Whole Foods Basics
If you are new to the idea of eating whole foods, or have a hard time “staying on the health wagon”, this article is for you. People often ask the question, “well, what the heck can I eat?” in frustration, thinking eating whole foods is difficult and limiting, however this not the case. Sometimes it is hard to think about change, and change is always difficult at first, but it is simply a choice of eliminating foods that don’t promote your health and increasing the foods that do. Overtime choices become habits, why not make it a whole foods one?
What Works for You
Eating a strict diet is not what choosing a healthier lifestyle is about long term. Eating a whole foods approach is about finding which foods make you feel not quite right, tired, bloated, moody, etc. for the next hour or maybe a few days. The goal in eating for health is to eat foods that promote, buildup, and heal your mind, body, and soul. In the beginning you might need to be strict about the “avoid” foods so that you can see how they make you feel if you want to reintroduce them later.
Nutrient Dense Foods to Increase
It is always best to purchase organic produce and grass-fed, pasture-raised, or wild caught and sustainable animal products.
- Meat: beef, bison, turkey, pork, chicken
- Seafood: oysters, salmon, cod, trout, clams
- Crunchy Vegetables: broccoli, carrots, string beans, onion, celery
- Unrefined starches: whole grains, sweet potato, yam, rice, corn
- Leafy Vegetables: spinach, dino kale, collards, mustard greens, beet greens
- Fruit: strawberries, watermelon, apples, grapes, kiwi, lemon
- Nuts: almonds, walnuts, cashew, pecans
- Seeds: sesame, flax, chia, sunflower
- Healthy Fats & Oils: ghee, butter, coconut, avocado, olive
- Booster foods: nutritional yeast, spirulina, cinnamon, nori
Nutrition Bandit Foods to Decrease
- Refined grains: cookies, cake, blanched flour products, cereal, bread
- Packaged Snacks: oreo’s, goldfish, chips, twinkies, energy bars, Lean Cuisine
- Sweetened Beverages: soda, diet-soda, Gatorade, Vitamin water, Coffee-mate
- Alcohol & Caffeine: you know these!
- Sweeteners: Sorbitol, Xylitol, Aspartame, Sucralose, Splenda, Sweet’N Low
Take it Slow or Go All-In?
Choosing to eat for your health can happen in one of two ways, depending on your personality and how quickly you want to see or feel changes. There are pro’s and con’s with each way of transitioning, so it is up to you to see which way fits your lifestyle and personality best.
Take it Slow!
If you are more of a person that likes to ponder thoughts and ideas before drawing conclusions, taking it slow might be your option. On this plan to health, you can slowly make changes day-by-day and week-by-week to transition until you hit full eating for health mode. At your own pace this can take anywhere from three weeks to four months, the choice is yours!
Pros: You get to slowly swap your pancakes with whip cream breakfast for eggs, sweet potato, and grass-fed butter. Taking your own pace with baby steps and conquering these steps is very rewarding and add up over time to a full transition. You can nudge close friends or family members to try some new recipes with you and take those baby steps together.
Cons: results you are seeking will take longer, weather it be pain or weight loss, etc. Figuring out which foods are triggers to make your feel icky or not reach your goals will take longer to figure out.
If you have a type A personality and are the type of person that once you commit you are in it to win it once you pick a day to begin, this head dive first approach is for you. If you like guidelines and specific foods to eat and not to eat and throw away the rest, keep reading!
Pros: after about a 2 week adjustment period, you start to become a pro at this whole eating for health gig. Shopping and preparing new foods feels more natural. Your energy and vitality will skyrocket by the end of week two.
Cons: can be overwhelming if you are not prepared (think meal prepping, grocery shopping, and plenty of food storage containers-leftover are key!). It may be difficult for your family to understand why you are making a change. When the time period ends of being strict, you think of it as a diet, and go back to eating the way you did before you began eating for health (not what we want).
It is important to realize and even literally write down your long-term goals. Why are you choosing to eat for your health in the first place? Do you plan on eating a strict whole foods diet forever? Or , do you plan to find out which foods may cause you upset one by one? Work with a certified nutrition consultant like myself to help you figure out these goals with you and how to you can get back on the wagon to a better you.