But what are whole foods?
Somehow, this most basic human necessity has become confusing and convoluted. Whole foods are foods that are complete and perfect in their natural state. They are as nature intended — picture an avocado, a sweet potato, a bunch of Swiss chard, or an egg — they contain balanced ratios of vitamins, minerals, fats, carbohydrates, sugars, and countless other vital nutrients. They are not altered, stripped or refined in any way and our bodies know how to break them down and utilize them for maximum energy and potential. They are also organic, seasonal, and local whenever possible. This ensures that they are fresh, full of nutrients, and not contaminated with pesticides, chemicals or additives. These foods are the perfect examples that fit the holistic nutrition definition.
The human body has evolved amazingly over millions of years to work in concert with the foods and environment of this planet. As human beings evolved, we ate what was present in the natural world around us: vegetation, fruits, nuts, seeds, wild animals, sea vegetables and fish. There were no cookie bushes, potato chip trees or soda wells! As modern society consume these and other highly processed and refined foods, the rates of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer continue to skyrocket. An estimated 80 percent of type 2 diabetes cases can be prevented by a change in diet and exercise.
The problem lies in getting people to change the foods they eat. Processed foods and beverages have become so commonplace that people often don’t see them for what they truly are. They think these artificial food substances are actually real foods.
Guidelines from Author Pollan gives this sound advice in his book In Defense of Food:
Don’t eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food…There are in fact hundreds of foodish products in the supermarket that your ancestors simply wouldn’t recognize as food: breakfast cereal bars…’protein waters’ and ‘nondairy creamer’; cheeselike food-stuffs…cakelike cylinders called Twinkies that never go stale”.
The bottom line is to be wary of any food that comes in a package — again, ask yourself: Do soy chicken nuggets appear in the natural world?