2008年4月11日星期五

DON'T EAT TOO MUCH RICE


The human body was never meant to consume rice! You see, our genes have hardly changed in more than 30,000 years. However, our food choices and lifestyle have changed dramatically. The caveman would hardly recognize our food or way of life. Caveman food was never cooked as fire was not yet tamed. Thus, he ate only those foods that he can eat without treatment with or by fire. He ate fruits, vegetables, fish (sushi anyone?), eggs, nuts and meat. Yes, even meat. You can even eat meat raw if you were starving in the forest. You have the necessary enzymes to digest meat. However, rice - like wheat and corn - cannot be eaten raw. It must be cooked. Even if you were starving in the desert, you cannot eat rice in the raw form. This is because we do not have the system of enzymes to break rice down. We were never meant to eat rice. To make matters worse, we not only eat rice, but also make it the bulk of our food. In some parts of Asia , rice forms up to 85% of the plate. Even if we take rice, let's keep it to a minimum. Remember, it is only for our tongue... not our body. Actually, rice and other grains like wheat and corn are actually worse than sugar. There are many reasons: Rice becomes sugar - lots of it! This is a fact that no nutritionist can deny: rice is chemically no different from sugar. One bowl of cooked rice is the caloric equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar. This does not matter whether the rice is white, brown or herbal rice. Brown rice is richer in fiber, some B vitamins and minerals... but it is still the caloric equal of 10 teaspoons of sugar. To get the same 10 teaspoons of sugar, we need to consume lots of kangkong... 10 bowls of it. Rice is digested to become sugar. Rice can be digested only when it is thoroughly cooked. However, when thoroughly cooked, it becomes sugar and spikes circulating blood sugar within half an hour... almost as quickly as it would if we took a sugar candy. Rice is very low in the "rainbow of anti-oxidants" . This complete anti-oxidant rainbow is necessary for the effective and safe utilization of sugar. Fruits come with a sugar called fructose. However, they are not empty calories as the fruit is packed with a whole host of other nutrients that help its proper assimilation and digestion. Rice has no fiber. The fiber of the kangkong fills us up long before our blood sugar spikes. This is because the fiber bulks and fills up our stomach. Since white rice has no fiber, we end up eating lots of "calorie dense" food before we get filled up. Brown rice has more fiber but still contains the same amount of sugar. Rice is tasteless. Sugar is sweet. There is only so much that we can eat at one sitting. How many teaspoons of sugar can we eat before we feel like throwing up? Could you imagine eating 10 teaspoons of sugar in one seating? Rice is always the main part of the meal. While sugar may fill our dessert or sweeten our coffee, it will never be the main part of any meal. We could eat maybe two to three teaspoons of sugar at one meal. However, we could easily eat the equal value of two to three bowls (20 - 30 teaspoons) of sugar in one meal. I am always amused when I see someone eat sometimes five bowls of rice (equals 50 teaspoons of sugar) and then asks for tea or coffee without sugar! There is no real "built in" mechanism for us to prevent overeating of rice. How much kangkong can we eat? How much fried chicken? How much steamed fish? Think about that! In one seating, we cannot take lots of chicken, fish or cucumber, but we can take lots of rice. Eating rice causes us to eat more salt. As rice is tasteless, we tend to consume more salt... another villain when it comes to high blood pressure control. We tend to take more curry that has salt to help flavor the rice. We also tend to consume more ketchup and soy sauce which are also rich in salt. Eating rice causes us to drink less water. The more rice we eat, the less water we will drink as there is no mechanism to prevent the overeating of rice. Rice, wheat and corn come hidden in our daily food. As rice is tasteless, it tends to end up in other foods that serve as rice substitutes. .. like rice flour, noodles and bread. We tend to eat the hidden forms which still get digested into sugar. Rice, even when cooked, is difficult to digest. Can't eat raw rice? Try eating rice half cooked. Contrary to popular belief, rice is very difficult to digest. It is "heavy stuff". If you have problems with digestion, try skipping rice for a few days. You will be amazed at how the problem will just go away. Rice prevents the absorption of several vitamins and minerals. Rice when taken in bulk will reduce the absorption of vital nutrients like zinc, iron and the B vitamins. Are you a rice addict? Going rice less may not be easy, but we can still go rice less. Eating less rice could be a lot easier than we think. Here are some strategies that we can pursue in our quest to eat less rice: 1. Eat less rice - Cut your rice by half. Barry Sears, author of the Zone Diet, advises "eating rice like spice". Instead, increase your fruits & vegetables intake. 2. Take more lean meats and fish. 3. You can even take more eggs and nuts. Have "rice less" meals. Take no rice or wheat at say, breakfast. Go for eggs instead. 4. Go on "rice less" days - Go "western" once a week. Take no rice and breads for one day every week! That can't be too difficult. Appreciate the richness of your food. Go for taste, colors and smells. Make eating a culinary delight. Enjoy your food in the original flavors. 5. Avoid the salt shaker or ketchup. You will automatically eat less rice. 6. Eat your fruit dessert before (Yes! No printing error) your meals . The fiber-rich fruits will "bulk up" in your stomach! Thus, you will eat less rice and more fruits.

