Thursday, March 31, 2011

Health - Eat Right To Shed Those Extra Pounds

By: Saima Ausaf

Have you been trying in vain to get rid of those unwanted pounds that you have accumulated over the last few years? Of course none of us want to look ugly with thick tyres round our waist, protruding bellies and double chins. One of the best ways to stay in shape without following a strict diet plan is to include foods that give us the energy we need without leaving any fatty deposits in our body tissues.
Skipping meals and foods will only slow your metabolism and consequently your health will deteriorate. Some foods help our body burn fat. So the key to losing weight should be to replace the fat laden foods with these fat burning foods. Wondering what are these foods? Following is the list of foods that burn more calories than the calorie content of the food, thereby fighting stored fat.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

World Cup 2011 - Pakistan Vs India in Semi Finals - Clash Of The Titans

By: Shazia Yousuf
The much awaited match between Pakistan and India, more appropriately called “The clash of the titans” is just about to take place. Hopes are high, spirits elevated. We are all hoping for the best, yet restlessness is on its peak. I tried compiling some of the interesting views of some of my very prominent facebook friends who have been quite vocal and full of excitement during the past few days. Here are some of those views.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Perspective - “We hope you lose tomorrow, daddy”

By: Shazia Yousuf

We hope you lose tomorrow, daddy. These were the words of the daughters of Paul Collingwood, the England cricket player. They said this to him just before the England vs. West Indies do or die encounter as they wanted their daddy to “come back home” as soon as possible. To them all that mattered was to be with their father, even if his team lost the world cup! This explains how much they missed their daddy, who had been extremely busy with his cricket schedule which had forced him to stay away from his family now for several months.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Today's Thought - "One match at a time"

The spirit that the Team Pakistan displayed in today’s quarter finals against the West Indian team is what a focused, well balanced team is supposed to have. They displayed just the right attitude, and were humble, modest and focused – “one game at a time”. They looked mature, played like experienced team and later during the presentation, talked sensibly too!
All this shows they have a sense of direction, and they are working as a team. Shahid Afridi and Hafeez both talked about taking “one match at a time”, and devising a strategy depending upon the team they are playing against. This actually shows proper planning and a sense of direction that every team member should have during each game to emerge victorious.
Good strategy, direction, hard work and team spirit – these are the ingredients to victory.
Go Team Pakistan!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Thought of the week - Hope

I have been into gardening for the past few months. I added quite a few plants to my nursery, experimented moving plants from smaller pots to bigger ones, planted seeds and watched them grow and flower, and even tried to save wilting plants, which I am proud to have succeeded in. I had the chance to feel Mother Nature’s enchanting vocation.
Autumn followed by winter and spring was a learning experience. Autumn left plants totally withered; leaves turned pale yellow. Some of the plants, like the lemon and the motia shed their leaves to the extent that it made me feel as if something went wrong and the plants would die soon. The stems looked dry and lifeless. I wondered if it was time to dispose them off and start fresh. But I decided I should wait.
Spring started, yet there was no significant improvement. But then gradually, the plants started to bloom. I could see fresh, tiny, crispy green leaves emerging from the lifeless, dry stalks.
Seeing life emerging from the ostensibly dead plants reinforced my belief in the Hidden Divine Essence and the Divine laws of life.
I was reminded of the following lines:
“Paiwasta reh shajar se umeed-e-bahar rakh”
Miracles are not needed, to believe. There is a multitude of signs all around us that make us feel the Divine Presence. We should just not let go of hope.

Health - Laugh For Better Blood Vessels

Laughing could help to improve blood vessel function!
Laughter relaxes blood vessels and increases blood flow -- the exact opposite of what your blood vessels do when you are stressed. Relaxed blood vessels decreases strain on the heart. 
The best way to relax blood vessels is by watching a funny movie. If funny movies aren't your style, spend time with the people who tickle your funny bone.
Blood vessels are lined with a layer of cells called endothelium; they regulate blood flow by helping blood vessels expand and contract. In a small study, healthy men and women watched either a funny movie or an intense, violent one while researchers measured blood flow through an artery in their upper arm.

