The 6th and final Foundation of Health is eating a Wholesome Diet.
I think this could be renamed The Fountain of Youth. Why? Because a diet rich in nutrient-dense, properly prepared, whole foods is the ultimate foundation of optimal health.
Just a few generations ago, people were eating mostly whole foods because that’s all there was available. The creation of processed foods has provided tempting products that are fast and easy, with often no cooking required, just open a bag and snack or open a box and reheat. While these “convenience foods” save preparation and cooking time, they are wrecking our health! Processing foods strips away their vitamins and flavor so then sugar, salt, and bad fats are added to make them palatable. Food scientists have even engineered snack foods with chemical additives to hit our taste buds with just the right combination of flavors to make them intentionally addictive. It is truly SAD what the Standard American Diet has done to our nation’s health with skyrocketing obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
So how do we turn this around for ourselves and get to the Fountain of Youth? By returning to ancestral foods, eating them in their whole forms with old-fashioned cooking. It is easy to create simple and healthy whole-food meals in less than 20 minutes. At the end of this post, I share one of my favorite cookbooks for fast and delicious green eats.
Here are the building blocks for a Wholesome Diet:
EAT NUTRIENT - DENSE, WHOLE - FOODS:
• High-quality meats, eggs and fats: choose grass-fed/pastured/wild/organic
• Organic produce: learn the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen” that is released every year by the Environmental Working Group
• Balanced macronutrients:
Here’s a handy guide, for each meal, based on your hand size:
3-5 oz protein (size of your palm)
2-3 cups vegetables (2 fists)
1-2 cups complex carbs (amount inside cupped hand)
2-3 Tbsp healthy fats (size of thumb)
Athletes and taller people may need to double these portions = 2 hands
• Whole fruits & vegetables: we need fiber for a healthy microbiome
• Fermented Foods: ideally 2 Tbsp with every meal (yogurt/kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, naturally fermented pickles or relish, fermented chutney)
• Anti-Inflammatory Foods: Green Leafy Vegetables, Bok Choy, Celery, Beets, Broccoli, Blueberries, Pineapple, Bone Broth, Coconut Oil, Tumeric, Ginger, high Omega 3 foods (salmon and cold-water fatty fishes, shellfish, walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, brussel sprouts)
• Eat the Rainbow: strive to eat every color of the rainbow from fruits and vegetables, every day!
• Soak grains overnight with 1 T lemon juice (or apple cider vinegar) to remove lectins. (Not many people alive today know that the original Quaker oat instructions were to soak the oats overnight)
• Soak beans overnight, rinse then add fresh water, cook beans with strip of kombu for easier digestion
• Sprout grains and seeds for anti-oxidant boost:
Broccoli sprouts are one of the healthiest foods we can eat because they contain sulforaphane which is an amazing cancer-fighting phytochemical. There are many sprouting kits available online...so give yourself and your family the gift of sprouts!
If you currently eat a lot of processed foods, it can feel daunting to think about cooking something healthy for every meal. Here are some ideas for making a gradual shift:
· Replace one processed item at each meal with a vegetable, fresh or cooked.
· Eat wholesome snacks such as nut butter on a carrot/apple/celery, berries on yogurt, macadamia nuts with dried fruit, avocado with orange, nitrate-free jerky, fresh fruit & veg juice or smoothie, kale "chips" roasted with coconut oil and coconut aminos...
· Make a goal to cook a wholesome meal once a day. If that feels like too much, designate a couple hours once a week to prepare 2-3 big meals to eat & freeze for later in the week.
· Sign up for cooking classes and watch cooking shows for ideas.
· One of my favorite cookbooks is "Best Green Eats Ever" by Kathrine Van Wyk. It has easy and delicious recipes that contain nutrient-rich greens that are high in antioxidants!
Speaking of antioxidants, this leads us back to the proverbial Fountain of Youth which is...
* Fresh Whole-Foods that are Nutrient-Dense and Properly Prepared *
Any effort, no matter how small, to include more whole-foods into your diet will have a beneficial effect. Real Food = Real Health!