Sunday, April 20, 2014

Way and Means to Avoid or Quit Dietary Salt



Eating food without salt? Impossible! It is highly impossible to ordinary human beings. Only the God knows how Dr. Mantena Satyanarayana Raju manages to eat food without salt. One or two days, we can manage but for the whole life? No way! What is the use of leading such a tasteless life? Why are we working so hard and earning this much money? Is it not to enjoy? This would exactly be the reaction of majority of people when they are asked to quit salt.

We prefer to pay lump sum of amounts to insurance companies for insuring hospital bills on falling sick but we never prefer to ensure health. We all know the risk of salt to our health and are still reluctant to quit salt because there are treatments in modern medical science for those risk factors. But we must remember that medical science can cure the disease but not guarantee the non-recurrence of the disease. Whereas, quitting salt and following natural way of living can prevent the disease and make sure that it never touches you in future. We must not forget that prevention is always better than cure.

Most people consider health as a condition of physical body but according to yogaacharya Sri. B.K.S. Iyengar, a complete health can be achieved at six levels viz. physical health, physiological health, psychological health, intellectual health, conscious health and spiritual health. Most of us are struck up in the first level and never move in to the higher levels of health as mentioned by Guruji B.K.S. Iyengar. I quoted this because most of us associate quitting salt to a physical action but it is rather a psychological and physiological action.

Honestly speaking, quitting salt is a very difficult task; especially to Indians. It is in fact, as difficult as quitting alcohol or even more. We get conditioned to alcohol after reaching a certain age but salt is conditioned from the very early child hood of 1 year of less. It is off course difficult but not impossible. Even the difficult problems have the solution but need to approach them with subtle understanding to reach the depth of it to uproot completely. Health never comes easy! You need to earn it. You need to purchase health by spending your sweat as said by Guruji B.K.S. Iyengar or you need to sacrifice your tasty luxuries as advocated by Dr. Raju. Doing both the things needs understanding and practice of the subject.

Most people believe that quitting salt completely is only possible to Dr. Raju. As they see many follow salt less food for few days, weeks or months and they again come back to normal food with salt. This is the story of many of the followers of Dr. Raju. This is because most of us don’t understand the problem with salt deep down as did by Dr. Raju. You need to break this puzzle to successfully implement it in practice.

I remember one parable from “Osho’s Alpha and Omega of Yoga vol.1” which goes like this:
Once Buddha came to his monks; he was going to deliver a sermon. He sat under his tree. He was having a handkerchief in his hand. He looked at the handkerchief. The whole congregation also looked at what he was doing. Then he binds five knots in the handkerchief and he asked two questions.

1. “Is the handkerchief the same when there were no knots on it or is it different?”

One Bikkhu, one monk, says that “In a sense it is the same because the quality of the handkerchief has not changed. Even with knots it is the same, the same handkerchief. The inherent nature remains the same. But in a sense it has changed because something new has appeared. Knots were not there, now knots are there.  So superficially, it has changed, but deep down it has remained the same.

Buddha says, “This is the situation of human mind. Deep down it remains unknotted. The quality remains the same. When you become a Buddha, an enlightened one, you will not have a consciousness. The quality will be the same. The difference is only that now you are a knotted handkerchief; your consciousness has a few knots.

2. Second thing Buddha asked: “What should I do to unknot the handkerchief?”

Another monk says, “Unless we know what you have done to knot it we cannot say anything, because the reverse process will have to be applied. The way you have knotted it has to be known first, because that will be the way again in the reverse order to unknot.”

So Buddha says, “This is the second thing. How you have come into this bondage, this has to be understood because; the same will be the process, in reverse order to uncondition you. If attachment is the conditioning factor, then non-attachment will become the un conditioning factor.”

