Starting a whole foods diet is good for you and better for the environment. But many people do not understand what whole foods are or how to begin. Here are three simple steps to get you toward better nutrition.
The biggest hurdle with starting a whole foods diet is not trying to figure out the ratios of proteins to carbohydrates to fats, or counting calories. It is a matter of understanding the difference between whole foods and processed foods. In fact, there is a timeless rule of holistic nutrition: the farther it is from the source or the more steps of processing a food has gone through, the less of a “real” food it is.
Whole foods are foods that are unprocessed and unrefined, or processed and refined as little as possible before being consumed. Whole foods typically do not contain added ingredients, such as sugar, salt, or fat.
Examples of Whole Foods vs. Processed Food
Potatoes vs. Potato Chips
Tomatoes vs. Ketchup
Pork Chops vs. Vienna sausages
Un-pasteurized milk vs. Whey protein powder
Orange Orange vs. juice concentrate
Wheat berries vs.White flour
Organic chicken breast vs. Chicken nuggets
Edamame vs. Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
Steel-cut oats vs. Instant oatmeal
Step 2: Know Your Food
Knowing where and how our food is produced, and eating more locally, are key to making food healthier for people and the planet. Natural and organic foods provide the best options for quality nutrients, but it is also true that we need a wide variety of different foods in order to get a good balance of nutrients.
Science presently estimates that there are over 30,000 plant based nutrients in our food chain, and generous consumption of all 30,000 reduces the risks for degenerative diseases. It just makes sense to step out of the comfort zones of ‘tried and true’ to experiment with some new food choices.
Step 3: Prepare simple, wholesome meals at home.
The best way to become more familiar with what you are buying in stores and restaurants is to understand how your favorite dishes are prepared. Although this technique is not going to educate you on the many tricks in the food industry, it will give you a head-start on what to expect in a meal. This is also a great opportunity to pull out Grandmother’s recipes and reconnect with your own family’s food tradition.
Starting a whole foods diet is simpler than you imagine. Think back to basics and you will reap the rewards of eatingfor better nutrition.
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