Stay Away From Fake Food

I considered having this week’s challenge be to eat only “whole foods” for the entire week but I thought this goal might be out of reach for many of you. So instead I want to challenge you to do your best this week to eat as many whole foods and as little processed foods as possible.

To earn the 35 bonus points for this week you must go at least one full day eating ONLY whole foods. And you must also make a good effort the rest of the week to substitute several of the processed foods you normally eat with real, whole foods.

On your “whole foods” day you should eat only  :

1  Whole foods that are more a product of nature than a product of industry
2  Lots of fruits and vegetables
3  Dairy products like milk, unsweetened yogurt, eggs, butter  and cheese
4  100% whole-wheat and whole-grains fresh bakery or home baked rather than packaged and preserved
5  Seafood(wild caught is the optimal choice over farm-raised)
6  Meatssuch as pork, beef, and chicken (preferably in moderation)- local and grass fed is best
7  Beverages limited to water, milk , all natural juices, naturally sweetened only
8  Snacks like dried fruit, seeds, nuts and popcorn
9  All natural sweeteners including honey, 100% maple syrup, and fruit juice concentrates are acceptable in moderation

What you CANNOT eat:
1  No refined grains such as white flour or white rice (items containing wheat must say WHOLE wheat…not just “wheat”)
2  No refined sweeteners such as sugar, any form of corn syrup, cane juice, or the artificial stuff like Splenda
3  Nothing out of a box, can, bag, bottle or package that has more than 5 ingredientslisted on the label
4  No deep fried foods
5  No “fast foods”
How to Avoid Processed Food in General
1  Read the ingredients label before buying anything. I am sure you have all checked out food labels but have probably mostly looked for fat grams, calorie count and sugar content. While this is important, the best indicator of how highly processed a food is can actually be found in the list of ingredients. If what you are buying contains more than 5 ingredients and includes a lot of unfamiliar, unpronounceable items you may want to reconsider before buying or eating.
2  Increase your consumption of whole foods especially vegetables and fruits. This will help to displace the processed foods in your diet, and will actually make your food selections in general very simple. It is wonderful when your main concern becomes selecting whole foods that are more a product of nature than a product of industry.
3  Buy your bread from a local bakery. Perhaps you’ve made the step up from white bread and you have been buying whole-wheat bread from the grocery store. Yikes- check out the ingredients list. Many grocery store wheat breads list 40 different itemson the list. Isn’t it time for a change? Why would there be so many on the list if it only takes a handful of ingredients to make bread? For those of you in Utah I highly recommend Great Harvest Bread Company. Not only do they grind their own wheat every morning, but their honey whole-wheat loaf only has five ingredients – whole-wheat flour, water, yeast, salt and honey. For those of you without a good source of wholesome whole grain bread with only “real” ingredients it might be time to start baking your own
4  In addition to your bread choice, when selecting foods like pastas, cereals, rice, and crackers always go for the whole-grain option. And don’t just believe the health claims on the outside of the box.  Read the ingredients to make sure the product is truly made with only 100% whole grains – not a combination of whole grains and refined grains which is unfortunately how a lot of “Wheat” products are made. The white flour or other refined grain alternative is simply high in calories and low in nutrition.
5  Avoid store-bought products containing high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and those “that have some form of sugar (or sweetener) listed among the top three ingredients” according to Michael Pollan. Despite the mixed research on if HFCS is really worse for you than good ol’ white sugar, it just happens to be “a reliable marker for a food product that has been highly processed”.
6  Visit your local farmers’ market the next time you need to restock your fridge. According to Michael Pollan not only will you find “food that is in season, which is usually when it is most nutritious”, but you will also find a selection of pesticide-free produce and properly fed meat products. It is also better for our environment to purchase locally grown products as opposed to the supermarket produce, which travels on average 1500 miles from the farm to your plate.
Lastly, to once again quote Michael Pollan, he says to “eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.” If you had to peel, chop and deep fry potatoes every time you wanted French fries then you might not eat them very often. And if you had to buy rock salt and real cream to churn your own ice-cream every time you wanted to enjoy it you’d probably eat it way less often. Only eating “junk food” such as cakes, sweets, and fried foods as often as you are willing to make them yourself from scratch will automatically ensure the frequency is appropriate.

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