Health Starts with Nutrition

An assortment of green vegetables

The more we learn about nutrition, the more it seems that we should eat the way humans ate long ago, certainly before processed foods became the norm. Research overwhelmingly supports that we should be eating whole foods, and avoiding processed foods for optimal health. Some people wonder what are the exact definitions of whole foods and processed foods, so we will spell it out here. Whole foods are foods that come from nature, not a factory. They are foods that are as close to their original and natural form as possible, without being changed or manipulated. Think a whole stalk of asparagus, a raw clove of garlic, a whole sweet potato, a head of lettuce, a whole wild caught salmon, a whole egg (arguably raised eating their natural diet in an organic fashion, foraging greens, seeds and grubs/insects, not being fed gmo corn or soy or processed feed) or the like. Processed foods are pretty much anything that comes in a box, bag or can, and have undergone mechanical or chemical processing or manipulation typically in a factory. Processing foods causes them to loose a lot of their original nutrients, which is why some processed food makers fortify their foods, adding back in synthetic forms of vitamins that are stripped from the food during processing. Processed foods are typically higher in refined sugar, bleached flour and processed unhealthy oils/fats, and often contain genetically modified ingredients, and the related herbicides and fungicides and pesticides used in growing and processing those foods, as well as added chemicals, taste enhancers, and preservatives to allow them to withstand a long shelf life. All in all food that doesn’t spoil or takes a long time to spoil, should be thought of with suspicion. Whole foods are best eaten fresh and they spoil if left too long without consuming, as a general rule.

Removing certain foods can contribute to improved health and healing

Many individuals experiencing a wide variety of mental and physical health ailments improve dramatically when removing certain foods from their diets. Common foods included in an elimination diet include gluten, dairy, soy, sugar, eggs, nuts, fish, shellfish, fish, corn, tree nuts, peanuts and the like. In general you remove targeted foods from your diet for a period of time and then reintroduce each food one at a time and eat that food in significant quantity and track how you feel having that food out of your diet or in. Symptoms to be aware of in this process are energy levels, bloating, happiness and mood, sleep quality, rashes and quality of bowel movements. Changes in these symptoms can give you a clue as to whether you or your child are tolerating different foods. In general, when avoiding one food try to replace it with whole food alternatives, rather than processed food look-alikes. Most people eating diets eliminating certain foods find that they actually eat healthier, more whole food diets, due to the fact than many foods that people react to or don’t feel as well eating, are ingredients commonly used in processed foods, such as gluten, dairy, soy, corn and sugar.