Monday, 29 August 2011

Six kitchen drop-outs...

You might be following the dos and don'ts of a healthy lifestyle - avoiding fried, unhealthy stuff, watching what you eat and exercising well. 

However, small things you miss tend to have a huge impact. Fact is, food is bombarded with chemicals in some way or the other and you invariably end up making the mistakes you were desperately trying to avoid. The solution - be informed and aware. Here are six easy dietary tips that can save you from life-threatening diseases.

How to use salt 
The common table salt you buy from your grocery is bleached and leached of all its minerals. This 'refined' or 'iodised' salt also 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 (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. Drop by drop we absorb these chemicals into our bodies and weaken our immune system.
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 
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. 

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