If you haven’t read what is the “Square of Health” otherwise “Arogya Chaturasra” in Sanskrit, Please read the first part here
Food or Good Solution!
I tried to bring forth, the most unambiguous solution to questions related to food, you always had. There is no solution to a problem, if ideas don’t converge. And I tried to converge things towards absolute well being. So, yes, it is expensive, it is long, it needs a fifteen minutes read, and another read again, and refer to it when you are loosing ground in the commitment to your self.
Eating Wherever, Whatever!
My cousin eats outside a lot, because of the nature of the job he does, and he teases me that my principles of health don’t affect him, because, he never had any bad health by eating outside food for long periods. So many of you may be doing the same, eating food outside mostly, but still enjoying health. So this poses two questions. (1) Is it unhealthy to eat outside? (2) If it is true, why am I not affected?
The answer to (1) is multi fold, but I will unfold few important ones.
- Habit: Very basically, our body gets used to certain foods, some genetically imprinted, some we use at home. It performs best with that kind of food. It takes time to adjust to any new combinations of food ingredients.
- Allergens: We may be allergic to certain food, or other chemical ingredients used. Did you ever check what brand cooking oil is used or how many times is it truly used, or what preservatives they use? Do you know palm oil is carcinogenic, and that used oil brings lot of free radicals into your system, which damage your youthfulness, and life of organs, and even bring cancer to you. For example, I used to inflame my oesophagus, when I ate in a particular restaurant in Bengaluru, while others didn’t.
- Hygiene and Poisoning: My grandmother used to wash crystallized salt, that people used to laugh at her. During her times, salt was made at the banks of Sea, by drying seawater in tanks, using feet and hands alike to turn it over, by the labor. She understands hygiene, so she ensured her children should never fall sick, so she let half the salt melt away along with dirt.
- Now when you eat food outside, do you ask if they washed their hands before they washed rice or made a roti or any dish? Even if we ask, will they ever tell you?
- I have seen when much food is cooked, they rarely even wash vegetables. Haven’t you noticed it? Are you alright with that?
- Rice is mixed with Boric acid to reduce worms in rice. And there are specifications on how much we should consume. Consuming it daily is not at all good, and leads to complications and harmonal imbalances.
- Some hotels mix limestone powder to bring whiteness to rice during cooking, and reduce consumption by customers. Are you sure what you eat is free of that?
- When massive amounts of cereals are stored, they need to be protected in warehouses from worms, pests, rodents etc. So, they spray chemicals, pest killers, powders. How immune is the food we eat from getting affected to such treatment.
- All packed items are mixed with chemical preservatives, anti caking agents, artificial sweetners, emulsifiers, taste enhancers etc. The list is too long to even mention here. They have a positive effect to your eyes, tongue and nose, not to stomach and well being.
- Genetic relay: If you recollect, I mentioned in the previous article on Exercising, any activity that is repeated, leaves a genetic impression. So, your genes will rearrange by the food you eat. So you will carry the baton to handover the affects, good or bad to your or their children.
- Stale leftovers: When food is leftover last night or the previous night, and it is expensive, or in large quantity, at home itself we try to use it. When it comes to business, they will make sure they use it unless it is absolutely stinking, or there is a QC process in place constantly monitoring. Remember No business is interested in making losses. So they ensure they mix it in such a way with fresh food, that you don’t realize it at all. Now stale food has many negativity around it, even if it hasn’t reached a point of putrefaction and stinking. Are you fine with that?
I am sure there are other areas of ill affects, except one positive aspect called “Taste”. You cannot trust what you are eating outside, like what your mother or wife cooked for you. Can you? I understand there may be genuine restaurants, people who serve absolute healthy food. But we are still not sure which ones are they. And of course.
Healthy food, often doesn’t stimulate the taste buds unfortunately.