The above story suits quite well in understanding and eating food without salt. First you need to understand whether the essence of food is same even if you exclude the salt from it. Let us now separate salt aside and see how the body reacts when it is consumed directly. Dr. Raju in his book ‘food for thought’ wrote that the body takes three basic actions at mouth, stomach and intestines to protect itself from salt which is discussed as below:

1. Action in the Mouth: Let’s mix handful of salt in water and drink a mouthful of it! As we pour it, into the mouth, the cells at the lips and the delicate layers in the mouth suffer severely. Some cells die and some cells weaken. Seeing the death of some cells, the resistance power in the mouth orders the tongue to spit it out as a first precaution before greater damage is done. That is possible only in the case of healthy people, whereas weak people, sickly people, slaves of salt and tastes, can’t obey the orders. They don’t mind swallowing it into the stomach. And they swallow it.

2. Action in the Stomach: So the enemy has crossed the first gate and is now at the second gate. The salt water reaches the stomach. The resistance power of healthy people in the stomach, tries to drive out the enemy. It creates a vomiting sensation and churns the stomach so much that the salt water comes out of it in the form of vomit. But this doesn’t work with unhealthy people and with those who are accustomed to the use of salt greatly. The salt water doesn’t cause much harm or uneasiness in the stomach. A part of it goes into the blood. The remaining part of salt water goes into the small intestines.

3. Action in the intestines: As soon as the salt water reaches the small intestines, the small way between the stomach and the small intestines closes down. So there is no let out for the salt-water that way. The resistance power there in the intestines has to make a final attempt to fight it out so that it won’t harm the intestines. It causes heavy movements in the intestines to drive out the harmful salt water through anus. The muscles of the intestines send water into the intestines through mucous layer to dilute the salt water. As a result, the movement in the intestines increases and the salt water comes out through anus in the form of loose motions. But if the body has no resistance power it digests the salt and sends it to blood through small intestines. The salt that is sent into the blood reaches the cells through blood vessels and poisons them.

In order to avoid salt from your food, you need to go deep down into the roots of the cause and try to understand where and how the problem is created to overcome it. Most people think quitting salt is impossible as many have tried and failed in this aspect. It is difficult though but not impossible. Let us try to understand the means and ways to overcome the dangerous salt.

Ways and means to avoid Dietary Salt:

1. When you try to unknot the problem in quitting salt, you will find that the foundations were laid in your early childhood by your parents. The Government of India chose a medium of fulfilling iodine deficiency in children through salt as it is the cheapest food that every citizen could afford to buy and the salt companies took full advantage of this Government Order to increase their sales. There is no doubt that adding iodine in salt helped in overcoming the serious issue of iodine deficiency in children but it also gave other serious diseases and disorders like high blood pressure, heart attack, paralysis and other dangerous health hazards mentioned in the previous blog. When the G.O. was introduced, India was going through poverty, starvation and malnutrition. The things are little better now. People can afford to buy healthy and nutritious food to overcome the iodine deficiency. But we have seriously fallen into the trap of salt. Most people think Iodine is available only in salt. If you don’t eat salt your brain is not going to work. It is so badly publicized that salt has become a synonym for Iodine. They have forgotten that Iodine is a micro-nutrient added to the salt and is not a natural nutritive product of the salt. When Dr. Raju is asked, doesn’t the quitting of salt completely result in iodine deficiency? He says, which animal takes salt and how many animals are getting iodine deficiency? Iodine is available in ample amounts in the greens and vegetables you eat. You might say, animals don’t cook food whereas humans do. Doesn’t the cooked food lose iodine through evaporation? Yes, it does to some extent but if you eat natural fruits, sprouts, raw vegetables and half boiled foods shown according his methods of cooking and eating; you get sufficient iodine required for the body. Instead of giving salt, sugar, oil, ghee, tamarind, red chili powder and masala studded food to your growing children you must teach good natural eating habits. From the very first day of ‘annaprasana – the food ceremony of children’, you must provide them food without these harmful tastes and make sure they eat healthy natural foods like fruits and vegetables etc.

For grownups that are now a slave to salt must think, analyze and understand the dangers associated with salt. As mentioned earlier quitting salt is a difficult process, may be difficult than quitting smoke and drink. Therefore you need to take it slowly, gradually and seriously. You must go one step back at a time. First step is understand how the problem started and by now you knew how exactly it started.  

