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Is your pet suffering from anger issues?

Written By kom nampultig on Sabtu, 08 November 2014 | 18.47

Not just Mumbaikars, even their pets are suffering from anger and depression. What is it that we are doing wrong?

In May 2011 when Colaba resident Rajashree Khalap lost her ten-year-old dog, Lalee, she and her husband weren't the only ones in the family who were heartbroken. "My other pet, then three-year-old mixed-breed Kimaya, who was very attached to Lalee, was distraught," says the 50-year-old wildlife conservationist.

Lalee, says Khalap, had a severe allergic reaction to some cement, which was lying at home and passed away in the car while being taken to the vet. "Kimaya hadn't seen what happened to her. She just saw us rushing out with Lalee and then returning without her. In hindsight, I feel we should have brought the body home and allowed Kimaya to understand and come to terms with what had happened," she adds.

Even as Khalap and her husband grieved, Kimaya too stopped eating. Normally, "a greedy little dog", she'd curl up and sleep most of the time, showing little interest in food. Examinations by vets threw up no medical conditions, which is when Khalap took her to Dadar-based canine behaviourist and trainer Shirin Merchant who told her that while Kimaya was depressed, she was also picking up on Khalap's mood which made it worse for her. Merchant warned Khalap, "If you don't change your behaviour, you will lose your second dog, too."

MIRRORING THE MASTER

"Most people," says Merchant, "attribute human qualities to their pets. Finding a pet 'depressed' could merely be our point of view of the situation." All animal behaviour is rooted in survival and most animals find a way to recover from a loss or a change in locale.

"What does affect pets more is the mood of the humans they are attached to, and any change in routine," she says. So, as soon as there's some stability in the pet's life, the signs of depression will start disappearing.

DEALING WITH TRAUMA

While a pet may reflect changes in the owner's behaviour, depression could also be the result of abuse or other kinds of trauma. Churchgateresident Aadore Sayani recalls a stray dog at Oval Maidan who had disappeared for a few weeks and was later found at Vashi. "He showed signs of injury so we took him to the vet who, on investigation, said that it looked like he'd been sexually abused. Once playful and friendly, he was just not interested in people around him anymore," says Sayani. Getting the dog back to his natural state, she adds, took a few months and spending plenty of time with him.

Often even taking dogs out of their natural environment or roles can cause stress. Labradors, for instance, are retrievers who were bred to use their noses and scent things out. Siberian Huskies are not just meant for a colder climate but also spend hours pulling sledges. Being cooped up in Mumbai apartments, with two half-hour walks a day is a far cry from the free environment they were meant to live in. "Giving them something to do can improve their mood," says Merchant, who suggests taking the dog to a park where he can run freely.

Khalap, who on Merchant's advice brought in a trainer to work with Kimaya attests to the change that regular activity brought to her dog's moods. "She loved her training sessions, which were reward-based and she got lavish praise, petting and delicious treats for everything she did," says Khalap, adding that her pet who'd earlier be timid around other dogs managed to walk near other dogs without panicking after a few lessons around Oval Maidan. "As for her meals, from the day of her first lesson she regained her normal appetite. And keeping busy with Kimaya cheered me up, too," says Khalap.

CURLING UP

As in humans, one of the top signs of depression in animals is avoiding contact, says a south Mumbai homeopath, who also treats animals for depression. "You'll find your dog curled up in a corner or, if they are strays they will hide under a car," she says, adding that cats will get into cupboards and slink into a corner there.

Not eating, she says, is usually a sign of illness — kidney problem or a stomach bug. If it persists over a couple of days and all other tests are normal is when the pet is diagnosed with depression, she adds. However, it's not just dogs and cats who are sensitive to loneliness. "I've seen parrots and cockatoos pull out their feathers in anger and depression when left in isolation for long periods," she says. Placing a mirror in the cage, or rattles — things that will make a sound — help them get better, she adds.

GETTING TREATMENT

When all other signs of illness have been set aside, should mood elevators be given to the pets. Merchant says that while allopathic medicine for depression are available in the West, what's available in India is a generic medicine for mental health. And even this is advised in rare cases and only by prescription. Dr S V Vishwasrao, Bandrabased veterinary surgeon, cautions, "Treatment would be incomplete and ineffective without the love and personal care of the pet parent.

