I write this diet for diabetes step-by-step guide to help you understand how to eat healthy to treat, reverse, and prevent diabetes.
The approach I will outline in this guide has helped us support 5,274 people to treat and even reverse diseases like diabetes over the last three years.
This guide contains information about eating healthy foods and avoiding unhealthy ones. It includes tips for losing weight, preventing diabetes, potentially reversing diabetes, and living a longer life.
It even includes the science that we have based our Sampoorna Ahara Diabetes Diet Program on.
This step-by-step guide explains how to eat healthier and live a longer life. It provides detailed instructions on how to prepare nutritious meals, avoid junk food, cut back on sweets, and drink plenty of water.
So if you want to achieve better blood sugar levels, this guide is for you.
This is the right place to start if you're looking for a simple, straightforward guide to eating healthy.
Step #1: Targeting Lifestyle Changes, Not Crash Diets
Diabetes affects millions of people worldwide. If you or someone you know has diabetes, then you already know how difficult it is to manage diabetes. This disease requires constant monitoring and attention. To control our diabetes, we must make lifestyle changes that will benefit our bodies. That means eating right and exercising regularly.
A crash diet is usually a temporary solution to a long-term problem. If you're trying to control diabetes, you must make lifestyle changes instead of following a crash diet. A crash diet will probably cause more harm than good.
Crash Diets Don't Help People With Type 2 Diabetes Control Their Sugar Levels
The crash diets that work for losing weight and improving glycemic control in the short termoften fail when treating type 2 diabetes over the long term because they're not sustainable. When you get back to your 'normal' eating patterns, it can cause blood sugar spikes and crashes that lead to insulin resistance and eventually worsening type 2 diabetes.
Instead, try a healthy lifestyle to lose weight and keep it off. This includes eating well, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, managing stress, and taking medications as prescribed.
Low-carb diets are popular among people who want to lose weight quickly, shed kilos, and control their blood sugar levels. But there's no scientific evidence that low-carb diets work better than a healthy lifestyle. In fact, research indicates the opposite.
The reason is simple: Low-carb diets are high in certain animal foods, which reduces carbohydrates but increases inflammation and insulin resistance.
So while losing weight, you may be putting yourself at a higher risk of complications such as heart attacks and strokes.
So, stay away from crash diets.
What are crash diets?
Crash diets are extreme fad diets that promise quick results. They usually involve drastic changes to one’s eating habits, such as cutting out entire healthy food groups or consuming extremely low-calorie meals. Crash diets often lead to rapid weight loss followed by an equally rapid regain of lost weight.
These diets may seem appealing since they offer fast results but don't last. If you follow these diets, you won't achieve permanent weight loss.
Crash diets are dangerous because they can cause serious health problems. Some common side effects include dehydration, malnutrition, electrolyte imbalances, and nutrient deficiencies.
Some examples of crash diets
There are two types of crash diets: low-calorie diets and fad diets. Many doctors often recommend low-calorie diets to patients trying to lose weight. Fad diets are popular among celebrities and models.
These diets typically involve cutting back on food consumption. For example, one person might eat 500 calories daily instead of 1,000. This diet would result in significant weight loss within a week or two.
However, these diets are dangerous because they can lead to malnutrition and are not sustainable. People who follow these diets don't consume adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals.
These diets are similar to low-calorie diets, except they focus on specific foods. Some examples include the Atkins diet, the South Beach diet, and the Paleo diet.
People following these diets tend to cut out entire nutrients or food groups such as carbohydrates or grains.
Both low-calorie diets and fad diets can lead to nutritional deficiencies. As a practising doctor, I highly recommend you avoid crash diets.
Diets don't work
According to a 2005 study, more than 80% of dieters gain back the weight they worked so hard to lose.
The most popular diets today are very restrictive. They're often too restrictive to be sustainable over the long term. And when they fail, most dieters regain the weight within five years.
This is because diets are usually too restrictive to be sustainable. Restrictive diets limit the calories you eat, severely restrict certain types of food (such as carbs), or require you to cut out entire food groups.
And restricting food intake doesn't work either. Studies show that restricting calories leads to lower metabolism, which causes weight loss to stall.
To lose weight, you need to eat less calorie-dense foods. So, instead of restricting your calorie intake, try changing your lifestyle.
Lifestyle changes give you faster results, last longer, and work better.
It is because they become a part of your daily schedule. It becomes your 'New Normal'.
What do I mean by a healthy lifestyle? Let me explain.
12 Components of a Healthy Lifestyle
1. Plant-Based Foods
The most crucial step toward a healthy lifestyle is eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, legumes, pulses, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
2. Whole Foods
Avoiding processed foods and refined sugars is also essential. Choose whole-grain bread, rice, and millets instead of those made with refined flour or those that are processed and 'polished'.
3. No Animal Foods & Diary
If you're diabetic, you should avoid animal products such as meat, fish, eggs, milk, cheese, butter, and other dairy items.
4. No Refined Sugar
Avoid refined sugars, including white sugar, brown sugar, molasses, corn syrup, agave, maple syrup, honey, fructose, dextrose, maltodextrin, sucralose, and artificial sweeteners. These ingredients are not only empty calories, but they also contain chemicals that may cause cancer and other health problems.
5. Fruits & Vegetables
Eat at least two servings of fruits and veggies with each meal. Include dark green, orange, red, yellow, and purple vegetables; berries; and fruits. Eat cruciferous vegetables. Include a cup of greens in every meal.
To help control blood glucose levels and maintain healthy kidney function, drink plenty of water throughout the day. Drink enough glasses per day, divided evenly between morning, noon, afternoon, evening, and bedtime.
7. No Alcohol
Stop alcohol consumption. Alcohol damages the liver and pancreas, which raises blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Drink herbal tea and green tea.
Exercise regularly. Exercise helps keep weight, reduce stress, improve sleep quality, increase insulin sensitivity, and strengthen muscles. Aim for 90 minutes of moderate exercise such as walking or yoga daily, or 40 minutes of intense exercise such as running, swimming or dancing daily. Physical activity can help you lower your blood sugar levels even without the support of too much insulin.
Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation causes fatigue, irritability, and poor decision-making. Get seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.
10. No Stress
Learn to manage stress. Stress can trigger cravings for unhealthy foods and lead to overeating. Learn relaxation techniques, meditation, yoga, deep breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation.
11. Manage Emotions
Manage your emotions. Emotions affect your ability to make decisions and act appropriately. Learn to recognize when you feel stressed, angry, anxious, depressed, guilty, ashamed, embarrassed, frustrated, overwhelmed, lonely, bored, sad, happy, excited, proud, satisfied, confused, jealous, grateful, hopeful, afraid, and secure. Harness the power of introspection to address these emotions and achieve a balanced, stable mental state for most of the day.
12. Healthy human relationships
Make time for friends and family. Spend time with people you love, laugh, play games, share stories, and enjoy life.
Be patient. Don't expect results overnight. Your efforts now will pay off later. Be willing to work hard and stay committed to your goals.
Don't give up. Keep trying until you succeed. Remember, there is no failure—only feedback.
Can Diabetics Eat Fruits?
Yes! But it's essential to eat them in moderation. You must eat fruits along with other whole food plant-based ingredients. A balanced diet starting with fruits is an ideal diet for you.
Are you feeling overwhelmed?
Relax. I will help you break down the lifestyle change process into baby steps in the next step.
Step #2: Break Down Your Lifestyle Change Process Into TINY Steps
The second step in your lifestyle change process is to break down your lifestyle change into tiny steps. This will make it easier for you to achieve your goals. To accomplish anything, you must first take small steps. If you try to tackle too much at once, you may get overwhelmed and give up. You'll feel more confident as you progress toward your goal by taking small steps.
Eating clean, exercising, meditating, not getting stressed... it can turn you away before you even get a chance to start.
Research does show that those who follow the healthiest lifestyle enjoy the lowest diabetes risk.
Don't Try to Do Everything All at Once
If you try to change everything at once, you will fail. Instead, break down your lifestyle change process into tiny steps.
Start with the easy steps. Don't try to eat 'only vegetables' overnight.
First, add healthy foods. Then, gradually replace all your meals with 100% whole-food, plant-based food choices.
The same goes for exercise. Start walking if that's easy for you. Walk briskly for 30 minutes every day. Gradually build up to 90 minutes each day.
