Ideas of Gift Basket is Gourmet food

Are you in need of a gift for a special occasion? If you are, you may want to look into gourmet food gift baskets. Gourmet food gift baskets make the perfect gift for just about any occasion.

Although it is nice to know that gourmet food gift baskets are nice for any occasion, including birthday, anniversaries, weddings, and holidays, you may be wondering exactly why that is. One of the many reasons why a gourmet food gift basket is a gift that you should give is because of the choices that you have. These choices not only make a gourmet food gift basket the perfect gift, but they also make buying one a pleasant experience.

As for the choices that you have, you can buy a gourmet food gift basket from a number of different locations. Gourmet food gift baskets are often sold by gift shops, specialty gift basket stores, and specialty food stores. Although the decision as to where you want to buy a gourmet food gift basket from is yours to make, you may want to look at specialty gift basket stores, as they often have a larger selection of gift baskets, including gourmet gift baskets, to choose from. It is also important to mention that you can buy a gourmet food gift basket both on and offline.

Another choice that you have, when buying a gourmet food gift basket, is the actual gift basket. A large number of retailers that sell gourmet food gift baskets often have a large selection of gift baskets to choose from. For instance, you may be able to find a gift basket that is filled with just one item, like cheese. On the other hand, you may be able find a gourmet food gift basket that has a collection of items, like gourmet crackers, gourmet cheese, and as well gourmet snack meats. If you have an idea as to what type of food your gift recipient prefers, you may want to keep that preference in mind.

Another one of the many reasons a gourmet food gift basket is perfect for just about any occasion is because everyone loves food. Gourmet food is also nice, as it gives off a touch of elegance. Even those who aren’t used to eating gourmet foods will likely enjoy the tasty treats. As previously mentioned, you have a number of different gourmet food gift baskets to choose from; therefore, you are sure to find at least one gourmet food gift basket that your recipient will love and enjoy eating.

In short, if you are in need of a gift, whether that gift be a birthday gift, a thank you gift, an anniversary gift, or a wedding gift, you may want to examine gourmet food gift baskets. As a reminder, you can purchase a gourmet food gift basket from a number of different retailers, both locally and online.

 

Benefit Of Organic Food

The benefits of eating organic foods are numerous. With it becoming more and more popular to eat organically, it is becoming easier and a little more affordable to purchase organic foods. Local farmers’ markets, health food stores, and even Walmart cater to those who eat organically.

Organic crops mean the foods are grown in safe soil, without any additives or alterations. Organic livestock means that the meats you eat have been fed organic ally and have had lived naturally (i.e., outdoor). While many foods are deemed “organic,” only those which meet the above criteria are stamped with the USDA approval for organic. In stores, you can be assured that foods with the USDA Organic sticker are at least ninety percent organic.

Support local farmers

Because most organic foods are grown and sold locally, it promotes and supports farmers in your surrounding area. With a drastic drop in people living on farms, this helps keep the remaining farmers in business. Supporting local farmers also encourages less government intervention in the foods you eat. By purchasing foods from organic farmers, it sends a statement that you are willing to pay a little more in order to be healthy and refuse to have interference on what is sprayed on fruits and vegetables and fed to animals.

Environment

Organically grown foods also benefit our environment in many important ways. One is it helps keep our water safe to drink. Water is the most important liquid on the earth, and it is vital to ensure its purity. When pesticides sprayed onto plants and medicated animals defecate, these harmful chemicals make their ways into the water system. With organic farming, this does not occur, and plays an important part in keeping water clean for our ecosystem.

It follows if our water is affected by chemical processes, then the soil is as well. If the soil is contaminated, then whatever feeds off of it or is grown in it has the likelihood of being polluted. This also means organic foods make it safer for wildlife.

Higher nutrient levels

Whether or not organic foods have higher nutrient levels than treated foods is a highly debated topic. However, many treated foods give the appearance of being more nutritious because they are bigger. Do not be deserved by size, though. Most treated fruits and vegetables are larger due to a higher content of water. While organics are smaller, they still are packed with nutrients-just minus the deceptive water size.

Absence of food colorings

Many treated foods have vibrant, healthy-looking colors. However, you bite into them only to find that they are either over-ripe or under-ripe. In these cases, food colorings have been added to the fruit or vegetables to make them appear healthy and convince you to purchase them. Organic foods do not have food colorings. What you see sitting in front of you is exactly what you are getting.

Better taste

If you are only going for taste, organically grown foods have a much richer taste than treated foods. Most organic foods are fresh because they are usually locally grown. The majority of people will agree that fresh foods are hands down significantly more lush and tasty than preserved foods. Plus, because organic foods do not have all the additives and are instead grown as they were originally meant to be, they taste better.

No pesticides

Even after you have washed or even peeled foods which have been previously treated with pesticides, there can still be a remnant of pesticides left which can affect you. The Environmental Working Group has studied the effect of pesticides on foods and has determined the top twelve fruits and vegetables which are the most effected by pesticides. In order from highest, they are apples, bell peppers, carrots, celery, cherries, imported grapes, kale, lettuce, nectarines, peaches, pears, and strawberries.

Pesticides build up inside your body and create health problems, which can progressively grow as you eat more and more non-organic foods over the years. Problems which can occur include birth defects, and headaches. Babies, children, and pregnant women are especially prone to pesticide-related health issues. Because pesticides add stress to already weak immune systems (such as in babies or pregnant women), the chance to get sick is much easier. Pregnant women also need to be aware that pesticide-treated foods which they eat can also be transmitted to their child while pregnant or nursing.

By eating organic foods, you can rest assured that they are free from pesticides.

No antibiotics

Antibiotics are commonly injected into animals. These antibiotics can then be transferred into your body when you eat the meat. A bombardment of antibiotics actually makes your body immune to the effects of antibiotics. Consequently, when you need to take antibiotics to fight disease, your body is unable to use them.

Organic farmers who raise cattle or chickens or other animals for meat feed their animals natural foods the way they were originally meant to eat, and they do no inject antibiotics. Consequently, meats coming from organic farms are free from antibiotics.

No hormones

To meet the high demand for meat, commercial, non-organic farms give their animals hormone-injected feed in order to make them grow bigger and faster. While this may work for production, it translates into your children’s hormones maturing faster.

As organic farmers do not use antibiotics, they also allow their animals to grow naturally. No problems with hormones with organic meat.

More antioxidants

Non-organic foods have fewer antioxidants than organic foods. This is because the longer foods sit out in the store, the less antioxidants left. Organic foods are fresh and must be eaten faster. Consequently, they are higher in antioxidants.

Antioxidants help boost your health, including fighting heart disease. There are even studies which seem to indicate that antioxidants can fight cancer.

Reduce health risks

Obviously, if there are not pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics treated into your foods, the benefits of avoiding these products will help you avoid many debilitating-if not deadly-health risks. While many people will argue there is not that big of a difference in health risks between organic and treated foods, there have not been definite studies to show that the treated substances put into our foods are not detrimental in the long run. By purchasing organic foods, you steer clear of the possibility of harming your family’s and your health.

Knowledge

Knowledge is power. By knowing what we are purchasing, by what we are putting into our bodies, we have the ability to choose how to protect our health and lifestyles.

