Menstrual cycle: high fruit low fat plant-based vegan diet

It is necessary, as a vegan, to eat enough with sufficient quantities of macronutrients and micronutrients for healthy and regular menstruation. This, especially, includes iron for blood loss, replacement of hemoglobin, and magnesium to combat PMS and the luteal phase. There is a link that has been made between amenorrhea and being underweight due to insufficient calorie intake (Yoppie, 2020). It is necessary to consume enough calories, nutrients, some fat, and some higher protein foods for regular periods and sufficient energy. Excess estrogen is also an issue for cancer risk, PMS symptom severity, weight management, and bodily balance. Detoxifying foods like greens and cruciferous vegetables help metabolism and aid the liver’s job of the removal of excess estrogen. Meanwhile, meat, dairy, beauty products, cleaning products, plastic packaging, alcohol, synthetic drugs (not plants like cannabis), and medicine promote excess estrogen in the body due to the xenoestrogens in them (as well as other toxic chemicals) (Talida, 2020). Xenoestrogens can impact liver function, gut health, cancer risk (particularly estrogenic cancers like breast and ovarian cancer), metabolism, the immune system, the neurological system, biochemical balance, and the endocrine glands.  

Key foods

Wholegrains

Millet, quinoa, oats and spelt are all nutrient-dense wholegrains for essential nutrients. These include B vitamins, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, selenium, calcium, sodium, and copper. 

Peanut butter

As a healthy source of fat and key nutrients, peanut butter is ideal for menstruation. It is an essential source of protein to prevent energy lows and fatigue, whilst containing omega-3 fatty acids to reduce the inflammation of PMS. It is also high in magnesium, iron, B-vitamins, and zinc.  

Raw Cocoa 

As another healthy source of fat, antioxidants, and key nutrients, the most advantageous of these for menstruation is magnesium. It reduces PMS symptoms of the luteal phase including stress, anxiety, tension, low mood, blood sugar regulation, water retention, and hormone imbalance. It boosts happy hormones to reduce mood swings, whilst opening and simulating the pineal gland which balances hormones and controls periods and fertility. It is also high in iron, zinc, selenium, antioxidants, flavonoid and polyphenols. These reduce inflammation, improve immune function, and prevent menstrual fatigue. Sufficient doses of cocoa should without a doubt prevent irregularity! 

Pomegranate 

Pomegranates help with hormonal balance (particularly the excess estrogen of the ovulation phase), regularity, and nutrient intake. It is also high in vitamin C which is antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, as well as iron, potassium, folate, vitamin E, calcium, zinc, and B vitamins. 

Other foods for regularity, hormone balance and nutrients: papaya, ginger, cumin, pineapple (Sushanth Admin, 2021)

Phases 

The Follicular phase

This stage occurs with more energy and a positive feeling, as the previous menstrual blood has been released and the follicles begin to grow. Fresh green vegetables are healthy to help maintain energy and detox like broccoli, asparagus, and zucchini. Meanwhile, peanut butter and cocoa provide healthy fats for the brain to spark creativity, as this is a great time for new ideas.

The Ovulation Phase

This stage involves the ovary releasing an egg leading to the fertile time of the month. Foods at this stage could be fibrous for detoxification of excess estrogen and energy, including greens and fruit like kale, broccoli, radish, berries, citrus fruits, cantaloupe, guava, fennel, eggplant, okra, and papaya. Foods with vitamin B6 help to balance the hormones including cocoa, peanut butter, oats, and potatoes. Fruit is anti-inflammatory and helps with fertility, especially berries and citrus fruits.    

The Luteal Phase

This stage involves many more symptoms like bloating, water retention, mood swings, cravings, and stress, as the lining thickens in preparation for the period. This results in the need to consume slightly more food, relax, rest, ground and consume warming foods that help with satiety, including oats, tubers, and hot chocolate. Chocolate is essential at this time as it is high in magnesium which helps with mood, water retention, and blood sugar regulation.   

The Menstruation Phase

The final phase of menstruation is a release and cleansing time for the body. This occurs with lower energy and, perhaps, mood swings with further cravings. Hydration with fruit and water, nutrient-rich filling foods, healthy fats, and iron-rich foods are needed to combat and replace the blood loss. Iron-rich foods could include sea vegetables, spinach, sweet potato, millet, and wheatgerm.    

Sources

The Process of Detoxification: The Kidneys

The kidneys, like the liver, is required for the removal of toxins from the body before cellular processes become out of sync. Whereas the liver can transform toxins to become less harmful, the kidneys can only extract them for elimination, but it is still a vital organ that directs toxins directly down the elimination pathways.

The main parts of the kidney that filter the blood are the tons of nephrons that filter the wastes from the blood that will pass out into the urine after going through the papillary ducts and kidney reservoirs. Urine typically includes “many by-products of metabolism, like ureas, ammonia, hydrogen ions, creatinine, chemical toxins, medications, synthetic vitamins, and minerals, etc.” (1), but there are many other toxic substances that the kidneys filter from the body.

Some of these toxic substances can, in themselves, damage the kidneys, as they enter the filtering process. Another function of the kidneys is maintaining acid-base balance and preventing ph abnormalities which can lead to many further health issues. Maintaining a predominantly alkaline balance in the body (around 7), is requisite to prevent potential damage to the kidneys. “Acid-inducing diets are believed to impact the kidney through ‘tubular toxicity,’ damage to the tiny, delicate, urine-making tubes in the kidneys” (2). Homeostasis is central to a healthy body!

There are many different ways to ascertain the level of alkalinity or acidity in your body, including assessing your health (many minor to major conditions are linked to acidity in the body) and eating purple cabbage. Urine will be more pink if your body is acidic and greener if your body is more alkaline after consuming purple cabbage!

There are many indicators of an over-acidic body and kidney issues. Some symptoms include pain, urinating often, urine discoloration, swollen body parts, and, even, cardiovascular problems. Heart function is also closely linked to kidney function in that toxin accumulation impacts this organ’s processes, as toxin-filled blood is continually pumped back to the heart.

“If your kidneys do not function properly, metabolic waste products can accumulate in the blood and eventually lead to such symptoms as weakness, shortness of breath, confusion, and abnormal heart rhythms.” (3)

This waste accumulation can be fueled by an acidic diet and toxic chemical consumption!

There are various amounts of evidence that a plant-based high fibre diet with lots of fruits and vegetables sustains kidney health much better than a diet incorporating animal meat. There could be numerous reasons for adopting a plant-based unprocessed diet including the lower amounts of acidic protein, high alkalinity, high amounts of antioxidants, and a lower prevalence of inflammation. Dozens of studies have shown that plant protein is preferable to prevent kidney decline (2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11). Meat is highly acidic containing sulfuric acid and uric acid, carcinogenic nitrites, cholesterol, and saturated fat that all alter kidney health. A high-fat diet, in particular, can harm kidney health.

“This concept of lipid nephrotoxicity, or the idea that fat and cholesterol in the bloodstream could be toxic to the kidneys, has since been formalized, based in part on studies that found plugs of fat clogging up the works in autopsied kidneys” (12)

Another form of fat that is inevitably damaging to the kidneys is trans fats found in processed foods like donuts, pastries, ice cream, pizza, fried chicken, and margarine.

Moreover, sugar and high-fructose corn syrup may cause kidney damage also. They can directly damage filtration systems (13), as well as weakening the immune system and increasing inflammation.

“The endogenous production of fructose from glucose (fructogenesis), and the subsequent reduction in ATP and increase in uric acid, contributes to high glucose-induced inflammation (inflammatory cytokine and chemokine expression) and increased macrophage infiltration in the kidney.” (14, 15)

The additional acidity strains the kidneys which struggle to maintain acid-base balance and causes unnatural immune processes.

Kidney damage from extracted chemical and toxin consumption can also be ample in terms of the effect on multiple kidney factions. These include an impact on blood flow, cellular function, and tissue integrity leading to tissue damage (16). These are commonly consumed in processed foods or from other toxic products.

A list of these includes:

  • heavy metals: cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, platinum, and uranium
  • fluorinated hydrocarbons (e.g. non-stick teflon pans)
  • glyphosate
  • smoking (cadmium and nicotine)
  • salt consumption
  • hidden phosphates in additives (e.g. acid balancing, anti-caking, and flavourings)
  • medication
  • harmful minerals
  • excess vitamins from supplements
  • EDTA (body care products)

(17) (16)

Two more habits for kidney health include drinking lots of water and consuming abundant amounts of fruit. Water and fresh fruit assist to cleanse and detox the kidneys by helping with toxin elimination.

“When there isn’t enough water in the body, waste flowing through the kidneys is concentrated. The concentrated waste damages the kidneys and reduces their ability to properly filter waste.” (18)

Fruit has a high percentage of water, so all fruit will wash through the kidneys with additional antioxidants and phytochemicals that heal, improve, and strengthen them, such as anthocyanins, lycopene, beta-carotene, and flavonoids!

As well as this, a range of herbs are helpful to detox the kidneys including:

  • rhubarb root
  • sapo
  • bearberry
  • saw palmetto
  • poke root
  • horsetail/shavegrass

References

(1) Morse, R., 2004. The Detox Miracle Sourcebook. 1st ed. Chino Valley, AZ: Kalindi Press.

(2)  Greger, M., 2018. How not to die. 3rd ed. London: Pan Books: 193

(3)  Greger, M., 2018. How not to die. 3rd ed. London: Pan Books: 190

(4) Moore, J., 2021. Whole-Food Low-Protein Plant-Based Nutrition to Prevent or Slow Progression of Chronic Kidney Disease. Patient Education, [online] 31(2). Available at: <https://www.jrnjournal.org/article/S1051-2276(20)30082-0/fulltext&gt; [Accessed 21 May 2021].

(5) Azadbakht L, Shakerhosseini R, Atabak S, Jamshidian M, Mehrabi Y, Esmaill-Zadeh A. Beneficiary effect of dietary soy protein on lowering plasma levels of lipid and improving kidney function in type II diabetes with nephropathy. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2003; 57 (10): 1292-4

(6) Kontessis PA, Bossinakou I, Sarika L, et al. Renal, metabolic, and hormonal responses to proteins of different origin in normotensive, nonprotienuric type I diabetic patients. Diabetes Care. 1995; 18 (9): 1233-40.

(7) Teixera SR, Tappenden KA, Carson L, et al. Isolated soy protein consumption reduces urinary albumin excretion and improves the serum lipid profile in men with type 2 diabetes mellitus and nephropathy. J Nutr. 2004; 134 (8): 1874-80.

(8) Stephenson TJ, Setchell KD, Kendall CW, Jenkins DJ, Anderson JW, Fanti P. Effect of soy protein-rich diet on renal function in young adults with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Clin Nephrol. 2005; 64 (1): 1-11.

