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Health Food Pyramid Basics – Savior or Failure?



Health Food Pyramid Basics – Savior or Failure?

Benjamin Disraeli once remarked, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Similarly, there are three kinds of people who will find the health food pyramid an exciting topic for reasons I will attempt to decipher.

The first kind is the ‘hypochondriacs’… yes, those who can’t do without a routine, a clock, and a set list of tasks that must be completed for the day. And concerning food, those who watch what they can’t eat and manage it effortlessly too.

Yes, the ones who would go by the book and rely on statistical analysis to stay healthy. And well, too much analysis causes paralysis sometimes. so there!

And I admire these guys just up to the point where someone says that they’re lactose intolerant… and all I’d like to do then is perform a colonoscopy with a wooden cooking spoon.

The second kinds are the ‘neither here nor there’ kind… the bulimia victims of our civilization… their life seems to consist of cycles where binging gives them great pleasure followed by depression and guilt and a sense of feeling ‘bloated’… and then of course, they treat their bodies like an Italian circus using laxatives (with suspiciously sounding names that could do with a few more vowels and a lesser number of consonants especially Ks, Qs, Zs and Xs in them). God knows what not to… of course, purge…since they’re on the highway to hell! Damned lies, I tell you!

These guys confuse me… They inhabit the same world where some people barely earn enough to make one square meal… and in other extremes, they don’t even manage that!

And the third kind is the ones who don’t seem to comprehend the idea of ‘setting limits’ when it comes to food… the ones with the double chin… for whom the one-size-fits-all is a way of life… and most definitely, were the ones who were caught with their hands in the cookie jar in their youth! And they will ‘lie’ as if their life depended on it to satiate their inner cravings for ‘more’.

These guys are my favorite (yet I don’t enjoy indulging that much)… as they’ll always be who they are… they seem to be the most happy as long as they get what they want! And God forbid if you lay your hands on their precious snacks… and all hell will break loose!

My preference lies with both extremes, yet I won’t judge the followers of the middle path as you’d truly understand ‘bulimia’ only if you experience it. It’s just that it’s such a waste of food! And maybe I’m not supposed to understand some things after all…

Regardless of whichever category you fall under, there comes a time in your life when you will have to take action to maintain optimum health… a point where you will say: This has to stop! No more! But until then… whatever makes you happy!

So, read on if you’re at that point… you’ll be the better for it (well, I’ve learned it the hard way too).

And I’m sure some of you will go off on a tangent with Moses, Pharoahs, and Isis and Osiris with the mere mention of the word ‘pyramid’, so before that happens, let’s get down to business.

Health Food Pyramid Basics

If you look at the structure, the foods mentioned at the bottom of the pyramid are the ones that you should eat the most, and the ones at the top are the ones that you should eat (or include in you daily diet) the least.

Grains – Eat at least three ounces of this food type [whole grain bread, rice, pasta, cereal and crackers) every day, and make sure that you find the word whole before the word, ‘grain’ before you eat it! [6-11 servings a day] These foods are carbohydrate and low-fat foods.

Vegetables & Fruits – Keep your preferences to dark green and orange-based veggies as well as dry beans and peas! [3-5 servings] Go easy on fruit juices and stick to fresh, frozen, canned or dried fruit, while carefully choosing a variety of fruits in your diet. [2-4 servings]

Dairy & Beans, Eggs, Lean Meat and Fish: For dairy-based products, choose low-fat or fat-free; the specified limit is about 2-3 servings daily. Find other calcium-based foods if you don’t or can’t consume dairy products. For beans, eggs, and meat-based foods choose low-fat. Grilling, Broiling or baking it are better options in this case and choose nuts, beans, fish, nuts and seeds for variety rather than just meat! The limit for this section of the pyramid is 2 to 3 servings.

Fats, Oils and Sweets – This is the section you should watch out for! Keep the consumption level low for these foods based on these items. Period!

Now, these are general guidelines, so if you want a personalized plan, log on to and enter your details such as age, sex, weight, height, and physical activity… and voila, you’ll have a customized plan that spans all the sections of the pyramid.

And it doesn’t matter which section you belong to; you’ll find that maintaining a balanced diet isn’t tough!

