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Whole Foods lifestyle 101

 Staying nourished!

 If you’re new to a whole foods lifestyle and don’t know where to start or just need a refresher, start with these food principles for better health and well-being.

 Keep reading to learn all about the Nutrition Connections (NC) food philosophy!

WHAT THIS LOOKS LIKE:

 1.    Back-to-basics. Go local. Go organic. Eat REAL whole foods that you can trace back to the source.

2.   Eat your Plants: Scientific research has clearly shown the many health benefits of eating a diet high in plant foods from the earth: fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, grains (none of the industrial/agriculturally mass-produced grains), legumes and beans. We don’t need science to tell us how good eating plants makes us feel, try it for yourself and enjoy the powerhouses of nutrition!

3.   Get to know your farmer! If you consume animal proteins in your diet; make sure they have been humanely raised and have been fed their natural diets. Again, be able to trace your food back to the source of where they were raised, fed, and how they existed (i.e. grass fed, wild caught, pasture raised, free-range, organic, etc.).

4.   Don’t consume anything with a longer expiration date than you! If you can’t pronounce a food ingredient listed on the package …walk away. Better yet, go with something without a food label and make a meal in your own kitchen from scratch.

5.   Enjoy in mindfulness! Nutrition isn’t all about counting calories, grams of fat or fiber, nor is eating only for the purpose of nourishment. Food plays many roles in our social, mental, emotional, cultural, and physical aspects of our lives. We should respect all the ways food is involved in our lives. We all, myself included, should start taking a little more time enjoying and more time “freeing” our brains from the mathematics of food, diet fads, and nutritional dogmas; and get back to bare basics of consuming whole foods as much as possible while finding what works for your body.

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6.   Eat mostly plants: if you look at your plate or bowl, let vegetables make up about 75% of your plate.

7.   Eat colorfully: in the span of a day, consume a wide variety of colors from fruits and vegetables. More colors = more antioxidants and a larger variety of nutrients.

8.   Eat the right fats: not only will they help your body absorb fat-soluble nutrients, fat is vital to our health. Include nuts such as almonds or walnuts, seeds such as chia or hemp, coconut oil, avocado, salmon or other omega-3 rich foods, etc. at every meal. Avoid vegetable oils and of course trans/hydrogenated oils.

9.   Eat animal proteins mindfully: since vegetables fill up your plate, use animal proteins as a “side” and always consume ethically raised and treated animals.

10. Add boosters: you don’t have to use “superfoods”, but these nutrient dense foods pack a punch for their small volume. Try goji berries or check out your spice cabinet for cinnamon, ginger, garlic, and turmeric.

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11. Explore the world of nut and seed milk – the possibilities are endless (and delicious!). Macadamia milk is my favorite.

12. Limit sugars: processed and refined sugars of any kind and be moderate with the use of natural sugars such as those found in fruit, maple syrup, honey, dates, etc.

13. Focus on balance: balance each meal with plenty of fibrous vegetables, healthful fats, proteins, and complex carbohydrates.

YOU GOT THIS

I hope this post was helpful in building your foundation of a whole foods lifestyle or was a good refresher! If it seems like a lot, my suggestion is to take one or two steps to implement at one time. For example, you can start by improving any sources of animal protein and trying out eating mindfully. And if you need more support with living a healthy lifestyle and a whole foods diet book a free nutrition consultation.

By: Carol Aguirre MS, RD/LDN