11 Types of Foods to Avoid and Their Positive Replacements

Much of the foods cleverly packaged, branded, advertised and widely distributed in supermarkets can actually cause us tremendous harm. Even though we might see many people around us purchasing and consuming these everyday we should not assume that it is alright for us to follow suit. Most importantly, even though they may not always pose an immediate risk, over a period of time human society has, due to consumption of packaged products, been affected by ills of cancer, heart disease, high blood sugar, obesity, autism, mental and emotional illnesses, violence, dullness and stress. We have also brought a severe strain on our eco-system and threatened the life and wellbeing of other species with all the excess packaging and plastics that these foods lead to. Here are  positive or ‘sattvic’ alternatives that are healthier for everyone including earth, to replace the common negative or ‘tamasic’ diet options that have been popular all around.

  1. Canned foods and Ready Meals: cans-3225861_960_720Tinned beans, canned tomatoes, spinach, and all kinds of pre-cut, pre-cooked and packed meals that you can open and eat right out of the box or cans are regarded as ‘Tamasic’ or low-vibrational, toxic meals that can bring our spiritual energy and wellbeing down.  Storing pre-cooked meals in the refrigerator overnight and for long hours, or on supermarkets shelves is also a cause for loss of ‘sattvic’ qualities in our foods.  A much more ‘sattvic’ or positive vibrational alternative is to consume only fresh and whole foods that are cooked at home and eaten immediately after cooking.baked-potatoes-2157201_960_720
  2. Bottled Juices and Smoothies: juice-1013227_960_720.jpgAlthough they are widely marketed as healthy and ethical foods, juicing of fruits and bottling them for distribution and sale can cause a loss of positive vibrations making these products ‘tamasic’ and stale. The energetic value of fruits is best when eaten whole and especially when they are organically farmed without pesticides and chemical products. Fresh fruits are also readily available and require no processing making them ideal for busy people who do not wish to spend time cooking and juicing.fruit-2367029_960_720
  3. Fizzy Drinks and Diet Colas: supermarket-1229744_960_720Although we might reach out for fizzy drinks for quenching our thirst on a hot day, the truth is they have absolutely no nutritional benefits and provide an artificial feeling of cooling while artificial sweeteners such as saccharine and aspartame in diet colas are linked with cancer. The best alternative to thirst quenchers is a glass of clean water that you can easily have at home or work, and carry your own bottle while on the go.water
  4. White Breads and Refined Flour Pastas: white-bread-3279815_960_720Having a crisp toast or sandwich made with fluffy bread for breakfast, packaged biscuits or cakes for tea and shapely white pastas for dinner may not be as healthy for us as we thought. Due to refined flour, preservatives and additives used for most of these products, they are likely to impair our digestive systems if we consume them regularly. A much healthier alternative is to use traditionally milled whole-grain flour that contains the husk and fibres within and to prepare oven-fresh brown breads, biscuits, home-cut and dried pastas, home baked pizzas and easy to cook brown ‘rotis’ (flatbreads) within minutes at home without any unhealthy additives that packaged breads would normally contain. bread-1192236_960_720
  5. Crisps and Cheesy Snacks: snacksReaching out for the easily available bag of crisps or nibbles is so very convenient when we feel a sudden hunger pang, even though we know it is not actually healthy for us. The artificial processing in factories, added salt, cheese powder and MSGs make these products ‘tamasic’ for us. Children fed on such foods on a regular basis are normally found to face more illnesses and developmental delays too. Instead of substituting these with alternative packaged foods, try wholesome and nutritive vegetables and fruits such as cucumber and banana which require no preparation and can be consumed on the go by children and adults alike.cucumber
  6. Snack bars and Granola: snackbarsNutty and cereal bars packed with sugars, sweeteners and chocolate as well as preservatives might be marketed as great health-foods but they are obviously not so. When we need to carry a nutty snack to work or play, we can easily pack some whole organic nuts in a bag and carry them with us to supply all the protein and fibre that we need, minus added sugar, sweeteners or preservatives.nuts.png
  7. Packaged Cereals and Cornflakes: Morning-GloryA box of cornflakes or muesli or some of the colourful or sugary cereals that we quickly pour out for our children and for ourselves each morning may not be the brightest way to begin our day.  Due to the packaged nature of these products we end up eating sulphites and preservatives as well as excess sugar that can be easily avoided by consuming homemade cereal such as boiled oats, broken wheat with whole fruits and nuts, or toast some oats and nuts in our own oven and prepare our own crunchy muesli within minutes. oats
  8. Ice-creams, Sweets and packed Desserts: ice-cream-2198135_960_720.jpgCool softies and tubs of ice-creams, colourful sweets and lollies have been heavily marketed to children all over the media and through the tempting sounds of ‘ice-cream vans’ that haunt every school building each day of summer. We all know that these sweets and frozen desserts are completely devoid of any nutritional value and contain mostly fluff, artificial colours and sugar. Avoid all the sweet junk by focusing on fresh, whole, organic fruits such as creamy avocados and juicy oranges that can be easily carried over to every playground whether school and home and give yourself and your children a healthier life. avocado-1276875_960_720
  9. Frozen Vegetables: Iceland-Groceries-Frozen-Vegetables-1024x768Some people think that frozen vegetables contribute to the ‘pre-day’ requirements for a healthy vegan life. However frozen goods are just as ‘tamasic’ or negative in energy as canned or processed foods. Instead, purchase organic fresh vegetables from your local organic farmers who can either home-deliver or sell fresh seasonal produce at the farmers markets regularly, or reach out for the ‘organic fresh vegetable’ shelf when you go shopping everyday.market-3336244_960_720
  10. Meats and Poultry: pigs-520896_960_720Chicken, beef, mutton, fish, ham, eggs and virtually all dead meats are ‘tamasic’ in nature as their spiritual energy is dark as well as painful due to the way all animals are treated and killed for the purpose of consumption. Consuming fresh vegetables and fruits that do not kill the plant is much more natural and ethical, while being full of health benefits of ‘sattvic’ nature. fruit-basket-396622_960_720
  11. Dairy and Cheese: Flickr-factory-farm-ArdarveJust as meats and eggs can distress and kill animals, so does the dairy industry too. Instead of substituting your diet with vegan cheeses and packaged vegan milks which have been processed in factories and thereby ‘tamasic’, we can ideally eliminate our dependence on dairy and cheese altogether by training our mind to enjoy whole fruits and vegetables with water as the best ‘sattvic’ choice.food