OUR WATER AFTER EACH MEAL
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For those who like to drink cold water, this article is applicable to you. It says it is nice to have a cup of cold drink after a meal. However, the cold water will solidify the oily stuff that you have just consumed. It will slow down the digestion. Once this "sludge" reacts with the acid, it will break down and be absorbed by the intestine faster than the solid food. It will line the intestine! Very soon, this will turn into fats and lead to cancer. It is best to drink hot soup or warm water after a meal.
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強酸白米‧多食無益
五年前愚人節,香港人搶購白米,同日張國榮在文華酒店跳樓身亡。五年後的愚人節,香港人再次搶購白米,彷彿沒有白米,天會塌下來,同是因為對飢餓的恐懼--但我們有多少年,沒有聽過有人因為沒有食物餓死?
這一趟,張國榮沒有跳樓,因為香港已沒有另一個張國榮。
其實,在綠色人士眼中,精製的白米是死食物,除了營養價值低外,還有一點,白米是強酸類食物,不利健康。對此,我不禁要問,人生在世,我們究竟為什麼而活?
什麼是強酸類食物?這便要由著名的「酸鹼食二分法」說起。如果你要尋找所謂「能量食物」,你一定知道它們是什麼。
從這個二分法去看,世界只有兩大類食物,一種是酸性食物,另一種是鹼性食物,不能同是既酸又鹼。
酸鹼性食物選擇,有一個基本「信念」:食物的酸鹼性配搭,對人體健康至為重要。現代醫學研究證明,人體每時每刻都在進行數以萬計的化學反應,以保證人體各種器官,完成各種複雜的生理功能。
而要讓這些反應順利進行,則是由人體體液的酸鹼度(PH值)是否平衡來決定。
酸鹼有序 不宜偏差
正常人的PH值是7.35至7.45,如果PH值偏差0.1個單位,得不到糾正,體質便會轉壞,容易生病。這是一般的人體健康手冊都會提及的健康教育常識。
又一般而言,身體宜偏鹼不宜偏酸,我們應該選擇鹼性食物,這類食物不僅可提供鈣、鎂、鉀、鈉等無機鹽,還可以提供人體所需的各種營養,如維他命、微量元素與膳食纖維,可促進腸道蠕動、防止便秘、降低血液膽固醇等,更重要的是有助減少腸道致癌物及有毒物質的吸收,對人體健康非常重要。
近年,在網上亦廣泛流傳「讓身體變鹼」與「多吃鹼性食物可以防癌」的電郵
什麼是鹼性食物與酸性食物?要注要的是:鹼性食物不等於鹼味道的食物,酸性食物不等於酸味道的食物。
蔬菜水果多屬鹼性
鹼性食物有:
蔬菜類:萵苣、菠菜、馬鈴薯、南瓜、黃瓜、洋、蓮藕、胡蘿蔔、紅薯、大豆。
水果:葡萄、柑橘、西瓜、蘿蔔、香蕉、梨、蘋果、草莓、椰子、李子、桃、板栗。
其他:茶葉、海帶、紫菜、牛奶。
酸性食物有:
穀物類、禽畜、肉類、蛋類、魚類。
其他:白糖、甜食、酒類。
當中,還分強酸、中酸、弱酸、強鹼、中鹼與弱鹼,由於較為複雜,只好在這裏從略了,在網上很容易找到詳細資料。
