Thursday, 22 January 2015

Neem Fresh: Garnier Pure Active Neem Face Wash Review

As a pubescent adolescent I never had to worry about acne. But as a young adult I've been plagued with pimples for as long as I can remember. Zits seems to pop up on the days you need your skin to be flawless, which is well, everyday!

Dadi Ma Ke Nuske: Neem has been used in the past in indian households in face masks to treat any and all calamities of the skin, from slight redness to full blown acne. Neem oil is known to calm the skin without any harmful side effects so its only befitting that we use neem in all its glory.
There's just one problem: the bitter taste. Any mask that sits on your face for more than 10 mins will leave your senses overpowered and I, especially, cannot bear the smell of neem, just the odour of it gives a bitter taste in my mouth. :\
What to do then? Lo and behold, the garnier pure active neem face wash. I've been wanting to invest in a neem face wash for ages but hadn't found one to my liking. I had used the Garnier pure active blackheads uprooting scrub in the past and emboldened by its success rate I decided to give this face wash a try. Read on for my review. :)

Get to know more about their product here:

Company SpeakThe Garnier Pure Active range is designed to erase spots and marks with visible results in 48 hours.
Here's what they had to say about the pure active neem face wash line:

Fights germs, pollution and removes oil.

It contains real Neem Leaf and Tea Tree Oil extracts:
1) Fights germs: Washes away problem causing germs.
2) Fights Pollution: deep cleans pores to remove          impurities caused by pollution.
3) Removes Oil: Washes away excess oil which attracts  dirt & germs.

Review: the list of natural ingredients like neem oil and tea-tree oil are enough to make me go gaga over this product but the main draw for me was the fact that this product was mom-approved! And my mother, for your information, seldom approves anything that's not from her kitchen's pantry! :P

She has oily skin and had benefitted from this face wash and recommended it to me for my pimples and the marks left behind by the nasty little demons. I have sensitive combination skin (the worst kind, I know! *sigh*) and the green, slightly runny gel-like consistency suited me well. It gives a cool sensation upon application and refreshes & wakes you up. It has a mild, pleasant smell, not the harsh neem-y one, so no complaints there! The only gripe, if at all, I have with this product is the packaging. While it is perfectly classy and simple with a flip-top cap, you need serious muscle power to get the product out. One of the best things about this face wash is that it's soap free but still manages to lathers well. Soap has a drying effect on the skin so kudos to Garnier for their formulation!

Pros of Garnier Pure Active Real Neem Face Wash:
  • Inexpensive.
  • Travel friendly packaging.
  • Easily available.
  • Lathers pretty well.
  • Rinses off easily.
  • Removes oil, dirt and grime effectively.
  • Leaves skin squeaky clean and fresh.
  • Helps in reducing pimples though works slowly in reducing them.
  • Great for people with oily and acne prone skin.
  • Has herbal neem smell.
  • Contains neem and tea tree extracts.
Cons of Garnier Pure Active Real Neem Face Wash:
  • Dries out my skin (i have combination dry skin) but nothing much that a moisturizer can’t take care of!
  • May not work on sever acne or old pimples.
  • May not be able to remove makeup effectively.

Results: After 2 weeks of application I did notice that my skin was calmer and smoother, and the marks left by the pesky pimples were gone without a trace.The pure active neem face wash was a god-send for me and I intend to keep using it!
Now I'm psyched to try their extensive range of products in the pure active range. What about you?

Final Verdict: A great product for an everyday flawless skin!

Till next time,
Stay Natural, Stay Beautiful!

Check out the Garnier contest at 

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Grill Fest : Veggie Edition!

First of all, here's wishing all the readers and bloggers a very happy and prosperous new year. May you never have to experience writer's block in 2015! :)

Holiday season has come and gone. Tarts and turkeys have finally taken their toll. Now it's time to jump back on to the health cart - all relaxed and rejuvenated.
Along with our workouts we need to eat healthy to see the desired effect for our body and what can be better than vegetables?! Packing all the punch and crunch, satiating the tummy without the bulge or guilt!
Let's beckon the new year with a new variety of side dishes other than the trusty salads and quinoa. You've already guessed it by the post title. Because what's better than plain veggies? Thats's right folks, grilled veggies!

