All About Food Addiction

Given the obesity rates in this country there are a lot of people who are addicted to food. Food addiction can be very similar to alcohol and drug addictions. The difference between an over eater and an addict is the over eater simply eats too much, but could stop if they wanted and tried to, yet the addict often can’t stop eating, or binging, despite the extra money it is costing, the effect its having on relationships, or what it is doing to the their health. Food addicts obsess about food. While a large portion of obese people may be food addicts, weight is not the only basis for identifying a them. People who are thin or average weight who are suffering from bulimia nervosa or similar disorders can also be food addicts.

Perhaps you are at a party or picnic and someone has brought out a tray of chocolate frosted cupcakes. It’s not on your new diet plan to eat cupcakes, but the host has made them thinking of you, remembering they are your favorite flavor. So you decide it would be okay to just have one. You enjoy one delectable cupcake, tasting how soft and moist the cake is and how creamy and chocolate-y the frosting is. But after that one cupcake you decide to have one other. At this point you realize that you can’t stop eating them. You might volunteer to take the rest home saying you will “bring them to your family”, even though you know you will eat the rest. Or so people don’t know you have a problem, perhaps you’ll leave a little early and stop by the bakery for cupcakes, and maybe somewhere else, because ice cream would sure taste good with them. Now you are thinking about cupcakes and food too much. It has probably gotten in the way of you having fun at the party.

Whether its cupcakes, ice cream, chips or pizza, if you are like this, not able to stop eating certain foods, you may be a food addict. Food addiction is real and serious. In the United States the obesity rate has been increasing for a number of years. Surprisingly, in the fight against obesity, food addiction is not mentioned. People are told to have self-control, use their willpower, and avoid overeating. They tell us to eat less sugar and fat, and to exercise. People talk to overweight people like they don’t know this. It is just difficult for people with a food addiction. Based on many separate research studies, scientists have found evidence of chemical dependency on food. Experiments have shown that the pleasure centers of the brain that are triggered when people use cocaine and heroin are also stimulated by food. People who are addicted to food overeat because some foods trigger good feeling brain chemicals such as dopamine that gives the person a sense of feeling high. While each food addict has their own particular food or foods they are addicted to, the foods that are most addictive in general tend to be foods that are high in sugar, fat and salt.

Every overweight person may not be addicted to food. Having three brownies once in a while, eating more than the recommended portion of fries, or eating large portions at dinner, do not make a person a food addict. There are many overweight people who are not food addicts. Food addicts think about food and diets a lot. They have often tried to not eat certain foods and have failed. They have nervousness and a sense of anxiety when it comes to food. They both love and hate food. They love food because it is not only delicious, but it has been there to comfort them and help them deal with, but mostly cover, negative emotions such as guilt, anger, or depression. They hate food because it makes them overweight and feel bad about themselves. Food makes them feel out of control because they can’t help eating more and more.

People who suffer from bulimia eat copious amounts food when they binge, just like many other food addicts who are overweight, but because they purge their food they tend to be thin or more often an average weight. But they are often addicted to food, not being able to handle just one portion. They eat large amounts of food, but try to control their weight by “getting rid of” the food.

There have been a lot of programs that are supposed to be helping to curb the obesity epidemic in this country. There needs to be more concentration on food addiction. Most of the obese people are not just overeating because they think it’s fun being fat. They, as well as others who not obese, are suffering from food addictions. Food addictions need to be treated as seriously as drug addiction because these addictions can lead to major illnesses and even death.

 

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!

 

Tips To Stay Away From Food Posioning

Millions of food poisoning cases occur each year, and millions more go unrecognised because they are mis-diagonisd – or unreported. The symptoms include: vomiting, diarrhoea and pain in the abdomen.

Most of us can handle a little food poisoning without major upset, but there are a number of high-risk groups for whom it can be very dangerous, even fatal. These groups include the elderly, infants, pregnant women and the chronically ill, especially those with weakend immune systems. There are also certain types of food poisoning like (botulism) that can be deadly for just about anyone.

WHAT CAUSES FOOD POISONING?

Most food poisoning occurs because food was handled improperly at home, often during routine procedures that we all take for granted.(Other stages at which germs and toxins might enter food are during cultivation and storage).

There are four main culprits:

Bacteria: These are responsible for more than two-thirds of food poisoning episodes. The important germs in this category are Salmonella, Staphylococci Clostrdia and Bacillus Cereus. The food we eat, no matter how hygienically prepared, almost always contains a few bacteria. However, a small number does not cause illness: at a rough estimate, about one million bacteria must be present before a healthy adult will come to harm. However, in case of children under one year, or in case of old or sick persons, only one lakh bacteria bring on illness.

Viruses: These are the simplest living organisms containing only genetic material. Viruses require living tissues for their growth and multiplication, therefore will not multiply in food. However, food can serve as a transport vehicle for viruses. Since viruses are destroyed by temperatures achieved in normal cooking, food poisoning by viruses occurs largely in food which has not been cooked or has been handled after cooking by a person who is a carrier of viruses.

Chemicals: Common chemicals which produce food poisoning are pesticides, detergents, paraffin, food additives, sterilizing agents and packing materials. Food poisoning from chemicals is mostly caused by carelessness in the home or in an industrial establishment.

