Processed Food: Fad or Fitnah?

processed foodGo to any supermarket and you will see shelves upon shelves of ready-to-cook meals, canned food, ready-to-use fried onions, frozen vegetables and the like – all tempting you to save your time and try them out. At the same time, you might have heard that processed food is totally unhealthy, and you should avoid it as much as possible. So what should you do?

It is important to remember that virtually everything we eat is processed in some way or the other. Peeling, cutting, mashing, cooking, baking or frying is all referred to as food processing. All cooked food is, therefore, processed food. It doesn’t mean that all processed food is bad food. There is a huge difference between mechanical processing, which may be essential for making food eatable (such as peeling the bananas), heat processing that changes the texture and may change the nutritional value, but at the same time makes food more tasty and easily digestible, and chemical processing that is largely used by the industrial food manufacturers and which can turn good, natural ingredients into nutritionally worthless or even harmful products. Such chemically processed products are most commonly referred to as processed foods and must be avoided.

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Healthy Grocery Shopping – The Key to Healthy Living

grocery shoppingThe grocery store is an adult’s entertainment resort, similar to what Disneyland is for a child. You have before you a warehouse full of food, a big trolley, and plastic money to swipe. You see at the store young adults, bachelors, newlyweds, the not-so-newlyweds, new parents, grandparents, and children. Some are busy on the phone getting last minute instructions and confirmations. Others take their time to pause at each shelf and read the labels. With a look of fascination or bewilderment, they go aisle-by-aisle exploring the supermarket.

The trolley is loaded with raw ingredients, frozen food, ready-to-cook meals, instant foods, cereal boxes, syrups, sugary treats, bread spreads, cake mixes, and what not. The food looks (deceptively) healthy, they assure themselves as they push their trolley to the check-out counters.

We make a few mistakes while going for grocery shopping. Most people do go with a shopping list in hand but the question is do we stick to it, and how much?

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Sunnah Living is Healthy Living – Gems

sunnah#Gems 1: Holistic food is a natural food which works in a natural manner.

#Gems 2: Human beings are holistic because they have a body, mind and soul.

#Gems 3: God has provided humans with holistic facilities in their surroundings for their survival.

#Gems 4: Natural foods, herbs, exercise and natural therapy can give holistic benefits.

#Gems 5: Religion and spirituality always heal holistically.

#Gems 6: What is a lifestyle modification?

  • Correct eating
  • 6-8 hours of night sleep
  • Stress management
  • Body-compatible exercise
  • Food supplements

#Gems 7: Objective of lifestyle modification -To connect internal environment with external environment or microcosmos (human body) with macrocosmos (universe).

#Gems 8: Health equation:

Food                50%

Sleep               20%

Exercise           20%

Genes              10%

#Gems 9: Fact – Your entire body rebuilds itself in less than 2 years! Every cell in your body eventually dies and is replaced by new cells.

#Gems 10: Everyday is a new opportunity to build a ‘new body’.

#Gems 11: You need to focus on food if:

  • food is not natural/ processed foods
  • mindless eating
  • no food timings
  • difficulty in controlling the food quantity
  • have food cravings
  • specific food addictions
  • indifferent to various food groups
  • you are struggling with your wt/ health issues
  • your disease is not under control
  • sleep less than 6 hours at night/ poor quality
  • suffer from hyperactive mind syndrome
  • mental aging
  • find peace in smoking, sedatives, sheesha or alcohol
  • not happy with life
  • have fears, guilt, insecurity or inferiority complex
  • no morality, can do negative deeds freely
  • behavioral disorders
  • faith confusions

#Gems 12: Healthy food becomes holistic

If the source of food and medium of cooking is natural, method of cooking is simple and is body-compatible, you are able to digest, assimilate, utilize and eliminate the holistic food fully.

#Gems 13: Good nutrition isn’t just about what goes into the body, it’s about everything that flows forth from heart and soul, and how we feed and nourish the world.

