juggle-struggle

Juggle struggle

What seemed like an impossible job for the world, even a few decades ago, is now the reality for many women. The modern superwoman starts her day at 7AM sharp –some even earlier– drops the kids to school, aces that meeting at work, calls during lunch to remind her mother-in-law about her medicines, works on any assignments till 6PM, and then comes home to cook dinner. Finding the perfect balance between work and family life- or the juggle struggle as you may call it- is a dangerous journey with a never-ending task list. So, how do they do it? The secret lies in extraordinary organising skills and keeping their cool at all times. 

STOP FEELING GUILTY

“Working after marriage becomes difficult mainly because of the social stigma related to women working outside. In-laws are often not very supportive of their daughter-in-law’s career goals. Whatever people say, you need to stop feeling guilty,” explains Parvin, who teaches at a college. “Remind yourself that your work goals will not only benefit you, but also inspire your kids to reach for the stars. They’d be proud to have a supermom like you!”

So, don’t feel guilty for putting in extra hours right before that big promotion, and definitely don’t feel guilty for not checking your emails while at a family dinner during weekends. A successful career mom must be able to come to terms with her shortcomings, and focus on immediate priorities. Perfect balance is a myth, just don’t stress out trying to meet unrealistic goals.

ORGANISE MORE

Without excellent organising skills, you’ll often find yourself in a rut! Make a calendar marking important dates for home and at work. From meetings to bill deadlines to the birthday party your child needs to attend, having everything at one place will make tracking events easier. Set aside an hour during weekends to plan for the entire week. You could opt for Google calendar so that you can add things instantly on the go and sync them with your partner’s. Alternatively, opt for the old-fashioned planners to avoid rushing things. For example, pack lunches, decide on breakfast, pick out clothes the night before so that you don’t wake up in a frenzy. Try to avoid multitasking since that might just make you even more inefficient. 

GET HELP

Whether it’s at work or at home, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Talk to your supervisor regarding flexible work hours and sick days. Ask a co-worker to cover for you in a meeting so that you can go watch your kids perform at school. Every superhero needs sidekicks, and you are no different! Handing someone a bit of your workload will make it much easier for you to focus on your priorities.

“I had a reliable helper from my village when my kids were growing up. She would pick them up from school and cook for them. At night, we’d also have someone come to clean the house and do the dishes,” explains Khadija, a government official. “Relatives are a great source of support, but even they can be busy sometimes. So, having paid help is necessary. Of course, for quality service, you have to be generous with salaries, and also provide other facilities and bonuses.” 

MAKE TIME FOR YOUR KIDS

Kids grow up fast, and before you know it, they are moving to a whole different continent to chase their dreams. While you don’t want to miss any moment in your child’s life, trying to make it to every big moment might be too much for the working mother. But, don’t despair! Thanks to technology, you can stay connected, even when you’re away from them.

“I’d always make it a point to call my kids during lunch break. They’d just come back from school, and a phone call would assure me that they’ve had lunch, and also let them know that I’m thinking about them,” says Tanzina, a banker at a private bank.

Making time for your kids is crucial for nurturing your family dynamics, and allow everyone to bond. Arrange weekend activities or make it a point that the whole family must have dinner together. While you are together, avoid talking about work. Instead, focus on your kids’ interests such as friends, classes, and hobbies. This will let them know that they can come and talk to you about anything anytime.

SPEND TIME WITH YOUR PARTNER

Trying to juggle multiple roles can take a toll on your partner as well. With the massive workload, you tend to forget to focus on your partner and nurture your relationship. This can lead to you two drifting apart. Monthly dates or weekend getaways where you focus solely on each other are perfect ways to bring back the spark. If you two are too busy for that, then at least set aside ten minutes at the end of the day to just talk to each other. Communication is key in any relationship and if your partner has your back, you’ll be much more confident tackling whatever comes your way!

