Is being a vegetarian ‘Good for Health’ – (The 5 dangerous foods & why?)

salat teller

Even uttering the above statement would be considered blasphemy. I belong to an ultra conservative vegetarian community. Our grandfathers smoothly sailed through to the mid 80s and early 90s. Our grandmothers popped out a little earlier (probably because they could not endure the strain of their husbands). Our grandmothers averaged out 8 kids a piece. Study needs to be done on the correlation between the number of babies and longevity.

So if a vegetarian formula has effectively worked out for generations then why even discuss about it. Getting 80 years in the bargain is worth its while. I had been a diligent vegetarian for four decades. Though I occasionally sinned having eggs now and then . In the early part of my years, I frequented upon fish (being born and brought up in Bengal, fish is considered as vegetarian and is consumed even by the local Brahmins there). With such a regime, I should not have been a candidate for a metabolic disorder (Diabetes).

In this excerpt I wish to share with you some of the trappings which later on required a course correction. I will be focussing on the three deadly Is:

  1. Inflammation
  2. Insulin Resistance (obesity) and
  3. Immunity (auto immune disorders)

I will be running the basic foods; rice, wheat, corn and soy, legumes and fruits across the three Is and you have to discern for yourself.

  1. Rice – we live it, breathe by it. Every day for nearly half a century, I had 3 cups of white rice. Little did I know that it has a Glycemic Index (G.I) of 65, which is worse than table sugar. I was also not aware that the rice mills steal the fibre, vitamins and minerals and substitute it with taste. Hence, “I was hung by the tongue” and happily spiking away my insulin, which saw to it that my visceral fat (tummy) was protected for nearly four decades.

Had somebody suggested brown rice instead, at least I would have a Glycemic Index of 55 and my metabolic activity would have been much better. I would have also got an extra dose of B3 (good for my cell function), Selenium (good for my thyroids and kidneys) and Gaba (a neurotransmitter which helps with good sleep, less anxiety and better metabolism). I wish to sue these plotters who have brought in a universal consumption of white rice.

Hence, full points to white rice for Insulin spikes (obesity and inflammation).

Rice presents another danger – phytates. Now what are “Phytates”? These are poisons within the plants which thwart the animals from consuming them. This is the defence mechanism of plants thus ensuring their sustainability. I understood that when we consume rice, these phytates act as mineral blockers and prevent our gut from absorbing vital nutrients which are essential for cellular functions.

Is there a way out?

Yes! There is – rice has to be soaked, sprouted and germinated to get the “dirty phytates” away. The Chinese call this “Kanji” (Qi – Chi stands for life energy).

Trivia – parboiled rice uses pressure and force to push the Vitamins and Minerals from the husk to the grains and is considered the healthiest form of rice with a G.I of 30. Dr.Michael Greger a strong proponent of the vegan diet states that brown rice consumption reduces HsCRP (Cardiac Inflammation markers).

2. Wheat – Noah, the Biblical character sustained his compatriots through bread. Jesus and Moses have spoken about bread, then how could this life sustaining product become inimical.

The story ensues – wheat during Biblical times was known as Emmer and had 28 chromosomes. Now what is similar to an African woman, an Alaskan lady and a Caucasian female? Answer – they all have 46 chromosomes. If the chromosomes in the Caucasian female are altered to 69 then how would she look like? She would resemble a Dinosaur with the horns of a Rhino, the body of a orangotan and tail of a serpent. Women by nature are scary but this transformation would be horrifying – isn’t it?

This is exactly what happened in the case of wheat. The excess population and demand for food led to geneticist Dr.Norman Borlaug (Father of Green Revolution) to create a new strain of wheat which would yield ten times its predecessors. In the process, the seeds were put through gamma rays and sodium azide (mutagen). What came out was monsters which we today call as wheat.

So what, Punjabis and the hatta khatta North Indians swear by it. Our pehalwans consume it by the dozens with desi ghee. Could it be all that bad? Let me enlist some of the dangers I came across.

  1. White bread has a G.I of 69, table sugar is 65. Guess what whole wheat – 72 is. Sticker bars with G.I of 41 would make you less fat. Wheat contains amilopectin and our saliva (amylase) would create instantaneous insulin spikes when getting in contact with the wheat products.

This is a formula I had long memorized:

more blood sugar = more insulin = insulin resistance = belly

What is belly? It is Inflammation of white cells which gets converted to fatty acids (pus) which fills our stomach. So if I wish to carry more pus in my stomach, I could consume more wheat. The wheat of today has twice the calories and hence is a sure fire way of adding 400 – 500 calories to our diet on daily basis. No wonder – we see gargantuan youngsters across the world. Thanks to an overdose of Naan, Parathas, Cakes, Chapatis, bread and others, we are becoming a heavier world.

So wheat is a guarantee towards increasing obesity and inflammation.

I read that wheat has a million other vices like Lectins and Gluten, but before I put an end to ranting against wheat, I wish to share one final bit of information.

Schizophrenics can never be themselves; they can never connect with others. They constantly hallucinate and hear voices. Remove wheat (Gliadin) from their appetite and they become better.

