Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 4, Issue 19, Tuesday May 15, 2007



Check It Out

To wear or not to wear

While fashion does repeat itself, it is still progressive. Hence buttons have given way to zippers, pedalled machines have been driven out by electrical ones and to save millions of animals around the world, leather has been replaced by what is fondly known as “pleather”. Hence it is no surprise that with compactness, comfort and (subconsciously) fashion in mind, one genius came up with contact lens.

Apparently they did an estimate and discovered that one hundred and twenty five million, that is two percent of the world's population, wears contacts. Certain countries seem to claim a larger portion of this count than others. But the thread of commonality, wherever used, generally remains the same: why put something on top of your eyes when you can put them in it without anyone ever knowing?

Debates on who deserves the honoured title of inventor still remains obscure to a certain extent. Even more pressing is the debate about whether they truly match up to the effectiveness of spectacles or whether they are one of technology's many evils. Some doctors seem to swear by them, some prescribe as seen fit and others simply refuse to utter those two dreaded words. But in the end it really doesn't matter who truly invented them or if your doctor likes them or not. If someone wants to get rid of spectacles, now there is a way and without a doubt millions are clambering to use it.

So what really makes contacts so attractive to wearers? The obvious is its size and ability to be near invisible. After all it's easy to carry, fairly easy to wear (that is if you like sticking something in your eye), and obviously it gives the wearer a chance to rectify a problem without actually admitting to it.

But after all the medical mumbo-jumbo, contacts have now become more of a fashion statement where many people who have perfectly fine eyes are using them to bring about a different look. How? The answer is simple: coloured contacts. Such is their prevalence that coloured contacts have gone into the next level with the introduction of what are fondly known as “Wacky Contacts”. Anyone who has seen Sharon Stone's Diabolique knows that to scare the living daylights out of his wife, Chazz Palminteri wears a pair of white contacts to make his eyes look pupil-less. Setting aside the wackier part, coloured contacts are now used to make a huge fashion statement. Want a pair of smoky eyes? Settle on grey ones. For that dark exotic look pick the chocolate brown ones.

Unfortunately for us Asians, especially us Bangladeshis, as much as we'd like to believe that we too can carry off Ash's green gazers or Rani's lilting light browns, the truth is simple: No, we can't. Most Bangladeshis simply don't have the right colouring for light eyes and generally look tacky in anything that is a shade lighter than dark brown. And if there's anything tackier than wearing the wrong coloured lens, it's wearing a different coloured lens to match a different outfits everyday. Come on ladies and gentlemen (too), you should know better. Matching contacts don't make you look glam, they simply make you look gaudy and trying-too-hard!

So for all you contact-crazy cravers out there, if you need them for medical reasons make sure to talk it over very well with your eye doctor before you drop all that moola. And if you're hell bent on making a fashion statement please settle for black, dark brown or hazel at best. After all the whole point is to dazzle without looking diabolique!

By Tahiat-e-Mahboob

The festivities of Noboborsho are over and we should now brace ourselves for the long summer heat. The early summer tends to dehydrate our bodies, especially those who are involved in outdoor work. Dehydration causes fatigue and other related problems. It is advisable to maintain the required fluid level for the normal functioning of our bodies. We should increase the intake of fluids, particularly fresh limewater, green coconut water, and fresh juices from seasonal fruits. In the main meal, we can try out some cold soups and fresh salads prepared from seasonal fruits and vegetables. These will prove quite bracing.

Cucumber-Coriander Soup
This rich, smooth soup should be served cold. Serves 4 to 6
2 tsp margarine
1 large onion (chopped)
2 (8in) cucumbers (diced)
1 potato (diced)
3 cups light stock or broth
1 tbsp white vinegar
Few sprigs of fresh coriander
¾ cup fat free yoghurt
White pepper for seasoning
A pinch of salt (optional)
Heat margarine and cook onion covered until just soft. Add cucumber, potato, stock, vinegar and coriander leaves. Bring it to a boil, simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes. Blend until smooth and chill. Stir the yoghurt gently into the soup. Season to taste. Serve in individual bowls and garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
Calories- About 75 to 115 per serving.
Suitable for diabetics
Low fibre
Very low fat
Very low salt

Chilled Salad Soup
Serves 6
500gm ripe tomatoes (skinned and chopped)
4 slices whole wheat bread (crust removed)
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
2 tbsp red vinegar
2 to 3 tbsp olive oil
1 cup tomato juice (unsweetened)
1 large onion (chopped)
1 small cucumber (chopped)
2 tbsp mayonnaise (optional)
Black pepper for seasoning
Salt to taste
2 cups cold water
100 gm yoghurt (fat free)
1 small cucumber (cut into cubes)
1 small onion (cut into thin slices)
Take a large bowl and put all the ingredients in except the cold water and yoghurt and mix very well. Blend until smooth and dilute with cold water. Stir in the yoghurt gently and chill in refrigerator. Serve cold soup in individual bowls and garnish with cucumber cubes and onion slices. Float a few ice cubes on the soup if desired.
Suitable for diabetics
Very low fat

