Are "Whole Foods" All They're Cracked Up To Be?
If you’ve paid attention at all to current trends in healthy eating, you probably know that there’s been a lot of talk about whole foods and why they are better for you than some processed alternatives. The organic and whole foods movement has revolutionized the food industry in recent years, influencing the decisions we make about the food we put on our plates. So, as the movement to eat more consciously continues to take over, let’s take a look at some of the main reasons why we’re embracing whole foods.
We’re Sick (Because) of Processed Foods
Studies have shown that Americans have grown more obese and ill over the past few decades, in part because of our diets which tend to be full of added fats and sugars. Even products that are marketed as being “diet” or “healthy” can still be loaded with ingredients that no one can pronounce- and which may be downright harmful.
Yet, because scientists know the psychology behind why we want certain foods, many manufacturers have manipulated the so-called “flavor profile" of everyday food items to make them more addictive. For example, did you know that the same parts of the brain that light up when someone uses cocaine are activated by sugar as well? In hitting the pleasure centers of the brain, food corporations can keep us hooked and wanting more, all while we continue to pack on the pounds.
Whole Foods Taste Better
While corporate labs have been devising all sorts of ways to trick us into craving French fries or candy bars, there is still no replacement for the delightfully tart sweetness of an organic, sun-ripened peach or the satisfying and cool crunch of a cucumber. Once we wean our palates away from the overstimulating tastes of processed foods, real foods like fresh fruits, vegetables and lean meats in moderation start to taste a whole lot better. You may find yourself unable to make the switch back!
Naturally Good for You
Whole wheat grains, organic fruits and vegetables, and non-processed meats are all packed with the nutrients your body needs. Many nutritionists say that a diet which focuses on these foods while avoiding refined sugar and processed grains is higher in fiber, has plenty of cancer-fighting antioxidants, and will lower your chances of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes.
Local Whole Foods Are Better for the World
There was a time when most people ate locally grown whole food that. Now, most of the foods that you find at the supermarket are loaded with pesticides, full of preservatives and additives, and were likely flown halfway across the globe. The amount of gas it takes to ship our food is awful for the environment, and it results in food that is less fresh. However, even foods labeled as “organic” may still have travelled thousands of miles to reach your produce aisle.
When bought locally, such as from a CSA or farmer’s market, whole foods are not just better for you- they are also better for the planet. In reducing the amount of pesticides used and gas involved in transport, you can enjoy locally grown produce guilt-free and have the peace of mind of knowing that you’re supporting a more sustainable future.