And finally, don't try to give up dairy products from day one. Instead, switch to plant-based dairy alternatives first. This will be enough to satisfy your cravings. Slowly, you will be able to overcome those cravings too.
Once you've made these tiny lifestyle changes, you'll feel great. And when you add in some weight loss, you'll notice that your clothes fit better and lose inches off your waistline.
Your health and fitness goals aren't impossible. They're achievable. But you need to take baby steps. Don't try to do too much at once.
Take Small Steps Toward Your Goals
The first steps in any lifestyle change involve breaking down your life into tiny chunks. This helps you focus on one small part at a time while making changes throughout your day.
For example, you might break down your healthy eating plan into smaller pieces:
- Eat more fruits
- Eat more vegetables
- Go dairy-free
- Avoid fried foods
Make Changes That Are Easy to Accomplish
Eating at least one cup of fruit daily is the most effortless lifestyle change. This is because it's not hard to find fresh fruits in grocery stores and restaurants, and most people already eat them regularly.
Eating one cup of veggies daily isn't as simple as eating a cup of fruit but it is still achievable. There are many different types of vegetables, each with unique health benefits. Some vegetables are high in fibre, others contain antioxidants, some are rich in vitamins, and others are packed with minerals.
Here are five minor changes to consider:
1) Buy seasonal produce. Seasonal produce tends to be fresher than out-of-season produce and, therefore, healthier. Cheaper, too!
2) Eat a rainbow. Eating various colourful fruits and vegetables helps ensure you're getting enough nutrients. Your plate will look colourful, and you will enjoy eating them.
3) Snack on fruits. Fruit snacks are convenient and tasty. You can buy them in bulk from the supermarket or order online.
4) Make sure you have plenty of water. Water keeps you hydrated and helps flush toxins from your body. It also makes you feel full faster.
5) Drink green tea. Green Tea is an excellent source of beneficial compounds. It is particularly good for boosting energy levels.
Get help with the more difficult steps, like going dairy-free. It can help you go from Step One to Step Two in just one week.
Seeing yourself making progress is the biggest motivator out there!
Don't Worry About Missteps and Failures
If you're trying to change your eating habits, you've got to be willing to fail. No matter how hard you try, there will be times when you slip up and eat too many calories. But instead of beating yourself up over those mistakes, learn from them. Don't worry about them; just move forward and keep going.
The same goes for setting healthy eating goals. Instead of getting discouraged when you fall off the wagon, pick yourself back up and continue moving toward your goal. And remember, no failure is permanent. So don't let setbacks discourage you.
Instead of punishing yourself for failing at dieting, reward yourself for making progress. Celebrate every little victory along the way.
And finally, don't forget to surround yourself with supportive friends and family members who encourage you to stay on track. They'll help you overcome obstacles and give you the motivation you need to succeed.
There's no magic bullet when trying to change dietary habits. There's no quick fix. And there's no overnight miracle cure. But there is a simple lifestyle change that will help you achieve long-term results.
The key to changing diet is being patient and sticking to a healthy eating plan. This means stocking up on fruits and vegetables, drinking plenty of water, eating more fibre, eating fewer calories, exercising regularly, and meditating daily.
I want to walk you through in detail the secret of changing to a balanced diet in micro steps. Before I do that, I want you to learn about how your body works and why you suffer from Diabetes.
Step #3: Learn About How Your Body Heals
Glucose is the body's primary fuel source.
You start to digest the food the minute you start eating. Saliva starts breaking down carbohydrates. Once food reaches your stomach and intestines, it gets digested fully into its component nutrients, which then travel through the bloodstream until it reaches cells throughout the body.
When blood sugar levels rise, the pancreas releases insulin, which moves glucose from the bloodstream into the cells. The liver converts excess glucose into glycogen (a stored carbohydrate), which it can break down to glucose later when required.
Insulin is released after meals to convert excess glucose into glycogen and enable cells to absorb glucose to produce energy. When blood sugar levels are high, insulin levels rise.
Insulin is made by the beta cells of the pancreas. Beta cells produce insulin in response to rising blood sugar levels.
Your body needs insulin to convert sugar into energy. If your body doesn't need as much insulin, it won't produce as much.
Insulin is like a key to the door for glucose to enter the body cells. When insulin levels are low, glucose cannot enter the cell. This means that less sugar enters the bloodstream.
When glucose is used to make energy in our cells, it produces free radicals. Free radicals damage the cell from the inside out. This is called oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress causes diabetes mellitus, hypertension, heart disease, etc.
How to combat oxidative stress?
The answer is simple. Supply your body with sufficient antioxidants and avoid foods that generate too many free radicals.
What are antioxidants?
Antioxidants are substances found in foods that protect us against oxidative stress. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals before they cause harm.
Many phytonutrients and some vitamins act as antioxidants.
Which foods are rich in antioxidants?
Plant-based foods are rich in antioxidants. But only whole plant foods, not processed plant foods.
This is one reason why a whole food plant-based diet and regular physical activity help lower the risk of diabetes.
How to eat plant-based foods?
Avoid processing them. Eat them as whole foods.
It means two things:
- Do not remove goodness from plant-based foods.
- Do not add unhealthy stuff to plant-based foods.
To reverse diabetes, I recommend following a whole food plant-based diet (WFPB).
You will learn in the next chapter everything about WFPB.
Step #4: A Balanced Diet is a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet
In 2022, researchers published a study in the Journal of Nutritional Science by Cambridge University Press.
They followed 35,307 people for four years to find out what happens when you eat 200g more vegetables daily.
If you eat more than 200g of veggies daily, your diabetes risk may drop by almost 50% for men and 25% for women!
Nothing compares to a 100% healthy diet.
Eating more fruits and vegetables is a fantastic way to start your journey towards a 100% healthy, balanced diet.
What is a Balanced Diet?
A balanced diet includes all the nutrients necessary to sustain life. A whole food plant-based diet excludes animal products such as meat, dairy, eggs, fish, poultry, and other foods derived from animals, as well as processed and junk foods. This diet has been shown to reduce or eliminate the need for medication and insulin injections.
To control diabetes, it is necessary to change what you eat. Most people with diabetes consume foods high in refined sugars and processed carbs like white bread, pasta, cakes, cookies, crackers, chips, candies, sodas, juices, etc. These foods are bad for your health and increase your blood sugar levels.
The best thing about a whole food plant-based lifestyle is that it allows you to choose healthier options without feeling deprived. It’s easy to follow because you don’t have to count calories or worry about fat grams.
Whole Foods Plant-Based Diet is the best option for diabetics.
How does the WFPB diet help diabetics?
The following benefits are just some of the many ways a whole food plant-based diet improves your health:
- Improves Blood Sugar Levels
- Reduces Cholesterol Levels
- Regulates Insulin Production
- Helps Reduce Weight
- Increases Energy
- Boosts Immunity
- Improves Digestion
- Supports Immune System
- Improves Sleep Quality
- Improves Mood
- Improves Skin Health
- Promotes Healthy Aging
- Improves Bone Strength
- Improves Joint Flexibility
- Improves Circulation
- Prevents Diabetes Complications
What is a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet (WFPB)?
A whole food plant-based diet includes fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, grains, and herbs. These foods provide all the nutrients needed for optimal health. They contain no added sugar or salt.
A whole food plant-based meal plan does not include meat, dairy products, eggs, refined sugars, oils, or other processed ingredients.
Most people who follow a whole food plant-based lifestyle eat a variety of healthy foods every day.
What is Allowed on a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet?
You can eat:
- Fruits and berries
- Vegetables and greens
- Pulses and legumes
- Whole grains
- Nuts and seeds
- Herbs and spices
These foods come from plants and are unprocessed - fibre is not removed.
What Are You Not Allowed to Eat?
Avoid anything that comes from animals, including:
You also avoid processed foods, including:
- White rice
All of these foods may increase your diabetes and make the management of type 2 diabetes difficult.
How Do You Get Your Protein?
Don't fear that you won't be able to meet your protein requirements on a plant-based diet.
1. Plants have protein
Plants have protein, and you can meet all your protein requirements with whole plant foods.
All protein originally comes from plants. Animals just recycle plant-based protein.
Protein-rich plant foods are:
- lentils or dals
- whole grains
They have essential nutrients which are crucial for recovery from diabetes.