Tomato, Melon and Mint Salad
This is a most colourful summery salad, full of fresh herbs, the flavours of which are absorbed by the melon and tomato. Mix the dressing just before serving.
1 melon (medium size)
500g tomatoes (peeled)
A handful of fresh mint leaves
1 ½ tsp mustard powder
Salt to taste
1 tsp sugar (optional)
Black pepper for seasoning
1 tsp fresh parsley or coriander (chopped)
1 tsp green onion (chopped)
2 to 3 tbsp olive oil
1 to 2 tbsp white vinegar
Cut the melon in half and scoop out the seeds. Peel and cut into one-inch chunks. Cut the tomatoes in half and scoop out their seeds. Cut each half into 4 wedges. Strip the mint leaves from their stems and chop. Combine with the tomatoes and melon in a bowl. Put the ingredients for the dressing in a screw-topped jar and shake well. Just before serving, pour the dressing over the salad and toss together.

Orange and Chinese Cabbage Salad
Serves 4
500g Chinese cabbage
150g orange
Grated peel of half an orange
6 tbsp sesame seed oil
3 tbsp orange juice (fresh)
2 tbsp lemon juice (fresh)
Freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste (optional)
Wash the cabbage and slice into shreds. Peel the orange and cut the flesh into thin slices. Grate half of the orange rind. Mix cabbage and orange slices. Combine the dressing ingredients and pour over the salad. Toss and garnish with the grated orange rind.
Calories 245 per serving
Carbohydrate 10g
Suitable for diabetics



Cruel summer

This summer the heat seems almost unbearable. The summer seems to invite thirst, fatigue, sunburn, heat strokes, dehydration, heat exhaustion and what not. Unless preventive measures are ensured, there is a high possibility that one will fall ill. Prolonged exposure to high temperatures often leads to heat illnesses that can be fatal.

People most at risk of heat illnesses are the elderly, those with high blood pressure and those who work or exercise in high temperatures. A good option this summer is to exercise indoors. If you happen to adore outdoor activities and exercise, a good option for you would be to do early in the morning or after 5pm when temperatures are cooler. You should also take frequent breaks fluids in abundance.

One needs to take special care exercising in this heat and humidity because heat illnesses can be life threatening. Medical emergencies can be prevented if you follow some basic guidelines.

There are three major types of heat illnesses:
Heat cramps are a type of heat injury that usually occurs after strenuous exercise or an outdoor activity. Heat cramps are muscle pains or spasms that occur usually in the abdomen, arms, or legs and usually affect people who sweat a lot during strenuous activity. This sweating depletes the body of its salt, sodium and moisture. Symptoms of heat cramps are severe pain and cramps in the legs and abdomen, faintness or dizziness, rapid heart rate, weakness, and profuse sweating.

If you are affected by heat cramp, you should stop exercising immediately and quietly sit in a shady or cool place and drink lots of liquids. Even if the cramp subsides soon, you should not resume the exercise. If the cramp doesn't subside within an hour, you should seek medical help.

Heat exhaustion happens when one is exposed to heat for a prolonged period of time. The body may become overwhelmed by heat when its mechanism of sweating to keep cool breaks down. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include nausea, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, fainting, headache, pale and moist skin, weak pulse, and disorientation. If heat exhaustion is untreated, it may lead to heat stroke.

If you are affected by heat exhaustion, you should avail lots of rest and drink cool water, juice or beverages. A light shower would also be helpful.

Heat stroke, unlike heat exhaustion, strikes suddenly and with little warning. When the body's cooling system fails, the body's temperature rises quickly. Infants and the elderly may fall victim to heat strokes. Signs of heat stroke include very high body temperature, hot, dry skin, lack of sweating, fast pulse, dizziness, hot and red dry skin, confusion, and possible loss of consciousness. Heat strokes occur when the body becomes unable to control its temperature and the sweating mechanism.

Body temperatures may rise to 106°F or higher within 10-15 minutes. Heat strokes are serious and may lead to death and even permanent disability.

Patients of heat stroke need to have their temperature reduced quickly, often with ice packs, and must also be given IV fluids for rehydration; they must be taken to the hospital as quickly as possible and may have to stay in the hospital for observation since many different body organs can fail in heat strokes.

There are some immediate first aid measures you can take while waiting for help to arrive. Get the person indoors and remove clothing and gently apply cool water to the skin. Put ice packs on the armpit and groin areas and fan the person. Immersing a victim into a bathtub of cold water is a recognised method of cooling. Bed rest is generally advised and the body temperature may fluctuate abnormally for weeks after a heat stroke.

Taking all the preventives, summer should offer one lots of fun in the sunshine. Be careful about yourself and your kids and summer is all for you to enjoy!!

By Nazia Atique


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