Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 4, Issue 16, Tuesday April 24 , 2007



Summer Guide

Thirsty for summer…

Come summer, and there is likely to be a lot more than just a few cotton-dry mouths. Thirsty this summer? These are the do's and don'ts for satiating your thirst this season…

Before talking about what to drink for summer, it is important to flag the “what nots” at the outset. There is nothing new in a warning against carbonated drinks and soda pops. However, bear in mind that knowledge is NOT power- acting on the knowledge is power. So, while most are aware of the concentrated calories that these drinks contain, there is always that attitude that says, “Darn, let me think about surviving the heat first. Then maybe from tomorrow I will embark on something good.” Moreover, even diet sodas are not as good for the health as you may think- primarily because of the use of corn syrup and food colouring.

On the other hand, drink a lot of water. While it may not be as “flavoured” as the canned sodas, cold water can fend off dehydration fast and also quench thirst like no other drink. Science dictates us to drink at least eight glasses of water a day to keep up a healthy metabolism. But it is good to drink as much as is feasibly possible.

Milk is also the season's popular. A good source of calcium, it is important to keep milk and milk products in your everyday checklist. There are, nonetheless, some who do not prefer plain milk. For those, flavoured milk may be an option. They are available in a wide range of flavours, the most demanded being chocolate, banana and strawberry.

Summer is all about the cornucopia of exotic fruits. Mangoes and lychees weigh down the branches, and with the heat taking its toll, there is thirst to quench. As a natural follow-up, summer is also about fruit juices. Summer fruits or not, a chilled pitcher of juice especially after a long day of hard work and sun, does seem like a comforting idea.

For the time being, forget the fruit concentrates and focus on pure fruit nectar. Many people store fruit pulp in the refrigerator in large containers. When thirst calls for it, portions of it are stirred in with water and sugar for a drink. You may choose to prepare drinks from watermelons, mangoes, lychees, etc. If you are up for tangy drinks, go for green mangoes and tamarind.

By Shahmuddin Ahmed Siddiky

A healthy summer

Summer is the time to kick back your heels, snuggle deep into that comfy chaise-lounge and sip on a chilled smoothie. It is also the time for late afternoon siestas, early-hour tiredness and laziness. In general it is a season for being “done in” very easily. Heat, as we know, has the biggest hand in doing everyone in. But if there is anything that assists heat along the way in bringing people down, it's their food habits. Heat and oil seem to be made for each other. And there's a simple way to beat both- adopt a healthy and balanced food habit.

Getting reacquainted

Summer is the season for vegetables and fruits in abundance. And it is the time to get reacquainted. Like the Chinese, Bangladeshis have a habit of cooking everything. And that generally means the use of oil. We have a food cycle that incorporates roti-bhaji for breakfast and rice-n-curry for lunch and dinner. And this cycle generally tends to settle down very heavily once we're done eating. So substitute breakfast with cereals, fruits, juices and iced tea. As far as lunch and dinner go, instead of the usual fare, focus more on bhorthas and what the Sylhetis call “khatta” (sour soup). Bhortas require little grease and generally have the most intact nutrients while anything sour generally helps beat the heat.

Things to avoid

Oil, butter, mayonnaise, creamy salad dressings- basically anything that has a heavy cream base or lots of fat in it. The same goes for foods like biriyani and tehari. After all, haven't you ever wondered why people here always prefer winter weddings?

Must haves

Juices are the season's must haves. While any sort of juices will keep the parchment at bay, chilled lemonade is probably the best thirst quencher, right after water that is. And instead of getting your daily caffeine fix with piping hot tea, steaming coffee or hot chocolate, substitute these with iced tea, cold coffee and milk shake. Anything made out of green mangoes or tamarind, or the fruits themselves are great when it comes to beating the heat. And last but not the least, yoghurt. This is probably man's best friend in summer. It cools you down, keeps you fresh and leaves you healthy. So eat lots of yoghurt- sweet or sour.

Cooking the right way

It is the season to put those deep fryers away and take out those grills. Grilling and baking require less oil, and are generally healthier than frying. Steaming food will also keep them more nutritious and lighter on the tummy. So this is the right time to take out those health cook books and start experimenting.

Summer is a time to relax and have fun. But relaxing doesn't mean the inability to do anything. So clear out all that junk in your fridge and restock those shelves with summer produce and healthier, (or almost) grease free food. And for the rest? Just enjoy!

By Tahiat-e-Mahboob

Fun in the sun… maybe not

Summer has finally arrived. So most people are tossing out their office pocket Dictaphones and snapping open their vacation planners. With hats, beach bags and shades, life appears to be moving on smoothly. However it is important to keep in mind the potential threats- the heat and sun-related diseases and symptoms that go hand in hand with the turn of the season.

In Bangladesh- the land of eternal heat- summer, naturally, is the peak time for those rays to inflict their torture. One thing to keep an eye out for is dehydration. People generally spend more time outside, and their bodies are more exposed to the heat. This can make them lose a lot of water- e.g. in terms of sweat. So, it is crucial to drink a lot of water and keep yourself hydrated.

When summer vacation from schools arrive, most children spend a great deal of time outdoors being active. Because children have a larger surface area in relation to body mass, they often gain heat faster than adults when the outside air temperature is higher than body temperature. So make sure the children are well-hydrated as well.

It is always the best to drink before you even become thirsty. The catch is, you are already dehydrated by the time you are thirsty. Carry a water bottle, if possible. Eight glasses of water is the standard, but there is no harm if you drink a little more.

Sunburns are also very common in summer, and are accompanied by the darkening of the skin. Overexposure to the UV rays hike up the possibilities of contracting skin cancer and are also a primary agent for catalysing the aging process.

So, try avoiding the sun as much as possible. Given that this is close to impossible, make good use of sunscreen. Before you get one, make sure that SPF is 30 or above, such that it offers adequate protection from the sun.

Moreover, if you are walking down the road, try to stay in the shade as much as possible. Remember, any exposure to the sun brings you a little closer to looking like a withered prune.

By Shahmuddin Ahmed Siddiky


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