Welcome new and existing subscribers to the the 16th Issue of Good Vibes.
It is my attempt to pull out best practices proven by science and my and other people’s experiences, to benefit all, who want to have a good lifespan, enjoying with their full energy till the last day of their life in this beautiful world.
In this newsletter
- Eat Rainbow – Eat at least 5 colours everyday
- Why You can’t stop Overeating
- Toolkit to stop overeating Junk Food
- Inflammation & Tool Kit to manage it by Pramila Mundra
- Turmeric & its health advantages by Ujjwala Baxi
- 100 Day Challenge
This is the fourth and last in series of All about food. You can visit sandeepmall.com to read the old newsletters. All of them have interesting and useful Toolkits to help you in your journey towards Deep Health.
Do share your feedback and also any specific topic you would like me to cover. Please keep sharing your feedback with me on Twitter. Which article did you like most? What do you want to read more or less of? Other suggestions? Just send a tweet to @SandeepMall and add #GoodVibesWithSandeepMall at the end so I can find it.
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Attention lentil-lovers: legumes may just be your ticket to an extra decade of life. In a study published this week by Plos Medicine, scientists revealed that by swapping a diet high in red meat and processed foods to one full of whole grains, legumes, fish and veg, we could all enjoy up to 10 more years of life.
If eating 200g of lentils per day – the weight recommended by the researchers – sounds a bit much, the lead author of the study suggested that it doesn’t have to be an all or nothing approach. Making changes later in life or opting for bean-based choices some times, will still spell positive news for your longevity.
Critics cautioned that the study’s conclusions may not be so cut and dried, however. It’s possible that those who are big on beans are naturally more health conscious in other areas of their lives.
Eat colourful vegetables. In fact it is recommended to eat vegetables of 5 different colours every day. But why different vegetables of different colours? One of the reasons is that this variety is good for the bugs that live in our gut, and their associated genes, collectively known as our microbiome. Scientists have only recently begun focusing on this area, and it’s becoming clear that the importance to our mental and physical health of having a healthy microbiome can hardly be overstated. And we have a lot of these bugs to feed. One study found that the human gut contains between 30 trillion and 400 trillion microorganisms, whereas the number of actual human cells in our bodies ranges from 5 trillion to 724 trillion. ‘Based upon these approximations,’ write the scientists, ‘the human body could have nearly the same amount of cells as microbes, or at the more extreme end, non-human cells may outnumber our own almost a hundred to one.’
Whilst researchers are discovering more about these bugs every day, there is still much that’s unclear. Our best guess at the moment is that an ideal microbiome is a diverse one, capable of adaptation and job share. These bugs have evolved with us over millions of years and live off the food we take in and, in return, provide a huge array of services to the human machine. For example, one species makes serotonin, which is the hormone linked with your mood. Others manufacture vitamins.
Over the years our gut populations have been decimated by modern industrial living, food additives, high stress levels, the overuse of antibiotics and much more.
A recent examination of the Hadza, a Tanzanian hunter-gatherer tribe, suggested that our gut’s microbiome is 50 per cent less diverse than theirs. This could be a key factor in growing rates of chronic, degenerative diseases. If we have a greatly diminished microbiome, it also might explain why we are no longer able to tolerate certain foods. Our microbiome represents a key component of our body’s defence system against the outside world.
FEEDING YOUR MICROBIOME
There is a simple way we can start fixing our damaged microbiomes. We’re forever being told that vegetables are good for us, but it’s not often explained why. Well, here’s one of the key reasons – because our gut bugs love plant-based fibre. This is also known as pre-biotic fibre. Broccoli is a particularly fine example. When the fibre that’s in broccoli gets as far as your large bowel, or colon, it finds itself in the place where the vast majority of your gut bugs live. They feast on it and produce various by-products including short-chain fatty acids, or SCFAs. These SCFAs, including the most studied one, butyrate, are anti-inflammatory.This means that they help bring down the inflammation and its harmful effects, including heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease.
BUILDING UP YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
Because the body is so interconnected, by feeding the microbiome we’re also strengthening other parts of it, such as our immune system. It’s common to think of the immune system as something that is there simply to protect us from airborne bacteria and viruses and prevent coughs and colds. Whilst that’s true, 70% of our immune system activity takes place in and around our gut. This makes perfect sense, of course, because our gut is one of the key interfaces between the external world and our bodies.
