If you stop eating junk, you’ll do yourself a favour

If you stop eating junk, you’ll do yourself a favour
By Anuradha Sawhney Jul 28 2016
Tags: Leisure Writing
Do you remember I had wri­tten some time ago on the Wo­rld Health Organization dec­laring the dangers from con­suming pro­cessed meats as dangerous as that of using asbestos? Well, recently in the United States, Susan Levin from PCRM.org reiterated that schools and hospitals should drop items like hot dogs and pepperoni from their menu. Last year, the same non-profit had filed a petition urging the US department of agriculture to stop distributing carcinogenic hot dogs and other processed meats to children through the national school lunch programme.

Here’s why they want this to happen… Eating just 50gm of processed meat a day increases colorectal cancer risk, according to one study. An ongoing analysis of nutrition and cancer by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute of Cancer Research found in 2007 that that processed meat products are “convincing” as risk factors for colorectal cancer, increasing risk by up to 50 per cent for those who eat the most. Each 50gm portion of processed meat — the size of a typical hot dog — eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18 per cent. Studies have also linked processed meat to prostate cancer, bladder cancer, diabetes, heart disease and early death.

According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer among men and women, with one in 20 developing it in his or her lifetime. In India too, in just this year, I have personally met five people who have colon cancer. All in their mid-30s! And that is just in my friend’s circle. Can you imagine how many more there must be? And one of the reasons for this is because there is increasingly food being sold which uses processed meats like hot dogs, sausages and pepperoni. The youngsters of today just don’t realise the seriousness of eating the junk food from the western countries.

Nearly a quarter of the meat products Americans consume are processed meat, which also include bacon, pepperoni, deli slices, sausage and any other meat products that have been preserved with additives or otherwise manipulated to alter colour, taste and durability. The dietary guidelines for Americans recommend limiting processed meat products.

Neal Barnard, MD, says it’s easy to give good health to children, the sick and everyone. Just consuming delicious, disease-fighting plant-based meals help to create a healthier future for everyone. Replace deadly proc­essed meats with nutritious foods that kids don’t get enough of — like bananas and other fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans. And see how they sail through their childhood and adulthood in good health.

Top actor Gulshan Grover, gave me this recipe for brown rice poha for my book. This poha tastes fabulous and you can substitute the brown rice flakes with even jowar or red rice flakes.

Brown rice poha

Ingredients: 1 cup beaten brown rice flakes; 1 medium-sized onion, chopped small; 2 green chillies; 1 tsp oil (optional) 8-10 curry leaves; ¾ tsp black mustard seeds; 1 tbsp roasted peanuts; salt to taste

Method: Put the rice flakes in a colander and rinse them under running water. Leave them in the colander to drain. Chop the onion fine and slit the green chillies lengthwise.

Put a non-stick pan over low to moderate heat. When hot, add the oil (optional), the curry leaves and mustard seeds. When the seeds splutter, add the onion and green chillies. Sauté for 2-3 minutes till the onions turn translucent. Mix in the peanuts and rice flakes. Stir for 1 minute. Taste and add salt and a squeeze of lemon juice. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Serve hot.

(The writer is a vegan chef and author of The Vegan Kitchen: Bollywood Style!)


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