Raw food pro or not?

Credit @ sean dreilinger from flickr

I am no big fan of raw food. I confess, I have tried more than twice to consume some raw foods just to ensure what it is about it I dislike. I guess the reason is simple: it is raw. Plus, I was raised in a country in which predominantly all food I ate was thoroughly cooked. Anyways that is beside the point; let us not talk about what I consume but rather about how raw food has been seen in the eyes of some individuals.

Well, to bring light to those of you who don’t know, a raw food diet is typically made of 75% of vegetables and fruits. Raw food diet includes mostly nuts, dried fruits, sprouts, beans, seaweed. “Raw foodists” believe that this diet increases energy, give you more mental clarity, leaner body, clearer skin and they also believe it cuts the risk of disease. Usually raw food diet is organic and nothing is heated beyond 115-118 degrees Fahrenheit. From a raw food standpoint if you cook beyond 115 degrees, you destroy the enzymes that your body need in order to digest food .You are also destroying much of the food’s nutritional content. This is where it becomes problematic because on the other hand, The American Dietetic Association challenges this assertion. It says the body — not what goes in it — produces the enzymes necessary for digestion. The ADA also says cooking food below 118 degrees may not kill harmful, food-borne bacteria. Thus, if it does not kill harmful bacteria, it becomes a public health issue. Most of foods borne bacteria are responsible of major food outbreaks around the world.In addition,the raw eggs, raw fish, and raw chicken that some raw foodists consume are especially dangerous.Vitamin B12 deficiency is common among raw foodists, and can lead to anemia and neurological problems—vitamin B12 is found in animal products

Recently in the news, there was this big talk about how a Canadian chef’s McNish trades steaks for raw foods. In his first cookbook, “Eat Raw, Eat Well,” the teacher and raw food consultant provides 400 raw, vegan and gluten-free recipes and explains why he switched from a traditional diet and cooking steaks to become a vegan and then a raw food chief. He firmly believes that eating raw food has changed in life. Meanwhile, other people debate otherwise. Knowing that the results on whether raw food diet is healthy are mixed, what are your inputs?

Eating planet!

Credit@ Barilla Center for food and nutrition

Today we are celebrating Earth day. I know this blog is about food but I am going to blog about this book  titled “Eating planet”. The book mostly does not talk about how to be healthy in your meal but it is of a strong interest for me since it relates to food and mostly encompasses themes of food injustice around the world such as hunger, food sustainability and so forth. So, this book “Eating Planet” is presented by Barilla Center for food and nutrition to mark earth day.It is available to download for free today only. So if ever you are interested visit www.barillacfn.com

Eating planet highlights the challenges that the world is facing today with regards to food and agricultural system, as well as ways that it will benefit us if policymakers and individuals were to remediate these issues. We are surrounded by billion of individuals who are overweight and paradoxically billion of people who are dying of hunger worldwide.

“Access to food is one of the first and most fundamental of all human rights,” says Guido Barilla, Chairman of the Barilla Group. So does Paul Farmer in an article [Challenging orthodoxies: the road ahead for health and human rights] that I have read last year in one of my public health classes: “food, food for the poor”.

Taking into account all these issues, the book is divided into four sections: Food for All, Food for Sustainable Growth, Food for Health, and Food for Culture. Each of these sections ends with tangible recommendations or proposals, and actions that need to be taken to solve the global food crisis. For instance, in developing countries, it is pretty hard to have a change in lifestyle. Healthy eating, for the majority of these individuals, is dependent upon their earnings- most of them have an average income if not no income at all-. The book highlights how it is important to provide access and to educate these population about healthy foods like veggies and fruits, making sure that everyone gets proper nutrition, balanced diet, starting from infancy to old ages to avoid morbidity problems such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity etc..

So today, as we celebrate earth day, let us think about every single individual on earth. Let us combat food injustice by having an “Eating planet”!

The Mediterranean diet

Credit @ Oldways

The Mediterranean diet has long been considered one of the healthiest diets on the planet – and indeed it is ! There are myriad of research that proves that eating a diet rich in plant foods and healthy fat is good for us. Research also show that a Mediterranean diet protects individuals against cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, Alzheimer’ s disease and also leads to a longer lifespan. The key to longer lifespan lie in the fact that this diet does not adopt modernized foods(that we in the US consume excessively) such as processed foods, deep-fried foods, tendency to eat more meat and fewer fruits and vegetables .

There is no single Mediterranean diet. Instead, each region across the world, from Spain to the Middle East , customizes the basic diet to take advantage of food availability and cultural preferences.So, if you considering adopting this new diet, it is basically up to you to adjust this diet based on your customs,cultural values and what is best for you.All you need to is to  follow the Mediterranean diet pyramid.

