Thursday, December 4, 2014

7 Ways to Make a Year Your Best Year as a Couple

Has it been a great year for you? Make next year your best yet for you and your honey.

Reflect and identify relationship trends before looking ahead

When you reflect on your year, you will notice some common trends. Some trends were good for your relationship, and some were bad. Before you start making resolutions, setting goals, and determining your direction for the New Year, figure this out. Once you know the trends, you will know what worked and what didn't work. You can then move forward from that point. 

Forget resolutions - choose something profound to focus on

Several years ago, I decided to do away with New Year's resolutions. Instead, I decided to create one theme or focus for the year. This is one guide to direct my year, help me make decisions, and to use as a focal point when I got off track. It has worked wonders! Instead of making resolutions, create a theme for your relationship. You can base what you do in your relationship on this theme. Our theme for this year is to make us a priority. So when we have conflicting choices, we choose the one that aligns best with our focus, or theme. 

Read (or write) a relationship book together

The act of reading together is a great way to unwind. And when you read books that help your relationship, it is a double win. My wife and I can definitely do better at this, as we have not made it a priority. In addition, with my wife's help I'll be publishing a marriage book in the New Year. Whether you are a writer or not, the practice of reading together will benefit your relationship. 

Get sweaty together and physically challenge yourselves

This past year, we got sweaty together. My wife, who doesn't really enjoy running, agreed to run a 5k with me. We trained together for about 4 weeks and then completed a 5km together. We ended up exceeding our expectations! Then we started working out in the early mornings by starting the training video Insanity. Both challenged us in different ways, and an appreciation, respect, and support for one another has followed. We are planning more of the same in the new year, including completing Insanity and running more 5kms and/or longer races. 

Be aware of where your relationship is today

We have been through ups and downs in our marriage. We have experienced several different stages in marriage. One night, we sat down and reflected on this and I decided to write about each stage of marriage we experienced. As we talked and I wrote, we realized where our marriage is today, and how important this stage is to us, our kids, and other marriages. Knowing where your marriage stands today will help you continue to grow together, and eventually experience all there is in marriage. 

Be open and prepare for change

My wife and I were born and raised in the same town, and we have lived in our current city since college. Our state is what we know. But this year, we opened the door to something different. We actually considered moving to a new state. A state nowhere near where we live now. And we were prepared to just about drop everything to do it. It came very close to happening, but the opportunity that was going to help us do so was put on hold. But that process, and excitement, of getting completely out of our comfort zones and starting something new, engaged us and brought us together. 

Get away from everything together

We went on a weekend retreat together in late spring. This was a few months after our income began to grow again, and we solidified our housing situation. Things were better, but still tough. At first, it seemed the timing of the retreat was bad, as a lot was going on, but the minute we arrived we began to think differently. That weekend retreat was a huge breakthrough for our marriage. What we shared and experienced impacted the rest of the year and beyond in our relationship. 

Foods to eat if you are Diabetic

If you’re a diabetic, chances are, you already know a lot about the lifestyle you’re supposed to follow- exercise, addiction control and food. To help you out, we've put down a list of some good foods you could choose for yourself if you have diabetes.


Recent studies have revealed that just a single apple a day could cut down the levels of harmful cholesterol in blood by a whopping 40 percent, and give the body a good dose of antioxidants, which could help protect and deal with diabetes. Consumption of 5 or more apples a week is linked to 23 percent reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.


With just 20 calories and a good amount of dietary fiber per serving, asparagus makes for a wonderful food choice for those with diabetes. Asparagus also contains many antioxidants, and its consumption is thought to reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer, and also slow down the effects of ageing.


Avocadoes have earned their reputation of being heart healthy, but not many people know that they are also wonderful for diabetics. It has been found that regular consumption of avocadoes could reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 25 per cent. 


when it comes to diabetes, beans are nothing less than super-foods. They are high in fiber, and just a cup serving a day is known to help control blood sugar levels. What’s more, consuming them every day can reduce the risk of stroke by 7 percent.


Blueberries, among other berries, are best known for their flavonoid content. Their high fiber content makes them one of the best when it comes to following a diet for diabetes. Consuming berries is thought to keep blood sugar levels from spiking up.


