Nov 10

5 Reasons Why You Should Eat More Raw Food

Raw salad recipe with fruits and vegetables

This month, a few of us are taking a 30-day Wellness Challenge. One week into it and our task for today was to eat a bowl of raw veg salad for any one of the meals. And I thought this was the perfect day to share about the importance and benefits of eating raw food.

A raw food diet is largely plant-based foods, unprocessed and preferably organic. The foods would usually be uncooked fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and sprouted grains. Slight warming and home processing like making almond milk, or vegetable and fruit smoothies is fine but stay away from packaged milk and smoothies.

Last year, around the same time, both me and my husband went on a rigorous detoxification diet. Our first 2 months consisted of a 100% raw food diet and then slowly over the next 4 month, we came back to a normal eating plan with a few changes like more raw food along with cooked food. Within a few weeks of eating raw, the very sense of health in our body was different from anything we had known before. We were able to cure so many of our common illnesses like allergies, headaches, indigestion, and constipation without any medications. Our bodies felt cleaner, lighter and much more energetic.

I can claim from personal experience that eating raw food makes you healthier and while there is still a lot of research on-going, here are,

5 reasons why you should include some raw food in your diet:

  1. Raw foods have High Nutrients:

    Cooking process reduces or destroys certain heat-sensitive and water-soluble nutrients in food such as vitamins B & C, folate and probiotics. The longer the food is cooked for, the higher will be the loss in nutrients. For vegetables that are difficult to eat raw, such as broccoli, try steaming. Raw food diets allow for lightly cooking or warming the food at temperatures below 118ºF or 47ºC.

  2. Raw foods have no harmful additives:

    Raw food is unprocessed and uncooked, you get all the nutrients without any added sugars, preservatives and other harmful additives. 80% of salt in our diet comes from processed foods. Since raw food preparations are low in salt and sodium, they help control blood pressure and lower the risk of heart failure.

  3. Raw foods have High Fibre:

    Raw foods are largely plant-based foods that are high in fibre and water content and low in calories. Fibre is one of the best natural “sweepers” in our body, cleaning the intestines of all the collected waste. High-fibre foods are essential for a healthy digestive system. High fibre and water content also keeps you fuller for longer and helps curb cravings. This can help with weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight.

  4. Raw foods reduce acidity:

    Raw foods neutralise acid and help alkalise the body. Furthermore, Raw food makes you chew for longer, which means more saliva. Saliva contains enzymes that aid digestion and more saliva would mean less acid production in the stomach as the food going down is already partly digested. Normally in our fast lifestyles, we gulp down big bites of cooked food, requiring our stomach acids to do all the work.

  5. Raw Foods have live Digestive Enzymes:

    Raw food proponents also call it “live food” as it has live enzymes called exogenous enzymes. These enzymes are destroyed or damaged when food is cooked. In our body, pancreas and other organs produce enzymes (called endogenous enzymes) that help in digestion. As is, raw foods are easier to digest, but it is claimed that the additional enzymes in raw foods can boost our own body’s enzymes, thus further reducing the burden on our digestive system.

These are just 5 great benefits of eating raw. Ever since I started eating more raw food in my meals, I have experienced higher energy, better skin, better memory, increased immunity, fewer allergies, less dependence on medications, and an over sense of well being.

Should you consider a 100% raw food diet?

Well not really. A 100% raw food diet is difficult to sustain. There are a lot of foods that you will not be able to eat raw and might even have to take certain supplements as some nutrients like vitamin B-12, omega-3 fatty acids are more easily found in animal products.

Blend raw fruits and vegetables to make delicious smoothiesAlso, some nutrients like iron are better absorbed by the body through cooked food. A healthy food habit will be to strike a balance between raw and cooked food.

We now strive to eat at least 20-30% raw food every day. This comes through raw fruits, raw vegetables, nuts, seeds, and sprouted grains. I love experimenting with different combinations of fruits and vegetables to make raw salads and smoothies. You can also make salads with a mix of raw and cooked vegetables.