 

Choosing Better Food For Your Child

When faced with this question we all automatically and emphatically answer “Yes”! We love our children, right, so of course we are all making the right choices to provide them with the healthiest life they can have, aren’t we? But if we think about it carefully, are we really?

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I regularly give my child fast food or takeaway food?
  • Do I rarely give my child meals that are fresh and cooked from scratch? So no pre-packaged foods like fish fingers or tinned foods.
  • Do I give my child sugary food or drinks most days? This includes ‘fruit straps’, ‘muesli bars’ and poppers.
  • Do I give my child dairy desserts (ice cream, etc.), grain desserts (cookies, cake, doughnuts, etc.) or whole milk most days?
  • Do I give my child the same food every day for breakfast, lunch or dinner?
  • Does my child often see me eating unhealthy foods?
  • Does my child eat alone or at a separate time from me?
  • Does my child hear me talk about dieting because I want to lose a few kilos?
  • Do I give my child antibiotics immediately when they are sick rather than waiting to let their body fight the illness?
  • Do I give my child medication when they have a mild temperature?
  • Do I drive my child from A to B when we could easily walk instead?
  • Did I wean my child early?
  • Did I eat high-fat or sugary foods when I was breast-feeding?
  • Is my child exposed to environmental contaminants i.e. pesticides on fruit and chemicals in their shampoo and soap and laundry powder?
  • Do I feed my child predominantly organic food?
  • Have I ever had my child tested for food intolerances?

Of course we don’t intend to make you feel inadequate as a parent; what we are trying to do is to raise your awareness of some of the things that will have an outcome on your child’s long-term health! What you feed your child will not just affect their health in the short-term but also in the years to come. Diets high in processed foods, fat and sugar result in children with lower IQs, and set the scene for obesity, behavioral problems, asthma, eczema, inflammatory conditions, and auto-immune diseases like arthritis plus illness like diabetes and cancer.

You need to be conscious of what you feed your child because the types of foods that you regularly give them when they are young will influence what they choose to eat as they get older since repeated exposure builds taste preferences that will stay with them. Also be aware of the impact your behavior around food will have on your children. You will not create children who enjoy healthy food and have a balanced mindset around food and health if they see you eating unhealthy food, doing fad diets, or even talking about diets, self-image and food in negative ways.

When your child is sick try to delay the antibiotics unless it is absolutely essential! The same applies to all medications – obviously you must use them if essential and if directed by your doctor but do not get into a habit of using them routinely for a mild headache, sore throat or fever. Remember, medication just deals with symptoms but does not ‘kill’ the bug. Antibiotics and other medications increase the likelihood of your child developing food intolerances. Repeatedly feeding your child the same foods further adds to this risk. If your child suffers from unsettled sleep, frequent regurgitation of food, colic, hiccups, excessive crying, poor appetite, flatulence, stuffy nose, frequent ear infections, watery eyes, frequent colds, noisy breathing, scratching, diarrhea or constipation, eczema, ADHD or concentration problems or stomach aches, then you should get them tested for food intolerances.

Take on board the fact that food intolerance is a rising problem in our world and it is no coincidence that it is rising fast alongside rates of diabetes, cancer, heart disease and other chronic illnesses. Why? Because most of us aren’t making great choices in terms of nutrition, lifestyle and medications taken. This leads to leaky gut syndrome which is basically a damaged gut which allows food proteins to get into the blood stream and food intolerance then occurs.

As a parent, one of the best gifts you can give your child is a strong nutritional start. Your child will not know which foods are healthy unless you teach them. Give them a varied diet, based on fresh whole foods, where meals are cooked from scratch. Don’t beat yourself up over the occasional treat. To truly look after your child’s health your must first value your own health! Lead by example to help your child develop a love for whole fresh foods that will last them a lifetime.

I recently visited with a friend who I always thought was a healthy eater and she openly states that her children eat a great diet. However, I realized that she, along with a lot of other people, have the wrong idea about what is healthy. For instance, wheat is not a health food. It is highly processed no matter what the weetabix box says or how strong your muscles will be if you eat Nutrigrain. Dairy is not a health food – the calcium molecules are too big to be absorbed by the human body and pasteurization has killed any nutrients left in the liquid. Orange juice is not a healthy drink. Pasteurisation has killed the vitamin C and it’s usually got a lot of sugar in it. Even natural sugars are not great in large amounts. That’s not to say you can’t consume wheat or dairy sometimes, but many parents will give their children wheat 6 or more times in a day – cereal, muesli snack bar, sandwich, flapjack afternoon tea, pasta dinner, cheese and biscuits pre-bedtime for instance. These foods are all processed and unhealthy and eating them so regularly triggers food intolerance. The usual culprits are wheat and dairy but once food intolerance starts, the body can become intolerant to healthy foods like broccoli and pineapple.

Her children suffered from regularly blocked sinus, stomach aches and eczema. I’m certain that they have food intolerance which, when cured, would reverse the symptoms.

Here’s an example of what my family (children under 10) regularly eat:

Breakfast of Scrambled egg with ‘hidden’ zucchini & cauliflower, organic yogurt (probiotic) followed by apple pieces (remember protein is what fills them up, not carbohydrates)

Snack of gluten free crackers with cashew nut spread

Lunch of organic, wholemeal sandwich with tuna and lettuce plus a mango hedgehog

Snack of frozen grapes, almonds and cucumber dipped in homemade avocado dip

Dinner of organic chicken casserole using pureed carrot, broccoli & red peppers as the ‘sauce’ over a bed of mixed brown and basmati rice (yes, they find pure brown rice a bit chewy still).

I promise you, armed with advice and recipes, you can do it too! But first, check for food intolerance because if it’s left untreated, you or your child’s current symptoms will remain and more severe symptoms will develop over time.

Disclaimer: The use of this information is not a substitute for health advice. Please consult your doctor, pharmacist or health care provider for specific medical advice. The information should be used in conjunction with guidance from your medical practitioner as he/she will be aware of your unique personal medical history.

All About Dinner Plate

Would you like to join me on a journey – a journey that goes “beyond the dinner plate?” It’s an exploration of food alchemy. By food alchemy I mean the transformation of food into energy that the body can use. You see, food is not what it seems. In fact, food is very secretive and keeps its secrets well hidden from view.

Let’s start our journey…

Since everything in the universe vibrates with energy it follows that food too contains energy. However, unlike the energy we get by breathing in negative ions (charged particles) from the air, food energy is not readily available.

The release of energy from food requires chemical reactions to occur in the stomach and ultimately in the body’s cells. The reactions in the stomach are also needed to break down food into nutrients and building materials for repair and maintenance.

But I want to focus on energy in the context of our vitality or life-force. We need that energy to perform the daily operations of our body – without it we die! So a key question to ask is “how do we convert food into this life-force energy?” Well, as I said we need to get some chemical reactions going in our stomach (primarily). The key to those processes are enzymes

Basically enzymes are catalysts and that means they help make chemical reactions more efficient without actually changing themselves. Enzymes are involved in every biological and physiological process in the human body. There are many types of enzymes but the only ones of interest for our journey are: food enzymes and digestive enzymes.

From our energy perspective we are interested in digestion as a means to produce glucose and/or the materials to produce glucose. But once that has occurred we are still not finished because glucose in itself is not energy so we have to transform it into energy in order for our body to be able to use it to maintain our vitality.

