Thursday, March 21, 2013
Our Relationship with Food is Dysfunctional, an article by Manasa Rajan
Manasa Rajan is the Co-founder and vegan Nutrition Coach at “Cure Yourself With Food”. Cure Yourself With Food is about making healthy food choices to help enhance energy levels, feel and look fresh, and prevent diseases and effects of ageing.
Manasa has been an ethical vegetarian for most of her life following her love for animals; she embraced the vegan lifestyle two years ago. Her seven year old daughter's health condition helped the family make the decision and now, both mother and daughter are healthy, happy vegans. As a vegan nutritionist, Manasa’s philosophy is to encourage people to look within themselves at their lifestyle and food choices with the ultimate goal of ensuring a healthier, younger body, and preventing disease. Manasa is based out of Bangalore and provides consultation/coaching to anyone who is interested.
The blog is grateful to Manasa Rajan for this valuable guest post. Manasa’s contact details are mentioned below her article.
|Image credit: tomgrimshaw.com|
So, what do we do? How do we change our food, how do we mend our relationship with it? What do we eat?
Food should be intrinsically nutritive
Food should be full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and of course carbohydrates, protein, fat, fiber, and water. Food should provide energy, protect our organs from degeneration, protect us from disease, help fight stress, and help fight effects of ageing! Fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds or “plant-based foods”, do just that. Incorporating a lot of raw fruits and vegetables, nuts, and sprouted grains and seeds is the best way to ensure we get all the healthful nutrients from our diet, in turn improving our health, reversing disease, signs of ageing, and obesity. It also makes us more energetic, and improves the skin and mental clarity. In cooking, the nutrients get lost due to the heat in the cooking process.
I considered myself a healthy eater even when I was a vegetarian eating dairy. I was fit, lifted weights thrice a week, but I suffered from migraines, which were debilitating and no course of treatment over the years had brought any relief. And then I became a vegan and included a lot of raw food in my diet. Within weeks I felt fresh and light and my migraine disappeared forever!! I have been so lucky to see so many people experience a positive change by adopting the vegan lifestyle.
|Manasa's Raw Pea Hummus|
A lady in her 50s with high cholesterol, and osteo arthritis and severe pain in her knees was advised by her doctor to eat a dairy rich diet, take calcium supplements and a whole lot of other supplements and painkillers. When she came to me, she was hesitant to go dairy-free but finally did. She also went high on raw food and within three months, her cholesterol levels improved significantly, her calcium levels were normal, and her knees felt significantly less painful; she could now walk 3-4 kms everyday. A man in his 40s with type 2 diabetes was able to reduce his medication by half in three months just by reducing dairy and adding lots of raw fruits and vegetables to his diet. My six year old daughter suddenly developed allergies a few years back with hives on her whole body that were itchy and uncomfortable and we didn't know what caused it. The doctor put her on allergy meds and then stronger allergy meds with steroids, which made her gain weight; however, the hives were still present. We moved to a diet free of dairy, processed food, and sugar. We included clean, high percentage of raw plant-based food and sure enough, her allergies subsided, she could swim, go out in the sun, eat peanuts without any hives now – all of which earlier caused her to break out.
Food should be clean
Apart from being hygienically prepared, what we consume must be free from preservatives, chemicals, artificial colors, stimulants, hydrogenated oil, and as far as possible be organically grown. Processed junk food is exactly what the name suggests – junk! The chemicals in it increase the shelf life and make it more visually appealing and addictive. There are about 3000 chemicals systematically added to our food! Now, to hydrogenated oil otherwise known as trans-fat—cheaper than other oils/fat—increases the shelf life of the food while coating our arteries with fat. Trans fat is present in biscuits, packaged popcorn, and so many other packaged foods! All of the chemicals that we consume get deposited in our body as toxins and cause disease.
|Manasa's Raw Energy Bites|
Food should not cause disease
Our food should not clog our arteries, be the cause of arthritis, osteoporosis, cancer, or make us obese or depressed! When it comes to the food that makes us sick, there are innumerable lies spread around us for financial benefit – for example, sugar and chemical-filled packaged juice is good for us! We should go on drinking cow's, buffalo's, goat's milk well into our old age for supposed health benefits, when in reality the by products from digesting it reside in our body as toxins and are disease causing. Energy drinks are nothing but a concoction of chemicals that give an artificial high. Meat, which is touted as a great source of protein, is actually not an ideal source for us humans at all and can cause cancer, diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, and so on.