Figuring out what triggers depression is the key to solving this problem. Medication may be required in some cases. But it is important to rule out other contributing systemic diseases and central nervous system disorders that can cause similar symptoms."

By Gitanjali Chandrasekharan

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Drinks Recipe: Pudina chai

Nothing beats cup of chai when you have to refresh yourself in a daily routine.

Tea is the most essential beverage most of us indulge into. Even as the temperature is rising, chai is not out of circulation. This chai recipe will not only refresh you but work wonders to your mood in summers. Here's the quick recipe:

Ingredients:
- 1 cup milk - 1 and half cup water - 2 teaspoons tea leaves - 3 spoon sugar - 5-6 fresh mint leaves - 2-3 lemongrass leaves

Recipe:
1. In a tea pan, boil water and add tea leaves, mint leaves, lemon grass and sugar. Allow it to boil.
2. Now, add hot milk to it. Bring it to boil but, ensure the chai to brew at a medium flame and not high flame. It will help the mint flavour infuse properly in your chai.
3. Strain the tea in two cups and serve it with your favourite tea time snacks or cookies.

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Why laughing at yourself is cool

When Alia Bhatt made the biggest faux pas on a chat show by calling Prithviraj Chavan the President of India, the entire world pointed fingers at her and made her the butt of all jokes -` Alia Bhatt is so dumb that she thinks Dino Morea is son of Ganapati Bappa Morea' and other mean jibes were thrown at her across the Internet.

But after lying low for a while, she came up with a hilarious, I-laugh-at-myself video, in which she's shown increasing her `brain size' and consequently , her GK. This video turned the table on them, and now, she's the darling of a lot of people! And the latest to join this poke-fun-at-yourself bandwagon is Siddharth Mallya, who attempts to answer questions that people send him on social media.

By doing so, apart from humanising themselves, these celebrities have shown that not taking yourself too seriously is the new cool thing! Here are four reasons why we think laughing at yourself is awesome.

YOU BECOME ENDEARING

Every one has flaws, but the line that separates you from the uncle, who never smiles, is the way you take a joke. People love making fun of others. But when you laugh with them, at yourself, you'll come across as an easy-going, lovable person. "It's better to make peace with your shortcomings and enjoy it. Take Alia Bhatt's case. Everybody thought she was daft, but when she came up with the video, she became this cool thing who knows how to take a joke," shares Anjali Parvati Koda, a stand-up comedian. Now, she's suddenly become the darling of people and the joke is on those who cracked jokes at her earlier!

YOU COME ACROSS AS SUPERCOOL

Apart from coming across as a fun person, taking a joke in the right spirit also shows that you're confident about yourself. "When you can laugh at yourself, it means you are aware of your shortcomings. You come across as somebody who is confident and secure," says writer Avinash Agarwal.

YOU HAVE THE LAST LAUGH

People assume that physical appearances are a great subject to make fun of -even Russell Peters does it! But instead of sulking when people poke fun at your balding head or weight, laugh at your own shortcomings! When you do poke fun at yourself, others don't have anything to do or say . Rajasekhar Mamidanna, a computer science-engineer-cum-standup comedian who doesn't mind being bald, says, "I know people will make fun of my baldness, so whenever I go on stage, I joke about it so that it doesn't give anyone else a chance to do so. Isn't is better to make fun of oneself rather than have others do it? You have the last laugh!" It also shows that you're not a douchebag who thinks the world of himself. "We tend to take ourselves too seriously . But the fact is that nobody has the time to think about us. Though making fun of oneself is not everyone's cup of tea, those who can do so are considered edgy . When I do shows and poke fun at some blooper I make, I get the maximum applause," shares Anjali

YOU BECOME A BETTER PERSON

It sounds preachy , but it's true! You're so immersed at looking at your own shortcomings and trying to figure out a way to make fun of yourself that you don't let others feel bad. You'll be that cool guy who makes everyone feel comfortable by baring your shortcomings and who keeps everyone happy . So laugh away!

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9 food combos to make you lean

Nine food combinations that will make staying healthy and looking fit easier

Combination: Eggs and Mango
Gives you: Firm skin
There's no need to apply several products to get good, firm skin. Just eat some eggs and mango, especially now that the fruit is in season. Eggs are naturally rich in amino acids that are essential for formation of skin-plumping collagen. And mango, which is rich in Vitamin C, works with these acids to boost collagen production. This helps build back lost stores in the body, which can significantly improve the appearance of skin.

