How Digitalization is Reshaping Healthcare Delivery System in India!

The digital healthcare in India is on the cusp of a revolution. The country booming with population faces some unique challenges. The paradox is that while almost 70% of the population live in the villages, India has 80% of its healthcare infrastructure in the cities. Moreover, city-bred doctors do not relocate to rural areas, and young professionals from villages who become doctors move to the cities for better opportunities. This vast gap can only be cemented with new technologies reaching the grass-root levels. This is only possible by digitalizing the entire healthcare delivery system. Healthcare is transforming the whole ecosystem from ‘paper-based system’ to ‘electronic health record systems’. This new digital infrastructure will ensure more efficient service delivery.

Benefits of digitalization

The chances of human errors on medical records of the patients can be reduced with a centralized database containing all aspects of patients’ health. In fact, the Government of India has taken an ambitious initiative of digitalization in healthcare by introducing eHealth, which is a part of Digital India program. eHealth is the enterprise of Healthcare that promises to increase efficiency in health care, thereby decreasing costs.  This portal also covers other activities including case studies, research papers, policy briefs, articles, executive interviews, industry trends and market update.

Digitalisation can not only create new care models but also can create better patient engagement and clinical efficiency. It can provide a solution by leveraging technologies like analytics, cloud, social, mobile and the internet of things (IoT).

Tele-medicine, Remote ICU, and big data-like advanced technologies are being leveraged to find solutions that can change the way health care is delivered in the country. With concepts like ePharmacy, eDiagnostics, eInsurance, eReferrals, digitalization will certainly foster a robust ecosystem. Truly, digitalizing is reshaping the healthcare delivery system in India towards greater accessibility.

More on the Current Scenario In India  

Headlines in Economic Times, a leading daily read, “Digital healthcare in India – on the cusp of a revolution”

Venkatadri Bobba, General Partner of Ventureast (also the writer of the report) commented,

“The Indian Healthcare market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 23% to USD 280bn by 2020 from USD 100bn in 2015. This growth is being driven by lifestyle diseases, an aging population, rising income levels, increasing access to insurance and growing health awareness. This rapidly increasing need and demand for healthcare services puts immense pressure on various stakeholders to efficiently manage the scarce human resources and inadequate infrastructure while controlling the increasing cost burden on consumers and simultaneously providing better quality care and increased accessibility.”

Experts have seconded this growth analysis.

Of course, there are challenges, but also many opportunities, in the age of smartphones. With its teeming population of over 600 million young people, it is very important to be part of this global digital push. There is enormous potential to improve many aspects of health and social care with digitalization.

Shibasish Pramanik, Associate Director- Healthcare, PwC India asserts,  “Technology has extensively and intensely impacted healthcare today and is already shaping how it will look in the future. Creating awareness and developing incentives for the use of technology is key to ensuring the investment in technology yields higher returns”.

Tools of Digital India

Smartphones have become the biggest tool for the global digital push. Traditional challenges can be appropriately addressed by introducing innovative technologies and streamlining the processes. Industry experts can revolutionize the entire healthcare ecosystem by outreaching the market to share the concepts and ideas.

Technology is creating bridges for different aspects of healthcare as tablets and iPads are being used to access patients’ records. Smartphones have opened the gates for doctors and patients to connect virtually and collaborate in real time.

Many online portals allow individuals to take advice online or consult doctors round-the-clock over the phone and through HD video consultation if they have an urgent health concern that requires immediate consultation.

DawaiBox is one such app that helps to digitally store an individual’s/family’s complete health records right from prescriptions to report. The platform provides services to save a patient’s medical records in a digital format online which makes them easily accessible anytime from anywhere. By making records of the dates, one can never miss the date for vaccination for their kids and gets the reminders as well telephonically. It also makes it easy for an individual’s physician to access the prescription even if the patient is traveling.  


DawaiBox- Your Health Manager

 

 


Telemedicine is another marvelous invention that has opened new avenues for rural healthcare. It is being used to expand the reach to rural communities. It has considerably reduced consultation time by cutting wait times through optimal utilization of physicians and by avoiding the requirement to travel to a hospital.  

An interesting example is that of market leader Sharda Hospital. The hospital provides telemedicine through the transfer of medical information, medical transcription in all forms of audios, videos, motion pictures, still, images, graphics, CDs, emails, Internet are other forms of electronic methods.

Similarly, another portal allows patients to connect with doctors using mobile devices and video chat. In both rural and urban areas, Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) can digitalize patient’s information coming from various sources at one place. The enables the doctor to make an accurate prognosis faster.

Cloud umbrella is another buzzword as well. About 90% of the caregivers are now storing all their patient records in digital format and then moving them to the cloud. This ensures complete access to the entire information at one point itself.

Big Data and predictive algorithms are being increasingly applied to diagnose patients more accurately by relying on analytics-based solutions for more rapid and accurate detection, diagnosis, and treatment.

Conclusion   

Healthcare fraternity can reap huge benefits by taking advantage of the healthcare policy environment mushrooming through the internet. While focusing on the capacity creation and hard infrastructure development for reducing the imbalances, the need of the hour is a ‘digital explosion’ moment in Indian healthcare. New technologies and innovations need to be optimally harnessed to provide quality health care for over a billion Indians.

The ambition of Digital India is to offer healthcare access to every Indian. There should be no need to travel beyond 100km, by the year 2030. India stands at the crossroads where it can offer its technology and manpower to build Global Telemedicine companies that would solve the healthcare problems for both the developed and emerging worlds.

“The investment in healthcare and technology should reap the digital dividend for all Indians.” – Business Line

Breastfeeding Tutorials Every New and Expectant Mother Must Watch!

As world breastfeeding week (First week of August) comes to an end, we have seen endless articles and advertisements endorsing breastfeeding. They all tell us that breastfeeding is important. And Breastfeeding IS IMPORTANT indeed. It-

  • nourishes the baby
  • gives the baby the strength to fight illnesses by providing antibodies
  • lowers baby’s risk of developing asthma, allergies and respiratory issues later in the life
  • uterus shrinking and weight loss in mother
  • helps strengthen the infant-mother bond

However many a time there are hurdles a new mother faces while breastfeeding. Hurdles like-

  • Not producing enough milk
  • Baby not able to latch to the breast correctly
  • Cracked Nipples
  • Clogged Ducts etc.

Read more on this,

Simple Solution for All Your Lactation Problems!

