranthi festival give it a try and prepare carrot laddu using simple ingredients.
Grated carrot: 1 cup
Grated coconut: 1 cup
Jaggery: 1 cup (or sugar)
Ghee: 2-3 spoons
Besan (gram) flour- ¼ cup
Cardamom powder – little
Cashew and raisins- few
Fry besan powder in ghee. Let it turn to golden brown color and release the fragrance.
Prepare thick jaggery (or sugar) water using ½ cup water. Thickness can be tested by holding the jaggery water between two finger and it should stick to fingers, leaving thin thread when you separate the fingers.
Apart from common cold, fever and allergy issues kids also suffer from many other health issues that parents should be aware of. Many of these health issues go unnoticed or children might not able to express what is going on with them or they will be scared to express the issues that is happening.
It is good for both parents to sit and talk about certain health concerns with children once a while to understand what might be happening in child’s health. These kind of talks and discussion will help children to open with parents and might learn to seek help from known adults.
Let us look at what are these major health concerns that parents must be aware of:
Obesity: During this Covid-19 pandemic,obesity is one of the biggest concerns for kids. Obesity is one of the major problems in most countries. Obesity could lead to serious health conditions including type 2 diabetes, cancer, depression, sleep problem, heart conditions.
Drug and alcohol abuse: Even though there is positive trend with decline indrug usage, young adults continue using alcohol, cigarettes, pain relievers, synthetic drugs and inhalants. In high populated countries, near schools’ drug selling used to be a practice. Closing educational centers and online classes has helped positively in this front and there is a decline in drug usage.
Cyber safety: This is a growing concern. It is one of the major health concerns. Use of social media and use of newly innovated technologies exposing teens and little children to cyber bullying and to predators. Young adults and children are very vulnerable to smartphones and other gadgets that attract them easily.
Abuse and neglect: Mental and physical abuse is another big threat for kids’ health. Many kids undergo mental torture and physical abuse by adults either at home or school that could have great impact on their future life. Feeling neglected by parentsfor reasons that they don’t understand will have huge impact on children.
Stress and depression: Competitive world where we live in today is the main reason for stress and depression in children as well as in adolescents. Stress could lead to depression that needs to be addressed with experts. Stress also could lead to other health problems such as sleeping issues, eating habits and activities in school. Most of the time depression in children will be mistaken and neglected by parents.
Smoking: Reports say kids use E-cigarettes and other vaporing gadgets for smoking. An increase in use of E-cigarettes shows that E-cigarettes are popular among teenagers. If not addressed this issue, it could lead to major health problems warns experts.
Bullying: School bullying has come down this past year due to school closing. This year schools and colleges are opening in phases. This means, vulnerable kids are exposed to bullying. If you are concerned about this issue, talk to your child and understand school environment. Many times, bullying involves severe abuse which can cause unrepairable damage to a child.
Teen pregnancy: According CDC, there is a rapid decline in teen birth rate in the past year in major racial and ethnic group. However, the disparities persist. It carries health risks both for mother and baby. Most time teens do not get parental care soon enough and it could lead to health problems later. High blood pressure and other complications, premature birth and low birth weight are major issues in teen pregnancy.
Sexting: Another major issue that need parental attention. Strangers can make child’s life miserable by sending inappropriate text and messages. In many cases, teenagers are also convicted of felonies for sending such messages and images to underaged children. It is better to be direct and advice children when presenting a smart phone regarding these kind of issues and put rules and guidance in place. Tell them such images and texts remains on internet for longtime that could hurt their future.
Being parent is a big responsibility, parents are responsible for children future. Apart from addressing and taking care of children’s day to day needs and other health issues such as cold, fever, allergy, pain, skin infection etc, parents also must give attention to not so visible issues that could have huge impact on child’s future life and lifestyle.
Food recommendation to reduce belly fat, inflammation & weight
As per the reports, current pandemic has huge impact on human lifestyle. People who were active physically, have reduced their physical activities. Companies are closing their offices to save rent and people are continuing to work from home. While at home with family, many are choosing sedentary lifestyle and the obesity has increased around the globe. This includes both children as well as adults. Closed schools and colleges and online classes are making children to be more obese. Weight gain around the belly is an indication of an unhealthy lifestyle. This could result in weakened immune system and as a result people are inviting the diseases such as diabetes, body inflammation, heart conditions etc. Such health conditions make it easy for Covid-19 virus to get into our system. How to reduce and take control of increasing weight? By choosing healthy eating habits and getting back to exercise.
Reducing belly fat is important to be healthy. It is not that difficult to reduce belly fat with proper exercises and good choice of healthy food.
If not reduced, belly fat can cause health issues such as body inflammation and heaviness of the body that can lead to problems like knee pain, leg pain, lower back pain, diabetes, increase in other chronic conditions… etc.