Posts Tagged ‘Organic food’

With lifestyle diseases so rampant today, shouldn’t we turn our attention to clean and safe eating practices, asks Geeta Padmanabhan

(Hindu Article)

Watch carefully what you eat, said Anantha Sayanam, coordinator, Safe Food Alliance and founder-volunteer, Restore — a not-for-profit organic retail outlet. That’s “clean eating”, right? Call it “safe eating”, he corrected me. But “clean eating” is the current buzzword — routinely tagged to tweets, found in blogs, posted on Instagram and Facebook, and seen on television screens. Is it a diet? A trendy lifestyle? A passing fancy?

Clean food is a simple concept; it’s what eating was always about, said Dr. David Katz, Director, Yale University Prevention Research Centre. “Food that’s clean is food that’s for the most part real, not encumbered with things that compromise health: artificial flavourings, artificial colourings, sugar substitutes.”

Eat locally-grown, organic food, says clean eating pioneer, chef Ric Orlando in his book We Want Clean Food. This food doesn’t need long commutes, so is less cruel on the environment. Look for natural chicken, sustainable seafood, grass-fed cow’s milk. Fry food with non-genetically modified oils.

Ingredient awareness

Clean eating is also seen as ingredient awareness. It is the antidote to the argument that population is increasing, land for growing food is shrinking; therefore walk into labs to “create” food, or “augment” food that is average in nutrients. So you have cornflakes with calcium, biscuits with protein, beverages with vitamins A-Z, bread with probiotics. We get packaged food with a list of ingredients we have no clue about. Books such as Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, the documentary Food, Inc. and the wide coverage given to Michelle Obama’s healthy eating campaign (grow your own food, buy food at the local farmers’ markets) have tried to check this trend.

You can’t deny clean eating equals good health. Heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes have all been traced to what goes into what we eat. Ivy Larson, co-author of Clean Cuisine claims her multiple sclerosis symptoms were lessened when she went on a clean diet of whole foods and no packaged items. Start with one “clean” meal a day, she writes. Stock fruits and vegetables — even frozen ones — for a quick and safe meal. Buy food that has the shortest “ingredients” list.

Not a new thought

“Safe eating is a lifestyle, rather lifestyle correction,” is Ananthoo’s explanation. New age, non-communicable diseases are called lifestyle diseases (NCD). Safe eating is correcting one’s alienation and understanding of food and food habits. It is getting close to the production, processing and consumption of food. When you do that, you automatically set right your diet. Not a new thought at all, he points out. Full-length epic books were written about safe eating 3000 years ago. Ashtanga Hrudaya by Vaag Bhatt was one. Ayurveda has dincharyam, ritucharyam and diets for various ailments. Treatment and medication through food was tried by our civilisation long ago.

For forty-five minutes this self-health promoter shocked the audience at a Residents’ Association meet with details of what goes into the processed foods we buy, what is done to keep imported fruits fresh, how fruit/vegetable growers poison their produce to increase shelf life. “I once distributed magnifying glasses,” he said, “and asked the audience to read the ingredients list on packaged food. I try to bring a quick insight into food, diet habits and how industrialisation of food is spinning out of control.” Safe food is a win-win proposition, he said. “Your insistence on healthy nutritious food results in best production practices and better livelihoods for farmers.”

Eat traditional food, go organic, do what you can to consume safe food, was Anantha’s mantra to the crowd. High residues of toxic chemicals in fertilizers and pesticides are left over in the produce. More harm is added through additives, carcinogenic colours and un-named preservatives. “Both sugar and jaggery come from the same cane, but the process makes one harmful, the other safe.”

At the end of the meet, a complete meal of millet dishes — Saamai Kootanchoru, Thinai sweet (jaggery) pongal, Varagu sambar rice, Samai curd rice, Keerai masiyal and paanagam — was served by Nalla Keerai volunteers. Yummy!


– Buy pesticide-free organic food in your locality.

– Understand the ingredients; reject food with ingredients you don’t understand.

– Avoid pre-processed/canned/frozen foods.

– Avoid refined products such as maida, sugar, refined oils/rice.

– Consume whole grains. Always opt for plant-based, low-fat food.

– Opt for traditional varieties of rice, eat them unpolished.

– Include millets (foxtail, kodo, barnyard, ragi) for balanced nutrition.

– Avoid all soft drinks. Go for fresh fruit juices and tender coconut water instead.

– Most toothpastes have nicotine and even SLS — a proven carcinogen. Move to herbal tooth powders and non-foaming pastes.

– Imported food stuff has genetically modified ingredients. Watch out!


Though wildlife doesn’t get much attention.Pets do get attention.That too especially pets in foreign countries.Hold your breadth.Now you can’t get into any restaurant specifically in Belgravia, London.Reason being the opening of new dog restaurant.:)

Lily’s Kitchen is the coolest restaurant for dogs.Dogs get to eat for free, have their bellies rubbed and can even listen to a nice story. What more could they ask for?

                                       Lily’s Kitchen opened on Pimlico Road, in London’s upscale Belgravia neighborhood, and dog owners were quick to have their pooches test out the menu, for free. That’s right, your four-legged friends get to sit at one of the restaurant’s three tables and fill up their bellies with organic food served by a waiter, and you don’t have to pay for it. It sounds to good to be true, but this is just a clever way a dog food company has found to promote their line of organic foods.

