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Indian Foodies – 21 Healthy Alternatives to Your Unhealthy Food Habits!

In our daily lives, we keep encountering opportunities to better take care of ourselves through our health – but more often than not, due to various reasons such as shortage of time, we end up compromising on our diets. 

This results in the unwanted feeling of bloating and the gain of empty calories; we eat something but do not feel full for long amounts of time.

If we become vigilant and actively monitor what we eat, not only will it benefit us immensely in the long run, but it will also help us be in shape, and lead active and healthy lifestyles. 

Here are a few alternatives that we can swap for regular calorie & sodium-laden food items.

  1. Frozen Yogurt instead of Ice Cream
    The usage of yoghurt instead of full-fat milk in frozen desserts is usually preferred by those who wish to cut back on their fat intake. Frozen yoghurt contains only 40% of the fat that regular ice cream contains.
  2. Olive oil instead of regular vegetable oil
    Olive oil contains a very less amount of saturated fat when compared to other oils, such as coconut. It is also rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
  3. Home-made yoghurt aioli instead of salad dressings
    Store-bought salad dressings are usually very high in sodium content and contain unnecessary amounts of fat. Combine some low-fat yoghurt, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic for a healthy and flavourful replacement!
  4. Masala lotus seeds or fox nuts instead of buttered popcorn
    Makhana, as they are popularly referred to in India, contains low amounts of sodium and cholesterol. This makes them the preferred choice of snacks to satisfy cravings.
  5. Dried berries instead of candies
    They contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory response generating agents. Berries also contain high amounts of fiber and lower blood sugar and cholesterol.
  6. Crispy kale instead of fried potato chips
    Kale is a well-known superfood, and lightly sauteing it in some olive oil and having it as a substitute for fried potato snacks is a great way of incorporating vitamins, minerals, calcium, and fiber into your diet.
  7. Hummus instead of cheese dips
    Hummus is a popular dip in the middle east and Greece and is usually made out of ground-up chickpeas, which are high in protein quantity. They can also be made out of squash or pumpkin.
  8. Freshly squeezed juices instead of store-bought and packaged fruit drinks
    Store-bought juices are packed with artificial colourings and preservatives to increase their shelf lives. Freshly squeezed juices not only do away with those but also contain healthy amounts of natural fruit sugar instead of artificial sweeteners.
  9. Vegetable pasta instead of maize flour pasta
    A special tool can be employed to make spaghetti shaped strands from various vegetables like zucchini or squash. This highly benefits all those who want to incorporate gluten-free items into their diet and also derive the additional nutrition provided by these vegetables.
  10. Grated cauliflower instead of white rice
    White rice has a very high starch content. A good alternative option is a grated cauliflower, which is also good for those who are on a gluten-free diet. Throw some into a rice bowl and you will barely be able to tell the difference!
  11. Lettuce wraps instead of flour wraps
    Using lettuce to hold together the ingredients of your wrap (such as meats, veggies, dressings) instead of a wrap covering which is often made out of refined flour is a great gluten-free alternative. Lettuce also contains calcium, potassium and Vitamin C!
  12. Dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate
    Dark chocolate is well known for its cramp-easing properties and energy-boosting properties. It is a great source of antioxidants and has even been proven to reduce the risk of skin cancer!
  13. Sparkling water with fruit instead of fizzy beverages
    Sparkling (or carbonated) water aids digestion, prevents constipation and acidity. Coupled with some slices of citrus fruit, it makes a great detoxing beverage!
  14. Mashed avocados instead of butter
    Avocados on toast are the recently popularized alternative spread on toast. The fruit is loaded with MUFA (monounsaturated fatty acids) that are good for the heart, along with high amounts of potassium and fiber.
  15. Nut flour instead of refined flour
    Besides being a gluten-free alternative, nut-based flours such as almond flour and coconut flour are high in protein, manganese and Vitamin E content, which can be swapped for regular use food items.
  16. Homemade peanut butter instead of regular spreads
    Peanuts look after the ease of your bowel movements and are rich in protein, fiber, and healthy fats, contrary to the sugar-laden chocolate spreads available in the market these days. Make your own peanut butter at home by grinding together peanuts, unsweetened cocoa powder, honey, and peanut oil.
  17. Black coffee instead of regular coffee
    Black coffee is a storehouse of antioxidants and also contains three types of Vitamin B. It reduces the risk of heart diseases and organ damage, and is best consumed without artificial sweeteners/dairy enhancers. 
  18. Bhookha Haathi’s Herbs infused honey teas instead of regular tea
    Regular tea contains high amounts of caffeine which can be addictive. You can opt to mix a variant of Bhookha Haathi’s infused honey, such as saffron or fennel into green/chamomile tea for a flavourful and healthier alternative!
  19. Bhookha Haathi’s dry fruit refresher instead of artificial mouth fresheners
    Artificial mouth fresheners contain high amounts of preservatives and additives which are harmful to health. Bhookha Haathi’s dry fruit refresher contains all the benefits of dry fruits such as being good for the heart, reducing the risk of cancer, among others. It is flavoured using refreshing fennel (saunf), which is a great alternative to artificially flavoured chewables.
  20. Bhookha Haathi’s dry fruit booster instead of protein powders
    Store-bought protein powders often contain synthetic additives that are harmful to our health in the long run. Bhookha Haathi’s dry fruit booster is a gluten-free, vegan option containing high amounts of Vitamins, Minerals, Electrolytes, Antioxidants & Phyto-Nutrients to boost and supply energy to fitness enthusiasts.
  21. Bhookha Haathi’s White Honey instead of sugar
    For daily use, we sweeten a variety of food items with unhealthy refined sugar. We can opt to switch to Bhookha Haathi’s White Honey which does not impart any unwanted flavour or colour, but is a healthy, antioxidant-rich alternative that enhances the sweetness of food items!

