EAT TASTE HEAL: An Ayurvedic Cookbook for Modern Living Arriving November 2005; Order Today
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Why Buy Organic?
ayurveda 101
what's my dosha?
the six tastes
ayurveda detox
ayurvedic resources
why buy organic?
why buy organic?
genetic modification
food additives
refined foods
microwaved foods
water quality
cow's milk
healthy food resources

Refined Foods

The term “refined” may evoke notions of knowledge, wealth, and sophistication. When it comes to food, however, this term is a euphemism at best. Once upon a time, “white foods” or refined carbohydrates were considered a delicacy in the West. Brown bread and other whole grains were looked down upon as the food of the poor. In actuality, people were paying more money for less nutrition.

Refinement is a process by which the two outer layers of a grain, know as the bran and germ, are stripped away. Most of the nutrients in grains, such as fiber, iron, calcium, vitamin E, and the B vitamins, are stored in these outer layers. In order to make up for this nutrient loss, many refined foods are “enriched,” by the addition of small amounts of nutrients back into the food. An increased shelf life is the primary economic motive for such refinement. The stripped away nutrients also receive a premium in today’s booming supplement market.

According to Ayurveda, refined foods disrupt the normal course of metabolism. A diet high in refined foods creates ama in the body. Foods such as white flour, white rice, and white sugar are also often bleached, increasing their toxicity. The lack of fiber and roughage in such foods also makes it more difficult to them to pass through the digestive tract, as evidenced by the widespread problem of constipation in the West.

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