Traditionally in India, a new mother gets a lot of support from her mother/mother in law and sometimes also the midwife. But in this day and age when most women are away from the family and away from the much-needed support. There are multiple resources available to guide them. One such great resource is Spoken Tutorials on Breastfeeding and Child Nutrition by IIT, Bombay.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0WD-ENzvIc

These tutorials are very informative, full of easy and practical guidelines and most importantly, are available in multiple languages (Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Konkani, Tamil, and English). Make sure to check rest of the breastfeeding tutorials on-

https://spoken-tutorial.org/series

OR

https://www.youtube.com/user/SpokenTutorialIITB

Hope this helps. Happy Breastfeeding 🙂

-Soniya.

 

PS/Disclaimer: This article is not sponsored by IIT Bombay or GOI. The writer (me!) is sharing the information purely in the interest of public health 😉

Slimming and Anti-ageing, Are Red Chillies Really A Super Spice?

Fell in love as soon as I laid my eyes on them! They were homegrown, they were freshly plump and their bright red color was singing a siren song to me…

Just look at ’em! Gorgeous!

Some Peppery Trivia-

Have you ever felt so strongly about any food or ingredient before? Ever seen a bhaji and had this strong impulse of wanting to cook and eat it right away? I did once, this one time back in Lubbock when I stumbled upon Dodka (Ridge Gourd) at a Chinese store of all places! Got emotional back then, might have even shed a tear or two (I kid you not)…

Well, back to the present!

Did you know that red chilies, green chilies, yellow and even white are not the different varieties but just different stages a chili pepper goes through if allowed to ripen fully! Means if a green chili is not plucked, it will ripen on the plant. In the process, chlorophyll (green pigment) will be replaced by carotenoids (yellow-red pigments) and the green chilly will first turn yellow and eventually red.

Kyonki red chili bhi kabhi green chili thi… 😛

Same goes for the bell peppers. Those expensive red ones were green to begin with, they just stayed on the plant a little longer and ripened to that bright yellow/red hue! They take a longer time to harvest…

Now can you tell why yellow and red bell peppers are more expensive?


Know More on how chilies conquered the world… Read,

…one was born in the Americas, traveled east…She came, she saw and she conquered over rest of the Indian spices… so much so that India is now the biggest producer and also the biggest consumer of Chili Peppers in the world! Whilst her distant Indian cousin has already crossed over the seven oceans and won over western hemisphere a long time ago. Did you know that United States of America is the biggest consumer of Black Peppers today (can you imagine mashed potatoes or Mac N Cheese without a dash of pepper?!)


Accusations against Chili Peppers-

Chilies, CAUSE gastric ulcers!

No, they certainly DO NOT!

“Gastric issues? stop eating spicy foods”! Don’t you hear that a lot? But what if I told you that it is far from the truth! This belief that spices (note, here we are talking about pure spices, not spicy food ladened with fats and salt too!) are the cause of gastric issues is a convenient misinformation. Facts are-

Capsaicin (an active ingredient in chilies) is an irritant and in the theory, upon ingestion, it can irritate the stomach

But in reality, inside of stomach wall has this thin layer of mucus that acts as a protective barrier between the stomach and any acids, irritants, and bacteria it may come in contact with! (did you know: without the protective mucus barrier, the stomach will be burned by its own the stomach acid!)

Bacterial infections, notably Helicobacter Pylori, causes disintegration of the mucosal layer. Now in the absence of the protective layer, from spices to coffee and from acidic foods to stomach acid, everything irritates it and eventually causes stomach ulcers.

So, in a nutshell, the belief that long-term consumption of chilies and spices will erode the stomach wall and cause ulcers (and possibly also cancer) is not just false but also the exact opposite of the reality.

Proven Health Effects of Chilies-

  • protects the heart (anti-atherosclerotic) [1]
  • longevity/reduced mortality [2] [3]
  • Antidiabetic [4]
  • Boosts metabolism and aids with weight loss [4]
  • Anticancer [5]
  • Painkiller

What can we attribute these amazing health benefits to?

Capsaicin: is a colorless, odorless, hydrophobic (can not dissolve in water) phytochemical present in chilies. It is present in all chilies and pepper members of Capsicum family, but in a variable amount. It plays a part in the plant’s defense mechanism by deterring herbivores (guess deers and rabbits are not that into hot chilies ha!)

Capsaicin is widely used as an analgesic (painkiller) and is a part of pain ointments and pain patches prescribed in Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, Muscle ache etc. It is Capsaicin indeed that is responsible for metabolism enhancing and also thermogenic effects of red chilies.

Medical Trivia: Did you know that a new weight loss and antiobesity drug “Metabocin” is made of nothing but just pure and concentrated Capsaicin!

 

Carotenoids: These are the pigments that give ripened peppers their signature yellow-orange-red color. These are antioxidant in nature. Carotenoids present in red chilies are Capsanthin, β-carotene, Lutein,  Zeaxanthin etc.

Well well well, now that you have learned a bit about the health benefits of red chilies, don’t you want to know what I did with my chilies?

 

Presenting, Mirchicha Thecha/ Kharda [Recipe]

Ingredients:

Chilies (Red/Green)

Garlic (6-7 cloves)

Salt (per taste)

Cooking Oil/ Ghee (1 tablespoon)

Coriander

 

Procedure:

In a heavy bottom (preferably iron) skillet put the oil and chilies. Fry the chilies well on a medium flame. How to know if the chilies are well done? Stop cooking when most all chilies get black dots on them.

Now you can either use a traditional mortar and pestle to stone grind all roasted chilies, salt, garlic, and coriander or even a regular grinder will do. Grind everything together coarsely (do not make a paste).

And your red, hot kharda is ready!

Bonus tip: Given is my dad’s recipe. My mother in law likes to add caramelized (sauteed) onions in it, we tried this twist and the result was mouthwatering!

So next time, don’t pass those red-hot delicious chilies due to some unfounded fear : P


Note: People experiencing gastrointestinal ulcers, people with severe acidity problems should avoid chili peppers till their condition is cured and symptoms are subdued.

Bonus trivia: Did you know that capsaicin is also the reason why we feel hot when we eat chilies? Capsaicin binds to the receptor responsible for pain and heat sensation (TRPV1) and fools brain into feeling that hot-burning sensation!

Simple Solution for All Your Lactation Problems!

After all the terror in the labor room, the second terror in every mothers thought process is LACTATION. Every mother faces some or the other challenges during this phase of life and feels helpless if she doesn’t have any experience.
So what do you do in such a case?
Here are some quick fixes for the common breastfeeding problems-

Latching issues
Since it’s new to both the mother and the baby, for the initial few hours or even days you may have to express milk in a cup or syringe until the baby finds the right way to suck milk.

