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Body of excellence: Whole foods make for whole health

By: Chris Hendren, Special to The Gazette
August 8, 2017 Updated: August 8, 2017 at 1:20 pm
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When people ask what I eat to stay so lean, I tell them I focus on eating whole foods.

A whole food is either an animal that can reproduce or a plant that grows from the ground, such as chicken and fish or green beans and nuts.

If you can't identify what you're eating as one of these two things, it's not a whole food. It has been processed.

Processed food has been stripped of many of its nutrients and fiber and often has unhealthy additives such as transfats, preservatives and sodium. Unfortunately, most Americans eat a high percentage of processed foods.

Let's look at breakfast. If you had cereal with milk and a cup of coffee, your cereal was processed, but the milk and coffee are whole foods. The cereal has grain that was milled and re-formulated, often removing the bran and adding flavorings, sodium and coloring.

The milk was produced by a cow. The coffee grows from a plant and is only toasted and ground. A whole-food breakfast would be an omelet with mixed vegetables, cantaloupe and a cup of coffee. The eggs are the product of an animal; the veggies grow from the earth; the olive oil you saut├ęd them in came from the olive fruit; the cantaloupe and the coffee came from a plant.

For lunch, you have a bologna sandwich, multi-grain chips and a diet Coke. Practically the entire sandwich is processed. Bread, bologna and cheese do not grow from the ground or reproduce. They all have been processed in some way.

The bread contains wheat that has been milled and mixed with many other ingredients. The bologna has been ground and seasoned with sodium and preservatives. The cheese may be heavily processed as well. Velveeta, for instance, contains whey protein concentrate, milk protein concentrate, milk, fat and preservatives and must be labeled as a "cheese product."

If you added lettuce and tomato, good for you. Those are whole foods. The multi-grain chips have been processed, as has the Diet Coke.

A better choice would be a chicken breast on a bed of greens and some roasted potato wedges with a glass of tea or water. You can clearly recognize all of those items as once living. There is no guessing as to what is in any of them.

Eating whole foods satisfies your appetite, keeps you full longer, provides more of the nutrients you need and tastes better than processed foods. That is why eating whole foods makes for whole health.

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Contact Chris Hendren at Chris@ChrisHendrenTraining.com

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