Resolutions are cliché this time of year; as everybody is pledging to drop old bad habits in favour of new, better ones. Like quitting smoking, starting an exercise program – or forgoing the late-night TV binge watching for a proper night’s sleep.
Choosing to “eat healthy” is typically on the list of top-ten resolutions, and consuming more “whole foods” is the tastiest way to achieve it.
You needn’t visit a specialty shop to find whole foods. These sit mostly on the perimeter of your grocery store – the produce department, in particular. Not everybody would include meat, poultry, fish and eggs on the usual list of fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, beans and legumes.
But I would.
Animal proteins are complete in terms of essential amino acids; and are better sources of certain nutrients like vitamins D and B12, DHA, iron and zinc. On the other hand, plant proteins can be combined to cover missing amino acids, and are protective in so many ways.
Bottom line: don’t get hung up on semantics, just include more whole foods.
What does this mean?
Whole potatoes rather than frozen chips, whole fruits rather than canned-in-syrup cocktail, and chicken breast rather than nuggets.
I’m not a purist, and am not advocating that you eliminate all processed foods. After all, who has the time to prepare everything from scratch? And there are still some very healthy foods in bags, boxes and cans – just check out our “Power Up” items.
It’s about balance, and if you have kids, you’ll know what I mean. Force them into a spartan regimen of brown rice, steamed kale, boiled tubers and unseasoned chicken, and there will be a rebellion.
Eating foods in their natural state leaves them intact with fibre, vitamins, minerals and “phytonutrients,” many of which offer benefits like reduced risk of illness. For example, diabetes, many cancers, and cardiovascular disease.
These phytonutrients (or phytochemicals) include antioxidants like lycopene, carotenoids, and flavonoids. And when combined as nature intended, work synergistically in ways that are not yet fully understood. Eating whole foods, rather than relying on vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that have been extracted and isolated in pill form, still seems the healthier option.
And a more flavourful one as well.
As I dig into my salad that includes baby spinach, blueberries, nuts, grape tomatoes, sprouts, black olives, and chunks of chicken, I challenge anybody to find a fast-food alternative that comes close in tone, texture and taste.
This palate of colours, many of which account for the vibrant interplay of flavours, haven’t yet – to my satisfaction – been duplicated in the test tube. So for now I’ll dial up the whole foods – and let you know how it goes…
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Wishing you all vibrant health in 2019!