Ten Commandments of Eating
This is a follow-up article to the article titled “Healing Healthcare”. I’ve attempted to break down my explanation into four sections.
- Healthy Diet
- Proper Rest
This article deals with the first part of the "Healthy Diet" section.
Those who respect themselves will not abuse themselves. Imagine if you were to be walking down a street and you see a man slap his wife. She cries out for help. Most, if not all of us, would come to her aide and tell the man to stop. Some of us might take it much further. Imagine now if he says “She is my property. I’ll do what I want with her”. It’s enough to make some of us lose it. I’m using an extreme example to illustrate a point. I’d like to turn the attention now to those of us who abuse our own bodies. When I see people doing that, it genuinely upsets me. It’s all I can do to hold myself from saying something – hence this article.
Society has trained all of us to react to the first example of abuse I illustrated above with outrage but virtually every one of us is abusing our bodies, much of which is programmed by social norms. Often I get responses like “It’s my body, I’ll do what I want” or “It’s how I was raised” or “Ah, it’s not a big deal” or “We all have to die sometime”. Yea we do but what’s your rush? These quips are not coming from a place of sanctity or spirituality. It is generated by money-hungry greedy corporate marketing agencies who’ve supplanted our media with self-destructive language. They glorify bad habits and mock good ones. People are getting sicker and sicker and this is no joke. Our bodies are designed to resist diseases, rebuild and adapt. It is the most amazing feat of engineering in existence. We are compromising the built-in security protocols of our bodies and our “doctors” are not sufficiently warning us against these harms. There is a clear conflict of interest that should not be overlooked. It’s a lot easier and more profitable for them to prescribe you a pill from big pharma than to help you to adjust your lifestyle, making better choices.
Planning each part and step of caring for your health might take some time and effort but the payoff is most definitely worth it. Good health gives you more time in this life to enjoy the finer things whereas an unhealthy body will suck the time and joy out of life. Planning and understanding with careful study and consideration are therefore of utmost importance.
The good news is that this is relatively easy. Just follow the advice in this article to help you live a better life.
1. Eat Only When You’re Hungry
Hunger is designed to not only motivate us to find means to nourish our bodies but the process is also designed to prepare our bodies for that nourishment. If you never let your body get hungry, the significant benefit of that preparation is missed. Some hunger is a good thing. Don’t be afraid of it. Your taste buds are more enhanced and food just tastes better!
That said, beware of gorging yourself when breaking your fast. Eating too fast robs you of the benefit of chewing which is the next commandment.
2. Digestion Begins In The Mouth: Chew Each Bite 32 Times
Now, I realize that this step might seem a bit excessive and daunting, especially at first so this is something which should be strived for rather than a hard and fast rule. My father’s advice was “Chew your food once for every tooth you have in your mouth which would account for the 32 times”.
The type of food you’re eating might also affect this number. Let’s consider that you’re eating a crunchy carrot full of hearty plant mass. Due to the cellular walls of plant-based food being double, it is harder to digest for our bodies but when you chew it thoroughly, it becomes significantly easier for the body to digest and absorb the nutrition. Chewing not only breaks down the food but also releases and mixes with saliva which further aids in the digestive process. Chewing hearty fruits or vegetables thoroughly is the best way to help our bodies extract the most value. However, what if you’re eating soup or cooked food? That might not require as much chewing since it’s already kind of broken down. While that is true for the most part, do consider the effect of improperly chewed food on the stomach and the intestines.
In summary, chew your food well. Prefer chewing over other forms (grinding, juicing, etc.) because drinking liquefied solids doesn’t mix enough with the saliva. There is a reason why solids are solids and why our bodies are designed to grind the food in our mouth, utilizing our jaw muscles, teeth and salivary glands. It is not only good for all the parts involved, it is essential.
3. Two Out Of The Three Meals Of The Day Must Be Raw Food
We’ve all heard the oft-repeated line “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. I agree. It is the most important but that doesn’t mean you need to stuff yourself with fats, sugars and caffeine, putting a huge load on your sensitive digestive system, not to mention all the other systems in your body.
There are two ways to go with breakfast. One is for people who don’t have much time and the other is for people who want to get the best value from their food.
For the latter, I recommend a hearty salad like the one demonstrated by my 10-year-old son in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uirGTpq0Lo
My typical breakfast is this:
Can you identify the ingredients? There is no salt, oil, lemon or any flavor added. Developing a tongue that can appreciate the healthiest food is very achievable; I used to hate salad.