2. Animal sources of protein are recycled protein or secondary sources
When you eat animal products, you consume recycled protein. Where do poultry & land animals get a majority of their protein from? Animals get protein from plants.
Cut out the intermediate step. Directly consume plant-based foods. You get your protein and eliminate the diabetes risks from eating animal-based foods.
3. Amino acids
Protein from whole plant foods has all the amino acids that you need.
Ensure that you eat a variety of plant foods and enough of them daily.
List of protein-rich plant-based items
- Soya Chunks
- Soya Beans
- Soy Milk
- Lentils (Dal)
- Green Peas
- Mung Sprouts or Moong Sprouts
- Amaranth Seeds
How Do You Get Iron and Other Minerals in a Whole-Food Plant-Based Meal?
Plant foods are a great source of iron and other major minerals. The seven major minerals include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chloride and sulfur.
Here are ten great everyday sources of minerals in your diet:
- Pulses, Legumes and Lentils are excellent sources of minerals, including iron. Eating a variety of dals, chickpeas, rajma, etc., is amazing for protein and minerals.
- Nuts and seeds are rich in minerals such as magnesium, zinc, manganese, copper, selenium, and phosphorus.
- Cruciferous Vegetables are rich in many minerals, including calcium. Cruciferous vegetables include cauliflower, cabbage, and radish. Eating cruciferous vegetables every day is recommended for this and several other benefits.
- Aside from being delicious, versatile and full of healthy fats, Avocadoes are also rich in minerals. You can have them when in season in India. They are a lovely treat to your regular meals.
- Berries are some of the healthiest foods on the planet. The first thing that may come to your mind is that berries are exotic and expensive. Yes, a cup of blueberries is exceptionally healthy, but where will you get them? Even frozen blueberries are hard to find and costly. So instead of a cup of blueberries, have an amla a day. It is the healthiest food on the planet in terms of antioxidant content and is high in minerals like calcium, phosphorus, and iron, among others.
- Ancient Grains, such as amaranth and millets like sorghum, have numerous health benefits. One among them is their high mineral value. They are an excellent replacement for the white rice you are used to eating daily. There are several types of millet in India, so don't hold back; go ahead and bring variety to your plate.
- Starchy Vegetables, unlike popular belief, are not unhealthy. They do not cause you to gain weight and are a great source of minerals. Yam, colocasia, sweet potatoes, arbi, etc., are rich in minerals like calcium, iron, and copper.
- Fruits such as bananas, mango, pineapple, passion fruit, guava, and jackfruit are excellent sources of minerals. Living in a tropical country, make use of the availability of these delicious fruits. You can have one or the other of these fruits all year round.
- Green Leafy Vegetables are touted as highly healthy. This is not without merit. They are exceptionally beneficial for us and provide a range of minerals. Include a wide range of forgotten greens like amaranthus, nightshade leaves, turnip greens, and dill, among others.
- Cocoa is a surprise addition to this list, right? Cocoa and its products are a good source of minerals, especially magnesium and copper. Cocoa powder is even healthier than cocoa beans.
Why does the WFPB diet help diabetes?
1. Natural Blood Sugar Control
A whole foods plant-based dietary plan is a low glycemic index diet. Low glycemic index diets are associated with better blood sugar management.
When you eat starchy foods that contain carbohydrates, your blood sugar level rises. Foods with a high glycemic index cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels.
On the other hand, foods with a low glycemic index cause slower and smaller rises in blood sugar levels. These foods include vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
According to the National Institutes of Health, eating a low glycemic index meal causes a smaller spike in blood sugar levels followed by a slow drop. This results in a steady state of blood sugar levels.
Eating a whole foods plant-based plan lowers your blood sugar levels over time. This means you'll avoid the highs and lows of consuming foods with high glycemic indexes.
More importantly, a whole-food, plant-based diet can help address intramyocellular lipid accumulation, which is the root cause of insulin resistance in patients with type 2 diabetes.
In the next step, you will find a way to cook over 200 whole-food plant-based recipes.
2. Reduction in Medication
Medications are often used to treat diabetes. But, research shows that there may be a way to reduce drugs and even avoid them entirely for some people.
Instead, whole foods plant-based plans offer a safe alternative. Research shows that following a whole foods plant-based plan reduces the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.
3. Better Nutritional Quality
Whole foods and plant-based diets are rich in nutrients. Studies show that people who follow a whole food plant-based diet tend to consume fewer calories and have healthier bodies overall.
For instance, researchers found that people who ate whole food plant-based diets had lower rates of obesity compared to those who didn't.
Additionally, WFPB diets are rich in fibre, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. All of these nutrients play a role in maintaining optimal health.
So, if you're struggling with diabetes, consider switching to a whole foods plant-based diet. You'll enjoy improved nutrition and better blood sugar regulation.
4. Lower Cholesterol Levels
Cholesterol is essential for maintaining cell membranes and hormones. However, elevated levels of LDL cholesterol cause plaque buildup inside arteries, leading to atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis narrows the arteries and restricts blood flow.
Research shows that a whole, plant-based diet lowers total cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Read the next step in the guide if you want more information on managing diabetes naturally using whole food plant-based recipes.
My team and I have put together over 200 recipes for you. Get ready to explore them.
Step #5: Cooking the Whole Food Plant-Based Way
The fourth step in diabetes management is to explore whole foods, and plant-based ways of cooking. This way, you will discover new ways to prepare food while learning more about managing your diet.
The Principles of Cooking Plant-Based Foods the WFPB way
- Frying is Bad For Health
- Mindful eating
1. Why is Refined or Virgin or Cold Pressed Oil Bad for You?
The problem with extracted oil is that it contains a high concentration of fat, which raises cholesterol levels and increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and certain cancers.
Besides, processed oils contain no fibre and phytonutrients.
Even extra virgin olive oil has been shown to increase arterial stiffness and cripple arteries all over the body within minutes of consuming it.
Oil is a plant product. Oil is good for you in an unprocessed, natural form of nuts, seeds, vegetables, and grains. It preserves the fibre and phytonutrients necessary for your health in its whole form.
Why is Frying Bad for You?
Frying foods at high heat causes damage to the food's chemical structure. This increases the concentration of certain harmful chemicals in the food.
The process of frying also creates trans fat. Trans fat is a type of fat found in fried foods.
Certain oils and animal fats contain saturated fats. Saturated fats raise cholesterol levels in the blood, increasing the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Trans fats increase LDL (bad) cholesterol. Trans fats also raise triglycerides, leading to atherosclerosis and cardiovascular problems.
High-temperature oil-based cooking also increases the number of calories in the food.
The problem with frying is that it makes healthy foods unhealthy.
Use baking and air frying for cooking 'fried' food healthier.
2. Why are refined sugar and jaggery terrible for you?
The problem with refined sugar is that it doesn't contain fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, or phytonutrients. It's not just empty calories - harmful calories that contribute to disease, not health.
Most plant-based produce contains natural sugars and starches from carbs that give us energy. At the same time, whole food plant-based starchy foods also help keep our bodies healthy by providing fibre and other nutrients.
However, refined sugar is bad for you.
Causes Rapid Increase in Blood Sugar Levels
When you consume refined carbohydrates, your blood glucose level rises rapidly, causing your pancreas to release insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps your body use sugar for energy.
In turn, the insulin causes the blood sugar to drop, resulting in hunger and cravings.
Refined sugar and jaggery are not only delicious, but they are also addictive. And when we eat too many sweets, we feel hungrier than usual. This makes us crave more sweet foods, making us eat more. Over time, this cycle becomes self-perpetuating. We end up eating more refined sugars because we're addicted to them.
The problem is that refined sugar is addictive, so our brains depend on it when we overeat it. Our bodies crave this sweetener because it tricks them into thinking they're getting energy and nutrition. But once our brain becomes addicted to refined sugar, it reduces serotonin metabolism, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate moods.
This leads to feelings of anxiety, sadness, and depression. So the next time you feel depressed after eating sweets, try cutting back on refined sugar.
Makes You Overeat & Causes Weight Gain
But there's another problem with refined sugar: it causes our bodies to become resistant to its effects. Our brains tell us that we need more refined sugar to satisfy our cravings, so we keep consuming it. But our bodies aren't fooled. They know that refined sugar doesn't help us lose weight; over time, our bodies adapt to the constant influx of refined sugar by becoming leptin resistant.
