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Plan your week

Ramadan has arrived and each year something or the other manages to go the way not much to our liking. What with all the fasting and everyday work, who does not want to get through the month and look back and say, "That Ramadan went smooth"?

Ramadan has already started and you have had enough time to adjust to the changes that it brings along. Now is the time to get into a routine for the rest of the month. So Lifestyle is back again with its Ramadan Weekly Planner to help you have a hassle-free Ramadan by keeping each day of the week for a separate task.

It is the fourth day of Ramadan and you have surely been sitting at the dining table adorned with the traditional iftar cuisine of piyaju, beguni, halim, jilapi, etc. for the past few days. Why not give a varied touch and prepare a dish different from what you are used to?

Choose a chicken recipe or if you are at a loss for something new just stir up a cabbage chicken salad.

Most of us have already let go of even the little amount of exercise that we usually did. Ramadan is no excuse for not taking care of your physique. Keep Wednesdays for putting your body to some work. Bring out your walking shoes and take a half-hour walk after you are done with your sehri and Fazr prayers.

Make this Thursday your break-your-fast-some-place-other-than-home day. Take a break from homemade iftars and take a trip to the unending food establishments in the city. This week visit one of the restaurants offering buffet meals. The up side is, along with iftar you can get the dinner over with for the day at a price similar to the regular only-dinner buffet.

Eid shopping starts even before Ramadan arrives and the tailors become busier than the American president! Do all necessary Eid shopping for yourself and your immediate family members today. Reach your desired shopping place as soon as it opens so that you have a head start. Also try to drop off your clothes at the tailor's.

Eid will be here in no time and you will be having throngs of visitors. Cleaning everything in the house will be impossible in a day or two. Start house cleaning this week by taking down the curtains and bed sheets you want to spread on Eid day and send them to the laundry. This will ensure that they are back in time and you have ample time to put them up.

Ramadan is not only the month for fasting and praying. It is also about how we make a difference in the lives of those who are not as fortunate as us. Every good deed counts and beginning the week by doing something good will not only make us feel good about ourselves but also put a smile on someone's face who is not as lucky as us.

This week provide iftar to an orphanage. Better still, take it there yourself and spend time with the wonderful kids; you will know just how good it feels.

Instead of inviting all those you want to invite at a time, invite groups of people every week. This week invite your friends over. You may want to serve something other than the traditional lebur shorbot to your guests. A virgin mojito would be pleasant.



Tweaking traditions

Another Ramadan has arrived; a time when Muslims are supposed to exercise restraint and understand moderation. Fasting for a month should logically help someone lose weight, but many [practising Muslims] around me complain about weight gain during this month. Then there are the obvious queries: Can/should I work out during Ramadan? When is the right time for exercise during Ramadan? I'll try and tackle all these.

Why many of us gain weight despite fasting
During one iftar, last year, as I saw my mother putting a deep fried piyaju in her mouth with a deep sense of satisfaction, I asked, “Why?” My mother's frank response: “Tradition. Iftar isn't complete without it.”

That's it, folks. Consuming junk -- piyaju, beguni, jilapi, mind numbingly sweet drinks, etc. -- after fasting from dawn to dusk and sending your system into a [mostly] sugar shock is the problem. If this is tradition, I say it's time to change. I'm not saying totally reject all that's traditional. I'm saying, you can tweak some of them.

What to eat
Haleem, for example, can be healthy. Can be, if you choose to keep it simple, and avoid the generous dose of beresta and oil that's thrown in. Chopped ginger, green chilli, lime juice -- by all means, go for it. From what I understand, haleem is a slow cooked mash of wheat, lentils and spices with meat [usually beef or mutton, but sometimes chicken]. These get two thumbs up from me, provided you don't go all “traditional” and flood it with oil and blackened onions.

This is guava season. Take full advantage of it. Guavas are rich in dietary fibre, vitamins A and C, folic acid, potassium, copper and manganese. Guavas also contain carotenoids and polyphenols -- the major classes of antioxidant pigments -- giving them relatively high potential antioxidant value. Eat it as it is or make a salad. Make it a part of your iftar.

If you think you're not getting enough protein, go nuts. Nuts are an excellent source of protein and healthy fats. Just make sure they are not roasted or salted. Portion control is important; in other words, don't go nuts on nuts. Safe to have 8/9 at a time.

Chhola/Chana (all legumes) can be good, provided you don't make them extra-greasy or extra-spicy.

Get cheesy. Cheese is an excellent source of protein and calcium. I like deshi paneer (buffalo cheese) but if you want to go fancy, all big grocery stores carry various kinds of cheese.

As for drink, go with nature's best -- water. If plain water doesn't quite quench your thirst, homemade lebur shorbot is fine, but keep in mind that the key ingredient is lime/lemon and not refined sugar.