Here are my top 12 vegetables that taste out-of-this-world when grilled. Have it as a snack with greek yoghurt dips or serve as sides, either way grilled vegetables are here to make your life easier.
So get that griller out n char away! :D

  1.  Grilled Asparagus with a bit of olive oil and vinegar tastes divine with anything or on its own!
  2. Mushrooms, especially portobello mushrooms, sliced n marinated with lemon n olive oil and a dash of salt will satiate your meat cravings. They work in burgers as well due to their meaty texture.
  3. Sweet grilled Onions are some of the best things you'll eat in your life. The hint of smokiness of grilled onions elevates any meal. Make sure to smoke them in the open though, not wrapped in foil.
  4. Potato wedges (or sweet potato) tastes best when grilled and drizzled with a little butter. Boil the potatoes for 5 minutes, then cut them into wedges and grill for 2 minutes.
  5. Grilled Zucchini with olive oil on an antipasto platter. Enough said.
  6. Tomatoes when grilled taste sweeter, add a little tang n' taste with balsamic vinegar or use sour cherry tomatoes and olive oil. It will be succulent, I guarantee!
  7. Cut into chunks and put Capsicum or red, green and yellow bell peppers on a sheekh and grill them. They taste sweet and juicy and provide you with the classic grilled and colourful side dish you'll ever need.
  8. Eggplant or aubergine, whichever you decide to call it, grilling doesn't get easier than this. Cut into strips, drizzle some olive oil and salt and pepper and grill away.
  9. Roasted Carrot fans, you need to try grilled carrots rubbed with 5 spices and salt. Slightly grill the marinated carrots and you're good to go!
  10. I don't know why more people don't grill Broccoli. It tastes scrumptious. If you have leftover tastemakers from the instant noodle packs, try adding a few pinches of that to your grilled broccoli or simply dip them in greek yoghurt or cheese dips.
  11. Corn on the cob. With a bit of salt and a rind of lemon. Need I say more?!
  12. Beans can be grilled just like asparagus and eaten with dips as a standalone meal!
So what are you waiting for? Whip up your favourite antipasto platter and fill it with veggies and olives instead of meat. 
Remember to be generous with the olive oil, Enjoy!

(photo courtesy of, for her 

Friday, 25 July 2014

Ideal Meal Plans based on Daily Calorific Needs

So you want to lose gain or maintain your weight.  Great! Now that you’ve identified your goal you are working out 3 hours a day sticking to a gruesome workout routine. But you’re not seeing results fast enough. There’s a chance that your success is being hindered by what you’re putting inside your tummy, after all the kind and amount of food we eat impacts our physique and wellbeing. So today we’re going to talk about meal plans!

Everybody’s goals and needs are different. Keeping individual clinical conditions in mind, please talk to your physician/dietician before following any kind of meal or diet plans you see off the internet or magazines.
Now, we come to the post. What should be your ideal meal plan? How much meat or veggies should you be eating? Must you eliminate carbs from your diet altogether? To answer these questions we have to first know a couple of terms that’ll make your life easier when it comes to deciding on your food habits and keeping healthy.

BMR or Basal Metabolic Rate, and the closely related resting metabolic rate, is the rate of energy expenditure by humans and other animals at rest, and is measured in kJ per hour per kg body mass. (source: wikipedia)

 The body fat percentage of a human or other living being is the total mass of fat divided by total body mass; body fat includes essential body fat and storage body fat. Essential body fat is necessary to maintain life and reproductive functions. The percentage of essential body fat for women is greater than that for men, due to the demands of childbearing and other hormonal functions.
The table below from the 
American Council on Exercise (not an official government agency) shows how average percentages differ according to the specified groups and categories:

Essential fat

The body mass index (BMI), or Quetelet index, is a measure of relative weight based on an individual's mass and height.

