Thursday, March 5, 2009

eating a wholefoods diet

I went grocery store to get some produce yesterday--fresh nectarines, avocado, spinach, cabbage, cilantro, asparagus, tomatoes--and the cashier commented on the amounts of fresh fruits and veggies I was buying. After I explained that our diet consists mostly of wholefoods, she asked me, "What are wholefoods?" I was sort of dumbfounded. Then I thought she was joking. Apparently, I was wrong. She really had no clue that it was even possible to live without processed junk and soda pop. I guess that is what I get for visiting the supermarket. So, what are wholefoods, anyway? Wholefoods are edible substances which are as close to their "whole" or natural state as possible. They have not been pre-processed in any way which would disturb their nutrition or flavor. They are therefore free of all processing additives or subtractions. The overall idea of wholefoods, is to prepare foods which are:
  • As whole and in their most simple form as possible.
  • In season from as close to the source as possible.
  • As chemically and additive free as possible.
  • In bulk and not pre-packaged.

Over 95% of illness and disorders are due to faulty and incomplete nutrition. A wholefoods diet provides necessary nutrients and prevents (and cures!) cronic illness. To have true health, a person should have a balanced wholefoods diet, which ensures that every aspect of digestion works properly. A wholefoods diet does not count vitamins and minerals since a healthy wholefoods diet will naturally provide all that a person needs. And since a wholefoods diet revolves around locally-grown foods, your produce will be fresher, and thus be loaded with more nutrients.

As for environmental impact, if you buy locally-grown produce in season, you actually prevent the environmental damage that is caused by shipping food thousands of miles, and you also support your local market in that you are able to buy directly from local farmers--they get the business, large corporation (or the "middleman") does not. Of course, growing your own produce is the sustainable ideal.

What does a dialy wholefoods menu look like?

Well, every person requires different nutrients. To Eva, at seven years, diet is especially important to achieve optimum growth. She should be taking in about 1700 calories a day, and protein and Vitamin A are especially important. To me, a lactating mother, my calorie intake should be around 2500 calories a day, and iron is a must.

For a typical day, however, I might make a menu as follows:

Breakfast Whole grain oats and barley Molasses for sweetening Frozen peaches

Mid morning Fruit smoothie (live-culture yogurt; orange juice; banana; frozen strawberries, raspberries, blueberries; cashew butter)

Lunch Asparagus, onion Rice and oil or butter Salad: lettuce, spinach, sprouts, tomato, cucumber Post-Lunch Mixed nuts, seeds, and dried fruit Apple juice Tea Avocado, walnut & carab snack Herbal tea

Dinner Vegetable bread: Millet, onion, celery, red pepper, zucchini, garlic & herbs

Post-dinner Fruit salad: nectarines and apples

As for what foods are in season at different times of the year, you should get to know your growing and harvesting schedule. During the late winter months in Ohio, it is difficult for me to find locally grown produce. Unfortunately, that means I have to give in a little, and eat either jarred or frozen food or buy produce that I know is in season in other areas of the country.

Check out Sustainable Table's list of seasonal produce to find out what is available near you during which seasons.

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