If you stick strictly to this method of making salad, it will load you with ample vitamins and keep you satiated for at least 3 to 4 hours. It will take some level of patience to chew each bite thoroughly, taking at least 15 to 20 minutes to finish your meal. If you find that process a bit boring, consider watching a video or a peaceful outdoor scenery to distract yourself while you take your time chewing. We often do that with popcorn or chewing gum. If you want to take this time to tick off another box in your health regimen, by doing some slow and deep breathing, you can also de-stress.
*Remember, iceberg lettuce is not salad; it’s barely food. Just say “NO” to iceberg lettuce.
While on that topic, do not add nuts, sugar, cooked food (of any kind) or store-bought dressing to this salad. The video includes a simple vinaigrette dressing but the less you put even of that the better. Keep to this routine and you can learn how to enjoy raw foods within a week.
For lunch, plan to eat as much of one type of fruit as possible. If you like bananas, eat as many as you want but don’t mix it with apples, grapes or any other fruit for that meal. The next time you have fruits, have another type if you like. Fruits are more acidic and vegetables are more alkaline.
There is a hormone in your body called Leptin which regulates your food intake. Eating fruits and veggies in their raw form naturally stimulates the production of leptin and you won’t have to calorie count. Eat as much as you can.
Now, just because the third meal can be cooked doesn’t mean you should eat deep-fried, sugary or pre-packaged foods filled with preservatives. The best recommendation is to have a vegetarian meal but for those who are too accustomed to meat, moderation is key. The essential amino acids available in meat can be derived with just 2 meals of meat per week. There are thousands of delicious vegetarian recipes. Being from India is a big advantage for those who wish to pursue a veg lifestyle. It is not necessary to eat meat daily; in fact, it can have a harmful effect, especially if the amount of activity doesn’t justify the intake. There are thousands of amazing recipes; I plan on writing a recipe book, hopefully soon.
This is for those who are way too rushed in the morning; just grab a fruit or two and spend the rest of your time preparing your lunch salad. As mentioned in the point above, make it a hearty salad with lots of nutrition and not lettuce which is devoid of value.
Basically, you’d be switching the breakfast and lunch routines mentioned above.
4. Do Not Drink Water Half An Hour Before Or After The Meal
Drinking water during meals will dilute the stomach acids and slow down the process of digestion, leading to bloating and sometimes poor absorption.
Drink plenty of water between meals to properly hydrate yourself. I’m not from the drink at least 8 cups a day camp but I also don’t think there is any harm in doing that.
When you do drink water, drink in small sips and do not chug it down forcefully.
5. Eliminate Processed Sugar and Preservatives From Your Diet
Snacks are easily the biggest killers along with desserts. A snack of nuts or dried fruits is best but either right before or along with the 3rd meal. If you have the habit of snacking throughout the day, keep some fresh veggies or fruit handy.
Avoid sugary foods (and sugar substitutes) at all costs. There is really no place in a healthy diet for processed sugar, Nutrasweet, High Fructose, etc. If you need to indulge once in a while, make it a monthly or semi-monthly event. Your body can handle that amount of interference.
If you have a sweet tooth, develop a love for sweet fruits. There are so many of them. Bananas, mango, apple, cantaloupe, watermelon, honeydew, orange…the list goes on. Sure, buying them, getting them to their optimum ripening, peeling, cutting, de-seeding, etc. is a lot of extra work but the rewards are enormous. Think about the fact that you are drastically reducing the chances of major diseases by changing your habits towards healthy choices.
It was NOT the norm a hundred years ago to eat as much sugar (or high fructose) as we do today. Dr. Robert Lustig, Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco, where he specializes in neuroendocrinology, says that in the early part of the 1900s, the average consumption of sugar was 25 grams per day per person. Today it’s risen to 125 grams per person. A five-fold increase! Is that not enough to set off alarm bells in your mind? Eating more sugar does not make a better quality of life. On the contrary, it is a cheap way of making one believe it does. This reminds me of the “Victory gin” and “Victory cigarettes” from the dystopian book “1984”. It’s cheap to consume but in terms of health, cost-prohibitive. The fact is that we’ve been lulled into this level of comfort with bad habits, progressively, or to put it better, regressively, over time.
