Kerala Tourism bags the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Ulysses Award for Innovation in Public Policy and Governance. The award has made Kerala the first Indian state to win the UN award. It is considered to be the top UN Award for global leadership in creating innovative initiatives through Responsible Tourism. The award was presented on January 22 at a ceremony held at the International Tourism Trade Fair (FITUR), in Madrid, Spain.
Kerala was awarded for its innovative ‘Responsible Tourism’ project in Kumarakom. The project had successfully linked the local community with the hospitality industry and government departments. This in turn has created a model for empowerment and development of the people in the area while sustaining eco-friendly tourism.
The Kumarakom model initiative had earlier won the National Award for Best Rural Tourism Project in March 2013 and also, the PATA Grand Award for Environment. At the awards ceremony, the UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai said, “Kerala, a popular ecotourism destination, portrays responsible and sustainable tourism in an exceptional manner”. “The recognition Kerala received is a great step towards creating a better understanding among other destinations”, He added. Taleb Rifai wished “continued success” for Kerala Tourism!
In 2013, the Malaysian Ministry of Tourism had won the UNWTO Ulysses Award for its Homestay Experience Programme.
The axiom “eat breakfast like a king” has been proven right ! A study at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv University found eating a good breakfast increases fertility among women who suffer from menstrual irregularities.
The influence of meal times on the health of women with menstrual irregularities due to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) has been analysed in the study. PCOS affects approximately 6-10% of women of reproductive age, disrupting their reproductive abilities.
Women suffering from PCOS suffer from insulin resistance, which in turn leads to an increase in male sex hormones (androgens). It can cause menstrual irregularities, hair loss, increase in body hair, acne, fertility problems and future diabetes.
The study covered over 60 women with a body mass index of less than 23 in the age group of 25-39 for a period of 12 weeks.
The women were divided into two groups and were allowed to consume 1800 calories a day. One group consumed their largest meal, approximately 980 calories as breakfast and the other group as dinner. The findings showed improved results for the group that consumed a big breakfast.
Glucose levels of insulin decreased by 8% and testosterone levels decreased by nearly 50% in the breakfast group while dinner group showed no changes. The rate of ovulation too went up in the breakfast group compared to the dinner group, showing that eating a big breakfast leads to an increase in the level of fertility among women with polycystic ovary syndrome.
The study was published in the journal Clinical Science.
Google search results have unveiled an interesting pattern that put South Indians way ahead than the rest of the country when it comes to online searches on healthy food. From garlic to pomegranate and egg whites, the health conscious south Indians do not seem to get enough of their online health updates.
The highest number of searches were recorded from the southern states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Kerala topped the search results for items such as oats and olive oil and the recent dengue epidemic scare triggered a whopping 250 percent increase in the searches for the popular herbal remedy of the papaya leaves.
Apart from papaya, Pomegranate too topped the search lists of South Indians thanks to its medicinal value and anti-cancerous properties. The highest number of searches for pomegranate came from Tamil Nadu, to be followed by Karnataka.
The netizens of Karnataka searched the most for garlic, green vegetables, oats, sprouts and egg whites. Oats which is thought to be effective in controlling obesity is evolving as a popular breakfast item for South Indians while garlic is favored for its anti viral and anti oxidant properties that can slow down the process of natural aging.
Interestingly , the online community of Kerala was not very keen on other popular health foods such as skimmed milk, turmeric, green vegetables or sprouts unlike the other South Indian states. The highest number of searches for turmeric were from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh while the keyword skimmed milk got the maximum hits from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Delhi and Maharashtra. It is heartening to note that the next generation of Kerala is not leaving anything to chance in health matters, which in turn will go a long way in safeguarding the healthcare credentials of Kerala .
Kochi, the emerging business capital of Kerala is all set to get a stylish, air conditioned outlet for premium brand beverages soon. With the success of its premium outlet in the capital city in Thiruvananthapuram, Bevco is considering the idea of opening more such outlets in various other destinations. Tipplers are offered the ultimate convenience of choosing their favorite brands of IMFL, beer and wine in this stylish supermarket where different brands of beverages will be displayed in racks. The shoppers can stroll around to choose and pick their brands without being preyed upon by curious onlookers at the roadside beverage outlets.
These premium outlets will sell only premium brands of beverages that are priced ₹ 500 and more. However these shops will not be selling any Foreign made foreign liquour (FMFL) like Scotch Whiskey or Cognae for the time being. These high end Bevco outlets will cater to the emerging trend and culture of responsible drinking in the society. It will indeed relieve many a high end tipplers the pain and shame of standing in the queue in road side Bevco outlets to get their favorite brand of booze! The tipplers who are often forced to resort to the costly option of hitting a bar to wind down after a day’s work can sigh a relief at this latest initiative from Bevco. However, will this innovative venture promote drinking or just cater to the niche segment of responsible drinking? Well, we may have to wait for a while to get an answer for this million dollar question that pops up in every malayalee’s mind!