Broccoli is another great super-food to add to your diet if you’re a diabetic. It is rich in an antioxidant beta carotene, and is known to promote healthy vision, keep the teeth and bones strong, and also promote skin health. It is also believed that broccoli can reduce cell damage occurring due to high blood sugar. 


Carrots are rich in fiber and important vitamins that boost immunity. Consumption of carrots is also thought to prevent the development of certain cancers, and when it comes to diabetes, raw carrots may also lower the risk of development of type 2 diabetes even in those who have a genetic predisposition to the disease.

Diabetes is among the most debilitating of lifestyle diseases, often the precursor to many other types of health disorders such as obesity, cardiovascular diseases and chronic illnesses of the eye. Most diabetics tend to depend upon taking medications, many of which include hormone supplementation injections and drugs for controlling the sugar levels. Though these aids are often critical for managing cases where diabetes seems to have turned into an incurable condition, it is always better to seek natural cures. These natural remedies don’t put forth the kind of side-effects associated with stronger medications and can be resourced from our everyday supplies.


Rich in potassium and loaded with fibre, a pear is also low in carbohydrates! Add them in your fruit bowl or mix it up with spinach to get an instant fix for your hunger pangs. Despite the fact that fruits and vegetables are good for you, there’s no denying the fact that some of them contain sugar and carbohydrates, albeit in small amounts. So keep your portions small and do check with your nutritionist before any major diet changes.


Cabbage has a low glycaemic index of 10 which is very diabetes friendly. It is also a rich source of vitamin C and K. However, keep an eye on the fat content if you are including cabbage in your diet.


Tempting red strawberries or indigo coloured blueberries or just any berries for that matter. Experts advice that these little colourful fruits are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and fibre and are low-carb! So top off your breakfast with some strawberries or just toss them in your mouth. It adds a pop of colour and a dollop of health!


Despite the fact that an orange contains sugar, it also contains other compounds that help control blood glucose, which makes it good for a diabetes patient. The soluble fibre present in an orange thickens as it’s being digested. This in turn slows down the sugar absorption, offering better control of your blood sugar.


Is there nothing this super food can’t do? Research shows that green, leafy and fresh spinach is extremely low in calories and carbohydrates, which is especially good news if you are a diabetic. In fact, spinach is one of the rare things that a diabetic can eat almost freely! 

Okra (Lady’s finger)

This vegetable is a sure shot hit with kids and diabetics! Like brinjals and oranges, the presence of soluble fibre in okra makes this humble vegetable one of the best things to eat if you are diabetic


Non-starchy, low carbohydrate and soluble fibre, could a vegetable be more perfect for diabetes? Load up on this easily available vegetable and enjoy the goodness that it offers!


If you have a sweet tooth, don’t worry! Sweet cherries are good for you! The sugar in them is natural. To add to that, they have a low calorie count and a minimal carbohydrate level! But make sure you check the labels before you pick up a can of cherries as many of them are loaded with artificial sweeteners!

Drink water

Water tends to mobilize the high sugar content in blood and thereby helps in preventing aggravation. Drinking 2.5 litres of water, on a daily basis, will not only regulate physical functions but will also lower chances of cardiovascular and diabetic ailments.

Green Tea

Green tea is nothing less than a miracle cure for ailments. Consuming a cup of unsweetened green tea regularly will rid the body of free radicals and let the antioxidants, contained within, normalize the blood sugar levels. This will aid in reducing diabetes and help keep the chances at bay.


Vinegar is an excellent dietary compound responsible for diluting concentrated sugar-levels in the blood. Studies have shown that two spoonful’s of vinegar before a meal can reduce the glucose influx.

Fresh Fruits

Natural fruit sugars are the best options, as dietary supplements, since they provide all the necessary vitamins and minerals required. Studies have shown that an adequate intake of Vitamin A and C maintains blood and bone health. Include fresh citrus fruits like oranges, apples, pineapples, grapes and lemons in your diet. Consume bananas in moderation, since their sugar structure is more complex than that of citrus fruits. 


Proper exercise is the key element in maintaining optimum health. Studies have shown that exercise improves the blood flow and clears sugar levels in the blood. This results in higher metabolism and lower risks of diabetes.