It’s high time we started to take control of the situation and take responsibility for our own condition. The powers at be would have us focus our attention on genes and germs while neglecting the actual cause – lifestyle choices. As Dr. Barbara ONeill puts it, “Genes may load the gun but it’s the lifestyle choices which pull the trigger”. Don’t become despondent that these chronic conditions “run in the family”. If your lifestyle choices are healthy, there is little to NO chance of you falling victim to the disease; chronic or not. In fact, there are cases of patients with these so-called chronic diseases who make a complete turnaround through lifestyle changes.
6. Try to Reduce Animal Protein as Much as Possible
There are 9 essential amino acids, out of 22, which your body does not produce and therefore, need to come from outside your body. The word “essential” basically means that your body doesn’t produce it. It doesn’t mean “necessary” or that it is made only in animals.
“Although plants tend to have less protein per weight than animal sources such as eggs or milk, they are nevertheless “complete” in that, as a whole, they contain all of the amino acids essential in human nutrition. The same is true for algae and marine phytoplankton. Eating various plant foods in combination can provide a protein of higher biological value. Certain native combinations of foods, such as corn and beans, soybeans and rice, or red beans and rice, contain the essential amino acids necessary for humans in adequate amounts.”
It is “essential” that you have a good grasp of the facts and not fall victim to the “You need more meat” crowd. It’s simply not true. However, if you are accustomed to a point of addiction, make it once or twice a week for dinner. That way your cravings are satiated and you have something to look forward to.
Try to avoid milk, cheese, meat, etc. from your daily diet.
7. Replace Table Salt with Pink Himalayan Salt
Aside from the fact that the original 84 constituent minerals and trace metals are still contained in the Himalayan salt, the fact that the process doesn’t require nor use anti-caking agents such as sodium aluminosilicate, makes it the healthier choice.
That said, do keep an eye on the amount of salt you intake. Excess sodium can be harmful to your health.
8. Include Good Fats
Include healthy fats into your diet such as avocado, flaxseed, coconut oil, sesame seed oil and extra virgin olive oil.
Do not heat or cook coconut or olive oil. A good strategy is to use a very small quantity, barely required for sautéing and then add the raw unheated and uncooked oil after the meal is cooked.
On salads, add the oil without heating. Be sure to include different types of these recommended fats on different days.
Please watch this video for an in-depth explanation on fats: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAt524MKauI
9. Get Fresh Air and Plenty of Sunlight
The cholesterol under your skin is converted to vitamin D with the aid of sunlight. It is essential to get at least 15 minutes of sunlight. That said, we do not condone over-exposure to sunlight, for example, in order to get tanned. For those sensitive to the sun, the early morning sun and the evening sun before sunset are gentle enough to not have adverse effects.
If you live in a cold climate and it’s too cold outside, try to get the sunlight through the window. Studies show that those with a higher level of melanin, as in darker skin, can’t only tolerate more sunlight but also need more sunlight. Those with less melanin or lighter skin can get away with less sunlight.
Fresh and good quality air is essential for good health. Every cell in your body utilizes oxygen. Stay away from toxins and pollutants.
Yogurt, pickles and other natural sources of probiotics can help replenish your GI tract with healthy flora and fauna which is ESSENTIAL for optimum digestion. Please be sure to get only the plain yogurt without any flavors or fruit. The plain yogurt goes great with just about any rice dish. As for pickles, take a big glass bottle or jar, slice in radish, turnip, cabbage and carrots. Add salt, lemon, vinegar and water all the way up to the top. *Note: Experiment with the combination of the water, vinegar, salt and lemon in a small bowl first to get the taste right. Don’t experiment in the bottle. Let it ferment for a few days and you’ll have a delicious veggie pickle to enjoy in small quantities.
10. Stay Away from Pills
All the minerals, vitamins, and trace metals which you need are abundantly available in natural sources. In their natural forms, they are more affordable and are perfectly balanced, causing no side effects. Be sure to incorporate a diversity of foods into your diet and you can fortify your body with what it needs.
My great grandfather’s efforts to bring this knowledge to the common man/woman were so that it can be available to everyone. He wrote his book Practical Nature Cure (published in 1933) with this intent. You should not have to go to a pharmacy and spend a ton of money to pick up pre-packaged pills, whether they be supplements or not.
My father Dr. Arun Sharma says
“There used to be a stone age, a bronze age, and an iron age. Now we live in a pill-age in which the medical system is pillaging our health and wealth”.