A Note on the Simplicity of Whole Foods.

Sometimes while shopping, it amazes me to view all of the new products we have created that people categorize as “food.”  Even in so-called “Health Food Stores,” it is common to find many processed items often touted as healthy.  What is strange about this is that it appears we have forgotten what “normal” food is.  People that shop for and eat whole foods are viewed as “on a diet,” or as “healthy eaters.”  The thing is, until recently; that was everybody.  There were no “processed foods” made in factories.  There were not additives in the food.  Of course there have been storage foods like whole grains, but many are choosing to eat processed versions of these also. 

The good news is that there are a few simple tests that will allow you to determine if something is a whole food. 

  • Does it have more than 1 ingredient?  IF YES, it is NOT a whole food.
  • Does it grow in the ground, on a tree, or move around?  It is probably a whole food.

So that leaves us with what?  Fruits, vegetables, wild edibles, meats, whole grains and legumes, as well as nuts and seeds.  There are also animal products such as raw milk and eggs.

The interesting thing to me is that many people would seem to reject this type of food.  It is in the grocery stores, but much of what is purchases are processed versions of foods.  That brings us to the question of WHY so many people are eating junk food?

There are many reasons; and that is sort of outside the scope of this article.  However, we will go over a few.

  • Addictions – People are addicted to foods and they do not always realize it.  This is very prevalent with Bread, Pasteurized Dairy, Sugar, Table salt, GMO Foods, and certain chemicals they put in processed foods.  Try getting people to let go of bread or dairy and you will find out how addicted some are.
  • Convenience – Some packaged foods feel more convenient to many.  Open the bag of chips and munch.  Take the lid off the ice cream and eat.  Of course there are healthy alternatives such as fruit, fresh greens, nuts, etc. but they sometimes aren’t loaded with calories in quite the same way.
  • Emotions – Unfortunately eating bad food can sometimes help us push away our emotions temporarily.  It does this by draining our energy and numbing us for a time being.  After the food is digested, the feelings will usually come back.
  • Cost – This is a tricky issue.  Some believe eating healthy equals paying more for food.  However, some with this mindset are the same buying junky snacks, cigarettes, lottery tickets, and fast food.  Some real food can get expensive; especially in regard to meats and produce.  I am convinced though, that if we cut back drastically on the junk we buy (not just food!), we would better afford the quality food.  You also have to think what it says about us that we are not willing to spend our money on FOOD!?
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Enough on this issue.  The mains points here are that it is NOT HARD to determine what is a WHOLE FOOD, (which is what humans are used to eating).  There are pitfalls and addictions prevalent with junk food, so treat it as such.  Cost can be an issue; but honestly look at where your spending is going and ask yourself if it really is too expensive?  Overall, getting into a whole foods eating style in the modern times is easy to explain but often hard to implement.  This does not mean eating foods you do not like.  It just means selecting your food from a large variety of healthy options, and not giving your money to corporations mass-producing junk food that is just making our country sicker, more overweight, and less happy.  Respect yourself AND your food, leading to a healthier and more sustainable person.

-JOE

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