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Why Eat Wholefoods?

29‐06‐16

There’s wholefood grocers popping around you and more and more people are talking about wholefoods. What exactly do we mean by wholefoods and why should we eat them?

Industrial Food

Big food companies have been messing with our food more and more over the past 30-40 years. This was back in the day when we were told that fat was bad. So industrial food manufacturers set about removing all the fat from our everyday products in the belief this was good for us and would help us lose weight. In the place of fat, they added heavily processed, often artificial ingredients, along with sugar and other cheap fillers. A fat lot of good this did for us, as we as a society got fatter and fatter!

At the same time, these industrial food businesses were seeking to fatten their profit margins. They achieved this by adding the cheapest processed ingredients they could find to all sorts of processed foods. Voila, this lead to big corporate profits!

Sugar was one of those incredibly cheap ingredients, and given it just happened to be addictive as well, it was a big win for the food companies as they had cheap products that we couldn’t help but keep going back to buy. Its somewhat reminiscent of the tobacco scandals…

What are Wholefoods?

fresh vegetablesWholefoods are natural foods that are found in their natural state, or at least very close to it. Things like fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds, fresh meats and seafood. We’re certainly not talking about things like corn flakes, pop tarts and kraft singles cheese! Whilst some of these things may have started with a natural ingredient, the heavy processing and numerous additives used, render these foods far from whole and natural.

The belief in wholefoods relies on trusting that Mother Nature knows best. Given that Mother Nature has nurtured as a species for hundreds of thousands of years, it would be absolute madness to think otherwise.

With this thinking, we can draw parallels with Primal and Paleo principles of eating how our ancestors ate. But the difference is that with wholefoods we’re not being specific about certain food groups that are considered off limits in the Paleo world, such as dairy and legumes.

Are Fermented, Dried and Cooked Foods OK?

Eating wholefoods does not rule out the simple processing methods of fermenting, drying and cooking. These processes can in fact be beneficial. For example, fermentation creates beneficial bacteria that are incredibly heatlh for us to consume. Cooking generally makes foods more digestible, although it can lead to a loss of nutrients. In some particular circumstances however, such as in cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, kale and cauliflower, cooking can deactivate potentially damaging compounds.

Why Avoid Industrial Foods?

What is important in eating wholefoods is to avoid heavy processing. With these types of foods, the end product is so far removed from its original ingredients. So much so that the end product will lose virtually all of its goodness along the way, regardless of what the nutrition panel tells you.

industrial foodThe manufacturing processes employed by these big food companies are numerous and extensive. Processes such as sanitizing, bleaching, boiling, condensing, evaporating, spray-drying, ultra-filtration, blending and emulsifying.  There’s lots more, and this doesn’t even touch on pre-manufacturing steps that may include genetic engineering and irradiation.

At the end of the day, industrial processes give manufacturers the opportunity to add flavours, colours, sweeteners and fillers, and ultimately the opportunity to mess with the natural structure of a food. As a result, the nutrition is heavily compromised, all for the sake of obtaining an attractive, easily transportable, shelf-stable product that delivers superior profits to the manufacturer. Is this what we want from our food?

Mother Nature Knows Best!

It stands to reason that wholefoods with minimal processing, will be far better for us. Being full of Mother Nature's goodness, and without the fillers, flavours and other additives, who could argue with that!

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