So, what are your thoughts on the controversial Health Food Pyramid? Do you love it or hate it?


Peanut Nutrition – What You Need to Know



Peanut Nutrition – What You Need to Know

The world of nutritional health is surprising, to say the least. Ever so often we come across health articles that speak of a food’s benefits that we could hardly conceive of as a link between the two.

It’s true.

While water, milk, vegetables and fruits as well as lean meats are associated with better health, the one that surprised me the most was the benefits linked with peanuts.

The verdict on peanut nutrition is out, and it looks more than good…

Peanuts – Are They Any Good?

Yes, peanuts are good for you as they contain almost thirty essential nutrients. This can only mean one thing: these little beans will boost your health, no matter how you eat them.

Some of these nutrients include large amounts of protein as well as others such as folate, manganese, tryptophan, copper, Vitamin B2 and B3 – all tied with some benefits or the other.

So, while the matter on how beneficial peanuts are when it comes to the nutrients it has is settled, the next obvious question is whether or not consuming peanuts amounts to too many calories.

One hundred grams of peanuts amounts to 500 calories or so but don’t worry, most of this energy is dissipated, thanks to the fact that most people don’t chew nuts all that well. This is why a study found that heart health can be improved by eating peanuts while not gaining weight in the process.

But its uses isn’t limited to salted peanuts, peanut butter or being in candy form but also extends to industrial uses such as an ingredient for paint, cosmetics and soaps too.

Thanks to its nutritional value, peanuts are also used along with flour as paste to feed malnourished children and adults… and it has worked wonders so far.

Peanut Nutrition – What You Need to Know

So there’s no doubt that the answer to the question, is eating peanuts healthy is a proper ‘yes’.

But how might one ask?

As mentioned earlier, there are a number of health benefits associated with peanuts but the ones that really get your attention is the way it keeps you heart healthy since cardiovascular disease is the number one reason for deaths in the United States.

But that’s not all, they’re also known to lower the risk of breast cancer as well and even if they’re full of calories, they don’t add up to much since they are “very filling”.

Apart from lowering cholesterol levels and improving blood circulation while also being a proper brain food in boosting memory. But that’s not all – eating peanuts prevents gallstones, promotes fertility, fights depression and age-related cognitive decline.

The only documented pitfall is in eating raw peanuts, thanks to the presence of fungi, aflatoxins and Cyclopiazonic acid.

But apart from that, and once you roast raw peanuts, we’re good to go…

In Closing

So, what are your thoughts about peanut nutrition? Feel free to share them in the comments section below.

Also, here is an article that tells you all you need to know about natural peanut butter.

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What Happened to Organic Raw Almonds?



What Happened to Organic Raw Almonds?

Salmonella, everyone’s favorite dessert, was linked to organic raw almonds in an unconventional and isolated incident, but it caused the California Almond Board to pass a ruling that requires all manufactured raw almonds to be pasteurized before hitting the supermarkets.

But in looking back to those 2 years ago, I’m sure we’d all posthumously agree: The jury’s out on this one. The ruling is just bizarre (for lack of a better word) and rather reflective of George Bush’ term at the White House (sorry, couldn’t help but take a dig) with the almond growers (who’ve undergone serious losses) and the customers (who have to look for outside sources for raw almonds) at the receiving end of it all.

Why? Due to two isolated cases of the salmonella infection

And what’s hard to understand is that almost 40,000 Americans die each year from a salmonella infection and I fail to understand (if we go by the numbers) how banning the selling of raw almonds will make the situation any better! Methinks, a result of misdirected enthusiasm, perhaps! Or is it another conspiracy theory?

So, in using logic, does this mean that the government should ban all fresh produce?

Why I ask this is because tomatoes, spinach, green onions, peanuts, grapes, melons, lettuce, and sprouts have at some point or the other over the past ten years been involved in salmonella outbreaks and I’m sure some of us are looking for a little consistency here!

Benefits of Organic Raw Almonds

And the very reason why I’ve taken sometime to rehash this matter is because ‘raw almonds’ (just like all those fresh veggies mentioned above) are definitely beneficial (as if that it isn’t obvious enough). In the Ayurvedic system of medicine, it is considered to be beneficial for the brain and nervous system and to help build one’s intellectual levels and maintain it as well.

