PRINCIPLES OF WHOLE FOOD NUTRITION
Whole food eating means feeding our bodies the way nature intended. This means eating foods in their natural state, as close to the perfectly “whole” state in which nature provides them. This also means following the natural growing seasons and eating more foods that are locally grown and produced. Whole food nutrition is eating in balance, which in turn keeps the body in balance. Foods grown naturally develop with the right proportion of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats intended for that particular food. They contain balanced vitamins, minerals, phyto-nutrients, and enzymes. This natural balance for each food ensures that the body can properly utilize the nutrients. Foods that have been refined or processed (parts of them removed or altered) or enriched/fortified (things added) upset this natural balance in foods and will do the same in your body.
Foods are meant to nourish your body cells not damage them. The health of your cells is directly related to the health of your food. Your cells will replicate and regenerate at or above the current level of health of the "parent" cell when we eat whole foods. Eat refined, processed, packaged, GMO, fast, junk, etc. foods and the cell replication is in the degenerative direction. Over the years, degenerative cell replication leads to degenerative diseases.
The effects of moving away from whole foods and towards refined, processed, and convenience foods are very prevalent in our society. The cancer, cardiovascular, auto-immune, intestinal, bone, teeth, weight, and many other health problems are directly related to this change to our “modern” diet. Traditional societies, who still eat whole foods, do not suffer from these health problems. As a society, we spend much time looking for cures. The cure is most often in the prevention. The best start is to return to whole food principles of eating.
“Men dig their graves with their own teeth and die more by those fated instruments than all the weapons of their enemies." Thomas Moffett, 1600 AD
“The cure is the same as the prevention. Let food be thy medicine.” Hippocrates
On a very simple level, anyone can tell that a baked or steamed, whole potato is more nutritious than potato chips. Use that thought process with any food choice. Ask yourself these questions, “How close is this food to its natural, whole state?” "How will this impact my cellular health?" These questions makes it very obvious what should be included in our daily fare. The following grouping of whole foods will get you started on the whole food nutrition concept.
VEGGIES: buy fresh, seasonal produce (better yet, grow as much as you can of your own or visit farmers who grow it for you, www.gardenshare.org ) and eat it as whole as possible: raw or very lightly steamed. Lightly steamed means veggies should retain their color and crisp texture, 2-3 minutes for small veggies & greens, slightly more time for larger veggies. Soups and stews in winter are longer, slower cooked foods to nourish you in cold weather.
FRUIT: same idea but raw is best. Dried, frozen, & canned local fruit is good during off-season. Eat dried fruit in moderation. It is a concentrated sugar source. Fruit juices are merely liquid sugar; best avoided and eat the whole fruit instead.
BEANS & LEGUMES: fresh, in season is best; very good raw & some lightly steamed. Dried beans, in the off season, are a nutritious source of protein, vitamins, & minerals. It is an enjoyable art form learning how to cook and create meals with them: soups, dips, sandwich spreads, casseroles, bean milks, bean burgers & loafs, hearty additions to breads/muffins/cookies…the list is inexhaustible! Try sprouting for added cell enhancing nutrition.
NUTS & SEEDS: Whole & raw is best. Raw nut butters are a delicious and fun alternative. (raw peanuts & peanut butter are not recommended, eat both roasted, peanuts are actually legumes/beans. Cancer or auto-immune issues: avoid peanuts; eat almond butter, various nut & seed butters, or Nuttzo butter which is a 7 nut and seed butter combination. Buy the peanut free Nuttzo.). Nuts & seeds are a good source of healthy fat; just remember to eat in moderation.
GRAINS: Learn to cook & enjoy whole grains: oats, rye, millet, rice, wheat berries, barley, quinoa, spelt, corn, amaranth…this is just a partial list. They can all be cooked and eaten like rice, enjoyed cold in salads, hot in soups/casseroles/pilafs, or as tasty hot cereals or leftovers as cold cereal (mix with plain yogurt, nuts & seeds, cinnamon, vanilla).
Whole grain kernels are best. When choosing flour & flour products (breads, pastas, pastries, cookies & baked goods) make certain that all flours used in the products are 100% whole grains, not refined/bleached/enriched/unbleached etc. Better yet, make your own flour products. That way you are in total control of all ingredients being whole foods. Grains are easy to grind into flour in a high quality blender or grinder made for this purpose.
Nuts like almonds, hazelnuts, and coconut can also be ground into flour and used to replace grain flours.