 

Debunking Nine Common Myths about Vegetarianism

We have all heard strong arguments, not just from others but from ourselves in the past when we were thoroughly defensive of non-vegetarianism. We justified meat eating primarily because of old beliefs and habits carried through generations. Thankfully the right awareness can be spread for the benefit of all concerned so that we can be on a path which is peaceful while not falling for the same old traps again. Here is how:

MYTH 1: Vegetarians Kill Plants

It is true that plants have life like animals do and there is no saying that plant life is less valuable than animal life. The fact is that plants do not usually die when you consume their parts. The plant does not even die when you pick its fruits. Their life energy is still intact and not lost making fresh fruits a ‘sattvic’ or positive diet. In contrast eating an animal involves killing them. By taking away their life prematurely we were consuming dead or ‘tamasic’ energy. In contrast plants retain fresh life energy regardless of your harvesting them. In-fact there are perennials that keep growing and providing harvest year after year and annuals would have dried off anyways at the end of the season even if you did not consume them, though many of them reseed and grow again. zucchini-572542_960_720

MYTH 2: Plants Do Not Want to Be Eaten 

Plants automatically shed their ripe fruits without any struggle when the fruits are ready. These fruits, including most vegetables are meant to be consumed so that the left-over seeds can be spread around or replanted. Even if you consume some of their leaves and seeds, as compared to animals, plants can regenerate and heal. To avoid overcrowding and to help them grow better they require thinning out, spreading, harvesting and trimming. In-fact they grow better and healthier through right gardening. We can understand the needs of plants, knowing what sort of care they want and refrain from harvesting them too early. When the time is ripe they will be happy to be picked. aubergine

MYTH 3: Plants Hurt Like Animals When We Cut Them

Plants are so calm and silent from within and outside, that their thinking and therefore suffering is negligible as compared to animals. In strike contrast animals feel tremendous pain and suffering. Spend some time out in the garden trimming leaves and picking fruits. Then spend the same amount of time in a slaughterhouse. Feel the difference? Because meat eaters purchased meat over the counter they do not see the pain and forget the part they are playing in taking innocent lives. Yes, plants do have sensations. They can sense light and grow towards it. They can sense approaching pests and protect themselves. It is said they grow better when we sing to them, so they must hear us too. Some can respond to touch. But please do not imagine that they suffer like animals when being cut. fields

MYTH 4: Humans Were Designed to be Meat Eaters

Humans are most similar to the genus Pan consisting species of primates such as Bonobos and Chimpanzees that are primarily fruit eaters. Our teeth, our digestive system and our mind are well tailored for a plant based diet. Even if we once were omnivores and hunter-gatherers in ancient times for reasons of non-availability of adequate plant foods in certain regions of the world, today we have evolved highly. Today we can grow and trade varieties of plant food in almost all countries regardless of climate and weather. We are the only specie to have maximum choices in every aspect of life, unlike other animals who work with their natural limitations. We can now choose to eat plants and be less harmful to other species.bonobo-810549_960_720.jpg