Soy proteins are one of the miracle cures for reducing diabetes among crucial patients. The is flavones contained in them reduce the sugar content in blood and keep the body nourished, while accumulating much fewer calories, when compared to other foods.


Studies have shown that moderate exposure to sunlight boosts the physical synthesis of vitamin D, which is essential for doing away with insulin resistance in the body. Lack of Vitamin D results in low insulin production. While soaking up the sun might sound like an excellent yet easy remedy, to reduce diabetes levels, one must pay attention not to overexpose themselves to avoid risks of skin cancer.

Fresh Vegetables

Fresh vegetables are rich sources of iron, zinc, potassium, calcium and other essential nutrients. These nutrients restore the balance and aid in overall cardiovascular and nervous health. This prompts the body to assimilate proteins and produce insulin in an optimum level. 

Lean Meat

Lean meats are great substitutes for non-vegetarians under diabetes risk. The high protein content is essential to sustain physical well-being, since fats and high-carbohydrate diets are out of the question. 

Cinnamon Powder

Powdered cinnamon, apart from spicing up your foods, has the ability to lower blood sugar levels, as well. Take a pinch of cinnamon with warm water every day and kiss diabetes goodbye.

Sleep Well

A good night’s sleep is as essential for proper health, as food or exercise. Studies have shown that adults sleeping for 7-8 hours every night have experienced lesser chances of contracting diabetes in the long run, than those who sleep for fewer hours. The science behind it claims that sleep calms the brain and facilitates the normal hormone secretion. Lack of sleep upsets the normal hormonal balance.

Small, Frequent Meals

High metabolic rates are highly conducive in maintaining blood-sugar levels and nothing keeps metabolism more fired up than consuming small portions, frequently. Studies have shown that frequent meals result in greater absorption of nutrients and lesser deposition of fat. Without fat deposition, the insulin secretion is normalized.

Using Methi Seeds

Fenugreek or Methi seeds are considered the most effective of natural cures that can help alleviate typical symptoms of diabetes. Methi seeds should be soaked in water overnight. The water concentrated with the seeds’ juices should be consumed early in the morning on an empty stomach. For making this natural concoction stronger, you can crush the seeds and sieve them through a cloth or filter paper.

Using Natural Juices

Some juices have been found to be effective in controlling high sugar levels that can prove fatal for diabetics. These are juices of fruits and vegetables that are further enriched with antioxidants and many rare micronutrients. The most recommended variety here is the Bitter Gourd or Karela juice. Other options include grape juice or the juice-like extract made from boiling mango leaves in water.

Aloe Gel Remedy

An effective, natural concoction for diabetes can be prepared by adding a few teaspoons of ground Bay Leaf (Tejpatra) with one teaspoon of turmeric. This mixture should be mixed with an equal amount of aloe vera gel and consumed daily, before lunch and dinner.

Using Chapattis to Your Advantage

Another useful way of managing diabetes is increasing the daily intake of fiber in the natural form. This includes increasing the fiber content in chappatis that tend to be eaten with regularity in Indian homes. The refined flour should be mixed with a combination of flours procured from different cereals, particularly those high in soluble fiber. This includes flours of barley and lentils like Chana Dal and soya bean.

Using Jarul or Banaba

Diabetics can use Banaba or Jarul plant extract. Banaba is among the lesser known of herbal plants in India. Along with India, it is grown in only a handful of other nations. The herbal powder of Banaba extract can be used to make herbal tea. This plant contains high concentrations of contains Corosolic acid—the most potent of biochemical compounds that stimulate faster glucose metabolism and help to regulate blood sugar and insulin levels that is very useful for combating diabetes.


Jamun is one of the rarest plants where nearly each part, the leaves, berry and seeds are known to help in controlling blood sugar levels. Neem leaves are useful in a similar manner. Amla or the Indian goose Berry is similarly effective in managing sugar levels. Instead of using only Neem leaves, you can also add leaves of Tulsi and Bel Patra. All these leaves can be boiled together for increasing the potency of the filtered extract.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Places of interest near Siliguri

Darjeeling – Popularly known as the Queen of the Hills and is situated on the foothills of the Himalayas at an elevation of 2123 meters / 70001 feet. Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is a World Heritage site declared by UNESCO. It’s a ride worth cherishing. Ghoom, Tinchuley, Takdah, Lebong, Chatakpur, Sukhipokhori, Lepcha Jagat, Baggura, Peshok, Sandakphu, Maneybhanjan, Gauribas, Seemana, Tonglu, Mirik, Kurseong, Tindharia are all places to visit near Darjeeling. Maneybhanjan, Chitrey, Gauribas, Tonglu, Kalopokhori are some of the places to trek.