FOODS FOR YOUR GUT BUGS
Our ancestors ate between 50 and 150 grams of complex fibre per day – that is about 10 times the amount that most people eat today! These complex fibres are known as Microbiota Accessible Carbohydrates (MACs) because they are carbohydrates that feed our gut bugs. They’re found in abundance in vegetables but also in fruits and legumes. We can’t use them directly as they are hard to break down and digest. But our gut bugs can!
Getting five different vegetables into your diet every single day will accelerate the process of optimizing your microbiome. To enhance the benefits even further, try to make these vegetables as many different colours as you can. This means it’s much more likely that you will encourage the growth of more beneficial bacteria as well as getting maximum gut-bug diversity.
Different colours contain different phytonutrients. Red foods, such as tomatoes, contain lycopene, which some researchers argue reduces the risk of some types of cancer and heart disease. Orange foods, such as carrots, contain beta-carotene, which has a beneficial effect on our immune system and promotes healthy vision. Green vegetables, such as broccoli, contain chlorophyll, which seems to help control hunger. The list goes on. Some vegetables, lentils and fruit are listed below. Try to eat 5 different colours everyday
It’s happened to us all. After a frenzy of lustful grabbing and furious crunching, we find ourselves at the bottom of a jumbo bag of chips.
“How did that happen?” we ask fuzzily.
“What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I stop?”
But, before going into full-fledged self-loathing mode, consider this.
Processed foods are scientifically engineered to be irresistible and easy to gobble up in large quantities. If you can’t stop, the chips are doing their job.
Certain foods are actually designed to make us overeat.
If you’re overeating, it’s not because there’s something wrong with you or your willpower.
Here’s the truth: There’s a whole industry dedicated to creating food that’s hyperpalatable—food that’s so tasty it’s nearly irresistible.
Processed foods are foods that have been modified from their original, whole-food form in order to change their flavor, texture, or shelf-life. Often, they’re altered so that they hit as many pleasure centers as possible—from our brain to our mouths to our bellies.
Processed foods are highly craveable, immediately gratifying, fun to eat, and easy to over-consume quickly (and often cheap).
Processed foods will also look and feel different from their whole food counterparts, depending on the degree that they’re processed.
There are four sneaky ways processed food can make you overeat. Often, we’re not even aware of how much these factors affect us.
That’s why, awareness = power.
1. Marketing convinces us that processed foods are “healthy’. Processed foods come in packages with bright colors, cartoon characters, celebrity endorsements, and powerful words that triggers all kinds of positive associations.
2. Big portions make us think we’re getting a “good deal”. People get mixed up about food and value. We’re taught to save money and not waste food. We’re taught to buy more for less. When companies use cheap, poor quality ingredients, they can sell bigger quantities without raising the price.
But what’s the deal? Sure, you’ll save a buck in the short term, but you’ll pay the health tax—through poor health—in the long term.
3. Variety makes us hungrier. Choice excites us. When we have lots of variety, we have lots of appetite. It’s hard to overeat tons of one thing, with one flavor, like apples. How many apples can you eat before, frankly, you get bored? Reduce the variety and you also reduce distraction from your body’s built-in self-regulating signals. When we’re not so giddy with choice and stimuli, we’re more likely to slow down, eat mindfully, and eat less.
4. Multiple flavors at once are irresistible. If there’s a party in your mouth, you can guarantee that at least two out of three of the following guests will be there:
These three flavors—the sweetness of sugar, the luxurious mouthfeel of fat, and the sharp savory of salt—are favorites among those of us with mouths.
Just think about the ease of eating whole foods versus processed foods: Whole foods require about 25 chews per mouthful, which means that you have to slow down. When you slow down, your satiety signals keep pace with your eating and have a chance to tell you when you’ve had enough. Which is probably why you’ve never overeaten whole foods. Processed food manufacturers, on the other hand, aim for food products to be broken down in 10 chews or less per mouthful. That means the intense, flavorful, crazy-delicious experience is over quickly, and you’re left wanting more—ASAP.
- Notice your chewing. It’s easier to overeat when food is easy to chew. Processed food will take 10 chews versus whole food, that take 25-30.
