Whole Foods Lifestyle - Confusion on whole food

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05-13-2009, 07:52 PM
Ok so I thought that a whole food is foods in their least processed forms. Mostly I think of it as foods cooked the way great great great grandma would have. If she could make it from foods bought in natural forms so can I and it would be considered a whole food.

But this quote by Julie08 in another thread confused me:

"In fact, you're not eating wholefoods if you only have the broccoli florets and not the stalk, or when you eat an orange and not the peel.."

I decided to move it over because the almond milk thread already went awry and I didn't need to muddy those waters further.

So are you saying if I trim off the stalk of the broccoli or don't eat the peel I am not eating whole foods?! That seems a bit of a stretch (wasteful on the brocolli maybe and some people just can't take the peel of an orange).

Please, please explain this rational, I thought non whole foods were foods that can not be recreated naturally. For instance if I serve smashed potatoes vs mashed potatoes its suddenly not a whole food! I understand I lose vitamin value and all that (and honestly I probably would rather keep the peel but I am trying to understand the rationale).

Non whole foods in my book being cheese 'foods', white breads, most candies and lots of the snack foods out there ect.

05-13-2009, 08:04 PM
No one has to feel guilty about not eating broccoli stems! My point was only that there is not a black and white dividing line between wholefoods and processed foods. Everyone accepts some degree of processing, and we all draw the line differently. I used an extreme example just to make the point that everyone will define "whole" a little differently. Not too many people actually take it that far, and I don't even see any value in taking it that far. Someone was asking about whether non-dairy milks were processed, and, well, they are. They're not really wholefoods - you throw away a lot of the original food (the bean or the grain) that would have been eaten if you just had edamame or oats, for example. But I don't care :) I still use soymilk, but I make that decision knowing that I'm not eating the whole bean, and the whole bean has value in it that is lost in soymilk.

05-13-2009, 09:07 PM
Yes, everyone has their own acceptance of foods into their own whole foods diet. Some would say dairy shouldn't be considered a whole food because it isn't meant for human consumption while almond milk is fine. Some people would say almond milk from the store isn't whole food while almond milk you make is while another person could say almond milk you make isn't but almonds themselves are or if you make almond milk and then use the pulp for something else... Its very subjective really.

05-13-2009, 09:37 PM
So can I just say an oreo is a whole food rofl I am just teasing really!

Ok thanks for the info its good to know, to me whole foods are getting as close to nature as you can without MAJOR modifications. Oven baked french fries/sweet potato fries are still whole food in my book. They just need to be used sparingly because white potato is just not the healthiest of the foods.

My first goal is cooking from scratch with no convinence/franken foods, we will see how I progress after I learn what real food tastes like since I was raised on the big Mc and don't want my kids to be the same.

05-13-2009, 10:07 PM
Sounds like you are headed in the right direction! When I do buy some convenience foods, if a list of ingredients is too long, I generally just put the box down, no matter what it is. I'm not perfect though (and who is?).

05-15-2009, 12:42 PM
I'm with Nelie - I go by what's in it. I'll eat an Amy's TV dinner, but not a Lean Cuisine. I'm enjoying Koepplinger's 1 1/2# natural wheat bread, but I gave it up for a while when they switched the molasses to HFCS (didn't last long - I think I must have been part of a whole gang of people who took the time to write/call/e-mail and raise **** - yay consumers!). We devote a lot of time to our garden, my spouse hunts, and we very rarely eat out. It just tastes BETTER, and I am finally getting over my self-imposed need to poison myself with factory-built junk!

05-17-2009, 05:37 PM
Hmm, interesting info--I always thought it was just eating non processed foods too.

05-17-2009, 05:54 PM
I think you will find as many different answers to the question, as there are 3FC on this site! Each of us draws the line in a different place.

I practice a "mostly whole foods" lifestyle, but I buy many foods that have been processed/packaged for my convenience.

Certain foods, I will always make myself (bean/nut milk, yogurt, rice, etc.) Things like soups, breads, and cereals I will often buy packaged. For these items, I read the ingredients carefully and look for food vs. chemical ingredients.

I applaud anyone that is a whole food purist, but my lifestyle and schedule do not allow me that option right now. Maybe once I retire ;)

I think that awareness of what is in certain foods, how they are made, processed, packaged, etc. is the first step for most of us. From there it is a continuum - where each of us finds our spot.

05-17-2009, 08:00 PM
I look for foods with the least amount of unnecessary additives. If I can, I buy fresh. But there are certain items I don't eat fast enough and I either freeze them (or buy it already frozen) or I buy canned and rinse it before consuming. I also do the same things nelie and ICUwishing do with processed items: If I need a working knowledge of chemistry to understand the ingredients list, I put it down. Also, if it has a ton of added sodium and sugar, I put it down.

As for the whole food lifestyle, I strive to have a balanced plate at every meal. For me that consists of some type of protein, a good carbohydrate, and plenty of veggies and some fruit. It's all about moderation.

05-17-2009, 08:51 PM
We "process" food when we cook it at home, but I don't consider cooking to be antithetical in regards to a whole food lifestyle.

I try to make most of our food from scratch (breads, yogurt, cooking beans from dry, etc.) That said, sometimes I don't have the time. It wasn't a problem when I worked part time, but with a 40+ hour a week job it isn't always possible. When I have to buy processed foods I look for ones that only have the ingredients that I would use if I was making it. That means, I buy local bread that has ww flour, water, yeast, salt, and maybe milk in it. That means I buy yogurt that is just milk and cultures.

I think the main thing is to buy and eat as many foods as you can in their whole unrefined source (cooking as necessary) and avoiding unnecessary additives, colorings, flavorings, and chemicals that only a chemist can pronounce.

05-17-2009, 09:05 PM
We "process" food when we cook it at home, but I don't consider cooking to be antithetical in regards to a whole food lifestyle.

In a nutshell, this is the difference between a whole foods and a raw foods lifestyle.
Some whole foods are not healthy UNLESS they are cooked, for example.

When I grind my own wheatberries to make bread, I am processing them. I then bake my bread. I still consider my whole wheat bread a "whole" food.

05-18-2009, 12:15 AM
When I grind my own wheatberries to make bread, I am processing them. I then bake my bread. I still consider my whole wheat bread a "whole" food.

But not equivalent. The true whole grain (the wheatberries) in fact have a lower GI than the flour or bread made from it. I don't know that I would notice that difference in the GI, although from what people say, many seem to be sensitive to this. But I definitely notice that breads, even whole grain, go down the gullet dang fast compared to a chewy whole grain.

I think the most important thing is getting rid of the commercial processing with additives and substitutes, and using wholefoods in the sense you described (whole grain flours included, for example), and of course variety and plenty of produce.

Beyond that, it's gonna be highly individual. I think any judgment about right and wrong isn't helpful, even if you're only doing it to yourself. At least for me, the only thing that's helpful is taking the time to pay attention to how food really makes me feel, and how it really tastes. And gently continuing to improve my nutrition without making it unpleasant. I've stopped eating a lot of things without having to force the issue, by just giving it time, and eventually my tastes for many things have gone away.