Mirik - Mirik is situated at an elevation of nearly 1768 meters and is the last range before the Terrain or plain land starts. Lake Sumendu, Singha Devi, Deosi Dara, Rameetay Dara, Rai Dhap, Kawlay Dara View point, Helipad & Swiss Cottage, Devisthan is some of the places of interest in Mirik. The town is centered on the Sumendu Lake. Maneybhanjan, Chitrey, Gauribas, Tonglu, Kalopokhori, Falut, Gurdung, Samadein, Gorkey, Rammam are some of the locations guest can enjoy the stay and the view. 

Kalimpong – Kalimpong is a quieter destination situated at an elevation of 1243 meters / 4078 feet. Durpin Hill is known for the famous Zong Dog Palri Fo Brang Monastery, Jelap La View Point, Pine View Point, Chitra Bhanu & Kalim Temple, Dr Graham's Homes, Kalimpong Arts & Crafts Centre, Nature Interpretation Centre are some more places of Interest. Pedong, Rikissum, Damsang Fort, Lava, Lolaygaon, Charkhole, Raliekhola, Reshikhola, Monsong, Samthar Valley are all places of interest nearby

Sikkim – 22nd State of India has known for its strategic location with Pelling, Lachen, Lachung, Rinchenpong, Mangan, Ravangla, Hee Bermiok, Namchi, Rhenock, Aritar, Yuksom, Uttarey, Varsey and few other places of tourist interest. Pelling and Gangtok stay has more option for tourist i.e. staying in this two places one can roam more destinations. The Himalayan range in the northern frontier separates India from The Republic of China, Tibetan Autonomous Region, Nepaland Bhutan.

Gangtok – This capital city is situated at an elevation of 1780 meters / 5480 feet. Rumtek Monastery, Enchey Monastery, Do Drul Chorten, Ganesh Tok, Tashiling Monastery, Hanuman Tok, Phensong Monastery, Fambong La Wildlife Sanctuary, Saramsa Garden, Tashi Viewpoint, Flower Show, M G Road, Ranka Monastery, Ban Jhakri Falls, Government Institute of Cottage Industry, Sikkim Research Institute of Tibetology, Ridge Park & White Hall Complex, Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical Garden are some of the places of interest in Gangtok.
Yuksom – Situated at a height of 5800 feet.  The place is visited by backpackers who arrive here for these treks. This is an ideal place for leisure holiday, trekker, wildlife, birding and adventure seekers. Yuksom is situated in West Sikkimnearly 40 kilometers from Pelling / Pemayangtse. Norbugang Chorten still bears the evidence of the consecration ceremony like the form of stone seats and foot prints of Latsun Chembo i.e. one of the lamas who consecrated the king. It also serves as the base camp for Dzongri - Goechala trek.
Pelling – Is situated at an elevation of 2073 meters / 6800 feet. Its history, natural beauty, traditional culture of the place, home stay at Hee Bermiok, Dunghay are all makes this place a tourist hot spot. Sanga Choeling Monastry and Pemayangtse Monastery is an important attraction in Pelling. Khechepalri lake, Changay waterfall and Kanchendzonga waterfall, Dentam, Singh shore Bridge. Rock Garden and Yuksom are other places of visit. Nearby places of tourist interest are Yuksom, Legship, Namchi, Ravangla, Sikip are nearby places of interest.

Ravangla - Situated at an elevation of 7100 feet at the base of Maenam Hill, with pristine landscape and is nearly 75 kilometers from Gangtok. Nearby villages known as Yangang, Tinkitam, Kewzing, Barfung & Bakhim are ideal for home stay and some of them are really hot spot among visitors. It has diverse range of flora and fauna, mountains, waterfalls, Temi tea gardens, peaceful villages, monasteries and fresh air. Kewzing, Bonn Monastery, Ralong Monastery, Borong Hot water springs are worth Visiting. Maenam Peak at nearly 10300 feet offers breathtaking views.

