What Are Whole foods
Whole foods are foods that are eaten in their natural state and are unprocessed and unrefined.
They do not contain any additives, like, preservatives, chemicals, salt, sugar or fat.
Usually, the term whole foods mainly refers to vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, but, protein can be whole as long as it does not include any processing, for example, a plain chicken breast versus chicken nuggets, or grilled fish versus fish sticks.
The term whole foods should not be confused with organic, because while whole foods can be organic, they are not automatically so.
Processing typically removes all the vital nutrients from foods that they had in their original whole state and so they do not contribute to overall health and wellness as they would had they been eaten in their whole state.
A good example of this is white bread, rice, pasta and other refined grain foods. In processing the components of the whole grain that contain its most valuable nutrients, specifically fiber, are eliminated in milling when the bran and the coat of the grain are removed.
Another important distinction is the fact that processing also adds unnecessary ingredients, like, sugar and fat.
What Is The Difference Between Nutrient-Dense And Energy-Dense Foods?
Nutrient dense foods provide vital nutrition the body needs, like vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants without added sugar and fat, while energy dense foods are high in empty calories that provide little or no nutrition.
Ideally a whole food is one ingredient, for example, an apple, chicken breast, baked sweet potato wedges, cucumber, steel cut oatmeal.
While we may cook and combine these ingredients to make a multi ingredient dish, the foods themselves maintain their whole integrity because they are not altered.
Example: A grilled chicken breast eaten with baked sweet potato wedges on the side is a whole food meal, but, a fried chicken breast with a side of French fries is a processed meal.
Another Example: A baked potato is a whole food, potato chips is a processed food.
What Is Clean Eating?
Clean eating is a term that refers to maintaining a diet that is exclusively comprised of whole foods.
When you eat clean your diet is filled with foods eaten in their natural state without added fats, sugars, high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, artificial flavors, colors, textures or any other chemicals.
Eating clean also means avoiding fake foods or those chemically created foods that have no real food in them, Twinkies are one good example, as are Pop Tarts.
What Is Food Processing?
In the times of early man and in fact before the industrial revolution processed foods did not exist. There were no aisles filled with Twinkies, apple pies or cookies. There were no drive-throughs where one can get French fries, chicken nuggets and chili cheese fries.
All food was obtained from natural sources, like the earth and hunting and the human diet was comprised of meat, fruit and vegetables, all eaten in their natural state, many times cooked over an open flame or an early version of the modern stove or oven which ran on wood.
While some processing is still involved in all foods we eat, unless we stick with a completely 100% raw food diet, for example, cooking is a form of processing or grinding steak into hamburger, that is not the definition of processing we refer to here.
There is an inherent difference between mechanical and chemical processing.
Chemical processing means that food has been altered from its original state and then becomes refined with additives, preservatives and other ingredients that make it highly processed and turn a one ingredient food item into a 3, 4 or more ingredient dish.
Refined is another term used for highly processed food.
An apple is a whole food, apple pie is not.
The Wholefood Lifestyle, Clean Eating Series
- YOU ARE HERE: Boost Your Health To New Heights – Clean Eating, Part 1
- What Are Processed Foods? – Clean Eating, Part 2