分辨酸鹼食物不是較口感,而是以腸胃消化代謝的過程來分別。許多人都忽視這點,其實它很重要,如何與食物建立關係,人類長期相信自己的口感與直覺,但酸鹼二分法卻認為應該由腸道來決定,於是我們必須知道腸道究竟在想什麼,而這卻非人人做得到。那即等同,我們思考,卻不知道腦部各種化學反應是如何運作。於是,有人認為酸性食物,較鹼性食物較好味,較有口感,這也是為什麼我們的所謂「主流食物」大多偏於酸性。
簡單而言,食物的鹼性元素,即鉀、鈉、鎂、鈣等,酸性元素即氯、磷、硫等,人體含鹼性元素比酸元素的比例大,在體內的最終的代謝物呈鹼性的食物,就是鹼性食物。在人體內經過消化和代謝,其最終產物呈酸性的食物,就是酸性食物。
身體長期偏酸 有損健康
長期處於酸性體質的人,到了中老年,會因體液偏酸,容易罹患神經系統疾病、胃潰瘍、骨質疏鬆、心血管疾病等。
一直以來,我們都受「體質宜鹼不宜酸」的信息影響,其實人體體液偏鹼,即所謂鹼性體質,也會容易因攝入重金屬過多而影響身體健康。因此,關鍵不在乎偏鹼還是偏酸,而在於酸鹼度平衡,保持適當比例。
然而,由於,我們——特別是華人,食物以米麥五穀、肉類為主,體質偏酸性體質,因此,在所謂主食之外,適宜多鹼性食物,以作平衡。
當然,其實一勞永逸的做法,是在主食上減少酸性的食物,在日常的華人飲食配搭中,最可能抽走的是肉類。而爭取人體酸鹼度平衡,便成為支持素食主義的重要理據,因為許多蔬果類食物,都屬於適宜生食的鹼食食物。
坊間亦流行鹼食食物食譜,大多容易處理,不少更適合「烹飪白痴族」(一個程度上我也是)。
例如,我看見有一道是「芹菜炒香菇」,製作方法簡單,是把芹菜與香菇都切絲,先把芹菜待油燒熱後放下鍋中快炒幾下,再放入香姑絲,加少許鹽與調味品和麻油等,再炒幾下,便成。這道菜可以熱食,也可以冷藏作涼拌前菜。還可加入豆腐乾絲,仍屬鹼性食物,都是常見的配搭。
看似簡單的一道菜,如果從能量食物角度,則有進一步的討論價值。雖然有人不喜歡西芹的「腥味」,但它是能量食物,一直近年「搾汁派」的寵兒,可以在混合搾汁,也可以原條淨食。問題不在於西芹,而在於香菇。
除了酸鹼 還有「正負」
對「生機飲食派」,菌類與菇類食物,被排除於於食譜之外。既然不吃,也不去考慮它們是酸性,還是鹼性,拒吃的理據是,它們是「負性能量食物」。
能量食物中所指的「能量」,是指來自太陽的能量,大部分的能量食物鏈中的食物,都是從太陽獲取營養的,獨是菌菇類食物,多是在缺乏陽光的陰暗環境中滋長的,屬於幽冥的食物,所以被排拒於生機與能量食物種類之外。
印度人不吃菌菇類食物,嚴格來說,它們與印度菜的主流味度不配合,我沒有吃過咖喱香菇,也想長不出會是什麼味道。
嚴格的瑜伽行者或瑜伽行者不吃菌菇,認為會降低練習質素。我認識一些資深瑜伽導師,的確是不吃菌菇類食物,究竟是約定俗成,還是從練習經驗得來的,則不同的人,有不同的答案。
同樣是追求靈性成長,漢地佛教徒茹素,則大量地把菌菇類入饌。有漢地齋菜廚師說,如果沒有冬菇,便煮不來齋菜。在他們手中,冬菇是可塑性極高的食材,特別本來多是給去掉不用的冬菇腳,經特別處理,可以成為仿葷(肉)材料。但由於許多調味料如白糖與味精,都屬酸性食材,使不少大量使用調味料的傳統齋菜,都去鹼偏酸。
早餐不應該吃穀物?
在「反酸性食物主義」中,另一甚具爭議性的食物是穀物類,白米是廣東人——香港人的主食,近期人們搶購白米,便可知白米在大眾心目中有何的地位。但白米屬強酸性兼營養價值低的食物,人們仍珍而重之,可知傳統的力量是如何堅固。
此外,麥類食物,燕麥在素食主義中是備受推崇的食物,但在酸鹼食物分類中,屬於強酸食物,如果你以酸鹼度為選擇食物的標準,便不該吃穀物類,更不該吃燕麥之類的食品。
如果你接受酸鹼食物二分法,又不幸地視酸性食物為洪水猛獸,你在早餐該吃什麼,將會是一大煩惱。
酸鹼食物主張,又可跟陰陽五行飲食、中醫食療與自然療法飲食Crossover,日後有機會,再作詳談。
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