The factor for Imperial or US customary units is more precisely 703.06957964, but that level of precision is not meaningful for this calculation.
To formulate a customized meal plan which tells us how much protein, carbs and fats we should be consuming daily to maintain, lose or gain weight depends on the following calculations below:

Body weight = <your weight goes here (in kgs or lbs)>
Body fat percentage = <your body fat %, measured by fat callipers or electronic devices>
Fat weight = <body weight x body fat percentage>
Lean weight = <body weight- fat weight>
BMR at rest = <your BMR at rest goes here>
BMR in motion = <your BMR in motion goes here>
*you can calculate BMR online and the best online BMR calculator I found is linked here.
Average BMR = <[(BMR in motion + BMR at rest)/2] ± 200-500 calories>

Now to maintain your weight, you have to maintain your avg. BMR value through the intake of your fundamental food groups-proteins, carbohydrates and fats. While if you want to lose or gain weight you have to deduct or add 200-500 calories to your avg. BMR value respectively. Going way over or under the margin of 200-500 calories at a time can be harmful and is not recommended. 

Proteins, carbohydrates and fats are the three main food groups and ALL THREE of them are important in your diet in different quantities, apart from minerals and vitamins which boost the absorption of the three fundamental food groups and strive to keep you healthy and alive.
But how much should you incorporate in your daily diet out of the 3 categories of food?
For that we use BMR values to calculate our amounts.
But first what you should know is what 1 gram of these three macros amount to in calories.
1 gram of protein yields about 4 calories
1 gram of protein yields about 4 calories
1 gram of protein yields about 9 calories

1 g to 15 g per pound of lean weight is the scale here. If your goal is to lose weight you have to keep to the lower end of the scale and if you want to gain muscle you go higher up the scale right up till 15 g.
So daily protein requirement = protein multiplier x your lean weight
Daily protein requirement in calories = daily protein requirement x 4 calories

0.35 g to 0.50 g per pound lean weight. If your goal is to lose weight you have to take into consideration the lower end of the scale and if you want to gain weight you go to the higher end of the scale right up till 0.5 g.
So daily fat requirement = fat multiplier x your lean weight
Daily fat requirement in calories = daily fat requirement x 9 calories

in calories = Avg. BMR – (fat + protein daily requirement in calories, as calculated above)
in grams = carbs requirement in calories / 4

What you get from here is a mathematical quote of your daily macros requirement; you can play with certain numbers till you get your ideal calorific quota.
for example, here is a carbohydrates intake table for you to refer to,
For Accelerated fat loss : 0-50 g
For Fat loss : 50g-100g
For Maintenance : 100g-150g
For Weight gain : 150g-300g
For Excessive weight gain : 300g and above

Keeping these values in mind you can amp up your protein and fat consumption while decreasing or increasing your carb intake to meet your daily caloric needs. Through a series of permutation and combination you can reach your daily macro intake and monitor it by either writing them down or using a web/mobile application to do it for you. Don’t fret if you don’t keep true to the exact numbers, these are after all just numbers and will not make or break your life. Food should never be something that adds to the amounts of stress we already face in life. So go easy on yourself with the numbers, but stick to the basic quotas and eat moderate amounts of everything to reach your goals faster.
And don’t forget to incorporate vitamins, minerals, supplements and loads of water in your diet!

Stay happy, stay healthy.
Till next time

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Tips To Improve Short Attention Span

Exercising is beneficial for the mind, body and soul - you know covering the whole trifecta and all, not just for the body alone. However just like the body the mind and soul need a wee bit of training too. How to achieve that you ask? Read on :)
Personally I have a very short attention span, it's worse than a toddler actua...oooh lookie a cookie! ^_^

Erm, where was I? Oh yes, attention span...
Research shows the graph for attention span curving something like this:

 As you can probably see it is not the best of situations to be in. Scientifically speaking the average attention span tends to range from 8-20 seconds, and yes I'm generalizing that. So if you are thinking a thousand thoughts in a matter of seconds and most of them interfering with the more important stuff that your brain's gotta think about, then I'd say you too, my friend, suffer from short attention span or more commonly, what Indian educators like to call "lack of concentration". It wouldn't come as a surprise if I were to say I've heard that phrase a one too many times, so I zeroed in on some of the nifty tricks they have for people like me and practiced them religiously for about 5 minutes everyday. They worked, I know because these days I can actually finish an entire thought without ADHD-ness kicking in (no pun intended to people actually suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). The tips came from the mouth of a psychology professor, so I can assure you right now these work and don't require you to gulp down (a keep it down) a plethora of ancient ayurvedic and herbal tonics in order to cure your concentration deficit. Today we are going to hone the mind for better concentration levels through some effective and fun brain workouts. Seriously, it is not as tedious as it sounds, I promise!

