Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home   | Volume 6, Issue 45, Tuesday, November 22, 2011




Red red meat

As I got into work mode after the holidays, Google let me know that more than 1,300 Qataris were hospitalised for overeating during Eid al-Adha. Meat [the red kind] fest, overeating, indigestion, lethargy -- working out is the last thing on our minds during this particular festival.

Red meat isn't all bad for you -- it's a good source of zinc, vitamin B12 and iron. But red meat is high in saturated fats that clog arteries and increase inflammation. Cooking meat at high temperatures or charbroiling [e.g. kebabs] until it turns black creates heterocyclic amines, N-nitroso compounds and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons that are cancer-causing agents. The iron in red meat makes the conversion to N-nitroso compounds even worse.

So you love your red meat and you don't want to give it up. What do you do?

Limit red meat consumption to 2/3 times per week. Cut back on portion size for red meat -- one serving should be about the size of a deck of cards.

Red meat can be a part of your diet, but it shouldn't be at the top of your list of most consumed foods.

Now about getting back on track after the holidays:

Start moving right away. Begin with a 20-minute daily walk and 3 basic exercises.

Wake up your muscles with 30 push-ups, 30 squats, 30 crunches every second day. Do them before bed or first thing upon waking. Best yet, do them right after your walk.

Drink a litre of water per day as a goal. Flush out those 'bad' toxins with water.

If you have any problems please send your queries to lifestyleds@yahoo.com, the columnist will answer.


Beware of the "Beautiful Man Complex"

Manuel Vertiz Mou
Lecturer, Fashion Marketing and Management
Raffles Design Institute, Dhaka.

It is nice to see a well-groomed woman, which is actually expected from them, isn't it? Society accepts that a man does not comb his hair, but in the case of a woman it is an almost unforgivable sin. A man can wake up one day, pick any clothes from the floor of his bedroom and be ready to work but a woman has to look nice and impeccable. The worst part of these stereotypes (because it is no more than that) is that if anyone tries to change something, the masculinity or femininity is questioned. A man has to be traditionally tough and rugged (even though not groomed at all) to be considered highly masculine. Anything on the opposite side is considered feminine. But since when has this concept been accepted?

History shows that beauty is not reserved for women alone; actually, it was strongly related with men in many aspects such as: lifestyle (French King Louis XIV was a promoter of beauty in all aspects of life like food, architecture, furniture and fashion), fashion design (Charles Frederick Worth is considered the father of high fashion) and grooming (George Bryan Brummell was a famous dandy that set a high standard for men's grooming). Someone told me that these cases are not correct because it is important to consider that all of them (or at least most of them) had a different sort of orientation. Definitely, we can't be sure about what were the personal preferences of the mentioned characters but what is for sure is that these people set the precedent for men's beauty.

Let's test your perception: if you see in a salon a man lying on a reclining chair with cream all over his face and with two cucumbers on his eyes while a lady is grooming his nails, what would you think of him? If you question his preference, then you have what I call the “Beautiful Man Complex”. That means that you are looking at your environment through the lens of stereotypes and thinking that everything that relates to beauty is in the forbidden land for men; and those who dare to try anything of that nature have a questionable masculinity. Those are stereotypes and not facts.

What are the facts then? Think about this: men hate the thought of being bald, being overweight and they reject white hair and wrinkles, and of course are afraid of all the other aging effects. Another important fact is that many men don't say that the above-mentioned problems are a real concern for them, but they really are. How is it possible to know that? It becomes clear, especially when men in their 40s start to behave like young people to prove that their youth and manhood are intact, and start to do things like dye their hair with a black colour to hide the white/grey proper of their age or date younger women (which implies they do not dress like an old man). The point here is not to judge them but to ponder why men have to wait until that age to be concerned about their looks. Why wait until they notice the wrinkles on their faces to do something about it? Why wait until they are old to figure out how to look fresh and attractive again?

Since the 90s the expression Metrosexual was used to create a category of men who are concerned about their looks. Sometimes these men are so concerned about it that they start to compete with the grooming habits of their female partners. The intention of this article is not to promote the Metrosexual lifestyle but to help men to realise that there is nothing wrong with being concerned about how to look good. Previously, I mentioned how important it is to look good for succeeding in business, and this includes taking care of details like clothes and hairstyle, how clean and neatly pressed the clothes are (I've seen men using brand new shirts with all the wrinkles of the packing because they just took them from the box and didn't even care about ironing them a little), and add some interesting feature from a fashion trend to the wardrobe. These actions are rational, so go ahead, think more about how to look good and forget about being stereotyped. Remember that you only have one body and it is not replaceable; take care of it and prepare for success.

Model: Zunaid
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed
Wardrobe: Overture T-shirt
Facebook link:


Fashion is temporary, style permanent

Maheen Khan
Fashion designer, Mayasir

AGE: The meaning of the word is different to women at various stages of their lives. It is on this note I share with you my version of age-appropriate styles. How does one describe an intelligent, upwardly mobile woman of today? I would think her choices will be as varied and as complex as her independent mind. She will surely discover herself at every age and her level of confidence and choice will be determined at most times by her physique and comfort.

Twenty-first century Bangladeshi women are in control of their bodies and minds. They are consciously taking decisions to look better. Smart women are aware that fairness creams are not an answer to the mystic of their inner beauty. They will need to shape up and work out to remain fit and keep their radiance. Therefore ladies, exercise regimes, yoga and pilates may be your safest options. You may have a hundred excuses and legitimate reasons for not taking some time off for such activities and I for one should know, but rest assured it is inexcusable at any age.

