This is the second post in a series entitled "Living Health." Each week we're going to bring you some tips that we've gathered over the years on how to stay healthy naturally. For many years, our family has followed a few guidelines that have kept us away from MDs and allopathic medicines (aka drugs). People often ask us how we could go 20 years without ever going to the doctor for some disease or the other (the last time I went was for a physical to be on the swim team in high school). This blog series is our chance to share that with you.
During high school, when I really began to start thinking about my health and how it was connected to my diet, one of the first steps I took was to replace all the refined, processed starches in my diet with whole grains. To put it simply, I stopped eating white flour (think Wonder Bread) and white rice and started eating 100% whole wheat bread and brown rice. Both white flour and white rice are completely devoid of the nutritional value they once had as whole grains. White flour is especially bad, because of the way its processed industrially. If you take a look at the ingredient list of the standard white bread, you'll often find the ingredient enriched wheat flour. Enrichment is a process which mechanically and chemically re-adds the nutrients lost when flour is industrially crushed down into a super fine powder. In the end, what you get from this process is basically a sugary glue, ready to block up every passage way it comes into contact with (it makes you CONSTIPATED!).
So instead of eating these nutritionally dead foods, we recommend you stick with the following:
Whole wheat flour naturally contains all the nutrition that is chemically added back into enriched flour, plus has loads of fiber to help you keep flowing. If you want to go totally natural, look for spelt or kamut flour, which are basically old strains of wheat. They contain less gluten and more nutrition than modern wheat varieties, and are much easier to digest.
Whole rice is white rice that still has its jacket on. Naturally, all rice is whole rice. Heavy processing takes that jacket off removing all the nutrition and fiber. Whole rice comes in many colors, most commonly brown, but also red, purple, black, and green. Each of these rices have different nutritive qualities that cause the color variation. Each of these whole rices have a unique flavor, usually very nutty. Try brown jasmine rice with Asian food, brown basmati rice with Indian food, and black sticky rice with dessert. Flavor and health (no constipation is a plus, too).
So that's it for this week. Pretty simple advice to follow: eat whole, keep flowing.
Rishi Kumar is the founder of The Growing Home and Learning Center. He has spent the last seven years researching the topics of health and sustainability, and is now working to share his knowledge with his community.