Do it right: To give a boost to your next breakfast, pair an omelette with a cup of fresh mango chunks, which supply nearly an entire day's supply of Vitamin C.

Combination: Red Bell Peppers and Black Beans
Gives you: Better Immunity
They look good at the veggie market and are expensive. But here's a good reason to buy them. You'll absorb more immune-boosting plant iron by adding in some red bell peppers on your plate. Iron in black beans is hard for the body to absorb, however, adding a dose of Vitamin C-rich produce like red peppers converts the iron into a type that's easier for the body to use.

Do it right: There are great recipes online that show you how to mix your beans with red bell peppers and make the meal a tasty one too.

Combination: Extra-Virgin Olive Oil and Tomatoes
Gives you: Better protection from diseases
Tomatoes boast of four major carotenoids (alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene) besides three potent antioxidants (betacarotene, Vitamin E, and Vitamin C) which may help fight cancer and heart disease. These protective chemicals are better absorbed with extra-virgin olive oil, which is high in healthy monounsaturated fats.

Do it right: Leave the tomato skin on, since it is packed with phytochemicals. Extra-virgin olive oil is the least processed form, so it contains the most beneficial compounds. Store it away from heat and light to prevent it from going rancid.

Combination: Broccoli and Tomatoes
Gives you: Protection against cancer
Both are individually known to have cancer-fighting properties, but research has shown that together they are the Hulk of cancerfighting foods. Scientists found consuming tomato and broccoli at the same time was more effective at slowing the growth of cancerous prostate tumours than eating either vegetable alone.
Do it right: Have one-and-a-half cups of broccoli along with twoand-a-half cups of fresh tomato, with pizza or spaghetti.

Combination: Oatmeal and Strawberries
Gives you: A healthier heart
Oats contain two important phytochemicals called avenanthramides and phenolic acids, which are known to work with Vitamin C to reduce harmful effects of bad cholesterol and help prevent plaque build-up that lead to heart attacks.
Do it right: Enjoy a half cup of sliced strawberries with your morning bowl of oatmeal.

Combination: Green Tea and Lemon
Gives you: A healthier heart

Green tea, a rich source of powerful antioxidants called catechins, is known to help improve the heart's health. However, according to studies only about 20 per cent of these compounds are absorbed by the human body. Adding lemon juice to green tea has been shown to increase the catechins level to 80 per cent.

Do it right: After brewing yourself a cup of green tea, squeeze in the juice of one whole lemon.

Combination: Cinnamon and Whole Grain Toast
Gives you: Extra energy and quicker weight loss
Sprinkling cinnamon on your toast may help keep your blood sugar at a healthier level, which prevents dips in your energy and spikes in your hunger level. In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, cinnamon was found to slow the rate of stomach emptying after meals and reduce the rise in blood sugar after meals to negate more bingeing later.

Do it right: Use whole grain bread, trans-free margarine and a teaspoon of cinnamon.

Combination: Garlic and Onions
Gives you: Full-body protection
Both these veggies contain a number of organosulfur compounds and heart-healthy plant chemicals that help keep arteries free of plaque. Some of these compounds have even been studied for their power to detoxify carcinogens in the body.

Do it right: Most Indian cooking combines the two, however if you are in the mood for something else, the combination even works for soups and sauces.

Combination: Green Tea and Black Pepper
Gives you: A slimmer waistline
Forget crash dieting. After your next meal sip a cup of green tea with a little black pepper thrown in. The combination boosts the absorption of EGCG, a key antioxidant in tea tied to calorie burning, by 130 per cent. Experts say the compounds in green tea can affect the hormones that regulate hunger and fullness.

Do it right: Studies say as little as a half-teaspoon of black pepper can increase the absorption of tea's beneficial compounds.

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What makes men in uniform so desirable?

There is indeed something appealing about Hrithik Roshan's makeover from a clueless teenager to a disciplined army officer in the movie Lakshya; in the way he pulled off the army garb rather handsomely over his perfectly sculpted body. So what if R Madhavan is a little distanced from the perfect physique? His cameo in Rang De Basanti as a dashing Air Force officer triggered his desirability quotient that made girls go weak in the knees.

