The Whole Food Diet, and no I am not Talking About the Grocery Store
You have probably noticed that there are a bizzilion diets, right? There is the Paleo, Mediterranean, Ketogenic, The Biggest Loser diet, and a million others. So, where do you even begin? My advice from personal experience with the struggle of actually following a diet…don’t do any of them. I am not saying that these diets are ineffective, but what I am saying is take an easier approach. That approach being simply aim to eat whole, natural, and organic foods. Easy peasy! Well, the problem is that while this sounds easy it can really be a challenge.
Here are a few tips to following a whole food diet:
- Can you tell where your food came from?
What I mean by this, is when you look at your food before you eat it, can you tell where it came from? Was it a pumpkin, a carrot, a zucchini? If you cannot immediately tell where your food came from, you likely should avoid eating it.
Hot dogs are a great example. Can you immediately tell where that hot dog came from? Probably not…so skip it!
This rule does get a bit tricky, simply because we basically know where a hot dog comes from, however, think about it this way…Someone who has never experienced American culture whatsoever is presented with a hot dog, would they know what it is made of or where it came from?
Aim to eat foods only naturally found. This is incredibly basic. This means sticking to fruits, vegetables, responsibly sourced and organic meats, and anything else that is naturally found.
Foods that are unprocessed or processed very little
This tip goes hand in hand with our previous two. In general, if you can’t tell where your food came from it’s likely not natural and more than likely it has been heavily processed. Food is processed to make it last longer, so a good way to tell if you should be eating that particular item is to check, when does it expire?Is it good months? A year? Years? If so it is processed.
Foods that are generally processed and should be avoided:
- Microwavable/frozen meals
- Instant meals (just add water)
- Hot dogs, bacon, sausages, and deli meats
- Packaged/boxed meals
The way I look at it, is if the meal is too easy to make and can sit on your shelf forever there is a reason why…it is likely very processed and opting to make things from scratch is always a better option.
Fresh is always best. Incorporate as many fresh foods as possible into your diet. What do I mean by fresh? In a perfect world this would be anything that was picked within the last day or so. I get it that it is not always possible to eat quite that fresh, especially if you live in Minnesota like me! So when in doubt seek to buy the freshest produce possible. This means knowing what is in season and planning appropriately.
Stick to the outer rim of the grocery store
Tempted to buy those cookies or packaged pastas? Avoid them all together! When you are grocery shopping stick to the outer aisles only. This is where you fresh natural foods will be.
Opt for organic
Okay, let me be clear here I am not saying that if you buy organic it is automatically healthier. What I am saying is to avoid all of the pesticides and chemicals that our produce is treated with – buy organic whenever possible. The same goes for meats, dairy, and any other natural foods.