Whole Foods were the norm for much of human history. In fact, most “recent” trends away from conventional food items –such as raw diet trends, organic diets and living-food diets, were the custom practice for most early humans. It wasn’t until we began cooking, processing and otherwise adulterating foods that we moved away from these more natural diets. Whole Foods Diets offer the best combination of practicality and nutrition because this diet doesn’t need to be raw or organic – unless you want it to be. Instead, whole foods are simply those that have been minimally processed – or not processed at all, leaving out the additives, preservatives, sugars and high salt content that are the root of the diabetes and heart disease epidemic in the United States.
What are They?
In general whole foods are those that have no added ingredients and are unprocessed and unrefined. This includes legumes, soybeans, lentils, peas, beans, whole grains, seeds, nuts, fruits, vegetables, non-homogenized dairy products, eggs, meat, poultry and fish. Unlike conventional foods, whole foods recipes are absent of trans-fats, monosodium glutamate, nitrites, BHA and BHT. These substances have been shown to cause cancer, stroke, cardio-pulmonary disorders and other less threatening but nevertheless detrimental ailments and conditions.
Primary Benefits of Whole Foods
*Improved Nutritional Uptake: Any time a food is processed with additives or preservatives or is adulterated in any way, it loses a great deal of its nutritional value. Depending on the processing methods, some conventional foods lose up to 90% of their nutritional value when processed. Whole foods retain 100% of their nutritional value.
*Low Glycemic Index: Whole foods have a low glycemic index. This refers to the conversion of food items into glucose or sugars – a severe problem with conventional foods. However, whole foods have more fiber which slows the absorption of natural sugars, creating a sustained source of energy that does not send the body into glycemic shock or pose a risk of developing diabetes.
*Increased Intake of Antioxidants: Whole foods are rich in antioxidants which are well known to reduce the effects of aging and cell degeneration.
*Cancer Fighting Properties: Whole food recipes are also rich in phytochemicals which are thought to have powerful anti-cancer properties.
For most people, switching to a whole foods diet is actually quite simple.
Substitution of unhealthy traditional foods with whole food items is an easy task: fresh lean meats instead of cold cuts, chicken breast over processed nuggets or patties, baked potato over French fries or onion rings, fresh whole fruit over juice, whole wheat breads and pastas over the processed and bleached white variety and oatmeal instead of processed, sweetened cereals. People who make the switch to a whole food diet – even kids – report increased energy levels, improved vision and hearing, increased stamina, reduction of general ailments and illnesses, improved sexual functions and better, more restful sleep.
Whole Foods are easy to obtain at both specialty stores and traditional supermarkets. Additionally, many people grow their own whole foods and create their own whole foods recipes by growing whole vegetables, fruits and other items right at home.