Try to avoid buying attractive and highly-coloured foods as these contain several addictives which way harmful. Carefully read the manufacturer’s information/instructions regarding contents, use and storage.

Aoid the use of packaged wheat-flour. Instead, buy whole-wheat from the market, clean it with plenty of water, dry it and have it ground at a floor mill.

Vegetables: Certain naturally poisonous plants, when accidentally mixed in with vegetables, cause food posioning. Among these are toadstool (confused with mushroom), hemlock, black nightshade, rhubarb leaves and undercooked red kidney beans. The toxins of most plants are unaffected by cooking.

HOW GERMS GAIN ACCESS TO THE KITCHEN

The main entry points are:

Food Handlers: Usually these are carriers (persons carrying the germs in their body but not suffering from the disease itself). They may be convalescents, i.e. people who have recently suffered food poisoning and who, though recovered, continue to pass a small number of these germs in the faeces; these may gain access to food due to improper washing of hands and poor general hygiene.

Carriers may also be healthy people who have not suffered the symptoms of food poisoning but nevertheless carry harmful germs in their intestines. Again, the medium of instruction is faeces.

Animals, birds and Insects: Flies, rats, birds, other insects and animals (incluing pets) usually carry bacteria in their intestines and on their feet and fur. These animals are infected through eating contaminated feeds, grazing on contaminated pasture land or through contact with other (infected) animals.

Food and food products: When animals are slaughtered and dressed, germs from the surroundings and from the hands of the handlers may contaminate the surface of the meat where they grow and multiply.

Dust: Vegetables are usually contaminated with dust which may contain bacterial spores. Spores are the unique feature of some (not all) bacteria. When growth and multiplication of bacteria is not possible due to an unfavourable environment, the bacterial cells form spores (small, reproductive cells) and the remaining part of the germs disintegrates. These spores are resistant to even boiling and freezing, can survive for years without food or water and, in faourable circumstances, are capable of reverting to the original, infective form – to grow again and multiple.

Raw vegetables should be first rinsed in plenty of water and then dipped in a very weak solution of potassium permanganate (about of grams in 1 litre of water), for 5 minutes, and then washed again thoroughly with clean water. Potassium permanganate removes the surface dirt, spores and germs.

Cross-contamination: This is the transmission of germs from a contaminated source to uncontaminated food (usually freshly cooked food). If this food is suitable for bacterial growth and is left for some time in a warm room, the transferred organisms multiply rapidly. Some examples of this process in a kitchen are:

  • Using a chopping board, a work surface or kitchen equipment in the preparation of two different foods without washing it in between, eg using a mincer for raw meet and then for cooked corned beef. The same principle holds true for the hands of the cook.
  • Sneezing, coughing, smoking, scratching around the genitals or the anus while in the kitchen and not washing hand thereafter.
  • Wearing highly engraved jewellery while preparing food. The crevices offer a foothold for germs which may then be transferred to the food.
  • By combining hair in the kitchen or from loose strands of hair.
  • From skin infections, especially of the hands (boils, furuncles, wounds etc.) in the cook.
  • From the crevices of craked/chipped plates and damaged utensils.
  • Through unhygienic food tasting, eg, dipping a finger in prepared food without washing, then licking it and again dipping it in another prepared for unprepared food, without washing in between.
  • By touching dirty linen, wash-cloths, dusters, etc. while preparing/handling food.
  • By incorrect placement of food in the refrigerator. For example, keeping uncooked meat on the top shelf, and uncovered, roasted chicken on the shelf below: Blood from the uncooked meat may drip on to the chicken and contaminate it. In the low temperature inside the fridge, these germs remain dormant, but once the food is warmed for serving or even thawed out at room temperature, the germs multiply rapidly.

HOW GERMS GROW IN FOOD

Germs thrive best when four conditions are optimum:

Temperature: Bacteria that cause food poisoning grow and multiply fastest at the temperature of the human body (37° C). Above and below the temperature, the rate of growth decreases, but still fairly rapid at about 30° C – which would be the room temperature in a poorly-ventilated kitchen during summers.

At the temperature of boiling water, i.e. 100° C, bacteria are killed in one or two minutes (though spores are not).

At low temperatures, such as in a fridge, they become dormant, but start multiplying again once the food is removed for thawing or warming.

The Type of Food: Germs multiply rapidly in those foods which have a high protein and moisture content, such as meat, poultry, dairy products, gravies and sauces. Protein and moisture provide “nutrition” to bacteria and act as very good culture media. (In the laboratory, most bacteria are grown over a blood or egg-containing medium.)

Moisture: Dehydrated products, such as milk powders, do not allow the growth of bacteria, but the bacteria remain dormant until the powders are reconstituted. So, reconstituted powder milk,eg, must be stored in the refrigerator as soon as water is added to it.

The Time Factor: If conditions are conducive, bacteria divide into two, every twenty minutes. Therefore, the longer food is allowed to stay in conditions optimum from bacterial growth, the greater the extent to contamination.

HOW TO PREVENT FOOD POISONING?

