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May 8, 2014

For many years, we believed that eating foods high in cholesterol & saturated fat increases the blood levels of cholesterol which in turn can spell trouble for the heart.  So, butter, ghee, coconut oil, egg yolk (yellow), red meat, cheese, and other foods that contained either cholesterol or saturated fat were deleted from the shopping lists of many homes.

Then came studies that showed egg yolk didn’t raise blood cholesterol levels, in spite of containing high amounts of cholesterol.  Of late, there’s a lot of talk on whether saturated fats raise blood cholesterol or not.  Many studies are indicating that ghee, coconut oil and other sources of saturated fats are not as harmful as thought earlier.  Trans fats and refined carbohydrates (sugar, maida, white bread and white rice) are the ones to watch out for.

Cholesterol is not a bad thing.  It is an essential item and has many functions in the body.  So, if you have any fear about cholesterol, please remove it from your minds.

Two days ago, I was listening to a talk by a very senior Swedish professor who basically trashed the information that cholesterol from foods and saturated fats can be harmful.  He said that refined carbohydrates are the culprits causing damage to our health.  He felt sad that many Indians have stopped using ghee, coconut and coconut oil.  He encouraged the use of these foods.  He also said that we use too much sunflower oil and should reduce it’s use.  Increase protein intake through foods, include lots of vegetables and fruits, leave refined carbohydrates, was the advice given.

I agree with most of the points given by the professor.  But we need to be careful of the quantity of fats that we use.  Also whole grains like brown rice, atta, millets, are an important part of our meals.

It all comes down to eating sensibly and exercising regularly.  So, go ahead and use a spoon of ghee or coconut oil in your cooking.  Don’t forget the garnish of grated coconut!

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April 7, 2014

Last weekend saw me in a restaurant that claims to serve only sattvic food, in Bangalore.  I was curious to see and taste their variety of sattvic dishes.  Unfortunately, the restaurant serves only buffet meals and no a la carte.  So, small eaters will have to go there with a large appetite!  Anyways, a lot of their starters and main course dishes appeared to be sattvic.  I couldn’t really dissect each dish but by and large they were palatable.  What surprised me were the desserts.  While there was a section of Indian sweets (probably with sattvic ingredients), there was another section of pastries, tarts, creme caramel, cup cakes and a chocolate fountain!  I’m not aware of the entire list of sattvic foods, but I don’t think maida (refined wheat flour / white flour) and refined sugar belong in the sattvic food group.  To top it, there was a take-away counter selling only cakes and pastries under the same sattvic brand!

Well, to my knowledge, sattvic foods are those which are easy to digest, beneficial for the body and promote mental health and clarity of thought.  Water, whole grains, pulses, dals, most vegetables, fruits, nuts, honey and raw dairy foods (unpasteurised, non-homogenised) fall into the sattvic group.

If any of you have more information on sattvic foods, please do share.  Thank you.

 

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March 19, 2014

How many times have you wondered if what an advertisement says is 100% true or not?

Recently, I came across an advertisement on green tea.  We all know that green tea is a great beverage, filled with antioxidants and promotes health.  But does it cleanse the insides of our system?  Can it wash away the effects of high fat, high sodium, refined foods like fried chicken and a burger??  This is exactly what an advertisement is trying to say – Kareena Kapoor models in a green tea advertisement which implies that you can eat a burger and wash away the ill effects by drinking green tea.  If health came to us so easy, none of us would fall ill!!!!!

Think before you purchase products promoted by advertisements that give false hopes.  Do let me know your thoughts.

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February 27, 2014

Seems to be the season of Farmers Markets.  I went to a Farmers Market last Sunday at The Yoga House in Indiranagar, Bangalore.  Stalls showcasing delicious organic honey (monofloral and regular) by Honey Day, pomegranate tea, chocolates and toffees by Maduban, a variety of organic foods by the organic store i2cook, whole wheat goodies by Lluvia bakery, organic millet cookies by Belly & Soul, and the ever popular organic dairy foods by Akshayakalpa and much-in-demand organic fresh vegetables & grains by Buffalo Back.   Although it was a small initiative, I picked up some nice items in this market which was put together by Vishalakshi Padmanabhan of Buffalo Back.

And there’s another Farmers Market organised by the well known food expert, Karen Anand, on Sunday, March 2nd at the Royal Orchid Hotel (off old airport road) from 11 am to 7 pm.  Participants vary from restaurants and home bakers to wineries and foodies.  One can expect organic vegetables, fruits, cheeses, bakery foods and gourmet foods in this market.  Culinary demonstrations are also planned.

 

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February 25, 2014

I came across this information on the internet.  Brazil has issued new dietary guidelines to its citizens.  I’m writing about it in India because the guidelines can apply to our population as well –

The ten Brazilian guidelines:

  1. Prepare meals from staple and fresh foods.
  2. Use oils, fats, sugar and salt in moderation.
  3. Limit consumption of ready-to-consume food and drink products.
  4. Eat regular meals, paying attention, and in appropriate environments.
  5. Eat in company whenever possible.
  6. Buy food at places that offer varieties of fresh foods. Avoid those that mainly sell products ready for consumption.
  7. Develop, practice, share and enjoy your skills in food preparation and cooking.
  8. Plan your time to give meals and eating, proper time and space.
  9. When you eat out, choose restaurants that serve freshly made dishes and meals. Avoid fast food chains.
  10. Be critical of the commercial advertisement of food products.
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