What is it about men in uniform that draws female attention in plenty? Some say it is the attire itself that accentuates their overall personality. Reasons may vary, but it is to an extent true that a man from the Army, Air force, Navy et al, is looked upon as the ideal beau. Saachi Saxena, stewardess with a leading airline says, "Pilots have the responsibility of flying an aircraft that has almost 300 passengers on board. Naturally, their sense of responsibility cannot be judged. And every girl wants a responsible and focussed partner. Add to that the elan with which they carry themselves. Many might feel shy accepting the fact that they are quite sought after in the airline industry."

Men in service have all the reasons to be coveted. Their profession is such that they cannot help but exude chivalry in their mannerisms, which is enough to impress women. The act of being courteous is perceived to be more respectful than intended to impress. Opening the door for the lady to enter first, holding the chair and allowing her to sit, practicing basic table manners while eating together are just some of the practices that come naturally to them. Of course, everything comes with a condition. Barnali Mishra, a PR professional who's dating an Army officer, points out that communication can be a challenge. "There are times when I need to discuss something urgently and his phone remains unreachable because he's traversing no-network areas," she says. That's when the sweet old tradition of writing letters is revived in the modern day context. "Men in the army and such professions find it a little difficult to voice their feelings as anyone else normally would, but they are able to express beautifully in words. Our exchange of thoughts via emails is the part I enjoy most," she adds.

A penchant for men in uniform also takes root if you have someone like that in the family. Trisha Seth, a copywriter, explains, "My father was in the Air Force and I grew up idolising him, his never-say-no attitude, being always up for adventure and helpful nature. He has been very accommodating under certain circumstances; his disciplined and organised nature amazes me. The disappointment happens when I search these traits in other men."

Digressing from the above perceptions, Dr. Geetanjali Sharma, marriage and relationship counsellor, brings to light the dilemmas faced by women who settle for such partners. "Infidelity is the most common crisis faced on either side. Also, since they're away from home for prolonged periods, re-connecting with the family at the same emotional level suffers a setback." Then why do women continue to be in awe of them? "Women prefer a partner who can protect them. It has been so since ancient times. So, it can be assumed that men in uniform are the modern day 'saviours' and hence the attraction," she concludes.

(Some names have been changed on request)

arunima.mazumdar@indiatimes.co.in

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In pics: 10 mistakes men make in bed

Written By kom nampultig on Jumat, 07 November 2014 | 18.48

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When it comes to what women want in bed, men tend to make serious avoidable mistakes like these.

Silent play: No matter the circumstances, most men tend to be eerily silent during the entire act. You may think that's fine, but this makes your woman feel alienated. It makes her wonder if she's actually pleasuring you. There's no need to exaggerate your feelings, but you can let your partner know you're enjoying her company in a genuine way. The occasional moans and groans are not such a bad thing. (Thinkstock Photos/Getty Images) 

10 mistakes men make in bed

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Foreplay is not a means to an end: Most men tend to breeze through it — the effortless kissing here and caressing there, as they undress. But in too much anticipation of a great act, you may appear desperate to begin. And that won't score you any brownie points in the long run. Take it slowly. Enjoy every aspect of the encounter as you get to know the woman you are with. Women enjoy a well-paced build-up — the making-out, the undressing, the reciprocal oral sex. This will also lead to a more fulfilling encounter. And perhaps, a standing invitation for more. (Thinkstock Photos/Getty Images) 

10 mistakes men make in bed

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Forget the big O: Besides, when you approach sex with a clear focus on only reaching an orgasm, you may lose sight of the path to the climactic moment. Don't pressure yourself, or your partner, to hit the finish line as quickly as possible. Rather than rush it, why not enjoy the experience as a whole. You'll prolong your pleasure, and your partner will feel like she's with a guy who actually knows what he's doing. The conclusion, though delayed, will be a lot more satisfying for both. (Thinkstock Photos/Getty Images) 

10 mistakes men make in bed

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Avoid the licking: Performing oral sex on a woman means quick licks at the labia majora, followed by brief, orgasm-inducing penetration with your tongue. However, while that may seem enticing, the labial tonguelashing is not a technique that docs recommend. (Thinkstock Photos/Getty Images) 

10 mistakes men make in bed

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The fingers carefully: Although digital penetration is considered a normal part of foreplay, some guys get overeager and, confuse their fingers for penises. As a result, they finger their partners with a vigour reserved for sex. This also reflects that they have no clue what a woman wants, which is why they have resolved to go hard and fast. Instead, you should aim for a more measured approach; make her get used to the feel of your fingers as you gradually insert more of them. There's room for intensity, but a little nuance will surely take you a long way. (Thinkstock Photos/Getty Images) 