Okay, let’s follow up on what happens to glucose and how it gets transformed and stored in the body’s cells. The easiest way to do that might be to start at the end and work backwards. The body’s cells stored energy in packets (really called molecules but I think packets describes them better) known as ATP (adenosine tri-phosphate).

So where does ATP come from? We have already discovered that one result of digestion is the formation of glucose or blood sugar. As blood circulates through the body the cells take in glucose. They do that using ‘catchers’ (for want of a better word) that transport glucose into the cell body.

But there’s still more that needs to happen – as I mentioned the glucose has to be transformed into usable energy. The main way that is done is through the mitochondria of the cell. Mitochondria are sites on the interior walls of cells where chemical reactions can take place. They take up glucose and oxygen and use them to produce ATP in a process called cellular respiration. Right, so we’ve this ATP stuff loaded up and waiting in the body’s cell waiting to spring into action but how do we actually release the energy so we can use it?

I hate to say it again… but there’s still more! To release the ATP energy we need to break one of the chemical bonds that hold it together. Imagine you have a coiled spring tied up tightly with string. It can’t uncoil until the string is broken… then wow, look at it go! It works much the same way with ATP except that the string is replaced with a high-energy bond between its molecules.

But, of course we can’t simply cut the ATP bonds with scissors – it’s a bit more sophisticated than that.. In fact, it requires a special enzyme to facilitate a reaction that converts ATP into ADP (adenosine diphosphate) – can you see how we’ve gone from tri- (3) to di- (2)? That result is important since breaking one of the bonds is what is required to release energy to help maintain our life-force.

However, a cell can only hold a small amount of energy and although we have millions of cells, they need to keep producing ATP and to break it down to release its energy. Fortunately, it is not necessary to rely solely on producing brand new ATP since reversing the chemical reaction that transformed ATP into ADP will reconstitute ATP – a bit like recycling/recharging a battery). That ATP is then available for breaking down and releasing energy. ATP can also be formed from other substances in the body but that is not addressed here.

It seems a long time since I first mentioned enzymes… but I haven’t forgotten them. In essence, enzymes assist in the digestion of food by making the digestive process more efficient. As I said previously, the two types of enzymes we need to consider are: food enzymes and digestive enzymes (produced primarily by the pancreas).

As you might expect food enzymes are found in food. Nothing very profound there, but the question to ask is why are they there – what do they do? Okay, a warning here that we are about to enter potentially hostile territory. Raw food advocates claim that food enzymes assist in food digestion in the stomach. They also claim that the body uses less of its digestive enzymes which they also believe are limited to a finite supply

Personally, I don’t subscribe to those views, but don’t let me stop you. I believe that the primary purpose of food enzymes relates directly to the particular food in which they are found..Basically, their role in that food is to facilitate chemical reactions that commence under favourable conditions the transformation of the composition and nutrient content of that food. So as I see it their role is primarily outside the body. What I’m saying is that they render the food more readily digestible and more nutritious but it’s an external process.

Examples would include the sprouting of seeds which renders them more readily digestible and significantly increases their nutritional content and the ripening of bananas during which starch is progressively transformed into sugars.

Because I think primary role of food enzymes lies outside the stomach, in my opinion, it follows that they have little value as an aid to the internal digestive process. In fact I can’t see why food enzymes shouldn’t be considered by digestive enzymes as proteins and treated accordingly.

Nor do I support the claim that there is a finite supply of digestive enzymes with the implication that once that’s used up – well, it’s goodbye! I think there may be some confusion in that the efficiency of the pancreas may become impaired through abuse and that may inhibit the production of sufficient digestive enzymes.. Keeping the pancreas healthy should help maintain the necessary supply of digestive enzymes throughout life.

Raw or cooked?

Another area of debate relates to the relative nutritional value and enzyme content of raw versus cooked food. Raw food advocates claim that cooking destroys all food enzymes and significantly reduces its nutrient value.

It is true that cooking can destroy enzymes. It is also true that cooking can reduce the nutritive value as measured, for example, by vitamin and mineral content. However, it is not quite as black and white as raw food advocates claim.

Why? Well the amount of reduction depends very much on the method and duration of cooking. The method of cooking determines the temperature to which the food is subjected and whether the process is moist or dry. There is a marked difference, for example, between the effects of steaming and baking. The former maintains a temperature of boiling water and ensures a moist environment while the latter requires higher temperatures, takes place in a dry environment and for a longer duration. My preferred methods of cooking in order of choice are: steaming; poaching; and stir-fry.

Charcoal/flame grilling potentially introduces additional concerns that relate to the nature of the compounds formed on the food during those methods.

I am not at all keen on microwave cooking. Maybe it’s my ignorance but it seems to me to be an unnatural way to cook. I think I can understand how conventional cooking excites food molecules and weakens their bonds through the application of external heat. That is, heating from the outside in.

It seems to me that microwaves heat the food from inside out by beaming straight into the food molecules. What happens then is anyone’s guess but I suspect that such drastic action bursts open the cell walls and out pours all the nutrients and they too get bombarded. As I say maybe I avoid microwave cooking out of ignorance – but I’m glad I do!.

Some reports suggest that a reduction of about 20-30% in nutritive content can be expected from careful cooking of vegetables. But that’s still not all the story…

Cooking of some vegetables actually increases nutrient availability – in other words makes the nutrients more readily available in the digestive process. So we need to weigh up the potential loss of nutrient content against the gain in bioavailability. Still further, we need to recognise that the mineral content is not significantly affected by cooking.

My raw versus cooked food balance. As a general rule I aim for about 40-50% raw and 50-60% cooked depending on the season.

Summary

All this talk of food is making me feel hungry, so let’s sum up what we’ve discovered on our journey “beyond the dinner plate”.

· Our focus has been on vitality (life-force) – the energy we need to be able to do anything.
· There are 3 sources of life-force: that which we’re born with; the air we breathe and food.
· The energy from the air we breathe is readily available, that from food is not
· Digestion is only part of the process by which we transform food into available energy
· Energy is stored in the cells and has to be released before it can be used
· A product of digestion is blood sugar or glucose.
· Glucose is not energy, it has to be transformed into energy
· The transformation of glucose into energy occurs in the cells through a process called respiration and the result is ATP.
· A high-energy bond in ATP has to be broken before the energy can be released.
· Enzymes are catalysts in that they make chemical reactions more efficient without changing themselves
· The most important enzymes contributing to maintaining life-force are: food enzymes and digestive enzymes.
· Food enzymes contribute very little to the internal digestive process and act externally on the particular food that contains them.
· We can continue producing digestive enzymes as long as the pancreas is in good working order – the idea of a finite supply doesn’t ring true.
· Cooking food does destroy food enzymes but they are not really needed for the internal digestive process.
· Cooking also reduces nutrient content by about 20-30% but may increase nutrient availability.
· Around 40-50% raw food in the diet is suggested, depending on the season.

Well, after all that I’m off for a charcoal chicken, bucket of fries and a chocolate chip sundae heaped with cream. Only joking!!

I trust you found some food for thought on the journey exploring the hidden mysteries of food or as I like to call it looking “beyond the dinner plate“.

The Reason of Food Allergies

If you suffer from food allergies, you know the havoc they can cause. A food allergy is a hypersensitivity to a substance that doesn’t affect most people. The problem isn’t the food, it’s the immune systems’ reaction to that food. Your immune system mis-identifies the food as a toxin, virus or fungus and does whatever is necessary to eliminate it from the body. When this happens, a whole set of chemical reactions are initiated.

