If you’ve been scouring the web looking to define what eating healthy actually means, I’m sure you’ve come across so many different versions and definitions it’s enough to make your head spin. To add to the confusion we’ve attached names to different ways of eating and diets, and then many bloggers don’t really stick to those guidelines. You’ll find names like Paleo, raw, vegan, Whole30, vegetarian, Atkins, keto, low-carb, gluten-free all falling under the “healthy” umbrella, just to name a few.
WHAT IS HEALTHY EATING?
Healthy eating starts with real food: vegetables, meat, seafood, eggs, fruit, nuts, seeds, and healthy oils. For some people without food intolerances healthy eating can also mean adding small amount of whole grains, and/or dairy. Choose foods and ingredients straight from nature, minimally processed and sustainable. Eat food from nature, because that’s what our bodies are designed to digest and use as fuel. This food actually makes us healthier. Healthy eating is also avoiding foods that take away from our health, or eating those foods at a minimum (I’m talking about you, pizza and chocolate chip cookies).
If I have to define our food philosophy here on Whole Fork, we’re pretty close to “Paleo”. I dislike using labels because I don’t completely conform to the Paleo lifestyle. I have added whole grains and a little dairy into my diet. I also dislike the misconception that Paleo means we’re trying to eat like cavemen. Truth is, most of what people from the Paleolithic era ate is no longer even available here on earth. Everything we grow agriculturally is completely different today. Cavemen didn’t eat carrots or tomatoes, so I don’t like pretending like what we eat today is similar to what they were able to forage.
Also, there are many cultures that have evolved digestively since the Paleolithic era. For instance, many Europeans have developed lactase persistence. This is where their bodies utilize lactase to digest milk and dairy products beyond infancy. If this is the case for any individual I don’t see the harm in continuing to consume a little bit of minimally processed dairy products.
But, the overall Paleo theory of eating what comes from nature is exactly what we’re doing here. Almost all of our recipes are sugar-free, gluten-free, legume-free and grain-free just by nature of what we eat. We recently added Paleo and Whole30 categories to our recipes to help you navigate to them easier.
GENERAL FOOD GUIDELINES
Healthy eating means to avoid (or intake MINIMALLY) certain things like sugar, real or artificial. Avoid foods with agave nectar, coconut sugar, Equal, Splenda, stevia, xylitol, etc. Look for sneaky sugars with chemical names that end in “ose”, like sucralose and dextrose.
Avoid chemicals added for preservation or taste; like MSG, sulfites, and carrageenan.
Avoid unhealthy and highly processed oils and fats; like canola, corn, cottonseed, flax, grapeseed, hemp, palm kernel, peanut, safflower, soybean. Why? In short, because they’re high in polyunsaturated fat, have toxic byproducts from oxidation, and a large amount of omega-6 fatty acids. Basically, they’ve been shown to promote inflammation, which takes away from our health.
Stick to healthy oils and fats; like avocado, avocado oil, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, olive oil, olives, and saturated fats found in real food.
And lastly, eat whole grains in small amounts, depending on your context and carbohydrate needs.
Instead of focusing on what I can’t have, I find it so much easier to focus on what I can and should be eating: vegetables, meat, seafood, eggs, fruit, nuts, seeds, and healthy oils. There are so many different ways to create meals with just these simple ingredients. And above all else, I believe food MUST be delicious, otherwise we won’t eat it. Head to our RECIPES and start browsing for something tasty!