10 mistakes men make in bed

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Sensitise to her wants: If you think that simply pounding away at a woman during sex is a major turn-on, you are wrong. Yet, many men convinced that it will ultimately bring their partners to orgasm. But women are sensitive souls. They appreciate nuance, feeling and deep emotion. So, rather than thrusting away from beginning to end, you'll want to vary your speed throughout sex. Gauge your partner's response, take it as a lead and simply go with the flow. If she asks you to go harder, oblige. But if the moment calls for it, go slowly. The key is to sensitise yourself to what she wants, and not what you want. (Thinkstock Photos/Getty Images) 

10 mistakes men make in bed

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Go easy with the clitoris: Women enjoy the clitoral stimulation than any sort of penetration. So never ignore her clitoris. Yet, at the same time, don't treat it like a scratch card and rub relentlessly in order to make your partner climax. Remember, the clitoris is extremely sensitive, so too much force can actually prove painful. (Thinkstock Photos/Getty Images) 

10 mistakes men make in bed

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Keep her entire body in mind: When you have sex, you aim to pleasure the woman you are with. So it makes sense that many guys focus on the one or two sensitive areas of her body like the neck or thighs. However, the next step is not to look for other ways to please her. Though this notion is understandable, it is also incredibly short-sighted. The law of diminishing returns applies everywhere — even in the bedroom. If you've worked her neck for a while, move down to her breasts. And you may not want to focus heavily on her clitoris. Overstimulation can sometimes prove unpleasant. So keep things varied. As the age-old adage goes, variety is the spice of life. (Thinkstock Photos/Getty Images) 

10 mistakes men make in bed

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Rough now, but be sweet later: There's nothing wrong with a little roughness if it's consensual. But you should never take it too far (no one wants to leave the bedroom in need of medical attention) and you should always remember to show some compassion afterward. When it's all over, make sure you pay attention to her immediate needs, which will likely mean some snuggling and cuddling. (Thinkstock Photos/Getty Images) 

10 mistakes men make in bed

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Don't stress about the G-Spot: The location of the G-Spot (Grafenberg Spot), has long eluded men. It is widely understood to be a couple of inches up the anterior vaginal wall, between the vaginal opening and the urethra. Your search will probably be less scientific, once you've inserted your fingers into her vagina, curl them as though you were asking someone to come toward you; the spot you're looking for will feel rippled. But don't let that elusive area become the be-all, end-all of your sex life. (Thinkstock Photos/Getty Images) 

10 mistakes men make in bed


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5 rivalry issues among twins

A sibling can be fun, right from having someone to play with to that one person who is always all ears to your issues.

However, there's more to this than just fun, siblings face a lot of compatibility issues that multiplies with twins. Here's a peak into five issues that twins face as a part of growing up as well as later in life.

Identity crisis Although, onlookers might think wearing similar dresses is cool, most twins detest this. "I would hate wearing the same dress like my sister's on most special occasions. This would add to the confusion and would get extremely annoying," says Nitya Singhal, a BMM student. Identity crisis is one of the biggest issues that twins face; they are often mistaken as the other one. This creates a lot of rifts between the two, and in most cases stays with them even after they grow up.

Coping with competition Most twins are characteristically different from each other, they have complete unique qualities. However, if one is better than the other, it creates a lot of problem for the other one to cope with the constant competition. Parents, teachers and friends start comparing the two in terms of good and bad, which worsens with age. "In fact, there are times when this competitive feeling makes either one dominating or suppressive," says Girija Nair, a counsellor.

Career choices "To each his own, if one is a brilliant student and chooses to be an engineer and the other one an artist, doesn't mean that the other one is in any way less in abilities. Career choice is a major issue among identical twins as people think they have the same aptitude," adds Nair. Although, they look similar, most twins are poles apart when it comes to making choices. Nonetheless, twins are subject to constant advices from people about the choices they make in life, especially about their careers.