Rinchenpong - Rinchenpong in Lepcha dialect means the place to assemble. Pong means place and Rinchen stands for assembly. Maggi Dara is a place with a new monastery is being built close to the Rabindra Smriti Van.  Trek to Bersey Rhododendron Sanctuary or visit Bersey Rhododendron Sanctuary by Road, Sai Mandir at Daramdin, Singshore Bridge, Samduptse statue and Heritage House of 1860 are places of interest nearby. Rinchenpong Monastery and Resume monastery are places of tourist interest.

 Uttarey / Varsey - The Varsey Rhododendron Sanctuary is a destination in the Singalila Range. From Barsey one can trek to Sandhukphu and Phalut in Darjeeling via Gorkhey. The sanctuary is spread across nearly 104 square kilometers across the Singalila Range. This Sanctuary can be approached from three points; they are Hilley, Dentam and Soreng. The approach path to Varsey / Bashey Getting there is either from Jorethang – Sombaria - Hilley by road or trek from Soreng to Barsey is 12 kilometers – start from the Soreng Bazaar.

Lachen An exotic and remote destination in north Sikkim situated at a height of 8840 feet and a five to six hour drive from Gangtok can be reached at afternoon covering nearly 120 kilometers. Lachen serves as a base for visiting Thangu,Chopta Valley and Gurudongmar Lake. Gurudongmar Lake, Chopta Valley, Thangu are the places of interest and Green Laketrek can start from Thangu or Lachen. Lachung is close and is known for hot water spring, Yumthang, Zero point; Yumesamdong and Katao are some of the places of tourist interest.

Lachung – Situated at an altitude of 3564 meters / 11800 feet is a paradise on earth with rhododendron adding color to life. Known for its waterfalls, hot springs, glaciers, Wildlife and the majestic snow covered land. The road from Lachung to Yumthang is lined with rhododendrons with Chungthang on the way, where the river Lachen Chu and Lachung Chu meets. Lachung and Lachen requires special permit, have the basic infrastructure and is nearly 5 to 6 hours drive. Green Lake trek is one of the most difficult treks not for the altitude

Dooars - Gorumara National Park, Chapramari Wildlife Park, Lataguri, Toto Para, Chilapata Forest, Buxa Tiger Reserve, Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga, Jayanti, Bhutanghat, Rajabhatkawa, Alipurduar, Khukusia Park with Khairbari Tiger Rescue Centre, Kunja Nagar, Samsing, Bindu, Jaldhaka, SantaleyKhola, Cooch Behar, Rasikbeel,  Bindu Dam, Jaldhaka Hydel Project, Cardamom Curing Centre, Godak Village, Tea gardens, Gahunbari, Gajoldoba, Murti, Phuentsholling, Rachela Pass, Mouchuki, Neora Valley National Park, Bodaganj, Bhramri Devi Temple, Jatileswar Temple, Jalpesh Temple are some of the places of interest.

Namchi - The latest tourist attraction is the Char Dham - a pilgrimage center of the Hindu deity Lord Shiva. Ropeway is also being constructed from Samdruptse to Namchi town and then to Char Dham for tourist to views the hills and surroundings. Temi tea garden, Damthang, Doling Gumpha, Cottage industry, Rock Garden near Namchi bazaar, Samdruptse, one of the tallest statue in Asia of Guru Padmasambhava, Phaley Dara or seven hills, Alley Monastery, helipad, Chaar Dham, etc. are tourist hot spot nearby. Pelling, Ravangla, Yuksom, Hee Bermiok, Legship, Rinchenpong are all nearby.

Places to See in Siliguri

One of the well-known city of West Bengal,  Siliguri has turned out to be an important center of trade and commerce. Blessed with the bounty of nature, Siliguri has maintained a perfect balance between its industrial estates and ecology of the region.

