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

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.

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?

A Star Is Born, Budding Actor & Model From Trichy – Story Of Arav

The me…I was born in Nagercoil, the Southern coastal part of Tamilnadu. Since my Dad started working as a Professor in Trichy Govt Law College, we shifted to Trichy. I grew up as a middle class boy and did my schooling in Kamala Niketan till 10th. I excelled in all the extracurricular activities and was also good at studies. From Singing, Acting, Martial Arts to Sports, there would always be a following for me.

All this changed when I moved to another School for my Higher Secondary, where life was all about books and the art of reproducing it. It all looked very strange and funny to me. The toughest stage of my life was spending my two years in that so called prison. It was also the time which molded me into a matured human being. I learnt the importance of family, food, love, friends and happiness etc., and how there are many people surviving without all this. From then on I started thinking a lot about life. So I always had the thought “When you see people above you, you will want a life they live, but when you see people below you, you will understand how blessed you are”.

Then I moved to Chennai to pursue my Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from Hindustan University. Four years of College was so much fun. It gave me the opportunity to interact with people from various parts of India and the world. Apart from all the fun, I was also exposed to politics, sports, education and the social responsibilities. I always thought about how my life should be different. I didn’t want to get a job in a company and work for someone else throughout my life. I had different ideas, may be to serve the Indian Administrative service, set up my own business or get into the media. Money dint seem to be very important, but I considered it to be an element to get on with my life peacefully. With lots of thoughts, I finally completed my course after a big struggle and I had to clear many arrears too. But I always thought arrears or education has nothing to do with how successful you are in life. By the time I finished my college I had many friends, whom I think are my real earnings in all these years.

After my college days, I didn’t have a job or a family business to do. I started preparing for the Civil Service Exams and gave my best for a year. At the same time, I had breakup in a relationship because of which I lost interest in everything. I was down for nearly 6 months. This experience pushed me harder into becoming more successful in life.

Then I happened to meet a person who changed my life totally. My brother, my well wisher, my role model and my mentor Mr. V.S. Anandhakrishna (Celebrity Photographer), who introduced me to the world of modeling. I met him on the Facebook, and he called me for a test shoot. Within a week I signed a shoot for a Dubai based garment brand. Thereafter my life took many twists and turns. I did more than 300 TV commercials and print Ads. I established a name for myself in the South Indian Modeling Industry. By that time I also got a job from BOSCH, to work for Daimler Trucks India Pvt Ltd.

My parents were very happy thinking that their son has become successful in life. After all getting a job, a car and a house is the most successful aspect of everyone’s life, rather than living the life itself successfully. I never thought it to be a success, but I worked just to satisfy them. I worked for a year and later joined Apollo tires as Manager for Tamil Nadu region. I worked for few months and then decided that it’s time I get out of the routine and do what I liked. I quit my job all of a sudden and decided not to work anymore. I was clear that I wanted to become an actor. Even during my school days, acting was my strength. I used to act and direct stage plays. Those childhood thoughts of becoming an actor motivated me to get into this field.

Months passed, I had lost all my savings. Every day was a struggle; a good meal had almost become a dream for me. I couldn’t ask my parents too since they were not happy with me quitting the job in order to become an Actor. But I thoroughly enjoyed each and every moment of my journey towards passion. It had taught me many things – from a poor man’s food security to understanding the true nature of people. With empty pockets and no one to support, I learned to be strong. As time passed, my parents and few friends started saying that the industry is not so easy to get in, especially for a person like me with no movie background.  So they asked me to get another job or fly to Dubai for work.  I just said OK to them but I was very clear that one day I’ll get into the Industry and this is the right time for me to give a try. I never wanted to blame anyone else for my decisions.

One fine day during the month of April 2015, I got a call to act in a leading actor’s movie, I gave my auditions and they liked my performance. The shooting got over in a month. By the end of May I got an offer to act as a Hero in a good production. I couldn’t believe it. All my patience for nearly 4 years has not gone in vain. Everything was like a dream to me. A guy, who started as a junior artist has now become a Hero. I believe this happened just because of my positive thoughts. The shoot is over now and the post production work is going on.

I was very clear with my passion. But I dint want to be too ambitious. If I become too ambitious I may become frustrated during the course of my travel towards my passion. It’s just patience, determination, positive thoughts and hard work that will take you to your passion. I chose a different path because I love to be different. All it needs is courage and perseverance.