Solution –
• The best way to deal is “SKIN TO SKIN”, try to expose your upper half and baby’s upper half with the minimal clothing and get yourself comfortable in a reclining position by resting your baby on the chest.
• Check if baby’s mouth covers a larger area of the aerola below the nipple than above.
• To confirm if the baby has latched properly check the position of his chin and nose, it should ideally touch the breast, mouth wide open, no pain, while he sucks, will assure you that things are in the right direction.

Cracked nipples
There can be multiple reasons for cracked nipples but the most common is improper latching of the baby, dry skin, improper pumping can also lead to latching issues.

Solution –
• Check the latching solutions first and make sure the baby is in the right position.
• Try to start feeding with the breast that’s least affected.
• Avoid cleaning with soaps, alcohol-based cleaning agents, lotions etc. Instead, clean it with normal fresh water. You can even try letting some milk be there on the areola and allow it to air dry as that can help your cracked nipples heal.
• If the above tips don’t help there could be a problem with baby’s mouth anatomy, i.e – he may have a tight frenulum that is restricting the movement of his tongue and restricting the latch.
• Or it can be possible that you are suffering from an underlying infection on your nipple which needs a treatment.

Clogged Ducts
This happens when the milk production in the breast area does not drain off properly. This happens when breastfeeding is not done at right intervals or if the baby has a poor sucking reflex. Another reason can be because of pressure created by wearing a tight bra.

Solution-
• Frequent feeding from the affected breast can help. If possible place the kid in such a way that his chin point towards the lump.
• Gently massage the area in the direction of the nipples.
• If the production is excess make sure that you express the remaining milk to avoid lumps.

Excess Milk Supply
Excess milk flow makes latching difficult for the baby. Your breast may feel very hard, tight and painful. This happens more frequently during initial days when the body is getting used to the baby’s requirement for milk or when the baby is older and not feeding frequently.
If there is excess flow for a long time, it can cause milk duct block. In such situations, you may find a tender lump in your breast.

Solution –
• Try to express milk by hand pressing, this will soften the breast and make latching easier.
• Make sure that you feed your child at right intervals.

Mastitis
It is a bacterial infection which may show symptoms like fever and extreme pain in your breast. It happens mainly because of cracked skin, clogged milk ducts or engorgement of the breast.

Solution –
• Antibiotics are the primary way of dealing with these infections.
• Hot compression and emptying of the breast can also help to improve the situation.
The important part is that even in that condition you can continue to breastfeed your baby.

Thrush

This too is an infection but it is caused because of yeast; this can even spread to your breast. It can lead to soreness, rashes, and itching.
Solution-
Antifungal medicine will work the best, you have to apply it on your nipple and baby’s mouth too.

Low milk flow
You may feel that the supply is less in the initial days but once you start feeding the child regularly will stimulate the production of milk.

Solution –
• Start having foods which will help you increase your milk production, “galactagogues” which are called. Few of them for your reference – Fenugreeks leaves, garlic, ginger, ragi, garden cress seeds, spinach, nuts, fish, oilseeds.
• Increase the frequency of feeds
• Alternate between breast
• Have more fluids.
• Remain stress-free.

Baby sleeps while taking feeds
Baby is sleepy in the initial months as there are a lot of changes happening around him and falling asleep is very common. Baby will start staying awake once it grows up a little.

Solution-
• Start feeding the child from the fuller breast and switch the breast sooner rather than doing it at the end.
• If the baby is sucking slowly remove him from feeds and stimulate him to burp, to add some fun you can even tickle his feet or rub his back.
• Changing the breast can also make a difference.

Inverted/ Flat nipples
You may be wondering how to identify if you have that problem and if that’s the reason to affect your milk flow, isn’t it? Here is a simple method which can help you identify –
Grab your areola using your fingers, preferably your thumb and first finger and check how your nipple reacts. If it retracts instead of protruding out, oops then there is some problem which can lead to difficulties with feeding.

Solution-
• Try using nipple shields if there are latching problems
• Use a milk evacuation pump for the initial extraction, you can even use breast shells between the feed.

Don’t forget breast milk is really important for the baby, therefore its important to keep feeding your child, sadly with the difficulties that you’re going through.

HOW TO GET YOUR CHILD LEARN DISCIPLINE!

How many times have you been embarrassed by your kids for throwing tantrums in public?

Gone are the days when kids would sit down for studying out of fear as soon as they saw their dad returning home. No more do today’s mom hit her kids with chappals or belans (a common scenario for the  90’s kids : p ). Generation next parents believe in raising their children in a terror-free and friendly atmosphere, which is absolutely amazing. However,  make sure the liberty you provide is not taken for granted and you know where to draw the line. We are definitely not in the favor of Authoritarian parenting, which involves getting too harsh on kids and making them follow your rules and not considering their viewpoints. But a permissive type of parenting where you are too soft with your kids and let them just be in order to avoid hurting them can make them too stubborn or rebellious or even prone to low self-esteem and depression. While we try to befriend our kids, it’s important to strike the right balance for disciplining them at the same time.

Significance of Discipline

 

It is Important to build discipline in kids from a tender age to help them grow into a better person. Discipline helps the child to imbibe essential moral values from being responsible, making positive choices over negative ones, empathize, help and share with others and most importantly help him/her turn into a better person. One of the common reasons why few parents have been unsuccessful in building discipline is that they have somehow started associating discipline with punishment. Disciplining your child is all about helping them make the right choices from the wrong ones and keeping them safe.

Here is a quick guide to help you out with the same at various stages.

 

*If you are a preggo,  the good news is that you can start imparting moral values to your child as early as in the womb.

Certain researches have proved that babies brain is active, learning and responding to the surrounding atmosphere while in the womb.

 

Between 0-2 Years  of Age

Your little one has just started exploring his world, each behavior of your baby/toddler is a reflection of what he sees around and experiences. They are also at a stage where they are discovering new things every day and are curious about it. At first, I was amazed to see how my toddler quickly developed by saying “NO” too often. Imagine if I keep telling you “don’t do this, don’t go there, you are not supposed to eat this”. Sounds frustrating? Especially when you don’t understand the reasoning behind the “NO” for you while you are so curious to know everything. That’s exactly what happens with toddlers. And that’s where they learn to say “No” as they also want to feel themselves in self-control.

Next time try to give them choices or distract them instead “instead of climbing on those stairs sit on your rocking chair that’s more fun or these baby carrots are yummier than that plastic spoon”. Giving babies and toddlers choices makes them feel their opinions are considered. This kind of attitude will help them in decision making in future too. You can also simply let them explore things as long as they are safe and do not try to bubblewrap them every now and then.

There may be times when Babies and toddlers can get extremely cranky and whining, in such scenarios instead of losing your own cool. Try to calm them down first by paying attention and trying to talk to them. Ask them to stop crying and convey what the matter, they might tell you through their gestures about their demands. Pay attention to the cues, it could be that they are hungry, sleepy or maybe they just need your attention and pampering.Crying/whining/getting cranky are means of expressing their emotions as they have still not fully developed their communication skills, so be patient and try to understand.

