Tips for a healthier lifestyle

Follow dos and don’ts of a healthy lifestyle

How to get the most nutrition out of your meals:

  • Make sure every meal includes foods from all four groups.
  • Eat more whole grains and less white varieties. Whole grains such as kurukkan flour or red rice are more natural and therefore more healthy. White flour and white rice has been polished and coloured, thereby removing some of the more healthier parts of the grain.
  • The best way to make sure you are getting a wide variety of different vitamins & minerals is to eat a wide variety of different colored fruits & vegetables (e.g. – green, yellow, orange, etc.)
  • If you are a vegetarian, make sure you eat lots of dhal, gram, etc. to get your protein. If you are a non-vegetarian, make sure your are not eating too much meat (especially red meat) and not enough vegetarian foods
  • Avoid eating too much packaged or processed food; natural is best!
  • Avoid eating too much oily or sugary foods
  • Watch what you eat and exercising well.

Some people (particularly girls) like to follow special diets in order to lose weight. These are usually very dangerous and most of them don’t work. In fact, most diets end up making you gain weight because they upset your body’s natural balance. Starving yourself also doesn’t work. If you suddenly stop eating, your body actually responds by storing extra fat. The best way to lose weight is to eat a wide variety of healthy food and to exercise.

Anorexia and bulimia are two diseases which have unfortunately become common (especially in Western countries). They occur when people are too concerned about their figure and either avoid eating or force themselves to vomit after eating. These diseases are extremely dangerous… if you think you know someone who is not eating properly, please encourage them to speak to a doctor or counsellor about their problem.

Key to Good Health #1: Nutrition

Read Lessons from the BHA

Modern living means processed prepacked easy to use instant food and making those sometimes entails using chemicals, plastics, preservative and  coloring agents . Drop by drop we absorb these chemicals into our bodies and weaken our immune system.

Making a start is the most difficult part … the rest will follow. Try changing your unhealthy habits and take a few precaution…

Salt
The ‘refined’ or ‘iodised’ free flowing salt includes additives including aluminium silicate (to make it free flowing), dextrose, bleaching elements and chemicals. Salt is vital to your body, but it’s important to have the right type.
Solution: Switch to unrefined crystal rock salt (kosher)(sendha namak). it contains 84 of the 92 trace minerals and that too in the same proportions as the human body does. It also has calcium and magnesium.

Avoid tea bags
Switching to green or herbal tea is a good choice, but tea bags can negate all the good effects. They are manufactured using a compound called epichlorohydrin, which is also used as an insecticide and to manufacture plastics. The bags are bleached to look white, and the edges are heat-sealed using chemicals.
Solution: Use natural tea leaves

Food labels
If you don’t recognise — or can’t pronounce — the words on a food label, don’t buy it. First, check for expiry date. Any product with a shelf life of two to three years is bad. While purchasing oil, check the chemicals mentioned.

Solution: Here’s a quick guide:

– Avoid products containing nitrates and nitrites, sulphur dioxide, sodium benzoate, colouring, BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene), BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole), MSG (ajinomoto), refined or bleached flour.
– Avoid products containing sugar substitutes such as saccharine or aspartame.
– Avoid food that has been genetically modified or engineered. Nearly all processed food contains GMOs.
– Avoid products made with ingredients described as ‘natural flavouring’ or ‘natural colouring’.
– Avoid products with added sugar – watch for words ending in “ose”, e.g. glucose.

Water before and after meals
Naturopathy believes water is unhealthy for the body 30 minutes before and one hour after any cooked meal. If you have water before meals, it settles in your system before you’ve started eating. The enzymes released to aid digestion get diluted and they can’t be as effective. Similarly when you have a meal it roughly takes 40 minutes to an hour to digest, and this process gets affected if you have water during or immediately after eating.
Solution: Chew food really well; the body generates its own fluid through saliva to aid digestion. And if you have something too spicy and have a lime shot instead of water.

Oily truths
Don’t fall for oils that make tall claims. Through a refining process, crude oils are standardised, using water, salts, acids, alkali, clay, pressurised hydrogen and catalyst metals. Oil is further processed, filtered, deodorised and bleached, stripping it of its vitamins, minerals and enzymes.
Solution: Use unrefined sesame or mustard oil. Don’t use extra virgin olive oil for cooking as it has a low burn point. Cold pressed, unrefined oils are best used in their natural state.

Know your plastic

Enforcement of standards in India is lax and people are addicted to the convenience of using plastic bags and containers.

Beware of Bisphenol_A Know your plastic codes.

In general, plastics that are marked with recycle codes 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6 are very unlikely to contain BPA. Some, but not all, plastics that are marked with recycle codes 3 or 7 may be made with BPA.”[25]

There are seven classes of plastics used in packaging applications. Type 7 is the catch-all “other” class, and some type 7 plastics, such as polycarbonate (sometimes identified with the letters “PC” near the recycling symbol) and epoxy resins, are made from bisphenol A monomer.[5][26]

Types 3 and 6 (PVC) can also contain bisphenol A as an antioxidant in plasticizers.[5] This is particularly true for “flexible PVC”, but not true for PVC pipes.

Adopt these two measures: No plastic containers or wraps in the microwave. No plastic water bottles. For dioxin, a chemical that’s highly poisonous to cells and causes cancer, is present in plastic and freezing water-filled plastic bottles releases it.

Similarly, the combination of fat, high heat and plastics releases dioxin so don’t heat fatty food in plastic containers in the microwave. Solution: Use glass or ceramic containers for heating food and glass jars or bottles for storing water. While having instant noodles or soups, remove the contents from the packet or container and heat them in something else.

Melamine cookware

Melamine resin is often used in kitchen utensils and plates (such as Melmac). Melamine resin utensils and bowls are not microwave safe, as they absorb the microwave radiation and heat up.

Scratched cookware can mean risk of melamine entering your food chain. Melamine is harmful if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Chronic exposure may cause cancer or reproductive damage.

(adapted from here TOI)

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