American author and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain arrived in Alappuzha in March 2010 to learn about Kerala’s mouth-watering spicy cuisine about which he had heard from many. Later, his visit was featured on Discovery Channel’s culinary and cultural adventure programme titled ‘No Reservations’. (see episode in question) This was hosted by him. His opinion about Kerala cuisine tasted in the toddy shops caught on and foreign tourists started flocking to toddy shops in Alappuzha. Bourdain appreciated not only the cuisine of toddy shops but also the hospitality of toddy shops.
His programme helped a lot to gain global attention and the toddy shop owners are formulating new strategies to lure tourists by their traditional culinary skills and improved way of toddy business.
A flat tummy was considered as a sign of penury and starvation by the old fashioned, but not any more! If tummy tucks, the latest fad doing the rounds is any indication, the day is not far off when the fashion conscious youth wouldn’t mind shelling out a fortune to get a perfect tummy line.
‘Bariatric Surgery,’ as it is medically known, can reduce the size of the stomach, which enables the person to cut down on his food intake. Apart from ensuring drastic weight loss, Bariatric surgery also give a perfect figure.
Koshy George one of the most popular bariatric surgeons in the state gets a regular clientèle from far and wide and help people manage their weight through this surgical procedure. People often consult him inspired by the amazing results that this surgery has made in the lives of others. Obesity has become a modern life style disease among the city dwellers that is mostly because of the fast food culture and sedentary life style.
India and South Asia now have almost as bad an obesity problem as the US, where 60 percent of all adults are obese. Since 2011, WHO has recognised obesity as a disease.
Though genetic factors play a role in making someone obese, change in life styles have evolved to be the main causes of obesity. This surgery has helped even the diabetic patients to stop medications or cut down the dosage. The surgery , which just costs around 2.50 lakhs works out much cheaper than in many foreign destinations as well. Bariatric Surgery,’ a could thus be the latest fad in health tourism itineraries in Kerala in the days to come.
Late night call…
Friend: ‘What are you doing tomorrow morning?’
Me: “What to do. Nothing, just like that… like every day, free after holy mass by 7 am”.
Friend: “Come let’s go to fish market”.
Me: “WHAT! Sorry buddy…”
Friend: “No, this place is interesting. Carry some money also. Come to Champakkara fish market in Ernakulam by 07:30 I will be there.”
Alright! What else!
After mass, took car and went directly to the market. I have only heard about this. First visit! On the way to Tripunithura, the royal city, it says ‘Champakkara Market Complex’.
He came with his family. Well I came with mine too…or she will ask me… “Why did you buy this fish… you could buy other fish… ”
Parked car at the church compound next to the market… Waterfront church… Hmm!
Piled up plastic boxes, cycles and cane baskets. Can’t move around without hitting others…
I shifted my wallet to front pocket. Money is money.
Strong piercing smell of fish and meat… But the area is clean.
Ice crushing machine…Where are they taking this crushed ice?
Filling ice in the boxes packed with fish, tied on top of cycles and scooters
fishes still alive…struggling to breathe. Poor ones… Just like how we struggle under water.
We went inside.
There are some vegetable shops too. Like everywhere in the surrounding area, vegetables are always expensive here too.
Bought 2 kg tapioca, tomatoes and some vegetables… Rs.70… not bad!
Yummy tapioca and fish curry!
Some sad faces… some happy faces.
Walked along … beside butchers with pork, beef, mutton… still dripping blood.
Boiling and cleaning the intestines. It reminded me about sausages.
Memories went back to hotelier days when I used to gulp chicken sausages and bacon for breakfast.
Big fishes are sold as whole. But after buying, you can get it cut into pieces.
If two or three families go together, we can get those for cheap price as we share a big fish.
In one corner, they cut and clean fish.
Fish …fish… everywhere fish..
Crabs, even legs tried together, trying to crawl out to escape from the vessel. But another one pulls it back… should be a Malayalee crab.
Little portions of fish varieties and varieties of small fishes everywhere on the floor! Area is still neat.
People walking in between the portions to find the needed ones and for the best offers…
Maddening sounds of bargaining.
Rs. 20 – Rs.100 as per variety.
Where is my friend?
Walking around with the camera, I missed them. ( See the pics that I took here)
People looking me with suspicious eyes… newspaper? (Do I look like?)
No… Just like that.
Plenty of aunties sitting along the path selling fishes
my eyes stuck on piles and piles of prawns. Yummy
might be expensive.
Me: “etraya chechy?” (How much)
Chechy: “kilo nooru” (Rs.100 per kg)
What! My eyes bulge. Outside it is Rs.250 per kg starting…as big as pointing finger.
These ones are still jumping. Alive! Fresh!
Took a kilo of fresh prawns… Very happy, but did not show outside.