What if they are demanding something that’s not appropriate for them, try to explain them in a simple and easy manner or simply distract them. But make sure do not lose your temper or spank them. Spanking kids in this age would mean hurting the child, without the child making a connection as to why he or she is being hit. It also makes them believe that its OK to hit/harm and then don’t be surprised if your child hits you in return.`

 

Between 3-5 Years  of Age

 

This age is about learning mannerism and socializing. Encourage positive attitudes like sharing, table manners etc. Kids are curious to know what if they behaved the other way round. Set rules and stick to its consequences. First, try to communicate, then demonstrate the consequences and stick to it. For eg. If your preschooler broke his toy on purpose, he gets no other toy in the day. If you, however, give in to their pleading and fulfill their demands, they are not going to take you seriously the next time. Hence keep the rule practical and stay consistent.

Also important deal here is to practice what you preach. If you are mostly into your cell phone the maximum time, don’t scold your little one if he/she tries to do the same. Remember kids, especially at this age, tend to mimic their role models(YOU as PARENTS). Also, don’t forget to appreciate their good behavior each time.

*Events that take place between 5-10 years have a great impact on the behavior of the kids.

 

Between 6-8 Years  of Age

 

They are in a much better stage of expressing themselves now. Try imparting discipline and make them self-reliant. Make them do their share of chores, help them balance time for study and play. Let them face the natural consequences of their mistakes. For eg. Your child spent too much time playing, leaving her homework incomplete. Don’t do it on her behalf or make her stay awake at night for completing it. Let her face the low grades or the teacher’s remark. Be there for her, if she gets upset and explains to her how she can avoid such instances in future by managing her time. Kids learn better by facing situations on their own.

 

Between 10-13(Tween) Years  of Age

Daughter ignoring her mother after an argument in the living room at home

Kids are exploring the outside world. Many things may seem new and exciting for them. They would want to spend more time with their friends than being at home with you. Even you need to accept these changes and make a slight shift in your attitude towards them. You have explained to them the rules and consequences, by now they should be able to adhere to it. If still not try talking it out rather than scolding them. Try to be like a buddy to them. They need a little privacy too and may not be always comfortable sharing all their feelings, don’t force them too. You need to, however, keep a watch on their company of friends and their browsing history as well. Sounds contradictory? It’s Alright for your 11-year-old to get knowledge on Sex Education but ensure he is not being exposed to porn sites. You can simply judge if your child is going on the wrong path even from a distance by merely observing his overall attitude. Gestures like avoiding eye contact, using foul languages should be a warning signal. As explained earlier be an observer, try to befriend your child so that he/she is not pressurized to open up with you.

Teenagers

Your child’s transition from tweenage to teenage will further bring on more changes in his/her life from puberty to maturity. Remember since these changes are not just physical but also mental and emotional.Y our kid might display certain unexpected rude and rebellious behavior which might not be in his/her control at times. While you deal with it patiently, do strongly convey the message that it is not an acceptable gesture. A lot of the debates and arguments in this age tends to revolve around freedom, privacy, and privileges. The battle becomes easier if you have already gained your child’s confidence in his tween age and befriended him/her. Try to understand his/her point of view, explain yours and try to find a middle way. Try reducing the generation gap for reducing the conflicts. Teens often tend to make decisions in this age based on their emotions rather than logic. Which may not be always right, let them learn from their experience and if you feel its important for you to intervene and change it, do it a manner your teen would be affected negatively in the least possible way.

 

 

What not to do-Spanking

As common and easy  a tool it may seem, it has a major negative impact on your child’s development

  • Babies and toddlers are just physically hurt  when they are spanked unaware of its intention
  • Spanking creates a fear amongst kids making them prone to hide/lie to parents.
  • Spanking can cause physical damage to kids
  • Spanking can hurt a child’s emotions,  making a child aggressive, anti-social or also cause depression.
  • Spanking teaches children that hurting/harming other’s when angry is FINE

 

 

Always remember imparting discipline does not mean you need to punish your child each time they make a mistake.  How many times have you exclaimed to him”You are a bad boy! “on his mischief? It’s the behavior that is bad not your child.

Next time when your child does something wrong before you get mad at him/her, say this to yourself ”Hate the sin and not the sinner

 

 

All said and done, every child is unique and so are his needs. You are the best person to understand and deal with them.

Estrogen Deficiency: Everything You Need To Know About It!

Mood Swings is the major problem most of us women suffer from. Now there can be many reasons for mood swings like. Menopause, Puberty, Pregnancy, Stress, Side effects of medication, Chemical imbalance or it could just be a natural mood swing which lasts for a shorter time and occurs rarely. But if you have frequent Mood swings it shouldn’t be neglected. Now, Apart from this reason can there be any other reason for mood swings? What do you think is a mood swing an indicator of Low estrogen level? Yes Mood swing is often linked to Low Estrogen Level

 

 

Before we begin let’s know what Estrogen is. We often come across the term “Estrogen”. Most of the women do suffer from estrogen deficiency. But what exactly is Estrogen and why is it significant? Let’s Find Out…

What is Estrogen?

Estrogen, also referred to as “Female Sex Hormone” is produced in the ovaries and plays an important role in the sexual and reproductive development of women. Though it is present both in males and females. In males, it is present in much less concentration than females.

Why is it Essential?

Estrogen is an important hormone as it plays various vital functions in our body. The other functions of estrogen include regulation of menstrual cycle, development of the reproductive system and secondary sexual characteristics. Apart from this it also plays a significant role in the mental health of women. As a study shows low levels of estrogen are linked with mood swings.

Why do women need estrogen?

Plays an important role in:-

Preventing hair from growing on chests
Development of breasts
Ability to conceive a child
To maintain strong bones

ESTROGEN AND BONE HEALTH

Estrogen helps to slow down the breakdown of bones and encourages bone formation. Low estrogen levels will lead to more bone breakdown and not enough bone-building which further leads to weaker and less dense bones.

Pic Credit:- Thereallife-rd.com

Do you know?
Women have less facial hair and smoother skin than men because of estrogen.

How do we come to know if we are suffering from estrogen deficiency? Below are Some Symptoms.

SYMPTOMS

Physical Symptoms
Menstruation cycle is disturbed ( occurs for short time or stops)
Vaginal Dryness or vaginal yeast infections or bladder infections
Breast tenderness
Thinning of Skin
Headaches
Hair loss
Weight gain
Hot flashes
Night Sweats
Thin bones, or osteoporosis, increasing the risk of fractures.

