Shutterbug's Blog

Living with Multiple Myeloma in Hyderabad , India . Random musings .


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Lock-Down Dairies – 25 May 2020 : My video on Seasoning Soapstone Cookware on Youtube.

Spent the whole day editing a video that I made on how to season a Soapstone Utensil.

Here is the link to the video –

This is a very ancient cookware that was used by several civilisations all over the world since thousands of years.

It is carved out of Soapstone by hand, Supposed to be soft and porous.

Cooking in this cookware has several benefits –

  • The material is mostly inert and hence does not impart any flavour to the recipe.
  • Food cooked in this Utensil stays hot for almost 3-4 hours.
  • Contains essential nutrients like magnesium and calcium which leaches into the food.
  • It is long lasting if handled well and can be passed on to several generations.
  • Any type of food can be cooked in this utensil. Both vegetarian and non-vegetarian recipes can be cooked. Deep frying is not advised.
  • Food cooks evenly in the container.
  • Does not react with acidic foods.

I enjoyed the whole process of seasoning this Utensil which took 13 days to complete. This process hardens the stone and makes it long lasting.

I also prepared my first dish in this utensil yesterday , called ‘Mukkala Pulusu’ which is a famous recipe in Andhra Pradesh. It was definitely tastier than the dish that i used to cook in a steel utensil 🙂

However, the one I bought was of medium size which is small when I want to cook for more than 4 persons. I will be buying a bigger one soon.

Love this creation.

These can be bought online from various online stores.

You can find dosa pans, paniyaram pans, kadai , lamps , mortar and pestle (small) etc. The most popular model in which any kind of gravy recipe can be cooked is called ‘Kalchatti in Tamil or Rathi Chippa / Rachippa in Telugu).

Usually found in the southern states in India.

It is surely making a comeback .

Can be used on Gas stove , Oven and wood fire too.


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Heal yourself.

Of late I have been watching a lot of videos by Anita Moorjani.

Currently watching videos of Louise Hay. Louise Hay says that feelings of Resentment , Guilt, Fear and Criticism cause disease and by certain affirmations of gratitude and love, one can get rid of these feelings, thereby getting healed.

Both Louise and Anita emphasise on loving ourselves and give lots of practical tips on how to actually love ourselves , something that most do not know and are not even aware of the importance of self love. Self love is not the same as vanity or narcissistic.

I have been watching their videos repeatedly and every time there is something new in their talks that makes sense to me and is more acceptable.

I am also enjoying the meditation videos by Louise Hay.

Louise and Anita are a boon to humanity. Both of them beat Cancer and are doing great service by sharing their healing experiences and methods with all.

Apart from all the medications one takes to heal the body, it is equally important to have a healthy mind which in turns helps in healing. Strongly advise everyone to read their books and watch their videos.

I recently came across a practice of ‘Chanting’ . A particular branch of Buddhism has popularized chanting ‘Nam Myoho Range Kyo’. A colleague introduced this to me. The mantra is the essence of Buddhism which says that every individual has the ability to overcome any suffering , any situation. By chanting this mantra , one’s faith increases. Simultaneously the universe also aligns with our efforts, thereby one can achieve their goals.

I also came across a video about ‘Grounding’. A new concept which requires an individual to sit and place their bare feet on the ground, preferably surrounded by nature , for maybe 10 or 15 minutes or more. Then imagine roots growing from the bottom of the feet and going deep into the earth. The imaginary roots then help in absorbing the energy from the earth and into the body. This process helps in calming the mind, relieving stress and in centering the mind.

Anything and everything to stay heal yourself and stay healthy 🙂


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What is Intuition , why to develop Intuition and how to develop Intuition

intuition

Of late , I have been listening to talks by Anita Moorjani on YouTube and I came across a few of her videos where she talks about ‘Intuition’ and how to develop Intuition. She also talks about how we are actually Six Sensory beings.

Anita had completely recovered from End stage Cancer after a Near Death Experience. Her talks are very inspiring and help people introspect and change their way of thinking and living a beautiful life which helps in healing. Her talks are all about her realizations during the NDE.

Most of us have heard the word ‘Intuition’ but dismiss it almost immediately. It is usually understood as something similar to Sixth Sense. But, how many of us even pause to think and ponder over this phenomenon. We are too busy to stop and give it a thought . At least I never bothered to give it a thought.

