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Choose Whole Foods For Optimal Health

What type of food we choose to fuel our bodies is one of the most crucial health choices we make.  Eating a diet based on whole foods is one very easy principle that anybody can incorporate into their regular dietary choices.

Whole Foods are foods as they are found in nature with flavor and ingredients that nature intended.  There are no artificial flavors, colors, or chemicals.  Whole foods are minimally processed and provide more natural ingredients such as vitamins, minerals and fiber.  Organically grown whole foods are free of chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides.  Organic food is also more flavorful and more nutrient dense than commercially grown food.  Whole foods are regular, ordinary foods and include the following:

Fruits and Vegetables- They are most flavorful and nutritious when eaten in season and should be eaten with every meal.  Choose locally grown organic produce in a variety of colors.

Grains- Whole grains contain more natural vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber than refined, processed grains.  Eat a wide variety of grains and avoid “white” processed grains.  Some sources are quinoa, millet, barley, buckwheat, wheat, and rye.

Legumes- Legumes are a good source of protein and fiber. Legumes are inexpensive, very nutritious, and are a great protein and fiber source for weight loss.  Sources are beans and peas.

Seafood- Seafood is a good source of protein with various vitamins and minerals.  Some seafood such as wild Alaskan salmon contains heart protective and anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.

Meat/Poultry/Eggs/Dairy- Animal food sources provide us with protein and calcium and are healthiest when the animals have not been treated with antibiotics and added hormones and toxins.  Whenever possible buy grass-fed meat from your local farmer.

Oils- Butter, coconut oil, olive, and grapeseed oils are great for sautéing foods. Sesame oil and olive oil can be added after food has been cooked or in salad dressings.  Beneficial omega-3 fatty acids are found in flax oil, hemp oil, and walnut oil, but this oil must not be heated. Trans-fats including partially hydrogenated oils, canola oil, margarine, Crisco, vegetable oil, and corn oil are not the best choices to eat.

Seasonings- Seasonings such as herbs, spices, garlic, ginger, lemon and lime enhance and add flavor to food. Avoid artificial seasonings, flavorings, and food additives.

Sweeteners- Refined white sugar can be substituted with agave nectar, brown rice syrup, date sugar, dried cane juice, fruit juice concentrate, honey, molasses, pure maple syrup, and stevia.

Making these simple changes will create a huge benefit in your health and vitality.

Kristine Battey is a licensed physical therapist, a certified athletic trainer, a certified strength and conditioning specialist (personal trainer) and a holistic nutrition and  lifestyle coach.  She owns Divine Health & Fitness, www.divinehf.com, and can be reached at (208) 946-7072.

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