Monday, January 28, 2013

Wholesome Health

When you shop at the grocery store, the stacked aisles can be overwhelming.  Labels claim health benefits with eye catching designs.  What to eat?

Grab wholesome foods.  To prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer consume primarily plant-based foods: fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds.  Choose lean animal sources: lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, and low fat dairy.  Anything in a package can potentially be stripped of its nutrient content or preservatives/chemicals are added. 

Check the food label.  Look at the serving size, not just the size of the package.  Use the 5/20 rule as a quick guide for % Daily Value: 5% or less is low and 20% or more is high.  Limit saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and sodium (so aim for a low % daily value).  Get enough dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals (these % daily values can be high).  Next look at the ingredients list: the less the better.  If you cannot pronounce the ingredient or would not find it in your kitchen cabinet, it may not be beneficial for your body. 

Wholesome convenience foods.  Although beans can be canned, they are still in their whole form and you can rinse them off to quickly make a burrito, toss on a salad, or add to brown rice.  Try whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, uncurled barely, and 100% whole wheat bread without additives.  Keep fresh fruits and vegetables washed for a ready to go snack. 

Regardless of your diet (vegan, carnivore, gluten-free), find whole foods to fuel your body.  Foods do not need to be "low fat" or "low sugar" since reducing naturally occurring nutrients will be replaced with artificial ingredients.  Whether you are trying to lose weight or consume an overall healthier diet, cut the processed foods.  You will look and feel great.  Give it a try and find out for yourself!