2. You must not stop salt immediately as it creates more craving for salt. Like any other rehabilitation method, quitting salt should also be done slowly. Don’t stop salt immediately and suppress your desire inside as it is going to bounce back with more force. You might have seen people practicing certain religious customs or deekshas for certain period of time. They abide to strict satvik diet for certain number of days suppressing all their desires and when they finish their deeksha they fulfill all their suppression with double the force. Therefore gradually decrease the intake of salt every day. The taste buds in the tongue lasts for 10 days and they change after every 10 days. You need to train your taste buds and your senses gradually to accept less salted food for few days, weeks or even months. Observe whether your taste buds and senses can take little less salt than your usual intake every 10 days and see how good is your progress in this regards.

3. Most of the salt comes from processed and restaurant foods. Eating unprocessed natural food cooked at home is an easy and effective way to avoid excess sodium. Avoid eating restaurant food completely.  One must remember that no hotel or restaurant cooks food keeping your health in mind. Their one and only concern is to make the food tasty so they can retain their customers back. Educate and inform about the dangers of salt to your family members who are concerned about your health. There is every possibility of cooking healthy food at home.

4. One of the major problems with Indian cuisine is the vastness of recipes. They cook multiple varieties of vegetables, dal, sambar, rasam etc along with rice. When you cook so many items obviously the quantity of salt will be high as you add it separately in each of these items. So now on, make sure that you cook only one vegetable curry or dal to serve with rice. Nothing else!

5. Try to avoid salt in cooked food as far as possible. If you must salt your food, do so only after it is on the table and you are ready to eat it. It will taste saltier if the salt is right on the surface. That means, do not add any salt while cooking. When the food gets ready sprinkle half the amount of salt you usually add while cooking. Since the salt will be on top of the surface it looks saltier.

6. Use onions, green chili, raw mango or lemon to flavor the food. These ingredients help in supplementing the craving for salt pleasing the taste buds. Remember, salt deadens the taste buds, and by avoiding processed and highly salted foods, you regain your ability to detect and enjoy the subtle flavors in natural foods and actually experience heightened pleasure from unsalted foods.

7. Make sure to skip cooked food at least once a day either in the breakfast or at dinner. You can even skip both. Serve nutritious sprouts in breakfast and seasonal fruits in dinner. You can serve cooked food with less salt at Lunch in the afternoon. This practice might keep you away from the risk of diseases arising out of salt and the habit of eating sprouts and fruits keep you healthier.

8. Declare a complete holiday for salted food at least once a week. Usually eat sprouts in breakfast, fruits in dinner and cook recipes according to Dr. Mantena’s Kitchen without adding oil, ghee, salt, sugar, tamarind, red chili powder and masalas. You can find the process of these recipes in my blog Dr.Mantena’s Kitchen or you can browse youtube for Dr. Mantena’s recipes. You might find hundreds of videos on youtube.

9. This beautiful nature has given vast varieties of foods with different flavors, aroma and taste. Every vegetable has its own special quality, flavor, aroma and taste. Few months later you will find that your taste buds have regained their natural form and began to enjoy the natural flavor of food.

10. On practicing these things over a period of time you can eat salt free food without any difficulty. However the period of time might depend on how sincere and intensely you are practicing these steps.

I hope these simple suggestions would help you in freeing yourself from the clutches of salt and you lead a healthy and happy life. Keep watching the space for more updates.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Dangers of Dietary Salt



Most people know that Dr. Mantena Satyanarayana Raju strongly recommend complete abolition of salt, sugar, oil, ghee, tamarind, red chili powder and masalas from your daily food. Because of this, he is liked by many and disliked by equal number of people or may be more. The people who like them are the ones who were benefited by his teachings and disliked by the ones who can’t follow his teachings. When you are on a journey to benefit the mankind, there are always less number of takers and more number of leg pullers creating hurdles in the path. Good always spread with less speed and bad always catch up like fire. When Dr. Raju’s work has been appreciated and started to gain some followers, the list of people who envy him also increased. Some of them envy him due to professional reasons while some others envy just because they can’t follow his teachings. For them he is totally crazy because he advocates healthy habits of living by eating healthy. They feel that he says not to eat anything. How can one survive without eating?” For them everything is the salt, sugar, oil, ghee, tamarind, red chili powder and masalas which he asked to abolish from daily food. There are some other people who first spread rumors about his ill health and now they have killed him as well. You might have seen many rumors making rounds on internet about his death these days.