What Causes Food Allergies.

Heredity Heredity can be a factor in food allergies. Defects in the genes can cause food allergies which can be passed on to your children.

Incomplete Digestion Allergies can cause more allergies. When you’re allergic to a food, the body can’t digest the food properly and the food sits in the digestive tract longer than necessary. More acid is created to break down the food. As the food sits in the gut it putrefies and causes heartburn and acid stomach. This irritates the intestines and leads to gas.

When the digestive tract becomes inflamed, even the foods that you’re not allergic to, can pass through tiny pinholes burned into the intestinal wall and can lead to a condition called leaky gut. Acid from the poor digestion actually burns tiny microscopic holes in the digestive tract and allows food particles to pass into parts of the body that are forbidden. Food in the digestive tract is good but food in the bloodstream causes more food allergies.

When food is encountered in the bloodstream, the body does whatever it can to eliminate it. It is not supposed to be there. Yes, the nutrients are supposed to be in the bloodstream, but not food particles and causes allergies the next time the body encounters that food.

Environment Another hypothesis is that ‘stress while eating’ can cause an allergic reaction to foods that are eaten at that time. Stress at the dinner table over and over again is the culprit. How many times has an argument happened while eating. In my family, too many times.

Gene Modified Organisms GMO foods or foods that are changed genetically can cause food allergies. In the United States, foods that have been modified don’t even have to be labeled. To the contrary, if you say that your food product is free of GMOs it is against the law.

More and more foods are modified for profit. We are now finding these modified foods detrimental to our health and can cause food allergies or worse.

Food has a particular vibration, a way so the body can recognize that food. When you change the genes of the food, the vibration and structure also changes. Let me give you an example.

Lets look at a barcode. Let’s compare a barcode to stand for a food. Every food has a vibration and this vibration is represented by this barcode. The immune system looks at this food the same way that the scanner looks at the barcode to identify what kind of food it is.

If we change the barcode (food) in any way by manipulating the genetic makeup, there’s a high chance that the scanner (immune system) will not be able to identify what food you are eating. When this happens, the body doesn’t have a clue what the food is and tries to protect the body from this unknown substance in every way possible. Kind of like a price check at the supermarket. Everything stops when that happens as you know.

What causes the allergic response? The Immune System Is the culprit. The immune system is the protector of the body and uses a similar system to the barcode mentioned above. If it cannot identify the food, it considers it a poison and does whatever it can to rid the body of it.

The immune system is like the Border Patrol. It’s job is to let what’s good enter the body and keep out the undesirable bacteria, viruses, fungus, mold, toxins and anything that it cannot recognize. The Border Patrol agents have a list that if you are not on, you cannot come in.

Even if the food does get past the checkpoint, the immune system sends out its army of agents to fight it, kill it, and dispose of it, depending on what it is. The problem arrises when foods “that should be on the list” are not, or worse, wind up on the bad list of those enemies of the state, the state of well-being. Then an allergy is formed. Wanted, dead or alive.

Food allergies are the beginning of all allergies. They cause the immune system to respond to foods that are good for you. These foods have nutrition that you need, and cannot harm you, “unless the immune system gets confused.” This confusion causes allergies.

Allergic foods, rather than nourishing the body, now weaken the digestive track and the immune system. Since this allergic response stops the normal intake of nutrition, allergies create a form of nutrition deficiency. This nutrition deficiency decreases the immune systems ability to understand and do it’s job properly.

Whether your allergic reaction is strong or not hardly noticeable, this reaction is the impetus that starts the allergy ball rolling for all allergies. Even if your major allergy is from the environment, it starts with the foods you eat that lessens the nutrients that can be absorbed, causing the immune system to make more and more mistakes over and over again.

 

List of Raw Foods

The foods list that is a part of the popular raw food diet is immense. It contains an almost unending variety of unprocessed and uncooked plant food items that will improve your health and your lifestyle.

The List

The list of these foods contains fruits, vegetables, sprouts, and a few processed food items. You can enjoy fresh foods like:

  • Ripe tomatoes
  • Greens
  • Squash
  • Tangelos
  • Kumquats
  • Washington cherries

This is just a short list of the interesting foods that can be included on this diet. There are so many more!

You can enjoy processed foods made with items from the list. Fermented food items like kimchee and miso, nut butters made with raw nuts, milks from raw nuts, pure maple syrup, and other raw prepared food items.

Improve Your Health

Items from the list will immediately improve your health once you begin the this diet. Science has shown that heating food above 116°F, when it is warm to the touch, destroys healthy nutrients.

The most important nutrients destroyed in the cooking process are the digestive enzymes. These enzymes work to break down and help the body absorb the food you eat.

You are born with a supply of digestive enzymes which are depleted over time. These foods replace these enzymes. If your body does not have enough working digestive enzymes the food you eat will not break down properly and when stored in your body it can become toxic. This eventually leads to disease and other physical and mental illnesses.

Exciting Food Choices

There is a common misconception that foods on this list are boring. Not so, say raw foodists. You can combine raw foods and use various preparation methods to create exciting and delicious meals.

One perennial favorite with everyone is pizza. If you like traditional pizza you will love a pizza made from raw foods. The Living Pizza contains a crust made from sprouts, seeds, veggies, and grains. The sauce is made from fresh tomatoes that have been dried in the sun, garlic, and other herbs. For the topping you can create a luscious cheesy mixture from nuts, vegetables like mushrooms and avocados, herbs, and spices.

Even tempting desserts can be made from the this foods list. A to-die-for cannoli is easy to prepare. The outside shell is made of wheat berries, (sprouted), and dates. A sweet and tasty center is created using a mixture of nuts, lemon juice, and fresh honey.

A new vegan raw food diet suggests very specific diet choices. Dr. Douglas Graham urges followers to eat 80 percent carbohydrates, 10 percent fats, and 10 percent proteins. This diet mimics the natural makeup of your body which makes it one of the best and healthiest raw food diets.

Prepping Raw Foods

There are several preparation methods that raw foodists employ when preparing meals. You will need a dehydrator, a juicer, and a food processor to begin creating delicious and complete breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.

A dehydrator absorbs all of the moisture from foods on this foods list. This important piece of equipment is used to give a different texture to raw foods. In the above recipes a dehydrator was used to create both the Living Pizza crust and the cannoli wrapper.

A juicer can be used with any of the fruits and vegetables on this foods list. You can make standard juices or juice food items to use as a binder or a sauce when creating meals.

Many of the items on the list of raw foods require chopping. A food processor makes this a simple process. It will shorten your food preparation time and give you nice textures and an even consistency.

As you can see, this foods list can be used to create exciting menus. It is so extensive and inclusive you will even find raw foods such as salads and raw vegetable platters on restaurant menus. Switch to this diet and enjoy a colorful and fresh variety of living foods.

 

How To Avoid Food Addictive

The Processed Food Industry (from fast food restaurants to the huge factories that create and package processed foods) is really only concerned about one thing… their corporate profits.

It’s a numbers game… and the sad fact is that growing and distributing fresh, healthy food is far more expensive per unit than manufacturing packaged food products that are ready-to-eat or “instant” or very easy to prepare… and that can sit on a shelf (in the store or in your pantry) for long periods of time without spoiling (“shelf-life”).