The ground rule is to maintain regorous hygiene at all the points at which food is handled:

Personal hygiene of the food-handler

  • Germs cling to the skin surface and persist in hair follicles, in skin pores, or in crevices and lesions caused by breaks in the skin. The hands should be washed with plenty of soap and water, preferably warm. A disinfectant solution may also be used, as an added precaution.
  • Nails should be short, unchipped and, preferably, unvarnished (if varnished, the varnish should not be chipped.)
  • Wet hands contain more bacteria than dry hands. Use clean towels to dry them. If you can afford an electrically-operated hand drier, that’s even more hygienic.
  • The food handler should remove all jewellery from his/her hands.
  • If any cut,wound or boil is present on the hand, a coloured waterproof dressing should be apllied over it so that if it accidentally falls off into the food, it can be easily noticed and the food discarded.
  • It is very important to wash hands after a trip to the toilet, blowing your nose, handling raw meat, poultry or contaminated food, etc.
  • The food handler should not smoke in the kitchen and should sneeze or cough into a tissue which should then be discarded.
  • Cover hair under a cap or net.
  • Clothes should be clean and should cover exposed areas of the body as far as possible. Long sleeves should be rolled up or securely fastened at the wrists so that cuffs do not dip into the food.
  • Always waer full-length apron.
  • During illness, the nasal and throat carriage of bacteria is increased, so sick persons and those who have suffered from food poisoning, diarrhoea and vomiting in the recent past (even if they are apparently healthy now) should not be allowed into the kitchen.

Hygiene in the Preparation, Cooking and Storage of food

  • Thaw all frozen foods completely before cooking. If you do not, the ice crystals at the centre of the food prevent the temperature that reaches the centre at the time of cooking from being sufficiently high to kill the bacteria there; at the same time, this temperature level will be optimum for bacterial multiplication!
  • Food should not be repeatedly frozen, thawed and re-frozen. Each time it thaws, it reaches a temperature that’s conducive to bacterial growth.
  • Cook food thoroughly at one go. Never do it in two stages – bacteria remain alive in partially-cooked foods and on cooling they multiply and survive right through the next phase of partial cooking.
  • Never keep the food warm (as in casseroles) because these provide the optimum temperature for bacterial multiplication.
  • Never re-heat the food more than once. Again, bacteria get a chance to multiply when the food has gone from ‘hot’ to ‘warm’. If re-heating is absolutely necessary, the food should be covered and cooled very rapidly after cooking and stored in the refrigerator until it is ready to be re-heated. To speed cooling, divide up the food into several containers or cut up big chunks into smaller pieces.
  • Quick, high temperature cooking is the best. The traditional practice of slow cooking in open pots increases the risk of food poisoning.
  • As eggs, especially duck’s eggs, are a known risk for salmonella poisoning, lightly cooked uncooked dishes such as scrambled eggs, omelette and poached eggs should preferably be avoided. Safer options are hard-boiled eggs (boiled for at least ten minutes), eggs fried well on both sides or eggs used in baked products such as cakes and puddings, which require cooking temperatures high enough to destroy the germs.
  • Cook foods to the proper temperatures. Meat should be cooked at least 160° degrees. Red meat is thoroughly cooked when it is brown or gray inside. Poultry is done when the juices become clear. Fish, which cooks very quickly, flakes easily with a fork when it is done.
  • Serve food as soon as possible after cooking. Don’t let it sit out for more than two hours at room temperature. If you are serving buffet-style, keep cold food on ice, hot food over warmers. Put out only small portions at a time so that the remainder can stay hot or cold in the kitchen until needed.
  • As far as possible, avoid buying prepared foods because you have no guarantee of the hygiene maintained in the preparation of such foods. If you must buy such goods, prefer frozen foods to warm foods, since they provide less opportunity for bacterial multiplication.
  • Don’t buy food in damage containers. Avoid cans and glass jars that have dents cracks or bulging lids. A damaged container may allow bacteria to get inside and multiple.
  • Use highly acidic canned foods, such as tomato and apple products, within 12 to 18 months. Other canned goods, such as canned meat, poultry, stews, pasta products, potatoes and peas can be stored longer (from two to five years).

There are several reasons for this. First, when acidic foodstuffs are packed in metal containers, the acid dissolves the metal which is absorbed into the contents of the tin/can, affecting their flavour and texture, thus causing spoilage.

The acid itself also softens the preserved food, again damaging its texture – “spoilage”.

Finally, meats and other hardy foods like pasta and potatoes preserve better because, at the time of processing, it is possible for them to withstands the duration and kind of temperature required for virtually complete sterilization – 121° C, for 20 minutes at 15 pounds of steam pressure. However, succulent foods like apples, tomatoes and mangoes cannot withstand such processing without having their flavour and texture altered. So, they are heated at a lower temperature, under less pressure, for longer time. Because of the incomplete sterilization, the chances of spoilage in such foods are comparatively higher.

  • Preferably, all canned food should be stored in the refrigerator – especially if you intend to use it over a prolonged period. In any case, don’t use it beyond the expiry date. All opened canned food should be stored as freshly cooked-food.
  • Do not put hot foods directly into the fridge. Apart from damaging the cooling coils, this can encourage the growth of certain germs and moulds.
  • The refrigerator door should be kept shut as far as possible; the fridge should also be regularly defrosted to remove excess ice around the cooling coils which decreases is efficiency.

