Processed foods are very pleasing to the taste buds, so why on earth would someone want to give it up for whole foods? All right I get it, it’s widely known that we should eat whole foods, but not enough reason is presented to motivate people to actually want to make these changes in their diet. It must be stated, that if you’re seeking to live a healthy quality life, eating a diet that neglects whole foods will hurt you more than is often imagined.
Mostly everyone wants to be a success; in some cases the best at what they do, for this energy is needed. In this particular instance we are talking about physical energy. Physical energy is executed through the medium of the body structure. Now away with the obvious; where is this energy fostered? The simple answer is through the fuel it is given. That fuel is food of course! Consumption of food is essential to life, but what is also essential; and often forgotten, is the composition of the food.
Whole foods unlike processed foods have not been fully denatured, and broken down. Therefore in most cases the nutrients are still intact. When food is cooked it begins to oxidize; this is the reason an apple turns brown after it is sliced. Through the oxidation process foods lose nutrients. So when the apple pie is finally ready to be served. Sure it looks like and apple, and tastes like an apple. But the nutritional composition is far from where it started, let alone all of the added ingredients. A box of cereal taken off the shelf may have upwards to fifteen different ingredients in them. Many of these ingredients are to preserve freshness. Not preserve nutrients. Many of these man-made ingredients result in indigestion, bloating, and overeating. Sure they taste great, but they are devoid of all nutrients.
Our bodies are not concerned about the taste of things. Taste is mental. It is concerned about the nutritional composition. With many of these processed foods being low in natural fiber, and low in organic nutrients, fulfilling nourishment is oftentimes not readily reached; so more food has to be consumed to satisfy the nutritional requirements; leading to overeating in some instances. All of this overeating, faulty digestion, etc., can only last for so long, eventually it takes a toll on our system, and illness develops.
Processed foods are incredibly taxing on our system. Ever notice after the consumption of processed foods there is an increased tiredness. If we are tired, and indigested how effective are we going to be in executing our tasks? Scientist have found that regular consumption of whole foods leads to better sleep. It is said to affect the nervous system, triggering a hormone that enables deeper sleep. Better sleep, more alertness, and the freedom from internal bodily discomfort are great forces to nurture that physical energy needed for success.
We are apart of a society that values appearance. Now, I am in no way endorsing this fixation; but it is nice to feel good about appearance, and oftentimes it can be a boost in confidence. Through a consumption of whole foods, weight tends to be stable and more favorable. Skin oftentimes appears vibrant, clear, and glowing. Many self-report cases of acne significantly disappear or even completely disappear. Hair tends to grow faster, and more full. It starts from the inside out. If you fall and scrap your knee, whole foods wouldn’t prevent a scar, but it will heal it better, and with less scar tissue. A personal observation is that the whites in the eyes tend to be significantly whiter in people who consume a diet of mostly whole foods. The whites of the eyes tend to be an indication of liver health. When we are giving our body abundance from within, it displays beauty outward.
Mood/mental energy correlates to food consumption as well. Studies have found that certain nutrients increase serotonin levels. Serotonin is the hormone that affects happiness, amongst other things. When happy, fewer conditions to foster negativity come up, then preventing the likelihood of the occurrence of situations triggering negative energies. When mental energy is up, feelings of confidence tend to be higher and then the inclination to perform an act; possibly one that will produce success; is more likely. Better moods tend to attract more people. Attracting people in our lives satisfies our basic need for companionship, and possibly enhance our self-concept as well.
Common complaints are that whole foods are too expensive. In the whole scheme of things, that statement lacks validity. The cost of spending an extra buck or two on some fruits or vegetables versus a loaf of bread, and two cans of beans is miniscule compared to the price of a hospital co-pay you may have to pay on hospital bills for illnesses that could have been prevented from a dietary lifestyle consisting of mostly whole foods. For one, take a look at price vs. nutrient density? You buy a bag of apple, vs. a box of cereal. The bag of apples has significantly more vitamins, and it contains phytonutrients, unlike the box of cereal that consists of minute amounts of organic nutrients, a decent amount of fortified nutrients, and zero phytonutrients. Is it worth it? What ever happened to quality over quantity?
Some may argue yes whole foods are great but everything in moderation. Yes sure this is true. However, consistent consumption of heavily processed foods amidst a whole food consumption takes significant discipline. It must be remembered that processed foods tend to contain ingredients that are highly addictive like sugars, and caffeine. These substances are causing a hormonal effect. They are signaling to the brain that what is being consumed is pleasurable, combined with the lack of nourishment in those foods, it is much easier to over-consume. So consumption of “moderate” amounts may be hard to abstain from. Instead, consume very minimally processed foods with a whole foods diet, and every now an then, if you so please, indulge in that heavily processed item, just not on a regular basis.
Nutrition has much of a bigger impact than some can imagine. “You are what you eat”, isn’t just an old folk saying. Like farmer, Joel Salatin said in the documentary, Food Inc., “we have become so ignorant to something so intimate as the food we eat.” Decide whether to control, or be controlled, food is intense, we have to have it, if there is anything we have more in common it’s our biological needs. Begin shifting your diet. Less ingredients equates to more nutrients, so make better choices, otherwise endure mediocrity and happily accept the consequences.
What is blocking you from eating a whole food diet? What motivation would you need in order to revamp your lifestyle to a whole foods diet? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.
Alexaray Taylor (Guest Contributor)
Alexaray Taylor is a student of psychology; passionate about her field. She enjoys meditation, nature, and learning about others. Her philosophy is to “experience fully”.