the-green-lounge-experience

The Green Lounge experience

The restaurant stretches 22,000 square feet, with a seating capacity of 500 patrons. The Green Lounge team comprises of 80 staff members who are experts at providing top class customer satisfaction, and 3 chefs who are internationally certified to bring you the best of nature in a platter. They have a Thai and Afghani chef to provide you an authentic gastronomic experience. The menu includes seafood, Afghani Kebabs and Afghani style barbeque, karai, variety of special breads, dessert items, tropical smoothies, milkshakes and mocktails and different types of coffee. If you ask for their chefs’ favourite, it is consistently the local seafood items, from the a la carte menu like the pomfret and the crab bhuna, and of course the grilled tiger prawn. All the seafood items are served with three types of chef special homemade sauces. The Green Lounge offers buffet throughout the day, featuring a large selection of multinational cuisines, and the a la carte menu is offered only between 4PM to 10PM. They also provide party booking and catering services. For parties, you may request a menu of your own choice that the chefs can prepare for you. Make sure to follow their Facebook for special Ramadan offers. You should know that The Green Lounge encourages calling for reservation so that their team can provide you the best experience. They truly consider every aspect of your visit to make it special for you.



On that note, The Green Lounge has seven different sections, designed to give you a unique memory to take with you. The Park Harbour at the entrance of the rooftop is meant to make you forget that you are on the 18th floor, and instead, makes you feel like you’re near a waterfall with the fountain running through the middle. The Chilly Tale is the garden patio that covers the perimeters of the entire restaurant. It can accommodate up to 100 green loungers. In fact, it is reputed to be the best seat in the house, as it oversees the city. You can even catch the sunset from Chilly Tale. Lime Land is curtained by rich green plants and a fun fact about the Lime Land is that it is the only spot in the building that will give you an uninterrupted view of the Ramna Park. The Gozari Valley is set apart from the rest of the dining sections with an over-hanging balcony with walls made of actual Gozari wood. The Water-Lux provides a luxury setting for special occasions like exclusive corporate meetings and also intimate family gatherings, and it can hold a capacity of 24 guests. While the Chilly Tale is the best seat in the house for its amazing view, the Sky Deck can give you a more intimate experience as it hides away from the rest of the sections. And lastly, if you want a combined experience of indoors and outdoors, there is the Telescope section with a moon roof, a wonderful way to experience the rain.

Visit The Green Lounge Facebook at https://web.facebook.com/TheGreenLoungeBD

Location: 18th Floor, Rupayan Trade Center 114 Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue, Banglamotor, Dhaka

Call for reservations at: 02-55138615/ 0241030212

Lunch Buffet Sunday to Thursday- 12PM to 3:30PM

Lunch Buffet Weekends- 12PM to 4PM

Dinner Buffet- 6:30PM to 10:30PM

A la carte menu- 4PM to 10PM

Photo Courtesy: The Green Lounge

a-tech-crash-course-for-the-mums

A tech crash course for the mums

Dear mothers of tweenage girls and boys,

Are you sick and tired of getting eye rolls when you ask your kids to “update the internet on my phone?” How many times was it that your Instagram post needed a filter like your teenager, and you had to pester them to apply it for you? Are you constantly bombarding your children to plug in your set-top box to the TV so that you can catch the latest blockbuster that hasn’t arrived in town yet?

If you have done at least one of these activities, then dear mummy, it’s time to ease up on the beauty salons, midday TV soaps, and your window shopping, to start using and knowing your gadgets right.

GOOGLE KNOWS MOST

A mother’s first friend in the unchartered sea of all things should be the Google search engine. Insert your daily tech worries, and this wizard, in most cases, will help you navigate many troubled waters. From simple problems like adjusting brightness on your phone, to detailed step-by-step on how to update your son’s gaming console’s firmware (let’s not try and attempt this though), Google has answers to all, as long as you search properly. While you are at it, take it as your first challenge to download and install an ad-blocker to make your journey smoother.