MYTH 5: We Need Animal Foods for Our Health and Nutrition

Plant foods with minimal fortification provide all of the dietary nutrients we need, minus the disease causing properties of animal based food. Most allergies, ailments and cancers can be prevented with herbs and raw vegetables. Plants provide us fibers that help us eliminate toxins and keep our gut clean. Plant vitamins are essential for protecting ourselves from harmful germs while minerals help in our nourishment. They are also rich in proteins and calcium. Through higher spiritual awareness we can also learn to live without too much food and to be healthy from within. There is an inner power that creates everything in the world which meditation connects us with and our body receives energy directly from the inner spirit in increasingly higher proportions with spiritual growth.

veganplate2

MYTH 6: Carnivorous Diet is Part of Ecological Balance, So Why Not Be Meat Eaters

It is true that Lions, Sharks and many species consume meat and nature designed them to be this way in order to keep earth in balance, just like herbivores kept plants from growing too thick. These species were not given a choice. Yet as Human beings we have been given choices and free-will by nature herself. Nature has allowed us to decide and choose whatever is least harmful for all concerned. The human mind is far more flexible and capable of directing our own evolution further into time. Unlike other animals, humans have a chance of approaching towards the spiritual goal of Moksha or liberation from cycles of karma. This can be achieved by learning to be as detached and harmless as possible. foodweb

MYTH 7: It Is Impossible to Never Harm, So Why not Eat Animals

Yes we may be unknowingly harming many small or invisible microbes and insects in our day to day life. This does not mean that it is alright to kill animals for food just because you have been killing various lifeforms inadvertently. When it is plain and obvious that they are being tremendously harmed for the sake of food, you can be kind and considerate enough to avoid eating them, thereby discouraging this age old yet unnecessary practice. Animals clearly feel emotion and have their own families. Killing animals for entertainment, religious sacrifice, medical testing, fashion or any other reason can be equally cruel just like killing them for food when it is very easily avoidable. chicks-1572370_960_720

MYTH 8: Organic Plants Are Expensive and Unavailable

It was animal based and artificially processed foods that were a reason for increase in health problems and associated costs. It is also well known that animal farming so far led to increase in carbon emissions, stressed our resources and hurt our planet. Cultivating plants is far less expensive and less polluting than raising animals for dairy or meat. For the sake of a healthier and prosperous planet we definitely need to go organic and vegan. While it is true that pesticide and chemical laden plants can be harmful for health, organic plants are not as expensive and hard to obtain as once thought. When their demand rises organic farming will become more widespread and affordable too. Most importantly think of all the medical costs savings and better economic productivity when with reduced animal farming and increased organic plant farming. animal-farms

MYTH 9: Meat Eating is Part of Being Natural 

Being natural and returning to our roots is not about going backwards to mid-way in evolution when we were cavemen or hunters. Being natural is about being in touch with our inner self or true nature as a spirit being which is our original self. When we meditate, we stop complicating our minds with all the consumerism inducing messages given through the centuries of false conditioning and artificial stress. We consumed a variety of harmful snacks, fast-food, meat based and processed products because we were busy in our outer or material world without being mindfully and peacefully present in the moment. To be in alignment with our inner nature helps us do what is truly right and meant for us. Our body, mind and spirit respond with well-being as a result. animals.jpg

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swatiprakash  Swati Prakash is a spiritual author and can be followed on www.amazon.com/author/swatiprakash

How to Move Upwards In the Spiritual Food Pyramid

foodpyramid.jpg

As our awareness levels rise all over the globe, we see that people are regaining interest in healthy and spiritually positive lifestyle, especially food and diet. Not all foods are at the same spiritual level. We need to incorporate in our lifestyle more spiritually positive foods in order to have a healthy and positive life. To understand this better we can divide our food choices into three categories. Satvic, Rajasic and Tamasic.

Satvic is the most positive type of energy where it does the maximum good and is free of harm. Rajasic is a lower level of energy where there is power but not harmless. Tamasic is the energy of death, decay and negativity. In the times of Kaliyuga or negative age of the world, we saw a proliferation of negative diet. Food became laden with harmful chemicals, GMOs and pesticides, while non-vegetarian and processed food industries prospered leading to ill health, dangerous diseases and higher medical costs.

Level 1: As you can see in the above pyramid, at the lowest spiritual level are foods that harm us the most. Animal products carry energy of death and pain. They are most unsuitable for the human body as they cannot be consumed by us in their raw and live state and require killing and cooking. Similarly non-organic vegetables that are treated with pesticides carry death energy and are unsuitable for our consumption. These foods will have the maximum Tamasic energy and are best avoided. They also increase dependency on medical drugs and increase cravings and addictions on smoking, narcotics or alcohol. Not only do Tamasic foods erode health, they can also bring negative karmic effects by way of unhappy life situations as they involve harming others and self.