Now the second question, “why am I not affected yet, eating outside”, because as said in (4) above, you are carrying the strength of your ancestors genetics, which they cultivated it for generations. Now you damage it and relay it to your children. I wish it is not so, but unfortunately it is so! This is exactly the case of my cousin, he enjoyed the health, because he was hanging to a strong tree, seeds of which were sown by his ancestors. He is actually depleting his genetic reserves. His ancestors had a great history of long, healthy life, eating best possible foods they could afford. Now what he will transmit to his children is purely accidental, and bad.
To your knowledge, science has only unravelled about 4% of genetic information. So there is about 96% which is still hidden from science. I am sure, the hidden has much to say about foods that our ancestors ate, we eat and the diseases we have.
Wherever possible, cross the line of “inertia and laziness”, and the craving for “variety”, and eat at home. It is the “only healthy alternative” for long, disease free life, as much as possible.
My misconception busted
From my childhood, food for me is more of energy. So, I tested myself time and again, without eating food during childhood, if I can be energetic still. That had created weak physical constitution for myself by the time when I was in my late teens. I realized the importance of Food then, but still the need was to be energetic. I am sure many readers right here, believe food is energy alone. I don’t feel I am ashamed, because Ignorance has consequences, and opportunity to learn. I have faced the consequences and took up the opportunity to learn, which I am sharing with you!
We are the food we ate, or we are food itself, if you realize it or not, if you stand in-front of a tiger, it will tell you, what it sees.
- Body is food
- Energy is second part of food that we get
- Quality of intellect one carries and thoughts generated are based on quality of food we eat.
The science of food is vast, not just from modern, but also from Ayurveda, the thousands of year old Indian origin medicinal system. So, I don’t recommend which foods to eat, because your ancestral chain may be different from mine. But I will help you understand what is needed for the body, what is good and bad for the body, and what complicates bodily function. Isn’t that enough to make an informed decision for you and your family? I am sure, it is enough, if you are a reader enough!
Ingredients of Balanced Diet for a Strong constitution
Our body cells are replaced on an average between 7 to 10 years. But again this is subjective. For example the skin cells are replaced every few weeks. The cells in colon are replaced more frequently in days. So cell life is based on the function and the location of it. So what are these cells replaced with? New cells of course, and how are the new cells made, with Cholesterol, Glucose, protein, vitamins and other nutrients all put together. Where are all these coming from? From the food. Isn’t it? And thus your body is nothing but an accumulation of food transformed into a different format. I hope that is clear.
Now if you have pain in the body somewhere, and you think only medicines will help, that is utter stupidity. Any damaged cell or tissue, needs replacement, and for that you need material. And material comes from food you eat. If you eat quality food, combined with right medicine, then recovery will be faster. Doctors prescribe medicines mostly, and can’t look at the patient diet plan, which is a blunder in itself.
The best engineer in the world, with best tools, cannot build a strong bridge out of dry leaves and twigs. He needs right material. So does your body.
So, what are the building blocks for our body
- Proteins : They are the muscles themselves. On an average a man or a woman needs 0.8 to 1 gram of protein per kg of body weight to repair/regenerate the damaged cells. A strenuous exercising person needs additional 0.2 to 0.5 gram of protein additionally. They are in lentils, millets, milk, egg, meat etc. More protein than needed creates load on kidneys in breaking them down.
- Carbohydrates & Sugars: These are the ones that give us energy. They are made of starch. They get converted into Glucose in the digestive process. They are in rice, wheat, other cereals, bread, potato, sugars. While rice is composed of simple carbs, which quickly become glucose, oats on the other hand has complex carbs, which convert slowly to glucose. Having too much starch in diet is having extra unburnt fuel, it gets converted to unwanted fat.
- Fats or Lipids: Fats are needed to build cell membrane. Fat helps body absorb vitamins like A, D and E. Here fat doesn’t necessarily mean thick butter like substance, but our day-to-day Oils also fall into Fats.
