Sep 212017
 

Myth : My House is always free from Pollutants

We always live under the impression that pollution exists everywhere but in our house. It may be because we  take trouble cleaning it thoroughly every alternate week. Or we keep the windows closed all the time. We assume that all our measures are sufficient to keep the germs and harmful pollutants out of your homes.

Reality : Your house may harbor more harmful pollutants than you think

Organic Pollutants

As a matter of fact, the air in the surrounding might be much safer than the air inside your house. Here’s why……

  • Your house is a confined space which restricts air flow due to walls. Rarely do we see a well ventilated house in city. The fear of vehicle emissions entering in our personal space, force us to keep the windows closed too. The result is that the air inside remains stagnant. Time and again when we open the doors, we inadvertently exchange only the surrounding air pockets. So ideally, we are breathing air which has higher contents of our exhaled CO2. If any of our family member suffers from an infection which transfers via air, we inhale that too. This increases our chance of catching the infection.
  • The second source of harmful pollutants are dust-mites. Any asthmatic person will know this terms. These are microscopic organisms which are present in our surrounding, largely in fabric. So a curtain which we have not washed since a long time, or a bed spreads which we do not changed frequently, are the likely places where we find the dust-mites breeding. They feed on dead skin and breed in damp environment. And the source for this is our dead skin which we shed unknowingly every day, and our sweat which is absorbed in the bed spreads. Presence of humidity in air will also help breeding this tiny enemies.
  • Mold is another pollutant in your house. You will normally observe it in damp environment, especially on furniture which is not been used. Are you neglected wiping off the surface of the wooden  cupboard door? Observe carefully and you will find layer of fungus growth. This can start fungal infection on your skin leading to various skin diseases.
Chemical Pollutants

Your house can also contain certain chemical pollutants. Below is a list of few with their source and the effects they have.

  • Acidic Fumes: The cleaning agents which we use in our house, especially the bathroom, normally contain acidic components in various proportions. These chemicals give out acidic fumes when exposed to air. These fumes are harmful to health and can cause nausea, irritation to eyes, inflammation of breathing track etc. If inhaled in large quantity, these can lead to death too.
  • Lead: Lead is the primary culprit of brain damage in growing kids. Low quality paint on toys and walls of our house can contain large amount lead primarily. If we ingest the paint flakes, it can lead to lead poisoning and possible neural damage.
  • Aerosol Sprays: The aerosol sprays contain chemicals like formaldehyde and xylene, which are toxins. The next time you are “freshening up” your room, consider checking the contents. These ingredients are carcinogens and neurotoxins which are harmful to human bodies.

Prevention: Here’s how you safeguard you homes

Organic Pollutants

If you have read carefully, you will notice that the one very important aspect which encourages organic pollutants is presence of damp atmosphere and lack of air circulation. If you ensure that you house remains dry and well ventilates, you have solved half your problems

  • When you wake up in the morning, keep your windows open. Let the sun rays and morning fresh air enter your rooms. Fresh air ventilates the room and carries out the accumulated carbon dioxide and other dust borne microbes. Sunlight removes the humidity from air thus prevents growth of fungus and dust mites. It is also advisable not to fold your bed covers after you wake up. Keep them spread-out shabbily so that they too become dry and prohibit these microbes from breeding. Change the sheets regularly.
  • Along with your floors, also clean your walls, ceiling and wooden furniture once in a while. This will help remove dust which normally settles on flat surface.
  • If you are using air conditioner, clean the filters of the indoor unit. These filters normally accumulate a lot of dust which can be a breeding ground for dust-mites. Carpets and curtains too tend to absorb lot of dust. A powerful vacuum cleaner can do the trick.
Chemical Pollutants
  • Avoid chemical cleaning solvents. Search for herbal solutions for cleaning as far as possible. In case not feasible, use the chemicals only in well ventilated room, if possible, with exhaust fan running.
  • Avoid chemical based aerosols as room fresheners. You can use natural solution like scented candles. Fresh flowers are a very good source of mild fragrances. Keep a vase full of them and change them daily. Just ensure that none of your family members are allergic to pollen.
  • Use good quality paints. Check the contents of the paints. It should not contain harmful toxins like formaldehyde. One such paint is Asian Paints Royale Atmos . This paint contains activated carbon which absorbs bad odors and released mild fragrances. The paint follows strict international and safety standards. The carcinogens content in it is very less. It is also washable. The Royale Atmos helps you get cleaner and fresher air in your homes.

