switching to wholefoods
WHY SWITCH TO WHOLEFOODS?
Partially hydrogenated oils, sodium benzoate, yeast extract…sound like anything you should be eating? Nope, not a great idea for long term health and the only way to steer clear of these type of ingredients is to eat foods that don’t contain them – whole foods made perfectly by mother nature.
The reality is, the more we process and package foods the further we get away from the types of food and nutrients our body needs. So next time you go to your cupboard or fridge, do a little survey. Have a look at your percentage of processed to whole foods, and aim for at least 80% to be fresh, unprocessed ingredients. If you can afford some organic even better, and if not utilise some good fruit and veggie washes to reduce your pesticide exposure, although this will not remove the pesticides that have penetrated the skin. Your body will truly be thanking you for the quality foods and natural nutrient density found within.
FOODS TO EAT
A wholefoods diet is void of artificial ingredients, preservatives, and additives. Think fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes (if tolerated), meat, poultry, seafood and eggs. Minimally processed foods. Real food closest to it’s natural state.
Eating organic or spray-free is best but is not always and option due to $$$$. The Environment working group conducts and independent study each year regarding which foods are being sprayed the most with harmful herbicides and pesticides. Try to stick to buying the dirty dozen fruit and veg organic or spray free and you can be a little more relaxed with the clean 15. See the links below.
FOODS TO AVOID
Processed foods: Fried foods, baked goods, fast food, and convenience meals (all the wrong kinds of fats and sugars).
Refined carbohydrates: White bread, pasta, crackers, chips, biscuits and snack bars (don’t need the insulin spike).
Processed meats: Bacon, salami, bologna, beef jerky, and lunch meats (preservative central here).
Sugary beverages: Sodas, fruit juice, sweet teas, sports drinks, and energy drinks (liquid sugar and artificial flavour).
Added sugar: High-fructose corn syrup, table sugar, agave nectar, artificial sweeteners (Immunosuppression and decrease of white blood cells).
Healthy fats help to boost the immune system, support creation of important hormones like cortisol and testosterone, maintain bone density and raise HDL (good) cholesterol in the blood and lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol.
For years saturated fats were seen as harmful for our health but recent studies have debunked those myths (although some Dr’s and Dietitians are a bit slow to catch on and continue to advise their patients to avoid them) and healthy fats are back on the menu and vital to a well functioning body!
Roughly half of our cells membranes structure is composed of saturated fat. We need these fats like grass-fed butter, fatty organ meats etc. as they contain large amounts of essential fat-soluble vitamins K, A & D.
Some healthy fats include:
Avocado oil, coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil, macadamia oil, MCT/Keto oil, cacao butter, coconut butter, grass-fed butter, duck fat, ghee, lard, tallow, coconut milk and cream, fatty animal cuts, oily fish, avocados, eggs, nuts, seeds, olives.
NOT SO HEALTHY FATS
“Vegetable oils are one of the most harmful substances you can put into your body, and here’s why:
- Vegetables oils are primarily Omega-6 fats and when too much is consumed, it can lead to inflammation and increased cancer risks.
- The high heat processing denatures the delicate Omega-3 fats which causes them to go rancid and turn into transfat! As a result they no longer fight inflammation in the body, but cause it instead.
- Many people believe that because vegetables oils are low in saturated fats that they are heart healthy. However, there are numerous studies showing that vegetable oils actually contribute to disease while saturated fats do not.
- Vegetable oils are high in polyunsaturated fats – they will oxidise easily and are also not heat stable.
- Vegetable oils are chemically produced and they contain harmful chemicals. Many have artificial antioxidants such as BHA and BHT which help to prevent the oils from spoiling too quickly and extend the shelf life.
- They also contain pesticide residues.
- Excess consumption can lead to hormonal imbalances.
- Vegetable oils oxidise easily so they deplete the body of antioxidants due to the body’s attempt to neutralise this oxidation.
- Many of these vegetables oils are made from genetically modified sources”.
Vegetables oils and their fats should be avoided completely. The main culprits to look out for are corn oil, canola oil, soybean oil, vegetable oil, peanut oil, grapeseed oil, rice bran oil, cottonseed oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, margarine, shortening, vegetable spreads or any fake butter alternative.” Jordon Pie
For more info about the processes that these hydrogenated oils go through read the rest of this article from Changing Habits.
tips for shopping
Try to set up a shopping routine. For example, I buy fresh produce once a week from my local co-operative, I shop once a week at the butcher for meat (I freeze some) & eggs, once every month I purchase dry goods like seeds and flours in bulk through my local co-op (we get together and buy in bulk and then split the bags between us. You could always do this with a friend or two to help cut costs. I usually only go to the supermarket twice per month for frozen berries and anything else that we need that we can’t get from the above mentioned.
Have a rough plan in mind and write a list and stick to it without making a heap of impulse buys. I’m not a meal planner but I do know that each week we eat a variety of different meats and a healthy range of veggies. So i get a bit of everything from the butcher and our staple veggies and at the end of the week I whip up a soup with all the left-over veg so nothing goes to waste.
Look in to buying your fresh produce at farmers markets. The produce is much fresher, usually local and in season and there’s generally a range of organic and spray-free produce that is much cheaper than the supermarket.
If your primary resource for food shopping is a big supermarket chain, then don’t despair. Just consider shopping for most of your food from the outermost aisles. By that I mean get your fruit, vegetables, fish, meats, dairy produce, cleaning products and toiletries (all from around the perimeter of the supermarket), and briefly, duck down the isles to top up any pantry items (such as oils, condiments, nuts etc).
Also make note of the source of the fresh produce which should always be disclosed (often around the price tag) and stick to Australian produce which is fresher, less contaminated and much more nutritious than overseas produce. Also, choose ‘new season’ produce if possible which is also fresher. Meat should, at least, be free range, grass or pasture raised.
making sense of food labels
- Your first step to reading a food label and choosing a healthy packaged food is to skip the nutrition panel and go straight to the ingredients list as it’s the most important part of a label.
- Beware of ticks of approval and 5 Star Ratings from ‘Industry Bodies and Associations’ as they are only given after the nutritional panel is examined (rather than the ingredients). Some of these authorities have another agenda, so beware.
- If it says low in sugar, low in fat, low in salt, the food may have been modified.
- When the food label states that the food is organic, ensure that there is a registered certifying label on the product as well. There is a 5% Ingredient non-organic loophole.
- If the ingredients list goes for many lines – put it down and back away!!
- If the ingredients list reads like a chemical laboratory with words and “things” that you don’t recognize – your body won’t either. It is ‘fake’ food made in a lab – put it down and back away!!
- If the food has been fortified by vitamins and minerals, they will be from a chemical laboratory and not from a natural source. Also if the food is fortified it means that the initial nutrient levels are so low in the food that the food company needs to add vitamins and minerals to it. Again – back away!!
If the ingredients list includes flavours, additives, preservatives and numbers then you know that it is a ‘chemically made food’ and is not right for your body.Genetically modified foods (GMO), such as soy, canola and corn are best avoided as you don’t want to be part of an experiment, do you?When you see real food in the ingredients list and you know the original source then you’ve picked a winner.