WHOLE FOODS (aka REAL FOODS) are foods that can be found in nature, unprocessed or minimally processed foods that either came from a plant or animal such as: vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, grains, meat, eggs and seafood.
WHAT IS GOOD HEALTH?
To promote GOOD HEALTH, we can support our body by eating nutritious WHOLE FOODS that can be digested and absorbed properly. We can then support elimination of its waste products by ensuring we eat high fibre foods and hydrate with enough water. Dr. John Matsen’s model of GOOD HEALTH illustrates it best (image below). When we consume real whole foods, we are nourishing our body with vitamins and minerals required to support energy production and good health.
When we consume processed, refined and artificial foods with additives, we are in fact decreasing our body's ability to absorb nutrients, running the risk of decreasing our energy levels and the ability to eliminate toxins, resulting in poor health.
Most of us grew up on processed foods. I grew up on Costco muffins, Eggo Waffles, hot dogs, Pop Tarts and bags and bags of chips full of artificial flavouring, colouring and additives. That was because I was not aware of its health implications and I became addicted to instant gratification of the artificial flavours and sugar highs. Coming off an addiction to anything is not an easy task, but with minor changes everyday we can make a huge impact!
This may be a big change for you, so take baby steps. Pick 1 or 2 changes to make now, and once those are in place, pick 1 or 2 more. This is the best way to make it part of a lifestyle change and something you can totally live with long-term.
The dietary changes you’re making should not feel restrictive, overwhelming or hard to live with.
Transitioning to a healthier way of eating may seem daunting so here are 6 TIPS to keep in mind:
Eat vegetables at most meals. Think salads, side dishes, soups, or even adding veggies to your sandwich or wrap. Start with aiming for 50/50 vegetables to meats and gradually get up to my favourite proportion 80/20 vegetables to meats.
When you are having a craving for something sweet, opt for a serving of fruit or dried fruit with nuts/seeds to satisfy your craving. Adding frozen bananas to my smoothies helped me overcome my ice cream cravings.
When you eat meat, it’s best to choose organic, grass fed, and hormone-free and choose wild freshwater species so you get the maximum nutrients possible without the harmful antibiotics, hormones, etc.
Fill your pantry with healthy food choices that are ready to eat and go. Snacks like nuts, seeds, rice crackers, or fruit are good for ‘grab and go’. When we don’t have junk food in the pantry, we are less likely to eat them! It was a life-changer not to have the bags of chips in the cabinet, which meant no more late-night snacking!
Never leave the house without food if you’ll be gone for more than 2 hours. Remember, eating healthy food on a regular basis will help you avoid unhealthy choices. Make up some of your own trail mix (avoid ready-made trail mix as most of them have hydrogenated oils and other undesirable, processed ingredients) or bring a small cooler to keep in the car.
Most importantly, don’t be too rigid, and remember that making small changes over time will make a huge difference, and it makes the changes easier to stick to. BE KIND TO YOU!
Matsen, Jonn. Eating Alive: Prevention through Good Digestion. Crompton Books, 2004.