A few basics to remember when eating raw foods:

  • Wash the food very properly, especially leafy greens and produce like cabbage, and green onions to remove all dirt.
  • Try to eat raw food before cooked food as it is digested faster than cooked food.
  • Since there is sometimes a risk of bacteria, people with lower immunity like children, seniors, pregnant women need to be extra careful with raw foods.

One doesn’t need to go on a completely raw food bandwagon, but a little raw food in our diets every day will benefit us all. Like Dr. Bircher-Benner, one of the pioneers on the science of dietetics, said

“Whenever and however possible;

no day without green leaves”

Sep 20

Health Benefits of Brown Rice


More than half of the world’s population consumes rice as their staple food. While traditionally unpolished brown rice was the grain of choice in most diets, it got replaced by the more beautiful white rice. Inherently we all kind of know that brown rice is healthier than white rice. Still majority of us choose white rice over brown mostly because of its appearance.

Image Courtesy : http://www.britannica.com

Image Courtesy : http://www.britannica.com

With only the outer husk removed, brown rice is considered a whole grain with all its nutrition intact. The white rice that we are used to of is obtained by milling of this whole grain to remove the hull, bran and germ layer and further polishing to remove the aleurone cell layer (essential fats) of the grain. The resulting white rice is pure starch
striped of all its original nutrition. To be exact, the milling and polishing destroys 67% of the vitamin B3, 80% of the vitamin B1, 90% of the vitamin B6, half of the manganese, half of the phosphorus, 60% of the iron, and all of the dietary fibre and essential fatty acids.

Brown rice and other whole rice varieties like red rice and wild rice is a wonder food. The various nutrients found in brown rice help maintain skin, bone, muscles and nerves, regulate blood sugar levels, prevent cancer, promote weight loss, promote normal blood pressure levels and prevent heart attack. Here are just 5 of those healthy benefits in more details:

1. Prevents Cancer:

Brown rice is rich in selenium, an essential trace mineral important for healthy immune system and antioxidant defence system. The antioxidant actions of selenium have been shown helpful in prevention of cancer, heart diseases and arthritis. Furthermore high fibre content of brown rice makes it a top food to prevent colon cancer. The fibres attach to cancer-causing substances, minimising their contact with the colon walls.

2. Supports weight loss:

The high fibre content in brown rice is great news for bowel function and digestion. Eating whole grains like brown rice not only helps in reducing weight it also prevents gaining more weight.

3. Lowers the risk of Type 2 diabetes:

Brown rice is a rich source of magnesium. Magnesium is needed for more than 300 enzymes in our body, including the ones involved in insulin secretion and glucose metabolism.

4. Lowers Cholesterol:

Brown rice is rich in heart healthy natural oils. Rice bran and other essential oils in brown rice help in lowering cholesterol levels.

5. Healthy Skin:

Brown rice is one of the top sources of manganese, an essential trace mineral important for collagen production. Manganese also produces antioxidants in skin cells which help protect against UV lights. Manganese is also important to maintain a healthy metabolism, nervous system and bone structure.

How to introduce brown rice in your diet?

Brown rice has an earthy taste and it takes some time getting used to it. When I just started cooking with brown rice, I used a mix of white and brown rice like in this multigrain rice casserole.

Later I started cooking many of my regular rice recipes with brown rice. Brown rice cooks a little differently than white rice, especially polished rice varieties like basmati rice. It is a little softer and stickier than basmati and other polished rice in which every grain is separated. So it cannot exactly replace the basmati in recipes like biryani and pilaf, but it is great to have it as is with curries and in rice and lentil casserole dishes.
To ensure that your brown rice is fluffy every time, soak it for at least 45 mins before cooking, drain and cook the rice on medium-low heat, in 3 times the water with a little butter, salt and a dash of lemon juice.