We usually take a decision after a lot of analysis and reasoning. The decisions are influenced by the rules and regulations imposed by the society , the culture , religion etc. The decision also depends on our past experiences.We don’t listen to what our innermost thoughts are actually telling us, our gut feeling is ignored and we sacrifice our wants/desires for the external environment that we are living in.This results in ill health, poor decisions and bad relationships with people. Anita says that one has to follow the gut feeling, the instinct , to be spontaneous ,which is the Intuition. We are too bogged down to even realize that we are not being our natural selves. The result is that we resist our innermost feelings which implies we do not love ourselves as much as we should be , rather we always end up giving and not knowing how to receive.

Here is what Anita has to say about how Intuition is REAL and how one can develop it so we can live a better life.When we trust our Intuition , we trust in ourselves. When we follow our Intuition we love ourselves more , which is an important aspect in healing. Only when we love ourselves we can give to the society.

So here are the steps given by Anita Moorjani to recognize and develop our Intuition :

1.Read/listen about stories/articles/videos on Intuition.

2.Observe what increases your energy and Journal. Monitor your energy levels when you are with different people, places, situations and journal the observations. eg talking to certain people increases our Energy . Being in certain places makes us happy , hobbies like reading , gardening etc are very relaxing to the mind

3.Do more of the things that raise your energy levels eg being in nature, watching certain programs on TV, being with kids , being with family, meditation , pursue a hobby. Spend more time with people you actually enjoy being with and go to places that envigorate you. Certain tasks like Cooking energizes a few people . Do more of whatever you are passionate about .

4.Listen to messages/thoughts while in the shower, dreams, in a certain room, place , while doing routine tasks etc. Journal these messages. Follow them and note whether they had come out well. Notice your gut feeling and follow . Listen to the quiet voice within.

5. Visualize what you want . Visualize yourself completely well.Most importantly visualize what would you do with the rest of the life and what would you stop doing during the rest of your life and start following and live whatever you are visualizing. Your imagination sets the tone for what the future will be . eg health, relationships , finance etc. Also visualize uplifting others energy eg those who are in trouble.

Visualize you are interconnected with everyone and everything around…people, trees, animals , the earth… like a gaint web.. imagine a web with everyone and everything connected…put out Joy and trust into the web ..this expands the energy..love yourself

Intuition gives us solutions and makes us feel safe rather than live a fearful life.

I have just begun observing my gut feelings and started to follow them. It does feel good when I follow my gut feelings rather than what my mind is saying . I have started observing that I do get solutions in the shower :)….something that was always happening but realized only now that this is what is called Intuition 🙂

The reason for writing this post is to help me develop my Intuition and also help others to be themselves rather than be influenced by the environment , thereby living a happy , healthy and productive life.

The more we learn to be in the Intuitive state the more creative , innovative , happy and healthy one can be. Using Intuition one can draw more positive situations and opportunities. Intuitive people are better decision makers too.

Here are a few quotes on Intuition by a few popular personalities:-

Intuition is whisper of the Soul – Jiddu Krishnamurty

“It is through science that we prove, but through intuition that we discover.” -Henri Poincare

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” – Steve Jobs

“The only real valuable thing is intuition.” – Albert Einstein

“I rely far more on Gut instinct than researching on huge amounts of statistics” – Richard Branson


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The Millet Man ! Positive grains and Healing

Been watching a lot of videos on YouTube during the last couple of months.

One speaker that I am watching on You Tube these days is Dr Khadar Valli. He is passionate about making people healthy and free from all diseases that are being caused by wrong food habits and lifestyle. His talks are highly convincing and is very popular on You Tube. He has been travelling to various towns and cities in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh to share his knowledge. Has been researching on the health benefits of Millets since last 15 years . He gives several tips on treating diseases by eating the right foods especially Millets. Not just Millets , his speeches are about the right way of living , be it exercise/walking , tips to clean fruits and vegetables that are full of pesticides, drinking water from copper vessels, using cold pressed oils etc sprinkled with lots of simple natural treatments for minor ailments .

Surely appears to be an Angel on Earth who has come to prevent/treat/relieve us from several ailments.

I have been incorporating Millets in my Diet since last one month. I was already incorporating Foxtail Millets since last one year and now started including other Millets like Foxtail millet , Kodo Millet, BarnYard Millet, Browntop Millet and Little Millet. I now include Millets in two of my meals each day.

Quite happy/comfortable eating Dosas, Uthappams , Idlis , Pongal , Vegetable Kichdi , Payasam , Pulihora with Lemon or Amla , Millet Rice etc made with the 5 types of Millets. Millet Rice can be eaten with the regular curries. All these dishes are usually prepared with Rice and are equally tasty when prepared with Millets .