Inside it is still busy. Men filling their boxes in cycle and scooters with fish to be sold along houses
aunties filling their baskets for the same purposes… But showing eyes at men to bring the price down…hmm…
Scenic on the other side of the river… it should be the island; rowing boats still reach the jetty with loads of fishes.They start coming at 6 am. Fishes are cheaper that time. Good time for them as now no trolling by big boats or ships.
Bought varieties of fish!
Dividing the booty … just Rs.250 per family… Happy for a week! Will take some home for parents in the weekend, they will be happy too. These are less available at those places.
“Yeeeeewww…” She is screaming… two prawns… or one prawn? Jumped out!!
It took two hours to clean one kg prawns.
Very careful… fried prawns. I packed my lunch box
I have prawns today for lunch!!
Wish I’d get one piece… office buddies salivating!!
Well, the ‘little thing’ in question is ‘Naranga Mittai‘, a small, bean-shaped candy, with an orange-like flavour and other flavours and coming in different colours- mostly yellow, red, orange etc.
Small, yes. But this little thing could work wonders. Karmakerala office today witnessed one such phenomenon. Sooraj bought a pack of ‘naranga mittai‘ at lunch-time; that prompted me to buy one too. (Well, for those who don’t know, ‘naranga mittai’ is available almost everywhere in Kerala and is the cheapest sweet available). We distributed it among our colleagues…
As I sit relishing the sweetness of ‘naranga mittai’, I realize that something really big has happened at our office, of course unnoticed. At least for some tiny seconds some of us went on ‘nostalgia’ mode and remembered school days (Hey, not me! I never got to have ‘naranga mittai’ during my school days in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands). So, it was a two-in-one effect; relishing the sweetness of ‘naranga mittai’ and relishing the sweetness of childhood memories. For me, the little sweet also seemed to be a ‘power’ that was uniting the office in a different kind of bond, at least for some fleeting moments…
The ‘Naranga Mittai’ thus teaches us one simple lesson. At a time when we tend to forget little things (little things that make up life) in a mad race for things that mean nothing, it’s worth realizing life’s little truths. One of these truths is this: it takes little things like ‘naranga mittai’ and not big big things and big ideas to melt differences and bring people together. It sometimes takes just a fraction of a second and such little things to make complicated things seem simple.
The moral of the whole thing is: Life is as simple as ‘naranga mittai’, just don’t spoil it by making it look complicated. Relish it, every bit of it…. the ‘naranga mittai’ can melt away any moment…
Mango trees have always been inevitable components of the homesteads of the state of Kerala. The hot and humid climatic conditions and ample rainfall in Kerala are well suited for mango cultivation. Mango trees laden with ripe fruits in the months of April and May have always been the biggest summer vacation attraction for the kids who come down to their native places from their city homes.However with the loss of sprawling homesteads, which are being replaced by multi storied flats and commercial apartments, the mango trees face the axe every other day.
Mango, popularly called the The king of the fruits”, is a nutritionally rich tropical fruit with delicious flavour and taste. Apart from being rich in pre-biotic dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, and poly-phenolic flavonoid antioxidant compounds, mango has been found to protect against colon and prostrate cancer. However, in what could be termed as an ironical twist, the artificially ripened mangoes using calcium carbide sticks that you buy these days from the city fruit stalls in itself can cause many deadly diseases like cancer.
Last week, in a major sweep in Cochin, the city shadow police seized more than one tonne of mangoes stored for artificial ripening, which were to be later supplied to different parts of the city. The rampant destruction of farmlands and cultivable land has forced Keralites to depend on other sources for their food, which are often poisonous and adulterated. If you thought it is just mangoes that are poisoned for the lure of profits, you could be in for a surprise. The red and juicy watermelons that tempts every passer-by acquire this attractive red allure from the artificial red dye that is injected into the fruit. Many fruits like apples are also injected with saccharine to make them artificially sweet. Gone are the days when an apple a day used to keep the doctor way, now it could well mean an immediate distress call to your doctor!
If this the price that you and me have to pay for industrialization, don’t you think that it is high time that we rework our priorities and go back to our agrarian lifestyles?
Keralites are passionate about sports and ale of all genres! Now a sports bar that brings these two together has come to Cochin . Aptly named Stadia , this sports bar at the Holiday Inn, is sure to get many regular clients considering the brisk response it got during the Indian premium League matches. Users can unwind after a hard day’s work by watching their favorite sports in the wide screen Tvs and a drink. The walls decked up with paintings and posters of various sporting events add up to its theme. There are two snooker tables for those who wish to give a crack at the cues.
Spread over an area of over 2500 sq ft , Stadia caters to over 100 people at a time. Though sports bars are quite popular abroad, it is a relatively new trend in Kerala and the Gen Y crowd with a big disposable income will make the bulk of the target customers of these hang outs that serve quality snacks, drinks and sports!
Image courtesy : The Hindu