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5 Unhealthy Foods You Can Avoid

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“No matter how old you are, no matter how much you weigh, you can still control the health of your body.” ~ Dr. Oz

Our body is our home, our temple and deserve to be treated with utmost respect. We must be aware of what we put into it as it becomes part of us. The fuel we pump ourselves with determines how our bodies will run. There are some foods invented by humans that act as cheaper alternative to the real food, and it is ruining your health; opening a vortex of all kinds of ailments.

Here is a list of foods to avoid at all costs:

Artificial Sweeteners
Popular usage of artificial sweeteners began during World War II when governments ran out of sugar rations and substituted it with Saccharin, a chemical compound. Eventually it was banned after laboratory tests found it to cause cancers in animals.

The next major sweetener called Aspartame was discovered in 1965 and by 1981 it was approved for use as a food additive. Its found in sweeteners like NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful and Equal-Measure, in chewing gums, diet sodas, drink powders, flavoured water, crisps, cereals, protein drinks, meal replacement pills. Most importantly watch out for anything with the label ‘sugar-free’.

Aspartame is a deadly neurotoxin that raises blood sugar levels, over stimulating the pancreas which in turn produces more insulin, wearing out the pancreas and ultimately causing diabetes. Obesity, Alzheimers, Parkisons, ADHD, seizures, cancer, fatigue, muscle spam, anxiety & heart problems, joint pain and formaldehyde build up in the brain are just some of the ailments associated with this chemical.

Its claim to fame is that its zero calories, so you don’t gain any weight, or so they tell you. This couldn’t be further from the truth as artificial sweeteners do not help you lose weight. The intellect may be fooled but not the body. Your body knows exactly what you’re putting inside of it and how it will affect you.

When you eat something sweet, your brain releases dopamine which activates the body’s reward centre. An appetite regulating hormone Leptin is also released that gives you that feeling of fullness once its ingested. So, when you eat something that tastes sweet but has no calories, although dopamine does get released, Leptin remains in limbo, thus creating further cravings that lead to binge eating.
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Unfortunately because of this, artificial sweeteners can also cause you to become addicted to them. If you find yourself having trouble quitting diet sodas, crisps, chewing gum etc, try using techniques like EFT (Turbo Tapping), deep breathing or backward counting.

Alternatives
Avoid ‘low-fat, zero-calories or sugar-free’ items. Dried fruits like dates and raisins are a great add on for sweetness. Raw honey, sugarcane juice and jaggery work very well and in small quantities too. Stevia leaf and Luo Han Guo, a fruit from the Gourd family, is also remarkably sweet and used in teas as a sweetener by the Chinese.


Refined Grains
This includes white rice and white bread. The process to refine grains uses excessive gluten. A good way to remember what gluten is and does is: It is the glue that holds food together. It’s responsible for the elastic texture of dough. However, in excess it is acidic, making the body a breeding ground for bad bacteria, yeast and fungus and increasing mucus cells. It is extremely important to keep the balance of alkaline and acidic substances in the body.

    Refined grains should be avoided because:
  • They are completely devoid of natural fiber.
  • Bleaching agents are used to make them white.
  • Artificial flavoring is also used.
  • They are highly starchy and glutenous.
  • The grains are fumigated to kill bugs, which means they are harmful to anything ingesting them.
  • They have upto 25 added chemicals.
  • They are nutritionally imbalanced.
  • Refined grains are also responsible for several degenerative disease like calcium leaching and tooth decay.

Alternatives
Use Quinoa or Buckwheat which is full of vital nutrients. Whole grains are a definite healthy choice because they have high fibre levels that are necessary in lowering blood pressure, improving heart health, maintaining blood sugar levels and helping metabolism. They increase good bacteria: microbiomes that aid digestion and immunity. This reduces risk of obesity, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.
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Oats, barley, brown rice, rhye, Amaranth, Sorghum or whole grain corn are other great nutritionally balanced alternatives.

Margarine
Invented at the request of a French emperor for his subjects, Margarine was meant to be a cheaper substitute for butter. It wasn’t ever designed to be nutritious or healthy but to kill hunger. Early Margarine was made from animal fat. However, in the 1900’s scientists discovered how to harden liquid and as a result vegetable oils replaced animal fat. Since then it has been made from vegetable oils.

To remove impurities from vegetable oils, they are steamed. Unfortunately, steaming also destroys antioxidants and vitamins. To make margarine semi-solid, hydrogen gas is pumped into it along with a catalyst (usually nickel). This forces unsaturated fatty acids to become saturated and solid.

Eventually a lumpy grey grease is produced which forms trans-fats. To get rid of the lumps and grey color, emulsifiers are added. Following this, a second round of steam is given to remove chemical odors. Then synthetic vitamins and artificial coloring is added. Now, any nutritionist will tell you, the further away the food is from its original source, the worse it is for health!

The human body contains saturated and mono-unsaturated fats and also poly-unsaturated fats which are used for cell rebuilding and hormone production. Vegetable oils contain highly concentrated poly-unsaturated fats which become unstable over long periods of time and upon light exposure.