Dr Khader Valli has been popularizing 5 types of Millets namely Kodo, Little, Barnyard , Proso , Foxtail. He has named them ‘Siridhanyalu’.

He has categorised various grains based on their effect on the body :

Wheat and Rice : -ve grains – Can harm the body

Jowar/Sorghum, Finger Millet/Ragi and Bajra : Neutral grains – Neither heal nor harm the body.

Kodo , Barnyard, Little , Browntop , Foxtail Millet’s : +ve grains – Heal the body

Dr Khader Valli is confident that lifestyle diseases like Diabetes , Heart problems and even Cancer can be prevented/treated by consuming Millet’s. They are rich in Soluble and insoluble fiber, Gluten free , rich in nutrients , are usually Organic and alkaline in nature.

Dr Khader Valli has become very popular and currently there is a lot of demand for Millets. Got to see how the Supply/Demand of Millets wavers. The prices of Millets has been steadily increasing. Hope the production too increases.


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The Mask

mask cartoon

Nothing shady about the title 🙂 . Nothing to hide 🙂

Am sure I reminded you of ‘The Mask’ and Jim Carrey 🙂

This post is all about how the ‘Mask’ has become one of the most important accessories  during the last 9 months.

My ‘Mask’ is now a constant companion from the moment I step out of the house.

Having struggled with frequent Sore throat problems and dust allergies followed by Antibiotics all these years, I wanted to check if  a Mask would help me stay away from these issues. I invariably end up with a Sore throat if I inhale any kind of dust .

Before I went ahead and bought a mask, I did some research on the internet on the varieties of masks that are available.

Long ago I had read about how an N95 mask can protect the wearer from viruses .

I also learnt the difference between a Respirator and a Surgical Mask.

A Respirator protects the wearer from the environment. Learnt that the N95 Mask is a Respirator.

A Surgical Mask protects the Environment from the wearer of the Mask, so that the wearer of the mask doesn’t transfer any unwanted viruses/bacteria to others.

Bought one N95 Mask that appeared simple , lightweight and comfortable to wear and not too expensive , on Amazon. There are several varieties that one can easily buy online.

Unfortunately I was unable to wear this beyond 5 minutes. Felt suffocated and it was too tight on my face.

simple respirator

The above image is a simple N95 Respirator that I tried.

With the bad experience of wearing an N95 mask , I wanted to try the surgical Mask . If a Surgical Mask can stop letting viruses go out while we breathe/talk then obviously it can stop viruses from getting in too 🙂 . With this conclusion I bought a few normal surgical masks. These are very light and so comfortable to wear. Hardly any suffocation. I liked wearing these even if it meant that I appeared like hospital staff who forgot to remove the mask after leaving the Hospital 🙂

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I now keep a bunch of these in the car seat back pocket.

I began using these when visiting public places like Supermarkets, farmers markets, Malls and Movie theatres . Initially I did feel a little awkward and tried covering my Masked face with my Dupatta/chunni.

A Dupatta/Chunni is like a long scarf worn over the shoulders.

Very soon I felt the Dupatta was restricting my head/facial movements. Stopped using the Dupatta and felt relieved and free. It is not my problem if people are uncomfortable looking at my masked face 🙂 🙂

There are times when I travel through dusty roads and in spite of sitting in a car I felt I should be using a Mask . All the vehicular pollution was making me depressed. I was sure that some of the polluted air was entering the car too. I didn’t want to take any risk of being exposed to any kind of dust.

Very soon I was wearing the Mask everyday on my way to work and back home even while seated in the car :).

I soon started noticing the benefits of wearing a Mask. I haven’t experienced a Sore Throat and Bronchitis issues ever since. It’s been 8 months since I started using a Mask.

I always carry a few Masks in my handbag too. These are disposable Masks which I discard every 2-3 days. Initially I was buying Masks in 10s from the local Pharmacy. Very soon I bought a big box of Disposable ones online and now I don’t have to worry about running out of them. They are very affordable and effective.

I wish more and more people begin using these Masks thereby protecting themselves and also  not transmitting viruses to the environment and those around us.

A lot of men and women in all the cities in India are using Handkerchiefs , Dupattas/ Chunnis to protect themselves from pollution. I sincerely wish that those to see me will be inspired to use these disposable masks  🙂


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My new possessions : Traditional Indian cookware

Time to display a few cute things from my kitchen…..my new Possessions….I find them cute and beautiful … these are the Traditional Indian Cookware that I have been collecting since a year .