Sep 09

Add some BEET to your day! – Health benefits of Beetroot

beetroot-free to use and share-pixabay

The first thing that attracted me to beetroot is its rich purple-crimson colour. The thing that made me stick with it was its sweet earthy taste and many (times many) health benefits. Beetroot (or simply beet) is a powerhouse vegetable low in fat and rich in nitrates, vitamins A, B and C, essential minerals and antioxidants. You can drink a shot of beetroot juice in the morning, make roasted beetroot salad or relax with a bowl of warm beetroot soup. Do not overlook the beetroot greens that are as exceptionally rich in nutrients as the root. They can be eaten raw in salads or cooked just like spinach. From a healthy heart to a healthy skin, beet is a one stop home remedy for many ailments.

Fights cancer

B is for Betacyanin. The deep purple-red colour of beetroots comes from a pigment called betacyanin, an antioxidant which protects from cell damage. Studies on prostate and breast cancer cells have found that the betacyanin pigment from beets can decrease the growth rate of tumours by 12.5%.
Betacyanin also helps reduce the oxidation of LDL cholesterol levels and prevents it from sticking to the walls of arteries thus protecting the heart.

Lowers Blood Pressure

Studies have shown that people with high blood pressure who drank a cup of beet juice every day experienced a significant reduction in their blood pressure levels. Beets are rich in nitrates, nearly 20 times more than other vegetables. Our body converts nitrates to nitric oxide which helps to relax and widen blood vessels improving blood flow and reducing blood pressure. A lot of people with diabetes, particularly those with type 2 diabetes, also suffer from high blood pressure.

Beats Anaemia

Beets, especially the greens, are rich in iron and help prevent iron-deficiency anaemia. Iron is essential for proper oxygen transport in the blood. The combination of high iron and nitrate content results in good blood circulation, improved stamina and provides an energy boost.

Great during pregnancy

Beetroot is an excellent source of B vitamin folate, which is considered an essential supplement during pregnancy. Folate or folic acid is required during the growth and development of embryos, particularly the spinal cord. It protects the child against birth defects called neural tube defects. Moreover the nitrate in the beet can provide a much required energy boost to the pregnant lady.

Bestie with your bowel!

Beets have high fibre content making them a great friend of your digestive system. Fibre helps prevent constipation, diarrhoea and IBS by softening stool and flushing out harmful toxins.

Rich in vitamins and minerals

Beets are rich in essential minerals like manganese, potassium and calcium; essential for healthy nerve, muscle and bone function. They are a good source of Vitamins A, B and C; essential for healthy eyes, healthy skin and a healthy immune system.
A word of caution: While there are many reasons to eat beets (both the root and the greens), they contain high levels of oxalate, which when taken in excess can cause body fluids to crystallise. People with kidney and bladder stone problems limit to avoid beet consumption.
Also beetroot consumption may result in beeturia; a red or pinkish colour in the urine or stool. It is completely harmless.
We’ve got the beet, have you?

Bracelet of Hope

Image

Autism 3

Four months ago an off duty cop Christian Lopez became a hero when he grabbed Ibrahim from the ledge of a rooftop in Brooklyn. Ibrahim is a 6 year old autistic boy who ran out of a Brooklyn school that day without anyone noticing and ended up on a nearby rooftop of a building where Lopez lived. Thankfully this incident had a happy ending unlike a very similar one that happened few years ago when 14 year old Avonte Oquendo, a known flight risk, disappeared from a school in Long Island City in July 2013 never to be found again till several months later in January 2014, when some of his remains washed ashore on a beach in Queens.

Stories of autistic kids wandering away or sometimes running away are not unheard of. About half of autistic children are prone to wandering, according to research published in 2012 in the journal of Pediatrics, and back when this research was published in 2012, wandering had led to the deaths of more than 60 autistic children since 2008. Needless to say, parents of kids on the spectrum live in a constant fear of an incident like Ibrahim’s or God forbid like Avonte’s happening with their child. Can they do something to ensure this does not happen? Well, unfortunately not really, not unless they keep the child chained to them at all times. And who would really want to do that to any child let alone one who suffers from a disorder that makes life an everyday challenge to begin with.