For sehri, you can eat chira or muesli. My personal favourite is a warm bowl of oatmeal porridge. Yes, one of the must-haves in your grandmother's kitchen -- Quaker Oats -- is still ubiquitous and healthy. Why oats, you ask? Oatmeal contains a lot of fibre and therefore can stay in your stomach for hours after you eat it -- what you need when fasting. Oats are also a good source of many nutrients including vitamin E, zinc, selenium, copper, iron, manganese and magnesium.

As for protein, you can add some nuts in your porridge or have a piece of fish/chicken or an egg.

Working out during Ramadan
Don't use Ramadan as an excuse to not work out. I can understand how working out when fasting can be extremely taxing. Working out at home or running/walking -- in other words, skipping the gym -- can be done at any time of the day. You can lift weights, do some bodyweight exercises, walk/run/jog -- do whatever you want.

When to work out
A bit of flexibility might help. Instead of doing your workouts at your normal times, during Ramadan do them when you have time and feel the most energetic. A workout done when you feel you have the energy and can do it with intensity is better than a workout you squeeze in and do hurriedly, just because in theory your energy reserves would be better.

I'd recommend any time between iftar and sehri. For example, you could wake up an hour early for sehri, get a solid workout and then eat.

Ramadan doesn't encourage inertia or promote awful food choices, people do. Time to break free of these “traditions”.


Xpress Money

Xpress Money, a money transfer company of the country, has launched their nationwide financial literacy road show. The campaign strives to raise awareness regarding safe ways of transferring money. The first phase of the road show campaign started on 17 July, at Mohardi Bus Stand, Narshingdi and will unfold in two phases.

The show will gradually cover 45 upazilas. The initiative was launched by Micheal Luke Bhor, Regional Head Marketing-South Asia, Arvind Mylar, Regional Vice President South Asia, Shamim Iftakhar, Country Manager-Bangladesh, Faizul Alam, MD, Ariful Chowdhury, CEO of Oval Advertising Ltd and prominent singer Mehreen.

The main messages are passed through puppeteers. The key insight behind this campaign is to educate the consumers about safe remittance practices and thereby arm them with the knowledge about brand legal means of money transfer, such as Xpress Money. The company is adopting a BTL approach because those that receive this remittance are primarily the immediate relatives of the immigrants who might lack exposure to mass media such as television commercials and outdoor hoardings or do not have very high educational levels.


Kay Kraft launches Eid Collection

Given the importance of Eid to our community, fashion houses countrywide are hurrying to meet an increase in demand all over. Kay Kraft too isn't far behind, however their approach is a bit different. Their new line of clothing reflects not only the feel of Eid but is tailored to people's requirement and with an eye towards future trends.

On 8 July, 2012, every Kay Kraft outlet launched their newest line of clothes that includes clothing for men, women and an extensive collection for children. Saris, tops, shalwar kameez sets, tops, panjabis and shirts will all be available in the new line, also including children's line of fatuas and t-shirts.

However, the choice doesn't just end there. Matching jewellery, sandals and bags will also be available to make your entire shopping experience much more convenient. Colours of blue, green, magenta, red and black are all explored in these new designs.

The Children's Eid line is more varied and more attractive than ever before. For newborns till 12-year-olds, the line features print, embroidery and patchwork designs for both males and females. A unique feature is the messages that come along with the shirts, using captions and themes to appease the young yet choosy clientele.

The collection has five themes to choose from. The first one is Fisheries, a theme which reminds one of aquariums and all things fish and then there is also Aeroplane, Lady Bird, Parrot Series and Deer/ Bird Series, all self explanatory but unique in application.

Shirts, tops, pants and children's wear start from Tk.300 to 550. For gorgeous collections graced with laces, stones, trinkets, etc. the price starts from Tk.550 to 1500.

Kay Kraft has outlets in Banani 11, Shimanto Square, New Bailey Road, Malibagh Mouchak, Mirpur-2, Chittagong's Afmi Plaza and Aziz Super Market, Dhaka.

East Way hits six

East Way fashion house opened its sixth outlet at Level 2, Bashundhara City. Kabir Khan, the CEO of East Way Fashion house, inaugurated this branch that offers fashionable clothes, branded perfumes and accessories for men.

Contact: Bashundhara City Shopping Complex, Level 2, Block D, Shop 63-64, Panthapath; 0182 014 4035

Akankha's Glamour World

Akankha's Glamour World at East Rampura once again brings re-bonding related offers in view of Eid. Get high quality milk re-bonding, shining re-bonding, volume re-bonding, keratene re-bonding and colour rebonding from Akankha's Glamour World. Customers availing re-bonding offers will also get a 30 per cent discount on other services offered.

Skin treatments, aroma therapies and make up packages are also available.

Contact: 375 DIT Road, East Rampura (South of TV Centre); 255 DIT Road, West Rampura (Beside Rampura Bazaar). #0193 751 3006


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