Whole foods have many benefits over processed foods. Processed foods are typically loaded with artificial additives, sugar and salt. In addition, the processing usually strips them of many of the vitamins and minerals essential for good health.
Avoid: White Pasta
Choose: Brown pasta, wholegrain pasta, wheat free pasta, gluten free pasta.
Avoid: White flour and bread
Choose: Whole meal bread and flour, oatcakes, rice cakes, pumpernickel.
Avoid: White rice
Choose: Brown rice, millet, buckwheat, bulgur wheat, couscous, oats.
Avoid: Sugar sweets, cakes, biscuits.
Choose: Fruit - either natural or dried.
All processed meals should be avoided. Instead, cook meals using fresh natural ingredients (organic where possible).
Eating dairy is positively implicated in weight loss. In addition, dairy has been shown to help remove fat from your digestive system. However, many dairy foods are also high in fat - the key is therefore to choose low fat dairy products. Good choices include skimmed (non-fat) milk, low fat cheese, live organic yogurt, soya cheese, and tofu. Watch out also for high sugar levels in most brand named yogurts.
MEAT AND FISH
It has been known that a high consumption of red meat has been linked to various diseases, and many cuts are also high in saturated fat. It is therefore important to limit your intake of red meat. However, fresh fish contains high levels of essential fatty acids, which have been shown to protect against many diseases, including heart disease. You should integrate white meats and fish, especially herrings, mackerel, salmon and sardines into your diet as best you can.
FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
Fresh fruit and vegetables are low in calories and high in fibre, vitamins, minerals and water, and should therefore form a large part of your diet. In addition, raw foods have been shown to improve energy, vitality and well being.
ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS
These are required by the body for optimum health. They are found in cold pressed oils, (safflower, walnut, olive and sunflower), nuts, seeds, avocados and fish oils. It is recommended that you avoid processed oils and margarine, especially hydrogenated oils.
See my article on "Good Fats and Bad Fats" for more information.
Maintaining a good level of hydration is vital. The best choice is water, mineral water, herbal teas, and diluted fruit juices. Popular drinks such as tea, coffee and soda all contain additives such as sugar and caffeine and are best used in moderation.