Mental and Emotional Symptoms
Mood Swings
Irritability
Fatigue
Feeling of depression
Difficulty in concentrating

Though we have seen various symptoms of estrogen deficiency lets find out if mood swings are interlinked to estrogen?

Estrogen and Mood Swings

Mood Swings:– Do you ever feel like your mood changes from a perfect, happy person to an irritable one? Suddenly your calm behavior turns out into impatience and your smile turns into anger. The physical symptoms of mood swings include sadness, sudden severe changes in mood, impatience, depression, nervousness, stress, lack of motivation.

Mood swings are attributed to hormone fluctuations which are related to a corresponding imbalance in levels of Serotonin. Serotonin, a neurotransmitter which helps to fight anxiety and depression and assists feelings of happiness and well being. Serotonin function is enhanced by the presence of estrogen. Changes in Serotonin level is related to changes in estrogen levels. Lowered levels of estrogen have the opposite effect on the body causing sadness, mood swings, depression.
Yes, Mood swing is one of the symptoms of low estrogen level.

Now, What can we do to have normal estrogen levels? Are there any foods which can help us? Yes below is the list of few estrogen rich foods

Here are few Estrogen rich foods

Flaxseeds:- Flaxseeds tops the list as it is one of the best sources of Estrogen. Apart from this, they are also a rich source of dietary fiber and omega 3 fatty acids. This little seed helps to feel you full during and after a meal. They are also heart healthy and known to help in lowering cholesterol levels.

How to Use flaxseeds:– Flax seeds can be consumed directly along with a fruit. Also can be taken with yogurt, oatmeal, breakfast cereals. Sprinkled on smoothies and Salads. It can also be used in the preparation of laddos.

Sesame Seeds:– Sesame seeds loaded with fiber and several vitamins and minerals contains phytoestrogen. They also contain lignan, a hormone that helps balances estrogen levels in a woman’s body.

How to Use Sesame seeds:- Sesame seeds can be used in Salads, Soups, and Stir Fried Veggies. It can also be roasted and used in various parathas.

Soy and Soy Products:- Soybeans a complete protein source and also a staple food in many cultures. Soy contains Phytoestrogens called” Isoflavones” that affects the estrogen metabolism. Apart from this Soy milk, Soy Yogurt and Tofu( which is also made from Soy) also contain good amount from phytoestrogen.

How to Use Soy and Soy Products:
Soybeans:- Roasted Soy can be used as a Snack ..Soybean Frankies and Pulaos can also be made.

Soy Milk:– It’s easily available. Can be consumed directly and also we can add to our regular breakfast cereals.

Soy Yogurt:– It can simply be taken in yogurt form. Fruit and nuts can be added to Soy Yogurt.

Tofu:- It can be used in Soups, Salads. Tofu Frankies can also be made. It can also be stir-fried along with veggies.

Alfalfa Sprouts:– Alfalfa is a great vegetable to have during Spring months. It helps to lower down cholesterol levels. Also, it is low in calories and carbohydrates so it can be easily included in our healthy diet. They improve our hormone levels because it contains phytoestrogen. (Plant estrogen)

How to include it in our diet:- It can be included in salads or can be used in combination with veggies.

Beans:– Beans are also considerably high in Phytoestrogens. Apart from it, they are also a good source of protein and also helps to lower cholesterol levels. They also have high fiber content. Carbohydrates in beans are digested slowly thereby making it a healthy choice for diabetes.

How to include it in our diet:- Beans Salad, Beans Veg, and Bean Soup can be prepared.

Dry Fruits:- Dry fruits like dried apricots, prunes, dates can help balance estrogen levels as it contains phytoestrogens. It also contains vitamins and minerals and due to its process of drying, they are also rich in dietary fiber.

How to include it in our diet:– Dry fruits can be consumed along with a cup of green tea. Dry fruits laddoos can be made.

Garlic:- Garlic a herb, which contains a phytoestrogen called “ Isoflavones” It also has many other health benefits.

How to include it in our diet:- Chopped garlic can be included in soups, gravies, chicken, and fish curries, Stir fries.

 

Bottom Line
Mood swings are one of the symptoms of low estrogen levels but not necessarily it gives you a confirmation of being estrogen deficient. Please consult your doctors before drawing any conclusion. To overcome estrogen deficiency you can include Estrogen Rich Foods along with a healthy diet and healthy lifestyle. Estrogen is an important hormone as it plays so many vital functions in our body. It’s necessary to avoid imbalance of estrogen in our body as it may affect metabolism, sexual function, menstrual cycle.

Note:- Please make sure you consult your doctor/registered dietician before making any drastic changes to your diet.

Nutrition Tips to Treat Infertility in Men!

Infertility is the most common problem that’s running among couples worldwide. Researchers claim that 1 among every 3 couple has fertility problems; to my surprise, a lot of them are in male partners alone.
With a lot of people fertility may not be treatable but with a healthy diet and some lifestyle changes, one can improve it for sure.
Let’s understand what fertility refers to!
Male infertility is when he is unable to make his female partner pregnant. But sperm count is not the only aspect which is used in assessing fertility.
The following aspects of sexual function can affect fertility.

1. SEX DRIVE – Also called, libido describes a persons desire to have sex.

2. SPERM COUNT – Semen quality is the number of sperms present in a given amount of semen.

3. SPERM MOTILITY – It is the ability of sperms to swim. It can be measured as the percentage of moving sperm cells in a sample of semen.

4. ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION – It is the inability of a man to develop an erection.

5. TESTOSTERONE LEVELS – It is when the male sex hormone is on the lower side.

As we all know there can be multiple reasons for infertility among men, some of them can be –Hereditary, Lifestyle, certain diseases, stress etc

Lets now move to the most important aspect on how one can improve fertility, I know a lot of you may have got innumerable suggestion with regards to lifestyle and diet which may have confused you for sure.
Let me make it simple for you –

DIET

Vitamin C – Oxidative stress can be one of the major reasons for infertility in men. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) is constantly produced in the body and kept in check by the body. It is when the levels rise up because of disease, old age, improper lifestyle, stress etc that can cause inflammation, increased risk of diseases and infertility.
In such situations antioxidants come to a rescue and Vitamin C is one of them. According to researchers 1000mg of Vitamin C – 2/day for 2 months increased sperm motility by 92% and sperm count by 100 % and reduced deformed sperm by 55%

Sources of Vitamin C – Guava, Capsicums, Cabbage, Berries and citrus fruits, Amla, Lemon, Broccoli, and Cauliflower.

