Whole Foods vs Processed Foods

   I think sometimes we tend to overcomplicate things. We see all these different diets and we start to panic when we think ours isn't good enough. We watch shows like the Biggest Loser and get discouraged when we see these television personalities loosing 20- 30lbs in a week. We read about different fitness programs and wonder, why am I not doing that? I want to tell you all a secret. We all have different fitness levels, fitness goals and fitness attributes. But at its core, fitness is simply an extension of our health. Our health is the single greatest attribute we posses as human beings. That is why health insurance costs so much. It is why drug prescriptions are so expensive. Health is the abundance of our society. And lack of it is our destruction.
   Our personal health has no premium, no deductible, no copay. It is tax free, labor ready, and self regulated. But it requires awareness, the cultivation of good habits (we call this discipline). And yes a little bit of effort. It is our greatest asset as human beings and therefore can not afford to be abused.
   Fitness is not a luxury as some would propose. To the contrary, fitness is health management. It is a necessity. Fitness is not bikini model fashion. It is not Male Revue lava. Fitness is a personal choice to take control of your health. That being said let us focus on the basic element for our health, that being food.
   There are only two types of foods. For all the talk about saturated this, mono saturated that, triglycerides here, carbohydrates there; is whole wheat good or bad, as they say in Seinfeld (which by the way happens to be one of my favorite shows) yadayadayada. There are only two types of food that matter here; for this blog. They are whole foods and processed foods. Let's be clear, none of us eat processed or whole foods 100% of the time. That is not the goal here in either direction. Making the distinction will more clearly highlight where the danger lies as your health is concerned.
   I will make it simple for you; as I once read from a fellow fitness expert: processed foods are whatever foods you see playing in commercials on your television. Whole foods are whatever you are able to grow directly from the earth or can attributed directly from an animal. The key word in that last phrase is "directly" indirectly would mean fillers, and homogenized foods, ie the reason that turkey breast on the right is cheaper than the one on the left is because the one on the right is a turkey with pork homogenization. Be wary of ingredients and nutrition labels including things like monosodium glutamate (MSG), flavors, preservatives, hydrogenated oil, fillers, and artificial sweeteners.
   The cancer epidemic is a direct result of the mutated foods we have decided to put in our bodies. They are full of radiation, steroids, chemicals and preservatives. The less processed foods you eat, replaced with whole foods, the healthier your body will be because a natural body processes natural foods efficiently. It means more nutrients thus more sustenance.
   There are essentially four nutrients your body needs for sustenance: water, carbohydrates, fat, and protein. These are essential to proper health and health management. Why are these nutrients important? Follow our brief review: Carbohydrates are essentially glucose deposited into your bloodstream that you body interprets as energy. Natural or complex carbohydrates are found mostly in plants such as fruits, vegetables, grains, oats and beans. They are converted into glucose providing energy for the body’s cells, the brain, and red blood cells, or stored for future use in the liver, or in body fat.
   The difference between simple and complex carbs is found here: simple carbs are primarily stored in body fat. This lack of use simply creates more body fat. The growth of glucose in your fat cells creates a need and you begin to crave more simple carbs the more glucose your fat cells store. And so the cancerous cells grow in your body long before doctors are able to tell you they are there.    
   Fats are the most concentrated source of body energy. Recently, too much negative attention has been focused upon fats. Fats are not an enemy and are needed throughout life to support growth and provide energy. Unfortunately, consuming excessive amounts of fat can contribute to many  problems such as high cholesterol and elevated heart rate.
  Proteins are the building blocks making up body tissues, muscles, skin, and organs. When consumed, protein is broken down into amino acids providing the body with energy for various vital functions. Examples of good sources include meat, fish, eggs, beans, nuts, and seeds. Understand that the majority of health problems arise when you consume too much or too little of any nutrients. That is why a balanced diet (which we will get into next article) is so important. Consume a variety of foods to ensure you get a mix of nutrients. In summary, for a healthy well balanced diet make it a habit to choose unrefined whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, peas, beans, and whole-grains.
   Until next time be sure to subscribe to our blog and receive free article updates. Encourage your friends to come here for their daily wellness fix.