Hygiene in The Kitchen

A sterile kitchen would be a mere fantasy. However, proper design and maintenance can go a long way in ensuring a clean and hygienic cooking environment and significantly reducing the risks of food poisoning:

  • The kitchen should be spacious enough to allow easy and thorough cleaning. Equipment should be moveable or, in the case of fridges, for example, should be placed where it is possible to clean its back, sides and under-surface.
  • The areas of preparation, cooking and washing up should be well separated to lessen the chances of cross-contamination.
  • The kitchen should be provided with a large window and ventilator, if possible with exhaust fan.
  • The window should be covered with thin wire mesh to prevent the entry of house-flies and other pests.
  • The cutting/chopping board should be made from hard-wearing, easily cleaned material which does not absorb moisture, chip or crack and is not affected by food residues. Stainless steel is the best choice, better than even plastic laminates which, of however superior quality, are still susceptible to scratches from knife blades etc. However, even today, far too many kitchens use wooden boards, which easily develop cracks and crevices, enabling germs to thrive.
  • Every kitchen should have a round-cornered dustbin, preferably with paddle-operated lid, and it should never be allowed to overflow.
  • Kitchen floors should be made of a hard-wearing, anti-slip, easily-cleaned material which is unaffected by moisture, and resistant to salt and fruit acids. Unbroken, smooth quarry tiles are a good choice.
  • The ceiling should have a smooth finish to facilitate cleaning (an absorbent plaster with washable emulation). Walls should be smooth and light-coloured to make dirt easily traceable.
  • Pick up knives, forks and spoons by their handles, glasses by their stems and plates by their edges. Discard any chipped plate or glass and any damaged utensils because even efficient washing may not get rid of the germs harboured in crevices and cracks.
  • Rat and mice carry bacteria in their fur, feet and faeces. Since they breed in warm and dark corners, the kitchen premises should be kept in good repair with no holes, or defective pipes or drains. Store-rooms for storage areas should be cleaned regularly. All the stocks must be kept off the ground and used in rotation to ensure that rats and mice are not been sheltered at the back of the store-room. If you do have a rodent problem, get rid of the pests with a mousetrap or a mild rodenticide.
  • Flies are the commonest carrier of food-poisoning bacteria. Reduce the risks by covering windows and ventilators with fine wire mesh, using covered dustbins and, if necessary, an insecticidal spray.
  • Cockroaches typically hide behind ovens and cooking ranges, water pipes, and refrigerators. They can be killed by most available insecticides.

 

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.

 

Tips To Read Food Label

One of the most important things you can do for your own nutrition is to know what you’re eating. In recent years, food labels have become much more user friendly and you really can know exactly what you’re putting in your body.

Your relationship with food is very important. What you eat can help to give you energy, improve your immunity, and allow you to combat many diseases. But it can also do the opposite – leave you feeling weak and even cause disease.

But if you’ve never given your food much thought, reading food labels can be intimidating. There’s a lot of information there. Deciding which information is important and which isn’t can be challenging. Once you know the basics, though, you’ll read those labels with confidence.

Be Smart about Serving Size

Begin with looking at the serving size on the label. Sometimes people miss this part of the label and then have an inaccurate idea of what’s actually in the food. For example, if you have a can of soup and the label says it’s 2 servings, that means that the information on the label would be doubled if you ate the whole can.

Labels have gotten better in the recent past. For example, a can of soda used to be 1.5 or 2 servings. But now when you look at the label, one can of soda is a whole serving because most people will drink the entire thing. A 20 oz bottle, though, is more than 2 servings.

Calorie Breakdown

Once you know the serving size, you’re ready to move on to looking at the quality of the food you’re eating. The most obvious information you can get from your food label is about the breakdown of calories.

The label will tell you how many calories are in each serving. Calories are the measurement for how much energy it takes down to break down the food. The higher the calories, the longer it will take to break it down.

Your metabolism is the measure of how much energy you burn over a period of time. While we often think of exercising as burning calories, the effect of exercise is small compared to the total calories you burn.

When your heart beats, you breathe in and out, your body breaks down nutrients and makes new blood cells you’re burning calories. That’s why you need an average of around 2,000 calories in a day.

There are three basic biomolecules that your food can give you: proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Food labels tell you exactly how much of each you’re getting in a serving of food. The label also tells you how many grams of that food you need in a typical diet.

Depending on the label, the following are the major categories you’ll find:

*· Total calories per serving

*· Grams of carbohydrates

*· Grams of fat

*· Milligrams of sodium

*· Grams of protein

*· Vitamins and minerals, if any

Within those major categories are some subdivisions to help you understand even more about what you’re eating. Let’s take a look at those subdivisions and what they mean for you when it comes to your diet.

Not All Carbohydrates are Created Equal

When it comes to carbohydrates, some are better for you than others. Let’s be clear – you need carbohydrates to have energy and to be healthy. Any diet that tells you to eliminate them completely is unhealthy.

A food label will break down carbohydrates into two categories – fiber and sugars. You need both. However, many people don’t have enough fiber in their diets. You want to look for foods that are high in this nutrient.

Fiber helps you to lower your cholesterol and helps your digestive system to be more regular. You’ll find more fiber in foods that contain whole grains such as wheat and oats. This is the healthier type of carbohydrate.

The other category of sugars is what you need to watch if you’re concerned about diabetes. Depending on your situation with blood sugar, you’ll want to limit how many grams of sugar you get in your diet.