Soul's Reflections - Consumed By the Self

By: Shazia Yousuf

When the hearts turn that of stone, frozen, solid, nothing seems to be able to penetrate into it or even out of it. What remains inside sinks deep within, trapped, concealed, secluded, excommunicate – “Consumed by the self”!

This is the ailment that appalls the heart and devours the entire soul slowly and passively, leaving it in a solitude, surrounded by the mound of distress seemingly so enormous, more towering than the small heaps of problems of all the others! And apparently you are alone, left to cross over the mound all by yourself. The ailment of not being able to see beyond your own self leaves you in a solitary distress, anticipating support from those around, but unable to actually feel the presence of all the love that surrounds; the arms that are stretched out, awaiting to be held, but all in vain. The soul is blinded, trapped within the frozen heart, sealed and bolted in the locks of the self!

Wisdom Corner - Disasters

By: Muhammad Haris
“And [do not forget] the tribes of Aad and Thamud. Their fate is quite visible from their ruins and deserted dwellings. Satan had made their foul deeds seem attractive to them, and turned them away from the right path; although they were endowed with the ability of perceiving the truth.” (Al Quran 29:38)
“[Remember also] Korah [Qaroon], Pharoah [Firaun] and Thamud, to whom Moses came with clear signs, but they behaved very arrogantly in the land; and they could not obviously escape Us.” (Al Quran 29:39)
“Thus, each one of them We penalized for his sin. On some We sent down a violent tornado; others We seized by a mighty blast; and some We caused to be swallowed up by the earth; and yet others We caused to be drowned. It was not Allah Who wronged them. It was they themselves, who wronged [their own souls].” (29:40)
The Quran implies that it is man’s ability to perceive the truth (Istibsar) or the gist of intelligence and skill that makes him morally responsible for his doings, and hence for his failure to resist his own evil impulses which is evidently the meaning of Satan (devil) in this context. Other gifts are capacity to grow and develop; and primarily the independent will – the freedom to choose.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Go Team Pakistan - Blow Them Off!

Hopes high, spirits elevated, Pakistanis full of excitement! Hoping for the best, yet fearing the unexpected. Team play can work the way towards victory. All we can say is:

Go Team Pakistan - Blow them off!   

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Perspective - Can Beggars be Choosers?

By: Shazia Yousuf

From what I had learnt in my English language class during school days, I was pretty certain of the fact that "beggars cannot be choosers". For if beggars could choose, this idiom would lose its essence and we would have to come up with a modified version for this. But one fine day, this certainty became quite an uncertainty.

I was at the Naheed Super Market for some household errands. I happened to have very little cash with me, just enough for the stuff that I had to buy. When I was done, I was left with just a few coins totaling about five or seven rupees only. I usually keep these coins in a special coin pouch and I use them for handing over the exact change when I have to ask my driver to buy "roti" (bread) for him from "tandoor" (public oven), as he is usually not too fond of returning the change!

Anyways, as I came out of Naheed Supermarket, I started walking towards my car. That walk is usually not an unaccompanied walk, for there are quite a few people doing their day jobs right outside the supermarket known as begging. So, I was also followed by an elderly man.

Health - Fruit Of The Month - Strawberries

By: Saima Ausaf

Strawberries are considered to be the most popular berries in the world. This bite sized fruit, bright red in colour, covered by tiny green leaves forming a cap on the top, is not only appealing to the eye but also tempting to eat. Packed with many essential elements, juicy and delicious strawberries (when in season) should be a part of one’s diet.

Health - This Week's Health Tips: Improve Blood Pressure, Immunity and Skin

Eat Eggs for Breakfast for a Smoother Skin
Maybe you eat eggs for breakfast because of their awesome power to control your appetite. But here's another reason to give eggs a place at the breakfast table: smooth skin.
Be they poached, hard-boiled, or sunny-side up, eggs can help you feel full longer, thanks to ample amounts of protein in the whites and yolk. Eggs are also rich in two key skin-smoothing nutrients, choline and lutein. Choline -- a member of the B vitamin family -- helps make up fatty portions of cell membranes and is essential for healthy skin-cell functioning.