I would like to tell such people that he felt his social responsibility to educate people about health and he is doing his job very honestly. Out of his knowledge and experiences he is educating people through his lectures on different health subjects. By the way every individual has his own intelligence and way of doing things.  No one is blindly going to follow anybody without any valid reason. If you can follow his teachings it’s okay and if you cannot follow also perfectly fine. Why to blame anyone for your failures?

There is another category of people who doesn’t understand or doesn’t know why Dr. Raju wants them to abolish those harmful tastes. They are in confusion; why he calls them the harmful tastes which they are using since they have known their senses? As I mentioned in my previous update “Salt – the King of Taste and Emperor of Diseases” that cuisine without salt and oil was out of my imagination till I came to know it from Dr. Raju. Other tastes like ghee, tamarind, red chili powder and masalas or spices; people think are good for health and therefore they add more in quantity. Due their ignorance they are slowly damaging their health over a long period of time without knowledge. Therefore, I have decided to publish articles on my blog from time to time stating why Dr. Raju calls them harmful tastes? I already published an article “Salt – the King of taste and emperor of diseases” last time as my first attempt in this regards. If you have read it then this article will help you understand better and if not read it once before going into further details of this blog here. 

If you have read the previous blog, it is now time to know about the dangers associated with dietary salt.

Dangers of Dietary Salt:


Well, I am not going to tell anything new. Neither did Dr. Raju have told anything new about the risk factors or dangers associated with dietary salt. We know them all. We prefer to continue eating salt till it leads to hypertension, paralysis or heart attack etc., but we don’t prefer to follow Dr. Raju’s call to stop salt. We must understand that medical treatment is a curative method whereas Dr. Raju’s natural way of living is a preventive method. We also know prevention is always better than cure but still we fail to prevent.  Let me tell you one thing very clear, even naturopathy is a curative method. Natural way of living is the only preventive method.
  
Most of us know salt is dangerous for health but do not know how and why it is dangerous. Let us try to understand in detail how and why salt is considered to be dangerous for human health. Before going into further details I once again insist you to read my previous update: “Salt – the King of taste and Emperor of Diseases” for better understanding.

1. High blood pressure: 

There is no wonder in saying that majority of humans irrespective of any discrimination is aware of the fact that excess use of salt leads to hypertension or what we popularly call as high blood pressure. You will clearly understand what is ‘excess’ had you read my previous blog “Salt – the King of taste and Emperor of diseases.”

Blood pressure is an indicator of how much pressure your blood puts on the walls of your arteries each time your heart beats, as well as between beats when your heart relaxes. The amount of blood in your circulation, called blood volume, is a major factor determining your blood pressure. When you eat more salt than your kidneys can handle, the extra salt retains water and your blood volume increases, raising your blood pressure. It is measured in two numbers, each measurement recorded in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg), like 120/80. Systolic pressure (the top number of blood pressure reading) gauges the pressure in the arteries at systole (SIS-tuh-lee), the instant when the heart contracts and pushes a wave of blood along the arterial tree (think “s” for squeeze). Diastolic pressure (the bottom number of blood pressure reading) is the pressure during diastole (die-As-tuh-lee), the brief period of relaxation between beats. The heart pumps blood with a pressure between 120 and 80 under normal circumstances and if it goes beyond 120 and 80 then it is called high blood pressure. When the pressure is at 80 the heart takes rest for an approximate time of 4 seconds per minute. 

Salt hardens the blood vessels carrying blood to the heart. This makes the contraction and expansion of the blood vessels difficult. If the diastolic pressure increases beyond 80 the resting time of the heart reduces leading to serious consequences. High pressure can cause serious health problems, especially because it produces no early symptoms. So you might have the condition and not know it. 

