Have you been trying to eat healthier? It can be hard to stick to any diet when brownies, potato chips, and fast food tempt us with the promise of something deliciously sweet or salty. But while processed foods taste good, they can leave us feeling sluggish and moody for the rest of the day.
If you want to live a happier and healthier life, try to say goodbye to processed foods. The whole foods diet focuses on cutting out "fake" and processed foods, in favour of their natural counterparts.
Any diet improvement will benefit your health; even if you can only follow a whole food diet for one or two meals a day, it is better than eating processed foods 100% of the time. When I was still seeing clients for nutrition consultations (before I became a textile designer, read more about me), I often suggested patients follow an 80% whole food regime, which allowed room for 20% of the diet to be less healthy. I found that once people noticed how much better they felt eating well, this 20% would get smaller and smaller until they no longer felt the cravings for junk food.
Just like with any diet, there will be a challenging adjustment period where you'll probably crave cookies and crackers like crazy. But, if you can commit to the whole foods diet, you'll reap many amazing benefits.
Do you want to know what they are? Keep reading to discover the top 10 benefits of eating a whole foods diet, and scroll right to the bottom to see 10 quick tips to help you along the way.
1. You'll Feel Happier
Do you find yourself stressing over little things or getting annoyed easily? This may be because of your diet. Eating too many processed foods reduces your overall nutrient intake. Having low levels of the essential mood-boosting nutrients can cause low mood, stress, and irritability.
When you switch to a balanced whole foods diet plan, these lost nutrients will be replaced which can boost your mood and help you feel happier.
2. You'll Be Glowing
Does the thought of leaving the house without your hair or makeup done feel liberating? Just wait until you see how a whole foods diet can affect your hair and skin.
Natural foods like legumes, nuts, and whole grains all find themselves on a whole foods diet list. These foods are all high in zinc which leads to shiner, stronger, and healthier hair. A lot of natural foods also contain Vitamin B2, giving you softer and smoother skin. You'll strut out of the house feeling more confident than ever.
3. You'll Have Stronger Bones
Are you at risk for developing osteoporosis? Committing to a whole foods plant-based diet can help lower your risk. Many dark green vegetables, nuts, and seeds contain calcium, magnesium, and vitamin K which all work together to give you stronger bones. Also, consider adding fish with bones, such as sardines, to your diet to increase your calcium intake.
4. You Won't Snack as Much
Do you find yourself mindless munching away on a bag of chips? Before you know it, you've eaten half the bag and don't feel any fuller than when you started! When you switch to whole food diet recipes for snacks, like vegetables and homemade hummus, you'll feel fuller.
This means you won't snack as much, and the snacks you are eating are full of vitamins and nutrients. You may even lose a little weight, and feel confident wearing your yoga pants outside the studio.
5. You Won't Have Cravings
One of the hardest parts about switching to a whole foods diet is trying to curb your cravings. At first, you'll probably think about your favourite snacks all day. And there's a reason for that.
When you eat a lot of added sugar, your body begins to crave it. But, stay strong! Once your body has adapted to your new diet, you won't have these intense cravings anymore. When you are craving something sweet, you'll be able to satisfy it with a natural snack, like fresh fruit. You will also notice that eating less processed sugar makes naturally sweet food taste sweeter.
6. You'll be More Energized
Do you reach for energy drinks or a caramel coffee with three sugars to get your day started? While these drinks may help wake you up in the morning, they leave you crashing after a few hours.
Following a whole food diet plan for breakfast will give you more energy throughout the day. You may want to get some more yoga crop tops because all that extra energy will make you want to hit the yoga studio every day!
7. You'll Save Money
A common misconception is that eating healthy has to cost a ton. But a whole foods diet can actually help you save money.
When you go to the grocery store, you probably spend big bucks on processed snacks and name brand foods, but this cost will often reduce when following a whole foods diet. You can save even more money by going to your local farmer's market and getting locally grown food at a lower price than the grocery store!
8. You'll Consume More Vitamins and Minerals
A lot of people suffer from some type of nutrient deficiency, including iron, Vitamin A, and calcium. Many health problems arise because people don't get enough vitamins and minerals from their diet.
The good news is that following a whole foods diet plan makes it easier to eat more nutrients. By swapping out processed food and opting for foods in their natural state, you are also increasing levels of essential nutrients.
9. You'll Decrease Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 Diabetes has become more common in recent years due to poor diets and exercise routines. Whole food diet recipes contain less added sugars and trans fats which can decrease your risk of developing diabetes.
If you live with Type 2 Diabetes, you may find that a whole foods diet helps manage your blood sugar as eating less processed food will naturally reduce your sugar consumption. Whole foods generally also have a lower glycemic index and more fibre. All these factors work together to prevent blood sugar spikes that you may experience from eating foods with added sugar.
10. You'll Naturally Detoxify Your Body
Have you considered following a detox diet? The thought that your body is filled with toxins can be scary. But you don't have to starve yourself to rid your body of toxins, and a lot of 'detox' diets are not evidence-based. A straightforward, safe and often overlooked way of clearing out toxins from the body is by increasing dietary fibre. The simplest and most affordable way of increasing fibre is to eat more vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fruits.
Many whole foods like broccoli, almonds and brown rice are packed with fibre. The higher fibre intake helps your digestive track clear your body of built up toxins. You'll feel better and will get to eat full meals at the same time!
The Benefits of a Whole Foods Diet
If you're looking for the perfect diet, eating food in its natural, whole state is an easy and affordable way to ensure your body gets all the nutrients it needs to be active and healthy. By cutting out all those unhealthy processed foods, and focusing on natural ingredients, you'll feel and look better than ever!
10 quick tips to get you started:
- You can never eat too many vegetables.
- Some fruits are high in sugar and should be consumed in moderation.
- Most packaged food is processed.
- Choose food in it's most natural form. For example, choose brown rice over white and if you eat meat choose a good quality cut of beef or lamb over processed meats.
- If it has a long list of unpronounceable ingredients, it is not a whole food.
- White food is often highly processed, opt for the unbleached or unrefined version instead.
- Stick to the 80/20 rule - try to eat 80% whole foods when transitioning to a whole food diet.
- Include health promoting herbs and spices into your cooking, like garlic, ginger, turmeric, and chilli.
- Include beans, nuts, and seeds for added fibre and nutrient density.
- Plan ahead to avoid choosing processed options when hungry.
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