Most of the research on health and nutrition out there is absolute junk, and actively contributes to the deterioration of health standards the world over. Is it a coincidence that health standards in the US, which is the country with the most processed/ industrialised food, and with the most research as well, and the biggest per capita "health (sic)" budget by far, are among the worst in the world - one-third of all US people are obese, and they don't know what positive, vibrant good health really means.
So what are some of the fundamental stuff about food that I consider "self evident truths" (self-evident at least to me)?
Listed below are some of the rules about food and health that I believe in and follow (at least substantially if not completely or fully, and for the record, I am not in the least fanatical about following these rules) - all of these conclusions are based on a lot of reading over the years, distilled wisdom of natural-health experts, sifting and sieving, and eliminating all that is contrary. If you want more "proof" for each of these assertions, I cannot oblige because that would be a huge waste of time! 'Tis better to be considered dogmatic, than to waste time trying to prove your faith to non-believers (saying that I just made up)!
Suffice to say that there is enough material to support each of these assertions - google, and thou shall find! There is also enough material to support exactly the opposite assertions, and many other shades of assertions in between, as well. But then, "the essence of faith is to ignore the nay-sayers, the liars, the agents of the devil, the provocateurs, the saboteurs, who will sway you away from the true path" (another saying I just made up).
1) Eat only what nature gave, as close to what nature gave. In other words, eat "food". Manufactured products are not food. Examples of manufactured products, is anything that comes out of a packet or a bottle! That includes breakfast cereals and juices whether called "Real" or not.
2) The body is a chemical factory, and breaks down food into its components and rebuilds the components into what the body needs. Therefore, food needs to be easy to breakdown. All natural foods are easy to break down, since they "spoil" - any foods that don't spoil are by definition, not food. "Only eat foods that spoil fast, but eat them before they spoil"
3) Do not count calories. It is a useless wasteful exercise.
4) Drink lots of water. (Not soda)
5) Foods to avoid: those foods that are actually dangerous and highly harmful to health: white sugar; refined flour; any foods with high fructose corn syrup (which means most of what passes off as food in western supermarket shelves); too much salt, dalda / hydrogenated vegetable oil; any kind of junk food - that includes pizzas, burgers, and all things of their ilk; white bread; carbonated drinks; ice-cold water / water from the fridge; all bakery products; all milk products (except butter and ghee which are good for health)
6) Foods to preferably avoid: old food, stale food, food that has been cooked more than a few hours back, reheated food. Food kept in the fridge after cooking would by definition belong to this category
7) Foods to avoid at any cost: microwaved food. Avoid the microwave at all costs
8) Let your diet consist predominantly of plants / plant-based foods. In other words, fruits, vegetables and their ilk.
9) Minimize the consumption of grains - rice, wheat - as far as possible while increasing the consumption of fruits, vegetables, etc. as a proportion of the diet
10) Super foods - foods that are most excellent for health: all vegetables, all fruits, sprouts
11) Foods that are brilliant for maintaining health and have a lot of medicinal value as well (just a brief list, there are many): amla, honey (not the store bought honey that is processed, but raw unprocessed forest honey), flax seeds, fresh fruit juice (freshly extracted, less than five minutes old, since most of the nutrients get oxidised very fast), fresh vegetable juice (ditto)
12) As far as possible, buy seasonal, locally-produced stuff. It is not harmful to not do so, but generally better for health to follow this principle. Also, do not keep raw vegetables, etc. stored for too long – the extreme ideal is to buy directly from the farmer and cook the stuff immediately – though for logistical reasons one may need to buy for a few days at a time. In short, "Preferably ensure that the distance (and time) from farm to the table is as short as possible"
13) Eat sparingly. The less you eat, the less your body needs, and the healthier you will be
14) Fast frequently, for more and more extended periods.
15) Ignore fad diets. Following the above rules should be enough.
The above is a top-of-the-mind partial list. There's more, but you get the general idea...
Also, I am not even getting into the science of food combinations (trophology) or into organic food. Those are different dimensions of what good food means...
Would love to hear your reactions (which, by the way, it's enough to state, you don't have to prove your assertions!)
PS - forwarded article on 'White Bread' attached below
White Bread is "dead" bread (author unknown)
The Swiss government has been aware of the dangers of eating white
bread for decades and in order to get its populace to stop eating it,
Switzerland has placed a tax on the purchase of white bread. The tax
money is given to bakers to reduce the price of whole wheat bread to
encourage people to switch.
The Canadian government passed a law prohibiting the "enrichment" of
white bread with synthetic vitamins. Bread must contain the original
vitamins found in the grain, not imitations.
Essentially, white bread is "dead" bread. Frequently, consumers are
not told the truth about this and so called "enriched" flour.
Why is the color of white bread so white when the flour taken from wheat is not?
It's because the flour used to make white bread is chemically bleached
, just like you bleach your clothes. When you are eating white bread,
you are also eating residual chemical bleach. Flour mills use
different chemical bleaches, all of which are pretty bad. Here are a
few of them: oxide of nitrogen, chlorine, chloride, nitrosyl and
benzoyl peroxide mixed with various chemical salts.
One bleaching agent, chloride oxide, combined with whatever proteins
are still left in the flour, produces alloxan. Alloxon is a poison and
has been used to produce diabetes in laboratory animals. Chlorine
oxide destroys the vital wheat germ oil. It will also shorten the
flour's shelf life.
Good Nutrition: You Won't Find It In White Bread
In the process of making flour white, half of the good unsaturated
fatty acids, that are high in food value, are lost in the milling
process alone, and virtually all the vitamin E is lost with the
removal of wheat germ and bran. As a result, the remaining flour in
the white bread you buy, contains only poor quality proteins and
But that is not the whole story as to the loss of nutrients. About 50%
of all calcium, 70% of phosphorus, 80% iron, 98% magnesium, 75%
manganese, 50% potassium, and 65% of copper is destroyed. If that is
not bad enough, about 80% thiamin, 60% of riboflavin, 75% of niacin,
50% of pantothenic acid, and about 50% of Pyridoxine is also lost.
Scientific Study Has Confirmed What The Swiss Have Known For Years
These horrific numbers are the results of a study run by the
University of California, College of Agriculture.
It is obvious, from what we have learned, that white bread should be
avoided. Whole wheat, rye, and grain breads made with whole wheat
flour is a better way.
It is a good idea to always read the labels and never buy foods that
contain artificial flavors, colors, bleached flour, preservatives,
hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils.