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Why Whole Foods?

(As published on TheTownDish.com, March 29, 2013)

Let me ask you one question -- what is the point of food? Is it to provide your body with nutrients or is it to fill your stomach to stop that growling belly? If you think both areimportant, you should be choosing whole foods. Whole foods are those which are not broken down, are unrefined and can be eaten in their "whole" form -- get it? Read on to learn why whole foods are the way to go.

Keep foods whole for a wholesome diet. Whole foods are made of ingredients that are found in their most natural state. When foods aren't processed, they are full of fiber, vitamins and nutrients. Foods like fruits, veggies, beans, nuts, whole grains and healthy fats all give your body the nutrition it needs to stay healthy. These kinds of foods keep you feeling fuller longer because of the fiber that goes straight from the food to you. When foods are refined, they are broken down, and those good nutrients are lost in the process.

Why the bad rap for the other guys? If you have a habit of enjoying typical "junk foods," you may notice that you're still hungry not long after you finish eating. Processed, high-fat foods are typically full of empty calories, so, while you may be silencing that belly grumble, your body's not getting the nutrients it craves.

Some foods that may not seem so bad -- like white breads and lunch meats -- are still processed foods. Preservatives, artificial flavors and sodium additives are hiding in some innocent-looking imitators, so be sure to read your food labels.

Whole grains go a long way. If you'd like to see more whole foods in your diet, looking at your grain intake may be the best way to start. Think of how many grain-based foods you eat in a day. If you're like me, your meals may look a bit like this: bagel or cereal at breakfast followed by bread with a sandwich at lunch finished with rice or pasta at dinner. That's a whole lot of grain!

Maureen Boccella, a registered dietician at The Chester County Hospital, adds, "Dietary guidelines suggest that half of your grain intake come from whole grains." By changing these choices to whole wheat options, you'll make a good dent in your refined food intake.

So, what are some examples of whole foods vs. refined foods? Check out these lists to find out what you're getting out of your day-to-day foods.

Whole Foods:

  • Whole grains (whole wheat, brown rice, quinoa, oats)
  • Fruits and veggies
  • Nuts
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Eggs
  • Diary products (grass-fed cow's milk, yogurt, cheese, butter)
  • Seafood (salmon, shrimp, tuna)
  • Lean meats and poultry

Refined Foods:

  • White bread and white flour
  • White sugar
  • White rice
  • Processed meats (lunch meats, hot dogs)
  • Margarine
  • Chips and pretzels
  • Sweets (including sodas!)

Whole foods slow down your digestive process and allow the good stuff to be absorbed into your body -- this regulates your blood sugar, protects your body against free radicals and even keeps your intestines healthy by allowing bacteria to fight disease. It may sound like whole foods are super foods...and that's because they are!

Start enjoying the goodness of whole foods by trying the newly-launched healthier and lighter menu at Doc Magrogan's. You know that fish is a whole food, so why not have a night out with good eats? Check out their lunch menu and dinner menu to see which fish dish catches your eye!

Last Updated: 4/1/2013