According to Western Medicine, it improves one’s complexion, improves movement of food through the colon and prevents cancer. Very importantly, it is proven to maintain good cardiovascular health due to the presence of monounsaturated fat (‘good’ fat).

Now, the reason why people are making a big fuss about why almonds are being pasteurized is because, first and foremost, they know (and feel very strongly about) their right to choose nutrition suited to their needs is being regulated by the government which is an open contradiction to their constitutional rights.

Most importantly, the reason why people are so upset with this mandatory pasteurization procedure is because one method involves the use of propylene oxide which was used earlier as an insecticide, a known carcinogen.

With the discovery that it can cause cancer, California officials terminated its use. And now, it’s being used to pasteurize almonds and can cause similar side-effects. The other two methods such as Steam pasteurization and High heat cause almonds to lose their nutritional value, which means that the nutritional benefits mentioned above are lost too.

It’s rather unfortunate but true, so let’s hope that common sense prevails in the near future and almond lovers are able to enjoy them truly raw, rather than being lied to about raw almonds being currently made available in the market although pasteurized through these methods.

Have you ever tried true organic raw almonds?

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Almond Milk Nutrition



Almond Milk Nutrition

ALmond Milk Nutrition

Just yesterday afternoon, a neighbor showed me this eleven-stringed instrument known as the ‘Oud’, which is very much like a guitar but is played very differently.

I was so fascinated by the absence of frets, the vibrato and harmonics that are played constantly when watching a professional perform for over six minutes while playing one their traditional wedding songs on the Oud.

And somewhere at the back of mind I thought, “Hey! These guys aren’t so bad either…” considering the social stigma that effects these chaps wherever they go. Even though the Islamic world is a closed and a painfully rigid culture that is far too controlled by their sense of spirituality, it felt right to consider that as they have contributed quite a bit to the world in every field even including nutrition.

For example, take almond milk, which has its uses as a nutritious baby food and is consumed as a healthy drink in the Middle East as well, and is catching up as a healthy replacement for those with allergies to milk (due to its casein content) and for those who wouldn’t touch a bottle of soy milk with a ten-foot pole.


Whether based on superstition or not, almonds have always been considered nutritious in different parts of the world. In India, almonds are considered good for the brain (as if we don’t have enough already that causes enough trouble!) while in China, it is considered to be a symbol of enduring sadness and female beauty.

As quaint as all this sounds for the history buffs, this drupe (not nut) has a host of benefits that pertain to health & nutrition as well as in other areas such as spirituality and so on and so forth.

And so we before we learn how to make almond milk, let’s look at the benefits of drinking almond milk.

1) Rich in Vitamin E, an antioxidant, which is excellent for those undergoing detoxification programs.

2) Lowers the risk of heart attacks,  drops bad cholesterol levels and helps in weight loss due to its high unsaturated fat levels.

3) The best alternative for lactose intolerance, and for those who aren’t so fond of the taste of milk (but not necessarily allergic to it), almond milks comes with a light, nutty and crisp taste.

4) With a calorie amount of 70, one can down a glass of almond milk, without destroying your diet. Incidentally, the number of calories for cow’s milk is 86…

5)  Lastly, it works as an excellent substitute for vegans and for religious reasons and finally, lasts much longer than milk as it doesn’t need to be refrigerated.

How to prepare Almond Milk

It’s very easy to prepare almond milk which can be done in 15 minutes. And here’s how:

What you need: 4 cups of water, a cup of almonds

Step 1: Add the 4 cups of water to the cup of almonds, and cover it with a lid.

Step 2: Refrigerate the container for 1-2 days.

Step 3: Next, blend the mixture of almonds and water until you get a smooth mixture.

Step 4: Use a cheesecloth to strain the smooth mixture obtained.

Step 5: Go ahead and drink like you would drink normal milk or use it for several dishes and other preparations that you can make normally.

In Closing

And so, some of us who aren’t so fond of the Soy Milk can finally bid it good bye. Hehe.

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