Organic Foods

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I had such a lovely Sunday morning at the farmer’s market. it was Sunday morning, and the market was buzzing with people trying to get a week’s worth of vegetables and fruits from the farmers themselves.

A thought came to my head – that till the 1950s all food was organic only. Inorganic farming only began in 1950s and 60s, and has now completely taken over. The way I look at it, organic food should be called  just ‘food’ and, inorganic food should be labelled ‘inorganic food’, because that came in later.

Also from the perspective of the body, our body is organic. It only understands and accepts what is organic. Anything inorganic – is regarded as a toxin, has no use in the body, and is in fact potentially harmful if it remains in the system. Various studies show the relation between increased intake of pesticides and cancer, reproductive dysfunction, autism, asthma and Alzheimer.

Despite this evidence, there is a resistance among some for going organic, cost and easy availability being two reasons for this. Here’s what I have to say about these reasons :

Cost of foods is a function of various factors. It is more expensive to grow organic as it is not as subsidized as inorganic. Secondly inorganic food may be monetarily cheaper, but a lot more expensive when you add social and environmental costs of growing it. If these were added to the costs, organic food would be the cheapest 🙂

Both of these are issues we can take up as a community and work to rectify with the Govt. agencies. But even if this remains so, we can look at eating organic as an investment, and pay the farmer now, instead of paying doctors later. Its also an investment towards a better, cleaner environment for ourselves and our future generations.

A superb cost saving tip would be – go for as much seasonal produce as possible, as it will be the cheapest in season, and the most nutritiously satisfying as well !

The other contention that organic is not easily available is also nothing that we cannot work around. Organic grain, cereal, pulses and spices are easily available off the shelf so those should not be an issue. For the rest, the transition could be done in phases. One could go for fruits and vegetables from markets as and when they are available, or look for good suppliers who do weekly doorstep deliveries. When these feel light, one can more to looking for organic household items, toiletries, cosmetics, clothing, and so on.. Even if you can’t source 100%, do as much as you can. And that is good enough too!

Another big contention against organic, that one often hears is – that if everyone goes organic, would there be enough food to feed everyone? This is pretty unfounded, because currently, there is a huge amount of overproduction of food, and yet everyone is not fed! Only 43% of the cereal grains grown world-wide becomes food for people; 35% becomes livestock feed, and 10% goes into making bio fuels, high-fructose corn syrup and other processed products. One-third of food produced for humans, in any case gets wasted. So the problem is not so much about quantity but usage, storage and distribution of food. If this can be rectified, then the quantity of food required itself is much lesser than what is produced currently.

Balancing festivities and health.

Its that time of the year again, when one evening of slipping, can become a reason for letting ourselves just slip away. A piece of mithai here, some alcohol there, a late night and there goes your morning workout, for many days in a row.

Lets get this straight, being ‘healthier than thou’, is a serious challenge during this time. You also don’t want to be a party pooper and super strict around others. But a little bit of mindfulness and balance could hold the key to sailing through.

And here’s what making that effort could be worth –

  • It shows you value yourself and are committed to your your own wellbeing. You will feel great about yourself.
  • You could potentially inspire others around you. It may seem like they care much, but deep down they do, but just don’t know where to start and what to do)
  • You wont have any guilt feelings by the end of the month, no weight to lose, no pain of trying to coerce yourself back on track.

Hence, here are my top 5 tips to stick by, which may not seem so heavy, but really work wonders to keep you close to track!

  1. Always eat something nourishing and filling at home before stepping out. It could be a Green Smoothie, a filling salad, or soup. This way you could just get by with nibbling when out and since you would not be very hungry, you could select smart. Go for salad sticks or grilled foods, instead of fried.
  2. Load up on fresh fruit and raw salads on days that you are not socialising – as they help to balance out the heavy food. They also keep you hydrated and energised, also because  your sleep hours may be erratic.
  3. If you are going to an intimate home gathering, offer to bring a dish along with you – could be salad or a healthy dessert. Chances are all guests will be wowed by your dish, and will be gorging on what you brought than the other foods, and also a great way to open the conversation to health and self care!
  4. Have desserts mindfully. How do you do that?

Firstly, you would agree that all desserts are not made equal. Some are better than others. So make a mental note of the ones you like better and reserve your sweet spot for only those. Skip all the others.

Second, when indulging, sit down and enjoy the dessert with all your senses. Eat slowly, and enjoy every bite. You will find yourself so much more satiated is such little.

  1. Get exercise EVERY DAY. Now this may seem a little difficult to begin with, but if you break your goal down and make it something like the bullets below, it could feel a little more doable right ?
  • 10 minute brisk walk
  • 5 Surya Namaskars
  • 7 minute HIIT
  • Climbing the stairs 3 times a day
  • Dancing to 2 bollywood numbers

It could be anything else you enjoy doing and anything more than this as well.

Staying healthy must go beyond eating habits. They must also include conscious practices that do pollute our surroundings or environment. For in the end it all comes full circle and affects us. We don’t really have to let our health or the health of our environment suffer to have a good time and bond with family and friends.

And you, how do you take care of your health and environment around you during festivals?

What Creates Disease?

Any disease – be it constipation or cancer, arises from acidic environment in the body.

All of us require an environment in which we can thrive. There is life on earth, because it has an environment conducive to life (as opposed to other planets where there is no life. People living in unpolluted regions undoubtedly enjoy better health or thrive than those living in polluted metros! The more polluted it gets, the sicker we get.

Similarly the cells of our body also thrive in an environment, and that environment is an alkaline environment. The ph balance of all liquids in our cells as well our blood is alkaline. If this environment becomes acidic, is when disease becomes inevitable in our body. This happens in two ways.

  1. Our cells begin to function below their optimum, they degenerate, organs degenerate, our immunity becomes low and hence we end with degenerative disease. Healthy cells thrive in an alkaline environment, and cancer cells thrive in an acidic environment.
  2. In an alkaline environment, the germs and bacteria in our body remain in a balance that is just right for us. However when environment is acidic they grow, and create imbalances and this creates toxicity and conditions for illness in the body.

Now what are the factors that lead to the body’s environment becoming alkaline or acidic? The main factors are – our food, water, the air and our thoughts.

Every food has a ph balance, either alkaline or acidic. Water as we all know is neutral, but these days, the pollutants in the water make water acidic also, and hence we need to purify it. Air, the more oxygen it has, the more health promoting it is. And lastly, our thoughts also play a major role in our well being. We all know that our immunity goes low and we are susceptible to fall sick, when we are stressed, or under pressure. And this is because positive and happy thoughts create alkalinity, and negative thoughts create acidity.

It is a little difficult to control the air, and thoughts take time in changing, but the one thing that we can change immediately to change the environment in our body is food. So here are the top 5 alkaline foods: –

  1. Lemons
  2. Watermelon
  3. Parsley
  4. Cucumber
  5. Broccoli

As you can see, they are all either fruit or vegetable family, in fact most fruits, and vegetables are alkaline, and eating more can ensure we remain alkaline

And here are the top 5 acidic foods:-

  1.   Colas and soft drinks
  2. .  Dairy
  3.   Meat
  4.   White sugar and all refined and artificial sweetners
  5.   .All processed and packaged foods

So if you want to avoid disease, say no to these 5 foods, and say yes to the top 5 alkaline foods.

To learn more, you can sign up for my #UnLoveLoveHandles workshop right here: http://on.fb.me/1M5X26n