A diet, or more specifically a healthy eating lifestyle, that focuses on consuming primarily whole foods is the best way to ensure a healthy mind and body.
- increased intake of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants
- decreased intake of refined sugar, saturated fat, and additives/preservatives
- increased variety of food choices that leads to more enjoyment in eating
- reduced risk of diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes
So, what exactly is a “whole food”?
A whole food is defined as a food in its natural state, with all of the vitamins and minerals intact. A whole food is minimally processed before it is consumed.
What are some examples of whole foods?
Vegetables and fruits – raw, sautéed, lightly steamed, roasted, baked, or boiled
Avoid: Juices, canned veggies and fruits, fruit leather, jams/jellies
Lean Protein – If you like meat:chicken, turkey, eggs, fish, lean beef, lean pork. If you prefer a vegetarian option: beans (lentils, pinto beans, black beans, chickpeas), nuts (almonds, walnuts, etc), and seeds.
Avoid: Canned meats, jerky, bean or nut flours, bacon, hot dogs, deli meat, cheese
Whole Grains – Quinoa, whole oats (steel cut, rolled), brown rice, bulgar wheat, spelt, kamut, buckwheat, wild rice, barley
Avoid: anything with flour, breads, pasta, noodles, baked goods, chips, tortillas
Healthy Fats– nuts (raw, lightly roasted), avocados, olives, seeds (flax, chia, pumpkin)
Avoid: butter, margarine, nut flours, nut milks, processed/hydrogenated oils
The above list is fairly simple and gives you just the basics, but it is a good guide to get you started down the path to adding more whole foods to your clean eating lifestyle.
Now that you have some idea of what whole foods are, I challenge you to devote 1 day this week to eating only whole foods. Focus on getting plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean protein (vegetarian and/or animal based depending on your preference), some whole grains and healthy nuts or avocados.
Have fun, try new things, notice how your body feels, enjoy eating!
Until next time, have a happy healthy day.
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