To create these modern nutritional marvels requires a great deal of tampering with the original food (if there ever was one), and numerous “added ingredients” as well as a bunch of food preservatives. And let’s not forget artificial colors, flavors and pesticides.

Let me let you in on a little secret… The bottom line to staying healthy & fit is to stick to a healthy diet… and nothing is healthier than eating organically grown fruit and vegetables.

Often referred to as “Raw Food,” organically grown and pesticide-free produce has been proven to be the safest and healthiest food for the human body. It is naturally filled with nutrients, vitamins and minerals.

So here’s a list of Food Additives that you really need to avoid!

1. Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil

Every so often a new “buzz word” is discovered by the news media whenever they talk about health or fitness issues. Until recently, the most often heard health topic in the news concerned Cholesterol levels.

Granted, Cholesterol is still an important issue and concern for many people (especially Boomers); but the newest kid (buzz word) on the block seems to be Trans Fat.

Does that mean anything to you? It should if you’re one of the millions who have fallen for the margarine trap. Or if you enjoy having a “packaged” muffin or pastry with your coffee in the morning, you need to know the hard cold facts about the dangers of eating foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.

It’s made by using a process in which vegetable oil is “infused” with hydrogen. When that occurs, the level of polyunsaturated oils (a healthy fat) is drastically reduced and “Trans Fats” are created.

Do a quick search on Google and you’ll discover that Trans Fats are closely associated with heart disease, breast cancer, colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, atherosclerosis and all the other problems related to elevated cholesterol.

2. BHA and BHT

The preservatives BHA and BHT are man-made ingredients that prevent oils used in processed foods from becoming rancid. Both are considered to be “Carcinogens” by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (US DHHS).

They’re both recognized for causing sleep disorders and are associated with numerous diseases and health problems including skin rashes, hair loss, liver and kidney damage, pancreatic cancer, fetal abnormalities and growth retardation.

In the last 40 years, the rate of Cancer deaths in the US has increased by over 50%! This is not a coincidence! Think about the fact that BHA and BHT have both been found to cause cancer in laboratory animals, and even the US DHHS says they’re unsafe for human consumption, yet the FDA continues to maintain that they’re safe to be used in the foods we eat.

Read the label before you buy… if it contains BHT or BHA, put it back.

3. Azodi-carbonamide (ADA or Bromide)

In food processing, ADA is an additive used in manufacturing of Bread products; it’s used for bleaching flour and as a preservative, keeping bread soft and preventing it from becoming stale.

Use of Azodi-carbonamide as a food additive is illegal in parts of Europe and in Australia. The UK has identified Bromide as a possible cause of asthma and the use of ADA in food processing in Singapore can result in up to 15 years imprisonment and a fine of $450,000!

Why?

Because the main use of ADA is in the manufacturing of foam plastics, like Styrofoam! The thermal decomposition of ADA releases nitrogen, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and ammonia gases which are trapped in the polymer as bubbles in a foam product.

Common examples are Styrofoam cups, gaskets for car doors and windows, padded floor mats, padded inserts for shoes, etc… And yet it is still found in several bread products sold in the USA.

Ever wonder why Wonderbread was so soft and could stay that way for weeks (if not months) on the shelf? Well, now you know.

4. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

Commonly used as the “flavor enhancer” in Chinese food, MSG has become one of the few additives that are now being recognized for its unpleasant side effects. It’s not uncommon to see signs in windows in Thai and Chinese restaurants that say “No MSG!”

But MSG is not just in Asian cuisine; it’s also a common ingredient in “flavor packets” and “marinades” in supermarkets. MSG is what is called an excitotoxin; a toxin that binds to certain receptors in your brain.

It basically “turns off” the neural receptors that tell you when you’re full, making you want to consume more food. It also over-stimulates your brain, resulting in an intense “rush” as your dopamine levels suddenly rise. The side effects of MSG include throbbing headaches (migraine trigger), rashes, dizziness as well as respiratory, digestive, circulatory and coronary concerns.

5. Olestra (Olean)

Hailed as a calorie-free fat substitute, Olean is a widely used chemical ingredient in numerous snacks, crackers and potato chips. Obviously what first comes to mind is that this is a good thing, being a “calorie-free” fat. But there’s a price to pay.

This additive is known to inhibit the body’s ability to absorb and assimilate several vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients. Side effects? How about severe bloating and gas as well as diarrhea and uncontrollable anal leakage?

Basically, not a pretty picture… a chemical ingredient that will add extra fat to your waistline, and then, to top it off, possibly surprise you with some unexpected explosive anal leakage? Uh, no thanks… Read that label.

6. Artificial Sweeteners

It should be a crime… People mistakenly think that they are doing their body a favor by using “Diet” versions of their favorite drink or foods… all in the effort to lose weight; but the truth is, artificial sweeteners are far worse than natural sweeteners.

They’re man-made chemicals that have some really insidious side effects… like cancer and neurological (brain) disorders because of the high toxicity of their eventual chemical breakdown within the body.

And to top it off, when combined with other food additives, they can have a far more potent effect on nerve cells. Don’t believe it? Read some of the many scientific research papers on the internet on the side effects of Saccharine and Aspartame.

If it says Diet (artificially sweetened) on the label… Stay away!

7. Refined White Sugar

Highly processed sugar is so common, it’s found in just about everything… but especially in processed foods. Start reading those labels and you’ll be amazed by the high amounts of sugar in soft drinks, baked goods (bread, cookies & pastries), pasta, tomato sauce and all kinds of canned foods and soups.

Unless you’ve been living on a desert island for the last 50 years, you’ve undoubtedly heard that white sugar consumption (and the corresponding spike in insulin levels) will cause weight gain, bloating, fatigue, arthritis, migraine headaches, lowered immune function, obesity, tooth decay, Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease.

8. Artificial Coloring

Artificial colors are chemicals added to foods and drinks for no other reason than to make them more appealing to the consumer. Many are derived from coal-tar and can contain up to 10 parts per million of lead and arsenic and yet are still being recognized as safe by the FDA. Others come from a wide range of less than appetizing sources.

Carmine, the most common ingredient in red food coloring is a clothing dye that dates back to the ancient Aztecs and is made from the crushed shells of a South American beetle. Carmine and other artificial colors have been known to cause severe allergic reactions as well as ADHD in children and may contribute to visual & learning disorders as a result of nerve damage.

9. Pesticides

These days, there’s really no way to get around this one… short of growing your own produce, or buying all your food from an Organic farm. Sadly the vast majority of food products (like 99.99%) has been in contact with and includes the residue of pesticides.

Over two billion pounds of pesticides are added annually to the amount that is used every year; and as the global demand for food escalates, there’s no end in sight. Many of those pesticides (used outside the USA) are known carcinogens.

In countries with no legislation to protect its citizens from the use of such pesticides, there’ve been near epidemic numbers of cases where these toxins have severely diminishing the body’s ability to resist infection, as well as contribute to a higher percentage of miscarriages and birth defects.

10. Sodium Nitrate and Nitrite

We saved this for last because of the ongoing debate about Sodium Nitrate (andNitrites ~ what Sodium Nitrate becomes in the process of curing meat)…
Thus, instead of completely avoiding Sodium Nitrate, we recommend you really limit to a minimum the amount of food you eat with Nitrites in it.

