Wholefood Blog Series: Part one – Experimenting with New Foods.
Introduction: Diet and Health – The Importance of Wholefoods
For many of us, the foods we eat are our biggest challenge to overall health. Our diet influences every aspect of our health from how much weight we carry, to how well we sleep, how strong our immune system is, how efficiently we function mentally and our likelihood of warding off lifestyle related disease.
Most of us have confused notions in regards to how to eat to nourish our bodies fully, and it’s easy to see how this is complicated by our surroundings. Unfortunately we live in a society that is saturated with ‘food-like products’. These are usually those items that come in packages. These foods are not fresh – in order to keep them looking and tasting good they often have had to go through a number of processes before reaching the consumer – processes from pre-cooking to dehydrating to extracting. Some foods go through multiple processes and each time they lose more of their original nutrients. Food manufacturers then add harmful preservatives, thickeners, artificial or ‘natural’ colours and flavours or even bleach certain foods to give these food products the texture, flavour and look that we find appealing. Manufacturers often also add nutrients back into the food to make them appear more nutritious but these nutrients do not usually act or are absorbed in the body in the same way that they would if we consumed them in the context of their natural whole food source.
The dominance of processed foods in our society has been linked to the obesity pandemic and a multitude of other life threatening diseases. Most of us know that it would be far healthier to eat a fresh fruit picked right off the tree over a piece of fruit that has sat in a can for a year and is coated in syrup. So why do we keep consuming so many processed products such as refined grains, bleached white bread, packaged cereals, instant noodles, condiments, chips, lollies and ice-cream?
Often this is because we are stuck in patterns of eating the same foods we grew up eating, we lack a support system, or we just have no idea how to change.
The Wholefood Blog Series Mini Challenges
The wholefood blog series are actually a series of ‘mini challenges’ that are for everyone, to start at any time, no matter what your diet currently looks like. All we ask is that you try the mini challenge for just one week.
These challenges will:
*Ease you into improving your diet by incorporating more wholefoods
*Show you how to use unfamiliar foods and inspire variety for those you already use
*Aid you in making small improvements to an already predominantly wholefoods diet
*Leave you feeling great and maybe even help you lose weight, gain more energy and glow from the inside out!
So what are wholefoods?
Wholefoods are foods that have been processed or refined as little as possible and are free from additives or other artificial substances.
There are various levels in which we can apply the term ‘wholefoods’. At the most extreme level we can ask how similar an item of food looks like to the plant/animal it was from. For example, pasta doesn’t look anything like what wheat looks like when it is harvested, but vegetables and fruits usually do.
Sometimes, however, it makes more sense to have less processed foods such as wholegrain pasta or wholegrain bread than to try to live on a restricted diet if you do not have a wide range of wholefoods available to you. The aim of these challenges is simply to get you eating less processed foods overall, not to eat 100% purely unprocessed all the time.
To get started:
1. Check out our Essential Wholefood Items for the Pantry and Fridge blogs which will help get you stocked up.
2. Read the mini challenge below.
3. Look out for future blog posts in this series which we will be revealing over the next few months.
Experimenting with New Foods
Mini Challenge: Try A New Food Every Day
We are starting off with a fun and easy one which is designed to remind you how vast and impressive wholefoods can be. Often, the reason it’s so hard for us to stop having our favourite packaged foods is because we like the taste and feel like we are missing out if we don’t have them. With this challenge you will see you are doing the exact opposite of missing out – there is so much variety out there if you are willing to try some new things.
It doesn’t have to be something super expensive, or even something that you plan to use again – the whole idea is to just experiment with variety and prove to yourself that there are so many wonderful wholefoods out there to try.
*Revisit The Essential Wholefoods Pantry Blog and The Essential Wholefoods for the Fridge Blog and see if there are any foods there you have not tried before.
*Peruse google for some recipe ideas for unfamiliar foods.
*Check out the table below for some ideas of foods you may not be very familiar with.
|Vegetables||Fruits||Grains||Legumes||Dried Fruit/nuts Seeds||Others|
|Spaghetti Squash (a great pasta replacement!)||Dragon fruit||Quinoa||Black beans||Sachi seeds||Wholefood powders such as: maca, lucuma, mesquite|
|Okra||Lychee||Millet||Bulga lentils||Goji berries||Raw fermented foods eg. kombucha, sauerkraut, kim chi|
|Chocko||Mangosteen||Amaranth||Split yellow peas||Inca/golden berries|
|Different types of greens e.g. Chinese greens, kale, different sporuts||White Sapote||Freekeh||Mung dal||Chia seeds|
|Sea vegetables such as dulse, kelp noodles||Chocolate sapote
(chocolate pudding fruit!)
|Bulgar||Aduki beans||Flax seeds/meal|
|White Papaya (use for savoury food)||Red rice, black rice, wild rice||Other types of legumes||Hemp Seeds (where legal)|
*Try some of these quick tips:
– Add new fruits to smoothies, yogurt, or in salads – or eat on their own!
– Add different wholefood powders to smoothies or blend with yogurt or milk
– Try new vegetables in a stir fry, baked in the oven, or lightly steamed
– Try different grains where you would normally have pasta or rice, or try making porridge out of them
Let us know if you have any questions about part one of the wholefood blog series – part 2 coming soon!