After a lot of googling on the Internet as to why to use Traditional cookware , where to buy, what to look for and how to use them , I finally decided to buy some stuff and experiment. I bought a few online . I purchased one from a local Organic Market and also bought another one from a local potter too. The micro nutrients from the materials used in making these cookware, make the food tasty and these nutrients are also required for a healthy body. Food gets cooked faster in these cookware.

Here they are:

My Cast Iron cuties :

Appa Chatti This is the cutest one. Quite heavy .

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This one is actually used for making Appams but I cook everything except Appams in this :). I use it to cook a small quantity of veggies for making chutneys (roti pachchadi). It also comes in very handy for preparing Tadka . I stir fry some soaked beans/lentils for a quick evening snack. I sometimes use it for making a small quantity of Aloo fry , Okra fry brinjal fry  etc as the size is small.

Dosa Pan Love the pan . It now has a smooth finish just like a non-stick pan. Requires very less oil for making dosas. Dosas cook quite fast and are tasty too compared to those cooked in a non stick pan.

Skillet This one is also equally heavy  .

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Am yet to start using this one. I see myself preparing curries , vegetable fries and maybe chicken fry too. This is being seasoned right now.

All of these are very heavy and have to be handled like lil babies, so as not to drop them on the floor or on your feet 🙂 . Cast iron products are brittle and can break if dropped on hard surfaces and in turn break your floor too and also the bones in your feet :). Got to be very careful.

Clayware :

Clay Pot : I have been cooking almost everyday in this pot, on a gas stove top.

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Usually , in rural India , these pots are used for cooking using firewood as fuel. After reading several reviews about using them on a Gas stove top , I went ahead and bought this one at an Organic Farmers market in the City. Very useful for cooking Dals ,Sambhar and Pulusu. 

Kadai : Once I started using the Clay pot and got the confidence I started eyeing one potter by the road side, close to my place of work. This woman had a variety of clay utensils. Water Jugs , Curd pots, Pots for curries in different sizes,  a flat thick  pan with holes for making Phulkas , kadais . I bought this Kadai.

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A kadai is much deeper than the Appa chatti . I have been cooking all varieties of  vegetable fries using this.

This type of Clayware is very light in weight and have to be handled carefully. They will break into pieces if dropped on a hard floor.

Stoneware: 

Kal chatti : 

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This is my latest possession. In the process of seasoning.

I have started bragging about my possessions and experiments with recipes to my family , friends and colleagues.

Cooking using Non-stickware , Ceramic ware,  Stainless Steel or Aluminium is no big deal. But when it comes to using traditional cookware one should first appreciate the benefits of cooking in these types of cookware and fall in love with them 🙂 . Next step is to learn how to season these types of cookware . Once the pots and pans are seasoned ,you are ready to start cooking . This is not the end of the story 🙂 . One should also know how to clean and store them so they last long and are ready for the next recipe. The only downside is that these have to be handled carefully.

I bought the appa chatti , the skillet and Kal chatti  online from villagefair.com and peacockcolours.com .

Go ahead and revive the traditional way of cooking. Eat tasty food and also stay healthy.

Happy cooking !!

 


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Raw Turmeric Vs Turmeric powder

I am in love with Turmeric, the Golden spice. A lot of research has been done on the health benefits of Turmeric and a lot of people the world over are experiencing positive results.

My being alive on this planet is primarily due to Turmeric.

Turmeric is widely being used to treat several illnesses from minor to major chronic illnesses of the body and the mind. There is a lot of information on the Internet.

Everyone is aware that prevention is better than cure but how many actually take the effort to be healthy.  We don’t even know what to do to prevent illnesses. With the kind of diet and pollution levels ,most people should be worried about ending up with some kind of illness, but are clueless as to how to prevent.

By consuming Turmeric we can greatly reduce and even delay the probability of occurrence of illnesses.

Almost all Indians consume Turmeric via their food . Turmeric powder is one of the key ingredients in most Indian recipes. However , the quantity and quality of the Turmeric powder that is used should be increased so as to get the maximum benefit.

Turmeric can be used in the form of a powder or as raw turmeric. It is preferable to use Raw Turmeric .

The store bought powders may be adulterated. It is best to prepare the powder at home using dried Turmeric root. First crush the root into smaller pieces and then grind it in your mixer grinder.

It is best if you can get hold of raw Turmeric root. You can also grow it in your garden.

Here is a link that tells you why –

https://www.turmericforhealth.com/turmeric-queries/7-reasons-why-raw-turmeric-maybe-better-than-powder#rawturmeric

This website has a lot of information on the health benefits of Turmeric.

Hope you too will benefit from this Golden spice.