When it comes to calories, every gram of carbohydrates contains 4 calories. So if you want to know how many calories in the food come from carbohydrates you can multiply your carbohydrate grams by four. Then you can look at the total calories in the serving to determine the percentage of calories that come from them.

The Purpose of Protein

Your body must have protein to build structures. Most of the structures inside you consist of protein and in order to have the building blocks to repair cells and develop muscles, you’ll need to eat food that has this important molecule.

A food label will tell you the number of grams of protein in your food. You’ll want to look for foods that are high in protein. Foods that have a lot of protein include nuts, meats, whole grain foods, and dairy products.

The Facts About Fats

Food labels will also give you information about fats. In the past, health practitioners told patients to avoid fat altogether. But it turns out that modern science doesn’t support that type of diet. You actually need fats just like you need other molecules in your food.

The two major categories of fats are unsaturated and saturated. Unsaturated fats come from plant sources. At room temperature unsaturated fats stay liquid. These are considered healthy fats. You need them to help keep your skin and other organs healthy.

Unsaturated fats also help lower “bad” cholesterol and raise “good” cholesterol in your blood. This helps to protect your heart and prevent problems such as heart disease and stroke. They also help your digestive system to run smoothly.

Saturated fats come from animal fats. These are solid at room temperature and are considered unhealthy fats. They contribute to high cholesterol, clogged arteries and can ultimately lead to heart disease, stroke, and other disorders.

Speaking of cholesterol, you can also find the amount of cholesterol in a serving of food on the label. Cholesterol amounts become important when you’re trying to eat a heart healthy diet. If you’re trying to lower cholesterol, you’ll want to pay attention to this part of the label.

Trans fats are a category of fats that come from altering the chemical structure of an unsaturated fat. They are also called hydrogenated fats because the process of taking a liquid unsaturated fat to a solid trans fat involves adding hydrogen atoms to the molecules.

For many years it was thought that trans fats were as healthy as unsaturated fats, but that has been disproved. In fact, trans fats are actually more harmful than saturated fats. Because of the bad press trans fats many food manufacturers are removing it from their products.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now requires that trans fats are listed on food labels. It’s a good idea to avoid any food that has trans fats in it. These fats have no nutritional value and are in fact harmful for you.

Sodium Safety

Another nutrient that food labels provide information about is sodium. Sodium is the fancy, scientific term for salt. If you have normal blood pressure you probably don’t pay too much attention to salt. But if you’re suffering from high blood pressure, you can’t ignore it.

Sodium causes your body to hold onto water and in turn raises your blood pressure. High blood pressure is a leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke. So if you have this issue, you need to check the labels. Speak with your doctor about what healthy amount of sodium is for you.

Then you’ll want to look for labels that have low amounts of sodium or are even free from it. Some foods are labeled as “low sodium” but you still need to look at the label and see where it fits in with your needs.

Eating Vitamins and Minerals

While most people could use a multivitamin each day, the best way to get your vitamins and minerals is through the food you eat. In food, you find these vitamins and minerals in a natural state that’s easy for your body to absorb.

Food labels will give you an idea of what nutrients can be found in a specific food. Look for foods that are high in vitamins and minerals such as calcium, vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, and beta-carotene.

Making Time for Reading Food Labels

When you’re new at reading food labels, it can see overwhelming. But the more you do it, the easier it becomes. You’ll also have your “go-to” foods that you can just pick up without revisiting the label every time.

Plan to spend some extra time at the grocery store when you’re paying more attention to food labels. Pay attention to what nutrients you’re looking to limit and what you need to add to your diet. Before you shop, make a list of what you need to get.

Then, as you’re shopping make a list of additional foods that you’d like to incorporate into your diet. You may also want to make a list of foods you’d like to avoid. Perhaps something you’ve always loved has way more cholesterol than you can afford. Spend some time looking for a substitute that’s on the healthier side.

Understanding Ingredients

The other list you’ll find on a nutrition label – or near it – is a list of ingredients. Ingredients on products are listed in order from greatest amount to least amount in the food. This list of ingredients can be very helpful for determining if a food is something you want to eat or not.

Some ingredients you might want to avoid include:

*· Corn syrup (highly processed sugar)

*· Hydrogenated oils

*· Monosodium glutamate (MSG)

*· Artificial coloring

*· Artificial sweeteners (sucralose, aspartame, saccharin)

Ingredients that are not natural and come from chemical processing are generally not good for your body. A rule of thumb to follow is that if you can’t pronounce the ingredient, you probably shouldn’t eat it.

Once you start reading food labels, you’ll be surprised to find out how many additives are in processed foods. While some foods with labels are healthy for you, there are a lot of foods that come in cans, boxes, and bags contain harmful ingredients.

Foods Without Labels

When it comes to nutrition, the best thing you can do is look for foods that don’t require labels. These are foods such as fruits, vegetables, and meats. The less processed your food is, the healthier it will be.

Other foods have labels, but are also close to their natural state. This includes food such as:

*· Milk

*· Yogurt

*· Whole grain bread

*· Whole grain cereals

*· Natural peanut butter

*· Natural cheese

 

All About Microwaved Food

I recently received an email asking if I could explain about ‘microwave ovens’, eating ‘microwaved food’ etc. So here it is.

