When I say whole foods I refer to foods in their natural state, unrefined, unprocessed. This would include fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds and unrefined grains. Eating the whole food way ensures you are getting the necessary vitamins, fiber, protein and minerals from your diet to keep you healthy and strong.
Processed and refined foods are stripped of their nutrition through the processing. You can definitely tell the difference between eating a fresh apple as opposed to eating a processed jar of apple sauce. The taste, texture and nutritional value are certainly not the same as the fresh version of that food.
As a vegan, I can honestly say that I strive to eat a whole foods organic diet on a daily basis. I like to say that “I don’t consume anything that doesn’t add to my nutritional quota”. Now, of course, there are times when I cannot be “right on” at this whole foods way but I certainly make it my daily goal. Some days I may not achieve perfection in this due to circumstances beyond my control but making healthy eating a priority is my focus. If you are not a vegan or vegetarian then you will be including dairy, meat and fish to your daily intake. Make sure it is of the best quality.
Eating a balanced diet is very important and this means eating a wide variety of different foods. As a vegan I strive to take in correct proportional amounts of protein, fiber, the right kinds of fats for omega fatty acid balance, complex carbohydrates and vitamins and minerals ensuring enough calories to get the necessary energy needed to function at my peak.
For breakfast I always include a green juice which I have pressed fresh through my juicer. Then I eat a breakfast balanced with good complex carbohydrates such as grains, beans and/or fresh fruit. A good breakfast ensures that you will remain satiated until lunch time and will give you the needed energy to perform at your peak at work or play.
Lunch, for me, always includes a giant salad of fresh organic raw veggies topped with seeds, nuts or beans. I love adding garbanzo (chickpeas) to my salads to get protein and fiber. My dressing is from scratch and is made up of really good extra virgin olive oil or flax oil and apple cider vinegar which is good for digestion and a few added herbs and spices. Nutritionists and functional medicine enthusiasts recommend at least one large salad of greens and veggies a day. By making salad for my lunch each day I know I’m getting good nutrition in case my evening meal falls short on the veggie side of things.
Snacking for me usually involves a piece of fresh fruit such as an apple with some almonds, walnuts or good quality almond butter on the side or some fresh made hummus and celery and carrot sticks.
Our evening meal will contain a homemade, from scratch, one pot dish such as hearty bean ragout or pea soup and side salad or a square meal with protein, starch and vegetable.
Our bodies run far more efficiently on a whole foods diet. Bad food, processed and loaded with sodium, trans fats, chemicals and refined carbohydrates makes the body work harder to digest.
If you are fortunate to have a farmer’s market near your home then make it a habit to go there to get your fruit and vegetables. Usually the produce is local and has been freshly picked and contains abundant nutrition. The older fruits and veggies are, the less powerful they are. That is why buying local is best. But if you live in the northern part of North America, farmer’s markets are not available all year like they are in the sunny south. Do the best you can with what you have to work with.
As Hippocrates said “Let food be thy medicine”. That is my mantra.
Remember “WHOLE IS THE GOAL!”