Leptin is a hormone produced by fat cells that tells our brain when we've eaten enough food. When our body produces more leptin, it sends signals to our brain telling us to stop eating.
Leptin resistance means that our body no longer responds to leptin, so we continue to overeat. This leads to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other health problems.
Accelerates Cellular Ageing
Refined sugar contains no nutrients and is devoid of vitamins and minerals. Instead, it causes inflammation and accelerates cellular ageing. This means that when you consume refined sugar, you're accelerating the process of ageing your body.
Sugar is also highly inflammatory. Inflammation is a significant cause of disease, including heart disease, cancer, arthritis, Alzheimer's, and type 2 diabetes.
3. Why Should You Avoid Processed Foods?
Let me define what processed food is.
What is Processed Food?
"Processed foods" include any food from which something good has been removed or something terrible has been added.
Why is Processed Food Bad for Health?
Processed food is often filled with trans fats, saturated fats, sodium, and added sugars.
Processed food is made with ingredients that aren't natural, including artificial flavours, preservatives, additives, and dyes. These chemicals may be harmful to your health.
Eating these processed foods means not getting enough nutrients, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fibre.
You also consume too much salt, saturated fat, trans fats, cholesterol, calories, and refined carbohydrates. And because processed foods contain fewer nutrients than whole foods, you need to compensate by taking extra supplements.
That's why processed foods are bad for you. They're unhealthy and unnecessary.
4. Why are animal products harmful to you?
Eating animal products exposes you to:
- saturated fat
- pathogenic microorganisms
- displacing fibre
- lower antioxidants
- growth of unhealthful gut bacteria.
Animal products include meat, dairy, honey, eggs, fish, poultry, and other animals, including marine life. Dairy products include milk, cheese, butter, yoghurt, ice cream, ghee, paneer, etc.
Animal products contain saturated fats and cholesterol. These ingredients harm you because they raise your risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, obesity, and osteoporosis.
Saturated fats cause inflammation, which increases your risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers. Cholesterol causes plaque buildup in arteries, increasing your chances of having a stroke or heart attack. Lactose causes gas, bloating, diarrhoea, and abdominal pain if you are lactose intolerant. So avoid them!
The American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fat intake to no more than 7% of total calories per day. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend consuming no more than 10% of daily calories from saturated fat. And the World Health Organization recommends eating no more than 5% of daily calories from dietary cholesterol. Check your food label to ensure these goals!
Animal products contain hormones and antibiotics that are harmful to humans. These substances cause cancer, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, infertility, and many other conditions.
These substances are harmful because we evolved to eat plants, not animals. Our bodies were designed to process plant foods, not animal foods. We're meant to consume fibre, not fat. And estrogenic compounds, found only in animal products, disrupt our endocrine system and contribute to cancer.
These are some reasons why low-carbohydrate diets containing animal foods increase heart disease risk. That's why we don't recommend low-carbohydrate diets, because prevention of heart disease goes hand-in-hand with healthy eating patterns.
Our intestines are lined with trillions of beneficial microorganisms called probiotics. Probiotics help absorb vitamins, minerals, and fibre and protect us from pathogens and toxins. They're also responsible for producing essential hormones, including serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin.
When you eat animal products, they pass through your digestive tract undigested. This allows dangerous bacteria to grow and multiply inside your intestinal walls. This causes inflammation, which leads to leaky gut syndrome. The leaky gut syndrome is linked to numerous chronic illnesses, including autoimmune disorders, allergies, asthma, arthritis, celiac disease, Crohn's disease, eczema, fibromyalgia, food sensitivities, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), migraines, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, skin conditions, ulcerative colitis, and yeast infections.
The reason why these foods are unhealthy is that our bodies aren't designed to utilise them properly. Our digestive system was built to process plants, not meat, eggs, dairy, and fish.
5. Mindful Eating
When people hear the word cooking, they often think of food preparation. But what if we cook our meals with mindful awareness? This means being aware of what we're doing, including how we feel physically while preparing a meal.
You have a variety of slow-cooking methods.
No Oil, Only Boil
Boil water, boil vegetables, boil pasta…
We’ve all been told to boil our food, right? Boiling is one of the most common cooking methods used by home cooks. However, did you know that boiling is healthier than frying?
Boiling is considered a “low-fat” cooking method. This means that food fats don't break down as quickly when boiled.
Boiled foods tend to retain more vitamins and minerals than fried foods. They also contain less saturated fat and sodium.
Here are nine reasons why boiling is healthy.
#1. Boiling makes food easier to chew
Frying tends to cause food to become tough and dry. As a result, chewing becomes difficult.
However, boiling softens food and makes it easier to chew.
This is especially true for foods such as potatoes, carrots, corn, peas, and broccoli.
#2. Boiling reduces the number of unhealthy fats
Fried foods contain large amounts of trans fats. Trans fats are known to increase cholesterol levels in the body.
On the other hand, boiling prevents unhealthy fats from forming in foods.
#3. Boiling helps prevent food poisoning
Bacteria begin to grow when raw food is stored at room or warm temperature for a long time.
Food poisoning occurs when harmful bacteria grow in the intestines.
It causes diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and headaches.
The boiling point of water is 100 degrees. This helps kill most bacteria.
To avoid food poisoning, boil your food, especially if it has been kept at room temperature for a long time.
#4. Boiling prevents nutrient loss
Some nutrients are lost when food is fried.
For example, vitamin C is lost when fried in tomatoes and other vegetables rich in Vitamin C.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that protects cells from damage caused by free radicals.
Free radicals can cause cancer.
Boiling also destroys some Vitamin C, but not as much as frying.
#5. Boiling preserves flavour
Flavour is an essential part of any meal.
Without flavour, meals would taste bland.
But when food is fried, its natural flavours are destroyed.
As a result, fried foods lose their original tastes.
On the other hand, boiling preserves the natural flavours of food.
#6. Boiling keeps food fresh for longer
Freshness is another factor that contributes to the healthiness of food.
When food is stored correctly, it stays fresher for extended periods.
If you want to keep food fresh for a long time, boil it instead of storing it on the counter.
This allows you to store food for longer periods without spoiling it.
#7. Boiling gives food a better texture
Rawvegetables tend to be very fibrous.
These characteristics make eating raw veg difficult, whether starchy or nonstarchy vegetables.
However, when you boil them, they soften and become tender.
This makes them easier to eat, especially for elders and children.
#8. Boiling improves digestion
Digestion refers to breaking down food into smaller pieces so the body can absorb it.
When food is eaten raw, it has to go through several stages of digestion.
First, it needs to be chewed. Then, it goes through the digestive tract, broken down further.
Finally, it enters the bloodstream and is distributed to every organ system in the body.
During this process, certain nutrients are not absorbed completely.
However, when foods are boiled, nutrients are more bioavailable.
This means that they enter the bloodstream more efficiently.
As a result, they provide more nutrition to the body.
#9. Boiling makes food safer
There are two types of food safety issues.
The first involves foodborne illnesses caused by contaminated food.
The second involves food allergies.
Both of these problems can lead to severe medical conditions.
Fortunately, boiling reduces the chances of contracting either of these diseases.
This is because it kills off dangerous microorganisms that could otherwise contaminate your food.
Whether you're looking to lose weight or simply want to improve your diet, boiling is a safe and effective way to prepare food.
Next time you boil something, remember that doing so has many benefits.
Baked, Not Fried
Frying food has been considered unhealthy for years. Recent studies suggest baking foods without vegetable oils may be healthier than deep frying them.
Deep frying is one of the most common methods used to cook food. This method involves heating oil until it reaches a high temperature.
This method is usually done using a wok or skillet. Food cooked in this manner tends to absorb too much oil, causing it to become greasy.
So, instead of deep frying food, why not bake it instead? Baking uses moisture and air to cook food without any additional ingredients.
Baked whole-food plant-based goods contain low saturated fats and are low in sodium. They also retain vitamins and minerals found in fresh fruits and vegetables.
Furthermore, baked goods are often made with whole grains, such as wheat flour, brown rice, oats, and cornmeal. This makes them a nutritious alternative to fried foods.
Some experts believe that baking is healthier than deep frying because it allows the food to absorb fewer calories.
