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Q: With sum­mer fi­nally here, I’m ex­cited to shed ex­cess lay­ers and start fol­low­ing sum­mer trends. My only con­cern is that I can no longer hide be­neath my baggy win­ter wardrobe and am be­com­ing in­se­cure about the way my body will look. Nu­mer­ous trendy diet plans have popped up while I’m scrolling through my news­feeds, and I’m in­trigued by the seem­ingly sim­ple process of it all. How­ever, I’m skep­ti­cal if they will ac­tu­ally work for me, and how I would even go about di­et­ing? How can I en­sure my body will be in great shape now that sum­mer’s here? A: Diet fads, such as juice fasts and detoxes have be­come the new craze, with mil­lions of users post­ing their in­volve­ment with the is­sues all over so­cial media. Although these op­tions do seem like easy and quick routes to body sat­is­fac­tion, they can ac­tu­ally do more harm than good as many utilise un­healthy meth­ods. Many women are in­se­cure about their bod­ies, es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing the daunt­ing im­ages of pic­ture per­fect women we are ex­posed to ev­ery­day through var­i­ous media out­lets. It is im­por­tant not to fo­cus on these im­ages, and work on lov­ing your own body. Hav­ing said that, it is per­fectly ac­cept­able to want to work to­wards the body you de­sire, but it’s cru­cial to do so in a healthy man­ner. To cleanse your body, you can start by drink­ing lots of wa­ter, and to tone up try to in­cor­po­rate more ex­cer­cise into your daily life (take the stairs in­stead of the el­e­va­tor). To make the process eas­ier for your­self, think of your new lifestyle as an ad­ven­ture. Use this as an op­por­tuni- ty to ex­pand your culi­nary skills and cre­ate flavour­ful healthy dishes for you and your friends as op­posed to go­ing out for din­ner. How­ever, you don’t have to cut out guilty plea­sures en­tirely. Starv­ing off temp­ta­tions can of­ten lead to binge eat­ing an en­tire bag of chips, so treat your­self once in a while to your favourites to fight off such in­stances. Ex­cer­cis­ing regularly and switch­ing to a health­ier diet will de­finetly help show re­sults, and re­mem­ber to keep ev­ery­thing in mod­er­a­tion. Q: Ev­ery Sun­day night my grand­mother in­vites my en­tire fam­ily over for a de­li­cious South Asian feast. I am in­stantly en­gulfed in the smell of won­der­ful spices and fas­ci­nated by the in­tri­cate blend­ing of all the in­gre­di­ents that go into mak­ing these deca­dent dishes. My work has re­cently started to in­tro­duce the con­cept of “Potluck Fri­days” and is en­cour­ag­ing ev­ery­one to cook their favourite dishes for the oc­ca­sion. I would love to bring some home­made biryani for my co­work­ers, but I am not a master chef like my grand­mother and am too scared to test my culi­nary skills on my co­work­ers. How can I pre­pare so I can cre­ate a de­li­cious South Asian dish? A: South Asian cul­ture is known for its flavour­ful and de­li­cious cui­sine, how­ever learn­ing to cook with all those in­gre­di­ents and spices at once can be a bit over­whelm­ing. A good start­ing point could be to ask your grand­mother to men­tor you, ex­pos­ing you to all her cook­ing tips and se­crets. It sounds like her cook­ing is de­li­cious and she might be able to pro­vide help­ful sug­ges­tions from her years of ex­pe­ri­ence that can make your first cook­ing ex­pe­ri­ence go smoother. Another tac­tic could be to find eas­ier vari­a­tions of com­plex recipes. Re­search your favourite South Asian recipes and see if you can find sim­pli­fied ver­sions with less in­gre­di­ents and prepa­ra­tion time. Be sure to test your cre­ations out be­fore hand on a trusted group of friends who will be able to of­fer con­struc­tive crit­i­cism. Re­main pa­tient and fol­low recipes un­til you gain ex­pe­ri­ence and then can even be­gin to add your own flare to tra­di­tional dishes. Good luck!

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