A Whole Foods Diet

By none

A Whoole Foods Diet by lisa tsakos

Along with the New Year come new goals and an opportunity for a fresh start. While some of the promises you make will last, most will fall by the wayside within weeks. How do you adhere to your goals long term? Like most “all or nothing” changes, while promising yourself not to eat another french fry all year sounds like a good idea, it probably won’t last. On the other hand, small adjustments to lifestyle and eating habits tend to stick.

An excellent way to adopt a healthier lifestyle is to introduce more whole foods into your diet. Whole foods are “real” foods, meaning foods in their most natural state – unrefined and unprocessed. Free of harmful chemicals and additives, they do not contain added sugars, sodium, or unnatural fats. How do you know if something is a whole food? The simplest way is to ask yourself how many ingredients it contains. If it’s truly a whole food, there is only one!

The term “whole foods” depicts a fruit or vegetable eaten in the same condition as when it was picked, or an animal raised naturally without the use of antibiotics, added growth hormones or animal by-products. Most often it denotes organic (though it does not mean the same thing). Whole foods are unrefined and minimally processed like a whole apple before it becomes apple pie or apple juice, or the entire egg rather than the egg white alone.

Nature has a brilliant way of providing balance. Whole foods are equipped with a complete set of nutrients and enzymes (if eaten raw or lightly heated) and even probiotics. Plant foods eaten whole provide the complex interwoven structure of nutrients that the body needs. They are the most natural source for fiber, vitamins and minerals. Unlike many processed foods, whole foods are easily absorbed and digested - the way nature intended. The further we get from natural food, the more challenging it becomes for the body to recognize what we’re eating.

Introducing whole foods eating is simple. A simple way to begin is to replace all refined grains with whole grain foods. A brown color is a good indicator but read labels to ensure the first ingredient is a whole grain rather than a refined flour with some whole grain added to it. Avoid foods that list “wheat flour” or “enriched wheat flour” as the first or main ingredient. What is a whole grain? Let’s use a kernel of wheat (or a wheat berry) as an example. The wheat berry has three parts: the bran, the germ, and the endosperm. The bran provides most of the fiber (insoluble fiber) and B vitamins. The germ (the part that sprouts) is a good source of trace minerals, B vitamins, essential fats, and antioxidants. The endosperm (in the center) provides most of the carbohydrate and protein. During the milling process (to make white flour), the bran and germ are removed, leaving only the endosperm and removing the majority of nutrients and fiber. Sprouted grains have been soaked to release even more enzymes and nutrients hidden inside the kernel.

Fruits and vegetables should be eaten whole as well. Eat fruit raw more often than dried or frozen. Fresh fruit is an excellent source of vitamin C and other antioxidants. Use fresh vegetables rather than frozen or canned and eat them raw or lightly steamed whenever possible. When vegetables are becoming soft or overripe, use them to make a stew, soup or soup base.

Eating vegetables raw is ideal, but it can be challenging to eat large enough quantities. Juicing provides a quick and delicious way to ingest and absorb the enzymes, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants from vegetables and fruit. Juicing helps to detoxify your body and boost your immune system. Providing a healthy dose of vegetable juice also helps maintain the body’s pH balance. An optimum pH level is essential for maintaining good health as less alkaline cells cannot efficiently transport oxygen throughout the body. Enjoy a fresh-pressed vegetable and fruit juice daily to increase energy and vitality.

Our ancestors ate all parts of an animal and used the leftovers as tools, for shelter, or ceremony. Today most of us wait in supermarket line-ups to purchase club packs of chicken breasts or pre-seasoned cuts of meat. Whole foods eating suggests that all parts of an animal provide nourishment. Organ meats are a primary source of minerals like iron, copper, molybdenum, selenium and iron.

What about dairy products? In the United States, semi-skimmed milk outsells whole milk. Full cream, or whole milk, has the full milk fat content. Though whole milk is deemed less healthy than the lower fat varieties, there is some evidence indicating that calcium and vitamin D are better absorbed from higher fat dairy products. Whole milk is recommended for toddlers to ensure sufficient fat is provided for growth. Make sure to purchase organic dairy products to avoid hormones, antibiotics and pesticide residues.

Supplements made from whole foods are available. Look for products listing ingredients derived from natural sources. Algae and “green” whole food supplements such as spirulina and chlorella are an outstanding source of digestible protein and provide a myriad of minerals like much needed magnesium. Other green whole food blends include barley greens, dandelion, and wheat grass. Many products now boast whole fruit blends and include antioxidant-rich ingredients such as cranberries, blueberries, plums, and strawberries. Though it’s preferable to eat these foods in their raw, natural state, whole foods supplements offer convenience.

Whole foods are foods that are unprocessed or unrefined before being consumed. To get the full benefit of Mother Nature’s glorious nutrients, eat foods the way She intended – in their whole, natural state.

By none| July 09, 2008
Categories:  Eat

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