Food should be freshly prepared and had in the most natural form possible, with the least amount of salt, refined sugar, and oil
|Manasa's Spinach & Cherry Tomato Pie|
When we start eating more raw and lightly cooked food with less salt, sugar, and oil, our taste buds develop, we begin to appreciate the wonderful taste and textures of natural, real food. We are able to efficiently digest our food and absorb the maximum nutrients. We feel more satiated and happy with our food. There are no feelings of guilt attached to eating. Slowly we build a healthy relationship of trust with our bodies and with our food, and we realize that our body is a self-healing organism, with an innate intelligence to guide us and heal us.
To consult Manasa, you can reach her at:
Thursday, February 21, 2013
In thinking about plant foods, many of us seem to don culturally-and-market- driven blinkers. We hear people repeat things such as plant-based foods are not exciting, tasty, diverse, and cool enough. As we deny more, these ideas grow on us and exercise more power on us.
However, the truth is quite contrary. Let us consider the diverse wonders that Nature has provisioned for us in the form of plants, aptly summarized by Dr. Will Tuttle in the chapter, “Food’s Power” of his masterpiece, World Peace Diet:
“Most plant foods are fruits and seeds released from grasses, herbs, trees, vines, and other plants…. For example, grains such as wheat, oats, rice, corn, barley, quinoa, rye, and millet are the seeds and fruits of cereal grasses. Legumes such as soybeans, chickpeas, lentils, peas, beans, and peanuts are the seeds of leguminous plants. Fruit-vegetables like tomatoes, squashes, peppers, pumpkins, okra, eggplants, and cucumbers are the fruits and seeds of herbaceous plants. Fruits and seeds released from trees and other plants make up many of the other plant foods we eat, such as apples, oranges, bananas, papayas, avocados, breadfruit, melons, grapes, lemons, plums, peaches, cherries, apricots, olives, figs, dates, and other fruits; blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, and other berries; pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, macadamias, cashews, almonds, coconuts, and other nuts; and sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, cocoa, flax seeds, pinenuts, and other seeds. Some foods are seed-bearing flowers, like broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and artichokes, or spore-bearing fruits of underground fungi, like mushrooms, or starchy tubers like potatoes and yams. A few are roots, like carrots and beets, or leaves, like chard, cabbage, and lettuce, or stalks, like asparagus, celery, and sugarcane.”
Whoa, that’s a lot, isn’t it! To bring this idea into our homes and hearth, Bangalore, this Sunday, February 24, 2013 will see its FIRST vegan gourmand food fair called the VGF, replete with decadent deliciousness! Yes, there will be vegan cheese, curds, barfis, exotic pickles, chocolate truffles, multi-grain cupcakes, exotic cupcakes, gluten-free orange-almond cakes, banana walnut cake, carrot cake, exotic coffee chocolate, Ferrero Rocher cake, butterscotch cake, banana chocolate chip muffins, cinnamon buns, tofu scramble sandwiches, stir fried tofu, cashew milk beverage, coconut butter, vegan ice cream.... It is a day to spoil yourself with vegan choices, a day to first-hand experience the diversity and deliciousness of vegan food!
For the complete details of VGF, please visit this page on Veganosaurus blog.
To join the VGF event instantly, please visit the event page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/369646956475934.
Dr. Will Tuttle in the same chapter of World Peace Diet continues:
“Behind the plant foods on our plates, we see orchards and gardens, fields, forests, and seasons, and people nurturing and tending plants. If they are organically grown with sustainable and small-scale methods, we see the beauty and abundance of the earth yielding delicious and healthy foods to hands that practice caring and work in harmony with nature’s rhythms.
Looking deeply, we see that there is very little suffering caused by eating these foods…. unlike animals, which are mobile and thus need a nervous system with pain receptors to help them avoid self-damaging behaviors, plants have nothing analogous to a physical nervous system or pain receptors. Since they are rooted and stationary, there is no reason for nature to grant mechanisms that would help them by allowing them to feel pain.”
Let us keep it this way in our hearts, forever. Come to the VGF and experience Food’s Power.