The first step towards healthier food choices is understanding the ingredients, reading the ingredients labels, and making informed decisions by identifying the toxins and unhealthy substances.
As a general rule processed foods should be avoided as much as possible. Thailand is abundant in fresh fruits and vegetables. Even if you are lazy you can go out and fi nd a fruit seller who will actually peel and cut a whole mango, watermelon, pineapple or papaya for you!
Sadly it is often more temping to go into one of the many convenience stores and buy something in a pre-packed plastic wrap. If it comes in a sealed plastic bag more often then not, it is processed and with no nutritional value.
So what are some seemingly harmless ingredients that can pose health hazards and make us fat too?
HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP (HFCS)
this is derived from corn and is one of the main ingredients in many processed foods. Next time you are shopping just pick up a bottle of ketchup, sweet cakes, pie, frozen dinner, soda, juices etc. HFCS is naturally sweet and helps maintain the self life of food for long periods. It is also known to be responsible in contributing to significant weight gain.
MSG – MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE
Monosodium Glutamate is a flavour enhancer cleverly hidden in many foods. It can be called natural or artifi cial flavouring instead of being listed as MSG. Without thinking about it we just accept an “artificial” flavour in our food, but now we know better to question it when we see it.
If it is something savoury then the chances are it means MSG. And what is wrong with MSG? It is a neurotoxin, a nerve poison that assaults your nerve synapses and attacks the brain cells. A few side effects are headaches, rashes, bloating, feeling dizzy or thirsty, insomnia, numbness and many more.
There are some oils that are good for us, and it is now being discovered that eating fat does not necessarily make you fat. Organic oils such as those found in flaxseed, sunfl ower and sesame have necessary Omega-3 and Omega 6 oils. But these are natural cold-pressed oils.
White flour is the main ingredients in many foods we love, breads, pastas, pastries and a staple of many diets. Flour is derived from wheat and wheat is not white, so to get it white it must be bleached by chemicals which stay in the bread. Also because of the removal of the bran (the outside layer) and the embryo there is no fibre and no nutritional value in the flour. Companies will then enrich the bread, adding nutrients after but this is not a natural way to get vitamins and minerals. Enriched white bread is terribly unnatural. Also some breads marked “whole grain” have added molasses or other colouring agent to bread to give it a darker brown colour so it appears more healthy.
To find natural products in Thailand visit Good Karma All Natural online health food store www.goodkarmathailand.com
ORGANIC FLAX SEEDS
250 grams 199 baht
Flaxseeds contain many healthy components and are especially high in Omega-3 essential fatty acids, “good” fats that have been shown to have heart-healthy effects. Each tablespoon of ground flax seed contains about 1.8 grams of plant omega-3s.
STEVIA TEA BAGS plant omega-3s.
20 bags 125 baht
Native to Paraguay, Stevia is a small green plant bearing leaves that have a delicious and refreshing taste that can be 30 times sweeter than sugar. The leaves are so remarkably nutritious, containing a variety of vitamins and minerals. Stevia can be an aid in weight loss efforts because it contains no calories, yet it helps reduce cravings for sweets. It also improves digestion and soothes an upset stomach, plus it nourishes the pancreas and does not adversely affect blood sugar.
300 grams 400 baht
Psyllium can be a convenient way to increase the intake of dietary fiber. The powder is soluble in water, expanding and becoming mucilaginous when wet. It has the ability to swell up to 50 times.
USDA certified Organic Quinoa from Peru!
Pronounced ‘keen wah’, Quinoa is a perfect balance of all nine essential amino acids. Free of cholesterol and transfat, quinoa contains antioxidants, and is a source of vitamin E, calcium, potassium, iron, and magnesium and a great source of protein. Gluten-free and full of nutrients quinoa is ideal for those who are health-conscious, vegetarian, or physically active, as well as for those with wheat allergies.
ORGANIC SUNFLOWER SEEDS
500 grams 250 baht
These are beautiful large sunflower seeds and organic, the same seeds used to make organic sunflower oil.