The city of Siliguri attracts many tourists from far and wide. Being an important nerve center of all kinds of activities related to the trade and commerce of the region, Siliguri is always thronged by many visitors who are overwhelmed at the natural and scenic beauty of the place. Siliguri also boasts of many shopping malls that are famous for the variety of foreign goods. The beautiful city of Siliguri can be best described as the shoppers' paradise.

Amidst the picturesque landscape of the exotic mountain ranges of the great Himalayas, Siliguri has many places of tourist interest.

Siliguri City The city of Siliguri is very well planned. Siliguri is endowed with the natural scenic beauty that adds to the grace of the place. One can see the white snow clad mountain peaks of the great Himalayan Ranges from Siliguri. The pleasant weather of Siliguri attracts numerous tourists all over the year

Kanchanjunga Stadium

The Kanchanjunga Stadium of Siliguri hosts many district, state, national and international level competitions. Spread over a huge area, the Kanchanjunga Stadium draws many tourists

Hong Kong Market

One of the major place of tourist attraction, the Hong Kong Market of Siliguri is a well known shopping complex of the region that draws several tourist who are absolutely thrilled at the variety of commodities that are sold at very reasonable 


124kms away from Siliguri, this wild life sanctuary is home to rare one-horned rhino and many other species of animals and birds. With the beautiful river Torsa running through the forest, it is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Siliguri. 


This is also another Wild Life Sanctuary only 87kms away from Siliguri. A variety of species of animals and birds are found here.


Lying close to Siliguri, Coochbehar was once a princely state. Beautiful palaces, lakes and temples still exist with an old-world charm.


Some 100kms away from Siliguri, this is a picturesque hill resort.


The scenic spot of Kalijhora lies 27kms away from Siliguri Along the river Teesta.

Mahananda Weir Sukna

This is also a wild life sanctuary close to Siliguri.
The journey starts from Coronation Bridge. The first stop on the Dooars express, Mongpong, is a destination in its own right. Trek through the virgin forests or let the serpentine mud tracks vanishing into the deep woods beckon you on a voyage of discovery. And while you are at it let the moisture laden cool breeze with the fragrance of the forest uplift you.

At a distance of 40 km from Siliguri and 65 km from Jalpaiguri, Malbazar is one of the most important towns in Dooars. It is famous for its tea gardens and scenic spots and as a base of starting package tours to the hills and other places around. The Siliguri-Alipurduar broad gauge intercity express passes through Malbazar. This is one of the most beautiful train rides anywhere.

One can find here  rare one-horned rhinoceros, the mighty bison, leopard, spotted deer, sambar, hog deer, reptiles, huge wild tuskers, wild boars and the rarest variety of animals and birds including plenty of peacocks. Elephant safaris through the Jaldapara forest in search of wild animals, is a memorable experience. Numerous watch towers here allow you to take a real close look at wildlife. Moreover the scintillating light and sound show at Jaldapara guest house adds a wild thrill to your trip.

Located beside the Murti river, this place has a lovely forest resort. With the nature's generosity at its best, the small village of Murti, by the side of the rivulet Murti, is a desired winter picnic spot for local residents.

The Chapramari forest, also a wildlife sanctuary, is located near the NH31 connecting the north-east with the rest of India. Chapramari is famous for its Elephant population. It is quite close to the Gorumara National Park.

At a distance of 82 km from Siliguri, it takes about 3 hours to reach Samsing from Siliguri through the most picturesque landscape. Beside Jaldhaka river, it is famous for it's scenic beauty, orange plantations and forest resort.

All around is a forest so deep and so green, it radiates an ethereal energy. Some of the roads here are so quiet that you can hear the crickets and birds distinctly even at 10 in the morning. Walking around here is a great experience as there is beauty hidden around in every corner.

Toto Para
A small village on the bank of the river Torsha near the Bhutan border, famous for the Dooars aboriginals - the Totos. Totos are one of the most primitive tribes in the world. Totopara is the only place where the Totos live.

Rajabhatkhawa is a small town situated just outside the Buxa Tiger Reserve in the Jalpaiguri district. It is known for its natural beauty, surrounded by forests. It is attractive in its own way for its nature information centre.

This is a beautiful spot encircled by Jayanti river and hills.

This is famous for its scenic beauty beside river Raidak bordering Bhutan.

It is the border and a major gateway to Bhutan.