Tip: What do you think will give you a better answer- “Dear Google, Please tell me how to type in Bangla on ____ brand phone” or “typing Bangla ____ brand phone?” Here’s a hint; it isn’t the first one. Smart searching will come to you, just as you ‘know’ how much turmeric to use in your cooking without resorting to a measuring cup every time.

READING UP IS NOT A BAD THING

Worried about what the “cookie” is every time you visit a website? And what, in the name of all things holy, is a JavaScript? And no, Python is not a snake that you will need to get to run a programme (or app). Before you click “accept”, why not read about it! You no longer need to go through gigantic text books written in complicated jargon to know about computers. Following up on your Google searching, take it to the next step on getting bite sized info for these small things. Chances are your tech-infused children have little or no idea on these terms, even if they pretend they do!

As far as reading goes, never attempt to do anything without reading the full instruction, or till you reach the end of the page.

GET TO KNOW YOUR DEVICE(S) AND APPS

First things first, there is a ton of difference between using your email or social networking on a PC/ laptop and using it on your phone/tablet. Manoeuvring among the various gadgets and systems is cumbersome, but in the long run, this will help you to get through most predicaments like rotating your profile photo or forwarding a document you got via email to a different messaging system. Start from learning basic on/off and restart operations, and work your way up to target some easy maintenance tasks like using an anti-virus programme.

MEME BASED INTELIGENCE IS REAL

You have heard of this seemingly harmless word, and have probably listed it as another one of those new-fangled words that you do not need to pay attention to. But what you are missing out on is a considerable wealth of fun, and often striking satirical chunks of up-to-date information, all presented in a manner that hardly seems serious. Besides your favourite cooking and beauty pages, do subscribe to a few Meme pages as well, both local and international. It takes a bit of time to get used to it, and some of the things will irk you, but the best part is none of these last longer than three days!

YOUTUBE TO THE RESCUE

If you are a visual learner, there is no greater blessing for you than YouTube. From Julienning potatoes with your everyday knife, to over the top decorating hacks, you have it all literally at your fingertips. This is also the place where you can ‘catch up’ with everything that’s interesting to your tweenage children. From music, movies, comic books to games, YouTube not only does your homework, but your thesis, as well as predictions for what’s next. Look out for channels that deliver good valid info with a bite of sarcasm. The trick however still lies in delivering your new-found know-how on the ‘cool’ things without sounding like a parrot.

GETTING HELP THE RIGHT WAY

Instead of the typical “fix this” command disguised as a request, go for a different route. Your phone isn’t the same as it was after an update? – ask what you can do to get it like before. If you take time to observe, you will see that your child (and tech experts alike) also gets lost amidst the screen swiping, and depends on his/her quick reading ability to make up for the few missed steps. What annoys them is when you can’t repeat the same steps, even though they showed it you for at least four to five times. To cover this, a good step is to make your young helper tell you what to do, instead of handing them the gadget directly. This works as a reminder to your kids that they are not as ‘tech-smart’ as they seem. Remember, your children actually like helping you out, they just won’t admit it, but they genuinely do.

As a last word of much needed encouragement, don’t ever buckle down from learning and getting to know about tech stuff. If you potty trained your children without a manual, then you can surely teach yourself on how to update your phone. Never be afraid to turn your tablet or laptop off then on again! And DON’T EVER underestimate your intuition of checking if the device is actually connected to a power outlet before calling backup for heavy-duty troubleshooting.

Good luck and may the Gods of Tech watch over you!

Photo: Collected

burger-king-opens-new-outlet

Burger King opens new outlet

Burger King, the famous burger chain, has opened a new outlet on 10 January, 2019. The eatery is situated beside Balaka Cinema Hall gate in Mirpur Road.

Visitors of the brand new outlet are enjoying the iconic Whopper along with other mouth-watering items. Whether during shopping or catching a movie with friends, guests will now be able to enjoy the flame grilled signature burgers at the outlet, which has a seating capacity of 74 guests and a well facilitated kids’ zone as well.

“We are hoping to bring the unique Burger King experience to fans and make it a popular name for superior fast food experience in the area,” said Mushroof Ahmed, General Manager, Tiffin Box Limited.