- Evaluate your kitchen. Use the traffic light system. Red food means avoid, yellow means maybe some times and green should be your majority of food. Create your own red, yellow, and green light food lists. Once you have your list, stock your kitchen with as many green light foods as possible. Choose the yellow foods you allow in your house wisely. And red foods are to be limited or eliminated entirely. At the very least, consider reducing the variety of red light or treat foods. Take some pressure off your willpower and surround yourself with foods that support your goals.
- Put quality above quantity. It’s tempting to buy that jumbo bag of chips because it’s such a good deal. But remember: Real value isn’t about price or quantity so much as it is about quality. Quality foods are nutrient-dense and minimally-processed. They are foods that you like, and make sense for your schedule and budget. Quality foods may take a little more preparation and be a little more expensive up-front, but in the long run, they’re the real deal, and have a lower “health tax” to pay later in life.
- Focus on whole foods.Whole foods will make it easier to regulate food intake and will also improve nutrition.We can almost feel “high” when we eat processed foods. Whole foods, on the other hand, are more subtle in flavor and require a bit more effort to chew and digest. Instead of feeling high, whole foods just make us feel nourished and content.
- Find feel-good habits that support your goals. Make a list of activities that you feel good doing. You might find that you like certain activities more than others depending on your feelings, the time of day, or your environment. When you feel triggered to eat when you’re not physically hungry, choose an activity from your list. This could be some gentle physical activity, fresh air, social interaction, playing a game, or a self-care ritual like painting your nails or getting a scalp oil massage.
- Slow down. If nothing else works, and the idea of taking away treat foods totally freaks you out, just do this: Slow down. Allow yourself to eat whatever you want, just eat slowly and mindfully.
- If you feel like you’re in over your head, ask for help. Sometimes we need support. If overeating is frequent or extreme, or if you have health problems related to overeating that you don’t know how to manage, seek the help of a coach, nutritionist, dietician, or counselor who specializes in disordered eating behaviors.
by Pamila Mudra
Inflammation is the body’s innate response to any infection, stress, toxins or injury in your body. It is usually characterised by redness, swelling, heat and pain – serving as a physical barrier against spread of infection. Chemical factors released during inflammation help the cells to communicate with each other which include cytokines, C-reactive protein, prostaglandins, histamines and more. Understanding this response is helpful because inflammatory markers indicate where the problem is and how severe it may be.
Inflammation may be acute or chronic. Acute inflammation occurs immediately after tissue damage and lasts for a short time (few minutes to few days). This usually protects our health. Chronic inflammation is caused by physical factors such as virus, bacteria, blood sugar imbalances, toxins or chronic daily stress. It lasts much longer and if it persists, it can contribute to chronic disease by throwing off body’s immune system. Chronic inflammation is very common now with poor food habits and high stress levels.
One of the most powerful tools to combat inflammation comes NOT from the pharmacy but from the kitchen. YES! Food has power to heal most diseases. Taking an anti inflammatory diet, based on the foods your body accepts most, helps you stay in good health while maintaining good energy levels and ensuring you get enough of vitamins and minerals. An overall healthy diet with plenty of natural foods is usually anti-inflammatory. The Mediterranean diet, which is high in vegetables and fruits, nuts, healthy oils, whole grains and fish, is an example of anti inflammatory eating. So, it is vital to remove all inflammatory items from your shopping list and kitchen on a weekly basis and parallelly, replace them with anti-inflammatory foods.
Foods that cause inflammation are listed below:
Refined carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta, most breakfast cereals, cakes, pastries. Most grains, found on store shelves or used in baked goods, have been stripped of the plants bulk which has nutritional properties. They are highly processed and mostly turn into glucose on digestion.
Fried foods and cooking oil -Most common cooking oils are high in omega-6-fatty acids which are inflammatory and have very low omega-3 fats, which can lead to increased risk of cancer and heart disease. Avoid cottonseed oil, safflower, corn and sunflower oils. You can substitute them with healthier options like coconut oil, olive oil, ghee and lard.
Soda and sugar sweetened beverages- These are loaded with HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) and various forms of sugar, which are highly inflammatory. The best beverage is water with lemon and pinch of rock salt.