The news is not good, if you prefer ‘ignorance is bliss’, now might be a good time to ‘accidentally’ have something better to do! When we think of ‘natural’ health & well-being, it would make sense that we would want to ‘cook’ our food in a ‘natural’ way.

It doesn’t take much intuition to realize that microwaving your food, is about as ‘unnatural’ a way to cook your food as you can get. Doesn’t the fact we use the terms, ‘zap’ it or ‘nuke’ it in the microwave, send a chill up your spine and suggest something is not quite right here?

A critical point is that microwaves don’t actually ‘cook’ your food at all. They basically just heat up the water content of the food and cause the food particles to resonate at very high frequencies. This ‘heats up’ your food, but this is very different from ‘cooking’ your food.

It’s like your food is heated but still ‘raw’. It doesn’t change the chemical structure of your food properly (and in many cases deforms the food molecules), thus substantially reducing your foods nutritional value. Worse however, is that microwaves can (and usually do) create harmful compounds that can lead to serious problems/disease (high cholesterol, cancer etc). * See the research further down.

Now, before you start cursing me again for making you feel bad (because you love your microwave and think life would be hell without it), remember, like all the health tips we give, you need to make them practical and still be able to function and enjoy life. However, while a little bit here and there won’t kill you (not immediately anyway!) – regular intakes are a real problem.

Basically, microwave ovens decay and change the structure of food by the process of ‘radiation’. Do you think if they were marketed as “radiation ovens”, they would be so popular? No way, but that’s exactly what they are. Simply put, you are interfering with/disturbing the ‘natural intelligence’ of the food (which is by far the most important part of any food).

Why wouldn’t we hear more about their negative effects if they were so bad? Basically, for the same reason we don’t hear about many of the things that jeopardize our health (until years after), vested interests and ‘heads in the sand’. Most people don’t want to give up something that is so ‘convenient’!!! And as modern science doesn’t value the fact that there is more to cooking food, than just heating it up, not enough proper research is being done. It’s just another case of modern society, trying to use ‘technology’ to save time… unfortunately at the expense of our health & well-being.

TIPS:

1. Avoid using microwaves/eating microwaved food whenever possible.

Yes, I know you’re busy, you don’t have time to cook and it’s so easy to just ‘zap’ it in the microwave. I know I’m being Scrooge again, and it’s all so easy to say “Don’t use microwaves”, but this really is a big one.

There’s probably not that many other things you could do to improve your long-term health more than throwing your microwave out the window… or at least using it far more sparingly.

Personally, I think you are better off to go and buy some half decent take-away (non-microwaved) than consistently eating ‘zapped’ food (seriously!)

2. THAWING FOODS is not so bad:

If you want to use your microwave for thawing frozen foods, that is not so bad. It’s still much better to let them thaw out naturally, but using a microwave for this purpose and cooking your food ‘naturally’ is not as bad as actually ‘cooking’ with your microwave.

3. ‘NEVER’ use PLASTIC:

Never heat your food in the microwave using plastic containers. When microwaving, carcinogenic toxins can be leached from your plastic and paper plates or covers and mix with your food. This especially applies to foods that contain fat. The combination of fat, high heat, and plastics releases dioxin (Dioxin chemicals cause cancer, especially breast cancer) into the food and ultimately into the cells of the body.

* This comes from Cancer News at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and a statement by Dr. Edward Fujimoto, Wellness Program Manager at Castle Hospital. Full details below.

SOLUTION:

Use glass, corning ware or ceramic containers for heating your food.

4. *** MOTHERS: DON’T Heat your baby’s milk in the microwave (especially in plastic bottles): **

Most people know the enormous benefits of breast milk for infants (as natural as you can get). However, microwaving breast milk (expressed milk) has been shown to break down the essential disease-fighting ability of breast milk (which helps protect your baby) and cause ‘hot spots’ (which can burn your infants mouth).

While this is not ideal in itself, the fact that microwaving causes ‘hot spots’ in the first place, shows it does not heat things evenly/properly. Add on the general problems of using plastic bottles as highlighted above, and it really isn’t the best idea. * The same applies for formula milk/any type of milk in plastic containers.

Better Alternatives:

i) Warm the milk by placing the container in a cup/saucepan of hot water or

ii) ideally boil the milk in a saucepan and let it cool down to warm drinking temperature.

* More hassle? Yes. More time-consuming? Yes. Better for your baby? ABSOLUTELY.

Practical Help: How to Reduce your Microwave Use?

i) Plan ahead:

where possible, decide what you are going to have in advance, so if you need to thaw something, you can take it out of the freezer beforehand (you may need to be before you go to work in some cases).

ii) Weigh up the health benefits of cooking ‘naturally’ versus microwaves.

Is it really that much extra time/hassle? Instead of putting something on a plate, covering it and putting it in the microwave, you’re essentially doing the same in an oven/saucepan. Add a bit of extra time for cooking and washing saucepans etc (if you don’t have a dishwasher), and you are not that much worse off time-wise.

Tips for Getting Take-Away:

i) If you get take-away and they go to cook it/heat it up in a microwave, ask if they can ‘oven heat’ it instead (just enough so it’s not ‘cold’) – so it doesn’t take that much longer!