Thus, baking is a healthier option than deep frying. It may help you maintain optimal body weight without going on a diet!
So next time you want to indulge in delicious treats, go ahead and bake those pakodas and bhajjis!
The Magic of Air Frier
An air fryer uses hot air to cook food. This means that the temperature inside the air fryer is higher than the temperature of the surrounding environment.
Air fryers are becoming increasingly popular these days. They allow us to cook food without using any oil or grease.
Air frying is a healthier option than deep frying. Deep frying uses a lot of oil and causes unhealthy fats to accumulate in our bodies.
You can cook anything from pizza to snacks in an air fryer. You can still enjoy a crunchy snack without frying them.
Pressure cookers are one of the most helpful kitchen appliances available. They allow us to prepare delicious meals quickly and easily without spending hours in the kitchen. There are a few benefits of pressure cooking.
- Reduces Fatty Acid Content in Food
- Increases Nutrient Bioavailability
- Prevents Oxidation
- Makes Meals Easier to Chew
- Saves time
- Minimises Nutrient Destruction due to reduces cooking time
Open cooking is healthier than pressure cooking if you leave the pressure to get released naturally.
Pressure cooking is healthier if you release pressure instantly once your dish is cooked.
Cooking foods using boiling water preserves nutrients and vitamins. As a result, boiled foods are healthier than fried foods.
Slow Roasting in Low Temperatures
I am sure you love peanuts unless you are allergic to them. Roasted Peanuts are my favourite snack. But do you know that roasted peanuts can be unhealthy if it is not roasted correctly?
The correct way of roasting peanuts and other items is to keep your oven at low temperatures and burn them slowly until they are golden. Don't let them tan too dark or turn brown.
Fast roasting methods and over-roasting tend to form AGEs and acrylamide, which could increase cancer risk and promote ageing.
Slow roasting in low temperatures produces evenly cooked food without burning or overcooking.
It's easy to get caught up in mindless eating habits, which may lead to overeating or emotional eating. By cooking with mindful awareness, you'll develop more self-control and become more conscious about what you eat.
6. Mindful Eating
Mindfulness means paying attention to your food on purpose and moment by moment. This is different from mindless eating because when you're mindful, you're aware of every bite of food you eat.
When you're mindful, you become more conscious of your body and its needs. You learn to listen to your hunger signals and stop eating when you've had enough. And you learn to be satisfied with right-sized portions instead of overeating.
The benefits of mindfulness include improved health, weight loss, better sleep, reduced stress, and greater happiness.
Mindful eating means paying attention to every bite of food we eat. We're not just mindlessly shovelling food down our throats. Instead, we're aware of each mouthful and savour its flavour. This helps us avoid overeating and makes us feel satisfied after each meal.
Mindful eating is a great way to lose weight because it reduces cravings and increases satiety. It's also a great way to improve health because it promotes digestion, boosts immunity, and improves mood.
The most important aspect of mindful eating is being aware of your body and your eating feelings. So be gentle with yourself and try this simple exercise:
- Sit at the table and take three deep breaths.
- Notice your thoughts and emotions. What are you feeling right now? Are you angry, sad, happy, excited, or stressed out?
- Take another breath and notice your physical sensations. Do you smell anything? Hear sounds? Feel pressure or tingly sensations?
- Now close your eyes and imagine that you're sitting at the dinner table with your family and friends. Imagine that you're enjoying a delicious meal. Focus on the smells, sights, and sounds of the moment.
- Open your eyes and take your first spoonful of food.
- Close your eyes and bless everyone who has worked to give you your meal today. Bless all life forms.
- Put your spoonful of food in your mouth. Close your eyes and slowly chew your food. Be aware of your taste buds and your senses.
- Chew until the food becomes liquid in your mouth. Notice how much saliva comes into your mouth as you chew. Chew the last bit of food and enjoy the sensation of chewing.
- After chewing, swallow and notice your physical sensations again. Does your stomach feel full? Is there a pleasant sensation in your chest?
- Repeat steps 7 to 9 until your stomach feels full.
- If there is still food on your plate after your stomach feels full, keep it aside or use it for composting at home. Don't worry about wasting food. It is safer to waste food outside than inside your stomach and face the consequences of indigestion and overeating.
- Finally, thank you for trying to practice mindful eating.
To practice mindfulness, simply take note of each mouthful of food you eat. Pay attention to your hunger cues, and stop eating when you feel full. Then, notice your thoughts and feelings throughout the day. Are you feeling stressed out? Do you need to relax? Can you find ways to reduce stress?
The Benefits of Chewing
- Breaks larger particles of food into smaller particles
- Reduce stress on the oesophagus
- It helps the stomach metabolize your food
- Absorb More Nutrients and Energy From Your Food
- Maintain a Healthy Weight
- Your Food Gets More Exposure to Your Saliva
- Easier Digestion
- Enjoy and Taste Your Food
Now that you have learned about the principles of WFPB cooking, you must be craving to try some recipes at home.
How many times should you chew your food?
Some experts say you should chew every spoonful of food 32 times before swallowing. It may be difficult at first. Start with 5 to 10 times and increase it slowly with each meal. The longer you chew is better for your health.
Step#6: Explore Whole Food Plant-Based Recipes
I put together perhaps the world's most extensive list of WFPB Indian recipes for free in Nutrition Science Plant-Based Kickstart course. You can sign up and start trying the recipes today.
The course contains over 200 FREE recipes for you.
Healthy Alternative Recipes
- Date Syrup Recipe
- Peanut Butter Recipe
- Almond Butter Recipe
- Potato Cheese Recipe
- Cashew Parmesan Cheese Recipe (the cheesy flavour comes from Nutritional Yeast)
- Tila Udhak Recipe | Ellu Neeru Recipe | Sesame Mylk Recipe
- Moonga Udhak Recipe | Green Gram Mylk Recipe
- Coconut Thambuli Recipe | Dairy-Free Buttermilk Thambli
- Raw Vegan Raita Recipe
- Tender Coconut Instant Curds Recipe
- Dairy-free Vegan Capsicum Raisin Raita Recipe
- Vellarikkai Pacchadi Recipe | Cucumber Raitha Recipe
- Tomato Mint Juice Recipe | Smoothie Recipe
- Papaya Orange Smoothie Recipe
- Banana Chia Seed Smoothie Recipe
- Green Smoothie Recipe
Salad, Dressing & Pickle Recipes
- Watermelon Relish
- Apple Pomegranate Salad | Fruit Salad Recipe
- Guava Banana Salad Recipe
- Muskmelon Dry Fruit Salad Recipe
- Creamy Mango Bowl Recipe
- Banana & Pear Salad
- Bale Hannina Rasayana Recipe
- Going Nuts Salad Recipe
- Raw Stuffed Bhindi Recipe | Stuffed Okra Recipe
- Radish Lettuce Salad with Garlic Vinaigrette Recipe
- Spicy Cabbage Peanut Salad Recipe | Thai Salad Recipe
- Mediterranean Salad Recipe
- Thai Papaya Salad | Easy Som Tam Salad Recipes