Wisdom Corner - Points To Ponder: Divine Mercy

By: Muhammad Haris

Rumi’s Views (By Reynold A. Nicholson)

While on trial on the Day of Judgment God said to Angels, “When he (under trial) confesses his sins, bring him back from the door of hell for he never lost hope in Me. (39:53). Like one who recks of naught, I will deliver him and cancel all his trespasses. I will kindle such a fire of Grace that the least spark thereof consumes all sins and necessity and free will. I will set fire to the tenement of Man and make its thorns a bower of roses.”

A remarkable display of The Divine attributes of All Merciful nature.

Soul's Reflections - Restless Soul

By: Shazia Yousuf

By: Shazia Yousuf

Standing alone, feet bathing in cool waves from the huge ocean that is stretched right in front of me.
My gaze fixed at the sea, as if in a trance, thoughts as deep as the ocean.

Staring at the waves making ripples, the ocean roaring so loud, yet it brings peace to the heart.

My heart is not here with me, it’s wandering, away from me, somewhere, where the sounds of the ocean reach, maybe the other end, where my heart actually belongs, where it rests in peace.

The soul is restless, there’s a desire burning, wanting to be where the heart is, desiring the union of the soul with the heart, wishing for the heart’s abode to be right next to it, wanting for it to travel all those miles, to be with the heart…wanting to drown in the ocean of Divine love, desiring to be where there is eternal peace…

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Today's Thought - Go Team Pakistan!

Mistakes, blunders, or bad luck, or all of the three together; those are the ingredients that resulted in Pakistan’s defeat today against New Zealand. Kamran Akmal, was declared the culprit, who aided in turning this match into a total loss! Face book and twitter updates were slashing and bashing the team and especially Akmal.
But we need to realize one thing; defeat at this stage is good. Today’s defeat identified areas for improvement which were initially hidden by success.
So let’s keep our spirits high, keep praying with the same zeal, and support the national team. Your support and prayers – that is what they need!

Good Luck Team Pakistan!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Perspective - The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

By: Shazia Yousuf

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

These were the lines from the opening chapter of the novel “A Tale of Two cities” by Charles Dickens, a novel that revolves around the time of the French Revolution. I recalled these lines while I was waiting for my appointment with a lawyer at the City Court.

Health - Hygienic Kitchen - A Key To Your Health

By: Saima Ausaf

The kitchen is often regarded as the heart of the home, where a housewife spends much of her valuable moments preparing and cooking food for her loved ones. Taking into consideration the likes and dislikes of her family members, their nutritional requirements, she incorporates her affection and care to come up with healthy and nutritious meals for the family.

When we talk about wholesome and nourishing meals, we must realize that it is not only the nutritive content of the food that is being discussed but rather, the entire process of coming up with a  healthy meal. This includes: the proper selection of the raw ingredients, their hygienic handling and successful processing into hearty dishes. All this is only possible if we practice the rules of good hygiene in our kitchens.

Wisdom Corner - The Hidden Divine Essence

By: Muhammad Haris
There is one Real Being; the ground of all existence. This Reality or Truth [God] could be perceived as:
·         The Hidden Divine Essence (by mystics) or
·         The Divine Knowledge or
·         The Divine Wisdom or
·         The Super Mind or
·         The Super Intelligence or
·         The Super Consciousness or
·         The Phenomenal world by which the Hidden Essence is made manifest.

The Phenomenal world is the expression of Divine Attributes which describes the Nature, Conduct and Behavior of The Divine Essence.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Soul's Reflections - Mirrors

By: Zahoor-ul-Islam

Today was a usual day. I woke up at the usual time. I prepared for the office in the same way as I did every day, did some analysis of my appearance, realized I needed a haircut, some dieting and exercise to get rid of those extra fats! I realized my appearance had changed and I no longer looked like what I used to be ten years back. This realization urged me to think about joining a gym.
After spending some fifteen twenty minutes on self grooming, I was all set to leave for work, my hair neatly done with some gel and dressed properly in a nice white shirt with grey jacket. It was quite a contrast to the state I woke up in! Thanks to the mirror. Mirror gives quick feedback about us, how we look like and how we can improve.
Suddenly one of the neurons in my brain somehow passes an electrical signal through one of its synapses to another neuron and establishes a very absurd but valid inference out of this situation.  “Do we have such a mirror in our lives to judge our personality?” We do have mirrors that tell us of our appearance, but what if we had such a mirror, that could actually tell us how we look when we frown upon other people.