This forces the body to incorporate an over-powering amount of these fats into cell repair as well, producing inflammation and cell mutation. These oils also contain a much higher amount of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats which has been linked to cancer and heart disease. Health problems related to Margarine are endless. Here are just a few things related to its consumption:

  • Coronary heart disease
  • Increased levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) and lower levels of HDL (good cholesterol)
  • Decreased fertility
  • Immune response problems
  • Higher blood insulin levels and hence risk for diabetes
  • Lowers quality of breast milk

Alternatives
Nutritionists swear by the healing benefits of Coconut. It is a great replacement for both Margarine and butter. It can be used to fry and bake in. It maintains liver & kidney health and also works as an antioxidant, disinfectant and soothing agent. It helps in muscle build up and has lower calories than any other oil!

Drinking coconut water does wonders as it is high in potassium and possesses abundant electrolytes that bring the body back to homeostasis. Flax seed and hemp seed oil or avocado and olive oil are great alternatives to vegetable oils. Use Ricotta, peanut butter, cottage cheese or hummus as alternative spreads for a nutritious and delicious meal!

Table Salt
Manufacturers mimic nature by evaporating salt manually until crystals are formed and then processing them till they reach the standard quality. In fact, table salt has practically nothing in common with natural salt. Table salt is particularly hard on the circulatory and nervous systems.

It upsets the balance of the lymph system and induces hypertension resulting in high blood pressure and weight gain. It’s also quite addictive, making the body reliant on it. The fundamental problem with table salt is that the process it takes to create it renders it barren of accompanying minerals.

These minerals help with blood pressure regulation and are essential for dietary balance. Deficiency of these are responsible for the obesity epidemic. What is actually happening is that obese individuals are undernourished and so their bodies are starving because no matter how much they eat, they aren’t getting the nutrients and minerals they need.

Alternatives
Hawaiian black lava salt particularly has 84 trace minerals that help in keeping your bodies immunity up and running. Celtic Sea Salt and Pink Himalayan Crystal Salt are widely used as nutritional alternatives too. Himalayan Pink Salt particularly has some notable benefits including: regulating water content through the body, promoting good pH balance in the cells, managing blood sugar and pressure, generating hydroelectric energy in the cells and supporting respiratory health. It also works as an aid for muscle cramps, bone strength, sleep and libido.

Deep Fried Foods
Fried foods not only damage your organs but your brain as well, not just for the long term but in the short term as well. It’s important to eat foods that make your body feel cleansed and not heavy or empty. The main oil used to deep fry food is Canola oil (one of the top GMO products) – it is synthetic and deprives cells of oxygen which causes all sorts of illnesses from cancer to respiratory disorders and aneurysms. Corn oil is also another GMO commonly used to deep fry. These contain MSG (toxic salts) that all fast-foods contain to keep a standard taste that also lasts long.

Additionally, heating food more than 160 degrees Fahrenheit completely destroys its enzymes and the temperature to deep fry is about 350-375 degrees F. So the body in order to fight disease must rob from healthy cells instead.

The excess oil increases cholesterol and trans fats and even causes cancer in the long term. The arteries are like an internal drainage system, fried foods clog them up and make it harder for blood to circulate and reach the heart and brain. This leads to strokes and heart attacks as the plaque builds up.
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Alternatives
To detoxify your blood and organs, take plenty of organic vitamin B foods like milk thistle or dandelion root. Try a raw food fast and incorporate more ‘living foods’ in your diet. If that is difficult, try grilled, baked or sautéed meals. If you absolutely must eat and are craving deep fried food, do not visit a fast-food joint.

Instead, fry it yourself in coconut oil. It is extremely heat resistant, as it slowly oxidises and causes less damage upon heating. It is also high in lauric acid which enhances immunity with additional antiviral and antibacterial properties. It stimulates metabolism too.

Make sure to use it in its unrefined form to get maximum health benefits! To learn the healthiest way to deep fry food check out.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” ~ Hippocrates

It may be hard to quit or reduce eating toxic food because it is such a convenient reality. We live in a time where McDonalds is cheaper than whole foods. As humans, with the invention of fire we’ve also come to the assumption that our culinary skill with cooked foods sets us apart from the animal kingdom.

Yet, humankind suffers far more physical illness than any other species. This to me, is a grave signal to go back to the days of consuming raw foods. ‘Living’ foods breathe life into us. ‘Dead’ food, unfresh food or artificially preserved foods do the opposite.

A popular anecdote today is not to put anything into your body that your great, great grand-parents cannot recognize as food. Perhaps it is time to revert back to eating the foods that help us really live, keep our body equipment well maintained and ready for action!

References
Harmful effects of Aspartame
Artificial sweeteners
Avoid aspartame
What is Gluten
Why are refined grains harmful
What is Margarine
Dangers of salt
Table salt and sea salt
10 Benefits of Green Smoothies

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Pia
Pia 'Llama' is a visual artist specializing in photography, illustration and comic strips. She aims to help people question their conditioning, shed the non-useful and move into a state of love and awareness so they can embrace themselves and one another fully.

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