- Moong Sprouts Kosambari Recipe | Traditional Indian Salad
- Southekaayi Amla Kosambari Recipe | Vegan Cucumber Lentil Gooseberry Salad
- Fresh Amla Pickle Recipe
- Radish Pickle Recipe
- Cabbage Pickle Recipe
- Methi Sprout Chaat Recipe
- Moong Sprouts & Aloo Chaat Recipe
- Ompudi Recipe | Sev Recipe for Sev Puri Chaat Recipe
South Indian Gravy Curry Recipes
- Vale Bajji Ambat Recipe | Malabar Spinach Curry Recipe from the Western Ghats
- Manathakkali Keerai Masiyal Recipe
- Kadala Curry Recipe
- Kerala Vegetable Stew Recipe
- Ridge Gourd Curry Recipe
- Chakotha Masiyal | Keerai Masiyal Recipe
- Pineapple Relish Recipe
- Olan Recipe with Ashgourd & Cowpeas
- Amte Kai Huli Recipe | Konkani Recipe
- Avial Recipe
- Pasala Keerai Molagootal Recipe | Malabar Spinach Pepper Stew Recipe
- Veg Kurma Recipe
- Jicken Curry | Raw Jackfruit Mock Chicken Curry
- Oil-free Brinjal Curry | Badanekai Saaru
North Indian Stir Fries & Dry Veg Recipes
- Pan Tossed Carrot & Gobi Recipe
- Masala Bhindi Recipe Without Oil | Spiced Okra Recipe
- Baingan Aloo Recipe | One Pot Brinjal Potato Curry
- Radish Mustard Stir Fry | Radish Recipe with Mustard Seed | Stir Fry Recipes
South Indian Stir Fry & Dry Veg Recipes
- Green Beans Paruppu Usili Recipe
- Vazhakkai Podimas Recipe | Raw Banana Recipe
- Cabbage Curry Recipe
- Keerai Poriyal Recipe
- Palak Keerai Masiyal Recipe
- Pumpkin Curry Recipe
- Mathanga Erissery Recipe | Pumpkin Curry
- Colocasia Sepankizhangu Podi Pota Poriyal
- Hesaru Kaalu Recipe
- Tendli Sukka Recipe | Oil-free Ivy Gourd Curry
- Yummy Yam Sabzi Recipe
- Chow Chow Recipe | Squash Chayote Poriyal Recipe
- Paruppu Keerai Kootu Recipe | Purselane Lentil Stew
- Kathirikai Kootu Recipe | Brinjal Lentil Curry Recipe
- Ceylon Kootu with Ceylon Cinnamon Recipe
- Karnataka Knol Kohl Kootu | Oil-free Kohlrabi Lentil Curry from Karnataka
- Thandu Keerai Kootu Recipe | Amaranthus Lentil Stew
Sambar & Saaru Recipes
- Majjige Huli Recipe | Mor Kuzhambu Recipe | Buttermylk Curry
- Harive Soppu Saaru Recipe | Dantina Soppu Saaru Recipe
- Vendakkai Sambar Recipe without Tamarind | Okra or Bhindi Sambar Lentil Stew Recipe
- Chettinad Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu Recipe
- Kokum Knol Kohl Sambar Recipe | Kohlrabi Recipes
- Massoppu Saaru Recipe
Dal & North Indian Gravy Recipes
- Moong Dal Recipe
- Rajma Masala Recipe
- Vegan Chana Masala Recipe | Chickpea Curry Recipe
- Oil-free Gobi Matar Tofu Gravy Recipe
- Pitla Recipe | Jhunka Gravy | Gram Flour Curry
- Vegan Tofu Amaranthus Gravy Recipe
- 'Paneer' Butter Masala Recipe
- Broccoli Palak Masala Recipe
- Vegan Dal Makhani Recipe
- Sarson ka Saag Recipe
- Navratan Korma Recipe
- Garlic Rasam Recipe | Garlic Benefits with Minced Garlic | Poondu Rasam
- Obbattu Saaru Recipe
- Milagu Kuzhambu Recipe | Oil-free Pepper Broth
Chutney & Dip Recipes
- Manga Thuvaiyal Recipe | Raw Mango Chutney Recipe
- Green Chutney Recipe | Coriander Pudina Chutney Recipe
- Peanut Chutney Recipe | Shenga Chutney Recipe
- Onion Tomato Chutney
- Karuvepilai Thuvaiyal Recipe | Curry Leaves Chutney Recipe
- Ridge Gourd Chutney
- Amte Kai Coconut Chutney Recipe | Konkani Recipes
- Inji Thuvaiyal | Ginger Chutney
- Amte Kai Chutney Recipe | Ambade Ambarella or Hog Plum Dip
- Coconut Chutney Recipe
- Peanut Flaxseed Chutney Recipe | With Homemade Peanut Butter
- Adai Recipe | Adai Dosa Recipe | Adai Dosai
- Jowar Roti Recipe | Roti Bakar | Sorghum Millet Flatbread
- Ragi Roti Recipe
- Methi Paratha Recipe
- Makki ki Roti Recipe | Punjabi Maize Flatbread
- Aloo Paratha Recipe
- Mooli Paratha Recipe | Oil-free Radish & Whole Wheat Flatbread
- Bajra Roti Recipe | Roti Bakar | Oil-free Pearl Millet Flatbread
- Whole Wheat Roti Recipe
- Kumbalkai Kottige Kadubu Recipe
- Foxtail Millet Rava Upma Recipe
- Nuchinunde Recipe
- Jowar Rava Upma Recipe
- Red Rice Puttu Recipe
- Dill Kadubu Recipe
- Akki Roti Recipe
- Jolada Kadubu
- Onion Uthappam Recipe | Indian Dosa Recipe
- Ragi Mudde Recipe
- Pidi Kozhukattai Recipe | Steamed Broken Grain Dumplings
- Easy Poha Recipe | Unpolished Rice Avalakki Flattened Rice
- Red Rice Recipe
- Brown Rice Recipe
- Kodo Millet Rice Recipe
- Foxtail Millet Rice
- Proso Millet Rice
- Jeera Rice Recipe with Basmati Brown Rice
- Burnt Garlic Fried Rice | Thai Fried Rice Recipe with Roasted Garlic
- Foxtail Millet Veg Pulao Recipe
- Mexican Rice Recipe
- Coconut Rice Recipe
- Bisi Bele Bath Recipe | With Bisi Bele Bath Powder Recipe
- Dal Khichdi Recipe
- Pulihora Recipe | Kokum Rice Recipe
- Veg Peas Pulao with Brown Basmati Rice
- Pongal Recipe | Foxtail Millet Ven Pongal Recipe
- Dairy-free Foxtail Millet Curd Rice Recipe | Samai Mosaranna
- Oil-free Mushroom Biryani Recipe
- Lemon Rice Recipe
Continental & Asian Recipes
- Whole Wheat Sandwich
- Pasta Integrale Recipe | Handmade Whole Wheat Tagliatelle Pasta Recipe
- Baked Sweet Potato Wedges Recipe
- Bok Choy Stir Fry Recipe
- Thai Yellow Curry Recipe
- Hummus Recipe
- Guacamole Recipe
- Raita & Pacchadi Recipes
- Onion Raita Recipe
Indian Dessert Recipes
- Paithama Laddoo Recipe | Lentil Laddoo | Diwali Special Recipe
- Jowar Gujiya Recipe | Dumpling Recipe | Dumplings Recipe
- Sukku Vellam Recipe | Sugar-Free & Jaggery-Free Ginger Laddoo Recipe
- Jowar Puran Poli Recipe | Oil-free Obbattu Recipe
- Methi Payasam Recipe | Methi Recipe During Pregnancy
- Sukrunde Recipe | Udupi Recipes | Green Gram Stuffed Dumpling Recipe
- Dry Fruit Laddoo Recipe
- Chocolate Black Rice Payasam
- Ukkarai Recipe Without Ghee | Okkarai Recipe | Diwali Recipe
- Badam Barfi Recipe
- Sakkarai Pongal Recipe | Sugar-Free Pongal Recipe Sweet
- Moong Dal Kheer with Raisins & Elaichi
Exotic Dessert Recipes
- Raw Coconut Blueberry Cheesecake Recipe
- Sweet Potato Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe
- Kuih Binka Ubi Recipe | How to Make Cassava ka Halwa
- Raw Vegan Mango Parfait Recipe
- Soya Flaxseed Vada Recipe
- Zero Oil Fried Tofu Recipe
- Chana Sundal Recipe
- Barnyard Millet Ribbon Pakoda Recipe
- Scrambled Eggs (with Tofu) Recipe
- Dill Cabbage Vada Recipe
- Jhunka Vada Recipe | Oil-free Zunka Bhakar
- Cheezy Popcorn Recipe
- Jowar Sweet Diamond Biscuits Recipe | Diwali Recipes
- Mixed Greens & Sweet Potato Kebab Recipe
- Baked Mirchi Bajji Recipe
- Gobi Manchurian Recipe
- Baked Oil-Free Veg Falafel Recipe
- Baked Zero Oil Mixture Recipe | Diwali Recipe
- Baked Onion Pakoda Recipe
Tea, Herbal & Spice Drink Recipes
- Masala Matcha Green Tea Recipe | Matcha Tea Recipe
- Hibiscus Tea Recipe | Afternoon Tea Without Sugar
- Mint Ginger Kashayam Recipe
- Turmeric Latte Recipe
- Lemon Ginger Kashayam Recipe
- Ginger Lemongrass Tea Recipe
- Spearmint Tea Recipe
- Kokum Juice Recipe
- Athimadhuram Kashayam Recipe
- Rose Tea Recipe
- Tulsi Ginger Tea Recipe
- Maghrebi Mint Tea | Moroccan Peppermint Tea Recipe
- Muskmelon Panakam Recipe
- Chukku Kaapi Recipe
- Nimbu Paani Recipe | Lemon Date Cooler
- Kashmiri Kahwa Recipe
Vegan Soup Recipes
- Split Pea Soup Recipe
- Thai Soup Recipe
- Cauliflower Bisque Recipe
- Cream of Pumpkin Soup
- Thai Chickpea Soup Recipe
- Cream of Mushroom Soup Recipe
- Cream of Spinach Soup Recipe
- Hot and Sour Soup Recipe
- Carrot Tomato Soup Recipe
- Clear Zoodles Soup Recipe
- Tomato Basil Soup Recipe
- Sweet Corn Soup Recipe
- Snake Gourd Soup Recipe with Turmeric & Ginger
- Beetroot Soup Recipe
- Cruciferous Soup Recipe
- Amaranthus Double Beans Soup Recipe
- Christmas Cake Recipe
Step #7: Balance Your Healthy Food Groups
The next step is to balance your healthy food groups.