The Mediterranean diet include a reliance on plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts, olives, and olive oil(extra virgin I insist)  along with some cheese, yogurt, fish, poultry, eggs, and wine. These foods form the basis of the plan and provide thousands of micronutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber that work together to protect against chronic disease. Other key elements of the  Mediterranean Diet -necessary to render it efficient- encompass daily exercise, sharing meals with families, friends and the simple fact of appreciating eating healthy and delicious food.

desi health & wellness

Food is an integral source of energy for the body and mind. Consumption of properly balanced wholesome meals has a direct effect on the vitality of the human body and mind. A yogic diet should ideally follow a pure food (sattvic) diet. Consuming sattvic food has the ability to alter the body chemistry, and revive and rejuvenate the digestive system. Furthermore, suitable and nutritious sattvic food provides lightness, happiness, and joyfulness to the human body and is said to increase intelligence. For these reasons, one should be very mindful about the types and quantity of food he consumes. It is also important to be conscious of when and where one consumes his food.

During my food experience I noticed that if my meals were healthy and filling I did not experience any discomfort in my asana practice. I was able to hold the postures with ease…

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Food safety recalls

Credit @ medscape

Some groceries are implementing the stratagem used by FDA to help their customers in making informed food choices. For instance, in the New York area , waldbaum is one of them and if you go on their website, there is a link that direct you on certain food recalls. Food safety recalls is basically connected to the major foodborne illnesses outbreaks in the US. The US government is regulating this issue. In fact, in an effort to ensure the safety of the US food supply, President Obama signed the food safety modernization act on January 2011 in order to effectively respond to prevention of food contamination.

The major product safety recalls includes ground beef, romaine lettuce, cantaloupe. Recent media reports have referred to an additive called “pink slime” in ground beefs, nowadays lots of groceries are trying to carry all natural ground beef that do not contain any additive in order to satisfy their customers. I know some of you may think, “oh well this recall does not apply to me, I only consume ground turkey”. Well, surprisingly enough there was also last year a recall on ground turkey products produced in Springdale Arkansas. The collaboration of government agencies such as CDC and USDA identified ground turkey as the suspected source of outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg. Also, on September 29 of last year 2011,True Lead Farms of California issued a recall of bagged romaine lettuce. So please say vigilant on which romaine lettuce you are utilizing to put on the table. Another major product recall is cantaloupe from the Jersen Farms Company

Credit @ Parvinder Singh from flickr

based in Colorado. Their cantaloupes were linked to outbreak of listerioris from august through October 2011 and were responsible from various deaths. The outbreak associated is not only the first but also the largest listeriosis outbreak in the history of the Unites States. There is available evidence that this outbreak is currently over.

Knowing that there are many product recalls please stay informed about food recalls to protect yourself and loved ones. Always visit the FDA website and stay alert in order to keep health in your meals.

Concerns about frozen foods…

Nowadays, for convenience reasons lots of individual freeze their food or buy frozen food/fruits. However, they cannot help to

Credit @ Lee Landry from flickr

ponder: “is freezing food a safe alternative? There is still uncertainty on whether or not freezing protect foods. The confusion might arise from the fact that few people truly understand the rules behind freezing food’s safety. Also in developing countries, like in Haiti (my homeland),where there is often power outage, people have raised concerns about to effectively use the freezing to conserve foods. Some people also expressed concerns about thawed food, the USDA states that “partial thawing and refreezing may affect the quality of some food, but the food will be safe to eat”.

The truth is, it is possible to freeze almost any food. Nonetheless, some exceptions may apply such as canned food or eggs in shells. For canned food, it is okay to freeze it after it came out of the can, spam can be an example. If food is store constantly a 0°F, its quality might suffer must it is still safe. Freezing preserves food for extended periods because it prevents the growth of microorganisms that cause both food spoilage and foodborne illness. However, when these frozen foods change from their solid state to a liquid one, it might become dangerous because microbes can again become active, multiplying under the right conditions to levels that can lead to foodborne illness. On that instance, it is important to handle them like you would normally handle fresh produce   to avoid multiplication of microorganism. If there is a power outage, the freezer fails, or if the freezer door has been left ajar by mistake, the food may still be safe to use if ice crystals remain. But it is best to keep the freezer door closed for the food to stay cold and safe.

Solutions to effectively use freezing foods include

-Freeze food as soon as possible

-use proper packaging from it maintains quality and prevents freezer burn
– for raw or cooked meat, it’s fine to cook or reheat poultry from the frozen state

-keep the freezer door closed as much as possible

For those of you that have concerns about how to select frozen meals effectively please take a look at this video