We are all aware of the ill effects of alcohol, tobacco and drugs. But are we really aware of the silent killers, that are insidious
enemies to our health. These are more dangerous since we do not know and recognize them as enemies, everybody is consuming them and
hence we think its okay. This article is meant to be a whistle blower on these silent killers.
1. Animal Products
Overconsumption of animal products is the single most important cause of all the modern diseases like cholesterol, blood pressure,
heart problems, ulcers, cancers etc. There is some historical evidence for inclusion of SMALL amounts of animal products in our diet
maybe 1% or 2% – that too preferably yoghurt or cheese but anything more is likely to cause serious problems. Don’t get fooled into
thinking that only animal products can give you enough protein.
Substitutes: For those with cravings for meat products, tofu can serve as a substitute in the transition period.
Eggs are animal products. They have high cholesterol, sulfur and a load of other problems like Salmonella. Click here for more
information on problems with eggs.
3. Milk and Milk Products
Milk is an animal product and not good for adults or even for children. At most, small quantities of yoghurt can be consumed
occasionally to meet our B-12 requirements, but anything beyond this causes serious problems. Substitutes available are many.
For Milk – Instead use Almond milk, coconut milk, peanut milk. Almond milk can be easily made, stored in a refrigerator for upto 4-5 days, and used in any way that milk can be used. In fact it is indistinguishable from ordinary cow’s milk. If you find almonds expensive, you can make it out of coconut scrapings.
For Butter: A ripe avocado is as good as butter. Nut butters cashew, almond etc. are also good ideas. But you will need a food processor to make nut butters. Almond milk can also be churned to make butter.
For Yoghurt – Peanut milk can be made into yoghurt in the same way as ordinary milk, but adding a small quantity of regular yoghurt
as a starter the first time. Small amounts of yoghurt added to your salad every two days or so is okay. You might also want to try
kefir or Cheese or Tofu cheese.
The body needs organic sugar (glucose) as its primary source of energy, but what we commonly understand as sugar refined white table sugar is refined sucrose (simple sugar), produced by multiple chemical processing of the juice of the sugar cane or sugar beet and by removal of all fiber , protein and minerals , which amount to 90 percent of the natural plant. This sugar is highly dangerous to the body. Besides all the obvious problems of tooth decay etc, sugar plays havoc with the body metabolism. The level of blood sugar is maintained at a precise level by the body. Food digested slowly releases sugar into the bloodstream and the body releases insulin to handle this sugar, converting it to glycogen as required, maintaining the blood sugar level. When you eat refined sugar, that is like putting the end product of the process as the raw material into the factory. The sugar quickly gets into the blood stream, raising the sugar level. The body goes into panic mode, releasing huge amounts of insulin to tackle the sugar. This gives you an artificial high – hyperglycemia. But once the insulin has dealt with the sugar, this results in the sugar level going down, to very low levels because of the huge amounts of insulin released which does not instantly stop the moment the sugar has been dealt with. Then you feel low hypoglycemia or “the sugar blues” and you need one more dose of sugar or sweet food to pep you up again that is the familiar craving for sweet foods. Then the cycle repeats itself. If you do not consume the sugar, when blood glucose falls too low, our adrenal glands will mobilize the body’s stores of glycogen (starch like carbohydrate , many glucose molecules hooked end to end in a chain,stored in liver and muscle) and will also stimulate the synthesis of glucose from proteins and other substances present in our body. A diet rich in sugars will catch our pancreas and adrenal glands in a biochemical see-saw, overworking them. It could weaken pancreas and result in diabetes. Cardiovascular complications that follow excess glucose or fats kill many diabetics. If our body is unable to use all of the extra fats and cholesterol produced from sugars,it must dump the additional load. Fats can be deposited in the cells of our liver, heart, arteries, fat tissues, kidneys, muscles, and other organs. That is beginning of fatty degeneration. Diabetes is probably brought on by these binges since the body’s capacity to handle the sugar is severely taxed.
Sugar is also highly acidic and is a “calcium thief” since the body withdraws calcium from its reserves (the bones) to neutralise the acid. Over a long time this can result in osteoporosis.Sugar has a huge amount of “empty calories”. You get no vitamins, no minerals, no fibre when you consume sugar just the calories. It is the food processor’s best friend since it is cheap, it tastes good and can be added to almost anything to add bulk and taste to a food at low cost. Look at the label of any processed food and you are likely to find sugar in it. No one knows how much. A can of coke contains close to eight teaspoons! And high fructose corn syrup, invert syrup all mean the same thing!
Substitutes. Dates, Date Syrup, Maple syrup, Jaggery (Gud), and even Honey are better alternatives. Stay away from conventional sugar.