This means you must ensure that you eat enough fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and other healthy foods.
You can do this by making a list of the foods that you eat daily. Then, look at what proportion of these foods belong to each group. Dr Michael Greger's Daily Dozen Checklist makes this super easy.
Daily Dozen Checklist
Dr Michael Greger, the founder of the wildly popular website NutritionFacts.org, has put together a practical checklist of food groups to eat daily for optimal health.
They include fruits, berries, greens, turmeric powder, whole grains and more.
How to apply Daily Dozen Checklist to Indian cooking?
- Download the app and look at the ten categories of foods you should include in your daily meals and two healthy lifestyle habits.
- The list of foods with examples is given on the app, along with the required quantity.
- Initially, you could weigh or measure quantities to meet minimum requirements.
- Over time, you will get the hang of it and be able to include all items on the checklist in every meal.
- The checklist includes fruits, berries, cruciferous vegetables, pulses and legumes, whole grains, herbs and spices, nuts and seeds, among others. Indian cooking uses these ingredients in most dishes.
NOTE: This is how our meals at Sampoorna Ahara are designed. Two Sampoorna Ahara meals a day will ensure that you have met all your nutritional requirements, checking off all items on the Daily Dozen Checklist.
You must now be wondering how many calories you should eat a day. Let me answer that.
Calories versus Calorie Density
A calorie is a unit to measure energy in food.
Calorie density measures how many calories are there in a given weight of food.
Many traditional diets focus on counting calories and restricting calories to gain or lose weight. It is not a practical approach. You often end up eating poor quality, high-calorie food and are left hungry lacking in nutrition.
Regarding health and long-term weight loss, it is not about calories but calorie density.
For example, one samosa (approx 100 gms) has about 300 calories. This will not fill you up or give you adequate nutrition. It will also get absorbed quickly, leading to a blood sugar spike.
On the other, take watermelon. To eat 300 calories, you'll have to eat 1 kg of watermelon. It will keep you full, nourish, and steady your blood sugar.
Step #8: Try Plant-based Alternatives for Meat, Fish & Dairy Products
Animal Food Alternatives
Animal Food/ Ingredient
Best possible way
Meat, fish & other seafood
Beans, yam, raw jackfruit
Avoid. Why replace?
Aquafaba (egg white); ½ ripe banana; 2 heaped tbsp besan + 1 tbsp water; 1 tbsp flaxseed powder + ¼ cup water; Mashed potato; Mashed sweet potato
Avoid. Why replace?
Raw milk, boiled milk, pasteurised milk, toned milk, double-toned milk, fortified milk, low-fat milk, slim milk, flavoured milk
Nut & seed mylks like coconut mylk, almond mylk, groundnut mylk, sesame mylk, cashew mylk
Pulse mylks like moong mylk
Cereals mylks like rice mylk, corn mylk, ragi mylk
Avoid. Why replace?
Peanut curds, peanut cream, tender coconut cream
Avoid. Why replace?
Coconut thambulli, peanut buttermilk
Avoid. Why replace?
Avoid. Why replace?
Cashew butter, badam butter, peanut butter, tahini, avocado, coconut butter, avocado spread
Avoid. Why replace?
Avoid. Why replace?
Nut, seed, tuber & legume cheese with nutritional yeast flakes
Avoid. Why replace?
Tofu, Steamed besan idli / tohu
Avoid. Why replace?
Refined Food Alternatives
Refined Food/ Ingredient
Refined oils, unrefined oils, cold-pressed oil, virgin oils
Nuts, including coconut, til, almond, cashew, walnuts, peanuts, etc.
Unpolished brown rice, red rice, black rice, or millets, such as bajra, jowar, foxtail millet
Polished/white rice flour, maida / refined wheat flour
Unpolished red rice flour, millet flours such as ragi flour, bajra flour, jowar four
Refined wheat Rava
Broken wheat daliya, barley, rye, oats
Millet rava for large millets like - pearl millet & jowar
Whole millets for minor millets like foxtail millet, kodo millet
Sugar, jaggery, honey (although not processed, it is as unhealthy as jaggery)
Fresh fruits, dry fruits, homemade date syrup
Healthier Ingredient Alternatives
Best possible way
Turmeric, saffron, beetroot, garcinia
Same as replacement
Ready-made paste, batter
Freshly ground batter/ masalas
Same as replacements
Natural flavours and spices
Same as replacements
Dishes and Foods Alternatives
Dishes and Foods
Best possible way
Oil-free baked food
Mindful eating to change your preferences
Soft drinks / alcoholic beverages
Fresh fruit/vegetable smoothies
Same as replacement
Hot drinks - tea, coffee, black coffee, milk, rose milk, etc.
Same as replacement
Maida products - khakra, bread, bun, chapathi, roti, parata, phulka, biscuits, cakes, and other bakery items
Baked and toasted rice, ragi, millet, whole wheat foods
Foods with more water content, steamed or boiled
Whey protein powder
Plant-based protein powder
Whole foods - Green leafy vegetables, nuts, sprouts
Nice Cream made from fruits & nuts
Avoid. Why replace?
Packaged, preserved, canned and tinned foods
Freshly made sauces
Same as replacements
Step #9: Get Your Vitamins
Vitamins are essential for healthy living. They help your body function properly.
You need 13 essential vitamins to remain healthy.
Let us break them into three groups.
Animals and humans make vitamin D. We need sunlight for it.
I recommend 20-30 mins of direct sunlight on the skin daily or 2000 IU Vitamin D3 supplement from a non-animal source after your biggest meal of the day.
You can research and find a Vitamin D3 supplement from a nearby medical store or an online store.
Vitamin B12 is not made by plants or animals but by soil bacteria that carpet the earth's surface.
As long as you live a natural lifestyle, you may get enough Vitamin B12 from nature. However, if you live in a city, you may not.
It is mistakenly believed that Vit B12 is found in meat and dairy foods because factory-farmed animals are given B12 injections.
Sampoorna Ahara has Vitamin B12 fortified Flaxseed laddus to help you maintain good B12 levels.
You can also buy Cyanocobalamin tablets in a nearby medical store or an online store.
I recommend 50 mcg of Cyanocobalamin daily for adults to meet your Vitamin B12 requirements.
Vitamins A, C, E, K, and B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, B6, and folate)
- Eat fruits daily - It is common knowledge that citrus fruits are rich in Vit C, but did you know that other fruits such as melons, berries and tropical fruits are rich in folates, Vit K, A, B1, B2, and B6, among others? They are also mineral-rich.
- Include a wide variety of local & seasonal vegetables - from carrots to tomatoes to sweet potatoes, vegetables are rich in a wide range of vitamins.
- Greens - think greens think Vit E. Dark leafy greens are a great source of vitamins and minerals. Don't forget to have them every day.
- Nuts and Seeds - again, an all-around good food group that you must not avoid. Not only are they rich in vitamins they also help in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. So they make for an essential part of your every meal!
- Whole Grains - switch your white rice and maida to whole grains such as unpolished rice, a variety of millets, and whole wheat to benefit from the vitamins these foods have.