Vitamin D – It is observed that men who are infertile are deficient in Vitamin D. Therefore supplementing with Vitamin D for a year increased testosterone levels by around 25%.
Dietary sources – Fish, fortified products, sunlight, Egg yolks, Non- veg etc

Zinc – Low levels of zinc are associated with low testosterone levels, poor sperm quality and increased infertility among men.
Having zinc in adequate amounts can increase testosterone levels, reduce the decrease in testosterone level, improves sperm quality.
Zinc sources – Meat, fish, eggs, nuts, and oilseeds, etc

Folic Acid – Folic acid helps in boosting sperm health. For people who lack good levels of folic acids, they are more prone to sperms that contain either too little or too many chromosomes. If an egg fertilizes with one of this abnormal sperm it can even cause birth defects
Sources for folic acid – All kind of beans, spinach, tomatoes, bananas, green leafy vegetables.


Related Read, 

9 herbs that are proven enemies of Male Fertility


This was all about nutrients that will help you increase your Sex drive, now let’s look at some other aspects that help!

Fenugreek
Regular intake of Fenugreek supplementation improves libido, sexual performance, testosterone, and strength.
Note – This study used supplements and not raw fenugreek seeds that are used in cooking.

Obesity
Obese men are likely to be infertile therefore losing weight for such people would be a key to improving sperm count.

Alcohol And smoking
Men, who drink or smoke frequently, may experience low levels of testosterone and impair semen quality,

Tribulus Terrestris
It is a commonly used to enhance fertility, almost 6g of tribulous root daily for 2 months in a study showed great results. It was observed that it improved libido and improved erectile function also.

Sleep
Lack of sleep can impact the semen quality; therefore getting at least 7-8 hours of sound sleep every day is important to maintain good fertility.

Ashwagandha
It is one of the oldest Ayurvedic drugs to treat fertility problems. Nearly 675mg of ashwagandha extract every day for few months showed improved sperm count, semen volume, sperm motility, and testosterone levels.

Soybean
Soya has a very good quantity of isoflavones they have innumerable benefits but may be a major reason to lower semen quality if you have it too frequently.

Water
Since semen itself is made up of water improving on water intake or foods rich in water content can help in increasing the ejaculation and production of sperm.
Be careful that your liquid foods are not tea and coffee as they are diuretics by nature and may cause major water losses through urine.

Diet Drinks
According to recent researches, sweeteners that are used in drinks may cause a reduction in sperm count and damage the sperm DNA too.

Maca Root
1.5-3.0g of dried Maca root for 3 months showed enhanced libido and sexual desire in many studies. It even has a positive impact on sperm motility and counts.

Unhealthy Fats
According to studies trans fat showed a reduction in sperm count among men, it may also have an impact on sperm development.

Stress
When the stress levels shoot up, our body gets into the conservation mode. And therefore the body is less concerned about reproduction over survival. Therefore staying stress-free can help you keep away from fertility issues.

Pheww! That was too much of an information isn’t it?
Let me share a quick recipe. I call it sssshhhhhhh POTENCY SMOOTHIE
Let’s have a look at the ingredients
1 cup – Mix of blueberries, strawberry, gooseberries, cranberries (if you take the dry ones make sure it has no added sugar)
4-5 spoons – Roasted Flaxseeds
2-3 tsp – Chia seeds
2-3 tsp – Pumpkin seeds
¾ cup of Coconut milk
1 tbsp – Goji berries
1no – Mango
4-5 Sliced – Walnuts

Blend them all the ingredients except the seeds and blend them all together. Garnish with seeds and walnuts and have it using a spoon.

Depression After Childbirth is more common than you think it is!!

“How can one go into depression after having a baby? Isn’t this the moment/phase they have been waiting for?” were my thoughts when I heard about Post Partum Depression(PPD) for the first time. After becoming a mother a lot of your perception of life changes and all that your mom has been doing for you or telling you suddenly starts making more sense. Like our famous Bollywood Movie dialogue”Ek aurat hi dusre aurat ka dard samajh sakti hai”.  I suppose I couldn’t really get PPD well until I myself became a mommy. Not that I went through it, not necessarily every mommy goes through it, but yes Postpartum blues are extremely common amongst new parents. Feelings of worry, fear, unexplained sadness, guilt, self-doubt are a few examples of mood swings that one develops in the postpartum blue stage. While postpartum blues( baby blues)  last only for few weeks, PPD is an extended version of such feelings that are more intense and continues for a longer period.

 

Surprisingly, no one really talks about it. When I got pregnant, from Nani’s and dadi’s to young working mothers, everyone had some or the other advice for me during pregnancy and childcare afterbirth. They even had pieces of advice for how there would be physical changes in me and ways to deal with it but none of them spoke about the mental aspect.

Depression in our society has a strong social stigma which refrains people from talking about it even if they are going through it or observe someone having it. To top it, if one gets into depression after having a child, they might just be tagged as a bad parent, as they are supposed to be happy now.

But there is no need for the guilt as it may not be under your control. Birth of a child brings a lot of changes in the life of the parents, whether social, financial, emotional and not to forget majorly hormonal(in case of mothers). It might be just overwhelming to deal with all of it. Baby blues are thus developed in the first few days after childbirth. But if it seems a long never ending phase, it might be Post Partum Depression. If you think you or your loved one are going through it, please seek medical help. But lets first understand when to seek or provide help and how to diagnose this PPD.

 

Whats PPD / Identifying PPD

 

Postpartum Depression(PPD) is a type of depression that occurs after childbirth. It is a common disorder that can occur within a year after having a baby. PPD is often confused with ‘baby blues’ which usually occurs after childbirth as you try to adjust and make changes for the new life. This period is found little stressful by the parents leading to the baby blues that last up to 2-3 days. But if this phase continues to last for more than 2 weeks and tends to get worse each day, then it is likely to be a Post Partum Depression. It can affect both the parents, but mothers are at a higher risk due to hormonal changes in addition.

 

Let us learn about few symptoms and ways to diagnose it

  • Feeling too low or sad continuously
  • Feeling guilty or ashamed
  • Feeling hopeless or worthless
  • Not interested in connecting with people or outside world
  • Not interested or unable to take care of the baby
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sleeping less or excessive sleep
  • Feeling exhausted/overwhelmed
  • Feelings of hurting self or the baby

 

If you or your loved ones, tend to display any of these symptoms for more than 2 weeks of delivery, make sure you make an appointment with any Mental Health Service.

 

So what causes this Post Partum Depression(PPD)

Many a time parents might be aware of such feelings/symptoms but they feel ashamed or guilty to admit it. However, PPD is caused due to a combination of hormonal, genetic, emotional and environmental factors that are beyond one’s control.