For several centuries, salt (Sodium Nitrate) has been used as a curing agent & preservative for fish & meat. Today it’s found in Deli-meats and in highly concentrated amounts in bacon, salami, pepperoni and other processed meats.

Nitrates and cancer

Several decades ago, researchers suggested Nitrates were linked to cancer in lab rats. This received a lot of media attention; but what received far less attention was when it turned out they were wrong.

The National Academy of Sciences, the American Cancer Society and the National Research Council all agree that there’s no direct cancer risk from consuming limited amounts of sodium nitrate… in fact, despite its bad reputation, Nitrites can actually prevent a very deadly disease!

Nitrates and Botulism

One special property of Nitrate is that it prevents the growth of Clostridium Botulinum… one of the most toxic substances known. Clostridium Botulinum produces Botulism, a paralytic illness that can quickly lead to respiratory failure and death.

Botulism bacteria are peculiar because unlike most microbes, they actually require an oxygen-free environment to live. Once exposed to air, it dies; so it tends to appear in canned foods, vacuum-packed foods, food stored in oil and improperly cured meats.

Interestingly, it turns out that Sodium Nitrate is especially effective at preventing the growth of Botulism.

Sodium Nitrate and a Healthy Diet

Considering that Sodium Nitrate occurs naturally in organic foods like spinach, carrots and celery, all the fuss about nitrites seems like typical media-driven hysteria. Moreover, when you consider the increased likelihood of contracting Botulism from eating Nitrate-free meat, it’s actually the nitrate-free foods that present the higher health risk.

Despite how delicious they might taste, a steady diet of processed Deli-meats will undoubtedly result in some less than desirable effects on one’s health. And not just from the Sodium Nitrate; but in concert and conjunction with all the other preservatives, additives and chemicals found in any processed food.

Studies show that frequent eating of processed meats can result in some rather unpleasant side effects that include headaches, nausea, vomiting and dizziness. Long term diets that included large daily amounts of Deli meats have been known to cause cancer, heart disease, embolism and strokes.

The Bottom Line…

If you have to buy or use a processed or manufactured food product, just be sure to read the Label! Better yet, stick to Organic Raw Foods purchased from a Whole Food or Organic Food Market and learn to cook without using a bunch of man-made chemicals and artificial ingredients.

The importance of proper nutrition cannot be emphasized enough. Your health is directly related to what you eat!

Most modern supermarket food is nearly worthless… filled with an abundance of empty calories and high fat & sugar content. The sad fact of the matter is there are are hardly any vitamins or minerals in processed foods.

Only Organic, fresh, raw foods possess high amounts of nutritional energy… and you don’t have to worry about reading the ingredient list on a bunch of raw vegetables!

Unfortunately we can’t always get or eat totally organic foods all the time… so it then becomes vitally important to supplement our diets with food supplements (vitamins, minerals, enzymes and anti-oxidants) in order to keep our digestion & metabolism running smoothly and to keep our bodies as healthy as possible. Just remember…
You are what you eatand “The longer the shelf-life… the shorter your life!”

Tips To Make Your Food Safe

Of all the environmental and heath issues, food safety commands the most urgent attention from authorities when regulations are found to have been broken. Recently in China, there have been several food safety scandals resulting in huge financial losses and reputation damage to the country and its food exporting sector. The climax occurred in July 2007 when it was announced that the former head of the State Food and Drug Administration, Zheng Xiaoyu, accepted bribes in exchange for issuing state food product safety licenses. He was subsequently executed in accordance with China’s tough official stance on corruption. Prior to this, there had been a number of scandals involving the food sector. Jinhua Ham was found to have been treated with a poisonous pesticide before sale (2003); the production of counterfeit baby food formula which led to the death of around 80 babies hundreds of cases of severe malnutrition in 2004; and most recently in 2008, contaminated baby formula produced by the Sanlu Group led to an occurrence of kidney disease with numerous casualties.

The fact that the Chinese State Food and Drug Administration (set up in 2003 to take control of food safety issues) was itself the target of investigation for corruption has led to a resurgence in the uptake of third-party audited standards for food safety in the country. Foreign importers from China do not trust Chinese national standards and are demanding exporters adhere to international standards such as ISO 22000 inspected by global certification bodies. Similar incidents have occurred in Japan, most notably with the Snow Brand dairy company, which was found to have falsified food safety records in the wake of a tainted milk products scandal in 2002.

Most nations have a government authority to manage those issues from production to sale to consumers. They advise on national legislation and deliver food safety requirements for home-produced and imported goods. These include the Food Standards Authority in the UK, the US Food and Drug Administration, as well as the State Food and Drug Administration of China. At the EU level, the Eropean Food Safety Authority (EFSA) conducts risk assessments on food safety in cooperation with national governments and provides independent advice and communication on current and emerging risks.

The HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) guidelines published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization are a fundamental part of the important food safety standard being developed by the International Standards Organization (ISO), ISO 22000. There are seven HACCP principles that must be followed. These dictate that food producers must conduct a pre-production hazard analysis to identify and address biological, chemical or physical issues that make food unsafe for human consumption; establish good safety monitoring systems; and implement comprehensive documentation procedures. The application of HACCP principles and procedures are mandatory in the US for food products including meat, juice and seafood, and they are generally applied elsewhere as the basis for third-party food safety certification.

As shown by the China examples, Food Safety certification is absolutely critical for food retail and international trade. Without it producers and suppliers cannot sell their goods. There is significant business and reputation risk attached to how certification is obtained and it is advisable to get certified to well-recognized standards awarded by reputable third-party certification bodies.

Launched in 2005, the ISO 22000 is already one of the best recognized international food safety standards. It provides for food safety management systems for any organization, regardless of size, involved in any aspect of the food chain. To meet the standard an organization must demonstrate its ability to effectively control food safety hazards in order to ensure that food is safe at the time of human consumption. It incorporates the HACCP principles outlined above.

Prior to the ISO standard, the BRC (British Rail Consortium) Global Standard for Food Safetywas established and is trusted by leading global retailers to deliver effective supply chain management and legal compliance. The Global Standard is part of a group of product safety standards, together enabling certification of the entire food supply chain, and was the first standard in the world to be approved by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GSFI).

Formerly called EurepGAP, GLOBALGAP sets voluntary ‘pre-farm-gate’ standards for the certification of agricultural products and Good Agricultural Practices. Standards are awarded by approved third party certification bodies in over 75 countries. GLOBALGAP is a business-to-business label and is therefore not directly relevant to consumers.

Other leading standards, more on the ethical side of food production, are the US based Food Alliance Certification and SQF Certification. Food Alliance Certification is given to North American sustainable food products that cover issues such as the humane treatment of animals and the exclusion of hormones, non-therapeutic antibiotics, GM crops or livestock and certain pesticides as well as soil and water protection at farm/ranch level.

SQF (Safe Quality Food) Certification is awarded by licensed certifiers globally and provides independent certification that a supplier’s food safety and quality management system complies with international and domestic food safety regulations. SQF certifications have been awarded to thousands of companies operating in Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and North and South America.