5. Sugar Substitutes
Many individuals, in an attempt to avoid sugar, use sugar substitutes. Aspartame a chemical compound found in products such as
NutraSweet and Equal, are in over 3,000 foods, including diet soda, diet foods, and other drinks that are consumed heavily in the
fitness industry. Just about any food that once had sugar as an ingredient now can have aspartame instead. Aspartame is a combination of three substances: the amino acid phenylalanine, Aspartic acid (man made) and methanol (wood alcohol). Each of these ingredients have a long history of causing serious physical side effects. Phenylalanine, for example, lowers or blocks production of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which sends messages from the pineal gland in the brain. This blockage has been linked a one cause of carbohydrate cravings, PMS symptoms, insomnia, mood swings, and migraine headaches. Aspartame removes the essential mineral chromium from the body, which is necessary in regulating the clearance of glucose from the blood while assisting insulin’ s capability for glucose regulation. Drinking between 1-3 12 ounce cans or glasses of diet beverage that contains aspartame on a hot day after exercise can expose you to 8 times the EPA’s recommended safe limit for methanol.
Here are some surprising facts about salt:
Common salt or sodium chloride (NaCl) is an inorganic salt that cannot be digested by the body. Each gram of salt that you eat has
to be excreted! What salt the body needs are organic salts that are found in foods such as vegetables! The Chinese use salt to commit suicide they drink a saturated salt solution. How this works is that the salt leaches out the water from living cells, killing them. If you sprinkle salt on a cucumber, it sucks all the water out of the cucumber cells and it wilts.
This is what salt does to your body as well sucks the water out of the cells no wonder you feel thirsty after eating anything salty.
– The body retains water to cope with the excess salt. This can make you overweight
– It is an important contributing factor to High Blood pressure, stroke, osteoporosis,
– One more danger of processed food is the salt it contains. We consume ten to twenty times more salt than we need and three-quarters of this comes hidden in processed food another good reason to avoid it.
Substitutes: This is a tough one. Celery, and dulse (sea weed) can be used. If you must use salt, use rock salt or sea salt instead.
And go easy on it. The only way I know to go off salt is to get off the taste of salt itself by going on a long fast and then on a
100% raw diet.
7. Tea, Coffee
Tea and Coffee are “socially acceptable drugs”. But drugs they are – tea contains tannin, coffee contains caffeine and hundreds if
not thousands of other chemicals. Tea and coffee are repulsive to the unperverted taste buds of infants that indicates that they are really not right for humans. The “kick” or “high” you get from your cup of tea or coffee is as a result of the stimulant effect of these drugs on your nervous system. It is the equivalent of whipping a tired horse to make it run faster. It will run faster, but
eventually collapse. Another indicator of the fact that these are drugs is that when you stop their consumption you get headaches and other “withdrawal symptoms” similar (but milder) than when you go off “hard drugs”.
The tea and coffee habit is less than 200-300 years old and humans have existed for thousands of years longer so it is not something you cannot do without. What should you drink in the morning then? Nothing. Or if you must, some fruit juice or tender coconut water. If you feel the need for something hot, drink hot water, maybe with a twist of lime in it. If you really want it, you can add some honey to it.
Worst case, you can have some “herbal tea” or “green tea” but avoid the regular tea and coffee as far as possible, especially in India where these are served with milk and sugar. So your body actually gets a triple whammy (tea/coffee + milk + sugar).
Substitutes: Nothing (the best), or hot water with lemon (optional) and honey (optional) or herbal tea.
8. Soft drinks
I am talking about “soda” as they are called in the US- stuff like Coke, Pepsi and other soft drinks. These are anything but soft on
the body. For starters, they contain either about nine teaspoons of sugar (enemy #4) or even more harmful sugar substitutes like
aspartame. This makes them highly acidic a tooth immersed in a can of a soft drink will literally dissolve in a few days. To prevent the bubbles from going flat, they also contain phosphoric acid made by treating phosphorus with sulphuric acid. This is normally used to etch glass! Finally, they have little or no nutritional value just empty calories.
A scientist in BARC in India found further problems with soft drinks in India since they are transported unrefrigerated at high
temperatures The scientist has found abnormally high levels of Hydroxy Methyl Furfural (HMF) in cold drinks stored for long periods at summer temperatures. HMF is neurotoxic, genotoxic, cytotoxic and tumorigenic. Translated for the lay man, it is bit of a horror cold drinks with a high HMF content affects nerves, genes and cells and may even encourage growth of tumours. Sustained intake can reduce the strength of limbs, affect eyesight, kill cells and even alter genetic characteristics. Read this article for details..
