• Erica

What is Whole Food & Why Should I Care?


One of the simplest and best health tips I can offer: EAT WHOLE FOOD as much as you can. The focus being plant-based whole food. What is whole food? Whole food is food that is as close to its natural state as possible. With that, for example, it is strawberries that look and taste like strawberries. It's broccoli that's as close to the way it was just before it was picked. That's whole food. The premise is not messing around with food too much after it is harvested. Even during the cooking process, preparing food in a way that preserves as much of its nutritional value as possible with being sure not to overcook food items. It is eating simply, but not to be confused with boring or unpleasant. Whole food can be eaten and prepared both deliciously and creatively.


Why should you eat whole food? To put it simply, it's what we were meant to eat. It's the food that grows for us to consume. At the opposite end of the food spectrum is highly processed food. That is food that contains little to know whole food ingredients, has added agents for flavor and color enhancement, and preservatives. These foods are also often high in at least one of the following: sugar, salt/sodium, and fat. When you read the ingredients label on these foods, several items are not recognizable as foods that grow. These are ingredients labels where you would likely need to look up several ingredients to even know what they are. So what, right? The food tastes great, so who cares?!? I get it. I'm totality guilty of the "it tastes great, so who cares what's in it" mentality on occasion as well. However, the issue starts with the fact those foods are designed

to taste great and provide an optimal culinary experience if you will. They are designed to keep you coming back. What you do not immediately see is what is happening to your body when you eat those foods. Highly processed foods are inflammatory. Fried foods, refined carbohydrates (grains that are not whole), sugar-sweetened foods and drinks, red meat, and processed meat are also foods that cause inflammation. Inflammation is when your body's immune system, the portion of your body that fights off infections, gets revved up. Over time, chronic or continuous inflammation can lead to illness. The illnesses? Chronic inflammation can lead to heart disease, which includes high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, and heart attack. In addition to heart disease, it can also cause diabetes (type 2) and certain cancers. Frequently consuming these foods can lead to being overweight or obese, which leads to additional health issues. These diseases are so prevalent that several of us either have or know someone who has at least one. The bottom line is eating a diet heavy in highly processed foods is not healthy.


While it sounds great to just give up unhealthy foods for more whole food, the reality is not so simple. It is difficult to stop eating foods that we enjoy eating. You want to eat what you like and what you want. Life is short, and you want to live it the way you want to live it. With that same mentality, however, I challenge you to think about it this way. Life is short, and you want to live the way you want to live it. Although, how much fun it is if you're sick? What about living your healthiest in the hopes that you enjoy life vigorously? Life doesn't necessarily have to be waiting for your heart attack and taking medications. You have control over how you treat your body and that can have a significant effect on your health. I am definitely not saying never have cake, cookies, chips, or dinner rolls again. Not saying that. I am encouraging you not to make those foods a regular part of your diet. I am encouraging you not to keep those items stowed in your pantry or fridge. When you decide to indulge in those foods, you should have to go out to them. You treat yourself then move on. Make them an occasional treat. Do NOT have easy access to those foods, but instead increase access to fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Put great into your body with the hopes of getting great out of it.


Always striving to help,


Erica


If you're looking for help with increasing your whole food intake, check out getfitward.com

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