Whole Foods – Your best bet for improving health and preventing disease
Whole foods are plant foods that are unprocessed and unrefined, or processed and refined as little as possible, before being consumed. These include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and soy products in their natural, unrefined, unprocessed forms. Whole foods means using the entire food as opposed to just a single part and this is how the term is used to describe brown rice as a whole food. The modern usage of the term whole foods diet is now widely synonymous with whole foods plant-based diet with animal products, oil and salt no longer constituting whole foods.
Oftentimes,one part of a food will have a particular action and the other part will have the opposite reaction. For example, Ephedra stem encourages sweating, while Ephedra root stops sweating. Citrus fruit engenders phlegm and dampness in the body and the peel of a citrus fruit resolves phlegm and dampness. I don’t expect people to start eating citrus rind, but you can put it into a tea and absorb its benefits that way. I find the case of grapes very interesting, because for years now, the growers have manipulated the grapes to grow with no seeds. Yet, the main ingredient in antioxidant pills is grape seeds! If we were not taking grape seeds out of our diet, we would not need to put them back in. Every food is balanced and has both Yin and Yang aspects and if we only eat part of a food,we are eating an unbalanced food. This is fine in moderation, but over time our bodies become out of balance.
Whole foods can also refer to an entire part of the plant that is unprocessed. Fortified foods are foods that have been stripped of their natural nutrients but have had a select few re-introduced.For example, corn that is ground down and mixed with soy lecithin, oil, salt, colors, additives etc, is no longer corn and is not a whole food. Nowadays we tend to think about a food as nothing more than its constituent parts. “You need some Vitamin C; you should eat more protein, eat less fat, etc.” Instead, we should start talking more about the whole foods. “You should have some nuts, you should have an orange, you should eat less meat and dairy, etc.” Whole foods are balanced. They are immensely complex and work best when in their whole form. So we must eat more whole foods. Fortified is better than non-fortified, but the whole food is far, far, superior.
Simple foods are better than those that are man-made and engineered. Lays potato chips have sliced potato, oil, and salt. Baked Lays potato chips again require the addition of about a dozen more manufactured ingredients. Chips are not good for you and you shouldn’t have them often and I only point this out to illustrate how a pretty simple recipe can be bastardized.
Please avoid fast food, which is so processed, artificial, and unhealthy that to have it any more than once a month is too much. Even if they say it is low fat, or even organic, don’t be fooled into thinking it’s healthy. Fast food is not healthy and it will make you fat, so it is best to avoid it completely.
However you change your diet or lifestyle, you should do so slowly and gently. If you try to change too much too fast, you will set yourself up to fail and you’ll also shock your system. Detoxifying diets, liquid diets, fad diets, fasting diets, Atkins, South Beach, the chicken diet, etc., are neither balanced nor moderate. The best way to get into balance is to live a little more in balance today than yesterday, and not to grossly overcompensate for yesterday’s mistakes. You did not get out of balance overnight, and food changes will not show improvement for a while. Do not make drastic changes; just try to do a little better this week than you did last week.
Heathlthy and balanced diet is the best one to focus on because it is the most profound way we influence our bodies each and every day, whether we are aware of it or not. You are what you eat, if you recognize that the diet, lifestyle and attitudes are at least partial causes of our disorders, then there is more we can do to help ourselves. Plus, if diet and lifestyle contributed to the development of a problem,then things will surely get worse if we do not change.