Many people do better, health and weight wise, keeping the grains to a minimum in their diet. Grains are used to fatten cattle and life stock – need I say more?
Auto-immune issues, intestinal health issues, cancer? Consider removing all gluten containing grains from your diet as gluten exacerbates the inflammation in your body that keeps disease thriving. Wheat, rye, barley, and oats contain gluten. Oats, by nature do not contain gluten, but are contaminated in the harvesting and handling as the same machines that harvest wheat are used for oats. If you buy organic, certified gluten free oats... good to go.
FATS & OILS: Your healthiest option is fats from whole foods, not oils. All of the above whole foods contain varying amounts of fat. The foods listed below contain high percentages of healthy fat. Getting healthy fat from whole foods means making choices like these:
- Sesame seeds or tahini, not sesame oil
- Almonds or almond butter, not almond oil
- Olives, not olive oil
- Flax seeds, not flax seed oil
- Avocados, not avocado oil
- Soybeans/tofu/tempeh, not soy oil (organic and GMO free)
When oils are used, make certain you are buying high quality cold pressed oils; not refined, chemically extracted oils. Most supermarket oils are poor quality and chemically extracted. Naturally, cold pressed is more expensive but remember your health is worth it. Think preventative maintenance!
Best bets for cooking oils are sesame oil and coconut oil. Use extra virgin, cold pressed, & first pressed olive oil for salad dressings and splashing on veggies. I prefer butter from grass fed cows for cooking, baking, and eating on foods.
ANIMAL PRODUCTS: including meats, poultry, eggs, milk & dairy products. Buy products from animals fed naturally and free range raised. Organically, free range raised is even better. Example: cows who graze & eat natural grasses, not fed grains. Natural lifestyles ensure animal products that are lower in saturated fat and high in health promoting omega 3 oils. If fish can accomplish a personal healthy fat ratio by eating their natural diet other animals do too. Fish do not have some magical ability that no other creature was endowed with.
Your cellular health remains intact when you eat a diet rich in whole foods that you, a human, was meant to eat. Animals cellular health remains intact when they eat their natural diets. You want to be putting foods, plant or animal based, in your body that have vibrant cellular health. Eating unhealthy plant or animal cells will contribute to your cells degenerating.
FISH: Naturally raised and wild caught fish are the best health bets. Avoid fish raised in fish farms. Fish raised in farms are fed unnatural diets and given antibiotics to combat diseases acquired from living in close quarters and unnatural conditions (much like factory farm raised animals, think beef feed lots and confined dairy cow operations). Fish are good sources of healthier fats if from wild caught fish who ate their natural foods (it is the cellular health thing again).
PACKAGED FOODS: These are foods that are manufactured in a factory instead of being made at home from scratch. Read all ingredients very carefully. Look for 100% whole food ingredients. You should be able to purchase the raw ingredients and make the food product at home. If there are ingredients that you cannot purchase, cannot pronounce, do not grow in nature, or you do not know if they are real… do not buy and eat this product. Yes, read every label of every food product every time you buy it. Companies do sell product lines and ingredients change to make the product cheaper to manufacture. Cheap ingredients are not cell nourishing food.
Be wary of anything that comes in a box, bag, can, jar, etc. If it is a packaged food product, made in a factory and not your home, be a savvy shopper and consumer. AND... just because it is sold in a health food store does not mean it is cell nourishing food.
Vitamins & Supplements: Not All Vitamin Supplements Are Created Equal
1. Most food products are manufactured for the corporate bottom line, not your health.
This means that the cheapest ingredients go into the "product" so the company manufacturing this product can make the highest profit margin. Profits before people is the name of this game.
Now keep in mind, there are companies out there creating quality products. Real food, in packages, that are healthy alternatives to what you would make in your own kitchen. These products are sold on the shelves of health food stores, food coops, and in the healthy section of grocery stores.
BUT, just because a product is on the shelves in these healthier places, do not assume that the product is healthy (see below on being self-responsible). Even products you have found to have healthy, 100% whole food ingredients; be aware... the ingredients can be changed. Big corporations love to buy out these smaller "health conscious" companies because the healthier products are money makers. Most people do want healthy food and healthy bodies so the sale of organic, whole, non-GMO foods has soared. Corporate America wants their piece of this pie. But... as soon as a larger corporation owns the food, the food label, the product suddenly changes. Cheaper ingredients are now used to make the very same products. This "ingredient switch" pads the bottom line of the large corporation, not your health!.
