August 8th, 2016 | Diet & Health, Ask A Nutritionist
Eating Whole Foods
Nutrition can become confusing as one day we are told to follow the USDA Food Plate (formally known as the Food Pyramid), on another we are told to eat Paleo or vegetarian, and on yet another we are told to eat everything but in moderation. So which is it?
This is the golden question! Nutrition must be personalized as each person s needs are different based on age, exercise levels, disease state, stress, environment, genes, health goals, and so much more.
However, at the most basic level, everyone benefits the most from focusing on whole, nutrient-dense, organic, and diverse foods. Too often we forget how powerful food choices are, as foods can not only either harm or heal us physically and mentally but also play key roles in our overall health and disease progression.
AVOIDING PROCESSED FOODS
While eating whole foods seems obvious, many Americans heavily rely on processed foods. Processed foods come in many forms today - some contain large amounts of added sugar or salt, while others are loaded with artificial ingredients.
When you go grocery shopping, have you seen processed foods that carry labels like made from whole grains, fortified, low fat, low carb, or are kid-approved ? These foods are marketed successfully, but many of them actually rob the body of nutrients at a faster rate, cause blood sugar imbalances, increase hunger, and often result in weight gain!
In contrast, when you eat whole, unprocessed foods, your body knows how to incorporate and utilize nutrients optimally and will provide you with the correct feedback as to when to stop eating. Eating these whole foods - whether it be apples, bananas, avocados, or a few sticks of carrots - lead to increased vitality, both physically and mentally.
HEALTHY EATING CHOICES
Commonly I hear, I know which foods are healthy, but the packaged foods just taste so good! Committing to changing habits and staying accountable are the most important but almost most difficult aspects to eating healthily, as packaged foods can be very addictive!
Cutting out processed foods and focusing on whole nutritious meals can lead you to experience numerous personal benefits both in the long term and in the short term. Eating healthily now can potentially lower healthcare costs down the line and lead to a stronger, healthier you. In the short term, making healthy eating choices can up your energy levels, improve your sleep and emotional health, and encourage weight loss.
It may seem to be more expensive to purchase whole foods, and many people complain about how quickly the food goes bad. But on the most basic level, why would anyone want to eat something that is scientifically designed to not rot? Everything that grows should at some point decompose. While this can feel annoying when you reach in the crisper drawer and realize that you'd forgotten about the lettuce you bought last week, this is actually a good reminder. Good, nutritious food should and does not last forever.
What do you find hardest to let go of in your path to clean eating? If you have any tips or comments please share them below!
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Kasin Anton, Nutritionist
Kasin Anton is a Nutrition Consultant who is passionate about improving peoples’ lives. She specializes in identifying the triggers holding people back physically, emotionally, and psychologically in order to maximize energy, reduce pain, improve focus, and optimize weight. For more information, get in touch with Kasin at her website www.kasinanton.com.