Many people ask me this question……what are the benefits of eating more whole foods?
And…..what are clean or whole foods?
Even though most people know you should be eating less processed foods and more whole foods to help gain optimum health they often don’t understand the process and requirements.
But it is much easier to implement a clean diet than you might think.
Recently I found a list of 10 Simple Lifestyle Changes Science Is Confident Will Help You Live Longer – number 9 on the list is about eating whole foods and tells us the following: “A few years ago, Mediterranean diets consisting largely of vegetables, olive oil and fish were found to be associated with a 10 – 20 percent reduction in all-cause mortality. More recently, whole foods (meaning foods that have been minimally processed) have caught media attention, and last year’s BROAD Study showed that a whole-food, plant-based diet led to improvements in body mass index, cholesterol levels and many other chronic disease risk factors.
Following is a quick explanation of how to improve your health and longevity with a few simple little changes to your daily habits.
To many people, food is just food regardless of the quality and whether it is good fuel for your body.
What are Whole Foods?
The first thing you need to understand is that sugar, salt, trans fats and heaps of other unhealthy additives find their way into most of the processed foods you eat each day.
In other words, Junk Food is Not Real Food.
Also, here’s an excellent guide for you from Healthline which explains in detail What Is a Whole-Foods, Plant-Based Diet?
One way to simply and quickly give your health a huge boost is to eat more whole foods.
Maybe your doctor, nutrition coach or a health-obsessed friend has recommended eating more whole foods. Well that’s great advice.
Or, perhaps you already have a pretty good idea of what they are talking about, but not a solid definition and understanding of the meaning of clean eating.
So let’s clear that up right now and find out what are whole foods.
WebMD is a respected health and wellness site. They deliver valuable health advice and information, as well as support for those seeking to live a healthier life.
They define whole foods as …
“Foods that are as close to their natural form as possible.”
They have dedicated a section of their website to covering everything you need to know about a Whole Foods Diet.
In her book “Unhooked: A Holistic Approach to Ending Your Struggle with Food“, Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN) Laura Dawn defines whole foods as …
“Food that has been processed or refined as little as possible and is free from additives or other artificial substances.”
In other words, whole foods receive little or no processing or interference from man before you eat them.
Here is a brief review of the book from Amazon: “Laura Dawn sheds light on how we get hooked on the food struggle from six primary perspectives: environmental, physiological, behavioural, mental, emotional and spiritual, and provides concrete steps you can take to unhook yourself from the struggle with food.
“Unhooked” cuts through the over-complex and contradictory dieting information flooding the market and provides a clear blueprint for people to step onto the path of vibrant health and freedom from the struggle.”
Common Whole Foods List
What are some typical whole foods – sometimes referred to as ‘real food’ or ‘clean food’?
These are foods straight from nature, right off of the bush or out of the ground, such as …
Meats and Seafood
This is by no means a complete list but it’s a good start.
However, you can see some common traits when you look at the foods above.
Eaten without processing and additives, these whole foods deliver all the nutrition, minerals, healthy enzymes and nutrients your body needs for good health, growth and a strong immune system.
A Typical Day Eating Whole Foods
Some people might look at a whole foods list and think, “How can I eat nothing but these healthy foods every meal?”
Unfortunately, processed food is a big part of breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for many thinking people these days. You may have become used to eating processed foods during most meals, so the idea of eating nothing but whole foods is daunting.
But don’t let that put you off eating health giving whole foods.
Let’s take a quick look at a sample day in a whole food diet plan to show you just how easy eating healthy can be.
No store-bought bagels or boxed cereal products here.
How about a delicious omelet with broccoli and bell peppers, covered with grated Parmesan cheese? That is an entirely acceptable whole foods breakfast.
The fact that you are getting plenty of protein from your eggs also means you will feel full longer, and generally eat less throughout the day.
Some whole food aficionados will fix a huge salad at the beginning of the week.
They then package lunchtime portions so their midday meals are quick and easy. Your lunch and dinner on a whole foods plan should include protein, some type of healthy fat and some vegetables.
Salmon with grilled squash and cucumbers drizzled with a little cold pressed extra virgin olive oil and a splash of your favourite vinegar or squeeze of lemon makes a nutritious lunch that won’t lead to a traditional sugar crash later on.
How does grilled pork chops with potatoes and asparagus sound?
Why not treat yourself to a steak with onions and mushrooms sautéed in extra virgin olive oil, accompanied by Brussels sprouts and a salad with your favorite fruits and vegetables?
The number of dinners you can learn to make which stick to a whole food diet are close to limitless. Mixing and matching meat, seafood, vegetables and fruits delivers plenty of versatile and great tasting possibilities. Very healthy too!
Snacks and Desserts
A handful of nuts or dried fruits make for a healthy snack that fills you up quickly.
Hard-boiled eggs or vegetable sticks with this homemade hummus are some other healthy snacks that a whole foods dietary approach recommends.
Fresh coconut or a fruit salad makes a healthy dessert. Adding a little bit of honey to any whole foods can satisfy your sweet tooth.
You may not be familiar with shopping for whole foods on a regular basis.
Whole Foods Shopping Tips
Just remember the following tips, and your whole foods shopping experience, as well as your health, will benefit greatly.
• Don’t go shopping on an empty stomach.
• Stick to the perimeter of your grocery store.
• Find the store with the best prices on meats and seafood. These are usually your most expensive whole foods. Then purchase whatever fruits and vegetables are on sale at that store.
• Buy in bulk at a discount store like Sam’s, CostCo or BJ’s.
• Shop at farmers markets. The fruits and vegetables offered here are as close to the ground as possible, and you can usually find better prices than at your big box grocery store.
• Go grass fed for beef, and wild caught for fish. You will spend more money this way, but the food is much healthier.
To your better health – Cheers – John – your Active Ageing Mentor and Coach.
Help a friend – like and share – thanks.
P.S. You might like to get some ideas from this Whole Foods Shopping List.
And here’s 12 links to some more great information About Whole Foods.
Find out here What Happens to Your Brain When You Eat Junk Food.