Substitutes : Plain water, Fresh Fruit Juice, Tender coconut water (Narial Pani, Daab)
9. Maida (white flour), White Bread
Two problems with this. Firstly it is refined and processed, so all the nutrients in the wheat have been taken out. Secondly, the
gluten in the wheat. So you basically get the calories and the gluten and little else.
Substitutes: So its best to have whole wheat bread. Or also you get corn bread, millet bread or even rice bread.
10. Ice Cream
#3 + #4 + #5 + Food processing chemicals.
Substitute: Banana Ice cream – Made using frozen bananas- but you need a Champion Juicer. Or else make ice-cream using almond or
coconut milk, dates, jaggery or maple syrup, honey or sweeteners.
11. Oil, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil Deep fried food. Oil itself is bad, but hydrogenated vegetable oil (Dalda or Vanaspati) is much
worse because they contain trans fatty acids that disrupt cellular function, and affect many enzymes such as the delta-6 desaturase
and consequently interfere with the necessary conversions of both the omega-6 and the omega-3 essential fatty acids to their elongated forms and consequently escalate the adverse effects of essential fatty acid deficiency. There is a host of problems with trans fatty acids.
Secondly, the high temperatures used for cooking using boiling oil (for deep frying things) alters the molecular structure of the
foods being cooked and actually makes them carcinogenic (cancer causing!). Frying and stir-frying are essentially the same thing–
both add fat to foods at a high temperature and cause nutrients to be depleted and free radicals to be formed from the oils in or
around the food. We all know how bad free radicals are. IF not, click here – . This also has some info on cooking oils. Additionally, high fat foods cause inflammation and immune suppression.
Thirdly, in India especially, the oils used for deep frying are re-used. This makes it much worse. Avoid deep frying altogether. Avoid Hydrogenated Vegetable oils altogether. Instead use unsaturated oils like Olive oil, til (sesame seed) oil, mustard oil, coconut oil etc. Cold pressed oil is the best. Reduce the actual amount of oil to be used to spoonfuls.
Ajinomoto is a common flavouring used in almost all chinese food. Originally this was made from a natural seaweed, but currently a
chemical substitute Monosodium Glutamate or MSG is universally used instead. This has very serious health issues. Do not use MSG in home cooking. If eating Chinese food out, make sure the restaurant does not use MSG or specifically ask them not to add it in the food you have ordered.
13. Processed Food
Processing food removes vital nutrients and adds loads of chemicals in the name of preservatives, flavourings, colourings, anti-
oxidants, not to forget the salt and sugar and what not. Check out Processed food page for details.
14. Cooked food.
Everyone eats cooked food, so how can it be an enemy of health? A little bit of cooked food in your diet is acceptable. 10 to 15% is ideal, upto 30% is good, and even upto 50% is OK. But the important thing is that the other 50% should be RAW. There are some raw food fanatics around who say “100% raw or nothing”. I am not a subscriber to this view. I believe some cooked food is okay, but definitely a significant portion of your diet should be raw for optimum health. Why? That’s because cooking is a process destructive of nutrition. Heat kills and destroys. If you put a piece of bread into a toaster, initially the bread has some food value. As it gets heated, its food value decreases, until finally when it becomes burnt and black ash, its food value is zero. It is a gradual decline the more you cook the more you lose.
What happens to food when it is cooked?
– Proteins coagulate (and become difficult for the body to handle)
– High temperatures denature protein molecular structure, leading to deficiency of some essential amino acids,
– Carbohydrates caramelize,
– Overly heated fats generate numerous carcinogens including acrolein, nitrosamines, hydrocarbons, and benzopyrene (one of the most potent cancer-causing agents known).
– Natural fibers break down, cellulose is completely changed from its natural condition: it loses its ability to sweep the alimentary canal clean,
-30% to 50% of vitamins and minerals are destroyed,
-100% of enzymes are damaged,
-The body’s enzyme potential is depleted which drains energy needed to maintain and repair tissue and organ systems, thereby
shortening our life span.
– Pesticides are restructured into even more toxic compounds,
– Valuable oxygen is lost.
– Free radicals are produced.
– Cooked food pathogens enervate the immune system.
-Heat degenerates nucleic acids and chlorophyll.
-Cooking causes inorganic mineral elements to enter the blood and circulate through the system, which settle in the arteries and
veins, causing arteries to lose their pliability.
– The body prematurely ages as this inorganic matter is deposited in various joints or accumulates within internal organs, including
the heart valves.
There is also a theory that raw food has living enzymes in it necessary for life processes including digestion. Heat in cooking kills these enzymes and makes the food “dead food” which is a burden on the body. It’s quite difficult to believe that what everyone is doing to their food is harmful to their health. Again, I am not suggesting eating a 100% raw diet, but one that is substantially raw – say 50%, 66%, 80-85% — whatever you can manage.
15. GM Food
16. Irradiated food.