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GreenDave posted a blog entry in The Green GardenerWe all get a craving for junk now and gain. There is something about that extra sweetness or extra saltiness, that grabs the attention of most taste buds. But, we also all agree that these foods are rarely good for us - except briefly on an emotional level. Here are my three favourite alternatives to everyday junk food. Organic Coconut Water vs Soda Most people would agree that soda is probably not the best thirst quencher when it comes to beverages. Not only that, sodas contain an abnormal amount of refined sugar, additives, and flavourings that our bodies do not process very well. A much more beneficial drink to opt for would be organic coconut water. This energising drink which is native to the tropics is loaded with electrolytes, natural sugars, amino acids, lauric acid (immune boosting nutrient also found in breast milk), mineral salts and vitamins. Also, unlike soda, coconut water is very hydrating, contains very little calories – excellent for those watching their weight – and yet is very filling. Organic Dried Fruit vs. Candy Due to the removal or drying of the natural water content, dried fruits such as raisins, cranberries, dates, figs and prunes are great concentrated sources of energy, fibre and iron – a mineral that helps to prevent anaemia. Unlike, traditional candy and confectionary, organic dried fruit is often high in natural sugars, making it a great energy snack that is easy for the body to digest, and a wonderful addition to trail mixes, granola bars and cereals. The best part is that it is a fat-free natural food. Organic Cocoa vs. Commercial Chocolate Organic, raw, dark cocoa (also known as cacao) is a true health-giving super food. Not to be confused with the traditional commercial brands of chocolate products such as bars and hot chocolate; which contain high amounts of refined sugars, saturated fat, artificial additives and chemicals. Inspiral have a good explanation on the differences between Cacao and Conventional Chocolate. In its natural organic state cacao is dubbed as one of the super foods with the highest amounts of antioxidants, which are needed to fight free radicals and oxidative damage to cells. This may even offer protection against some types of cancer and slow down the ageing process. Unfortunately, as tempting as the commercial chocolate bars may be, they don’t offer these same benefits. Lastly, studies have shown that minerals such as potassium, magnesium and copper, which are found in high concentrations in dark chocolate, can help to prevent type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. It’s easy to enjoy too: blend the powder or nibs in a smoothie, make hot chocolate or make raw, delicious non-bake treats. With all these healthful benefits to be had why wouldn’t you indulge in this amazing plant food?
We all know how we tend be care free during our youth, since our body is young, strong, resilient, we don't feel severe consequences of the smoking and hangovers last about six hours. Although, it is true that we can recover swiftly, and go on like everything is normal, a world of pain awaits us once we get older. To make things worse, a lot of people eat only fast food, and the intake of vitamins is ridiculously low. It is this kind of lifestyle that will leave us standing in awe before our own stupidity. Of course, we shouldn't turn our backs completely to all the things that are bad for our health, but make us happy at the same time, but perhaps, if you become more aware of the consequences that will occur in your future, maybe you will at least try to be more cautious. Here are a couple of things that await you, as long as you continue to live recklessly. Your metabolism is in danger Like it was mentioned before, junk food does not have supplements, which your body requires to function normally. You do not have to be an old person to experience the damage that junk food inflicts on your metabolism... after all, obesity is quite common even in younger ages. Prolonged intake of fast food is the key ingredient to becoming famous and joining reality shows that gather obese people in order to gain viewers. Do not shape your own weakness that people will try to expose for their own benefit. It seems as if we never evolved past the point where we love to see other people struggle in order to be entertained. Your life is in danger Obesity is not the only thing you should worry about, there are also heart disease, diabetes and even cancer. Because of all the spices and the abundance of salt that resides in junk food, our blood pressure rises, thus putting extra strain on our kidneys, which results in heart problems. This is the problem that occurs because of salts, but sugar on the other hand causes type 2 diabetes. Whenever sugar strains your metabolism, your body produces insulin, so that it can prevent a drastic rise of sugar levels in your blood system. Due to the lack of protein in junk food, your body can't properly maintain normal sugar levels, which causes a chain reaction that creates cravings for more sugar, so we end up eating even more fast food afterwards. It is a kind of perpetual cycle that makes it difficult to give up this nasty habit, and just like any other addiction, junk food has the ability to control our life that way. What you eat leads to depression Another side effect of junk food is depression and low self-esteem, which really represents a problem for children who are still developing. Gaining weight causes our self-esteem to drop, which can lead to depression, and depression can affect children's growth in a negative way. Depression also affects social life; kids will end up being castaways, which later on leads to further insecurity. I do not mean to exaggerate, but it is true that a depressed life and a poor childhood can result in suicide. Teeth damage Tooth decay, although not as serious as the previously mentioned problems, should not be neglected. It is very painful, it develops and spreads quickly, and to top it all, it is not something that is invisible. If there is a decay on your teeth, you are going to be ashamed of your own smile. You should have your teeth checked, regardless of whether you are a fast food junkie or not, and you need to brush and floss regularly. Our teeth are our natural treasure that should be preserved for as long as possible. The list of junk food side effects goes on, but as human beings, we all have it in our nature to be easily addicted to bad things, and when we want to change our lifestyle, it is usually too late. It is like we are impervious to listening to reason and learning from other people's mistakes. The only silver lining is that at least we are not alone in our stupidity.