(9) Jibani MM, Bloodworth LL, Foden E, Griffiths KD, Galpin OP. Predominantly vegetarian diet in patients with incipient and early clinical diabetic nephropathy affects on albumin excretion rate and nutritional status. Diabet Med. 1991; 8 (10): 949-53

(10) Bosch JP, Saccaggi A, Lauer A, Ronco C, Belledonne M, Glabman S. Renal functional reserve in humans. Effect of protein intake on glomerular filtration rate. Am J Med. 1983; 75 (6): 943-50.

(11) Liu ZM, Ho SC, Chen YM, Tang N, Woo J. Effect of whole soy and purified isoflavone daidzein on renal function – a 6-month randomized controlled trial in equol-producing postmenopausal women with prehypertension. Clin Biochem. 2014; 47 (13-14): 1250-6.

(12) Greger, M., 2018. How not to die. 3rd ed. London: Pan Books: 191

(13) Diabetes UK. 2021. Diabetic nephropathy (kidney disease). [online] Available at: <https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/complications/kidneys_nephropathy#:~:text=High%20blood%20glucose%20(sugar)%20levels,your%20body%20in%20your%20urine.&gt; [Accessed 21 May 2021].

(14) DiNicolantonio, J., Bhutani, J. and O’Keefe, J., 2016. Added sugars drive chronic kidney disease and its consequences: A comprehensive review. [online] Insulinresistance.org. Available at: <https://insulinresistance.org/index.php/jir/article/view/3/4#CIT0021_3&gt; [Accessed 21 May 2021].

(15) Lanaspa MA, Ishimoto T, Cicerchi C, et al. Endogenous fructose production and fructokinase activation mediate renal injury in diabetic nephropathy. J Am Soc Nephrol. 2014;25:2526–2538. http://dx.doi.org/10.1681/ASN.2013080901

(16) Pizzorno, J., 2015. The Kidney Dysfunction Epidemic, Part 1: Causes. Integr Med (Encinitas)., [online] 14(6), pp.8-13. Available at: <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4718206/#:~:text=The%20kidney%20excretes%20toxins%20through,well%20as%20into%20the%20urine&gt; [Accessed 21 May 2021].

(17) Crystalrunhealthcare.com. 2021. Kidneys & The Bladder Work Together To Remove Toxins. [online] Available at: <https://www.crystalrunhealthcare.com/articles/how-kidneys-and-the-bladder-work-together-to-remove-toxins&gt; [Accessed 21 May 2021].

(18) Aniys, A., 2017. Alkaline Plant Based Diet. 1st ed. North Charleston, SC: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform: 81.

The Process of Detoxification: The Liver

Toxins are inevitable in the environment, but the consumption and usage of toxic products and processed food can increase the toxicity in our body even more over time. Toxins can impact the body, mind, and inner happiness which can lead to pain, disease, and health disorders. Toxins affect cellular respiration and cause acidity in the blood.

“Toxins also deplete your energy and cause your body and breath to stink, not to mention their role in causing toxemia, or the ‘dirtying’ of your blood.” (1)

This can be resolved by detoxing with fresh fruit which oxygenates the cells and helps to alkalinize the blood.

The vital organ of detoxification is the liver which busts the toxins out of the system before they can do further cellular damage. The two stages of liver detoxification involve, firstly, synthesizing the toxin into a water-soluble form. Toxins have a devious habit of absorbing and integrating with fat stores causing cellular damage. This form is easier to eliminate, and, then, further enzymes and conjuncts are added in a second phase to aid the elimination process. This second phase is especially important to prevent cellular damage which can still occur in a water-soluble form.

Both of these phases are supported by the intake of various nutrients which support the processes of liver detoxification.

“A variety of macronutrients and micronutrients
are required on a continuous basis to construct the multitude
of enzymes for the various oxidation, reduction, hydrolysis,
and conjugation pathways, as well as the provision of
enzymatic cofactors, phytochemical antioxidants, and fiber.” (2)

The foods that help with detoxification are mostly in the form of fresh fruit and vegetables. As well as antioxidants to prevent cellular damage, the fibre helps with more rapid elimination of these toxins from your system.

Some pathways of detoxification in the liver include glucuronidation, sulfation, and methylation which occur in the conjugation phase. Below is a list of some fresh foods that help these processes:

Glucuronidation: beta-carotene rich foods (carrots, squash, sweet potato, pumpkin, collards, red potatoes, red peppers, spinach, mustard greens, chard, dandelion greens, canteloupe, romaine lettuce), quercetin-rich foods (onion, kale, apple, cherry, brocoli), chrysin and luteolin-rich foods (broccoli, celery, rosemary), glucaric-acid rich foods (grapefruit, cherries, tomatoes, apple, alfalfa sprouts, cauliflower, cherries, apricot, spinach, oranges), citrus foods, curcumin, watercress

Sulfation: spinach, onions, cabbage, sprouts, leeks

Methylation: folic acid (potato, sweet potato, spinach, beetroot, sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, bok choy, asparagus, banana, orange, peach)

(2)

Additionally, as well as these conjugation processes, there are various other foods which act as chelators that help elimination and limit absorption. These include sulphur-rich foods like allium and brocoli, cilantro, cholerella, and fibre from grains and fruit.

Further herbs for an exceptional liver detox: burdock root, cascara sagrada, prodigiosa, tiya, dandelion root, yellow dock, sarsaparilla, garlic, gentian, marshmallow, milk thistle, turmeric, bearberry, yellow dock, blue vervain

In conclusion, the liver performs an immense role in the detoxification of toxins and heavy metals from the body, but there are many other organs that aid detoxification including the brain, lungs, kidneys, skin, lymph, and colon of which I will explore in further posts.

References

(1) Bollinger, T., 2016. The Truth about Cancer. 1st ed. London: Hay House.

(2) Cline, J., 2015. Nutritional Aspects of Detoxification in Clinical Practice. Alternative Therapies, 21(3), pp.54-62.

Toxicity: A Reason To Detox

“I had also found it the ‘Master Key’ to mental and spiritual unfoldment and evolution…My experience, tests, and experiments as well as cures, all showed that grape sugar of fruits was the essential material of human food, giving the highest efficiency and endurance, and at the same time was the best eliminator of debris and the most efficient healing agent known for the human body.”

(Prof Arnold Ehret 1922)

The body has a delicate chemical balance that involves trace minerals and vitamins sourced from natural food. When we eat processed food, use toxic products on our skin, and get vaccines, then the heavy metals and other toxic chemicals disrupt the body’s natural balance. Heavy metal toxicity leads to deterioration of biochemical cellular function and has a detrimental effect on the immune system (2). The natural chemical balance of the body is deeply entwined with cellular processes and immune function. Additionally, 

“…heavy metals (can) act as molecular “mimics” of nutritionally essential trace elements; depleting the body from cofactors essential to cellular regeneration.” (2)

Cofactors for cellular regeneration are found in natural foods from mother earth (fruits and vegetables) along with antioxidants that protect cells rather than toxic products that disrupt the balance.

1shortdesign from Pixabay

Two examples of toxic heavy metals are aluminum and lead which can have detrimental long and short-term effects. These metals can be found in processed food, cosmetics, vaccines, containers, and pharmaceuticals. Both have been linked with disorders that affect the brain including Autism and Alzheimer’s. The evidence is convincing that lead is causally linked to Autism disorder, as it has been found that Autism sufferers have significantly more lead in their body (75%) and lead lowers IQ according to lead researcher Professor James Adams (4). Lead evidently has detrimental effects on brain functions that can have long-lasting detrimental effects. Lead is also linked to Alzheimer’s. “Researchers believe that people who have worked in jobs with high levels of lead exposure are up to 3.4 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease” (9). This is another detrimental effect on the brain. Similar results have been found linking aluminum and Autism.

 “the fact that we found aluminium in every sample of brain tissue, frozen or fixed, does suggest very strongly that individuals with a diagnosis of ASD have extraordinarily high levels of aluminium in their brain tissue” 

(8)

This suggests that aluminum has a high correlation with Autism. Aluminum negatively affects the immune system and nervous system. 

  “As a nerve poison and excitotoxin, aluminium damages nerves and causes inflammation. Aluminium adjuvants in vaccines have been shown to persist in the body, be transported in lymph and accumulate in immune cells.”

(10)

So, aluminum has many detrimental effects on bodily processes which can accumulate into brain disease in old age. 

“in 1973, brain tissue collected from deceased persons known to have AD were found to have high aluminum levels.”

(5)

Therefore, aluminum and lead are both likely correlated with Autism and Alzheimer’s. 

Vaccines also house incredibly toxic ingredients that have many detrimental effects on health and wellbeing. The toxic ingredients may include thimerosal which affects coordination, cognition, and mood, aluminium which affects the brain long-term, antibiotics which affect gut bacteria, carcinogenic formaldehyde, MSG affects the heart and neuron receptors, squalene which is linked to arthritis, gelatin and egg which are non-vegan, polysorbate 80 linked to many types of cancer, and aborted human fetal tissue which may be linked to Autism and I believe may lead to an auto-immune response (6). Thus, there are many awful ingredients in vaccines that have many very detrimental health effects. 

Toxic chemicals in processed food:

  • Polysorbate 60 (found in cream, desserts, pickles, twinkies) – carcinogenic 
  • Palm oil – raises bad cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Shortening/hydrogenated oil – clogged arteries and metabolic issues 
  • Artificial colours – many cancers 
  • Sodium nitrates and nitrites (processed meat) – colon cancer and metabolic syndrome
  • Sodium benzoate and potassium benzoate (soda) – carcinogen and thyroid damage
  • Artificial Sweeteners – aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose – affect metabolic systems 
  • High fructose corn syrup – (refined grains) – triglycerides, fat-boosting hormones

Toxic chemicals in cosmetics: 

  • Parabens – disrupt hormones and carcinogenic 
  • BHA – cancer-causing and endocrine disruptor 
  • Mineral oil (gasoline from crude oil) – carcinogen/cancer
  • Talc – carcinogenic 
  • Alcohol 
  • Titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, iron oxide – propylene glycol, mineral oil, harmful chemicals 
  •  Sunscreen – harmful chemicals 
  • Parabens – linked to cancer
  • Polyethylene glycols – nervous system 
  • Quaternium-15 – carcinogen 
  • Butylated Compounds (butter, cereal, meat, beer) – carcinogenic 
  • Lead – affects IQ, attention span, reduced fertility, kidney damage, high blood pressure
  • Phthalates – cancer and endocrine-disrupting hormones 

(7) (3)

In conclusion, there are many toxic ingredients in food and products of which consumers are unaware. With more knowledge, there would be more power to prevent poisoning, detox our bodies, and protect ourselves. Following this, I will post more about the wonders of detoxification.

Bibliography

(1) Alliance for Natural Health International. 2017. Autism and the aluminum link. [online] Available at: <https://www.anhinternational.org/2017/12/06/autism-aluminum-link/&gt; [Accessed 7 March 2021].

