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Updated on December 6, 2015

A List of Foods to Eat, Limit or Avoid

A few years ago I was reading Swami Ram Charran's book, The Secret to Great Health. He wrote a two volume set in consultation with an Ayurvedic Medicine doctor. He pointed out that not all traditional Hindu vegetarian foods are healthy. Some of them will put on the pounds.

I have noticed that a number of people who profess to be vegetarians are seriously over weight. If you eat traditional Hindu foods every day, you might very well be over weight. You have to use judgment and common sense when it comes to eating some foods.

Of course everyone should exercise, so I will talk about this first. The best exercise, which is safe for all people, is walking. My chiropractor told me that if you walk a lot you will live long. When you walk you use every muscles in the body. Walk quickly when you do. Slowly won't do it. Running is not recommended for people with asthma and heart disease. You can also develop joint problems if you run excessively. The use of the gym is best for lifting weights and developing strength. Choose the exercise which you personally like to do, so you will do it consistently for a half hour each day. Don't over do it. You can develop muscle cramps and pulled muscles by doing so. My youngest brother is a physical education teacher and coach. He says many over do exercise. Better to start with small amounts then build up. Do five to ten minutes at first, then gradually add more each day. As the Gita says, "A yogi should not eat neither to little food nor too much food." Moderation and common sense are the key to eating right and having an exercise routine.

One thing you should avoid is pop because it is one of the worse drinks you can put in your body. It has ten ill-health effects and has been banned in a number of public schools because its health effects on the children. Why do Hindu mandirs serve pop when they should serve fruit juice instead is something we all should question and bring up to the executive boards. I refuse to drink it and make a point to talk about its ill-health effects. Unfortunately, many people won't believe you until one of their loved ones has problems with it.

Ice cream and cheese can be eaten occasionally as a treat, but not on a daily basis. Ice cream is a problem because of the sugar content. Refined sugar is what puts on the pounds, so you want to limit it. Cheese has a lot of fat. The only cheese which has beneficial ingredients is feta cheese because it has beneficial bacteria which aids in the digestion process.

Almost all processed food has refined sugar or corn fructose which have been linked to heart disease and obesity. Avoid all these kinds of foods.

White rice and potatoes are simple starches and are not as healthy as brown rice and sweet potatoes to eat on a daily basis. In Japan there is an island called Okinawa, which is the largest Ryukyu island. There are over 500 people who are over 100 years old on this island. Their secret is eating sweet potatoes and walking every day. The sweet potatoes have a lot of anti-oxidants in them and a lot of Vitamin A and C. Brown rice, like sweet potatoes, is a complex carbohydrate which keeps your blood sugar steady and on an even level. White rice and potatoes are simple carbs which can put the pounds on. This is why whole wheat is better than white four. The whole grain is also a better form of fiber and also aids the digestion process.

Some people are gluten sensitive and can put on the weight if they consume it every day. Many people have gluten intolerance and they can get headaches and stomach aches from consuming it on a daily basis. Quinoa, rice, soy, buckwheat, besan (chick peas), corn, lentils and teff can be consumed by many gluten sensitive people. Best to consume corn, soy and rice which are GMO free. The food coops label their gluten free and GMO free foods better than grocery stores do. Some individuals can handle oats, spelt and kamut. It depends upon your own body chemistry.

Alternative beverages are: organic coffee, tea, milk, soy milk, coconut water, fructose free juices, water, smoothies, rice milk, quinoa milk, almond milk, coconut milk, mineral water and fruit seltzers. Avoid beverages with chemical additives.

I use bananas and yams as natural sweetening agents in baked goods and puddings. Tapoica is a vegetarian alternative to jello. You can buy the instant form which is very easy to cook up and tastes just as good as the full form.

What are the most nutrient dense foods and the best foods to eat? Flax seeds, almonds, kale, lentils, avocados, quinoa, beets, sweet potatoes, blueberries, garlic and mushrooms are the most nutrient dense foods. Eat a lot of these foods according to what your body can tolerate.

Avoid very spicy foods before bedtime. Chilies can be a problem for those with Vata and Pitta doshas. They stimulate those kinds of individuals too much. These people should limit their consumption of chilies. Moderation is the key when using spices and herbs. Its is good to taste all the spices in a dish, not just the chili peppers. Those with acid reflex should avoid or limit the consumption of very spicy foods. Burning people's tongues with hot spices is not food cooking. Knowing how to use spices in a balanced way is a sign of a good cook. Use moderation and common sense when you spice your foods.

Be aware of your sensitivities and allergies. Not everyone can eat all foods. You can gain weight if you consume foods you are sensitive to if you are consuming them daily. Better not to eat foods that do not agree with your digestive system. Go to a practitioner to help you figure out your food intolerance and allergy concerns. Everyone is biochemically unique and what one person can handle another person may have to avoid entirely.

Ayurveda is a great medical system. Dr. Deepak Chopra's book, Perfect Health is a great guide to read along with Swami Ram's volumes. Not all vegetarian foods are good for you. Be informed and healthy.




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