For more info check https://www.asianpaints.com/atmos

 

Nov 062011
 

Fish as a Health Food

It has been said time and again that fish is a health food. We, living in coastal region, have access to plenty of it and so it has been our daily diet for ages. The most common method of preparing fish in my region has been cooking it in tamarind & curry leaves based curry. Fried fish as a side dish has been the second most favored choice. It’s hard to pass a day when one of our meal doesn’t contain fish.

Having said that, we do understand that in many cases, fish can be as harmful to your cholesterol levels as red meat. Shelled fishes are known to increase cholesterol count, so don’t consider yourself healthy if you eat a lot of crabs and lobsters. There are lot other fishes which are known to carry toxic elements in their body. But I am not writing this to wake your health concerns. This post is to let you know that the cook in me is still alive and cooking. I am experimenting on steamed fishes, and have been achieving better results each time. Though there are variety of fishes which can be steamed, I restrict myself to pomfret as the flesh becomes very soft after cooking. You can also steam Kingfish, mackerel and other types of fish as per your liking.

….….…Wow!! I just took a break from writing to finish off the steamed pomfret which was on the stove while I was writing. I just can’t to wait to share this recipe.

Let’s do it

Ingredients :

(I prefer not to weigh my ingredients because each time you end up having different proportions which creates interesting flavors. Believe me!!Also, you can use the bit extra marinade to go with your appam or rice)

1 Pomfret(size as per your requirement)

4 tablespoon grated coconut(health conscious people can opt out of this ingredient)

1 green chili

1/2 tomato

2 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste

handful of fresh cilantro leaves

turmeric leaves or banana leaves(enough to wrap the pomfret and the marinade, OPTIONAL)

a piece of ambi haldi(OPTIONAL, tastes very good when used with turmeric leaves wrapping)

food grade aluminum foil

4-5 curry leaves

salt to taste

Method:

Except for the pomfret, aluminum foil, the wrapping leaves and ambi haldi, mix everything in the grinder to make a smooth paste for the marinade/stuffing. Keep aside.

Clean and gut out the pomfret, remove the fins and tail. Remove the mouth, eyes. There are two ways of marinating, one is stuffing and second is applying the marinade on the grooves cut on the fish. I prefer grooves, but if you need assistance on stuffing, check out this video. If you don’t want to stuff, cut deep grooves across the breadth of the fish while keeping the fishbone intact. Apply the marinade generously all over the fish and fill up the mouth cavity.

Cut the ambi haldi in to thin strands and spread all over the fish. Place the fish with its marinade on the turmeric leaves or banana leaves and wrap around gently. Then place this entire wrapping on aluminum foil and wrap around(aluminum foil helps in preserving the juices which might seep out of the leaves). If you don’t have the leaves, you can wrap the fish in the foil itself, but remember, the leaves impart a good natural flavor and aroma to the steamed fish.

Photo1436Use a traditional idli maker to steam the fish. Photo1437It can even be steamed in a pressure cooker with the whistle removed. While steaming ensure that there is enough water to last for about 30 minutes of steaming on low heat, but not so much that the water enters the aluminum foil. In the traditional idli maker, you can use the idli plates to separate the fish from the water. In a pressure cooker use suitable stand which is stable and which can hold the fish.

Finish Garnish and ServePhoto1440

Steam the fish for about 30-35 minutes on medium heat. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves. Serve hot. While serving, try to retain the juices that flow out of the fish. Goes well with idli, dosa, steamed rice, appam, amboli etc..

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