Since the launch of the brand in our country,  many have enjoyed the original taste of the Whopper Sandwich as well as other great tasting delicacies at the outlets.

Burger King entered the Bangladesh market through a long-term franchise agreement to launch and expand the brand with Tiffin Box Limited, a Bangla Trac company. The brand continues to deliver exceptional food and an extraordinary experience.

its-sheer-regal-and-organza

Its sheer, regal, and Organza!

In fashion, transparency has always been celebrated. A sheer medium that lets a designer’s creativity blossom, while elevating it to the next level, has forever been desired and favoured. There’s something undeniably magical woven in the delicate threads of sheer fabrics. It’s gentle, soft material caresses the wearer’s body, enveloping her in a cocoon, showing a little bit of skin while providing modesty where needed; it truly is wearable romance! And organza truly rules the roost when it comes to sheer fabrics.

Organza traces its origin back to China, towards the beginning of the 18th century. Silk threads were used to weave this lightweight fabric. Its stiff nature was ideal for usage in ball gowns and dresses of the time, and couturiers fashioned ornate creations with it. There is a subtle sheen to it, which was perfect for wedding dresses. It holds up to heavy embroidery, unlike chiffon which can sometimes weigh down or tear. Legendary haute couturier Cristobal Balenciaga designed exquisite creations using it, which went on to become wearable art. Interestingly, even though it was invented in China, it quickly became the fabric du jour when it came to Europe. Organza is stiff, unlike it’s Bengali cousin, the muslin, which is flimsy and delicate, and that quality made it ideal to attain volume, and hold up to the embroiders’ needle. The earliest rendition was woven with silk threads, making it a luxury only the nobility could afford. Over time, synthetic threads replaced silk ones to minimise cost and promote accessibility.

Organza retains its hold over wedding dresses in the West, as ball gowns have been relegated to the dusty pages of history books for modern women. Many designers cleverly use this versatile fabric to bring a diaphanous quality to dresses, blouses and skirts. It’s definitely making a comeback because of a revival of sheer outfits. International runways are rampant with outfits fashioned from it in the past year. A full organza skirt paired with a simple chiffon blouse is very chic, as is a cocktail dress with a slip. Organza has been given different avatars by textile designers who are always pushing the limit, just like fashion. Variations include mirror, crystal, embroidered, crushed and satin. Each kind is being used differently with spectacular results!

In our part of the world, organza has always had a place of pride. Organza saris are very popular and look very feminine. Whether printed or embroidered, the result is always spectacular. Another outfit that truly utilises organza’s characteristics is the lehenga. It makes skirts full of volume without adding unnecessary bulk, and hence, remains lightweight, making the wearer look slim. An organza dupatta is stiff yet soft, making it ideal for draping however one wants. For fusion outfits such as gown-style lehenga, this fabric is a godsend. It provides a western feel because of its stiff nature, yet retains the Eastern flair because of its versatility. Many women choose fusion outfits these days, and organza realises their dream of looking contemporary and stylish. It is great for capes and veils. Another way to use it is for underpinning if you want volume without bulk. In fashion, a golden rule is to listen to your heart and be yourself. A true fashionista makes any fabric her own, giving it her own twist and that’s what makes her stand out. So go ahead, there is a whole new world full of organza dreams waiting for you to be explored!

By Sabrina N Bhuiyan

Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed/LS Archive

cheesy-affairs

Cheesy affairs

Serious cheese lovers will tell you that it is best to enjoy this creamy addictive versatile cheese on its own, but truth of the matter is that there is nothing wrong with changing things up a bit now then. Check out new ways to enjoy local cheese with these recipes.

