Big Rocks of Health and Fitness #2
Eat Mostly High Quality Foods that are Minimally Processed
To look and feel your best you want to eat a diet based on whole foods. Whole foods are foods that are as close to their natural form as possible, unprocessed and unrefined. Foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds and protein sources (animal, vegetarian or vegan sources).
Whole foods are loaded with important nutrients. They provide vitamins, minerals, fiber, essential fatty acids and are naturally low in sugar. On the other hand, processed foods are going to have low amounts of vitamins and minerals, less fiber, more fillers, more preservatives, more salt and sugar and unhealthy fats.
Diets that focus on minimally processed foods are not only effective for stimulating weight loss but also improve health, mood, and appearance. A diet from mostly whole foods can help you lower your cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar. You can decrease your risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes. You will be better able to focus, have more energy and become healthier and happier!
As we have said before, there is no perfect diet but no one can argue that eating more whole food options are a good thing. You need to find an eating approach that works best for you! One that you can follow consistently. Make a shift to including more whole foods than processed. You don’t have to be perfect. 80-85% of the time eat mostly whole foods. The other 15-20% you can enjoy your favorite foods that are more processed.
When you decide what to eat or include in your diet, ask yourself what am I gaining nutritionally? You should approach meals and snacks as an opportunity to nourish your body. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans are going to provide vitamins, minerals and fiber. Nuts and seeds are not only high in vitamins, minerals and fiber but also provide healthy essential fatty acids. Lean protein sources help you maintain as well as build lean muscle mass. Lean protein also allows for you to feel fuller longer so you don't overeat during the day.
Things like chips, crackers, pretzels and cookies only provide empty calories. You can use the food for energy but they provide little to no nutritional value. They lack vitamins, minerals and fiber and do not fill you up.That's why most people tend to keep going back for more when they eat a bag of chips or bowl of cereal. They do not make you feel satisfied, leaving you hungry and you wanting more food with more empty calories. All those extra calories then go to fat storage. Then, you're energy is zapped and you just want to go plop your butt down on the couch!
What if you snacked on raw veggies and hummus? Will you be better able to stop after eating a serving? Will you feel full, satisfied and have bette energy? I would say yes! Not only will you be more satisfied, you could eat 4 servings of carrots for the same amount of calories as one serving of chips. That is a lot of carrots!
Start examining your diet. See where you can swap out processed foods for unprocessed foods.
Maybe you like to snack on pretzels or crackers. Instead, snack on fruits, vegetables or nuts.
Make your own French fries out of white or sweet potatoes. Toss them in olive oil, salt and pepper and don't use the pre-packaged form.
If you love hamburgers from fast food chains, make yours at home using lean organic or grass fed ground beef.
Swap out your bread for 100% whole wheat, whole grain or even better sprouted grain.
Make your own pizza at home with a whole grain crust and a low sugar pizza sauce. Load up on the veggies and include some healthy lean protein sources.
We are constantly sharing all kinds of whole foods based recipes. Be sure to check them out for ideas.