The term ‘Whole Foods’ has gained a lot of attention within the last decade but what does it mean and why is it so important?
The short definition for whole foods is put simply foods that are unrefined or as refined as little as possible. Why is this so important? Basically the more you refine something the more additives you add to your food, the food is no longer fresh, it is full of toxins and your body is no longer able to absorb what little nutrients are left.
I will give you some examples;
White flour vs whole wheat flour;
As you can see in the image above, the wheat grain is made up of many different parts. In white flour you only use the endosperm and even then it is often bleached to give it more of a white appearance.(the bleach is toxic to your body and destroys the nutrients in the wheat) Where as with whole wheat flour all or most of the grain is used, as a result whole wheat flour contains more fibre, vitamins and minerals.
On top of that whole wheat flour contains enzymes your body needs to break down and absorb the wheat, with refined white flour it does not have those nutrients so your body has to deplete it’s reserves in order to digest white flour.
Leave the skin on the potato
Did you know that a lot of the vitamins and minerals found in potato are found just beneath the surface of the skin. So when you sit there peeling your spuds what you are doing is peeling away nutrients from your food – leave the skin on.
This also applies to apples as well, although no one actually peels the skin from their apples. Apple seeds are also very nutritious but you would have to bite into them to absorb the nutrients.
Try to buy vegetables that have not been cut finely.
Did you know the moment you harvest a broccoli head it starts to lose it’s nutrients, this can be sped up by cutting it into smaller pieces, so always choose a whole head of broccoli and the fresher the better. How do you know it is fresh? It wil have a firm crunchy texture.
One exception to this rule is lettuce – When lettuce leaves are torn, a boost of protective phytonutrients are produced. However most vegetables are better when they are not cut finely.
Raw is better, most of the time.
The vast majority of vegetables will lose their nutrients once they have been cooked that’s why a raw food diet is so beneficial for you. An easy way to eat the not so tasty vegetables raw, such as kale or swiss chard is to add them to smoothies where you can mix them with fruit and honey to give a sweet flavor or to juice them with fruit or even carrots to take off the nasty flavor by adding a bit of sweetness.
One exception to the rule is tomatoes, while raw tomatoes are also very beneficial for your health cooking them can make the beneficial enzymes more bio available. Another vegetable that becomes more bio available after cooking is carrots.
Are you discarding the most nutritious part of the vegetable?
The carrot tops are actually more beneficial than the carrot itself, they go very well in salads. The stone (seed) of the avocado is very nutritious as with apple seeds and grape seeds. Water melon seeds and rinds are good for you too. Make sure you get organic watermelon if you are going to eat the rind, When you eat any type of seeds you will need to crush or grind them as when you eat them whole, the seeds just pass through your body without you being able to make use of any of the nutrition.
Store bought produce is a shadow of it’s former self
The produce you see on the shelves of the supermarket is not exactly fresh even when the sign says it is. To make things cost effective and to eliminate wastage, fruit and vegetables are harvested before they are ripe (before they reach their peak nutrition and flavor) then they are treated with chemicals and chilled. The chemicals sometimes are used to preserve them or sometimes they are ‘chemically ripened’ just before they go on the shelves of the grocery store.
Garlic is often treated with chemicals in order to stop it from ‘sprouting shoots’.
Frozen produce is harvested at peak ripeness, but after harvesting the vegetables, they are normally blanched which destroys some of the nutrient value. Also freezing them makes them nutritionally inferior to fresh produce.
Organic is best
Organic is not only better for you due to the fact that your food is not covered in cancer causing chemicals it is superior in the respect that organic fertilizers maintain a healthy ecosystem within the soil enabling the plants to grow strong and healthy and have maximum nutrition and flavor.
GMO’s have been engineered to withstand herbicides so basically if you compare conventional to genetically modified – conventional= fungicides and pesticides etc. GMO’s= fungicides, pesticides and herbicides (round up) etc. So you are consuming more chemicals and that is not eve taking into account the long term effects of consuming food that has it’s genes tampered with!
Growing your own is the best way to go
Growing your own vegetables is the best way to ensure that you are eating fresh organic food and as an added bonus all the digging around outside will give you some exercise and a bit of vitamin D from the sunlight you will be absorbing! Grow food not lawns!
It is not practical to be able to grow all of your own food, well at least for most people so the next best bet would be to shop at farmers markets, that way you can buy produce directly of the grower that has probably been harvested that day, and there is a good chance that it is organic or at least GMO free!
For your health – Eat Fresh Organic Whole Foods