Fats are further classified as
- Saturated fats: Fats whose chemical bonds are not easily disturbed, for example Animal Fats (Butter, Ghee etc), Coconut oil. Limited quantity is good for Health
- Unsaturated Fatty Acids: Fats whose chemical bonds are not stable, and hence unsaturated. They, in their raw form are good for health which can control bad cholesterol and triglycerides. They are good when eaten raw as dressing in salads, or mixing in rice before consuming.
- Trans fats: When Oils are hydrogenated (like vanaspati/Dalda), their unstable double bond gets a twisted form, (From CIS to TRANS). And this is one reason for bad cholesterol increase, plaque formation in arteries etc, and thus become reason for Heart attack. They are found as coating on many museli, some dried berries, to protect them from getting worms and no to lose the flavor. Bakery items, roadside fried foods etc also carry Transfats. Don’t forget to always look for label “Transfats : 0”
- Triglycerides: The Excess glucose created from eating excess carbs and sugars gets converted into fat, and let into the bloodstream, to form a layer of fat under the skin, for emergency use. It is called Adipose tissue. Too much triglycerides in blood trigger inflammation of arteries, that accumulate plaque, and thus could become reason for Heart attack
- Oxidized fats: When unsaturated fatty acids (Oils) are put on heat, the double bond breaks and reacts with oxygen, to become oxidized. Usually this happens at the Smoke-point of Oil. This oil, or the fried items in this oil are like zombies to your body cells, they are free radicals, dead, and on killing spree, burning every cell they get in touch with. So the more you eat oxidized fat, the more you are prone to Cancer and other such diseases.
- Vitamins: Vitamins keep our bodily functions optimal, they stimulate endocrine glands, help in digestion, sense organ functions etc. I don’t have to educate you on this, but we must be aware, vitamin deficiency may not affect the current body, but certainly creates a genetic adjustment for the subsequent generation in that family. So it is very essential that you take enough care to check whether you are on balanced diet or not. OF late, families in India are suffering D , B12 deficiencies, and trust me, they are going to rise. Myopia (Shortsightedness) has hit children hard, and it will propagate in genes.
- Minerals: Calcium (for building and maintaining bones), Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium which are essential for heart to beat in time, convert food into appropriate tissues and energy, muscle movement, nerve conduction etc. Iron is a part of Haemoglobin , while some trace elements act as catalysts in many reactions that happen in the body.
- Water:Water is an essential element in our constitution with about 70%. However just water is not sufficient. It must have essential minerals. If you have government provided tap, it is good enough, boil and drink. If you are using Alkaline filters which have the TDS < 30, you are not doing good, you need TDS>=100. Body needs right minerals to keep the heart beat right, and provide appropriate hydration to entire body. High consumption or low consumption of water could be dangerous. While high drains sodium and other essential minerals from body, low consumption makes blood thick, eyes dry, digestion difficult, kidneys loaded. You should know what is the right amount for yourself, by experience or I may give a rough figure 3-4 liters.
The question comes, “how can I ensure, I am eating as required by the body?”. The answer is complex, however it is made very simple by our very ancestral healthy habits and ingredients of food. What we need to do is “Don’t deviate or fall away from it”. If you do, you can’t do the calculations day in day out for yourself, and it is a mess, unless you are a dietician or a gym coach.
Again what is good for tongue, may not be good for stomach. What is “may not be good” for stomach is definitely not good for body at all!
So based on an average balanced diet, you need to have rich protein food, with moderate amount of carbs (unless you are a marathon runner or a full day physical worker), with little unsaturated fats, vitamins and minerals.
I will logically break the article here, to discuss next week, how Ayurveda, the oldest medicinal system on the planet, looks at food, so that you do not consume wrong foods, or consume right food in wrong seasons/time of the year etc. Thanks for your time and commitment towards yourself, and the trust you placed in me.
Ayurveda coming next. And don’t forget to leave a comment, share and like the article, if it has any impact on your life.