India is a land of traditions, fun, fairs and festivals. Despite all the madness, poverty, hunger, corruption and violence currently prevailing in some parts of the country one can still find that ever elusive peace, tranquility and devotion in the innocent smiles of the ordinary people going about with their lives in every small town and village of this giant fabric woven together, that is India.
Diwali is an occasion which brings India together, and is celebrated with great gusto across all strata of society - from the humble hut of the laborer to the opulent "Antillas" of industrialists.The sound of patakas or firecrackers announces the onset of this bright colorful festival. People tend to forget all their worries and pains and revel in cleaning and decorating their houses with flowers and beautiful lamps, catching up with family and old buddies, and preparing yummy, scrumptious, ghee infused snacks and desserts for near and dear ones and celebrate this high-spirited and "high-cholesterol" festival of lights.
AdvertisementChildren and grown-ups alike wait eagerly for this colorful and vibrant festival as it brings in a lot of fun and togetherness. To keep up with the excitement of joy and merriment on the onset of Diwali people tend to binge on a variety of delicacies that send calorie intake skyrocketing. In today's fast-paced generation with little or no time for exercise, this indulgence could send your basic health parameters closer or even into the irretrievable zone. However, with a little planning in consumption of food and some basic precautions, this festival of lights can be enjoyed to the hilt without compromising your health.
Burn Calories and not Crackers this Diwali
As the adage goes "A moment on the lips is a lifetime on the hips". Remember, the more we eat high calorie food the more the accumulation of resistant fat in our body. Sweets are too inviting to resist but just spare a thought before gorging on those calorie laden delicacies. Nibble at those sweets, let the taste linger in your mouth very much like a sommelier tasting wine rather than gulping down mouthfuls of laddoos and mysorepaks. You will realize that not only do you eat less but you also enjoy the taste more. The traditional Buddhist way of eating is to keep the first bite in your mouth for about ten seconds before chewing it slowly and steadily. This is supposed to satiate the taste buds which in turn douse the hunger pangs faster.
Reveling in this celebratory mood is good but it also calls for wise eating. So by evolving a special "Diwali lifestyle" for the duration of the festivities you can have the cake and the icing too!!! Walk that extra mile or run on the treadmill for those extra ten minutes on the morning of a Diwali that anticipates a festive spread. Eat salads and fresh fruits in the morning hours on the day of Diwali, and succumb free of guilt to all those irresistible aromas coming out of your kitchen towards the evening hours.
Try baking or roasting rather than frying food. The taste is almost similar but the benefits are manifold. Cut down on your sugar intake by switching over to natural sweeteners like honey or dates and skimmed low fat milk to make sweets. Children just cannot make out the difference in taste and you can let them indulge too without restricting their temptations. Detoxify yourselves by avoiding all those aerated frizzy drinks and by sipping natural home-made fruit juices, buttermilk or coconut water. Keep sipping in a lot of water so that you feel full and hence eat less. Try and buy eatables that are sugar free and serve them to your guests too. When visiting friends, take assorted dry fruits which are healthy and lower on calories, rather than ghee filled sweets to show that you really care for them.
It's a Festival of Lights - Not Sounds and Harmful Chemicals
As an educated society with an increased awareness of global warming, pollution and the involvement of young children in the making of crackers, people must give a second thought to bursting these non-biodegradable fireworks. Firecrackers contain harmful chemicals which lead to respiratory problems and skin infections. The decibel level in most Indian cities during Diwali could beat many warzones hands down!!! If you have to fire crackers, switch to noiseless crackers that give out less smoke.
Use sparklers and fireworks which give out more light than sound. Remember the good people of Ayodhya did not have ear-splitting 'Laxmi bombs' to welcome Lord Rama!!! They illuminated their houses with Diyas or handmade festive lamps. Lighting up houses with scented candles, decorative diyas and eco-friendly earthen lamps can be a good and smart idea especially during these times of economic recession. If you are indeed keen on sending your money up in smoke, visit an orphanage instead, with your kids and gift them something special this Diwali!!!! The joy of giving and spreading light will fill you and your family with an inner peace that is more powerful than the sound of the "10000 Ladi".
Enjoy a Safe Diwali
No doubt Diwali adds more sparkle and radiance to people's lives but a little bit of carelessness and negligence can lead to serious consequences. That one "momentary lapse of reason" could end up messing this happy festival by causing grievous harm to self and those around.
The custom of bursting crackers has become a significant part of Diwali celebrations. Fireworks can be fun if you use them properly. It is sad that during Diwali there is invariably an increase in the number of accidents. As a wise man once lamented "If only common sense were so common"!!!! By practicing simple rules one can have a safe and injury-free Diwali.
Safety Tips While Using Firecrackers
• Take extra care while lighting your candles and diyas by placing them firmly on a table so that they don't topple and catch fire.
• Don't wear loose, cumbersome and "highly inflammable" designer-wear clothes. Change into something more practical prior to the fireworks session.
• Going barefoot while firing crackers is a bad idea. Wear comfortable footwear so you don't trip while running back and forth.
• Always keep a fire extinguisher at home to avoid any unfortunate mishap.
• Always accompany a child while bursting crackers.
• In case of burn one should keep in mind to put the burnt area under running, cold water so that all the toxins get washed away.
• Do not apply turmeric or ointments in case of burns. Visit the nearest doctor for treatment of burns, however mild.
• Do clean-up after the fireworks session. Metallic wires, toxic chemicals and litter could injure kids and pets in the vicinity.
As you light the Diyas and pray to Goddess Lakshmi this Diwali, may the light and warmth of those prayers fill your lives with peace and prosperity in these troubled times!!! Wish you a happy, low-cholesterol and pollution free Diwali!!!