The Truth about Honey (Infographic)

Dear folks,

Here is an infographic I made on honey and how I have decided to avoid it for many reasons. Do let me know what you think about it. Would love to know your feedback! Means a lot to me 🙂honey infographic-01

If you like the infographic, do share as widely as you can! 🙂

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White Sugar – the sweet enemy you need to learn to live without

It’s been a while since I posted something. Apologies for that! Been busy doing a lot of other stuff lately. But I am back! This time with something we see around us everyday and choose to shove it down our throats, most often unknowingly. Yes! I am talking about white sugar!!!

We live in a world where every eatable you buy is designed to make you crave for it more and more, to the point where the producers want to make you an addict. One way to do that is to increase the amount of salt and white sugar in everything they make because these have been known to make people want another bite. That’s because we have evolved to crave highly saturated fatty foods as there was always food scarcity back in the early days and so our systems have evolved to choose foods that give quick and easy energy and that is how our tongue decides to go for a pizza or a pasta or a burger instead of a fruit or a veggie because we are programmed to crave unhealthy. Now that’s good for business, but is that good for you, especially in the long run?

Coming back to white sugar, the leading cause of obesity and diabetes, the two main causes of premature death in the world. Just how much do we consume on a daily basis and how much is actually recommended? Any guesses???

Okay so here goes.

1 tetra-pack of Tropicana or any packaged fruit juice for that matter has about 22 grams of sugar (artificial sweetener, as bad as white sugar in essence)

Add some white bread (5 g per slice) and jam (12 g per tablespoon) to it and that amounts to about 68 g, assuming you will have at least 4 slices and obviously lot more than 1 tablespoon of the jam.

Now that may be part of your breakfast, So, that’s just one meal of the day.

Imagine you crave a sweet right after your lunch, say a brownie or if in India, a gulab jamun (Indian sweet). Let’s see how they fare.

One piece of chocolate brownie traditionally has about 12.5 g of sugar

whereas one gulab jamun can have upto 15.7 g of sugar

(Again assuming you stop at just one)

So that was our lunch there.

Now let’s assume you have coffee at least twice a day, ofcourse with milk and two teaspoons of sugar in it, if you are Indian 😀 .How much does that amount to?

Well it amounts to about 16 g of white sugar.

Then of course who can resist a few cookies here and there? Let’s add that up as well.

One oreo cookie has about 4 g of sugar.

Let’s assume you have a healthy dinner and do not consume any white sugar :):) i can already imagine people smirking!!

So let’s total up our consumption of sugar on a daily basis and see how we add up to the recommended levels.

According to the american heart association, the maximum sugar you can consume per day is 37.5 g for men and 25 g for women.This the upper limit mind you!

Our total for the day (Assuming we had a home cooked meal for dinner…ahem) comes out to ……yes….about 112 g of sugar per day!!!

That’s more than double the maximum recommended levels and this is just the tip of the iceberg. Every time you eat out and reach for you favorite pizza or any packaged food without reading the label, you are basically consuming salt and sugar beyond your capacity.

Think about it.

Is it really worth risking your heart and your life when you already know something is wrong and is avoidable? All you  need to do is turn around a packaged product and see the ingredients. It takes a few minutes but it is the difference between having a heart attack one day and running a marathon.

The best part is, you can actually live a life without white sugar in the first place. Trust me, it’s not that easy. Start small.

  1. Substitute fruits for every unhealthy sweet dish you want to feast on.
  2. You don’t have to give up on your sweet tooth completely. Opt for unrefined dark brown jaggery whenever you make sweets.
  3. Avoid eating packaged or outside food as much as possible.
  4. If required, read the labels thoroughly. Even something as innocuous as cane sugar or fructose is actually sugar and nothing else. Avoid such products.

Yes, there will be days when your cravings will get better of you and you will give in, but know that it shouldn’t side-track you from your goal of a healthy you!

PS: The sugar in fruits is not harmful in anyway. There is no limit on how many fruits you can consume. For more on fruits, visit my first post on fruits. You can read it here.

 

Hope you are having a great day! feel free to share your comments and feedback! would love to know what you think 🙂

Why I’m Not Just Vegan

Yes, you read that right.

But before I get into details, let me make it clear that I am on no fad diet. What I eat is a way of life. It’s a lifestyle I chose keeping in mind my health and I have achieved the best health possible while following it diligently.

So here’s what I avoid (apart from meat and dairy of course)

1) Processed food – By processed food, I mean food that has been mixed with chemicals or created artificially using synthetic derivatives. For e.g. Chips, biscuits or any packed item that has ingredients I am not aware of. In fact I have made it a point to read the ingredients list of every item I put in my mouth. That way I know what it can or cannot do to my body.

What’s the harm, you may ask?

Well, you see, I have long lost the habit of eating food only for taste or only for hunger. What I eat must give me health, is my motto. If it disturbs my gut or my piece of mind, it is not worth it, whether in the short or in the long run.

2) White flour – The highly refined, white flour (maida), which is present in almost everything labelled ‘fast food’ these days, has lost the bran from the original wheat flour and therefore has no nutritive value. In fact, it uses up nutrients from the body to aid its digestion. It also causes a massive sugar spike which can cause diabetes in the long run. Not only that, it clogs your arteries by increasing LDL (bad cholesterol) levels and affects digestion adversely.

3) Wheat – The wheat we get in the market today is a hybrid variety and has very little nutritive value. Apart from gluten, which is a gut irritant, the wheat protein itself can cause a host of gastrointestinal problems.