There is however hope in the form of devices like SafetyNet bracelets which transmit radio frequency signals that can help law enforcement to track and find the child in case he or she gets lost or runs away. So while incidents of getting lost cannot completely be avoided, we can ensure the child gets found before anything unfavorable happens to them. When Avonte disappeared, an entire city worth of volunteers and law enforcement for months tried to get into the mind of an autistic 14 year old and retrace his steps without any success. If a device such as this had been on Avonte, it would have been a matter of minutes not even hours before they could have located Avonte and this unspeakable tragedy could have been avoided.

The price tag of approximately $500 per year on these devices is well worth the peace of mind they provide. The irony though is that God does not check the financial status or bank accounts of the families he sends these special kids to. The cost of raising a child on spectrum is nothing short of astronomical for a middle class family. A Harvard study indicates an average lifetime cost of $1.4 million for a person affected by autism that is not complicated by intellectual disability. An estimated 1 in 5 persons with autism also has intellectual disability. This increases the average lifetime cost of care to $2.3 million

Community resources and non-profit foundations that help raise awareness and funds for affected families are much needed today than ever before. Autismspeaks.org lists several such organizations which are doing great work. One such organization, The Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism in the northeast has partnered with Safety Net Tracking in a Safe and Secure Project which donates SafetyNet radio frequency tracking bracelets to Autistic individuals with a history of wandering.

April is Autism Awareness month and so on April 14th HealthProductsforyou.com and AutismEnabled.com are donating 10% of their online sales to Doug Flutie foundation’s Safe and Secure project that provides these precious children with the bracelet of hope.

Flight risk is just one of the many challenges parents of Autistic kids face every single day. This month for those parents, let’s wear blue and spread some hope!

Mar 22

Stress and Strain – Fighting Stress Incontinence

Stress incontinence is one of the major kinds of incontinence disorders. Here are a few healthy lifestyles tips to ease the problem of stress incontinence:

  • Shed extra weight – If you are an overweight person, losing excess pounds can help reduce the pressure on your bladder and pelvic floor muscles. Moderate weight loss may slightly improve your stress incontinence. Speak to your doctor for guidance on weight loss.
  • Add fiber to your diet – If you suffer from chronic constipation it can contribute to your urinary incontinence. Keep bowel movements soft and regular to reduce the strain on your pelvic floor muscles. Eating high-fiber foods — whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables — to relieve and prevent constipation.
  • Don’t smoke – Smoking can lead to a severe chronic cough, which can aggravate the symptoms of stress incontinence. Smoking is also associated with a drop in your oxygen-carrying capacity, a factor thought to increase the risk of an overactive bladder. And smoking is associated with bladder cancer.

Care while travelling – Travelling can be a difficult issue when we are travelling as incontinence supplies are not commonly available. Here are a few tips to get you through while travelling. Maintaining a good relationship with family, friends and co-workers can help prevent feelings of isolation and depression that may accompany incontinence. We should stay prepared so that it makes us feel more comfortable when we’re out and about:

  • Stock up on supplies – Carry sufficient incontinence pads or protective undergarments and possibly a change of clothes. Incontinence products are discreet and can be stored in a roomy purse or a small backpack. Extra supplies and spare clothes can be kept in the trunk of your car or a backpack for use when needed.
  • Scout out your destination – Reassess the number of restrooms available at your destination. Choose seating that allows easy access to restrooms.
  • Take good care of your skin– Prolonged contact with wet clothing can cause skin irritation or sores. Keep your skin dry by changing your garments when they’re wet and applying a barrier cream if your skin is frequently wet.
Image Courtesy : Internet

Image Courtesy : Internet