 

The Meaning Food Shortage

The UN claims that Food production must double by 2050 to meet the demand of the worlds growing population. However, most of the worlds productive farmland is already in use, so increased food production will require extending intensive farming methods with greater use of pesticides and fertilizers leading to the increased release of greenhouse gases. Paradoxically, UK government policy is attempting to deal with both of these problems simultaneously with plans to “boost food production in Britain and reduce its impact on the environment”. Is this realistic, or is there an easier way?

Calculations based on waste and calorie intake suggest that the UK has access to at least double the food necessary for adequate nutrition. Since farming, retail and eating habits are probably similar throughout the developed world, this implies there is no real food crisis in terms of the amount produced, only in how it is consumed. Therefore, a better strategy must be to focus on reducing food waste rather than growing more. This would minimise the impact on the environment, reduce food expenditure, and achieve better food security with a healthier lifestyle for the population.

Using our present methods, significant food waste occurs at all stages of the food industry. The first waste stream occurs at the production stage due to damage and accidental harvesting through weather, pestilence and machinery, resulting in unsuitable quality and appearance. In storage, losses can be attributed to pests and micro-organisms causing reductions in the nutritional values and edibility of food. Further losses are generated during processing and packaging due to the handling of food and by shrinkage in weight or volume. Whilst foods which contradict safety standards need to be removed from the food chain, such regulations can conflict with efforts to reuse food waste such as in animal feed. The amount of food wasted before arriving at the retailer is unknown but may amount to at least 20% of that farmed.

Of the food which arrives at the retailer 5% is wasted due to exceeding ‘use by’ dates and package damage. Dr Martin Caraher, an expert in food policy at City University in London, says: “Use-By dates are in retailers financial interests. If customers throw food away, they have to replace it by buying even more. Use-By dates can be a happy accident for them”.

The largest waste stream is by the consumers themselves who throw away 30% of all preventable wasted purchased food. Whilst a proportion of this is discarded by being left uneaten on the plate or unserved, much food is rejected for being unfresh or beyond the ‘use by’ date of the package label. Whilst this could be blamed on poor domestic management, consumers are heavily influenced by marketing practices, and have limited control over purchase quantities and the packaging of food, which are the responsibility of the food industry.

Finally, including children it is estimated that we eat on average about 2320 Kcal/day/person in the UK. This, could be an underestimate, yet is still 10% more calories than is necessary for an average persons recommended intake based on the UK age distribution and gender and reference nutrient intake tables. In addition to placing extra strain on the food supply chain, this can lead to a variety of health problems for individuals who eat far more than their required intake.

In total, according to these calculations only about 45% of the food actually farmed is actually necessary for adequate nutrition, and most of the remaining 55% of waste is preventable, amounting to the equivalent of 72 million tonnes of greenhouse gases per year in the UK. This is approximately 10% of the total UK output and almost as much as its entire transport system!

There have been previous initiatives to reduce food waste. The official UK government line is that “most of the major supermarket retailers in the UK….have committed to work with the Government’s waste-reduction programme (WRAP) to identify ways they can help us, their customers, to reduce the amount of food thrown away”.

However, are we taking a too lenient line with the food industry? The Sustainable Development Commission thinks so. It condemned targets set by WRAP as “unambitious and lacking urgency”. with multi-buy promotions helping to fuel waste and obesity in Britain. Mr Lang, who is also professor of food policy at City University, London said that three years ago, the government-funded WRAP left it up to supermarkets to find voluntary “solutions to food waste” in an agreement dubbed the Courtauld Commitment. “The Government is frankly not using its leverage adequately. It really should toughen up on Courtauld, which must be enforced because this is ludicrous”. An 18-month study, which found that “too many supermarket practices are still unhealthy, unjust and unsustainable”, said Wrap should adopt a “more aspirational approach to reducing waste in food retail by setting longer-term targets and [supporting] a culture of zero waste”.

All this suggests that voluntary regulations are either ineffective or far too slow to take effect. The bottom line is that waste is endemic to contemporary economic ideology because corporate obligations require them to increase growth and profits and an effective means of achieving this is by encouraging excessive public consumption. Until these objectives are replaced with ones that are more beneficial to society than businesses, any significant progress in meeting sustainable targets without imposing strong regulations will be very limited.

Based on this information it is possible to draw up a list of obligations that could be imposed on the food industry to significantly reduce food waste.

1 Retailers should be obliged to stock a proportion of food, that would be presently rejected due to appearance, but otherwise meets safety standards. This could be marketed as cheap ‘sustainable’ produce in addition to, or possibly in preference to expensive organic foods which are of dubious health and environmental benefits.

2 Hotels, Restaurants and other communal places of eating could purchase this sustainable produce to meet their environmental targets. The food could can be re-cut for aesthetic value or simply merged with other foods in pies & stews etc.

3 Retailers should be obliged to sell all stocked food by a ‘use by’ date or pay a tax that should be set high enough to discourage waste. One method of achieving this would be to introduce a variable pricing mechanism based on the demand throughout the sale period which is gradually reduced to near zero by the use by date.

4 Damaged packets should be re-labelled as low carbon pet food or animal feed if this doesn’t endanger safety, or if this is not possible, biodegraded using composting and anaerobic digestion to produce methane for fuel and enrich agricultural soil.

5 To avoid consumer waste, all foods should be purchasable in smaller amounts at a constant unit price and separated into compact sealable units to ensure they are kept fresh as long as possible. This would avoid excess buying which often leads to waste.

6 Retail policies that lead to excess buying should be discouraged. These include moving items around the store and placing essentials at the rear of store to encourage coverage and residence time. Retail promotion and prominent positioning that encourages purchasing should also be reserved for sustainable products.

7 When new products are introduced small samples should always be offered, so as to avoid buying large quantities of unwanted food.

8 Unnecessary purchases and impulse buying could be minimised by avoiding trips to the retailer altogether through Internet ordering and cost competitive and environmental delivery schemes such as the COAST system suggested in this report. This purchasing system would help consumers manage shopping more efficiently via web based shopping lists, by anticipating when a new item is needed from the date and their purchasing history. This system would reduce waste and excess eating by minimising any excess food lying around the home.

9 Restaurants and fast food outlets should always offer the option of smaller portions with a proportionate reduction in price. Private servings are obviously more difficult to reduce; however, promoting a general culture of rejecting waste and extravagance should be nurtured amongst the public.

10 Health advice needs to consider promoting more durable foods in preference to perishable fruit and vegetables if these offer a more practical, equally nutritious and ‘low carbon’ alternative.

11 Temperature sensitive strips could be placed on selected packages that warn the consumer if the fridge thermostat has been set too low.

12 Set tough annual targets for reduced waste throughout the food industry

These measures should increase the worlds food supply by reducing food waste rather than increasing production with a corresponding benefit for the environment.

Let’s not be reticent about confronting businesses and politicians with these ideas if they claim to be genuinely concerned about minimising waste, and ensure we are not fobbed of with offers of voluntary measures and green wash!

Understanding Food Management

Food is such a basic part of our existence. Our lives revolve around it from our waking moment onwards. Food and feasting go hand in hand and even celebrations all over the world and across all cultures are centred on food. Our ancient Indian scriptures divide food into three categories, such as-

Satvic or pure foods: These are foods that heal, comfort, juicy, smooth and increase longevity, intelligence and strength and are digested well by our system.

Rajasik or the tasteful foods: These are salty, spicy, bitter, salty and can give rise to ill health, grief or discomfort.