TOASTY PANEER SANDWICH

Ingredients

1 cup local cheese (salty; crumbled)

2 tbsp unsalted butter

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 large onion (chopped, very fine)

Optional —

2 green chillies (chopped very fine)

2 medium tomatoes (chopped fine)

¼ tsp turmeric powder

½ tsp red chilli powder

Salt to taste

8 slices fresh, soft sandwich bread of your choice

Method

Heat a pan on a medium flame and add butter to it. Allow to melt and then add cumin seeds. When they stop spluttering, add the green chillies and onion. Fry till the onion is soft. Add the tomatoes, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt to taste. Stir well. Cook for 2 minutes stirring frequently.

Add the paneer and mix well. Stir fry for 3-4 minutes and then turn off the fire. Allow to cool a little.

Lay the slices of bread on a clean cutting board, and butter. Now put a generous amount of the prepared paneer mixture on 4 of the slices. Spread to cover entire slice. Top with another buttered slice.

Grill or toast the sandwich till crispy and golden.

Note — This is especially nice when done in a sandwich toaster which seals the edges, preventing the paneer from falling out later. Serve hot with tomato ketchup.

PANEER SZECHUAN

Ingredients

750g paneer (cut into 1″ cubes)

5 tbsp all-purpose flour

3 tbsp corn flour, Salt (to taste)

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Cooking oil for deep frying

3 tbsp vegetable/canola/sunflower cooking oil

3 spring onions, chopped coarsely (bulb and leaves)

1 cup Indo-Chinese Szechuan sauce

1 large green bell pepper (seeds removed and chopped into 1″ squares)

2 cups vegetable stock

1 tbsp corn flour (for thickening gravy)

Method

Start to heat the cooking oil for deep frying. The temperature should ideally be between 170-180°C/ 338-356°F.

While the oil is heating, put the flour, corn flour, salt to taste and pepper into a large mixing bowl. Add a little water at a time to the mix to make a medium thick batter — the same consistency as pancake batter. Mix well till there are no more lumps and the batter is smooth.

Add paneer cubes and stir to coat them well with the above batter. Once the oil is hot, gently add a few battered cubes at a time and fry till crisp and golden in colour. Drain well and remove from the oil. Keep aside on paper towels for later use.

In another pan or wok, heated on high, add the 3 tablespoon vegetable/canola/ sunflower cooking oil. When the oil is smokey hot, add the spring onions (reserve a little to garnish the dish later). Sauté for a minute.

Now add the Indo-Chinese Szechuan sauce and chicken stock. Mix well. Cook for 2 minutes.

Omit this step if you want the dish to be dry or would like to serve it as an appetizer; instead — mix 1 tablespoon of corn flour with ½ cup of cold water and stir to mix well. Make sure there are no lumps in this mixture. Pour into the above gravy and stir well. The gravy will start to thicken. Once this happens, turn off the heat.

Now add the previously fried cubes and the chopped bell pepper to this gravy. Stir well to coat all the chicken and peppers with the gravy. Spoon into a serving dish, garnish with reserved, chopped spring onions and serve.

BELL PEPPER STUFFED WITH COTTAGE CHEESE

Ingredient          

Bell pepper        

Cottage cheese (low fat)

Tomato paste    

1 slice cheese

Herbs of your choice      

Salt       

Pepper 

Method

Clean bell pepper; cut the top off and remove the insides. Now put the cottage cheese, the tomato paste, your herbs, a bit of salt, and a bit of pepper in a bowl, and mix it through with a spoon.

Just go buck wild on the herbs — basil, parsley, thyme, rosemary, chive, marjoram, etc. Just throw it all in there. Pre-heat your oven at 200°C / 390°F. Now fill your bell pepper up, put a slice of cheese on top and put it in the oven for 20 minutes. Serve as is, or with some tomato sauce, maybe some rice, maybe both.

Enjoy!

You could also replace some (or all) of the tomato paste with curry paste, if you require some kick with your meal. Careful though, could easily turn into a steel-cupped boot to the teeth if you are not careful.