(2) Be, M., 2021. A Guide to Heavy Metals and Their Health Effects. [online] Wake Up World. Available at: <https://wakeup-world.com/2015/02/07/a-guide-to-heavy-metals-and-their-health-effects/&gt; [Accessed 7 March 2021].

(3) Bell, M., 2018. 5 Toxic Chemicals Found in Our Processed Foods – The Health Science Journal. [online] The Health Science Journal. Available at: <https://www.thehealthsciencejournal.com/5-toxic-chemicals-found-processed-foods/&gt; [Accessed 7 March 2021].

(4) Commons, W., 2021. Study: Lead exposure can cause autism – Metro US. [online] Metro US. Available at: <https://www.metro.us/study-lead-exposure-can-cause-autism/&gt; [Accessed 7 March 2021].

 (5) Ellison, J., 2020. Aluminum and Alzheimer’s: Is There a Connection?. [online] BrightFocus Foundation. Available at: <https://www.brightfocus.org/alzheimers-disease/article/aluminum-and-alzheimers-there-connection&gt; [Accessed 7 March 2021].

 (6) Imus, D., 2018. Toxic Vaccine Ingredients: The Devil’s in the Details. [online] Children’s Health Defense. Available at: <https://childrenshealthdefense.org/news/toxic-vaccine-ingredients-the-devils-in-the-details/&gt; [Accessed 7 March 2021].

(7) Michaels, J., 2021. Top Ten Toxic Food Ingredients in Processed Food. [online] Thebetterhealthstore.com. Available at: <https://www.thebetterhealthstore.com/043011_top-ten-toxic-ingredients-in-processed-food_01.html&gt; [Accessed 7 March 2021].

(8) Mold, M., Umar, D., King, A. and Exley, C., 2018. Aluminium in brain tissue in autism. Elsevier, [online] 46, pp.76-82. Available at: <https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0946672X17308763&gt; [Accessed 7 March 2021].

(9) Hegazi, I., 2021. Lead Exposure & Alzheimer�s Disease: Is There A Link?. [online] Lead.org.au. Available at: <https://lead.org.au/fs/fst48.html&gt; [Accessed 18 April 2021].

(10) Alliance for Natural Health International. 2017. Autism and the aluminum link. [online] Available at: <https://www.anhinternational.org/2017/12/06/autism-aluminum-link/&gt; [Accessed 18 April 2021].

Mindful Shopping

Robbert Noordzij (4)

“For more than 100 years, the world’s most powerful food and beverage companies have relied on cheap land and labor to produce inexpensive products and huge profits. But these profits have often come at the cost of the environment and local communities around the world, and have contributed to a food system in crisis” (2).

It may or may not be a surprise to you but most mainstream brands, that are easy to recall due to a substantial amount of advertising about them, are owned by about 10 companies.

Oxfam is a beneficent company that is dedicated to protecting the rights of workers of these brands who created the infographic below.

Oxfam graphic 2
Image via businessinsider.com by Oxfam International (1)

I will provide a brief overview of each company. Following this, I will suggest some smaller ethical businesses that seem to be mindful choices.

Unilever

Revenue example: 59.1 billion (1)

– Brands –

Ben and Jerrys . Pukka Herbs . Hellmans . PG tips . Dove Soaps . Knorr . Maille. Becel . Imperial . Skippy . Bertolli . Slim-fast . Pot noodle . Colman’s . Bovril . Good Humor . Breyers . Popsicle . Klondike . Cornetto . Magnum . Salada . Red Rose . Lipton . St Ives . Axe . Lever . Noxzema . Suave . Sunsilk . Alberto . Thermasilk . Vo5 . TRESemme . Vaseline . Degree . Ponds . Breeze . Vim . Sunlight

There have been various concerns with Unilever. According to ethicalconsumer.org (3), including violent force against innocent striking workers, substantial use of palm oil across products which affects deforestation and biodiversity, and the company still uses animal testing on many products.

Kellog’s

Revenue example: 13.5 billion (1)

– Brands –

Froot loops . Frosted Flakes . Eggo . Pringles . Cheez-it . Pop Tarts . Nutri-Grain . Crispix . Raisin Bran . Vector . Krave . Corn flakes . Apple Jacks . Bran Flakes . Mini Wheats . All-Bran . Just Rights . Corn Pops . Rice Crispies

In terms of Kellog’s, their trustworthiness has to be questioned based on claims that they have made. Kellog’s has claimed that their cereals lead to immunity which was not based on scientific evidence (5). In fact, many Kellog’s cereals contain ingredients that are detrimental to health like sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Kellog’s products are also GMO and contain pesticides like Glyphosate which are likely to be carcinogenic (6, 7). This is not all either, as there are other additives in Kellog’s which are linked to cancer. These include butylated hydroxytoluene and sucralose (8). Thus, anyone who claims Kellog’s cereals are healthy would be making a dubious claim at best.

Associated British Foods

Revenue example: 16.6 billion (1)

– Brands –

Dorset Cereals . Twinings Tea . Burgen . Kingsmill . Birdseye . Pataks . Karo . Jordans . Ryvita . Westmill Foods, The Silver Spoon Company . George Weston foods . Speedibake . Ovaltine . Allinson . Sunblest . Jackson’s of Piccadilly . Meena

Associated British Foods have been criticized for a lack of policy on environmental issues, equality, and exploitation of entire countries.

“ABF, which raked in £12.3bn last year in global sales, could muster just 13 out of 70 points across seven categories, with its lowest ratings coming from an apparent lack of policies on issues such as land management, climate change and women… This public admonition capped off an ugly fortnight for ABF, following hot on the heels of an Action Aid report accusing it of exploiting elaborate accounting loopholes to deprive Zambia, a base for its sugar business and one of the world’s poorest countries, of much needed public revenues.” (9)

This means that, from an ethical and eco-conscious standpoint, there is much to be reproved.

General Mills

Revenue example: 17.6 billion (1)

– Brands –

Cheerios . Chex . Yoplait . Hamburger Helper . Betty Crocker . Haagen-Dazs . Green Giant . Old El Passo . Jus-Rol . Pillsbury . Yoplait . Small Planet Foods . Nature Valley . Liberte . Wanchai . Pillsbury . Lucky Charms .Chex . Golden Grahams . Fibre1. Cinnamon toast crunch

The trustworthiness of this company has been questionable. In terms of the brands ‘Nature Valley’ and ‘Cheerios,’ the first often contains high fructose corn syrup and a significant amount of sugar whilst the second is also high in sugar content. There have been lawsuits against General Mills due to their labeling of these refined ingredients. Nature Valley Granola Thins were labeled as ‘natural’ despite the ingredients which resulted in a lawsuit (10). Refined additives are not naturally occurring. There has been a similar case for ‘Cheerios’. This lawsuit was based on the fact that the positive health claims on the packaging also seem nonsensical due to the high levels of sugar in the product (11). Both high fructose corn syrup and sugar contain empty calories which increase the risk of weight gain and sugar cycling that is linked to diabetes.

Danone

Revenue example: 24.9 billion

– Brands –

Activa . Yocrunch . Oikos . Evian . Actimel . Activia . Aqua . Volvic . Badoit . Font Vella . Bon Vioni . Villa Del Sar . Salus . Fortisip . Fortimel . Cow and Gate . SGM . Bebeloc . Dumex . Gallia . Bledina . Silk . Aptimil . Oikos . Danette . Stonyfield . Alpro . Harrogate Spa . Thirsty Planet

Similarly to General Mills and Kellog’s, Danone has been questioned and taken to court based on its lack of trustworthiness.

“The problem for Dannon is that there’s no clinical proof that the probiotic Bifidus Regularis in Activia yogurt is better at preventing disease or regulating digestion compared to the friendly bacteria in any other yogurt products…Because consumers have been duped into believing Dannon’s false advertising claims, Activia is now the best-selling yogurt in 25 countries, accounting for over 40% of Dannon’s total sales worldwide.” (12)

So, the illusory claims of Danone have boosted profit for the company, but they have also placed the reliability of the company’s provision of information about the products into question.

Ethical issues with the company have also been found around animal testing with often inhumane methods, it does not use free-range or organic farms, and it sponsors horse racing which is often considered a cruel sport (13).

Many other brands would be a more ethical and sound choice!

Nestle

Revenue example: 87 billion

– Brands –

Gerber Baby Food . Perrier . DiGiorno . Hot Pockets . Butterfinger . KitKat . Delissio . Stouffers . Nescafe . Coffee-mate . Nespresso . Taster’s choice . Aero . OhHenry . Rolo . Coffee Crisp . Crunch . Smarties . Goobers . After Eight . Mirage . Cailler . Turtles . Black Magic . Mack . Perrier . Nestea . Pure Life . Vittel . Poland Spring . S Pellegrino . Mont Clair . Drumstick . Movenpick . Dreyers . Parlour . Powerbar . Carnation . Gerber . Chef-mate . Nesquik . Purina . Beneful . Cat Chow . Dog Chow . Friskies . Fancy Feast . Felix . Alpo . Wonka Sweets . Loreal . Ralph Lauren . Giorgio Armani . Yves Saint Laurent . Stella McCartney . Diesel . Garnier . Vichy . Biotherm . The Body Shop . Ombrelle . Maybelline . Kiehl’s

There have been many ethical issues with Nestle. They test many products on animals with cruel experiments, they use factory farming which may involve zero-grazing (the animals stay indoors), and the amount of dairy in the products is more than any other ingredient (14).

If this doesn’t seem bad enough, they may also be responsible for harm to children.

“There is a long standing boycott of Nestlé over its irresponsible marketing of breast milk substitutes. Boycotters have long accused Nestlé of harming children through the unethical promotion of infant formula…Baby Milk Action quotes UNICEF “Marketing practices that undermine breastfeeding are potentially hazardous wherever they are pursued: in the developing world, WHO estimates that some 1.5 million children die each year because they are not adequately breastfed. These facts are not in dispute.” (15)

It is certainly not advisable to trust Nestle with advice about caring for your children! There are many alternative infant formulas on the market and a more dependable source should definitely be obtained for advice about breastfeeding!

PepsiCo

Revenue example: 63 Billion

– Brand –

Pepsi . Quaker Oatmeal . Cheetos . Tropicana . KFC . Taco Bell . Pizza Hut . Looza . Mirinda . Mug Root Beer . Aquafina . Mountain Dew . Lipton . Dole . AMP . 7UP . Brisk . Ocean Spray . SoBe . Life . Crispy Minis . Aunt Jemima . Harvest Crunch . Chewy . Ruffles . Miss Vickie’s . Cracker Jack . Fritos . Sun Chips . Tostitos . Rold Gold . Spitz . Lays . Doritos . Walkers Crisps . Copella . Nobby’s . Snack a Jacks . Red Sky

There is a substantial amount of salt and sugar in many of PepsiCo’s products which contributes to many long-term health conditions including hypertension, heart disease, obesity, and strokes for salt whilst increasing the risk of obesity and diabetes for sugar. Nevertheless, the company continues to market unhealthy foods against the factual consensus of that which is healthy.