Processed meat and feedlot raised meat – Commercially produced meats are fed with grains like soy beans and corn, a diet that is high in inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids. Avoid feedlot raised meat. Processed meats like bacon, ham and hot dogs are smoked, cured and treated with chemicals.
Trans fats – abundant in margarine, shortening, fried foods, commercial baked foods and partially hydrogenated oil promote inflammation, insulin resistance and contribute to obesity.
Alcohol– Regular consumption of alcohol is known to cause irritation and inflammation of oesophagus, larynx and liver.
Artificial food additives: Some artificial food additives like aspartame and mono sodium glutamate (MSG) reportedly trigger inflammatory responses if used regularly.
Anti-inflammatory Foods are loaded with variety of nutrients and anti-oxidants which heal and balance the body. Here is a list of most powerful anti-inflammatory foods.
- Extra virgin Olive oil
- Green leafy vegetables
- Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts
- Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines
- Nuts like almond and walnuts
- Fruits such as berries, cherries, grapes and orange
- Bell peppers
- Green Tea
- Dark chocolate and cocoa.
Spices like ginger, garlic, turmeric, cayenne pepper and cumin seeds are also powerful foods to counter inflammation.
You need to support your diet with an anti-inflammation lifestyle too, which is equally important. This includes:
*Exercising 40 minutes for 3 times a week
*Reducing stress and be mindful
*Stocking the kitchen with anti-inflammatory foods
*Learning to cook healthy recipes
*Chewing slowly and sleeping well
*Creating positive and supportive relationships
Keep in mind that it’s fine to enjoy sugar and fried foods occasionally in small quantities but most of your regular meals need to be well balanced with loads of whole foods, vegetables, nuts, quality protein and some fruits. It has the power to keep you away from all medications and chronic diseases life long, moreover it has great anti ageing properties. Do you need more reasons to eat healthy?
Pramila Mundra is a Nutritionist, with a Masters Degree in Food Science and Nutrition. The key aspect of her approach is to handle health issues mostly by correcting the food choices and lifestyle. Her Meal planners and program are customised and holistic as per the individual food liking, work routine and limitations. She runs her own Health clinic at Adarsh Palm Retreat, Bangalore You can find her on Twitter @PramilaMundra
by Ujjwala Baxi
First use of Turmeric was back nearly 4000 years ago to the Vedic culture in India, where it was used as a culinary spice and also had religious significance. It is found throughout the tropics. India has been the largest producer of turmeric since ancient times.
Turmeric is obtained from the rhizome of Curcuma longa L.(Family: Zingiberaceae)
BEST SEASON TO GROW
The best season to plant turmeric is spring or summer. But if you are living in the tropics, it can be planted throughout the year.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF TURMERIC ROOT
Turmeric has a high nutritional value. Many researches have proven that most of these activities, associated with turmeric are due to its curcumin component. Medicinal properties of Turmeric include anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-coagulant, anti-diabetic, anti-microbial, anti-ulcer, wound healing and anti-fertility activities.
1. Digestive system It is beneficial for loss of appetite and satiety. Turmeric treats intestinal diseases, bowel issues, and colon cancer. It helps in relieving gas, dispelling worms, and improving digestion. It is also a prebiotic that promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in our gut. It also reduces the symptoms of ulcerative colitis
2. Respiratory system Turmeric is a treatment for various respiratory conditions (e.g., asthma, bronchial Hyperactivity, and allergy).
3. Liver and Gallbladder Turmeric stimulates bile production in the liver and encourages excretion of bile via the gallbladder, which improves the body’s ability to digest fats. It’s medicinal properties help in dissolving gallstones.
4. Brain Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a type of growth hormone that functions in your brain. Many common brain disorders have been linked to decreased levels of this hormone, including depression and Alzheimer’s disease. Interestingly, curcumin can increase brain levels of BDNF. This may be effective in delaying or even reversing many brain diseases and age-related diseases in brain function. It may also improve memory.
5. Heart Turmeric improves the function of the endothelium, which is the lining of your blood vessels. Endothelium regulates blood pressure, blood clotting and various other factors. Endothelial dysfunction is one of the main reasons for heart disease. Turmeric reduces inflammation and oxidation, which plays a role in heart disease. Turmeric helps in lowering LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol and can help reduce your risk of developing some serious conditions, including heart disease and stroke.