I strongly believe in the fact that thoughts convert into actions. “Yesterdays thoughts and actions are today’s YOU”. So the actions and thoughts in the present are very important to have a beautiful future.

Life is a beautiful thing. Live it to the fullest and also let other people live. There are lots of people who have not been blessed even with the minimal of what we have. So don’t ever complain for what you don’t have and what your parents couldn’t give you.They have done the best of what they could. Money is essential to lead a quality life, but don’t forget to live while making money. Spend time with your loved ones. Always help the needy and spread love. And please do take care of our farmers, because they take care of the Mother earth.

It is a great honor and privilege for me to write on this blog. I am indeed very happy that I have shared some valuable moments with such great personalities as Mr.Sivakumar & Ms.Savitri. I value their association, not only because they are simple and approachable, but also because of their valuable service to the community through education and service, which is the holiest of all professions.

I met this lovely couple in November 2010 at the Trichy Airport on our way to Sri Lanka. Even before my father introduced me to them, I was gazing at them because of their lovely interaction with their daughter Sagarikka. The moment I was introduced, Sags and I started chatting like long lost friends. Our interaction went on through the one hour flight and 2 hours of bus journey from Srilankan Airport to our hotel in Colombo. I noticed them teaching Sags everything she had to be aware of and also gave her the freedom to know the world. More than being parents, they were like a friend to her. In all these years they are still the same.

I wish Mr.Sivakumar,Ms. Savitri  and Sagrikka a happy and blessed life. May God bless them with good health, peace and prosperity.

Thanks for reading my write up, andddd I will definitely let you all know during my movies release. Please support me and bless me. Thank you!!

Arav (aka) Nafeez

Contact at

The Glass Ceiling in the House

Why is a queen of Travancore, who championed for the minorities, the women, the entrepreneurs and Dalits,  never extolled by the people or the historians? What is the background of Raja Ravi Varma, the famous painter?

The details of all the above was  explained by Nirmala aunty and Sasi uncle in their review of the book “The Ivory Throne ,  Chronicle of the House of Travancore “ written by Manu. S. Pillai.

Why is Kerala a matrilineal society?

Women in Kerala and  in West Bengal have family properties transferred to their name. Women are empowered and make important decisions. Why is this so? Why does it not happen in other parts of India? The reason: Because of constant wars in these places, the life span of the men was less. Men lived an average of 30 years or less, due to constant killing, whereas women lived for more than 60 years. Therefore, it was better to entrust major responsibilities and property matters to women.

The book also details about how Vasco Da Gama, use divide and rule policy and removed the Zamorins (Kings of power) from power.

What fascinated me was Manu S. Pillai had worked on this book for six years and completed this masterpiece by the age of 25. I also came to know that black magic was practised in Kerala.

Overall understanding an account of history is a tedious exercise but I was captivated by Nirmala aunt’s use of words and Sasi uncle’s persona.

Meeting with the Counsel General of South Korea

I met Mr.Kyungsoo Kim , Consulate General of South Korea  at a meeting organised by CII at PLA Hotel, Trichy On 29th October 29th .

What did I learn from him?

1.       4000 expatriates from South Korea live in Chennai.

2.       South Koreans love golf.

3.       There are 70 ancillary industries which supply parts to Hyundai in Chennai. These companies also export their products.

4.       Korea is very strong in ship building and petrochemical industries.

5.       The Koreans are very hard working people, primarily agriculturalist. Their slogan in ‘KORANDO’, which means Koreans, can do.

What does the Counsel General admire about India?

1.       He admires our culture and our way of living.

2.       He shared his admiration for Aravind Eye Hospital, Madurai, which does eye surgery for the weakest section of society at no cost.

3.       He was very positive about the progress taking place in Trichy and Tamil Nadu and mentioned about G. K. Industries and the industrial hub in Nagapattinam.

Question he was asked.

1.       One gentleman asked him to provide technology for manufacturing jaggery. I was slightly dismayed that a country with a population of 1300 million with the largest number of engineers and technocrats would need support from a small country with a population less than half of Tamil Nadu for the manufacture of even jaggery.

2.       I had come across an article which mentioned that 50% of the children between the age of 12 and 19 wish to commit suicide. I found this percentage staggering. When I asked the Counsel why this was so, he replied that the parents sacrifice all their resources to bring up their child and the children were obligated to live up to the expectation of their parents.

With intense competition among the Koreans many of the children would not be able to meet their parents’ demands. I personally feel that this kind of stress should not amount to suicide.