“PepsiCo continues to market its unhealthy products to children – at times even running foul of the law, despite numerous promises to the contrary…In addition, last year PepsiCo joined a powerful group of food lobbyists calling themselves the “Sensible Food Policy Coalition,” whose sole purpose was to derail an effort by the U.S. government to improve the food industry’s voluntary guidelines for marketing to children.” (16)

PepsiCo evidently does not have the health of individuals at the forefront of their concerns!

Coca-Cola

Revenue example: 44.3 billion

– Brands –

Dasani . Fuze . Honest Tea . Vitaminwater . Smartwater . Sprite . Mezzo Mix . Minute Maid . Fruitopia . Five Alive . Bangs . Fanta . Nestea . Dasani . Powerade . Mello Yello . Full Throttle . Nos Energy Drink

Ethical issues with Coca-Cola have also been found. These include obstructing worker’s rights, the use of fish gelatin in its products, and supporting rodeos which involve animal abuse. (17) Their treatment of workers and general conduct has also been poor over the years. This includes “item security, hostile to aggressiveness, racial segregation, channel stuffing, wholesaler clashes, terrorizing of union laborers, contamination, and exhaustion of common assets.” (18)

Coca-Cola would not be marked up for a high standard of ethical practice in business!

Mars

Revenue example: 33 billion

– Brands –

M&M’s . Uncle Ben’s Rice . Starburst . Orbit Gum . Bounty . Twix . Maltesers . Dove . Milky Way . Snickers . Mars . Wrigley . Altoids . Skittles . Life Savers . Whiskas . Pedigree . James Wellbeloved . Royal Canin . Hubba Bubba . Orbit . Extra . Big Red . Juicy Fruit . Doublemint . Excel . 5 Gum . Freedent . Dolmio . Cesar . Sheba . Galaxy . Chappie . Nutro . Seeds of Change . Celebrations

Both Mars and Nestle have unethical concerns that have been raised about them of the same type. Their cat and dog food are advised against, by ethicalconsumer.org, based on factors including unsustainable fish, animal testing, palm oil, and factory farming (19, 20). Organic and free-range pet food would always be a much more ethical choice!

Moreover, both Mars and Nestle have been involved in ethical issues concerning their workers. They have used child labor, trafficking, and slavery in the past years (21). This corruption cannot be overlooked.

Mondelez

Revenue example: 29.6 billion

– Brands –

Oreo . Trident Gum . Sour Patch Kids . Maxwell House . Nabob . Velveeta . Cracker Barret . Philadelphia . Polly-O . Singles . P’tit Quebec . Cheez Whiz . Claussen . David . Magic Baking Powder . Baker’s . Kraft Dinner . Mr Christie’s . Knox . Certo . Oscar Meyer . Shake N Bake . Stove Top . Crystal Light . Del Monte . Kool-Aid . Capri-Sun . A1 Steak Sauce . Cool Whip . Handi-Snacks . Jell-O . Planters . Bulls-Eye . Jetpuffed . Mayo . Miracle Whip . Cadbury . Halls . Chiclets . Certs . Bubblicious . Stride . Dentyne . Trident . Clorets . Terry’s Chocolate Orange . Milka . Carte Noir . Toblerone . Green and Blacks . Cote D’or . Premium . Snackwells . Ritz . Cheese Nips . Triscuit . Belvita . Wheat Thins . Trebor . Maynards . Cherry Ripe . Crispy Crunch . Twirl . Caramilk . Nutter Butter . Honey Maid . Teddy Grahams . Lu . Fudgee-O . Fig Newtons . Nilla . Chips Ahoy . Tang . Tassimo

The integrity of Mondelez has been dubious due to its inaccurate labeling of products. This includes the labeling of belVita biscuits as having “NUTRITIOUS SUSTAINED ENERGY” (22). This suggests they are healthy despite the fact that they contain a large amount of sugar which does provide energy, but also may contribute to many health conditions like diabetes, obesity, and even cancer. Another misleading labeling case involves the use of ‘real cocoa’ on the label of Oreos when it had been refined and processed (23). This is yet another example of twisting the facts for financial gain.

Alternatives

Booja-Booja

This vegan ice cream company is multi award-winning. They use only organic ingredients and endeavor to be honest in their provision of information. Their products contain very simple ingredients and no harmful additives.

Ethical Tea

This is a very ethical company with values “Planet, People, Passion, Precision.” (24) Their ingredients are sourced from small, organic, Fairtrade farmers.

Organic Life Teas

This company sells tea, coconut products, superfoods, and spices. The products are organic without harmful chemicals and are ethically farmed. The farming is sustainable with biodiversity in consideration and the products are high quality.

Etsy

This is an ideal place to purchase many different high quality products. It is also a perfect site to acquire non-toxic, ethical, organic, eco-friendly soap bars and cleaning products from small businesses. Examples include:

Rugged Nature

The products are eco-friendly with no plastic involved in the production, they are not tested on animals, and they contain natural, non-toxic ingredients.

The Good Lovin Bar

These bars are organic, plant-based, and contain simple ingredients with no noxious additives.

Get in Shape

These bars are also raw, vegan, and organic. Additionally, they are non-GMO, and there is no sugar or artificial additives added.

kAAKAO

This chocolate is plant-based, organic, sugar-free, and additive free! The four ingredients are simple and pure!

Raw Spirit Chocolate Company

This chocolate is organic and Fairtrade with high quality ingredients and a range of flavors.

Coco Caravan

This chocolate is organic, Fairtrade, free from harmful additives, and sweetened with unrefined coconut blossom nectar. The products are also environmentally friendly and the company supports the indigenous cultures that work with them.

Mary’s Gone Crackers

These crackers are vegan, organic, and non-GMO. There is no toxic ingredients and all ingredients are sourced with careful consideration of biodiversity and the environment.

Organic Juice Box

A juice box is a fabulous way to start drinking pure juice without detrimental additives in order to consume a multitude of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants!

Suja Organic Juice

These drinks are organic, non-GMO, and free of additives due to clever preservation processes. There is also eco-friendly packaging.

Purely

These plantain chips are plant-based, and non-GMO with no additives or preservatives. The products are sourced with consideration of the environment and the workers.

Kallo

These products are organic, non-GMO, and contain no additives or preservatives.

Niva Foods Organic

These Kamut Puffs are alkaline, organic, sugar-free, salt-free, and additive-free.

Harvest Moon

These yoghurts include a range of flavors which are all plant-based. There is no harmful additives, simple ingredients, and the ingredients are ethically sourced.

Yarrah

Yarrah is an organic pet food that is ethically produced with no animal testing. There is no unfriendly additives or GMO ingredients.

References

  1. Taylor, K., 2016. These 10 Companies Control Everything You Buy. [online] Business Insider. Available at: <https://www.businessinsider.com/10-companies-control-the-food-industry-2016-9?r=US&IR=T&gt; [Accessed 18 August 2020].
  2. Johnson, D., 2017. Oxfam: Ten Multinational Corporations Control Most Food Brands | Ourfuture.Org By People’s Action. [online] Available at: <https://ourfuture.org/20170105/oxfam-ten-multinational-corporations-control-most-food-brands&gt; [Accessed 18 August 2020].
  3. Ethical Consumer. 2020. How Ethical Is Unilever?. [online] Available at: <https://www.ethicalconsumer.org/company-profile/unilever&gt; [Accessed 18 August 2020].
  4. Flickr. 2015. Online Shopping. [online] Available at: <https://www.flickr.com/photos/robbertjnoordzij/22257890101/&gt; [Accessed 18 August 2020].
  5. Starling, S., 2011. Kellogg’S To Pay $5M For False Rice Krispies Immunity Claims. [online] nutraingredients-usa.com. Available at: <https://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Article/2011/01/13/Kellogg-s-to-pay-5m-for-false-Rice-Krispies-immunity-claims&gt; [Accessed 18 August 2020].
  6. WorldHealthChoice 2017. Avoid Kellogg’S Products! They Are Full Of Gmos And Toxic Ingredients. [online] World Health Choice ®. Available at: <http://worldhealthchoice.com/kelloggs-products-toxic-ingredients/&gt; [Accessed 18 August 2020].
  7. Ellen, M., 2020. GMO Weed Killer’S Cancer Risk | Just Label It. [online] Justlabelit.org. Available at: <http://www.justlabelit.org/gmo-weed-killers-cancer-risk/#:~:text=GMO%20Weed%20Killer%E2%80%99s%20Cancer%20Risk.%20Glyphosate%20%E2%80%93%20the,scientists%20at%20the%20World%20Health%20Organization%20announced%20today&gt; [Accessed 18 August 2020].
  8. Cardoza, R., 2017. Why You Should Be Worried About The Chemicals In Your Cereal | Eat This Not That. [online] Eat This Not That. Available at: <https://www.eatthis.com/chemicals-in-cereal/&gt; [Accessed 18 August 2020].
  9. Henley, W., 2013. Is Associated British Foods Less Transparent Than Nestlé And Coca Cola?. [online] the Guardian. Available at: <https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/associated-british-foods-transparent-nestle-coca-cola&gt; [Accessed 18 August 2020].
  10. Strom, S., 2012. Lawsuit Forces General Mills To Defend The Accuracy Of Its ‘Natural’ Labeling. [online] Nytimes.com. Available at: <https://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/27/business/general-mills-sued-over-natural-labeling.html&gt; [Accessed 18 August 2020].
  11. Watson, E., 2019. General Mills Prevails In False Ad Lawsuit Over Sugar Content In Cereals… After Three-Year Battle. [online] foodnavigator-usa.com. Available at: <https://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Article/2019/08/14/General-Mills-prevails-in-false-ad-lawsuit-over-sugar-content-in-cereals-after-three-year-battle&gt; [Accessed 18 August 2020].
  12. Thomas, C., 2009. Dannon Slammed With $35 Million False Advertising Settlement Over Activia Probiotic Yogurt. [online] The Ethical Nag. Available at: <https://ethicalnag.org/2009/10/06/yogurt/&gt; [Accessed 19 August 2020].
  13. Ethical Consumer. 2020. Stories | Ethical Consumer. [online] Available at: <https://www.ethicalconsumer.org/stories/1372104%201357844%201448618%201448618%201393017%201448619#:~:text=According%20to%20a%20press%20release%20by%20Cruelty%20Free,stated%20were%20carried%20out%20to%20prove%20%E2%80%98health%20benefits.%E2%80%99&gt; [Accessed 19 August 2020].
  14. Ethical Consumer. 2020. Stories | Ethical Consumer. [online] Available at: <https://www.ethicalconsumer.org/stories/1450036%201357846%201416481%201431895%201364035%201364040%201431895%201364035%201364040&gt; [Accessed 19 August 2020].
  15. Ethical Consumer. 2020. How Ethical Is Nestlé SA? | Ethical Consumer. [online] Available at: <https://www.ethicalconsumer.org/company-profile/nestle-sa&gt; [Accessed 19 August 2020].
  16. Simon, M., 2012. A Leopard Like Pepsico Cannot Change Its Spots. [online] the Guardian. Available at: <https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/blog/pepsico-corporate-social-responsibility-public-health&gt; [Accessed 19 August 2020].
  17. Ethical Consumer. 2020. How Ethical Is Coca-Cola Company, The? | Ethical Consumer. [online] Available at: <https://www.ethicalconsumer.org/company-profile/coca-cola-company&gt; [Accessed 19 August 2020].
  18. Coursebb.com. 2020. Case Study: The Coca-Cola Company Struggles With Ethical Crises – Coursebb. [online] Available at: <https://www.coursebb.com/2017/01/03/case-study-coca-cola-company-struggles-ethical-crises/&gt; [Accessed 19 August 2020].
  19. Ethical Consumer. 2020. Cat Food | Ethical Consumer. [online] Available at: <https://www.ethicalconsumer.org/food-drink/shopping-guide/cat-food/&gt; [Accessed 19 August 2020].
  20.  Ethical Consumer. 2020. Dog Food | Ethical Consumer. [online] Available at: <https://www.ethicalconsumer.org/food-drink/shopping-guide/dog-food&gt; [Accessed 19 August 2020].
  21. Nieburg, O., 2015. Mars, Nestlé And Hershey Face Fresh Cocoa Child Labor Class Action Lawsuits. [online] confectionerynews.com. Available at: <https://www.confectionerynews.com/Article/2015/09/30/Mars-Nestle-and-Hershey-face-fresh-cocoa-child-labor-lawsuits&gt; [Accessed 19 August 2020].
  22. Shaak, E., 2017. Lawsuit Claims Belvita Breakfast Products Deceptively Labeled. [online] Classaction.org. Available at: <https://www.classaction.org/news/lawsuit-claims-belvita-breakfast-products-deceptively-labeled&gt; [Accessed 19 August 2020].
  23. The Daily Intake. 2020. Judge Dismisses Class Action Lawsuit For Oreo “Made With Real Cocoa” Claims (Subscription To Law360 Required) | The Daily Intake. [online] Available at: <https://www.dailyintakeblog.com/2020/07/judge-dismisses-class-action-lawsuit-for-oreo-made-with-real-cocoa-claims-subscription-to-law360-required/&gt; [Accessed 19 August 2020].
  24.  Ethicteas.com. 2020. Ethical Tea | Manufacture Of High Quality Ceylon Organic Tea. [online] Available at: <https://ethicteas.com/about-us.php&gt; [Accessed 19 August 2020].