* In addition to the health dangers, there is nothing worse than your crispy, crunchy pastry or whatever, being microwaved into a soft, soggy, mushy heap (Urgghhh!!!).

ii) If they can’t/won’t do that (i.e oven heat it), depending on the food/season, you might prefer to just have it ‘unheated’/cold. Cold is not ideal, but better than being ‘nuked’.

iii) If it has to be heated and microwave is the ‘only’ way, ask them to microwave it on ‘medium’ (for a little longer) rather than on ‘high’.

If you want to know more about microwaves/microwaving food – who invented them, the science behind them (why they are so unhealthy), the research done so far etc,read on.

History of the Microwave – The Nazi’s:

The Nazis invented the first microwaves. First known as ‘radiomissors’ (argghhh!!!), they were used for preparating meals on a mass scale during the invasion of Russia.

After the war, the Russians had retrieved some of these microwave ovens and conducted research on their biological effects. So alarmed by what they learned, the Russians banned microwave ovens in 1976.

Research on Microwaves:

More and more research is now suggesting people who regularly eat microwaved food over a period of time, sustain significant adverse changes to their blood chemistries and the rates of growth of certain diseases.

These can include:

* An increased rate of cancer cell formation in the blood.
* Increased rates of stomach and intestinal cancers.
* Lymphatic disorders, leading to decreased ability to prevent certain types of cancers.
* Higher rates of digestive disorders and a gradual breakdown of the systems of elimination.

1. Dr. Hans Ulrich Hertel was the first scientist to conduct quality clinical research on the effects microwaved nutrients (on the human body).

His small but well controlled study showed the degenerative force produced in microwave ovens and the food processed in them. This included,

Increased cholesterol levels
Decreased numbers of red blood cells
Production of radiolytic compounds (compounds unknown in nature)
Decreased hemoglobin levels (possible anemia problems).

His conclusion:

Microwave cooking changes the nutrients in the food, and changes take place in the participants’ blood that can cause deterioration in the human system.

1. Hertel’s scientific study was done along with Dr. Bernard H. Blanc of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and the University Institute for Biochemistry.

2. A study published in the November 2003 issue of The Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture found that… broccoli “zapped” in the microwave with a little water lost up to 97% of the beneficial antioxidant chemicals it contains.

By comparison, steamed broccoli lost 11% or fewer of its antioxidants.

3. A recent study at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York demonstrated that microwaving food creates toxic compounds (known as AGE’s) that are associated with serious illness such as heart disease and diabetes etc.

AGE’s form when sugars, proteins and fats amalgamate in high-temperature cooking, the most harmful of which is microwaved food.

4. Microwaving baby formulas converts certain trans-amino acids into their synthetic isomers, which are toxic to the nervous system – this is from the British journal The Lancet (Dec. 9, 1989).

Microwaved Blood Kills Woman:

A 1991 lawsuit involving a woman who had hip surgery and died because the blood used in her blood transfusion was warmed in a microwave. Blood is routinely warmed before transfusions, but not by microwave. The microwave altered the blood and it killed the woman.

More on Microwaves & Dioxins:

This is from an email (around Jan 06), Re; Cancer News from John Hopkins. It was received from a nursing supervisor at Greenville Memorial Hospital. It was sent to their staff.

Cancer News from Johns Hopkins:
No plastic containers in microwave.
No plastic wrap in microwave.

Johns Hopkins has recently sent this out in its newsletters. This information is being circulated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Dioxinchemicals cause cancer, especially breast cancer.

Dioxins are highly poisonous to the cells of our bodies.

Recently, Dr. Edward Fujimoto, Wellness Program Manager at Castle Hospital, was on a TV program to explain this health hazard. He talked about dioxins and how bad they are for us.

He said that we should not be heating our food in the microwave using plastic containers. This applies to foods that contain fat. He said that the combination of fat, high heat, and plastics releases dioxin into the food and ultimately into the cells of the body.

He recommends using glass, corning ware or ceramic containers for heating your food.

You get the same results, only without the dioxin. So such things as TV dinners and soups, etc, should be removed from the container and heated in something else (* Note from Mark – re-heating/cooking frozen food – e.g TV dinners, is not highly recommended anyway). Paper isn’t bad, but you don’t know what is in the paper. It’s just safer to use tempered glass, Corning Ware, etc.

He reminded us that a while ago some of the fast food restaurants moved away from the foam containers to paper. The dioxin problem is one of the reasons. He also pointed out that Saran wrap is just as dangerous when placed over foods to be cooked in the microwave. As the food is nuked, the high heat causes poisonous dioxins to actually melt out of the plastic wrap and drip into the food.

Alternative: Cover food with a paper towel instead.

The Natural (Ayurvedic) View:

For those familiar with the Ayurvedic dosha system, the understanding from Maharishi Ayurveda is that microwaves disturb vata dosha. Vata is that ‘governing principle of Intelligence’ that governs all communication and movement in your mind-body. If out of balance it can adversely affect your nervous system, and lead to problems ranging from anxiety, disturbed sleep through to constipation and early/chronic fatigue.

 

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!”

 

Between Natural Food and Package Food

There are substantial differences between the two. In order to analyse this, we need to consider the MAIN difference if we look at the words, “Real Natural” and also – “Packaged.”

Real Natural Foods – Untouched or modified, and straight off the vine or tree.

