Saturday, June 28, 2008

Eating "Whole Foods"

What is a "whole food"? Food that is intact, as produced by nature, whether cooked or uncooked, organic or not.

Why eat "whole foods"? The theory is that "favoring whole, intact foods supports optimum health. Fragmented foods, even whole wheat flour as compared to the whole wheat berry itself, imparts less energy. Eating integral foods that are capable of regenerating themselves supports our own regeneration. Nutritionally, there's no difference between the whole wheat flour in a bagel and a handful of wheat grain; energetically, there's a world of difference."
Wood, Rebecca. the new whole foods encyclopedia. New York, NY: Penguin Compass, 1999.
Is the theory true? I don't know the scientific answer, but my personal evidence says yes. For years I've said that when I eat well, I feel fantastic. Was it whole foods? Was it adequate rest? Not sure, but I'm going to try and find out. This week presents a perfect opportunity.

In the United States, we have a three day weekend ahead with many celebrating Independence Day. I live in the US and many of my local colleagues are going on holiday. My work week will be light, with lots of time to try something that takes a bit of extra effort.

Starting tomorrow, I'm going to focus on vegan, whole foods according to the following, personal definition:
  • edible, intact parts only
  • palatable
  • time required fits with our lifestyle; 60 minutes or less to prepare
My plan is to record how things go here.

Want to learn more? Two good references include the new whole foods encyclopedia by Rebecca Wood and Whole Foods Facts: The Complete Reference Guide by Evelyn Roehl.


  1. I'm not sure I agree w/the whole wheat flour vs. wheat berry example, but after reading The Omnivore's Dilemma I'm now a passionate foe of "nutritionism", the idea that you get equivalent health by adding a bunch of vitamins to processed foods.

    As Mark Bittman put it in his TED Talk, "isn't not the carotene, its the carrots".

  2. Great quote! I'm not so about the wheat flour vs. wheat berries either. So far this week it's been unsustainable due to the realities of my life. Last night, a 25th wedding anniversary party with a set menu put the first challenge in front of me. Today at lunch, I opted for the whole wheat wrap which included hummus rather than a salad. Tonight, pizza (minus the cheese). Tough going!