Heal by Nourishing Your Cells
Your body’s cells depend on the food you eat to reproduce, repair, and thrive. Whole food makes ‘whole, healthy’ cells. Processed, refined package foods, and junk fast foods (think Supersize Me, a documentary movie on the ills of fast food eating & living) create cells that are degenerated, and less healthy than the original parents cell. A lifetime of non-whole food eating and your cells have progressively degenerated many, many, many times. This is degenerative disease.
Body cells make body tissues, which form body organs. The body organs form organ systems. All the organ systems together create an organism, YOU! Cellular biology depends 100% on the food you eat. Your tissues, organs, organ systems, YOU (the organism) can only be as healthy and whole as the foods you eat.
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 to balance and heal each and every body cell. 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 and to your body’s cells.
The effects of moving away from whole foods and towards refined, processed, and convenience foods are very prevalent in our society. The cancer, cardiovascular, 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 and healing each and every body cell. Whole, healed body cells equal a whole, healed body.
“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, “How close is this food to its natural, whole state?” This question 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.
Whole Food Eating Guide
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 as the veggies but raw is best, in my eyes. 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 nutrition.
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 & 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). Nuts & seeds are a good source of healthy fat; just remember to eat in moderation. 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 livestock – need I say more?
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 and should be eaten in moderation.
Getting healthy fat from whole foods means making choices like these:
- Sesame seeds or tahini over sesame oil
- Almonds or almond butter over almond oil
- Olives over olive oil
- Flax seeds over flax seed oil
- Avocados over avocado oil
- Soybeans/tofu/tempeh over soy oil
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 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!
FISH: Naturally raised and wild caught fish are the best health bets. Avoid fish raised in fish farms. Fish raised in farms are often fed unnatural diets and given antibiotics to combat diseases acquired from living in close quarters and unnatural conditions (much like factory farm raised animals). Fish are good sources of healthier fats if eaten in moderation.
PACKAGED FOODS: Every ingredient should be whole and natural. If not, put it back on the shelf and walk away with your cellular health intact. Planning your diets with these whole food principles in mind will create health, lifetime wellness and prevent lifestyle diseases.
REMEMBER: There is not one diet prescription that works for everyone. Individuals thrive on different percentages of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. 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.
*Image of “vegetables” via Shutterstock