Should oil be avoided for optimal health?

Oil, Olive Oil, Cooking, Virgin, Healthy, Food, Gold

Oil has been encouraged as a healthy part of the diet by mainstream nutritional advice and guidance. However, there is an unavoidable, undeniable inkling that oil is not the ‘health food’ that it is often made out to be. The highly processed, refined, manufactured, unnatural oil consumed nowadays is mostly devoid of nutritional value and any kind of ‘health benefits.’ It is, in fact, hard for the body to process due to the unnatural extraction of the oil from the whole foods found in nature.

 “All oils and pure-fat products are entirely unnatural…Pure bottled oils and packaged solid fats are man-made, chemically or mechanically refined components of whole foods that do not naturally exist in nature in this refined state.” (1)

The fact that our body requires these synthetic, processed fatty acids for brain and heart function seems debatable at least.

These synthetic, processed oils are the only foods that are 100% fat. Most oils have at least 100 calories per tablespoon which is likely to be a quarter or more of the meal it is added to if only one tablespoon of oil is added. Oils are the “most energy dense foods known” (1). Oils are highly likely to be a high-ranking cause of weight gain. Most oil, particularly saturated oil, is either stored as fat or in the arteries because unsaturated oil can be partially converted to saturated oil in the body (2). So, it cannot be considered an aid to weight loss, but only a hindrance to avoiding weight gain and losing weight.

Saturated fat is without a doubt less healthy than unsaturated fat. Animal fats and highly processed trans-fat are high in cholesterol and clog arteries which leads to heart disease. This has been proven by an enormous multitude of studies with evidence. Some examples of such studies include (3), (4), (5), and (6). The fact that animal fats cause weight gain and increase the likelihood of disease should not be debatable.

However, polyunsaturated oils (grapeseed oil, soybean oil) and monounsaturated oil (olive oil, canola oil, sesame oil) are often revered as the ‘healthy’ alternative and the ‘only’ alternative to saturated fat. Is it just me or does this not seem accurate? There has been a definitive link found between high-fat diets and cancer. Does this not mean all sources of fat, particularly refined fat? A few examples of studies that display this link include (7), (8), (9), (10), (11), and (12). Multiple studies suggest that, for many types of cancer, total fat intake (although mostly saturated fat) increases the risk and progression of the disease.

Further evidence that ‘healthy’ oils may be a myth can be found. There is evidence that total fat intake of polyunsaturated fat (13) and even specifically omega 3 fatty acids in the form of fish oil may increase the risk of heart disease (14). Perhaps it can be concluded that there is not enough evidence to prove that any oils are healthy, although there have been attempts to prove unsaturated oils are an essential health food due to their content of essential fatty acids. It seems that there is less disease if you consume unsaturated fat rather than saturated fat, but this has not been compared with consuming zero unnatural fats in any well-known studies. So, it is not known whether unsaturated oils improve or worsen disease in comparison to an oil-free diet.

An oil-free diet could be the ideal solution to prevent the risk of disease, avoid weight gain, and ensure that the authentic, bona fide fats are consumed in their natural form. Healthy sources of fat in whole and natural foods include avocadoes, all nuts, all seeds, durian, and cocoa. An oil-free diet is particularly important for preserving vitality, as “unsaturated fats become unstable at high temperatures, oils exposed to heat could have more free radicals and, thus, cause greater cellular damage when ingested” (15). It is very possible to avoid oil in cooking by sautéing or steaming vegetables on the stove and baking vegetables in the oven, rather than frying or roasting them in oil. Herbs, spices, lime juice, garlic, and nuts or seeds are all great additions for flavour and texture. After a while, you will be able to observe that there can be enjoyment in tasting the simple foods without an oily flavour and texture!

Also, next time you think that vegan margarine is healthier than butter, it is packed with trans-fat and barren of healthy nutrients so think again!

“Oils…Empty calories at best, carcinogenic junk foods at worst. Across the board, refined oil (including coconut, flax, olive, hemp, almond, borange, and the like, which are touted as ‘pure’ or ‘special’ because of their source or careful processing methods) are essentially empty calories, not fit for consumption. They are stripped of the fiber, protein, and carbohydrates that accompanied the whole foods from which they derived, leaving an unbalanced fractional product.” (16)

Sources

  1. Campbell, T., 2015. The Campbell Plan. 1st ed. New York: Rodale, pp.60-61.
  2. Graham, D., 2010. The 80/10/10 Diet. 3rd ed. Key Largo, FL: FoodnSport Press, pp.125-126.
  3. Willett, W., 2012. Dietary fats and coronary heart disease. Journal of Internal Medicine, [online] 272(1), pp.13-24. Available at: <https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1365-2796.2012.02553.x&gt; [Accessed 9 July 2020].
  4. Seven Countries Study. 2020. Saturated Fat, Serum Cholesterol And Coronary Heart Disease. [online] Available at: <https://www.sevencountriesstudy.com/saturated-fat-and-coronary-heart-disease/&gt; [Accessed 9 July 2020].
  5. Heileson, J., 2019. Dietary saturated fat and heart disease: a narrative review. Nutrition Reviews, [online] 78(6), pp.474-485. Available at: <https://academic.oup.com/nutritionreviews/article-abstract/78/6/474/5678770&gt; [Accessed 9 July 2020].
  6. Katan, M., Brouwer, I., Clarke, R., Geleijnse, J. and Mensink, R., 2010. Saturated fat and heart disease. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, [online] 92(2), pp.459-460. Available at: <https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/92/2/459/4597396&gt; [Accessed 9 July 2020].
  7. Sieri, S., Chiodini, P., Agnol, C. and Pala, V. et al., 2014. Dietary Fat Intake and Development of Specific Breast Cancer Subtypes. Journal of the national cancer institute, [online] 106(5). Available at: <https://academic.oup.com/jnci/article/106/5/dju068/2607154&gt; [Accessed 9 July 2020].
  8. Shetty, P. and Sreedharan, J., 2019. Breast Cancer and Dietary Fat Intake: A correlational study. Nepal Journal of Epidemiology, [online] 9 (4), pp.812-816. Available at: <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6964800/&gt; [Accessed 9 July 2020].
  9. Carroll, K.K., Gammal, E.B., and Plunkett, E.R. Dietary fat and mammary cancer. Canadian Medical Association Journal 1968; 98: 590-594.
  10. Han, J., Jiang, Y., Liu, X. and Meng, Q. et al., 2015. Dietary Fat Intake and Risk of Gastric Cancer: A Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies. PLoS One, [online] 10(9), p.e0138580. Available at: <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4581710/&gt; [Accessed 9 July 2020].
  11. Qiu, W., Lu, H., Qi, Y. and Wang, X., 2016. Dietary fat intake and ovarian cancer risk: a meta-analysis of epidemiological studies. Oncotarget, [online] 7(24), pp.37390-37406. Available at: <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5095084/&gt; [Accessed 9 July 2020].
  12. Food Consumer. 2017. Dietary Fat May Raise Risk Of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. [online] Available at: <https://foodconsumer.org/16/safety/chemical/dietary-fat-may-raise-risk-non-hodgkin-lymphoma/&gt; [Accessed 9 July 2020].
  13. Blankenhorn, D.H., Johnson R.L., Mack W.J., El Zein, H.A., and Vailas, L.I. The influence of diet on the appearance of new lesions in human coronary arteries. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association. 1990; 263: 1646-1652.
  14. Burr M. L. Secondary Prevention of CHD in UK men: The Diet and Reinfarction Trial and its sequel. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 2007; 66: 9-15.
  15. Houghton, T., 2020. New To An Oil-Free Diet? Here’s What You Need To Know. [online] Center for Nutrition Studies. Available at: <https://nutritionstudies.org/new-to-an-oil-free-diet-heres-what-you-need-to-know/&gt; [Accessed 9 July 2020].
  16. Graham, D., 2010. The 80/10/10 Diet. 3rd ed. Key Largo, FL: FoodnSport Press, p.130.

Potatoes: an ideal staple?

Potatoes are a wholesome, nutritious food choice that gradually seems to be becoming less popular and more stigmatised due to assumptions that potatoes cause weight gain. However, if you have assumed that potatoes cause weight gain, it is probably due to two types of foods that derive from potatoes, namely chips and crisps.

“According to a July 2016 report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating potatoes as french fries has a stronger link to weight gain and increased BMI than preparing them boiled, mashed or baked.” (1, 2)

Potatoes, in themselves, have a relatively low-fat content until cooking oil, trans-fat, and processed sauces are added in the process of preparing and processing them. Due to this, chips and crisps do contribute to weight gain using the standard preparation methods.