Exercise 1:
Count backwards from 100 to 1 silently. If that seems too easy try counting from 100 to 1 but this time subtract 3 (or even 7) from the previous number so that you get a series like 97,94,91,.. so on

Exercise 2:

Try solving anagrams. They offer stellar brain workouts. I found that apart from helping to concentrate, it also dusts your vocabulary! So go ahead, choose a word and start rearranging the letters in it to make as many words as possible with them.

Exercise 3:

Avoid the TL;DR(Too Long; Didn't Read) culture at all costs. Read as much as you can, be it books, newspapers or blog articles, and read slowly. Practice reading continuously for 5 minutes and gradually lengthen the time span to 15 or 30 minutes. Before long you'd be reading for 60 minutes straight. Start by reading this article in its entirety. ;)

Exercise 4:

Dot your i's and cross your t's. Write complete words and stay away from too many abbreviations and SMS or texting language. While you can still shorten your texts to your heart's content while IM-ing, refrain from doing the same say on an assignment paper or personal journal. This deceptively simple (albeit a little time consuming at first) task ensures the longevity of your attention span and simultaneously ingrains in you the need to learn proper spellings - a task your high school teacher probably tried to instill in you and eventually gave up. Trust me when you goof up and write 'd' instead of 'the', in a mid-term English college essay, it will not reflect on you too kindly.

Exercise 5

Practice Meditation. Keep some time aside to sit quietly and reflect on the day. Concentrate on a sound or word and replay it in your mind.

Exercise 6:

Exercise your body. Research shows that working out keeps you significantly alert and improves memory and attention. Now you have even more reasons to put on those workout shoes and go for a run.

Exercise 7:

Sit straight on a chair with your head up, chin out and shoulders back. Raise your right arm up to the level of your shoulder, pointing to your right. Look around, moving your head only and fix your gaze on your fingers. While doing so, keep your arms perfectly still for one minute. Repeat this exercise with your left arm. Once you are able to keep your arms perfectly steady, increase the length of time to reach up to 5 minutes with each arm. The easiest position is to turn the palm of your hand downwards when it is outstretched. If you are able to keep your eyes fixed on the tips of your fingers, you will be able to tell if your arm is perfectly still. I found this one on some website and needless to say it works so I included this in the list as well!

So now you can boost your concentration with these tips. At the end of the week if you can sit and read through a whole page of that text book or office document or have managed to stick your concentration to the class lecture, don't forget to reward yourself with a gluten-free cookie. ;-)

 These exercises are helpful for almost everyone and I hope you give them a try! If you have some tricks and tips up your sleeves on this topic, don't forget to share it in a comment.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Basic Pasta & Veggie Salad

Salads can be healthy and they can be filling provided you go for low calorie(or sans) dressing. Most of the calorie content of a plateful of 'healthy' salad is present in the dressing. Making informed choices never hurt, so here's a cheat-sheet for the next time you decide to order a salad:
Add, remove or go light on any of the ingredients as per your requirement. But just remember, you're trying to be healthy, not starve yourself!
And for those of you opting to have homemade healthy salads, here's a recipe for Pasta & Veggie salad I made for dinner, and it was surprisingly tasty!

Pasta & Veggie Salad

  • 3/4 cup pasta,any type will do (preferably wheat) of your liking (I used penne pasta)
  • Diced vegetables : 1/2 a cup of tomato
                                 1/2 a cup of bell peppers (red, yellow, green)
                                 1/4 cup onions
  • Sprig of coriander for garnishing
  • 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
  • salt and pepper

  1. Boil water for pasta, add salt, add the pasta and cook till it's al dente.
  2. Dry the pasta. A good tip to prevent the pasta from going mushy is to wash it with cold water while you're draining the hot water (using a colander).
  3. Toss in the vegetables after washing them. You can sautee the veggies if you're opposed to eating raw veggies.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and shake thoroughly until mixed. Pour into the pasta-veggie mix.
  5. Give it a toss to mix them together. Serve immediately.
This salad can be had hot as well as cold. You can freeze it for upto 2 days, but it's recommended you have fresh salads. Like Duh! Or you can turn it into a non-veg meal by adding shreds of boiled or leftover chicken.