4) Refined sugar – Sweet poison as it is often called, refined sugar not only causes a sugar spike, it can lead to type 2 diabetes and if left untreated, can also lead to cancer.

What do I eat then?

Well, what I love to eat is what is called as the ‘Whole-food Plant-based diet’ which includes eating lots of fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, essentially ensuring all your nutrition requirements are met only from plant sources and eating mostly whole foods while at that. My sweet cravings are satiated by sweets made from unrefined jaggery, or plain sugarcane juice.

Now this may sound highly restrictive to some people, considering you have to let go of fried food and cook all your meals without oil, but in the long run, I have realised, it is easier to know that you would never die of these so called lifestyle diseases than live in the constant fear of when you would be struck with a diagnosis.

PS: I am a cancer survivor. I would know.

Look out for an infographic on the difference between being vegan and being on a whole food plant-based diet in my next post.

Why are we obsessed with protein?

Protein obsession is nothing new. It has been around for decades and continues to grab eyeballs even today. Every time a newspaper headline screams ‘90% Indians protein deficient‘ or ‘fruits and vegetables aren’t enough‘, meat lovers nod their heads while vegetarians go on a Dal (lentils) overdrive.

But is protein really that important? How much protein do you actually need? Do Vegans need to be concerned? Is it possible to be protein deficient? How much is too much? Does consuming more protein aid weight loss or weight gain? These are some questions that bothered me and here’s what I found:

History of Protein obsession

Protein obsession started somewhere in the mid 1950’s when the scientific community believed that there was a wide protein gap that needed to be filled, especially after the discovery of the malnutrition disease ‘Kwashiorkor’, thought to be due to a deficiency of protein. But what they found several years later was that there was NO real evidence of protein deficiency due to diet. Understanding this, the nutrition field has been reducing the daily intake requirements of protein by the body. In the US, the daily requirement of protein for children at 1 years has dropped from a mind boggling 13.2% in 1948 to just 5% in 1974. Today, the average requirement for an adult per day is no more than 0.8 grams per kilogram of the body weight, which, nutritionists agree, can easily be met by a plant-based diet.

The Cynics

Cynics continue to promote protein as THE main nutrient the body requires, mainly arguing from an evolutionary perspective. But if that were indeed true, why would breast milk, considered the ideal meal for an infant, have less than 1% protein? In fact, that is one of the reasons why feeding cow milk to babies can be dangerous.

Adverse effects of a high protein diet

You are more likely to suffer from an overdose of protein than its deficiency. The adverse effects include bone disorders, kidney problems, liver problems, heart disease and increased cancer risk.

Weight Loss/Weight gain?

The rule for weight loss or even weight gain for that matter is simple. The more/less calories you consume v/s the calories you spend, you gain/lose weight. Protein is no different. It adds calories to your body especially if you don’t use those calories by exercising. Not only that, eating more protein without fibre (like animal protein) leads to burning of fat instead of carbs, meaning you are likely to feel more tired, nauseous and more likely to gain the lost weight back.

What about Vegans?

Truth is, as long as you are consuming a healthy dose of unrefined grains, pulses and cereals as well as eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, you cannot be protein deficient. But then, what would the dairy and the meat industry do? So they come up with crazy, scary statistics and that is more than enough to push people into stuffing their face with meat or eggs. The obsession to look a certain way (read muscular) also makes people binge on protein shakes which are not only loaded with sugar but are also hard on your kidneys.

The best diet, the one that keeps you and your planet safe is a whole-food plant based diet and this blog is my effort to help you understand why, one step at a time.

Do look out for an infographic on this in my next blog post. See ya! Feel free to leave comments, feedback and more!

 

 

Why drinking cow milk is bad for you

The first time I heard this, I was flabbergasted. I mean, I had grown up drinking cow milk (mostly forced down my throat) and even as an adolescent, I thought it was a good thing for the bones. Most of all, it is used in almost everything sweet. How can you escape it? even if you wanted to?

But well, truth is, you can. And most of all you SHOULD.

Here’s why.

That milk has calcium is known universally and nobody is questioning that, but did you know that milk or any other animal product for that matter is acidic and therefore in the process of neutralising the acid, our body has to deplete our muscle reserves? Not only that, the excess calcium is almost always secreted along with urine as the kidneys cannot handle it. The second most important point to note is that, galactose, which is nothing but milk sugar actually leads to bone weakening. So much for the argument that milk is good for our bones. In fact, it is the leading cause of osteoporosis and is evident by the study that says that countries with least consumption of milk have the least cases of hip fractures, one of the many symptoms of bone weakening.

That is not all.

  • 90% Asian Americans cannot digest the lactose in milk and end up suffering from symptoms like diarrhea and gas.
  • Dairy products are associated with higher incidences of prostate and breast cancer
  • Drinking dairy products in infancy is linked to development of Type – II Diabetes later in life.
  • The higher amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat in cow milk has the potential to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Not to mention the hormones injected to cows and other adulterants finding their way into the drink.

So, what’s the way out?

The best option is to eat plenty of green leafy vegetables, exercise regularly and reduce your sodium intake.

Sources:

http://www.pcrm.org/health/diets/vegdiets/health-concerns-about-dairy-products
http://www.NutritionFacts.orgw
ww.saveourbones.com/osteoporosis-milk-myth/

Here’s an infographic I made on it.

cow milk .png

Here’s the infographic in pdf – The truth about cow milk

Feel free to share, comment and like this post. 🙂

Be blessed,

Apurva