Remember the people having the most fun are not always the awkward teenagers but rather the spirited middle aged go-getters with the funds and the freedom to live the high life. You must learn to claim it for yourself. It is a fact that most of us are locking away our birth certificates and ignoring the passage of time. We must also explore and not ignore cutting edge technology and today we can easily evade the decades and enter a real-life world where our thirties, forties and fifties can easily melt into one another.

The reality and half the battle lies in looking youthful. Being a child at heart is a little less fun if you are totally out of shape. You will agree with me that the real pleasure of being young is being carefree, taking risks and making mistakes. You simply can't buy that kind of spirit and as you too grow older you will realise that there are many advantages of being an older woman -- less hesitance, insecurity and way more confidence and conviction that has been acquired over decades of experience. The key is to find your self at any age, as your style choices will reflect ultimately your character and personality. Age is a state of mind. You are as old or as young as you feel but please do try to find your personal panache.

You might want to observe and survey before trying new looks. Fads and trends are usually considered way too seriously at your age. Popular culture rules and you may be under pressure to imitate your peers. Global crazes can easily influence you to embrace new styles. Single shoulder, strapless, spaghetti straps are young and the latest butterfly sleeves are a rage. Shorter styles in blouses or dresses paired with Capri can be considered too. In your twenties try bouncy drapes, ruchette pleats and adventurous cuts that are a bit odd and carries the shock factor. Wear neon shades in your twenties.

Express and take a stand with your line choices. You are ready to make your fashion journey. Maybe you should try slim fitted styles and still keep some element of surprise. Sport looks that will redefine, keeping you looking sprightly and fresh. Try an off shoulder asymmetrical neck line on a jersey. Show off bold geometrical patterns that are self-imposing and courageous. Broad stripes, herring bone, Mondriaan patterns that are daunting and spunky. Belt your waistline with multiple belts. Thirties are the ideal age to exploit and establish your own ideas. Wear contrasting colours like black and white or techno brilliant hues.

You are now ready to add drama and execute theatrical looks. Sweeping floral, ombre shades of colour in slick shift styles with palazzo pants could look good. Be thespian and slightly over the top in your style choices. Don sari drape dresses that are tailored and form fitted yet feminine and eclectic. Shoulder-less blouses paired with lace saris in jewel colours can entwine a rich sophistication dramatise sensation. In your forties, stick to vibrant colours that are vivacious and stimulating.

Confident and optimistic you are hopefully way more sanguine and self-assured. Your style should exude your poise and temperament. Clean lines and effortless silhouettes that work through the seasons should be more appropriate. Keep it form-fitted or let it flow depending on your level of comfort. Consider your necklines and hemlines with greater importance. Minimal and suave patterns with fascinating spectacular accessories will add zing to your personality. You should consider sorbet colours in translucent sexy chiffons that are forever classic in appearance.

Photo: Star Lifestyle Archive


Beauteous Bougainvilleas

If one concentrates on the bougainvillea hedges, as they charm the arcades and roadsides, one may follow them up from Dhanmondi to the central mosque of the metropolis, Baitul Mukarram, and beyond. They form a riot of colours brightening up the day, along with the straight neem trees, whose leaves are supposed to drive away unwanted insects and rodents, like roaches and rats. This is apart from making our boulevards beautiful and elegant. The beautiful bougainvilleas hang down from houses, drape pillars, glide through balconies and form shady shelters during the oppressive heat of summer days -- when only dogs and Englishmen are supposed to be out.

The bark of the thick, mo older hedges twist and glide in symmetrical harmony over the balconies, balustrades, alcoves and arches, as well as from pillars with their decorated tops and bases. The delicate bright and pale pink, magenta, white, duck-egg and cornflower yellow blow with the wind and sit still, when nature holds its breath during the mid afternoon heat or before the monsoon storms.

These simple but elegant flowers deck homes, offices, shopping malls, schools, colleges, and what you will. Wherever one has been in Bangladesh -- in Comilla and Chittagong, one has seen these creepers lend eye relief. Along with gulmohar (flame of the forest trees), with their red, orange and yellow flowers, these bougainvilleas brighten the eyes of the onlooker in places like the broad wide road of the Dhaka University area, which smells so sweet and intoxicating if one only goes there after sunset. It's as if one were in “A midsummer night's dream” or in the pages of “The Rubbayat of Omar Khayyam” or writings of Kahlil Gibran; or even the contemporary writings of the well-loved Professor of English, Dr. Niaz (?). Near the Dhaka Art College and University quarters premises (TSC), these flowers are to be found, at times.

Harmony, elegance, gentleness, these elements all combine in a soft and subtle manner in these graceful, blossoms. The combine with the trailing and gliding of the money-plants, with their lovely, fleshy leaves, trailing stems and curling ends are there aplenty with some of the cultural centres such as the Alliance Francaise, with its welcoming patches of garden with their wrought iron stark white benches and areas covered with clay statues.

If one were to go to the other end of the city, leaving behind the hub of Dhanmondi, and go beyond to Banani, Gulshan, DOHS and Baridhara, tall trees, flower laden creepers, and sound-pollution free as well as dirtpollution free zones are nice places to be in. The yellow and white butterflies and dark moths that flit about here will warm one's heart, hands down. Sure, Dhaka no gardens such as the one in Paris, in Louvre or the ones like Regents Park in London, or great resorts in the Mediterranean Sea or the Black Forest in Germany. The pride of the creations of the Hindu and Muslim rulers are to be seen in Dhaka only at places like the Ramna Park, National Museum or the Lalbagh Fort, or distant palaces and places, as in Rajshahi.

The glory that was of “Bengala”, as Milton called the country, has not vanished altogether . The foreign rulers and their galleons had reasons to covet this jewel of a place --- where the homely blossoms, like the bougainvilleas are to be found aplenty.

By Fayza Haq


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