Tamasik or the impure foods: These include stale, cold, left over foods, impure and half cooked causing great harm to the mind and the body.

Food is one aspect of our life that we take for granted. We are less mindful of the food that we consume. We leave our body to deal with the constant abuse from our day to day lives and lifestyles. We, humans, without taking our body for granted, need to create health generating systems and build a oneness with food, productive exercises, yoga, corrective breathing and meditation, rest and sleep and be spiritually aware and conscious. These steps translate into better stamina, strength, tone and energy with emphasis on the whole body as an entity, one that accentuates wellness and wellbeing.

The food we eat lays the foundation for every cell and tissue in our body. The purpose of food is to nourish us, build strength and to give vital energy. Digestive harmony is the key for release of this vital energy needed for healthy living. The science of Ayurveda – the creative and constructive life science – says that every part of our mind and body is governed by the DOSHAS – the bio-energetic force or elements that sustain life. Refined, processed and preserved foods are all totally devoid of this nutrition and vitality. Wholesome, raw and natural foods that have absorbed the cosmic energy, and are super charged with ample rainfall and sunshine must be utilized to the fullest for health and wellness.

The father of medicine, Hippocrates said “thy food is thy medicine. You are what you eat and what you eat you become”.

To most of us eating good food is just another chore and a trivial thing to do. How many of us are really mindful of the fact that good food performs miracles inside our cells and tissues and is responsible for 80 percent of our transformation. Food has a subtle effect on our minds as well. Food plays a pivotal role in influencing our brain behaviour, our moods, and thought processes and in handling stress. It is these wholesome, natural foods that bestow health and vigour liberating and protecting us from us from illnesses. Studies have shown that there are two dietary processes in the human body-nourishing and cleansing- that need to be regulated with good and sensible dietary habits. If neglected, it can lead to a build up of toxins which are the basis for most mental and physical degeneration.

Health is not just a great body or a zero size figure but covers physical fitness, mind science and spiritual growth and our efforts should be an integrated approach towards wellness. To achieve this eat appropriate foods that do not erode our digestive system. Yes, I mean, go real easy on all those junk foods, soft drinks, stale, cold foods and excessive meat eating and alcohol. Instead, begin to love fruits, veggies, nuts and foods in their natural wholesome form. It is important to ‘cater to your hunger and not pamper your appetite.’ I am urging you to follow this and not call it a ‘diet’. It is not intended for weight loss alone. On the contrary, it is an important part of a healthy lifestyle.

So, let us celebrate good health.

How often have you come across the words ‘healthy’ and ‘food’ in the same sentence, but chose to ignore it? Despite being aware of the many benefits of eating healthy, I see so many people around me taking their health for granted. Our body is what we make of it. So why fill it with unhealthy food and end up bearing the brunt of it.

Eating healthy has innumerable advantages, some of them being:

1. Helps prevent and control health problems like heart diseases, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes.

2. With good nutrition your body becomes better equipped to deal with stress.

3. Good food stimulates the body to create more killer cells to ward off infections thus promoting immunity.

4. Food provides us with disease fighting antioxidants and can slow the natural process of ageing.

Indian diets, with mindfulness and planning are natural and unprocessed comprising of grains, pulses and dals, fruits and vegetables, nuts and oilseeds; all in adequate amounts to maintain health. Diet and Nutrition are responsible for 70 to 80% of your entire transformation. Food also influences your thought process, attitude and behavior. There are foods which can make you feel high, there are foods which can make you irritable and temperamental, there are foods which can excite you, and there are foods which can relax you.

Indian diets suit Indian population the best depending upon our culture, climatic conditions, atmosphere, pollution etc. Once a while enjoying other cuisines is great, but would you ever want to solely depend on pastas and burgers too often and face the risks attached to consuming such unhealthy, non fibrous foods?

As mentioned above the health risks are plenty! Our diets include complex carbohydrates from jowar, bajra, ragi, whole wheat etc as opposed to the refined carbohydrates. Our diets are designed to protect our hearts with low levels of oils, fats, sugars. In fact our diets strike this perfect balance of all food groups, nothing too much and nothing too little. High sugar intake is proportionate to diabetes, high fat levels can lead to hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, heart diseases, strokes etc.

My golden rules for better health:

Remember, our bodies are tailored to consume what we have been since childhood and what our fathers, fore fathers have been consuming. Our diets of rotis, dals/pulses, veggies, sprouts, salads etc on a daily basis will ensure complete health as opposed to constant consumption of junk foods /burgers/pizzas/excess amounts of cheese, cream etc. Relish on all that you love, but remember, anything too little or too much is equally damaging…

Guidelines for healthy eating and weight management

Follow these golden rules/steps of healthy eating for achieving a healthy weight loss and to maximize your health and longevity:

1. Frequent small helpings of food are recommended. Eat slowly. Eating frequently prevents hunger pangs, provides constant energy and maintains metabolism efficiently.

2. Select foods based on your preference and do not worry as much about the number of calories you consume but concentrate on combining the right foods and on the portion sizes. Do not deprive yourselves. This is likely to cause you to eat more the next day.

3. Add a wide variety of foods to your daily diet. Include wholesome foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, sprouts, and whole grains. These foods provide all the essential nutrients and fiber which are necessary for growth, good health and immunity.

4. Drink daily 8 to 10 glasses of liquids like water, and herbal teas. These drinks are fillers are hunger managers.

5. Include fresh fruits, fresh unstrained vegetable juices, vegetable, sprouts, whole grains, nuts and low fat milk/yoghurt.

6. Drink a glass of ginger/green tea after a heavy meal. This hastens digestion and improves metabolism.

7. Consume healthy snacks like salads, crackers, fruits, unsweetened and low fat yogurt, wholegrain biscuits and muffins.

8. Read labels well and choose foods that do not contain chemicals like preservatives and additives. Organically grown foods are a healthier option.

9. Avoid bad fats like butter, cream full-cream milk and rich salad dressings and sauces. Take care not to eliminate sources of good fats like nuts, seeds and olive oils which contain unsaturated fatty acids. Use these foods in moderation.

10. Eliminate white flour products like breads and biscuits, pastas, white rice, processed foods and sugary breakfast cereals. They lack fibre. They also cause a spike in our insulin level leading to fat storage.

11. Exercise on a regular basis. Stretching, yoga, calisthenics, walking and other mild forms of aerobic activities are recommended. These exercises can be done at home or in a gym with guidance. Stress can be reduced through yoga,meditation, good rest and sound sleep.

12. Avoid soft drinks, and juices. Also avoid sweets, desserts and fried snacks. Instead, eat a variety of nutrient dense foods. Limit the consumption of processed foods, fried foods and fast foods. If you must have them, remember to exercise moderation. Moderation is the key when you eat what you want without feeling deprived.

13. Use cooking methods like stewing, steaming, grilling and roasting instead of frying.

Good health is the result of conscious commitment that involves many factors like the food we eat, exercises, mental well-being, rest and sleep. Consistency is the most important factor when it comes to good nutrition. When you are often on the run, you need a plan that you can easily adopt and one that features a foundation of healthy food. Eating frequent well balanced meals is essential for anyone who wants to lose or maintain weight, have energy and stamina throughout the day, boosted immunity, to improve focus and concentration and above all for Mickeymizing your wellness quotient!