What do you think when you hear the words wholefood, wholesome and refined sugar free? Those aware of these concepts are likely to love and swear by the lifestyle that these words connote, but for many people they scream no flavour, boring, diet and expensive.
I want to enlighten you and let you know that this isn’t the case.
When we feed our bodies the right food, our systems work more effectively and more efficiently. Eating wholesome food has shown to dramatically reduce symptoms in a number of diseases such as diabetes, coronary heart disease and cancer (to name a few), and on a less drastic scale, provide a number of benefits including; better sleep, increased energy levels, increased academic and work output, increased athletic output, increased libido, decreases in aches and pains and improved digestion, eye sight and hearing. And that’s just naming a few!
When we say wholefood, we mean eating things that our body appreciates, foods that are good quality, fresh and unprocessed. Marshmallows and ice cream (although good for the soul) aren't what you'd call wholesome, but fruits and vegetables are. The majority of foods found in a packet or jar have a number of additives, preservatives, sugar and other harmful ingredients. I recommend always reading the label – you’ll be surprised at the foods you think won’t have any additives that actually do contain them.
Now this doesn’t mean you’re left with nothing to eat….as you can learn to find alternatives and keep processed foods to a minimum. I don’t believe processed foods are bad for us in moderation, but if they’re consumed excessively they can carry some nasty side effects and lead to impaired health, feelings of sluggishness and weight-gain.
Eating wholefoods doesn’t mean you need to diet, starve yourself with calorie restrictions or only shop at the organic health store. It leaves plenty of options with things like meats, poultry, fish, eggs, fruits and vegetables, healthy fats from coconut, avocado, olive oil, nuts and seeds, full fat butter, milk and yoghurt and natural sugars such as honey and pure maple syrup.
Although this seems plain and simple, you can be creative using lots of herbs and spices. You can also make delicious clean treats; baking made with wholefood ingredients – who knew chocolate and peanut butter cheesecake could be good for you?
The best thing about clean treats –you’re not missing out on all those delicious things you crave, with the added bonus of eating something with much more nutritional substance. If this sounds a little scary, you can start by substituting the sugar in a recipe and work to replace the flour. Over time your taste buds will change and you’ll even start to find sugary things too sweet (crazy right?).
I believe that food is one of life’s greatest pleasures, so in times of celebration like Christmas and birthdays, there should be cake and five different types of puddings. You should never categorise certain food as an absolute no-go (as this can create unhealthy relationships with food), but instead think of them as a “sometimes” food.
I think that people need to eat according to their own health, needs, goals, lifestyle, ability, access and passions. Of course this will be different for everyone, as it should be; we’re different people, with different bodies doing different things.
I myself have particular health implications which force me to eat a restricted diet. If I eat something my body disagrees with, I pay the price pretty quickly (and usually regret it)! Luckily, the better I look after myself, the better my body treats me. By eating wholesome, you too can be rewarded for living a healthier lifestyle and fueling your body with the good stuff.
The best part...you don’t have to miss out on anything; clean nachos, pizza, bread and
ice cream are just a few of your options.
One of my favourite recipes that is sure to impress everyone is raw brownie balls.
½ cup of cashew nuts
½ cup of walnuts
½ cup of hazelnuts
1 cup of dates (soaked in boiling hot water for 10 minutes and drained)
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
1/3 cup of cacao/cocoa powder
Blend nuts in food processor (not too fine).
Add dates and cacao/cocoa powder.
Roll in to small balls and leave in refrigerator to set (this will take 2-3 hours).
Keep in an air tight container in the fridge.
To find out more about whole food cooking and eating, visit Embracing it.