As well as being low in fat and high in fibre, the starch in potatoes helps with satiety and creates a full feeling to prevent further cravings after a meal. Potatoes are also full of crucial and beneficial micronutrients! Potatoes are an ideal source of iron, calcium, zinc, potassium, vitamin C, and protein.

The three healthiest potatoes are most likely red potatoes, sweet potatoes, and purple potatoes. It would be hard to list all the benefits and reasons for this! Here are some of them:

Why red potatoes are so healthy?

●  They have the ‘highest levels of vitamins, minerals, and healthy phytochemicals’ out of all the potatoes.

●  They contain the flavonoid quercetin which is anti-inflammatory.

●  They contain lutein and choline which helps the eyes and brain respectively

●  They contain B6 which needed for metabolism, forming red blood cells, energy levels, and brain functions.

●  They contain high levels of potassium which balances sodium and helps bodily functions.

(3, 4)

Why sweet potatoes are so healthy?

●  They contain beta-carotene which helps the skin, immune system, and eyes.

●  They contain manganese which helps the metabolism, nervous system, blood functions, and bones.

(3, 4)

Why purple potatoes are so healthy?

● They contain antioxidants called anthocyanins which are responsible for the purple colour.

●  They may help detox your body from heavy metals.

(3, 4)

●  They contain phytochemicals that lower your blood pressure.

Additionally, red potatoes are higher in antioxidants, so they will provide the most protective benefits against disease. Red potatoes contain twice the vitamin C content to ordinary white potatoes (1). Meanwhile, sweet potatoes are also high in antioxidants and likely to prevent disease. Sweet potatoes contain carotenoids that have “antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits and may play a role in preventing heart disease and type 2 diabetes” (5). Thus, these are by far the healthiest types of potatoes, as they are full of essential nutrients and disease-destroying phytochemicals!

History

The history of potatoes is believed to stem back to the Native Americans who cultivated and perhaps domesticated them. Potatoes are indigenous plants of South America that begun being domesticated and grown for food many thousands of years ago (6). Red potatoes are likely to be less modified and closer to the origins than white potatoes.

Similarly, sweet potatoes were cultivated by the Native Americans and originate from a different plant family to potatoes. Also, there are distinct types of sweet potatoes found throughout Asia (7), so different types of sweet potatoes may have distinct origins.

When potatoes were brought to Europe a few hundred years ago, the popularity of potatoes was large in Ireland. They considered potatoes an ideal staple food that “provided protein, vitamins and complex carbohydrates.” (3) Potatoes are a supreme source of food for preventing deficiency, hunger, meeting your calorie intake, and feeling satisfied.

Long-lived and thriving cultures

Some of the healthiest, happiest, and thriving cultures have potatoes as a staple food. This surely provides evidence that potatoes should be considered a health food and included in a balanced diet. Blue Zone diets consist of a mostly whole-foods plant-based diet with complex carbohydrates like starchy vegetables (as well as whole grains and legumes) as staple foods (8). Thus, a vegan diet with a nutritious staple like potatoes seems to be the ultimate diet.

Both Okinawa in Japan and Ikaria in Greece have diets that involve the complex carbohydrate of potatoes as a central element of their diet. In Okinawa, the sweet potato is central to their diet (5). This is likely a major factor in their quality of health due to the antioxidant content and essential micronutrients found in sweet potatoes. Furthermore, in Ikaria, potatoes are also very popular and widely consumed often. “Ikaria is a Greek island so the diet is arguably ‘Mediterranean’ but with a larger intake of potatoes” (9). Thus, the high consumption of potatoes, along with many other factors, may be the reason that they are some of the longest-lived people.

So, I think that everyone who enjoys potatoes, whether they are mashed, roasted, baked, boiled, or steamed, should extend their gratefulness to the Native Americans and other cultures for beginning the cultivation of these tubulars that are so packed full of goodness! Wild potatoes in the native region are in fact tiny tubers.

“Starch granules from Solanum jamesii have been found preserved on a 10,900-year-old stone metate at Escalante, Utah, making it the earliest known evidence of wild potato use in North America. Ancient peoples transported, grew and possibly domesticated this tiny tuber.” (10)

This indicates a lengthy history of potato domestication that has brought these tubulars to those found in the present day. Potatoes are a very grounding vegetable and echo the Native American spiritual relationship with the earth.

“We are the land … that is the fundamental idea embedded in Native American life the Earth is the mind of the people as we are the mind of the earth. The land is not really the place (separate from ourselves) where we act out the drama of our isolate destinies. It is not a means of survival, a setting for our affairs … It is rather a part of our being, dynamic, significant, real. It is our self …

It is not a matter of being ‘close to nature’ … The Earth is, in a very real sense, the same as our self (or selves) … That knowledge, though perfect, does not have associated with it the exalted romance of the sentimental ‘nature lovers’, nor does it have, at base, any self-conscious ‘appreciation’ of the land … It is a matter of fact, one known equably from infancy, remembered and honoured at levels of awareness that go beyond consciousness, and that extend long roots into primary levels of mind, language, perception and all the basic aspects of being …”

Paula Gunn Allen, Laguna Pueblo (1979: 191–192) –  (11)

References

(1) Boyers, L., 2020. Are Red Potatoes Healthier Than White Potatoes?. [online] LIVESTRONG.COM. Available at: <https://www.livestrong.com/article/460129-are-red-potatoes-healthier-than-white-potatoes/> [Accessed 21 June 2020].

(2) Borch, D., Juul-Hindsgaul, N., Veller, M., Astrup, A., Jaskolowski, J. and Raben, A., 2016. Potatoes and risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease in apparently healthy adults: a systematic review of clinical intervention and observational studies. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, [online] 104(2), pp.489-498. Available at: <https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/104/2/489/4564613> [Accessed 21 June 2020].

(3) Lecklitner, I., 2020. Healthiest Potatoes: Ranking Every Potato By How Healthy They Are. [online] MEL Magazine. Available at: <https://melmagazine.com/en-us/story/ranking-types-of-potatoes-by-how-healthy-they-are> [Accessed 21 June 2020].

(4) Friedman, D., n.d. Food Sanity: How To Eat In A World Of Fads And Fiction. 1st ed. New York: Basic Health Publications.

(5) Hill, A., 2019. What Is The Okinawa Diet? Foods, Longevity, And More. [online] Healthline. Available at: <https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/okinawa-diet#recommendation> [Accessed 21 June 2020].

(6) Vegetablefacts.net. 2020. Potato History – Origin And History Of Potatoes. [online] Available at: <http://www.vegetablefacts.net/vegetable-history/history-of-potatoes/> [Accessed 21 June 2020].

(7) All-about-sweet-potatoes.com. 2020. History And Origin Of Sweet Potatoes. [online] Available at: <http://www.all-about-sweet-potatoes.com/history-origin-sweet-potato.html> [Accessed 21 June 2020].

(8) Mackey, J., Pulde, A. and Lederman, M., 2017. The Whole Foods Diet. 1st ed. Boston: Grand Central Life & Style.

(9) Ware, V., 2015. Which Is The World’s Healthiest Diet?. [online] Lucy Bee. Available at: <https://shop.lucybee.com/blogs/all-blogs/which-is-the-worlds-healthiest-diet> [Accessed 21 June 2020].

(10) Gulliford, A., 2020. On The Trail Of Tiny Tubers: Four Corners Potato A Staple Of Native American Diets. [online] Durango Herald. Available at: <https://durangoherald.com/articles/309899-on-the-trail-of-tiny-tubers-four-corners-potato-a-staple-of-native-american-diets> [Accessed 21 June 2020].

(11) Booth, A., 2003. We are the Land: Native American Views of Nature. In: H. Selin, ed., Nature Across Cultures: Views of Nature and the Environment in Non-western Cultures. [online] Dordrecht, Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp.329-349. Available at: <https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-94-017-0149-5_17> [Accessed 21 June 2020].

Why do I choose local greengrocers over supermarkets?

“People who own the world outright for profit will have to be stopped by influence, by power, by us.” (Wendall Berry) (1)

Supermarkets yield way too much power! Instead, smaller local stores and markets may be more ethical, more eco-friendly, and a healthier alternative!   

The first reason for shopping at local greengrocers or farmer’s markets is that your money does count even though you are only one person. The small business or the major supermarket chain will be supported by your services. Supermarkets have a net worth of billions, as opposed to small businesses which would be a successful business if they earn 20k annually. Supermarkets “rake in a staggering £7 out of every £10 spent on the high street” (2), and “Tesco has nearly a third of the whole of the UK’s grocery market” (2). The wealth and power of supermarket chains cannot be denied!

This substantial amount of power can be used unjustly. Action Aid has researched “three countries (that) illustrates how the pressure on suppliers to deliver more for less is passed on to workers in the form of low wages, job insecurity, and a denial of their basic human rights” (3). In contrast, smaller sellers will likely have less pressure for cheap prices and efficiency, so, consequently, there will be less demand on suppliers. This would entail fairer treatment for workers in terms of price and working conditions. Maybe supermarket prices being cheaper is not the favourable option if you want to be an ethical shopper.

Also, buying local and seasonal produce is considerate and healthy for two main reasons. Firstly, it is more mindful because it is another step to protect the planet! In terms of carbon emissions, supermarkets not only fly lots of food from abroad but “the big supermarkets transport it around the country to be processed and packaged before it reaches the customer. Smaller regional supermarkets are more likely to source food, process it and sell it within the same region” (4). This means that less Co2 emissions are probably used by smaller stores, and even if you do want exotic fruit, this will probably not be processed and packaged across multiple locations around the country. Most small fruit and vegetable stores use minimal packaging, so another way to protect the environment is to use some reusable eco-friendly produce bags and kick out the plastic from your life!

The importance of buying local and seasonal produce also links to health. Toxic chemicals that harm health may be used less due to the shorter shelf-life of local and seasonal produce resulting in less likelihood of certain preservation methods. A synthetic product called “SmartFresh is now used on a wide range of fruits and vegetables in over 26 countries, including the UK, US and Australia” (5, 6). This may seem an ideal way to preserve vegetables, but the health effects suggest otherwise. SmartFresh contains 1-Methylcyclopropene which affects the visual system and requires protective clothing during handling (7). This chemical must only be detrimental to health!

The damaging health effects of the chemicals and the other factor of shelf life display that supermarket produce is less than nutritious. Their nutrient value decreases as fruit and vegetables are stored for a longer time.

“Keeping apples in storage for a long period of time is bad because antioxidant activity in apples fade away after three months of storage in the cold. Therefore, a one-year-old apple in the storage will have no antioxidants left in it whatsoever” (7).

 It is not only antioxidants; research suggests that the nutrient value of many fruit and vegetables has significantly decreased over time which may be due to production methods.

