There is so much noise around “super” foods, cleansing diets, organic produce,…. that we sometimes forget the main fundamental rule: to ask ourself where our food really comes from.
We live in a society where buying those organic vegan gluten-free biscuits from the shelf makes us feel better and satisfied that we’re doing the right choice for the planet and our body. Is this really the case?
We are more and more disconnected from the source of where our food comes from, in the pursuit of that ultimate healthy lifestyle promised by too many dieticians and tv shows. Unfortunately, as we consume more and more packaged goods, we are getting away from the real food, from that nutrient-dense soil which keeps us healthy and recharged. How do we know if our food comes from a nutrient-dense soil then?
It might be too simple, but….take a look at the ingredients list. Even better when there’s no ingredient list at all like for fruit and veggies!
Here are some simple rules to follow when choosing our foods.
READ THE INGREDIENTS
Generally speaking, the longer the ingredients list and the more items you cannot understand or pronounce, the further towards the processed end that food likely sits and the more likely it is that you’d be better off choosing a whole-food alternative.
EAT WHOLE AND UNPROCESSED FOOD
Although the term ‘whole food’ is becoming increasingly recognised and popular, there’s lot of confusion around whole, unprocessed foods.
While processed foods are those that have been somewhat removed from their natural state as a result of chemical, biological and/or mechanical manipulation, whole unprocessed foods are largely unaltered and appear pretty much as they would do in nature. A typical example of whole foods is fruits and veggies.
The problem with processed food is their nutrient density, i.e. the nutrient content of a food or drink against the number of calories it contains. Processed food tend to be very calorie dense but nutrient sparse as a result of the processing and/or adding of ingredients which only serve to extend the product’s shelf life or enhance their taste but does not really add any nutrients to it.
Even foods with ‘no artificial ingredients’ might contain refined oils, flours, starches and sugars which can all be classed as natural, but when added to foods and drink they can be detrimental to our health as they only count as empty calories hardly with any nutrients.
BUY LOCALLY GROWN AND SEASONAL FOOD
Nature is clever and enrich foods of fundamental nutrients depending on the season.
For example, many Summer fruits and veggies are loaded with protective antioxidants which our body needs to offset the damage caused by increasing exposure to UV rays, chemicals and environmental toxins as we get outside more often.
Winter fruits and veggies like Kiwi fruits and oranges are rich in Vitamin C which helps us boost our immune system against seasonal flus and colds in those wintery months.
In addition, fruit and vegetables contain the greatest number of nutrients when they are allowed to ripen naturally. If they are picked too early and need to be frozen or chilled, they can lose not only nutrients but also their taste.
Least but not last, eating local means lower prices and a smaller carbon footprint. Eating locally means our food doesn’t have to travel as far to get to our plate.
ASK YOURSELF WHERE AND HOW YOUR FOOD IS GROWN
Nowadays some kids don’t even know that cheese comes from cows. This missing connection with the food we eat can cause an unhealthy relationship with food.
On the contrary, understanding where our food comes from, how vegetables are grown, how cows are raised or how whole wheat flour is produced allow us to appreciate and respect more the food we eat.
It also allows us to make more educated choices around which food to eat and to take responsible decisions on how to nourish our body.
Need help in figuring your nutrition out? Come meet our expert coaches and find out how we can help you out in your health journey. Book your No Sweat Intro below.