Step #10: Take Medical Guidance From Your Physician
I am sure you will agree that eating right is essential. But what if you are already diagnosed with Diabetes? What if you are taking medications for it? How do you ensure that you start reversing diabetes without harming yourself?
The answer lies in regularly monitoring your blood sugar levels and other metrics like blood pressure and body weight.
Healthy lifestyle changes help you get healthier - sometimes too fast. Your doctor can help you monitor your progress and guide you on changing or reducing any medications if required.
This book and article are not a substitute for medical advice from your physician. Always consult your physician for personalised medical advice.
Frequently Asked Questions on Diet for Diabetes
Why whole grains?
Whole grains are healthier than refined grains such as white rice, refined flour, maida, rava, etc., as the bran layer is intact, with all its vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Whole grains protect against various chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and lifestyle-related cancers.
Whole grains are super healthy foods, but whole grain flour, not so much. Because of the smaller particle size, the starch from ground-up grains gets absorbed much faster than from intact whole grains, causing a glucose spike and insulin spike in the blood. We recommend coarsely ground whole grains against finely ground whole grains. When we cook dishes using whole-grain flour, it is wise to add an ingredient that makes the dish sticky and slows down absorption.
Why cool grains?
When cooked grains are allowed to cool on the counter or in the fridge, the starch crystallises to form resistant starch. This can be eaten by our good gut bacteria and reduces the glycemic index (the rate glucose is absorbed), making the whole grain healthier. For the same reason, parboiled whole grains can be used as well.
Why flaxseed powder?
Flaxseed is a perfect addition to making Rotis. In addition, flaxseed contains high levels of omega-3 fats and cancer-fighting lignans. For the same reason, eating grain flour dishes with pulses and legumes, such as roti and dal, is a great idea too.
What's wrong with roasting?
The brown colour we get on roasting whole grains, tubers, legumes, or nuts is due to the formation of carcinogenic AGE compounds. We can reduce the appearance of these compounds by roasting them on a low flame, adding spices and herbs, and removing browned portions of Rotis / flatbread before serving and enjoying them.
Why wait until starchy vegetables are cool?
When cooked starchy vegetables are allowed to cool on the counter or in the fridge, the starch crystallises to form resistant starch. This can be eaten by our good gut bacteria and reduces the glycemic index (the rate glucose is absorbed), making the starchy vegetable healthier.
Why nuts instead of oil?
Whole foods are healthier than processed foods. When nuts are pressed, and oil is extracted, fibre and phytonutrients are lost, along with many other nutrients. Therefore, whole nuts are much healthier than oils, whether cold-pressed or refined. In addition, they provide the oil content we need to absorb fat-soluble phytonutrients from other whole plant foods! This may be why nuts are used to garnish nearly every traditional Indian dish!
Why not honey, sugar or jaggery?
Sugar and Jaggery are processed foods. Although jaggery is healthier than brown sugar, which, in turn, is more beneficial than white sugar, all processed foods are unhealthy compared to whole plant foods. Honey is healthwise as good as jaggery, which isn't saying much. In addition to not being very healthy, honey production kills millions of bees every year, affecting our environment adversely. The best sweetener alternative is a whole fruit or dry fruit. The easiest method of using these is date syrup, which does not involve peeling or chopping.
Why raw dishes at meals?
Every meal we consume has an immediate, measurable effect on the antioxidant capacity of our blood. Consuming raw fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices at every meal can help us always have a positive blood antioxidant response to our meals. This is perhaps why every traditional Indian meal begins with fruits and salads (kosambari / kosumalli)
Why not dairy?
Dairy products are associated with an increased risk of chronic diseases, such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, obesity, asthma, PCOS, and heart disease. We can still enjoy our milk, cream, and butter, though - as long as they are made from whole plant foods!
In recent extensive studies, legumes are the #1 food associated with long life! They also fuel your gut microbiome through their resistant starch content and slow down glucose absorption, keeping your blood sugar levels steady - even in the next meal! This has been called the Second Meal Effect. This recipe is one of the yummiest ways to include pulses and legumes in your daily diet.
Why not tadka?
Tadka, thaaLippu, oggaraNe. Tempering spices in oil is quintessential to Indian cuisine. This practice may have started as a compromise when whole nuts were unavailable, and indeed, it is more common in inland, drier areas where nuts do not proliferate all year round. You can enjoy the taste and fragrance by just dry roasting the spices you require, without the oil, or even better, mixing spice powders directly into your dish!
Why crush garlic and wait?
When garlic is chopped, crushed, ground or bitten into, two chemicals stored in different parts of garlic's cells combine in a chemical reaction to form allicin. This slightly bitter compound deters insects but is very beneficial to our health. Allicin helps reduce blood pressure, protect the heart and other organs, fight lung infections, and reduce inflammation. Unfortunately, cooking destroys one of the enzymes required to form allicin. This can be overcome by crushing garlic and keeping it aside for ten minutes while the chemical reaction takes place. Once allicin is formed, it is heat stable and can be safely cooked. Alternatively, some raw garlic can be added after cooking to a dish that has cooked garlic in it.
Spices are among the healthiest foods on the planet in terms of their ability to prevent and reverse chronic diseases. They pack the highest antioxidant: calorie ratio. Just one pinch of spice powders exponentially increases the antioxidant content of any dish. Dishes like these, which have many strong spices, are a great way to amp up the health quotient of our everyday meals. Raw and boiled or steamed spices retain their phytonutrient content better than roasted or baking spices.
The healthiest beverages
The healthiest beverages are those with many herbs and spices (to enhance antioxidant levels), a bit of fruit and a nut or two (to enhance phytonutrient absorption). This recipe perfectly fits the bill!
Why methi seeds?
Whole grains are super healthy foods, but whole grain flour, not so much. Because of the smaller particle sizes, the starch from ground-up grains gets absorbed much faster than from intact whole grains, causing a glucose spike and insulin spike in the blood. We recommend coarsely ground whole grains against finely ground whole grains. When we cook dishes using whole-grain flour, it is wise to add an ingredient that makes the dish sticky and slows down absorption. Methi seeds are a great addition to making idli, dosa, or kadubu! For the same reason, adding pulses to grain flour dishes is a great idea too.
Why not fry?
Oil is processed food, even if it is cold-pressed oil. In whole nuts, the calories from the oil are balanced with the fibre and nutrients in the nut. For example, peanuts are healthier than peanut oil; sesame seeds are more beneficial than sesame oil. Hence, a healthy diet excludes oil and includes whole nuts. We can quickly achieve a 'fried' effect of different recipes by baking the same dishes instead, like this one!
What's wrong with baking?
The brown colour we get on baking whole grains, tubers, legumes, or nuts is due to the formation of carcinogenic AGE compounds. We can eliminate the formation of these compounds by baking at or below 120 deg C. Up to 160 deg C, the formation of AGEs slower rises, and after that, it rises exponentially. It can also be reduced by adding spices and herbs, and in the case of bread and cakes, cutting off the crust before serving.
Why mustard seeds?
Myrosinase, an essential enzyme in cruciferous vegetables such as knol kohl, cauliflower, cabbage, radish, and broccoli, is necessary to form sulforaphane, a potent anti-cancer compound in the body when we consume these vegetables. However, when they are cooked, myrosinase gets deactivated, and sulforaphane does not get synthesised. By adding raw or slightly roasted mustard seeds, or a little of any raw cruciferous vegetable to the dish after cooking, we can add myrosinase back into the dish and protect the powerful anti-cancer functions of cruciferous vegetables.
Is tofu healthy?
Although tofu is a processed food (Soya fibre is strained out while making tofu), it is still beneficial for health! That's how excellent legumes are. Eat as much as you like, as long as it isn't roasted and browned, because that has carcinogenic compounds. The whole soya is even healthier than tofu!
Why not olive oil?
An olive oil garnish has become the signature garnish of hummus today. This practice may have started as a compromise when olives were unavailable. You can enjoy olive oil's health benefits by consuming whole olives (after soaking them in plain water to remove salt) or using other nuts, such as sesame seeds, in your recipe!
Is vinegar healthy?
Technically, vinegar is not whole plant food. However, it is beneficial for those consuming an unhealthy diet and neutral for those consuming a healthy diet. Because of this, it is classified as an honorary green light food in our mentor Dr Greger's traffic light system, and you can consume it as often as you like.
Dr Achyuthan Eswar