“The evidence for nutrient declines began to accumulate in the 1940s with observations of (environmental) dilution effects on minerals in many foods and diverse other plants. Recent studies of historical nutrient content data for fruits and vegetables spanning 50 to 70 years show apparent median declines of 5% to 40% or more in minerals, vitamins, and protein in groups of foods, especially in vegetables. Although these apparent declines in individual nutrients may be confounded by systematic errors in historical data, the broad evidence is consistent with more definitive studies and seems difficult to dismiss.” (8)

Fruits and vegetables that are local, seasonal, and brought at the local greengrocers will have been in storage for less time meaning higher antioxidant levels, more nutrients, and a lower likelihood of the use of synthetic preservatives. It is also likely that fruits and vegetables brought in smaller stores will have had altogether fewer toxic chemicals on them than supermarkets!

“Foods from local growers may contain less (or no) pesticides. Farmers have to pay an extra fee to become certified organic. Some small-scale farmers use organic methods but aren’t certified because they simply aren’t big enough to be able to afford the certification fees. Even if they aren’t organic, small farmers tend to use fewer chemicals than large, industrialized farms.” (9)

The quality and the taste of the vegetables and fruit are often better at smaller stores due to the factors mentioned! I recorded my groceries from the local greengrocers over 14 weeks:

–          Week 1: red potatoes, shallots, a mushroom mix, limes, bananas, oranges, kale, and squash.

–          Week 2: oranges, bananas, broccoli, squash, herbs, mushrooms, pomelo, and romanesco cauliflower.

–          Week 3: kale, leeks, red cabbage, sweet potatoes, bananas, mushroom mix, limes, apples, pomegranate, passion fruit, and tomatoes.

–          Week 4: mangoes, celeriac, herbs, kale, red potatoes, beetroots, apples, broccoli, squash, and pomegranate.

–          Week 5: bananas, carrots, swede, red potatoes, apples, beetroots, lettuce, celery, kale, leeks, chard, and cucumber.

–          Week 6: mushrooms, carrots, cranberries, kale, tomatoes, squash, apples, oranges, herbs, leeks, beetroots, and avocado.

–          Week 7: mushrooms, red potatoes, apples, squash, kale, pineapples, watermelon, red cabbage, mangoes, satsumas, bananas, and limes.

–          Week 8: satsumas, chard, kale, herbs, squash, sweet potatoes, red potatoes, apples, and tomatoes.

–          Week 9: mushrooms, mangoes, red potatoes, satsumas, avocadoes, zucchini, apples, pineapple, watermelon, kale, and herbs.

–          Week 10: Red potatoes, mushrooms, avocadoes, leeks, squash, tomatoes, kale, oranges, and apples.

–          Week 11: lychee, cherries, limes, pomegranates, apples, sweet potatoes, pears, satsumas, zucchini, and peppers.

–          Week 12: apples, mangoes, satsumas, papaya, grapes, tomatoes, red potatoes, sweet potato, limes, mushrooms, avocado, broccoli, and pineapple.

–          Week 13: chard, kale, zucchini, broccoli, peppers, pomegranates, avocadoes, mangoes, cauliflower, and kiwi.

The price each week was between £15 and £25, but the last 2 weeks at an only organic store was £35. I also ate grains, legumes, nuts, and some extra fruit. I highly recommend getting plastic-free bulk foods from websites like https://www.realplasticfree.com/ or zero waste refill stores.

 In terms of nutrients, I tried to include a range of greens, a range of starch-based foods, and lots of mushrooms with vitamin D for healthy balance during the winter months. Greens are full of essential micronutrients like calcium, iron, and vitamin K. Meanwhile, starch-based foods like squash and potatoes help you to feel satiety whilst also providing key nutrients like phosphorus, potassium, and B vitamins. During the winter, starch-based foods are also warming.  An (unsponsored) app that I highly recommend is ‘Meal Planner’ which allows you to create a meal plan for each day and a shopping list for each week.

This was before I did a fruit detox which I also highly recommend! 

“The devil ain’t got no power over me.” (Bob Marley) (10)

References

(1) Woodiwiss, C., 2012. Wendell Berry’s Earth Day Speech: ‘People Who Own The World Outright For Profit Will Have To Be Stopped’. [online] Thinkprogress.org. Available at: <https://thinkprogress.org/wendell-berrys-earth-day-speech-people-who-own-the-world-outright-for-profit-will-have-to-be-stopped-5bb42709abd1/> [Accessed 28 April 2020].

(2) Savage, M., 2007. The Big Question: Have Supermarkets Become Just Too Powerful In Britain? [online] The Independent. Available at: <https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/analysis-and-features/the-big-question-have-supermarkets-become-just-too-powerful-in-britain-403010.html> [Accessed 27 April 2020].

(3) Hearson, M. and Eagleton, D., 2007. Who Pays? How British Supermarkets Are Keeping Women Workers In Poverty. [pdf] London: ActionAid, pp.1-80. Available at: <https://www.actionaid.org.uk/sites/default/files/doc_lib/actionaid_who_pays_report.pdf> [Accessed 27 April 2020].

(4) Hickman, L., 2004. Fruit And Vegetables. [online] The Guardian. Available at: <https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2004/jun/24/ethicalliving.ethicalmoney> [Accessed 27 April 2020].

(5) Lockhart, S., 2017. Mad Diet: Easy Steps To Lose Weight And Cure Depression. 1st ed. London: Hodder and Stoughton.

(6) Get The Gloss. 2018. The Ugly Truth Behind ‘Fresh’ Fruit And Vegetables. [online] Available at: <https://www.getthegloss.com/article/the-ugly-truth-behind-fresh-fruit-and-vegetables> [Accessed 27 April 2020].

(7) Robinson, J., 2017. 1-Methylcyclopropene — Toxicity, Side Effects, Diseases And Environmental Impacts. [online] Naturalpedia.com. Available at: <https://www.naturalpedia.com/1-methylcyclopropene-toxicity-side-effects-diseases-and-environmental-impacts.html> [Accessed 27 April 2020].

(8) Davis, D., 2009. Declining Fruit and Vegetable Nutrient Composition: What Is the Evidence? HortScience, [online] 44(1), pp.15-19. Available at: <https://journals.ashs.org/hortsci/view/journals/hortsci/44/1/article-p15.xml> [Accessed 27 April 2020].

(9) Honeycutt, E., 2017. Why Buy Local Food? It’s Healthier For You And Better For The Environment. [online] Food Revolution Network. Available at: <https://foodrevolution.org/blog/why-buy-local-food/> [Accessed 27 April 2020].

(10) McIndoe, R., 2020. Bob Marley’s 30 Most Memorable Quotes On What Would Have Been His 75Th Birthday. [online] Inews.co.uk. Available at: <https://inews.co.uk/culture/music/bob-marley-quotes-lyrics-songs-75th-birthday-death-1390257> [Accessed 28 April 2020].

Or Tor Kor Organic Market: joyfulness in the most indulgent fruit

Decoration at the entrance to Or Tor Kor Market

Or Tor Kor Market is a top-notch organic market in Bangkok. In fact, “Or Tor Kor Market in Bangkok was voted as the 4th Best Fresh Market in the world by CNN Travel” (1). The market is ideal for vegans due to the wide-ranging sale of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Most of the fruit was a decent price, succulent, flavourful, and scrumptious. The buys I enjoyed included passion fruit, rambutan, seeded grapes, tomatoes, small cucumbers, lettuce, mangoes, pomegranates, durian, pineapple, bananas, papayas, coconuts, watermelon, jackfruit, mangosteen, and sapodilla. This was truly the best candy in the land! Candy that does not cause defects in your metabolism, energy levels, and blood pressure, but improves your health. Increasing fruit consumption leads to weight loss, digestive ease, disease prevention, immunity, and anti-aging effects (2). Fruit also reverses the detrimental and toxic effects of candy consumption over the years due to its detox-effect.

Jackfruit, mangoes, grapes, and rambutan.
Melon, mangoes, longans, rose apples, and sapodillas.

Out of all the fruit, durian was the most precious and rare diamond. The unique taste is like nothing else! It is a mix between an indulgent savoury snack and a luxurious pudding. It could either be marmite or custard at any given moment. Durian is either loved or hated! Some hate it so much that they have banned it on public transport!

 Nevertheless, if you are one of the individuals that does love it, then you should know that every durian tastes different and every durian is an extremely indulgent treat. There is so much durian on offer at Or Tor Kor Market and it is worth the price! Durian is also packed full of rewarding health benefits!

“Durian is a fruit with the ability to boost your immune system, increase energy levels, and inhibit free radical activity. The health benefits of this fruit also include improved digestion, strengthened bones, and reduced signs of anemia. It is also good for slowing premature aging, lowering blood pressure, and protecting against cardiovascular diseases.”

(3)                         

Durian at Or Tor Kor Market.

Although durian is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, that is not to say there was not bad experiences at the market. My experience was far less than perfect with some of the starfruit on one occasion and some of the kiwi fruit at another time, because the fruits that I mistakenly purchased were far past their best before date. The unpleasant taste is not the only risk of buying mouldy fruit, as there is also the danger of bacteria and fungi which can lead to illness.

Due to the risks, there are several key questions to ask during choosing to buy fruit, and then, choosing to eat fruit.

When buying fruit, you could ask yourself:

■      Is the fruit injured? (Bruises or lesions)

■         Is there an acidic toxic rotten smell?

■       Is there discoloration on the skin?

Before eating the fruit, you could ask yourself:

■         Is the fruit soft and slimy?

■        Is there an acidic toxic smell once it has been prepared?

■     Is there discoloration once it has been prepared?

These questions are linked to the science behind fruit going mouldy. This process happens as the natural compounds in the fruit begin to take effect and microbes attach to the fruit whilst claiming it as their territory. Naturally occurring enzymes like polyphenol (PPO) cause oxidative browning (4), ethylene gas is a hormone that causes ripening which affects the texture and colour of fruit (5), and microbes are likely be responsible for the sewage-plant smell which gradually develops as “they have evolved to make it unappetizing to large animals as fast as possible” (6, 7). If the fruit has a bruise or a lesion, rotting will happen more rapidly due to the ethylene gas which is produced once a fruit is damaged (5). Thus, the questions above cover the main signs in terms of the scientific development of a fruit turning mouldy.

Another issue to watch out for is some stalls charge higher than usual for single pieces of fruit. Generally, the cheaper deals are for a bunch of fruit with the price already displayed. It is probably the best idea to research the average price of most organic fruits to ensure that you get a fair price.

Is the organic fruit worth the extravagant price?

Organic fruit is better than conventional fruit for three main reasons. These reasons are that the farming of organic foods is more environmentally friendly, there are more micronutrients due to the fruits being grown in mineral rich soil without chemicals that affect the nutrient density, and there is none of the toxic chemicals used in conventional farming which have an impact on health. In organic farming, herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers are only naturally derived substances.