Dr. Raju prescribes a very simple and the world’s best medicine for hypertension. Ask any doctor and you don’t find a better medicine than that. It requires no money, no suggestion of a doctor and more over it is readily available at every home. Just dump the salt. Totally give up the salt and see how your blood pressure comes under control.

2. Heart Disease and Stroke:


When you consume too much sodium and your blood pressure is too high, over time the extra pressure can make your vessels less elastic and more susceptible to buildup fatty deposits called plaque. This can cause atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. In atherosclerosis, vessels narrow and their walls thicken, making your heart work harder and eventually raising your risk of heart attack, heart failure and stroke. We all know that salt is used as a preservative to store sea and animal products. You might have seen how hard the fish becomes when it is covered by salt. Can you imagine how many kilos of salt you have dumped in your body over the years now and what would be the condition of your arteries and veins inside? All this, is to merely satisfy a little tongue!

According to Harvard School of Public Health, higher intake of salt can cause a 23 percent increase in the incidence of stroke and a 14 percent increase in heart disease. It is needless to say, how people are getting heart attacks in a very young age in India and other parts of the World. You might have personally seen or observed in and around your circle of friends, colleagues and relatives. Who knows it may be your turn next? Respond before it is too late and dump salt aside which is one of the major causes for heart attacks.

3.  Paralysis:

 

Paralysis is another chronic disease which makes life hell. Entire members of the family have to suffer if it attacks any single one in the family. Ask anyone who is a part of this tragic family and he will tell you how each and every member of the family suffers over a period of time. It will neither let the patient to live nor let him die. Had you seen or experienced any such thing, will pray, even the enemy should not get such a life. Unfortunately, Paralysis is growing at a rapid pace. More and more people are getting into the clutches of this dreadful disease.

Paralysis basically occurs when the blood pressure shoots up and blood vessels narrow down or hardened. As a result, the face, neck, hands, legs, head, brain and blood vessels are likely to be affected leading to paralysis. It might occur at any given point of time without any prior symptoms. A single attack can cripple a person for the rest of his life. Therefore one should never take blood pressure with ease. You must always keep in check. Dr. Raju’s natural way of living is a preventive measure. It is never too late, change your lifestyle immediately and enjoy good health.

4. Renal Problems: 



Recently I had been to Apollo Hospitals, one of the leading hospitals in Hyderabad, India for consultation of my dad’s hernia problem. I was really surprised to see a large number of young people ageing around 12-24 waiting for doctor’s consultation. The doctor was quite busy in treating these young lads mostly working in corporate houses. Out of curiosity I asked the receptionist, what these young people doing here? She replied with a smile, most of them are here with a kidney problem. This is the condition of youth in India. There is no point in crying over spoilt milk. But people realize the impact of anything only after it is too late. Only when the kidneys are damaged, they try to reduce salt. They realize its harm only after it has taken toll on the body. We don’t realize, what is harmful is forever harmful whether you are sick or healthy. Due to excess salt in the blood vessels the water remains in the vessels creating trouble for kidneys. The excess salt leads to kidney stones also. Each organ in the body has a life of over 100 years but we are not able to protect them for even 50 years. Most people don’t care about kidneys which are one of the major defense mechanisms of our body until it is affected. Drink ample amount of water and keep salt away to keep your kidneys healthy.

5. Arthritis:

 

The excess of salt in the body affects the joints. Cobwebs gather more in corners, so also salt in joints. If you ask a beggar for his life ambition, he will promptly say, one day I shall beg in America. That means even if he is given a chance, he can’t come out of his begging instinct. In the same way, the salt, which is harmful, can’t keep itself quite without decaying or spoiling the body parts in which it is stored. The salt stagnated between the joints eats away the gummy substance and joints. Don’t think that your arthritis is because of your age. It is because of salt that is in your joints. Simple remedy to arthritis is – giving up salt.