3. Corn & Soy – Fortunately this is not a major crop in India but it makes more than 50% of the crops in the USA and 90% of it is genetically modified. It contains Glyphosate which interrupts the Endocrine system and is alleged to be the cause of Autism. It also leads to Endocrine disruption and can shoot up Thyroid disorders.

A few no nos (never touch them even with a barge pole)

  • Monsanto products – they are worse than the tobacco lobby but have insured themselves against future disasters, thanks to the Obama administration.
  • HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup) – they are hiding everywhere, right from your pickles, jams, ketchup, syrups, juice concentrates and corn oil. They are the prime cause of obesity crisis, a story that we could discuss later.
  • NEVER TOUCH ISOLATE PROTEIN POWDERS – they cause cancers especially breast cancer.

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4. Beans – we have grown up with rajma, chole, dry peas, moong dal and urad dal etc… In a popular TV show in Japan, these beans were ground in the raw state, sprinkled over food and given to a thousand audiences. Almost all of them vomited and had diarrhoea. The reason was ‘Lectins’. They lodge themselves in the GI (gastrointestinal tracts) . They clump with other food substances and jam up the villi (tubes for absorption in the intestines). This leads to poor absorption of food, GERD, auto immune diseases and FODMAPS (indigestion problems). Moreover, they along with phytates reduce iron and zinc absorption.



Positive note on Lectins and Phytates:

  • Interesting study shows that Lectins limit tumour growth and reduce obesity. They also have the capacity to distinguish between cancer cells and good cells and extinguish cancer cells.
  • Phytates have been shown to prevent kidney stones, diabetes, dental cavities, cancer, leukaemia and colon cancer.

Study showed that 20 gms of beans increases longevity by 8%. Another study showed that healthy children with high Phytate consumption had better Zinc absorption.

5. Fruits – By now I had enough, I would have to lead a life without rice or use it in moderation. I had to stop wheat and its companions. Using legumes in moderation was a huge blow for me. At least I could live on fruits or so I thought.

20,000 years ago, fruit consumption was 60 gms / day, today it is 80 gms / day. Did you know that fruit increases your aging process? Fruit causes fatty liver? Causes high BP and Obesity? Horrifying isn’t it? Kindly read on:

What happens when you eat fruits?

STEP 1 – Fruit does not contain glucose, it contains Fructose. Fructose goes directly to the liver and hence you may not see an insulin spike.

STEP 2 – Liver has a storage space for only 60 gms. A banana contains 47 gms of carbs. As the liver is over packed, now it becomes a fatty liver. So it is not just alcoholics who have fatty livers, even fruit fanatics do. It is called NASH (Non alcoholic sterodic hepatitis)

STEP 3 – This leads to Insulin resistance in the liver and the body has to make more Insulin which leads to Obesity.

STEP 4 – Fructose is a real rascal, it inhibits Endothelium Nitrate, which is a dilator of Blood Vessels and thus causes High BP.

STEP 5 – This Fructose which spills out of the liver (De Novo Lipogenesis) become fatty acids. These small size particles cause small LDL (SLDL) which is the dangerous Cholesterol.

STEP 6 –  Fructose not only creates crack in the blood vessels but also packs SLDL into it which lead to CVD (Cardio Vascular Disease)



The Fructose in fruits sticks to protein and they make a sticky glue inside the blood vessels. This is a magnet for free radicals and causes rapid aging. So anybody who wants to look more matured and old, please eat more fruits.

There is another way in which you can Glycate your body; this can be done by creating a lethal mi of Carbohydrates and Fats. Think of some foods which have a heavy dose of both of them – Dosa roast, finger chips, pizza, fried potatoes, fried appalams, vada, samosas and all the good stuff that we have been enjoying through our lifetime.

Vitamins & Minerals deficiency in Vegetarians:

Vegetarians have excess of Vitamin A, C, B6 (folate), B9, K, Magnesium, Manganese and Copper. Unfortunately they don’t have much of Proteins, B12, Omega 3, Iron, Calcium, Zinc, Vitamin D and Vitamin K2. I wish to suggest some corrective actions which the vegetarians could take.

  1. Have salads sprinkled with high dose of Vit C as the health increase Iron absorption. 50 mg of Vit C can overcome negative effects of 175 mg of Phytates and absorb Iron.
  2. A tablespoon of Chia seeds can give the requisite Omega 3.
  3. Pumpkin seeds, Sesame seeds and Collard can boost the level of Zinc in the body.
  4. Mushrooms can increase the Vit D level in the body.
  5. Sauerkraft improves Vit K2 concentration in the body, which is essential for blood clotting in the body.

The more I notice, the more I realize that food has become a science. There is no room for speculation, belief systems, hunch and obsessions. My sincere suggestion is that instead of shunning the information, dig in and try to figure out the facts. This will not only make you stronger but also your progeny. Ultimately, our body is the only vehicle that we have to fulfil all our dreams. Possibly more awareness could also help us fetch more medals in the Olympics to come.

Wish for a happier and a healthier India!

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Check out the following links for added information:

Study: Does Eating White Rice Raise Your Risk of Diabetes?

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