Bhookha Haathi’s primary goal is to provide nutritious, wholesome and tasty alternatives to regular nutrient-deficient food habits. Apart from the changes that we can consciously incorporate into our daily lifestyles and diet, we can opt for 100% natural products from Bhookha Haathi Replace range to promote our health and well-being.

Written by: Jahnabee Adhikari
Jahnabee is a part-time blogger, full-time dog lover. She believes that writing actually possesses the potential to change the world. She can be often found fantasizing about poetry or buried nose-deep in a Sudha Murthy novel.

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Health & Dietary Supplements – Are They Good or Bad?

Health & dietary supplements are products intended to supplement the diet. It is an umbrella term that includes everything from Vitamins and minerals to botanicals and biosimilar products. They are not medicines and are not intended to treat, diagnose, mitigate or cure diseases. The FDA is the federal agency that oversees both supplements and medicines, but the FDA regulations for dietary supplements are different from those for prescription or over-the-counter medicines.

Medicines must be approved by the FDA before they can be sold or marketed. Supplements do not require this approval. Supplement companies are responsible for having evidence that their products are safe, and the label claims are truthful and not misleading.

Health supplements: A significant role in high-risk groups

Supplements can play an important role for some high-risk groups. For instance, adults diagnosed with osteoporosis may require extra Vitamin D and calcium beyond what they get from their regular diet. Supplements also can help people with Crohn’s disease or celiac disease, conditions that make it difficult to absorb certain nutrients. People with Vitamin B12 deficiency almost always need a supplement. Supplements prescribed by a doctor are helpful for people with certain medical conditions. Otherwise, it’s best to get your Vitamins and minerals from food and not a pill or any other chemical based supplement. A healthy body only absorbs the required amount of nutrients from natural food sources and rest is excreted, therefore, there is no risk of toxicity unless the food is contaminated.

Possible health risks of Vitamin supplements:

  • High doses of beta carotene have been linked to a greater risk of lung cancer in smokers.
  • Extra calcium, Vitamin D and Vitamin C may increase the risk of kidney stones.
  • High doses of Vitamin E may lead to stroke caused by bleeding in the brain.
  • Vitamin K can interfere with the anti-clotting effects of blood thinners.
  • Taking high amounts of Vitamin B6 for a year or longer has been associated with nerve damage that can impair body movements and the symptoms often go away after the supplements are stopped.
  • High doses of any health supplement in pill/chemical form can also cause toxicity in the body and can lead to various side effects. They can also interfere with many other health conditions already present in the body and make them even worse. For example high doses of Vitamin A can lead to even lower bone density in osteoporosis patients.

Which Vitamin supplements are worth taking?

Vitamin D: We cannot get our daily requirement of Vitamin D from plant or food sources as they don’t contain enough amount for optimum health. There are only two ways to get the required amount: 1) From the Sun 2) from Supplements. If we get 15-30 minutes daily exposure to sun, then we may not need it from any other supplement. Vitamin D is essential for Calcium absorption in our body and deficiency can lead to weaker bones or a condition called osteoporosis.

Vitamin B12: The only other Vitamin that is not produced from plant sources is Vitamin B 12. In fact, it is not made by animal sources either. Vitamin B12 is made by microbes or bacteria that blanket the earth and these bacteria also grow in the guts of some of the animals people eat. Those eating plant-based diet, don’t get enough B 12 to fulfil their daily requirements, therefore, need to be supplemented with B12.  Vitamin B 12 deficiency can lead to cognitive decline or depression.

How good or bad are protein powders?

Protein powders are dietary supplements in powdered forms of protein that come from plants like soybeans, peas, rice, potatoes, hemp, eggs or milk (casein or whey protein). These powders may include other ingredients such as added sugars, artificial flavouring, thickeners, Vitamins and minerals.

We may think adding protein powder to a glass of milk or a smoothie is a simple way to boost our health, building & maintaining muscle, bone strength, and numerous body functions; but be aware of the health risks involved.

Milk based protein powders may cause digestive distress and gastrointestinal discomfort in people with dairy allergies. They may be high in added sugars and calories and wind up turning a glass of milk into a drink with more than 1,200 calories resulting in weight gain and an unhealthy spike in blood sugar.

According to a report released by a non-profit group called the Clean Label Project, about toxins in protein powders, researchers screened 134 products for 130 types of toxins and found that many protein powders contained heavy metals like lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury, bisphenol-A (BPA), pesticides or other contaminants with links to cancer and other health conditions. One protein powder contained 25 times the allowed limit of BPA which is quite alarming. The manufacturing processes and the presence of toxins in soil were found to be major causes of contamination.

How does Bhookha Haathi fit in?

Dry fruits are a great source of proteins, Vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber and our popular range of proprietary dry fruit and nut-based health boosters are a great alternative to unnatural protein, Vitamin and other supplements commonly available in the market. So, if you are looking to supplement your diet, you can go for Bhookha Haathi’s 100% Natural Dry-Fruit Health Booster- Starter Pack which is enriched with Vitamins, Minerals, Electrolytes and Phyto-Nutrients to boost energy. Alternatively, you can opt for a subscription-based personalised nutraceutical plan that is crafted specially for you to fulfil all your individual nutrition needs.