So there you go, I personally love the look and smell of fresh salad and this one's definitely a favourite of mine.
Till next time,
Tina :)

P.S. Don't forget to enjoy your meal :)

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Love Your Body

Join the Love Your Body campaign HERE
make a healthy statement. :)

Inching Ever Closer To Attaining Body Peace

Our bodies are our best friends, and they come in all different shapes and sizes. And why do you think that is? Because we're all different and unique individuals. Moreover what fun would it be if everybody resembled everybody. Diversity segregates us and makes us interesting. So let's clink our glasses together to being interesting, cheers! (seriously just toast to being interesting, how many times have you been acknowledged as interesting? Though probably you really are interesting) This blabber is besides the point.
So as I was saying, Nature manufactured us in various shapes and sizes, ethnicity and with varied cultural backgrounds making us all the more cooler. But gosh darn it, we're humans! And who has ever heard of humans being satisfied with what they have? Joke of the millennium right?!
Especially when it comes to our bodies we are more comfortable pointing out each other's body insecurities and deriving some sort of satanic pleasure out of it. As if that wasn't enough, we barricade ourselves into our own personal hell and torture ourselves n' our bodies and I would love to say that we 'derive some sick satisfaction out of it' but I can't when I know fully well that it does nothing but to scar us for life and wreck havoc in our personal lives.
Even the most perfect bodied people have insecurities about their bodies, specially if you're a woman. There's no avoiding this issue.

But is all the worrying worth it? The simple answer, you and I both know to be true is NO, it's not.
My grandma used to say,"The first step towards feeling good about your body is to start by feeling good about yourself". And that's the mantra I live by.
Understanding that you look best in your own skin is the way to freedom. Having the 'perfect' body feels good. But what we don't realize is there is no such thing as a 'perfect body' no matter what anyone tells you. Stop letter grading your bodies, they're not tests. Your body braves every single day with elan and you should train your mind to do the same. Waging war against your bodily imperfections is not going to get you to a happy place, you'll be depressed and in constant mental agony going through life as a worrisome old soul. And that is not who you wanna be. So stop criticizing yourself and start loving the skin you're in. Because let me tell you, whoever you are, your body is beautiful and so are you.

Remind yourself that you are a product of your struggles, victories, kindness, achievements, joys and sorrows- that you strive everyday to be the best you can be and that is all that matters. Don't listen to nay-sayers, be positive and smile. Keep healthy and keep stress at bay as much as possible, have apositive attitude to life and meditate(it's a sage advice, yes it's old but it still works wonders).

 Mostly though, start by signing the body peace treaty.

While the media plays a huge role in portraying the human form as a glitzy, glamourous model; all airbrushed and perfect we should know better than to try and emulate what is clearly a business propaganda. We should be aware that there's a fine line between reel and real, what we see on the glossy pages of magazines is not exactly reality.

 While you don't need to be guilty if you want a toned body but it's certainly not alright to put yourself through torturous measures to achieve your goals. In real life even our favourite actress has cellulite, they age too, models like to splurge on mac n' cheese and dress sizes beyond 16 exist. As much as we would like to say it but a skinny figure isn't healthy. Anorexia and Bulimia are diseases not temporary conditions and definitely not cool. Starving yourself isn't cool. And i'll tell you what else isn't cool, criticizing someone else's appearance. 
Fashion is changing, so are the views on body shapes and sizes. So whether you are of average, medium, small, large build, petite, skinny, boyish and a number of fruity-shaped person, just rejoice and love yourself because all that matters is what's inside. :)

We owe it to ourselves to be at peace with our body and inspire others to do the same.
Take your cue from JLaw and be awesome!

Stay healthy, keep happy! :)