Other than genetics, the single most important factor contributing to good health is good nutrition. Good nutrition is achieved through a diet rich in whole foods.
But what are whole foods? Whole foods is a term used to describe foods that are in their natural, unprocessed state. These foods share a history with human civilization and evolution. Our bodies recognize them and know how to use them for highest nutritional benefit.
Examples of Whole Foods: Examples of Processed Foods:
apple breakfast cereal
brown rice enriched bread
Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to differentiate between whole foods and processed foods. There is a lot of misleading information out there, mainly supplied by big food corporations. We are taught to believe that certain foods are more healthy through advertisement. The truth is, whole foods are unadvertised foods. This is probably the easiest way to pick them out. You won’t see a label on an apple telling you that it is low-fat and high-fiber. You might see the same label on an energy bar, however. And even if that energy bar is organic, full of protein and fair-trade chocolate, it is still considered to be more processed than an apple.
There are more than 600,000 food items in our marketplace today. What? Food items? Yes – this a good term because many of these are highly processed, with added sugar, industrial oils and chemical additives.These are largely calorie-rich and nutrient-poor. We are a nation of well-fed, starving people.
Processed foods also tend to be inflammatory foods. This means that they cause inflammation in your body. Examples include refined sugars, industrial oils, artificial ingredients and mass-produced, processed meat products.
In my practice, the goal is to help you to learn to eat the foods that make you feel good.
On Dieting: I emphasize a whole foods based diet. This can be tailored to your individual needs. A varied diet includes vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, meat, fish, whole grains, legumes and cultured dairy, as your body tolerates them. A varied diet produces a varied and diverse microbiome in your gut.
Dieting is not good for your body. Dieting can lead to imbalanced eating, over-controlling behaviors, sugar-craving, eating disorders, guilt, binges, food phobias, weight obsession and negative thinking. Diets are not a path to nurturing and healing your body. (Please note that when use the term “diet” in my writing I am referring to the foods that you eat, not “a diet”, a restrictive relationship with food.)
Your hard-working, hard-thinking body deserves sufficient fuel. Fueling up with delicious, nutrient dense whole foods that you look forward to eating becomes a pleasure and a reward. You don’t need to obsess over carbs, calories or fat. Trust in the nutrient value of whole foods and let the rest go.
As long as you are eating real food, you’re doing great!