Peer pressure It usually happens with twins when they are in schools and colleges, their aptitude in studies and the choice of friends is very closely noticed. If one has better grades and good camaraderie, while the other turns out to be a vagabond, everyone seems to be eyeing their moves. In fact, friends and relatives start questioning the weaker twin about his/her whereabouts and constantly pressurise him/her to follow the better twin.
Who gets better with age? Although, competition and envy take a backseat with age, what creeps in are ego clashes, concerns if the other one looks better with age and if they live a better life. "A lot of these issues are never surfaced; it's only the twins who experience these internal conflicts. It bitters their relationship further, and hence what looks like the ideal pair of siblings gradually turns into people who hardly extend a hand to each other," says relationship counsellor Sadhana Patil.

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Glossy pony tails for Spring 2015

Hairstylist Asgar Saboo gives his take on different types of glossy pony tails for coming summer

The perfect party outfit is never complete without the ultimate accessory, the glossy ponytail. Worn low or high, this style offers a fierce statement with various alternatives. Celebrity hairstylist to the stars Asgar Saboo offers his take on this versatile style, as seen on the Spring Summer 2015 catwalks.

The Razor Sharp Parting
Create this look by using a fine-tooth comb to ensure a meticulous mirror-like middle parting for the ultimate androgynous high fashion look.

The High Pony
A celebrity favourite which oozes Hollywood glamour and sophistication. This look is high-shine, so don't forget generous lashings of high gloss hairspray to keep in place, suggests Asgar.

The Sporty Pony
This style is perfect for an understated beauty look emphasising your cheekbones. Wear it at the nape of your neck for an effortless, minimalist style, says Asgar.

The Volumized Pony
It is universally accepted. Add plenty of volume around the pony by backcombing from the hairband. To achieve this look, effortlessly pull back and comb the crown of your hair to create a contrasting two texture style, adding fashion simplicity to your look.

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How to tackle common skin complaints

If you're suffering from skin-related problems like acne, eczeme to spider veins, don't fret! You can easily cure them at home.

Nutritionist Keri Filtness has offered her expert advice on the most common skin-related problems and how one can tackle them, reports femalefirst.co.uk.

- Spider veins: Spider veins are tiny capillaries that run close to the surface of the skin and look like fine red, or sometimes purple, small wiggly lines. They are most commonly found on the face or legs.

Steps to take care: Ensure that you are well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water daily as dehydration may lead to fluid retention, causing spider veins to develop. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables in a variety of colours as these will provide a wide variety of plant compounds which may be helpful as antioxidants to prevent damage to blood vessels and to support collagen production.

- Acne: Acne is a common skin condition that causes red pimples on the skin, especially the face, due to tiny holes in the skin becoming blocked. The Sebaceous gland produces sebum, which 'oils' the skin.

Steps to take care: Eat a nutrient-dense diet, including foods such as unsalted nuts and seeds, avocado, oily fish, fruits and vegetables and wholegrain products. Try to cut down on processed foods and drink plenty of water. Cleanse the skin thoroughly but gently as harsh cleansers can strip the skin of oil. Try to avoid choosing products that contain mineral oil as they can block your pores.

- Eczema: Eczema is a condition that causes the skin to become itchy, red, dry and cracked. It often occurs in areas with folds of skin such as behind the knees or the inside of the elbows.

Steps to take care: Increase your intake of 'good' fats such as those found in nuts, seeds and oily fish. Keep a food diary to identify any potential food allergies or intolerances which make the condition worse. Always speak to your general practitioner before cutting foods from your diet. Fish oil provides a good supply of Omega 3 fatty acids which are involved in the production of compounds which reduce inflammation.

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Tea recipes that are delicious to the T!

The regular beverage seems to be turning over a new leaf in the city...
Mumbai has been seeing a smorgasbord of food infusions, `smoky' nitrogen desserts, plus coffee cooking, and to add to that, of late, a whole lot of experimenting with the simple tea leaf too. City foodies are using teabased spice rubs for meat, making eggs a la a tea soak and using it in infusions for cakes and other bakes. Its charms lie in its depth, aroma and flavour, and being able to enhance almost any dish. A little black tea does wonders to fresh fruit soaked in it. Green tea (matcha) ice cream is becoming the go-to dessert on menus everywhere and tea leaves used as a marinade lend a richness to meat.Read on to know how tea is no longer enjoyed in the usual way...

