Research shows that the more processed a food is, the less nutrients it has. While that’s true, it’s also a vague explanation that doesn’t begin to encapsulate how important Whole Foods are to the human body. Many people don’t even understand what ‘processed’ fully means, and for good reason - it can be a frustratingly broad subject. Processing can mean anything from chopping to juicing to cooking, and includes adding sweeteners, preservatives, and artificial ingredients. It can also mean taking out nutrients, such as bleaching flour. Whole foods are foods in their clean, natural state - nothing added or taken away.
Here are a few ways to jumpstart your journey on the Whole Food Wagon.
It’s tedious, but just reading the label on everything you eat is one of the easiest ways to get on the clean eating track. It’s surprising to many people how many seemingly random ingredients are used for little to no discernible reason. It’s best to limit your intake of these additives to lead a healthy lifestyle and putting more effort into knowing what you’re eating will help you think more about your body overall. It gets easier the more attention you pay, and more likely that you’ll avoid the foods with a laundry list of unnecessary, unhealthy extras.
The good rule of thumb is to stick to the walls of the grocery store whenever possible, rather than the isles in the middle. The perimeter is where the whole foods generally are by design, a simple map for you to use as a guideline on shopping trips. Food that comes in boxes tends to have preservatives, and unless stated otherwise, animal products contain antibiotics. Try to create a diet for yourself that varies so that you get a wide range of nutrients and the unavoidable options don’t become a bad habit.
Nostalgia is a powerful force, and most of us have good memories attached to past meals. The smell, the taste, and the company you shared it with all leave an imprint on us, so leaving certain foods behind is tough to picture. The good news is there are tons of ways to recreate old recipes and restaurants are catching onto the nutrition renaissance, changing up their menus to appeal to the health-conscious consumer. When you reevaluate your food conventions, you’re bound to find creative combinations and maybe even discover a new favorite you never had the chance to try.
Clean eating can seem intimidating. Breaking habits when it comes to meals we’ve eaten for years isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to happen overnight. It can take an adjustment period, but you won’t regret sparing a second glance when it comes to what you’re putting in your body.