Whole Food for a Day Challenge

what’s become obvious is that our western diseases (obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer) are indeed linked to our western diets. one thing that has stuck with me is something from the book in defense of food. he talks about studying indigenous people who eat from the land. some are eating massive diets of fatty fish, some chickens, some mostly veggies. the point is it’s not the macro-nutrient percentages (carb, fat, protein) as much as it’s the quality of food. they eat zero processed foods and therefore do not suffer our alarming rates above mentioned diseases.

generally speaking the closer a food is to it’s natural source the higher it’s nutrient content. i read incessantly about nutrition. being a coach and all i’m constantly asked questions about how to eat and what to eat. i am no expert but i’m opinionated.  i like michael pollan’s “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” i’m a firm believer in eating actual food.  that might sound obvious, but what most of us eat is not food.  it’s food stuff, created in a lab in new jersey by food scientists.  that box of food stuff you eat every morning is not food.. it’s most likely an attempt by the food companies to repackage the cheapest source of raw materials we produce… corn.

i have a coaching client who i’ve help lose 100 pounds. she has done a tremendous amount of studying and reading herself. we were talking about diet and i had recently done a day of eating just whole foods. my day sku’d to raw foods, but i gave her some leeway on how she prepared her meals.  she had lots of questions as to what could be eaten on her “whole foods day”.
so here it is. take one day. just one.whole. day.. and eat whole foods for 24hrs. here are the rules i’ve come up with.

  • eat whole foods
    the things you eat should have just one ingredient.  “If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t.”. 
  • eat foods that have not been processed
    the goal is to eat them as close to their natural state as possible
  • you can cook and combine these foods but keep it simple (that is up for interpretation).
    stir fry veggies in olive oil is fine. veggies, olive oil, all single ingredient products.
  • foods should not come in a box or bag
    if they do it’s a good sign they are processed. but if you must just make sure the ingredient list IS ONE THING.  this one thing must grow and die.  peanut butter for instance.  but make sure it’s just peanuts, no extra oil, sugar, or corn.  blueberries is another example here.
  • you can use spices to make things tasty but they must be singular items that grow and die. tumeric, garlic, paprika for example are all good.  ms. dash concoctions.. not so much.
  • eat organic
    buy only foods that are organically grown.  not sprayed with pesticides, shot with hormones or fed corn.  and please don’t give me the “it’s too expensive” bullshit.  what is more important than the investment in your health?  it’s what you are putting into your body to fuel your life…why on earth would you use inferior sources? did you know 50% of the antibiotics made in this country are given to our live stock! 50%!  you feed them an unnatural diet of corn and they get sick, then they need antibiotics.  if you are eating conventionally grown meat, you’re eating it too.

** the point of this is really to get you (and me) reacquainted with real food.  we have lost that connection with all the processed crap and rearranged corn in the middle of the grocery store. 

some examples of foods that are generally considered healthy but don’t cut it (remember it’s just one day, you can do this!):

  • walmart or costco chicken breast (read the ingredients, it’s not just chicken.  they often pump in 12 % natural chicken broth, added in an attempt to inject flavor and add weight)
  • yogurt (not even close and waaay too much added sugar (27 grams!)
  • bread (nope sorry)
  • cereal (as much as i dream of a puffin tree, they don’t actually exist. cereal is just processed corn.. and only because it’s cheap, not because it’s good for you)
  • milk (too pasteurized and processed)
  • craisins (cranberries and added sugar – no good.)

that’s it – i’m going to do this myself and write a blog on my day and how it went.  please comment on your thoughts and how the experience went for you.

oh and your homework is to watch the movie food inc. (it’s on netflix “instant watch”) and this TED Talk below by Mark Bittman on what’s wrong with what we eat. ~100 years ago; “hardly anything contained more than one ingredient, because it WAS an ingredient.”