One thing I was sure of and that is... I do not believe in diets. I never have. Depriving the body from things you crave is simply not natural. If you want a cookie, eat it. If you're fixin' for a cheeseburger, do it up. This is why I fell in love with the whole foods concept. Whole foods doesn't tell you to not eat anything, you can eat whatever you like, it's how your food is prepared and made that makes the whole foods concept a huge differentiator from any other "diet". With whole foods, you eat whole foods. No reduced fat, calories or flavors.
For example - Before changing to whole foods, I was frequently eating whole wheat toast and organic peanut butter for breakfast. Not so bad, right? Wrong.
Here is a glimpse of the ingredients I was consuming on a daily basis: Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Azodicarbonamide, Calcium Peroxide, Calcium Propeionate, Monocalcium Phosphate. Off the top of your head, do you know what any of these ingrediants are or why the heck they're in our bread?
(Shrug) Me either.
Post-whole foods I still have the same breakfast, but there are only five ingredients in my bread. That's it.
A whole food is exactly what it says, it's the whole food - Nothing else. There is nothing artificial, there are no preservatives, you understand what all the ingrediants are on the label. There are no secrets.
Fruits and vegetables are great examples of whole foods.
Whole, organic milk, is also a whole food.
Full fat organic yogurt is a whole food. Greek Gods yogurt is our favorite.
By eating whole foods, you will find you won't eat as much and your portions will be smaller. Because there is more flavor in whole foods, your food is more rich and satisfying, therefore alleviating your risk of over consumption during snacks or meal time and as a result, there are no extra calories lying around for your body to store as fat.
Challenges to be prepared for with the Whole Foods lifestyle (other than anticipating an extra 30 minutes at the grocery store because you're reading labels!):
-Bread. Breads are SO TOUGH for whole foodies. I challenge you to go to your local grocer and read all the labels on the bread products you buy - whether it's frozen or fresh, I guarantee there are at least 3-5 ingredients that are chemical in some form.
Solution: Bake your own bread, it's cheap and easy. If made in excess, you can keep dough frozen and set out the evening prior to let it rise overnight and bake in the morning while you're prepping for work, or doing morning chores. You can also buy frozen bread doughs at your grocer - Read the labels!! There are options that are fresh and natural, also reasonably priced. Make sure to read the labels on your ingredients too, organic flours are best.
Recipe: Honey Whole Wheat Bread
2 envelopes yeast
4 cups water
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup molasses (optional)
1/2 cup honey
2 teaspoons salt
6 cups whole wheat flour
4 cups white flour Directions:
- Dissolve yeast in warm water.
- In a large bowl, combine butter, honey, molasses and salt and mix well.
- Add yeast mixture and gradually add flours.
- Turn onto floured surface (a countertop will do!) and knead until smooth.
- Place in a greased bowl and let rise until double. (Go enjoy a nap, get your chores done or take a long walk! and Voila! It will be done rising!)
- Punch down and let rest for a few minutes.
- Divide dough into 4 parts and shape into loaves.
- Place in greased pans and let rise for about an hour.
- Bake at 350 for 1 hour.
Solution: Explore other flavors of vinegars. There's cidar, white wine, red wine, and a slew of other options out there. Vinegar is much cheaper than oils, so stock up and keep it interesting! Also explore different herbs and spices to add to your dressings. You can make big supplies of dressings and keep in the fridge for anything - salads, cooked vegetables, maranades, etc.
Recipe: Homemade Dressing
1 C. Vinegar (Any Kind!)
1 1/3 C. EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
2 Tbsp. Water
Any spices you desire to taste - You can try: Dill, oregano, pepper, salt, basil, cayenne pepper, chili powder, honey, brown sugar, cinnamon or anything else you desire!
(You can store in the refrigerator for up to 90 days!)
Place all ingredients in a container of any kind and shake them all well prior to serving over or with anything.
Meal Idea - Sloppy Jo's! WhoLey NicoLey StyLe1 lb. leanest ground beef or ground turkey available at your local grocer
1/2 C. Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
1 Tbsp. Worchester Sauce
1 Can Tomato Sauce
1 Can Stewed Tomatoes
Liberal Seasoning of Mrs. Dash and Steak Seasoning
Cook the beef (DO NOT DRAIN!) and add all ingredients. Let all simmer for 30-45 minutes, allowing the sauce to thicken and the flavors to soak.
Serve Sloppy Jo's! WhoLey NicoLey StyLe on homemade Honey Whole Wheat bread or buns with a salad and corn on the cob, you've got yourself a fantastic WhoLey Foods Meal!
Final Challenge: Going out to eat.
Going out to eat is always a challenge when trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I'm a firm believer in living life, so if you find yourself at a restaurant craving a piece of the bread in the bread basket or wanting ranch dressing for a change, go ahead an treat yourself. However, I must warn you, that after time with the whole foods diet, you may not want those foods anymore anyway.
FYI - I hope to share many, many, many more recipes! I'm declaring Wednesday as whole food recipe days. I will try to include "meal" ideas that are family friendly and also tips on how to be successful at the grocery store with recommended brands, etc.