Compiled by Supriti Sarkar

Photo: LS Archive

realistic-resolutions

Realistic Resolutions

What really happens on 1st January is a massive headache from all the partying and screaming about, followed by forgetting what the heck you were babbling about doing starting that day. Aiming high is always appreciated, but aiming too high runs the risk of losing interest in the first few days when actually attempting it. The universal truth about expectations is to always keep them nice and low, so that hitting or exceeding them can always act as morale boosters. So let’s look at resolutions that actually make sense.

An achievable diet

Let’s face it, every December we binge eat in the holidays with the resolution to start afresh in the blooming New Year. We promise to cut out carbs and unhealthy oils and make a pact to never eat fast food again. Not once has anyone stuck to this, because as tempting and fresh as this might sound, it is far from achievable. If you do however want a healthier diet, it is best to start with baby steps. Cutting out carbs entirely will only make you weak. So start by reducing proportions until you think you can handle going days without bread or rice.

A workout routine

If you have a gym membership lying around somewhere that barely gets used, full on commitment is probably not your best stepping stone. The start of the year pushes a lot of people to pursue a gym membership, and they even make full use of it, but only for a few days. Days get busier, workouts get smaller time allocations, until it is just another membership lying around. Since we know we are bound to get busy, do not commit to a full routine you cannot continue. Instead, keep one or two moves you can continue throughout the year. Consistency will help more than impulse workouts and will actually help you get in shape.

Give up a bad habit

From spending too much time on social media to bad smoking habits and biting your nails, if you know of a bad habit, try to fix it, but once again, take small steps. The moment you turn off Instagram completely for a day, you will feel deprived, especially if you are used to being on it. So limit your hours, and reduce them until you feel like you have reached a healthy exposure to the internet.

An organised corner

A lot of people like to aim for a New Year and new home. However, if you have ever started, you will know it is not easy to redo, or organise your entire home in one go. Sometimes, even a single room can pose a challenge. Kick start your organisation with a particular corner, and leave the work for weekends only. Maybe a study table, or your kitchen cabinet, or an unorganised bookshelf. This way, you will actually get work done, slowly but surely.

Numerical goals

A lot of times, the words weight loss and savings have vague meanings that you probably have in your resolutions, but you do not know the exact figures you wish to achieve. Instead write down the number of pounds you want to shed, the number of zeros you want to add to your bank balance, the number of rooms you want cleaned and so on. Making your goals more specific gives you a drive to actually reach them.

Explore hobbies

We all love to stick to what we know, it is only human nature. But make it your resolution to step out of your comfort zone and try out new activities; see if you can find something new you love to get that adrenaline rush back on. Try painting, pottery, sports, swimming or basically anything you have not spent a lot of time on before. Even if you do not end up finding a new hobby, you will have a great time trying things out.

Fix your sleeping schedule

Adults are supposed to enjoy at least a 7-hour sleep on average every night, however, sadly, every country faces problems in this area where the number of hours are way lower. So why not try to focus on better sleeping habits in the New Year? Ditch the electronics, change up your old flat mattress, get a change of sheets, throw in some essential oils, or basically anything you feel will help you get a good night’s rest.

Dedicate more time to nature

Take a hike, go cycling, walk with your friends or sit in a park and stare at the trees. There is something quite therapeutic about being surrounded by nature. And with the incredibly busy city lights and noises, this can prove to be a good escape. While full-fledged vacations are a great way to see nature as well, it happens only for a while. So best make some time out weekly to take a long drive away from the bustling city.

Lessen your screen time

Be it your phone or laptop or TV, try to lessen your screen time as much as possible. We get it, it’s pretty impossible in this tech-centric world, where everything is digitised, but all this has made our lives pretty robotic, with minimal face to face communication. Instead of Skype, meet up with a friend when you can; have a nice chat at dinner instead of Netflix, you will surely feel different.

Quality Over Quantity

There is something quite satisfactory about new purchases. Unfortunately, more than half of the time, we end up buying things that are pretty unnecessary, or things we already own. This New Year, spend on useful things that will last you for a good while and will serve you well. Curb impulse buys and splurge on good technology, accessories, furniture and gadgets that will not require frequent replacements. The better quality goods you purchase, the more content you feel, and hence, the less you consume. 