Level 2: The next level we have foods that are processed in factories, tinned, canned or frozen foods that carry stale energy. Fast foods, candies, foods with added sugars, artificial preservatives and chemical flavors are also in this category. These foods lack nutritional value although they are high in calories. As these are not fresh, natural and wholesome, they also have a Tamasic vibrations and can lead to ill health and suffering and also make one sluggish and dull both physically and mentally. Negative news and violent images are also part of Tamasic diet and brings the spiritual quality of our life down.

Level 3: The next level is of foods that are cooked with spicy flavors and fat. Even if we cook such foods at home and even if they are vegetarian they would at best be Rajasic foods. Caffeine rich beverages also come in this category. Though such foods provide vitality, energy and nutrition, because they are acidic and hot they can harm our health leading to digestive complaints and lifestyle related diseases. Rajasic foods although stimulating and invigorating, can also increase anger, desire, lust and stress while reducing relaxation, contentment and peace of mind. Not only Rajasic foods but useless gossip and mindless entertainment also are part of Rajasic diet as they increase unhealthy cravings.

Level 4: At a somewhat higher level are wholesome meals that provide a balanced diet consisting of carbohydrates, fats as well as vegetables. Cooked meals even if homemade and vegan, reduce the natural raw energy of nature and therefore have limited healing vibrations. Yet they are a lot better than Tamasic and Rajasic foods, being slightly more Satvic in their energy value. Vegetables retain life energy when freshly harvested as the entire living being is not killed and merely their fruits and regenerative parts are taken. Cooked vegetarian meals can be a part of a spiritually positive lifestyle as long as you avoid overeating. Positive news, useful information, constructive hobbies and spiritual knowledge are also a part of Satvic diet and so is learning and spending time with spiritually positive people (Satsang).

Level 5: At the higher level of the spiritual pyramid we have organic, vegan and raw diet comprising fresh fruits, herbs, nuts and vegetables that are not treated with any chemicals or pesticides. These Satvic foods provide the maximum calming and soothing effect and are great healers when they are consumed in their naturally ripened state without much cooking. They are packed with healthy vitamins, enriching minerals and moderate amounts of good fat, protein, carbohydrates and natural sugars. Increasing the percentage of such foods in our diet ensures good longevity, fit body and sharper mind. They are also great for cleansing and purification as large amounts of toxins and in some cases even tumors and stones can be cleansed away through raw organic plants and natural juices. As far as arguments regarding need for animal fats and animal proteins the human body can produce them within while Vitamin B12 can be produced naturally by healthy bacteria in our gut. A raw vegan diet can fulfill most of our nutritional needs very well and is spiritually the most positive diet. Meditation and self-realization also is a supremely positive activity and therefore part of a Satvic diet.

Level 6: While animals including humans consume secondary sources of energy such as other animals and vegetables, plants process the elemental energies directly in the form of water, sunlight, air and minerals from earth. These four elements of the physical world can create all manner of life on earth through their interplay. Almost all humans require secondary foods and are unable to process the primary energy of the elements directly except while fasting on a diet primarily composed of water, minerals and vitamins for a limited period of time for the purpose of detoxification and cleansing. Living in a positive natural environment where you receive clean air, clean fresh water and sunshine everyday is necessary for spiritual growth. Combined with meditation and eco-friendly, mindful living it will bring tremendous benefit in every aspect of life.

Level 7: The fifth element beyond earth, fire, air and water is the Spirit element which is the pure energy that creates all the lower four elements. This is the primordial energy of the cosmos that shapes the universe. Those who meditate and reach thought-free consciousness are able to channel pure Spirit energy through them during meditation. By meditating for long periods of time one can increase spiritual nourishment and depend lesser on the lower four elements of nature by accessing more and more energy directly from Spirit. Through increased peace, love and self-contentment one reduces physical greed and hunger. Meditation also lowers our rate of metabolism because in a thought-free state we burn fewer calories unlike during mental and physical work. However it is quite rare to survive for many days on Spirit energy alone in human form even if you meditate constantly and very few have claimed to reach this state while still being alive in a human body.

NOTE: Claims of those who profess that they live for years on ‘prana ‘ or spiritual energy alone have been disputed in many cases although there maybe notable exceptions. Kindly do not force any diet on yourself and follow own intuition. You can enhance the spiritual quality of your diet gradually and this is meant to naturally happen as you meditate for longer periods of time progressively. You will find that you are intuitively attracted to the right diet to suit unique needs when you meditate everyday.

swatiprakash

Swati Prakash is a spiritual author and can be followed on www.amazon.com/author/swatiprakash

 

 

 

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