Whole Foods

Whole Foods

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Apr 03, 2023 • 5 min read
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The pace of modern life has changed what and how we eat. Highly processed food has become prevalent, and by relying on it daily, we may need to remember how good it feels when we eat right. We risk mood and energy fluctuations, concentration issues, weight gain, and even diseases becoming the new normal. Although highly processed foods contain macronutrients, which are carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, they lack many essential micronutrients, such as vitamins and minerals.

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.

— Hippocrates
Rupert is what Rupert eats. Literally.

To make better food choices in the future, we need to understand where our current ones come from. What is on our plates has been shaped by the environment we have been living in. While they contain much wisdom, these choices do not necessarily reflect the most recent scientific research. However, even science can be confusing; look at all the recent suggestions: eat meat, do not eat meat, eat more carbs, eat more protein, eat once a day, eat only within eight hours a day, or even do not eat at all. What should we do now?

We do not need to become nutritional specialists to eat well. We can take a shortcut by mimicking the lifestyle of blue zone inhabitants introduced in the previous lesson. Their diet is characterized by choosing more whole foods and eating less.

Whole foods are food you still recognize as something that exists in nature.


The benefits of eating whole foods and eating less are endless. Name a health benefit, and there is likely to be supportive research that demonstrates how nutrition helps.

Action steps

Here are three ways you can leverage food to impact your body and mind positively:

  1. Choose whole foods over highly processed foods. Look for ways to make healthy choices more accessible, such as learning new recipes that do not process food much (or at all).
  2. Eat until you are no longer hungry, not until you are full. When you eat quickly, your body cannot signal in time when you are no longer hungry. By eating more slowly and chewing more, you can stop before overeating. Chewing helps digestion and absorption of nutrients, widens airways, moves jaws into alignment, and increases facial bone mass.
  3. Occasionally, skip a meal. Fasting, even for a short period, can stimulate restorative processes in the body that would otherwise not start (or at least not be as intense) if you were eating constantly. Skipping a meal once in a while will not cause malnutrition.

When implementing changes in diet, striving for perfection is not the objective; moderation is. The body is cleansing itself around the clock and knows how to deal with the food you enjoy but do not need. The problem begins when you overload your system and the toxins accumulate in your body. Eating whole or minimally processed foods is beneficial; however, an occasional exception will not hurt.

Rupert is not trying to eat perfectly.

Practical tips

The following summarizes well-researched suggestions that can positively impact our health. These are not rules to mindlessly follow but ideas to experiment with and see how we feel.

Reduce sugar 🍬

Reducing foods with sugar can be challenging because it is highly addictive. Ask the rats: In one study, they preferred the instant sweetness of sugar to the rewards given by cocaine. Most sugars spike our blood glucose and contribute to toxicity in the body. Ironically, sugar substitutes, as well as food coloring and taste-enhancing chemicals, are even worse.

On the contrary, foods that do not spike our blood glucose have a low glycemic index (GI). These foods provide us with more stable energy throughout the day, lowering the risk of major chronic diseases such as diabetes, coronary heart disease, and obesity. Foods with a low GI can even moderately improve glucose control when we already have diabetes, reducing inflammation and lowering the risk of certain types of cancer.

Here is a list of suggestions that can lead to a big difference:

  • Whole-grain bread instead of white bread
  • Brown or Basmati rice instead of white rice
  • Sweet potatoes instead of other potato types
  • More fruits and vegetables instead of cakes

Choose whole-grain (or no-grain) 🍞

Whole-grain foods contain essential nutrients that would otherwise be stripped away in the refined grain. These include fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They also help maintain steady levels of blood glucose, lower cholesterol, prevent the formation of small blood clots that can trigger a heart attack or stroke, and similarly help prevent certain types of cancer.

Omega 3 🥜

Choose foods containing fatty acids such as Omega-3. Omega-3 is the most essential brain nutrition. Natural, plant-based sources of Omega-3 are flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and soybeans. Go nuts!

Rupert is going nuts.

Choose seasonal food 🍓

Seasonal foods are excellent sources of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Antioxidants help the body eliminate free radicals that would otherwise damage healthy cells. Try to include as many colors on your plate as possible. No, colorful candies do not count.

Reduce meat or go no meat 🌱

Now, we have to discuss the elephant in the room. Did you know that elephants and gorillas are the strongest animals in the world? They are vegans. Plants contain all macronutrients and offer extra vitamins, minerals, fiber, and 64 times more antioxidants than meat. They can even reverse conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Making informed choices can help us get enough protein, iron, and vitamin B12 from plants without any of the risks associated with meat consumption.

Reduce or avoid dairy milk 🥛

There are no nutrients in dairy that cannot be found elsewhere. Many dairy products, especially cow's milk, also cause bloating or other significant digestive issues, and some plant-based milk alternatives are tasty.

Humans do not need dairy milk to get all of the nutrients needed in a healthy diet.

— Allison Childress, Chief Clinical Dietitian

Now or never

For the next two weeks, eat until you are no longer hungry, not until you are full. To stop at the right moment, eat slower and chew longer. Create a daily reminder.