For optimum health, it is not only necessary to eat healthy foods. As Akanksha Lal mentioned in her latest article, eating raw foods help enhance moods and curve cravings or excessive thoughts of desires. So, what else can we do to ensure we are eating right? Well, some of the tips I will explain to you may very well surprise you.
1- Fruits are only for breakfast.
In my article "Are Fruits Poisining Us?", I explained how we need to separate types of fruits to avoid excessive stomach secretions that can upset the delicate balance of what is being ingested and digested. Furthermore, we need to try to avoid eating fruits during the day as much as we can, especially the ones higher in acid - except for lemons and limes. These two have such a low amount of sugar that they can be paired with other foods with minimal impact to digestion. Otherwise, although fruits are great, it is better to leave them at the first meal of the day or, better yet, before eating breakfast, such as before showering.
2- Carbs are fattening only if....
... they are simple carbs. Complex carbs, which are the ones we find in their natural form, are healthy and much more calorie-wise than we think. The reason for that is that if our system has a hard time breaking them down, then we don't absorb most of the calories from grains such as wheat. You may be wondering what is the point of eating them if we don't digest them, but get this: we actually don't need to absorb much from them, anyways. The main purpose of most carbs, especially complex ones like grains, is to help pass food in our digestive tracks so that we can go to the bathroom more easily. They are the ones that help keep the tubing system clean! Therefore, when looking for a good fiber supplement, get one that is made of whole grains, such as flax seeds or natural psyllium (and don't forget that fiber itself is never digested). Your bottom will thank you. Otherwise, corn and potatoes make excellent vegetable carbs that the system also appreciates for the variety it brings to your diet, and the added nutritional boost that comes from the fact that they are vegetables.
3- If you are feeling excessively tired...
... you may need lemon juice on your high-iron foods. The idea of making a lemon tofu stir-fry is excellent. Or try any other form of high-iron veggies - such as spinach - with strawberries and kiwis. Make sure you drink guava or orange juice with your high-iron breakfast cereal. Check out my recipe for a yummy salad here.
4- Several vitamins need fat
There are quite a lot of vitamins, including vitamin E, A, D, K and beta carotene, that need a little help to be absorbed. To do so, a healthy fat, such as avocadoes, nuts, vegetable oil or flax seeds, can be all you need to ensure you get the most out of your vegetables and fruits. Although the idea of eating most types of fat is a little strange with fruits, try adding a bit of nuts to your fruit salads. As for veggies, cook them in vegetable oil, or make a salad with a balsamic or italian vinaigrette, add a spoonfull of flax seeds, or better yet, simply slice a quarter of an avocado to make it complete.
5- Vitamin D for calcium
The best way to ensure we are getting all our calcium needs is to complement it with Vitamin D. The best source is, of course, the sun, which through some process which I won't get into with you because I'm not a biologist, creates it in our skin and ensures we have it. So get lots of sun! For those of you living in a location where it rains a lot, such as London, England or Vancouver, Canada, may I suggestt sun-dried shiitake mushrooms? Other mushrooms work, especially button mushrooms, so now you have a good reason to always eat them! Don't forget to ensure that your soy milk has added vitamin D as well, as this is another excellent source.
6- Avoid coffee and tea when eating
Coffee and caffeine in general disrupts the absorption of much needed vitamins and minerals. It not only slows calcium absorption, it may also even make your body lose an extra amount. Women who are menopausal are especially at risk, but this is something that needs to be addressed at an early age as well. Make sure you consume your calcium without coffee, and try to have your coffee separately. If you consume a lot, find good sources of calcium to replace what is lost, or cut down on your caffeine intake in general. This includes, of course, any tea, several sodas (not just the dark ones - Mountian Dew is the highest soda in caffeine), chocolate, and so on.
7- Try to avoid supplements if you can
The reason for this is actually qute simple. If you take too many supplements of one kind, such as zinc, you may be interfering with the absorption of iron and calcium, and vice-versa. These three minerals use the same cellular receptor sites and if one takes up too many, the others will be lost. It is always best to try to get every mineral the natural way by combining foods that work well together. To ensure maximum zinc intake, combine it with protein, for example.
8- Avoid antacids
These little digestive aids actually limit the absorption iron, so if you feel like your meal gave you heartburn, reach for something that will calm it without the need of medication. My body reacts well to soy milk, which seems to always make the burn pass. Although as vegans we don't each much food that actually gives us heartburn, it may still happen at times - especially for those of us who get chocolate or french fry cravings - and the help of something natural is always better than chemical.
9- Eat raw foods
Most of you may have heard how eating raw foods are better for us because of the amount of vitamins and minerals that are lost during cooking. However, did you know that the most important one is enzymes? This little wonder is a vital part of the fruit or vegetable that dies with heat. We need it because it helps us digest our food. Now, our body contains enzymes and can create more, but with the help of raw fruits and vegetables, we are helping our stomachs by giving it what it needs externally. Since we are putting less stress on our bodies, we are requiring less work from it. Once cooked, though, all enzymes are dead and our bodies need to create them for our entire meal. This is a problem because we are taking up quite a lot of energy and time needed for our body to repair itself. Medical professionals go so far as to state that all illnesses and diseases are due to a lack of or imbalance of enzymes.
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