Sustainability

With the planet drowning in plastic, make it your resolution to reduce your plastic use and recycle more. Reduce consumption on unnecessary things that contribute towards pollution, waste and climate change.

Resolutions do not have to mean something you start on the first of January. These are mere goals that you incorporate in your daily lives, one step at a time, surely, but without rush.

Photo: Collected

i-read-before-i-eat

I read before I eat

It started out of curiosity, but soon turned into a rule of my grocery shopping — I read the nutrition labels on foods before buying them.

Ten years ago, I did not care to decode Nutrition Facts labels. I would just pile up my shopping cart with whatever I wanted to eat — bread, jam, peanut butter, cereals, cookies, chips, candy, fruit juices, ice cream, frozen dinners– you name it; I did not care to find out if these were wholesome or not. I ate what I wanted to eat!

Living in a country where grocery stores are giant, food options unlimited and portion sizes huge, overeating is not uncommon. I gained weight in the first few months of my life in the U.S. It was after I put on weight that I began to wonder if I was overeating like many others or, if it was my diet that was unhealthy.

It was during this time that I became curious about the hundreds of words in small font that are printed on any packaged edible item in this country. I learned from those easy-to-understand labels that average Americans consume 2,000 calories a day. As a result, a nutrition label shows percent daily values of different nutrients in a food based on a 2,000-calorie diet. Such a label gives you information about serving size, calories, different kinds of fats, cholesterol, sodium, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals in a food product. A food label also lists all the ingredients used in the food’s preparation.

It was these food labels that helped me make positive changes to my lifestyle. I learned that piling up the shopping cart with food was not wise at all. I learned that the fewer ingredients a food item has, the better. I began to spend more time in grocery shop aisles to identify food that was made with healthy ingredients, and were low on saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, sugar and cholesterol, but high on dietary fibre, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats or healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. I stopped buying food that contained artificial colours, flavours and preservatives. I began to eat more vegetables, fruits and fish. I could also now calculate how many cookies were safe to eat and how many calories I consumed from one cup of ice cream.

I loved ice cream, I still do, but I do not gorge on ice cream like before, because just half a cup of ice cream can contain 15 grams of sugar and 4 grams or more of saturated fat, depending upon how rich the ice cream is. And people rarely eat just one half cup, most people eat at least a cup of ice cream in one sitting.

I found out that some of my favourite foods do not contribute to my well-being, starting from white bread, pizzas, burgers, sugary drinks (including most fruit juices) to potato chips, cakes, pastries, breakfast cereals and cookies — they are rich in calorie and laden with sugar, saturated fat, trans fat and/or sodium.

Reading food labels opened my eyes to the truth behind America’s obesity problem. I made gradual changes to my daily food intake as an attempt to stay healthy. I still eat burger, fries, pizza, candy, ice cream and cookies, but not often.

Many chain restaurants in the U.S. now give calorie information on their menus and menu boards too, helping people make informed food choices. In Dhaka, the restaurant business has mushroomed. Eating is now a leisure activity. But how many consumers know what they are eating? Can they make informed food and drink choices, if they want to? Obesity among children and young men and women is now a growing concern, not just in Bangladesh, but in other parts of the world as well.

Overweight and obesity are now rising concerns in middle-income and low-income countries where urbanisation, high economic growth, availability of high-calorie fast/processed food, sedentary lifestyle, better transportation facilities, less outdoor recreational space and intake of more food and beverage as a result of attractive media campaigns are causing this new kind of health concern among children and adults. There is a lack of awareness around health and nutrition, too. Nutrition information about restaurant food is also not available to the public. People relish a wide variety of foods and beverages, but often at the expense of their good health.

A lower-middle income country like Bangladesh, where malnutrition has always been a problem, now bears the “double burden of nutrition,” which refers to the coexistence of undernutrition along with obesity and overweight.

