March 16th, 2011 by Digestive Detective
Last night I was listening to my favorite podcast from Sean Croxton and Underground Wellness with featured author Zoe Harcomb. Sean and Zoe were discussing her new book The Obesity Epidemic and the current plight of nutritional habits in our country. The interview was fantastic as Zoe espoused facts and findings she discovered in her research for the book that dispel common nutritional myths. At one point they took callers and a very enthusiastic caller got on the line excitedly talking about his habits compared to his overweight friends and how he and his wife never ate anything that wasn’t actually food.
You might be asking yourself, "What did this guy mean by "not actually food." He was a scientist by occupation, and was describing how so many "foods" sold in stores are not even that - that they are essentially chemicals mixed together to make products sold under the guise of "food." He and his wife stuck to the simple rule: "If we don't know what it is or can't pronounce what's on the label, we don't eat it."
Zoe replied with an interesting experiment that she had witnessed where researchers went into a grocery store, approached shoppers with a small white tablet and asked them to eat it. Not surprisingly, the shoppers refused replying, "What's in it?" The researchers then asked if they could identify what was in the foods in their cart, many of which were processed with unidentifiable byproducts, additives and artificial ingredients. The point researchers were attempting to make was that you certainly wouldn't eat something which you had no idea of its contents such as with the white tablet, so why would you do the same with your own groceries?
The interaction on the podcast got me thinking and wondering how people choose to approach their meals; a simple question then came to mind: Do you eat naked? I eat naked all the time. Don't get too excited out there - when I say naked I mean void of processed foods and chemicals; natural and "naked," whole foods.
If there is one piece of nutrition advice I could give to everyone it would be to follow this one simple rule. Whenever making meals and eating, opt for whole foods, not boxed, packaged and processed products. Yes, these products are often more convenient and save time, but isn’t your body worth it to invest a few extra minutes into eating something that actually replenishes cells and nourishes you from within? After all, nutrition does just that - it literally supplies the nutrients for bodily processes and functions. The old adage is true - you really are what you eat. If you fill your body with unrecognizable chemicals you'll actually end up being malnourished. You'll begin to exhibit nutritional deficiencies in the form of many preventable conditions such as IBS, GERD, vitamin deficiencies and much more. Yes, eating this way can also be slightly more expensive, but again, it's your health we're talking about here. You only have one body so take care of it the best you can. Cut out coupons and look for other places you can cut your budget on things you really don't need - healthy food is something you will always need, and your body will thank you for it.
Here are some tips on how to eat naked:
1) Choose the following foods when shopping:
- fresh, raw or steamed vegetables
- nuts and seeds
- free-range and grass fed meats & poultry
- wild caught fish
- beans & legumes
- spices & herbs such as tumeric, ginger, garlic, sage, basil, oregano, crushed red pepper, celtic sea salt, etc.
2) Buy a few healthy "whole foods" cookbooks with simple recipes to get you started. For a great resource with over 30 recipes that take less than 15 minutes to prepare, check out Fit Fast Food.
3) Take a cooking class. Find a class at a local college or supermarket to learn some simple tricks of the trade.
4) Get the kids involved. Think the kids won't eat this way? Try them out. Encourage and educate them as to the importance of real food. Take them to a farmer's market and let them pick out some veggies; make them part of the process of cooking at home by having a family cooking night so they can join in the fun and learn at the same time.
Start to make more conscious decisions when you put things into your cart at the store and opt for whole foods while checking the labels of any packaged goods you purchase. Most of all remember if you exercise and eat naked, chances are you'll look better naked!