WORKS WELL AS A MARINADE

Blogger and food photographer Assad Dadan has used tea as a marinade. "This is a unique, yet unusual combination of flavours. I saw it being used on a cooking show a couple of seasons back -duck breasts smoked with tea leaves -and I knew it could work equally with chicken fillets," he says, adding, "I tried a different version -not by smoking the tea leaves, but by boiling water with a mixture of tea powder, crushed tea leaves, dash of soy , star anise, brown sugar, sesame oil and a stick of cinnamon. I cooled that down and used it as a marinade (kept for four hours) for the pounded chicken fillets. Once marinated, you can place them on a griddle or in an oven."

TEA INFUSED POHA AND TEA FIRNI!

There's no need to limit yourself with tea when using it in the kitchen, believes tea aficionado Kavita Mathur. "Did you know our grandparents had used the concept when it came to everyday cooking? Take for instance, the Chhole Pindi, in which black tea is added to the soaked kabuli chana.But today, tea is still considered a new ingredient.The irony is, we have so many tea estates and varieties, but don't experiment much. There is actually so much one can do with it, like in the West." She innovated with a few recipes to come up with `marbled' eggs, where boiled eggs are soaked with a Sri Lankan black tea to give a `streaked', aromatic result. "I did a delicious tea poha and tea upma, where green tea water is added in the cooking process to give a subtle flavour. I even added it to savoury sauces for pizzas and pastas."

She also used fermented green tea on a Burmese salad and came up with an aromatic `tea firni" where a black Darjeeling tea infusion is added to the thickened milk and a few leaves are used as garnish." What's the key to using tea in food? "For one, ensure the leaves are of a good quality . Also, stick to the quantity and brewing times as anything overdone will lead to a sharp taste," she informs.

HOW ABOUT MASALA CHAI ICE CREAM AND TEA CAKES?

The savoury apart, tea also makes fantastic pairing with dessert! Food expert Zorawar Kalra has come up with a `chai ice cream' that he says is, "An Indian chai blend with home-made ice cream and a masala foam, served in a cutting glass, with dalchini cookies on the side." Tea's flavour and aroma also make it apt to bake with. City dessert maker Ayushi Shah has conjured up a few tea-infused desserts like a masala chai cake, Earl Grey scented chocolate ganache and green teapoppy cookies.

PARTY MENU IDEA: FRUITBASED TEAS

HOT APPLE TEA

This one can be quite a warmer, so it's apt for the upcoming winter. To make it, you brew the tea normally, then add the juice of fresh apples (or use tinned juice) to it. Add a pinch of nutmeg, a small cinnamon stick and two teaspoons of honey and boil this for about five minutes. Strain and enjoy.

STRAWBERRY INFUSION

This chilled tea with pieces of strawberry and mint leaves can be very refreshing. The process is sim ple, you boil water and add strawberries and mint to it and let it simmer for a few minutes. Now, add the tea bag for a minute. Remove and once cool, place it in the refrigerator.

INTERESTING TEAS ACROSS THE GLOBE

RUSSIA: FROM A SAMOVAR

In Russia, tea is traditionally prepared in a 'samovar' (large metal urn) with the zavarka (concentrated black tea) and kipyatok (hot water).Sometimes, three teapots are placed on top of each other (the smallest on top has mint tea, the middle has black tea and the bottom one holds the hot water). These are combined and diluted with the hot water as per preference. The tea is poured into a podstakanniki or a glass with a silver holder.

TURKEY: BLACK AND STRONG

A folk saying from Turkey goes, `Caysiz sohbet, aysiz gok yuzu gibidir' (conversations sans tea are like the night sky without the moon). Tea here is had black without milk, and often served with baklava and halva.

MOROCCO: WITH MINT

Also called Tuareg Tea, a glass of Moroccan tea with fresh mint, is part of social gatherings and had all day long! Best sweetened with honey, the tea is to be relished unhurriedly. It is calming and relieves indigestion and congestion.

JAPAN: OCHA WITH SUSHI

In Japan, green tea (ocha) is served with sushi. Green tea is also the main element of the traditional tea ceremony.

SAUDI ARABIA: TEA WITH DATES

In Saudi Arabia, chai or tea is a strong blend (had black), often spiced with cardamom and saffron or mint leaves and some sugar. Guests are usually served hot cups of black tea with dates as a sign of cordiality.

VISUAL DRAMA: BLOOMING TEA

In blooming tea (an artisan tea), green tea leaves are sewed around a flower bud."Once placed in a large kettle or glass and the water infuses it, the drama begins," says tea stylist Radhika Batra Shah.

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