 

Certain parents are at a higher risk of developing PPD if they had:

  • History of depression
  • Anxiety or depression during pregnancy
  • Lack of support system
  • A stressful event during pregnancy
  • Unplanned unwanted pregnancy etc.

 

 

So how is this PPD actually treated?

Treatment of PPD is very much similar to the one given in clinical depression. Talk therapies or antidepressant medication or a combination of both may be given depending on the severity of the condition. In talk therapy, the counselor may have a one on one session with the patient or group sessions with other parents facing similar experiences. At times, talk therapy may involve the family members or spouses for helping the patient come out of depression.

If the symptoms seem more severe the therapist might also start you with antidepressants. These medicines tend to regulate your mood by balancing the chemicals in your brain. These antidepressants may have certain side effects and if they tend to interfere with your routine activities, make sure to talk it out with your therapist.

When both talk therapy or medications do not seem to work and the symptoms tend to get more severe in rare cases an ECT can also be suggested by your therapist.ECT is an electroconvulsive therapy in which small electrical currents are passed through the brain of the patient under general anesthesia.

How safe would it be to take medications while breastfeeding?

It is considered safe to take antidepressants while breastfeeding as the amount of medicine that passes through breastmilk to babies is very low. Although few studies have shown that breastfeeding mom’s on antidepressants may tend to have babies that are slightly irritable or have difficulty during feeding or sleeping. Untreated depression of breastfeeding moms can have a similar effect on their babies. So rather treat it.

Is treatment really important if its a common condition?

You may never know when the stage can get so progressive that treatment becomes harder in the later phase. Early treatment is always better, especially as its the time you need more support and help. Also if treated early, you will be able to take care and bond with your baby in a much better way.

Apart from taking clinical help, here are few important things you need to do in order to cope with it.

  • Accept: You may be aware of your condition but feeling hesitant/shy to express or even accept the situation. Remember, “ it’s absolutely OK to be NOT OK sometimes.”
  • Be kind to yourself: While trying to take care of your baby and family, make sure you do not neglect your own health. Get enough sleep, food and rest. Don’t forget that you will be able to give your family enough only if you are in a good state physically, mentally and emotionally.
  • Ask for help: It’s absolutely fine to ask for support from your partner/friends or relatives. Having a baby increases your responsibilities two folds, which you might not always be able to handle alone. Also, your body and mind undergo drastic changes due to the hormonal shift postpartum, that might leave you drained further. Try to figure out where you need help and feel free to ask for it, whether for cooking, babysitting, visiting the doctor etc.
  • Talk it out: Share your feelings, concerns, emotions with your loved ones. You may choose to open up to your partner, your friend or people with experience like your mom or a group of mommies of newborns. They might also be able to help you with advice to handle the new changes in your life and make you realize, that you are not alone.

  • Go Slow: You don’t have to be perfect. No one is. You don’t need to do all the dishes, clean the house, take care of the baby, wash the clothes all at once. Do things at your own pace and capacity. Prioritize things, remember the most important thing is to be at peace mentally and in good health physically.
  • Love yourself & your life: You have received the God’s greatest gift in the form of your child. Be grateful, not everyone is as lucky as you are. Love yourself, your life your child. Make some time for yourself too. Pamper yourself by taking a bath, dressing up and going out for a walk. Give some fresh air and sunshine to yourself and your baby. Shop for clothes/accessories for yourself along with baby shopping. Do things that make you happy.

If you think you or your loved one is having PPD, don’t ignore it, seek/provide help and support. After all, we are all one, so let’s help each other.

It’s just a phase, this too shall pass.

Is Fasting The Best Way For Weight Loss??

Whenever I start writing any article, I read a lot about what has been said and researched and talk to people in general especially if it’s something pertaining to weight loss! Now weight loss is a topic which is really close to people’s heart, and are after it with more fervour than they would be after their passion!

It’s good to have a goal, amazing to have the drive to achieve it, but one should really do something that would give them the desired results that would last for a longer time and also not play with their peace of mind!

So once I started working on this article, these were the statements that I got to hear from people around me:

If we don’t eat anything, we won’t gain any weight! Liquid diet is the best.

and

Fruits are the only carbs that I consume on weekdays, Sunday is total cheat day! So I hog on everything that I can lay my hands on!

Or

Fasting I feel has helped me. I fast for a few days, lose some weight, get back to eating and then start fasting again.

Or

Removed wheat, rice and all other gluten products from my diet, had lost a lot in the beginning, now nothing is happening.

And of course,

I start my day with some fruits or juice, fast through the day and have one big meal at night. I do feel sleepy and weak at times, but it’s okay. You got to do something to lose it.

Wooh! These were just the basic one’s that I thought could be incorporated! I know you are also nodding your head in affirmation, that these were a few things that you did in an attempt to lose those kilos! Maybe a wedding, maybe a function! Looking good and trying to lose fat to be healthier and fitter than you were is an amazing thing, but whatever one does always remember the long term consequences. It would take your game to another level.

Now let’s see what happens when your body goes through a state of fasting in very simple terms:

People fast for a number of reasons; it could be for religious purposes, for losing weight or just detoxification. So weight loss whenever happens, it is a process of losing carbohydrates from the body. If the carbohydrates aren’t replenished, the body starts tapping into fat to burn energy for its processes.

Now remember, this process takes time and if you fast very often, the body goes into a starvation mode. And if the body goes into starvation mode, it recognises that a low caloric intake would be a regular feature and starts saving whatever fat/ energy it can get as a reserve to survive.

And hence also causes muscle loss. After approximately 16 hours of fasting, the body starts producing glucose [source of energy] from amino acids [proteins are made from amino acids]. If the body doesn’t have enough of amino acids, it will start breaking the muscle protein, and break them down to amino acids and use this for energy production. So if you check your weight after 2-3 days of fasting and notice that it has somewhat reduces, congratulations! You have been successful in losing your water and muscle weight, but the fat remains as is!

Now this was the easiest and the simplest way of explaining what happens when you are fasting with the intention of losing weight. You might also feel quite dizzy, nauseous, fatigue and get a lot of headache, as well [All of this due to low energy levels!!].

So this is not the healthiest way of losing fat from the body. Yes, I say fat because, that is the real component that would bring a change in the appearance of the body, the appearance that you are looking at. When you fast in such a manner, the body only loses water and muscle but fat which is the real culprit is left behind. There is a reason that nutritionists tell you to “Eat Right”, the benefits of doing this might take a little while to show up, but the positive effects would last much longer. And that is a much healthier and a safer way of reducing and maintaining the fat in the body.

