Whenever I inform someone that he or she should eat more whole foods for a better quality life and disease prevention, i get asked this simple question: What are whole foods?
Whole foods are not: all food bought at Whole Foods Market. Funny, but true. In fact, there are tons of processed foods there. Don’t get me wrong , though, I love Whole Foods Market; they promote foods free from preservatives and hormones, a host of organic foods and many superfoods that we may not be able to find at other places.
When I start explaining what whole foods are, my clients realize that they never fully realized the scope of processed foods in their very own pantries.
When a whole food, meaning a food (with one ingredient) in its natural state. is altered, it becomes processed–In a small way such as taking a whole oat groat and rolling it….this is a minimally processed food and still has numerous health benefits. It is not altered enough for me to say stay away from it. Oat flour is processed, but still contains all the goodness of the oats.
Now consider wheat flour, which started as nutritious berries:
but were processed to the point of stripping the berries of their hulls, bran, fiber, vitamins and minerals.
This is a food to avoid like the plague becuase if you think it’s okay, you’ll likely consume it in cereals, breads, crackers, etc., and it will take a toll on your health. Now, consider sellers of so called “whole foods”. This isn’t to slam them, but even manufacturers of organic foods are producing processed wheat flour. It does not contain pesticide residues— Hiphip hooray, but it will still harm you in other ways—Boo hoo!
I saw this video the other day of how procesed foods break down (or don’t break down) in the system and how a lesser processed food breaks down. It is quite amazing. Maybe after watching this, we’ll rethink grabbing foods devoid of fiber and/or filled with artificial ingredients. The mental image of what goes on inside us when we do partake is reason enough to say no.
Here’s a brief list of processed foods you may or may not have a relationship with (some may have “whole” ingredients but may contain too many refined processed ingredients to be considered truly wholesome):
Wheat crackers, whole grain O’s, raisin bran (high fructose corn syrup in most brands), low fat dairy products, rice cakes, bakery foods, potato chips (containing refined oils), fruit juice, sugar in any other form besides the sugar cane itself; any food with ingredients labeled isolates (such as soy protein isolate), ___protein, lite, reduced, partially hydrogenated (cancer causing trans fats), genetically modified, or irridated.
One should include more of the following: whole wheat products, full fat dairy (if you must), fruit smoothies containing the whole fruit, baked goods containing unrefined ingredients, Even better is the elimintion or great reduction in baked goods and sugars which do not come from whole fruits or dried fruits and the addition of a variety of less common (although becoming more common) grains such as quinoa, millet, amaranth, buckwheat, and spelt and more live, raw foods such as nuts, seeds, sprouts, lush colorful vegetables and fruits.
Think of the wheat berry as a seed from which a plant comes from; sprout it and eat it as is–even make berad out of it. Strip it of its clothing and it’s dead, offering no energy to you or anybody. How sad.
Food is meant to heal us, energize us, and carry us through life.