Thus, I would give Or Tor Kor Organic Market four stars, because it is warming that organic farmers are selling high-quality and delicious foods that are organic. However, there are some stalls that are less than genuine about the quality of the produce which should only be sold before or during ripening, and some stalls may try tricks to sell at abnormally high prices. So, all consumers should be wise and discerning, but I do not recommend missing out on the splendid treats at this market.

Watermelon and Durian at Or Tor Kor Market.
Or Tor Kor Market.

Sources:

(1) Stories by Soumya. 2019. A Quick Guide to Or Tor Kor Market in Bangkok. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.storiesbysoumya.com/or-tor-kor-market-bangkok/. [Accessed 15 April 2020].

(2) Nutrition and You.com. 2019. Fruit Nutrition Facts. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/fruit-nutrition.html. [Accessed 16 April 2020].

(3) Organic Facts. 2020. Top 8 Health Benefits of Durian. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/health-benefits-of-durian.html [Accessed 15 April 2020].

(4) LiveStrong.com. 2019. How to Tell If a Fruit is Spoiled. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.livestrong.com/article/473318-how-to-tell-if-a-fruit-is-spoiled/ [Accessed 15 April 2020].

(5) Gardening know How. 2018. What Is Ethylene Gas: Information On Ethylene Gas And Fruit Ripening. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/fruits/fegen/ethylene-gas-information.htm. [Accessed 15 April 2020].

(6) Janzen, D., 1977. Why Fruits Rot, Seeds Mold, and Meat Spoils. American Naturalist, 111 (980), 691-713.

(7)    AAAS. 2014. Rotten Fruit May be Due to Microbe Warfare. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2014/03/rotten-fruit-may-be-due-microbe-warfare# . [Accessed 15 April 2020].

–          

How is fruit better than other foods for the immune system?

Fruit is the ultimate immune system booster, unlike the dietary choices of processed foods and animal products!

The immune system is a unified system of functions, including the white blood cells, the antibodies, the complement system, the lymphatic system, the spleen, the bone marrow, and the thymus (1). These form a mysterious magical shield that the body can use to defend itself from viruses, illness, disease, and toxins.

If you search for foods that boost the immune system through the internet, social media, and YouTube, every list will have a substantial amount of fruit. Why is this?

The immune system is constantly working to block out illness, toxins, and free radicals to allow only the valuable nutrients to be digested. Fruit is full of beneficial nutrients and is cleansing, so it can only be helpful to the body’s immune system.

The immune system relies on the digestive system to dispose of these unwanted pathogens and toxins. There are several ways that these unwanted pathogens and toxins are removed. They are either removed due to the lining of the digestive tract which has antibodies, due to the acidity in the stomach, or due to the frequent release that happens via the bowels and the urinary tract (1). These defenses are only improved by the detox effect of fruit.

Plus, fruit has a range of vitamins and minerals. Most fruit has an abundant amount of vitamin C and some vitamin A (2). Vitamin A helps to build white blood cells, supports the role of the skin, and helps the organs function (3). Vitamin A helps the elimination process and helps the body to form an outer defence system. Meanwhile, vitamin C also helps the body form the white blood cells that fight pathogens, as well as protecting the respiratory tract (3). Vitamin C is bound to knock that cold and flu on the head when it is consumed at the source! This is in fruit in large amounts!  

Minerals that help immune function include zincmagnesium,and selenium (4). Many assume that these are not acquired from fruit. Think again! “High zinc fruits include avocados, blackberries, pomegranates, raspberries, guavas, cantaloupes, apricots, peaches, kiwifruit, and blueberries” (5). Thus, meat or high protein foods are not essential for zinc intake. Meanwhile, magnesium is also in many fruits. “Fruits high in magnesium include dried figs, avocados, guavas, bananas, kiwi fruit, papayas, blackberries, raspberries, cantaloupes, and grapefruit.” (6). Once again, no animal products are necessary! Lastly, selenium is abundant in many fruits. Fruits include bananas, avocadoes, blackberries, blueberries, oranges, grapefruit, grapes, kiwi, lemon and melon all contain some selenium in varying amounts (7). Selenium has a main role of providing antioxidant action. Antioxidants only support the immune system, as their role is like that of the immune system. They help to fight free radicals and cleanse out toxins!

“A major avenue of research over the last decade has been to determine how the immune system benefits from certain diets, including the intake of dietary antioxidants… Much of the evidence is focused on polyphenols, the abundant plant derived phytochemicals that include anthocyanins, the pigments responsible for the vibrant red, blue and purple colors of berries and other colorful fruits.” (8)

Antioxidants may be what is really needed to boot that unwelcome illness out of your body!

stark contrast is the effects of processed foods and animal-based foods on the immune system. Firstly, processed foods have no benefits to the immune system and only cause inflammation especially due to food additives. “Things like synthetic trans fats, sugar, and preservatives increase inflammation in our diet…our immune system is not prepared” (9).  Due to the immune system attempting to battle these excess toxins, there is excess inflammation. One reason for this is that processed food leads to an increase in immune cells from ‘bone marrow progenitors’” (10). Bone marrow is a key player in the immune system, the immune system becomes overworked, and inflammation is the immune response to excess toxins.

In fact, as well as the immune system becoming overwhelmed leading to inflammation, processed food may even permanently weaken the immune system due to the consumption of processed foods.

 “Of potentially greatest concern, our poor dietary behaviours are encoded into both our DNA scaffolding and gut microbiome, and thus these harmful immune modifications are passed to our offspring” (11, 12).

Thus, food habits can be passed through generations due to permanently distorting the DNA of the immune system and the digestive system

Not only processed food habits, but also animal products, will weaken the immune system and lead to autoimmune diseases. One effect on the immune system from animal products is that they are high in saturated fat which is detrimental to the blood vessels and the digestive system. A report has found that the gut has healthy bacteria which are harmed by saturated fat (13, 14). As well as damage to the digestive system, there is a release of bacterial endotoxins which damages the blood vessels from just one meal with animal products (15). This damage does not occur from the consumption of fruit which has a cleansing effect, and the consumption of fruit combined with fasting can help to release toxic fat stores.

The acidic toxicity of animal products must weaken the immune system as these foods significantly increase your chances of acquiring autoimmune diseases. The two main ways that animal products are likely to lead to autoimmune diseases are leaky gut and molecular mimicryLeaky gut is a result of the bacteria/toxins from animal foods and the damage to the gut from saturated fat.

“A 2017 study published in the Frontiers of Immunology found that “leaky gut” — when the intestinal epithelial lining loses integrity and allows the passage of bacteria and toxins into the blood — can “trigger the initiation and development of autoimmune disease.” (16, 14).

This explains an effect of saturated fat on your body and the immune system. A video that explains this well is here: –                https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=229&v=p_uy4kfQDkA&feature=emb_title

On the other hand, the molecular mimicry involves our body’s reaction to the proteins in the animal products. Due the similar proteins in animal products to the proteins in our own body, the immune system enters ‘attack’ mode against the foreign animal proteins and, also, our own bodies. This process is explained in more detail here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=227&v=FNmIBB2UG_M&feature=emb_logo

So, fruits are infinitely magical to the immune system, whilst processed foods with additives and animal products shatter the immune system with a constant onslaught of toxic substances that the body struggles to manage.

SOURCES

FRUIT

(1) Betterhealth.vic.gov.au. 2017. Immune System. [online] Available at: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/immune-system [Accessed 3 April 2020].

(2) Lenntech.com. 2020. Vitamin Content Of Fruit And Vegetables. [online] Available at: https://www.lenntech.com/fruit-vegetable-vitamin-content.htm [Accessed 3 April 2020]

(3) Agrawal, M., 2014. Top 10 Vitamins and Minerals For Boosting Immunity. [online] InlifeHealthCare. Available at: https://www.inlifehealthcare.com/2014/10/03/vitamins-minerals-boost-immune-system/ [Accessed 3 April 2020]

(4) Approach Wellness. 2019. List Of Minerals For Immune System Health. [online] Available at: https://www.approachwellness.com/list-of-minerals.html [Accessed 3 April 2020].

(5) Whitbread, D. 2019. Top 10 Fruits Highest in Zinc. [online] myfooddata. Available at: https://www.myfooddata.com/articles/high-zinc-fruits.php [Accessed 3 April 2020].

(6) Whitbead, D. 2019. Top 10 Fruits Highest in Magnesium. [online] myfooddata. Available at: https://www.myfooddata.com/articles/high-magnesium-fruits.php [Accessed 3 April 2020].

(7) Ann, M., 2018. Fruits With Selenium. [online] Healthyeating.sfgate.com. Available at: https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/fruits-selenium-5382.html [Accessed 3 April 2020].

(8) Rounds, D., 2020. The Immune System, Antioxidants And Ariona Berries – Drink Tohi. [online] Drink Tohi. Available at: https://drinktohi.com/the-immune-system-antioxidants-and-aronia-berries/ [Accessed 3 April 2020].

PROCESSED FOOD

(9) Monico, L. 2020. How Processed Junk Food Hurts The Immune System. [online] Lifehealthbestself.com. Available at: https://lifehealthbestself.com/how-processed-junk-food-hurts-the-immune-system/ [Accessed 3 April 2020].

(10) Dale, A., 2018. This Is Why You Should Avoid Eating Too Much Junk Food. [online] Labiotech.eu. Available at: https://www.labiotech.eu/medical/junk-food-immune-system/ [Accessed 3 April 2020].

(11) Myles, I., 2014. Fast food fever: reviewing the impacts of the Western diet on immunity. Nutrition Journal [online] 13 (61), pp. 1-17. Available at: http://www.nutritionj.com/content/pdf/1475-2891-13-61.pdf [Accessed 3 April 2020].

(12) Abrams, A., 2014. Fast Food May Hurt Your Immune System, And Could Hurt Your Kids, Too. [online] Time. Available at: https://time.com/2941167/fast-food-may-hurt-immune-system/ [Accessed 3 April 2020].

○ Hopkins, A., 2020. Is Processed Food Sabotaging Your Client’s Immune System? [online] Blog | That Clean Life. Available at: https://blog.thatcleanlife.com/is-junk-food-sabotaging-your-immune-system/ [Accessed 3 April 2020].

○ Learning, e. 2016. Processed Foods Destroy Immune System, Scientists Confirmed. [online] CancerBuster. Available at: https://cancerbuster.net/2016/01/04/processed-foods-destroy-immune-system-scientists-confirmed/ [Accessed 3 April 2020]

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ANIMAL PRODUCTS

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(14) Sentenac, H., 2018. 6 Foods To Eat And 3 To Avoid To Help Your Body Fight Autoimmune Disease And Excessive Inflammation. [online] Food Revolution Network. Available at: https://foodrevolution.org/blog/autoimmune-disease-diet/ [Accessed 4 April 2020]. 

(15) Carney, L., 2013. Why Do Animal Products Cause Inflammation?. [online] Drcarney.com. Available at: https://www.drcarney.com/blog/entry/why-do-animal-products-cause-inflammation [Accessed 4 April 2020].

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