5 Practical Solutions to Beat Plastic Pollution!

(: (ʇxǝʇ sᴉɥʇ pɐǝɹ oʇ uʍop ǝpᴉsdn uǝǝɹɔs ǝuoɥd ɹnoʎ ƃuᴉuɹnʇ ʎq ʞooʇ ʇsnɾ noʎ ǝuo ǝɥʇ ǝʞᴉl) ¡uoᴉʇɔ∀ u∀ ǝʞɐ┴ ‘ǝƃuɐɥƆ ∀ ʇnoq∀ ƃuᴉɹq o┴
(¿ɐᴉʇɹǝuᴉ ɟo ʍɐl ǝɥʇ ɹǝqɯǝɯǝɹ) spɹoʍ ʇsnɾ ɥʇᴉʍ ʇɥƃnoɹq ǝq ʇouuɐɔ ǝƃuɐɥƆ ¡ɯǝɥʇ ǝƃuɐɥɔ noʎ ssǝlun ǝƃuɐɥɔ ʇ,uop sƃuᴉɥ┴

 

“Plastic is suffocating our planet…!” We have all been hearing this hue and cry for a decade now (remember 2005 floods?). Mumbai choked and rest of Maharashtra was in no better shape! The main culprit was plastic in the drainage system. I was in college that time. In the second year to be precise. Nanded city, situated on the banks of the mighty Godavari was flooded like never before. Yes, I understand that it was Nature’s Wrath and rivers flooding or Ocean’s high tides unaccepting of the influx of the flood water that caused the disaster, but the plastic was what clogged the drainage lines and amplified the flooding to an even more extent!

That was 13 years ago! In college, we were doing street plays to raise awareness about harms of polythene use (CIP: प्लास्टिक चा भस्मासुर), were collecting garbage from riverside thinking that these small actions down the line would bring about a change, that it would matter… but with passing time I too become hopeless and jaded and that was a personal defeat!

I too was outraged with the thoughts like, “Instead of enforcing a ban on us consumers, why won’t they just ban the manufacturing altogether!”. I too thought “Heck! I don’t care anymore”, “Kaun itna karte baithega, who has the time?” , “This is a waste of time, nothing changes!” , and the classic, “It’s not my problem!”

But then I read about Mr. Afroz Shah and his world’s largest beach cleanup drive and felt a sense of relief, like all hope is not dead, felt a thodasa “all izz well” in my heart…

Plastic is forever! And so the efforts to eliminate its waste product must continue… Not saying that you need to spend your weekend picking up trash on the beach (although if you do that will be really great), just picking up your own trash is a good start too…

tiny or MIGHTY, All Changes Count!

So here are 5 Easy Changes You Can Make To Beat Plastic Pollution-

1. Trade Your Trash!

My mother used to save all milk bags, empty plastic bottles, polythene for months and then every few months a bahngarwala (a scrap dealer) used to come and buy it all for some measly amount of money. We used to make fun of her for putting all that effort and for what? A mere 20 Rs!

Little did I know that little act of trading plastic goods is actually today’s glorified acts of “Segregating” and “Recycling” our plastic trash. Segregation (sorting wet and dry trash) and Recycling seems difficult and seems like an alien concept, but it really isn’t.

Our parents (not just mom, dads too, dealing with trash isn’t just a women’s job!) have been trading dry trash (plastic, paper, glass, metals) for ages! It’s recycling at it’s best! Find a scrap dealer near you, and treat yourself with a fantastic new glass/metal kitchen appliance every year with whatever moderate amount of money you make from this trade 🙂

 

2.  Mind Your Scrubs!

I have been guilty of using fancy and convenient facial scrubs, but little did I know that these scrubs actually use plastic or polymer microbeads that don’t degrade (obviously!) and make their way into our rivers -> Oceans -> Fish &Marine Life -> our dinner table!

Yeikes!

Fun Fact: Not just face scrubs but a lot of other products like toothpaste, spa products too contain plastic microbeads in them. Little marine animals (plankton) are seen to gobble up these microbeads as they are colorful and shiny and see animals mistaken them for bait. Planktons are eaten by little fish, and little fish becomes food for not just bigger fish but also for seabirds… thus the plastic makes it’s way up the food chain… and ultimately to the ones at the very top of the chain, us!

Solution: To avoid all of this, avoid using products with these microbeads. Trust me there are plenty of scrubs that use natural sources like brown sugar or walnut powder instead of plastic microbeads. You can even use herbal ubtans or even haldi-besan paste if you want to go all natural.

 

3. Keep That Fork Down!

 

Earlier, like till 10 years ago (before takeout became our default setting!), we used to use plastic forks and spoons only on special occasions (A.K.A B’day parties:P). Plastic cutlery is fragile. It chips and breaks down easily and adds into the load of microplastic (microplastic: smaller particles of plastic polluting the water bodies!).

Solution: At home, we do use metal spoons and forks (good job there!), If you are someone who orders food online or takes a parcel an awful a lot of times,  keep a pair of spoon/fork in your purse (not kidding, have seen a lot of people doing it!). Whenever you must use a plastic one, make sure to dispose of it properly!

And as for party throwers, wanna have fun but also make a statement? Try Edible Cutlery.

 

4. Sanitary Trash!

Goes without saying that invention of sanitary napkins was a huge leap in women’s health, but an unplanned (and an unsightly) consequence is the pile of sanitary napkins that don’t degrade and are not just polluting but also hazardous to the environment because of it is a biowaste (waste containing possibly hazardous biological agents!).

A simple and effective solution is menstrual cups!

They are comfortable to use and 100% hygienic. Read detailed instructions on how to use them HERE.

Same goes for the baby diapers. They end up in the trash and are a health hazard! But behold, reusable (and washable) baby diapers are available on the market and also online. And if you really do not want to buy the online ones, our very own langots are always easily available everywhere… (for any moms reading this:- cloth diapers are not as convenient or leak-proof as the paper diapers, many parents find it difficult to use them for newborns and very young babies as they tend to pee and poo a lot more! You can definitely try them for your toddlers though. And even if you don’t, no pressure and no judgments; we know you have got your hands full!)

Suggested Read,

The Crimson Moon, The Taboo, The Neglect and a Taint Free You!

 

5. No littering… Anywhere except the litterbox!

 

Need I even explain this point? It’s pretty obvious that thousands of volunteers should not have to spend thousands of hours picking up after your, mine or anybody’s litter!

Bharat will become swatchh only when us bhartiyas become mindful of keeping not just our houses but even our surroundings clean!

So those were my 5 tips on how you can beat the plastic pollution. You don’t have to follow all of them, pick and choose whichever you feel comfortable following. Some people I know have decided to give up on using only plastic straws, others only polythene bags and some just plastic cutlery… It’s all good. Remember,

tiny or MIGHTY, All changes COUNT!