6. Obesity:

 

Excess salt is also responsible for obesity. By eating more salt you are allowing water to get stored in the body, increasing your weight. Salt holds and stores water thereby body will be sagging. Obesity leads to other disorders in the body. People taking treatments at nature cure hospitals in India lose tremendous weight in a very short period of time because they were provided food cooked without salt. Obese people can try this at home; if you can eat food without salt, you are going to see amazing weight loss in your body.

7.  Diabetes:


You already know that if you give up salt, your blood pressure, heart problems, kidney and stones in your kidneys will be cured. But do you know, if you don’t eat salt, you can be cured of your diabetes too? Let me explain this in a brief. Dr. Raju says, you need 8:1 ratio of Potassium and sodium in your food for the cells to consume that food. We all know these two minerals are naturally available in the food we eat. When we cook the food the Potassium gets evaporated where as the sodium remains. In addition to that we add dietary salt to cook our food. The ratio of Potassium, Sodium thus changes. The Potassium reduces and the sodium increases. When there is a scarcity of Potassium in the cells, you have to supplement it with insulin for the free flow of food. The insulin hormone doesn’t function properly in diabetic patients. So, it is treated through medicines, ignoring the damage caused to the cells.

So far, you are under the impression that you can control diabetes only if you take medicines regularly. One day you miss a pill and it will shoot up – is your experience. But now try this way! You give up salt and eat that food which has Potassium. Then cells can get food easily, needing less insulin. If you follow this, you will be free from diabetic complaints without medicines. The sum and substance of it is that glucose is converted into energy quickly with less insulin provided the 8:1 ratio of the two elements remains normal. Many of you must have noticed that your sugar readings come down if you eat raw vegetables for few days. You know why? The raw vegetables have the potassium and sodium elements required by the cells. I will try to get a detailed account of how salt leads to diabetes in my future updates in the blog.

8. Body Odor:

 

The water in the whole body becomes salty when salt gets stored in and out of the cell. We don’t sweat; we don’t urinate much if excess of salt remains in the body. Since the cells have more than the required water in the body, kidneys too fail to eliminate the waste properly. This result in bad body odor leading to stinking mouth, breath, sweat, urine and stool no matter how many times you brush, bath or whatever the kind of perfumes you use. Stop eating salt and experience how the body odor vanishes.

9. Swelling:


Those who eat more salt generally carry 6-7 liters of water in the body making the cells float in the salty fluid making life difficult for them. Their bodies look swollen. The excess water in the body hinders free flow of oxygen to the cells causing them die. You can see the face, hands, ankles, and feet of some people; they are swollen most of the times. Swelling is a warning signal to let you know the suffering of the cells.

10. Asthma, Allergy, Sinus:

   

Water remains stored wherever salt remains. Consuming excess salt makes the water in the body salty. Since there is no pure water in the body, it leads to dehydration. A hormone called ‘Histamine’ is produced in such a situation. As a result, the air passages in the lungs have an obstruction. So, sticky substances will be produced in the lungs and in sinus area. It leads to sneeze, cold, allergy, breathlessness and Asthma. Such problems arise for two factors – 1. Excess consumption of salt and under consumption of water! There is an unending list of diseases that crop up to one harmful item – The Salt.


To cut a long story short, from the biggest part of the body to the minutest item, the cell, which could only be seen through the microscope, all are affected by the mischief maker. One pinch of salt a day corrupts thoroughly all the busy bees in your body. The king’s lust for power makes people suffer and your lust for the king salt, makes you suffer.

More than treatment of any disease, the diagnosis is the most important factor. Any problem can be sorted out once for all, if you strike at the root cause of evil. You have been eating food with salt. You have been suffering in one way or the other. From here on try to eat salt less food as advocated by Dr. Raju for four to five months and experience the change in your health. Once, you experience the change you realize that health is not a condition of matter but of the mind.


I hope this article will help in taking one step forward towards the natural way of living advocated by Dr. Mantena Satyanarayana Raju. In the next update I will come up with means and ways to gradually eliminate salt from your life. So, keep watching the space for more updates….!
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