The following excerpts from Ashtavakra Gita by Swami Chinmayananda is the trigger for this post.
“It is indeed perfectly natural that we eat food, but should never allow the food to eat us.”
These lines in the book have a spiritual connotation but the literal meaning of the lines is also true.
Yes, the food you eat eats your body. This is true when you do not exercise Vivek (acumen) in what you eat. Here is the list showing which food and faulty eating habits eats our body and ruin it beyond repair.
“Sugar is the next tobacco, without a doubt, and that industry should be scared. It should be taxed just like tobacco and anything else that can, frankly, destroy lives.” Jamie Oliver
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Packaged & Processed Food
Mostly these are nutrient less and high on calories. These foods do not offer any benefit but burden the system and ruin it. They are high on sugar, salt, and fat and low on fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Why do you need to eat it? Just to satisfy your taste buds on the tongue? What about the opinion of the other organs inside the body which suffers because you decide on the basis of your tongue?
Remember every tasty food which is not good for the body (No or less nutrition) satisfies the taste buds momentarily but it remains inside the body for a long time, enough to damage many systems.
“Eat for nutrition and food value. Emphasize natural foods, avoid processed foods and eliminate junk entirely.” Vince Gironda
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Select Cooking Oils
Vegetable Oils contain heat-sensitive polyunsaturated fats (PUFA). When heated these fats turn into toxic compounds including trans-fat. This means all food which contains vegetable oils contain trans-fat. They are bad as they led to the formation of free radicals.
Free radicals are dangerous as it damages all parts of our body; cell membrane, chromosomes, and other fats. It has a cascading effect on the body. Free radicals make your food extremely crispy (remember your crisply French fries !!) but inside the body, it also makes our arteries crispy. Free radicals make material stiff and inflexible. Your arteries stop responding to normal body stresses. Eating food fried in vegetable oil may precipitate a heart attack.
Trans fat Containing Foods
As mentioned above trans-fat is bad for the body. American Heart Association says; “Artificial trans fats (or trans fatty acids) are created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid.
The primary dietary source for trans fats in processed food is “partially hydrogenated oils.” Look for them on the ingredient list on food packages. In November 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made a preliminary determination that partially hydrogenated oils are no longer Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) in human food.
Trans fats raise your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and lower your good (HDL) cholesterol levels. Eating trans fats increases your risk of developing heart disease and stroke. It’s also associated with a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Trans fats can be found in many foods – including fried foods like doughnuts, and baked goods including cakes, pie crusts, biscuits, frozen pizza, cookies, crackers, and stick margarine and other spreads.”
You can imagine the havoc Trans-fat can create inside our body if we allow it to enter without caution and control.
This is another food ingredient without much nutrition but it has everything to disrupt your digestive system.
In the article Is Maida (White Flour) Good for Health, the author writes;
Maida and diabetes are closely linked. The more refined a food item is, the greater insulin is needed to manage it. The hormone insulin controls sugar absorption by cells. Consuming too much maida initiates the surplus release of sugar in the body.
Maida is cautioned as a separate item as we eat Maida in many foods without our knowledge. Biscuits, cakes, pastries, bread, cookies, chapati in restaurants, all contain a good amount of Maida.
More about Maida: Saying no to Maida (all-purpose flour)
High Calories Foods
Excessive consumption of calories at once makes one obese. Obesity is one of the major epidemics in the world today. Excess fat overload the entire body system. The overload system can’t function at its best so the functioning deteriorates. This results in damaging the system, organs, and cells of the body.
Childhood obesity is a major issue but adult obesity is more dangerous. An adult won’t have adequate time to rectify the mistakes and reverse the obese body. Don’t let your body become obese and then succumb to diseases.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Benjamin Franklin
Frequent soda drinkers are normally overweight and have poor metabolism. Excess of phosphoric acid in soda interferes with the body’s ability to use calcium, an important mineral in bone health.
In her article How soft drinks affect your body the author writes how soft drinks affect lungs, joints, pancreas, heart, bones, menstruation, and metabolism. It completely devastates your inner body ecology.
“Soft drinks: The gooey, bubbly sea drowning our American children.” Marlene Dietrich
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The food we eat, after the digestion process, produces either acid or alkaline and some are even neutral (It is not the acidic or alkaline nature of the food but what happens after digestion is important). Research shows that unless the body’s pH level is slightly alkaline, the body cannot heal itself. No matter what means you choose to take care of your health, it won’t be effective until the pH level is balanced. Our body does hard work to maintain pH balance.
Read more: How food imbalance is ruining your health
Ayurvedically Mismatched Foods
In Ayurveda, great emphasis is laid on food and the combination of food we eat. Some food combinations could have a dangerous effect on our bodies. This could be one of the reasons our system gets affected and the body gets diseases.
The bad combination is also known as Viruddh Aahara. Following research-based article Viruddha Ahara: A critical view gives a good insight into the food combination we shall keep in mind when we eat.
“Indigestion is charged by God with enforcing morality on the stomach.” Victor Hugo
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The food we eat makes our body, the food we eat ruins our body. The food we eat has enormous power to act both ways. This is the reason what we need is Vivek, the right acumen about what we should eat.
Because if we don’t apply our acumen in what we eat, the food we eat will have the last laugh in eating our body bit by bit every day by giving an invitation to disease after disease. We would have no clue about this open gateway offered to these diseases by the food we eat.
“Our lives are not in the lap of the gods, but in the lap of our cooks.” Lin Yutang
The food you eat either nourish the body or eat the body to make it a diseased body. Next time when you eat your food, look at your dish and ask the question: Who is about to eat whom?
You may also like to read: New research on Food and Mental Health