6. Joints Arthritis is a common disorder characterised by joint inflammation. Many studies show that curcumin can help treat symptoms of arthritis and in some cases is more effective than anti-inflammatory drugs.
7. Cancer Curcumin has been found to affect cancer growth, development and spread at the molecular level. Studies have shown that it can contribute to the death of cancerous cells and reduce angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels in tumours) and metastasis (spread of cancer).
8. Skin Turmeric is used as an antiseptic for cuts, burns, and bruises, and as an antibacterial agent. It also purifies blood and is a remedy for various skin conditions like acne, psoriasis, etc.
9. Diabetes Intake of turmeric extract may reduce the cell-damaging effects of chronic hyperglycaemia in diabetes patients.
10.Infections controller As a herbal medicine, turmeric is used to treat conjunctivitis, chicken pox, urinary tract infections and liver ailments.
Turmeric milk have been consumed since ages by Indians to induce good sound sleep, or to fight cough and cold as a remedy.
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 cup Milk – cow, almond, coconut, rice all work
- Jaggery to taste
- Vanilla extract optional
- Add spices to a small bowl and mix thoroughly.
- Heat 250 milk in a saucepan over medium heat until it begins to steam. Stir in 1 teaspoon of the spice mixture and continue heating milk, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes.
- Pour turmeric milk through a strainer into a cup or mug.
- Add honey and vanilla extract (if using) to taste.
- Store remaining spice mixture in an airtight container away from heat and light.
The spice mixture makes enough for three servings using one 250ml cup of milk each time.
Ujjwala Baxi is a registered dietician and certified diabetes educator. She is founder of Poshan – Cure thru Diet: a Singapore licensed company. In the last 14 years she has been passionately guiding on preventive and curative diabetes management, gut health through her publications, talks and consultations. You can find her on Twitter @ujjwalabaxi
One fourth of the Challenge is already over. How is ‘the journey to a fitter self’ going for you?
Going with the data of the first 10,000 entries, it’s remarkable to see the variety of exercises people are engaging in and many of you are passionately adhering to your discipline of exercising regularly. If you are feeling low on motivation, look up #AdmireYourself on Twitter, scroll through the tweets and I am sure you will be inspired to push yourself harder.
Collectively, in the first three weeks, the participants have run for 10, 000+ kilometers, walked 16,000+ kilometers, cycled for 1000+ hours, did strength training & different forms of workout & yoga for 3600+ hours – together, we are definitely creating happier families and a healthier nation.
The response received to the first wildcard entry was outstanding. We had nearly 350 entries! It was heartwarming to see kids joining their parents in jumping jacks, for fun – you are certainly inspiring them with your fitness discipline.
The next wild card challenge will be announced today – Flamingo Balance Test – it tests your ability to balance successfully on a single leg and assesses strength of the leg, pelvic, trunk muscles as well as static balance. The details will be shared with the participants over email, WhatsApp, Twitter and Telegram. Get ready to test your body’s balance!
The next leadership board will be announced on Sunday, February 20 so make sure you enter your data by February 16. Should you have any query/clarification, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let’s end the first month of the Challenge with improved discipline and a fitter self.
Show more love to yourself.
FITstar of the week – Bhumika Shah
Bhumika Shah wears a motley hat. An Assistant Professor, a reader, blogger, story teller and mother of two, Bhumika fits perfectly the definition of modern day super woman who multitasks like a pro. And as we know multitasking needs high energy, Bhumika draws her share of energy from regular and consistent workouts. No wonder she chose to participate in 100 Day Challenge both the times. In the first challenge, she added variety to her workouts by including cycling and Zumba and made her days not just active but fun. And now she wants to be fit enough to run around with her 3.5 years old without feeling tired. Being overweight she wants to embrace consistency in her fitness regime and regain her healthy form by participating in 100 Day Challenge 2.0.
Starting early is her secret to stay motivated throughout the day. Waking up early gives her extra hours. “That early morning walk-cycling gives a happy feel that makes my whole day positive and beautiful,” is how Bhumika puts it.
“Own your mornings. Set a minimum target and however busy you are- cross your minimum anyhow! Moreover be with people who motivate you,” – advocates the woman, who knows her mind.
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