Would you eat cheeseburger and fries often, if you knew that the cheeseburger contained 600 calories and the fries another 300? Not to mention the unhealthy saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and sodium in these foods that are detrimental to your health.

We can make a habit of reading food labels whenever they are available. Restaurants may not provide you with calorie and ingredient information, but a quick search on the Internet can give you some idea about how many calories and how much fat, cholesterol, sugar and sodium your food may possibly contain.

I will not live forever, so whatever number of years I will live, I want to live them in good health. “I read before I eat” is therefore my personal attempt at ensuring good health for me and my family. We are what we eat!

shuttle-a-new-ride-in-town

Shuttle — A new ride in town

Transportation is one of the biggest issues the country faces, especially here in the capital where traffic has no mercy. For women it is harder finding the right vehicle given public transport is not always deemed safe.

Shuttle is a new transport system in the city designed specifically for women, and within a very short period of time, it has become the staple vehicle for hundreds of women around the city.

The company was founded by Reyasat Chowdhury and Shah Sufian as a safe and affordable transport mode for women. The service started off with a few routes, but now has increased its routes and destinations due to demand. This is an app based service, but users can also call on their hotline number to book a ride. The transport will pick them up from any of the pickup points provided and drop them off to their booked destinations.

Efficiency wise, there are little to no complaints as the rides are always on time, maintain schedules, and most importantly are comfortable and safe. Although most users are students, Shuttle has been launched for all women in the city and hence can be used by anyone.

The service differs from Uber or Pathao in the sense that it has specific time schedules and routes. Shuttle has been especially helpful to students and office workers who have to travel far on a daily basis for class or work. It is also very affordable compared to a CNG or Taxi, which makes it a lifesaver for us daily commuters.

Find them on social media https://www.facebook.com/Shuttlebd or their website, http://www.shuttlebd.com to know about their routes and times.

Photo courtesy: Shuttle

binging-bliss

Binging Bliss

SHOWS

Get a viewing jolt for your week with ‘Patrick Melrose.’ Witness Benedict Cumberbatch once more in his acting excellence as he battles his inner demons over childhood abuse and an adulthood centred on drugs. With excellent visuals of the 1980s, this five-episode miniseries will keep you glued. If you are short on time, you could even finish this while being stuck in traffic. But rest assured, it will be time well spent!

Mirzapur is a peaceful town that exists within a crime-ridden stretch of Northern India. It’s a coveted city for drug trafficking power mongers, and, well, it doesn’t stay peaceful for long, at least not in the Amazon Prime series. The series, titled ‘Mirzapur,’ delivers a domino effect of bloodshed and deceit, fuelled by greed, all happening within nine episodes. Mind you, it is as violent and merciless as it gets, but don’t let that deter you from enjoying the captivating strong characters and top of the line visuals!

READS

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is no longer a figment in sci-fi story space. To get ahead of the curve and be in proper conversation, try your hand at reading ‘Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence’ by Max Tegmark. Crisp descriptions, insights and without going into super complex science-talk, Tegmark’s writing is meant for anyone, even those without any prior knowledge on AI. The best part of the book is every chapter includes a handy “The Bottom Line” box, highlighting key insights, in case you want to skip a chapter. This book is recommended, especially for those who want to smartly manoeuvre within modern tech talks without having to go through a ton of reading and listening material.

SHOPS

YouTube crafters cannot get enough of this nifty tool- The Hot Glue Gun. From a practical standpoint though, this is only a temporary fixing tool. Suppose a rhinestone or two fell off your dress in critical places, or maybe a corner has broken off your glasses- the hot glue gun can help you for the day easily, till you get a permanent solution. A few practice sessions are essential at the start so that you can use it with ease.

You can get yours from the hardware stores or stationery stores like Gyankosh and the likes, as well as from online shops. Typical prices range from Tk 300 to Tk 900, suiting all types of usage needs. A good tip would be to buy the ones that have a separate On/Off switch on the handle or the body. And remember, use with caution and in a well ventilated area.

Photo: Collected