Packaged Foods – Processed and packaged, modified and “enhanced or tampered with.”

Now I know these two descriptions are the extreme, and you must realise that if it’s modified or processed, then it is (by definition) not natural – in its natural state.

Your body will consume anything you put in it, and deal with it as best as it can. This includes all the processed and modified foods. Some are not bad, and others, not good at all.

Now, the real health concerns over what foods to consume is not going to be a big debate today, except to say that everything that we put in our mouth will either do us good, or not good. As you could imagine then, you have to be careful about the processed foods we put into our bodies, and understand that everything has consequences. Whether it is in short term, long term or secondary effect, it will affect your body in some way.

Now let’s have a look at the packaged foods.

What do we do about research understanding things that are in foods? Do we read the packet to see what adverse elements are actually in them? Do you know how your body reacts to certain processed foods? More importantly – do you know what you are actually feeding your children?

We also have to understand that although packaged foods (processed foods) affects us all differently, there are some fundamental ways in which we will react, and it’s usually the degree of the reaction that varies among each of us.

Now this is what I want you to do. I want you to consider what is in your pantry and fridge. What is in your food cupboard? Now this is where we have to be honest with ourselves to get the most out of this information.

The reason this is important is because we can often “fool ourselves” into thinking that “it’s only a little bit,” or “it’s just a treat.” Here is the real question… Is it a treat? What constitutes the timing of treats? Well, a treat every night is not a treat. It’s really part of your staple diet. Are you consuming too much of the “nasties” that react adversely to your body?

Here is a typical list of what is found in most ‘western society pantries’ and fridges:

– Potato crisps (chips in a packet) / corn chips

– cookies (biscuits and crackers)

– rice crackers / rice and corn shapes

– cup cakes

– donuts

– muslie bars / rice bars / nut bars

– confectionary – chocolate bars

– candy / lollies / sweets on sticks / wrapped sweets / toffee / chew bars

– mints / breath mints / candy suckers / lollie suckers / lozengers

– premade pasta meals, instant noodles

– soda drinks / soft drinks / soda pops / premix carbonated drinks

– juices / fruit drinks / pre-squeezed fruit and vegetable juices

– beers / wines

Now I ask the question – where is the real food in it? Where are the fruit and veggies? Is this your staple diet?

Watch how you or your kids react when they eat packaged foods, and watch how they act after they eat natural foods. There is a big difference. As a parent, I have seen this first hand. There is food related bad behaviour, as well as good behaviour.

I know what I prefer. What about you?

There is another element that affects how fast we digest our foods through our bodies, called Glycemic Index (GI for short). The higher the Glycemic index, the faster our body digests and processes food in our body. If you have heard the term “Low GI food,” it is food that is slowly processed and gives a slow release of energy. On the other hand, a “High GI food” gives you an almost instant pick up of energy, processes fast, and then you “fall flat” and you are out of energy. Even some natural foods have a high Glycemic index. BUT, the majority of packaged foods have high GI.

If you eat a packet of potato crisps, you may feel satisfied for a short while, and then you are probably empty and “unsatisfied” a short while later. That is because they usually lace the chips or snack with salts and flavours that make you ‘want more’.

Here is a challenge for you.

Instead of snacking on packaged foods, choose a natural alternative. This could include nuts, dried fruit, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sweet peas or beans, tomatoes, grapes, fruit, and yoghurt.

The idea is to have it prepared beforehand. It is very difficult to “grab a snack” that is healthy when you are in a hurry, unless you have something pre-prepared. With seeds and nuts, have them separated into small bags or containers, so that when you “run out the door” you can simply grab that pre-organised snack. You will be satisfied, and you will feel better for it. You won’t feel gluggy, or flat, and you are doing your body good, not filling it with junk foods. It is a matter of being prepared and it is not hard to do. If you are serious about having slight changes in your lifestyle, then this is an easy step.

Packaged foods are mixed. Some are “healthy” some are not. You have to be careful even if they are labelled healthy. Are they really healthy? Do they have chemical flavour enhancers such as MSG, preservatives, or pH balancers? Do they have swags of laboratory numbers on the ingredients list? Or really, really long words that only your doctor or chemist would understand? If so, then you should do some research, find out what they really stand for, and avoid foods that contain them. This can be a little difficult – especially if you have kids. It’s that “No” word. Just make healthy alternative choices instead.

Making the right decision for your whole family will mean changes. And no one likes change. Just do a little research to avoid some bigger problems later on. However, a good mix of natural foods will be the best solution. Take an apple. – If your kids can’t eat a whole apple, cut it up into smaller sizes, they are more likely to eat it. Make eating these things fun. You get excited about eating healthy, and your kids will follow. Don’t make a big fuss over it though, it will just happen. A good variety is the key.

As you can see, there are major differences between packaged foods and natural foods. As a rule, if it comes in a packet, so it has to be preserved. How have they done so? Natural foods have a shelf life, and go off. That is the natural order of life. If a packaged food can sit on the shelf and not go off, decay and decompose, then it is not food, and is probably doing you more harm than good.

We have to be careful of what we put in our mouth. Ask yourself this question, am I eating food, or eating a chemically unstable snack? There is a big difference. We just need to be careful, and be diligent about what we feed our bodies, and our kids’ bodies as well.

 

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.

 

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.