#Gems 14: What are junk foods?

– when we change the structure of a natural food, it becomes junk

– foods which are made with white flour and hydrogenated oil are called junk foods

#Gems 15: Processed or dead foods –

  • long shelf-life foods
  • fortified foods
  • junk foods
  • GMO foods
  • scientific foods


#Gems 16: 8 genetically engineered foods you should avoid* –

  1. Soy
  2. Corn
  3. Cottonseed (used in vegetable cooking oils)
  4. Hawaiian papaya
  5. Crookneck squash
  6. Some varieties of Zucchini
  7. Canola (canola oil)
  8. Sugar (from sugar beets)

*Eight foods you should almost never, ever eat by Dr. Joseph Mercola (May 5 2011)

#Gems 17: Junk foods – Cookies, crackers, baked goods, bread, chips, snack foods, fried foods, etc.

#Gems 18: Artificial manures lead inevitably to artificial nutrition, artificial food, artificial animals and finally to artificial men and women.

– Sir Albert Howard | English agronomist (1873-1947)

#Gems 19: Food for thought: How can science-designed artificial foods really benefit us over God-designed natural foods?

#Gems 20: Artificial foods/ diet can lead to animalistic behaviour and eventually to major crimes. Hence we find today, in the history of criminals that they had bad/ artificial diet in their past.

#Gems 21: SLP (Shagufta Liver Program) | 8 rules of diet correction –

  1. Selection of natural foods
  2. Food preference
  3. How much to eat
  4. Correct food timings
  5. Correct food combinations
  6. Food rotation
  7. Food temperature
  8. Correct water intake

#Gems 22: Placed within a spiritual context, the ultimate goal of any dietary philosophy is to take us fully into the body, and beyond the body.

#Gems 23: #FoodMyth – Excess water is good for skin and kidney.

#Gems 24: #FoodMyth – For weight loss, we have to eat less and follow low-calorie foods and heavy gym.

#Gems 25: What are the first steps?

  • replace white flour with whole wheat
  • replace packaged milk with organic
  • replace white sugar with ‘shakar’
  • eliminate cooking oil; use mustard oil, white butter or desi ghee
  • replace broiler chick/ eggs with organic
  • replace processed salt with natural
  • eliminate bottled water with fresh water

#Gems 26: Call a cease-fire on the war against your own body, your weight.

#Gems 27: Stop complaining. Appreciate your body and be happy – it is a creation of Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla)!

#Gems 28: Recommended book: Living as Nature Intended (by Dr. Shagufta Feroz).

#Gems 29: Good habits are as addictive as bad habits, but much more rewarding!

#Gems 30: Some tips to reduce radiation emission with cell phone use:

  1. Use a headset
  2. Use speaker mode
  3. Hold phone away from your body
  4. Text more, speak less
  5. Call only when signal is strong
  6. Limit children’s phone use
  7. Skip the ‘radiation shield’
  8. Use a special phone case like Pong
  9. Put your phone on ‘airplane mode’ when your children are around
  10. Keep your phone away from your room when you are asleep

#Gems 31: Do not turn on A/C immediately after entering your car.

#Gems 32: How to relax your eyes while studying or working on a computer?

Relaxing eyes is very important as it not only relaxes your eyes but also takes away other health problems such as headaches, eye strain, poor vision, migraines, etc. and hence it should not be underestimated.

  • Palming is a good relaxation technique. In palming you simply warm up your hands by rubbing them and cover your eyes for a few minutes everyday
  • Looking at a wide picture stress the eyes. Healthier option is if the eyes focus on a centralized portion of the picture
  • Look away every 2 minutes for 4-5 seconds and then get back to work
  • Get up every hour. Take a 5-minute break every hour.
  • Wash eyes with cold water frequently
  • Try to take Vitamin A and C
  • Blink your eyes every few seconds. It relaxes them by giving moisture to the eyes
  • Apply two moist cotton balls that are squeezed in milk to your eyes