You have to be the responsible one in the grocery store... this means reading labels very, very carefully. (This is what I teach in my book and in my workshops; self responsibility around your own health restoration... you healing you.) Read the ingredient list, on anything you are contemplating purchasing, that comes in a package. Your health, your life, depends on this.
Ask yourself questions about the product:
-Is every ingredient in the product a whole food? (organic? non GMO?)
-Could you assemble all the ingredients, in your own home, to make this same food item?
Answering yes to these questions? Then move forward, feeling comfortable that this food will nourish, not deplete, the health of your body cells. Depleting body cells means you are depleting you; creating degeneration in your body.
Answering no to these questions? Put the "product" back on the shelf; your health and your life depend on this.
2. Most manufactured products are full of refined & fake stuff:
- Fillers (to enhance textures without using real food, i.e. whole food ingredients. MOST Greek yogurts are one of these filler enhanced foods, read more here: 13 Health Foods That Are NOT So Healthy, this article covers the cheap cell degenerating ingredients in most gluten free products as well),
- Artificial colors and flavors,
- Fake sweeteners (yup, all the artificial/no calorie sweeteners)
- GMOs (genetically modified organisms - despite what the big guys want you to believe in regards to GMO safety and GMOs being a feed the world solution... this ain't cell nourishing foods my friends, nature did not intend food to be GMO-ed)
- Fake fats... hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated, vegetable oils of most varieties (soy, canola, corn), shortenings (like Crisco), fats from factory farmed animal meat/eggs/dairy products
- sugars: anything ending in "ose," corn syrups, other syrups, malt
- the list of fake things, that go into factory made food, is never ending.
Bottom Line: Fake ingredients, factory made substances, do not belong in the human body. They do not create cellular health. Cellular health IS created when we eat whole foods.
Substances to avoid:
I call these things substances because they are not food. Food feeds cellular health. Fake crap substances deteriorate your cellular health and lead you body down the path to chronic, lifestyle diseases... degenerative disease.
- See #2 above that speaks of fake food ingredients
I have people ask me similar questions frequently: "I have only been eating whole foods for 2 days and I can already feel a difference in my energy, sleep, etc. I have been taking the glandular / menstrual herbs for 1 week and see a big difference. Is this / are these things possible?" Yes, you can see results that quickly. It is the cellular health thingy. When you starve the body cells of what they naturally need and then start putting those nourishing elements into your body, your little fabulous cells are like sponges singing Thank You all over your body. No one was ever meant to ingest things like refined sugar, refined flour, manufactured food products, etc. Nature never intended them to be in our bodies impacting, degenerating, cellular health. Cells, naturally, want to be happy & healthy, and when given the tools to do so flourish like flowers in spring time!
Cells replicate daily. When we eat real, whole foods those cells replicate as healthy or healthier than the parent cell. When we eat un-natural, refined, manufactured "products" the cells degenerate, get less healthy than the parent cells. Over time, degenerative disease symptoms express themselves in our bodies because of degenerative body cells. Simple cell biology.
Whatever constipates the colon will constipate the blood circulation. This impairs getting nourishment to the cells and cellular metabolic waste away from the cells. The cells become malnourished, toxic waste zones. The cells get constipated as the same substances constipating the colon are constipating the cell membrane and all of the miraculous organelles inside the cells that make you the alive, vibrant, metabolically active being you are.
Planning your diets with these whole food principles in mind will create health, lifetime wellness, and prevent lifestyle diseases. There is not one diet prescription that works for everyone. Individuals thrive on different percentages of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats (This info is covered in my home study course Getting To The Fat Of The Matter, Proteins & Carbohydrates too! All courses are donation based tuition). Using a whole food diet, discover what works for you and live it. Keep in mind your nutritional needs may change with the changing seasons of the year and your life.
Join my online course, Food As Your Healing Tool, to study, in-depth, your body's self-healing abilities with food as your medicine.
The School of Self Healing is 9 eCourses (all donation based tuition) compiled in a bundle to restore your personal health from your foundation, the ground, up. These courses are the steps to squelch inflammation and get your beautiful body cells and your whole body back on track to being the vibrantly healthy human being that nature made you to be.
All courses with Paula Youmell, RN are home study courses for your learn at home convenience!
Looking for more "Get Whole Body Healthy" information? Grab a copy of my book and get reading, get healthy.
Watch a 13 minute video explaining whole foods: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ha6ICVAmZXs