During the six week period Lily’s Kitchen is open, dogs will get the chance to be the stars, for a change, while their owners relax or take care of their daily chores. The dogs are served their favorite dishes in paper bowls, by waiters who actually love serving canines, because they never complain about the food, check or stuff like that. After they’ve filled their stomachs, dogs have a wide range of pleasant activities to enjoy.

They can have their bellies rubbed, snooze on a comfy sofa, have their aches soothed by a holistic vet, or even enjoy a nice story, read to them by members of the restaurant staff.

While there are always those who complain this sort of things are just stupid, many London dog owners are already in love with Lily’s Kitchen. It offers them the chance to carry on with their daily activities, knowing their dear companion is well taken care of. So even though Lily’s Kitchen is just a temporary establishment, a permanent restaurant for dogs could be great idea.

                                We all have to start contributing from our end.The energy conservation by each citizen will lead to energy conservation of the whole country.

Electricity use: Besides, reducing your power bill, your usage will go a long way in cutting down the emissions that cause climate change.

Unplug electronic appliances: Even when electronic devices are turned off, they use energy. So remember to unplug these after use.Turn off lights and other electronic gadgets when not in use; don’t put them on standby mode.

Energy-efficient appliances: Go for energy-efficient electrical appliances. New refrigerators use 40 per cent less energy than models made just 10 years ago. Inefficient appliances waste energy, so buy new ones.Turn down your refrigerator setting; even a two-degree change results in significant energy savings.Use the fridge sparingly. Switch to clay pots to keep the water cool.

Shut your air-conditioner: When you go out of the house and turn it off. A tree or any plant that gives a shade to your air conditioner can improve its efficiency by up to 10 per cent. Clean or replace dirty air conditioner filters as recommended.Use fans, not the A.C. Cool your home with a terrace garden and external wall creepers, and you even enjoy fresh vegetables.

Computer: When you are not using it, you can shut off the screen. About 60 per cent of the power used from a computer is used by the display screen. Avoid printing whenever possible, read from your screen.

Lights: Use low energy consuming compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). A 15-watt CFL can supply as much light as a 100 watt incandescent bulb.

Disposing trash: Go for organic composting and recycling paper, bottles etc to cut down on gas emissions. When you recycle, less trash gets burned.  So there will be a drop in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Organic food: It is healthy and requires less energy to produce. Buy fresh food, frozen food uses 10 times more energy.Buy organic produce; remember manufacture of fertilizers spews greenhouse gases.

Cover vessels while cooking: this can help save energy. Use pressure cookers more frequently to save energy.

Go vegetarian: Being vegetarian can help save energy.

Eat local foods, rather than imported ones or un-seasonal ones, as their long transit and processing leave big carbon footprints.

Use the washing machine or dishwasher only when full: If you need to use it when it is half full, then use the half-load setting.Run washing machines with a full load — this saves water and electricity. Sun-dry clothes rather than spin-drying them.

Switch to green power

Choose clean energy generated by clean, renewable sources such as wind and solar wherever possible. Use human powered hcraging devices which save fuel.

Grow plants: Grow as many plants as possible. Make your environment green. Join groups that help in protecting forests and create awareness among people.

Use own reusable bags: Take a cloth/jute bag while going shopping; avoid plastic carry bags. Cut down plastic bags. Despite a ban on plastic bags, shopkeepers continue to give these bags.

Packing: Buy stuff which do not take much packaging as it can cut garbage by about 10 per cent.

Using cars Buy a fuel efficient car. Take a carpool when ever you can.

Tyres: Keep the car tyres adequately inflated. Check them monthly. Check your car’s air filter monthly. Under-inflated tyres hike fuel consumption by 5 per cent.

Switch off engine: Idling wastes money and fuel. Turn your engine off if you have wait for more than 30 seconds.

Driving speed: One of the best ways to save gas is to simply reduce your speed. As speed increases, fuel economy decreases. Fast driving in low gears can use up to 45 per cent more fuel. When traveling at highway speeds keep windows closed. Open windows reduce your mileage by 10 per cent. Sudden changes in speed wastes fuel.

Maintenance: Replace spark plugs regularly to avoid fuel wastage. Replace clogged air filters to improve gas mileage by as much as 10 per cent. A dirty air filter restricts the flow of air into the engine, which harms performance and economy.

Servicing: You must get the engine checked at regular intervals. A badly maintained engine can consume up to 50 per cent more fuel than a good engine.

Air Conditioner: Switch off the AC especially when the weather is good. Turn off the AC five minutes before you reach your destination and don’t keep it working until the last second.

Use public transport: Taking the bus, or the train, cut down on car travel.

Travel light: Don’t overload the car or keep unwanted things inside, the more heavy the car is, the more fuel it will consume.

How you can save energy at work:

Many offices leave air conditioners, computers and lights on all night. Wherever possible it should be kept off.

Buy energy-saving office appliances and equipment, like LCD monitors, printers and photocopiers. This will help save energy and money.

While commuting in the trains, switch off the lights and fans when not required.

For office meetings, try to avoid travel if you can talk on the phone or use videoconference. Air travel produces large amounts of emissions.

Don’t fly; airplanes leave massive carbon footprints.