Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Eating and Shopping for Whole Foods

I believe in following an eating plan made of "whole foods". Just what are whole foods?

Whole foods are those that are unprocessed and unrefined, or processed and refined as little as possible before being consumed. They typically do not contain added sugar, salt, fat, or chemicals.

Often confused with "organic food" (i.e., organically-grown food), whole foods are not necessarily organic, nor are organic foods necessarily whole, although they do share a number of traits, such as an avoidance of chemically-assisted agricultural techniques. Because of the lack of basic processing, many whole foods have a very short shelf life and are not easily sold outside of farmers' markets.

Nothing processed, so put down that Fiber One. It ain't good for you. Throw away that whole wheat bread. Give up those specialty low carb products. The human body is not meant to consume that garbage.

Animal products are 'whole foods,' too
Dana Carpender

The nutritional buzz phrase is 'whole foods.' This is encouraging. I've been watching the nutrition scene long enough to remember when people who insisted that whole-grain bread was more nutritious than enriched bread were scorned as 'food faddists.'

But the admonitions to eat whole foods seem to apply only to grains, fruits and vegetables. Officialdom still recommends discarding large fractions of animal foods. Yet few see these fractionated animal foods as the refined, depleted foods they are.

Take dairy. Virtually all recommendations for dairy products include the qualifiers 'low-fat' or 'fat-free.' But that's not the way it comes out of the cow. Yes, whole milk has more calories than skim. It also has far more vitamin A, because it's carried in the butterfat. (Some skim milk is fortified with vitamin A —- the equivalent of adding a few vitamins back to nutritionally depleted white flour.) Because fat aids in calcium absorption, you'll get more calcium from whole milk. Whole milk from grass-fed cows supplies CLA, a fat that increases fat-burning and reduces heart disease and cancer risk, and omega-3 fats, which reduce inflammation, and heart disease and cancer risk. It is worth paying premium prices for such milk.

And eggs. Oh, poor eggs. There they are, just about the most perfect food in the world, and what do people do? They throw away the yolks. The part with almost all the vitamins, including A, E, K and the hard-to-come-by D, not to mention brain-enhancing choline and DHA. Eggs from pastured chickens also have yolks rich in omega-3. Better to throw away the whites, not that I'd recommend that, either. Just eat whole eggs, will you?

Then there's chicken. When did 'chicken' become synonymous with 'boneless, skinless chicken breast?' (hello my WLS pals) Chicken breast is a good food, but the whole chicken is better. Dark and white meats both have nutritional strengths. They are not identical in vitamin and mineral content. Chicken skin is a good source of vitamin A, again because it's fatty. I wrote recently about liver's nutritional bonanza, and hearts are nutrient-rich as well, making giblet gravy a great idea. Simmering the leftover chicken bones yields flavorsome broth rich in highly absorbable calcium and joint-building gelatin. (I save my steak bones, too, for beef broth.)

Our ancestors, ever mindful of where their next meal was coming from, relished every edible part of every animal they killed. Indeed, paleoanthropologists assert that hunter-gatherers ate the rich, fatty organ meats first, preferring them to muscle meats, and smashed bones to eat the marrow. As recently as a century ago, marrow was such a popular food that special spoons were made for scooping it out of bones. I love the stuff. I've been sucking the marrow out of lamb-chop bones since I was a tyke. A 1997 article in the journal Nature asserts that human brain capacity decreased at the dawn of agriculture 10,000 years ago, very likely because of a reduction in animal-fat consumption. Whole animal foods are part of our nutritional heritage.

My low-carbohydrate eating habits are often referred to as a 'fad.' Whatever. If it was good enough for my hunter-gatherer ancestors, it's good enough for me. Do you want to know what's really a fad? Removing the fat from milk and the yolks from eggs, and discarding three- quarters of the chicken, all organ meats and most bones. There's not a culture in the world where our narrow, refined, low-fat, flavorless versions of animal foods are part of the traditional diet.

I just love Dana. She has some really good cookbooks available too. Check then out.

Here's my shopping list to show you what a whole food diet consists of.

Real milk--from a local dairy--not raw---but not homogenized either
sour cream --full fat
Heavy cream-used alot
Real Butter(not margarine)-used alot
cottage cheese-full fat
cream cheese-full fat
huge variety of cheese full fat---fermented---sold locally but are Amish---so are natural cheeses----no cheese food products---REAL cheese only

chicken wings
leg quarters
whole chickens
boneless chicken thighs
whole turkeys, raw and smoked
shank or butt portion ham, smoked and fresh--no honey baked or glazed
pork roasts-butt/shank portion
pork chops
pork steaks
calf liver
chicken liver
frozen shrimp
canned crab
bacon---SF and nitrate free
fatty ground beef---no ground sirloin or round
fatty cuts of beef roasts or steak---example--rib eye, chuck
pork loin
tuna in oil
salmon and tuna steak pouches
canned sardines and fish steaks
smoked sausage
duck/goose---save the fat too
fresh gulf seafood when I can afford it, oysters, grouper, snapper,etc

onions---all kinds
peppers---multi variety--mild to hot
summer squash
spaghetti squash
some winter squashes---like butternut, acorn,pumpkin
fresh herbs
variety of frozen mixed stir fry type veggies
frozen blueberries, strawberries, blackberries(fresh when in season---used as a treat a couple of times a month)
baby salad greens
collard, turnip greens

almond flour
coconut cream
unsweetened coconut flakes
coconut flour
coconut oil---expeller pressed and virgin
lg variety of herbs and spices, no spice blends some have sugar
olive oil
walnuts, macadamia nuts, almonds, pecans
sugar twin brown sugar
palm oil
walnut, macadamia nut oil
plain gelatin

other stuff
SF tomato sauce
SF diced stewed tomatoes
dill pickle relish
olives--black and green
variety of dill pickles
plain pkts of kool-aid---I sweeten with stevia
unjury unflavored protein powder---used for quick protein shakes on occasion

I make all my own condiments including ketchup, mayo(made with a blend of coconut oil and olive oil), salad dressings, and marinades--I also now make my own SF gelatin and puddings---I have tried to eliminate all artificial sweeteners(use stevia, SweetPerfection now)--the only exception is the sugar twin brown sugar for my BBQ sauce.

I also visit a new butcher that is connected to a slaughter house here---I get bones and hooves and other usually discarded items to make my own broths---I use the poultry carcases for stock too---I also get large amounts of fat(generally pork) for rendering(that's making lard y'all)---I do get some whole fish to make fish stock.

I try to avoid processed foods of all kinds---that includes deli meats---which used to be a staple of my eating---too many chemicals---I do no soy products of any kind---I do no grains whatsoever---I make my own yogurt now also. I also use nut butters, like cashew, walnut, pistachio and almond. They are great tossed with some veggies. Gives it an Asian flair.

I have returned to a more paleo type of eating---the eating that sustained our ancestors for thousands of years. Also try to keep it very high fat:

Why your low-carb diet should be high-fat, not high protein

So, that about covers it. I keep plenty of staples on hand. Then buy meat, veggies,etc according to my menu at the time. So what's on the menu at your house tonight?


OhYeahBabe said...

Great post, as usual! Thanks for all the fabulous links. I got hungry reading the list!
My blog: Kimorexia

Obsidian Butterfly said...

I'm trying to transition to a more healthy diet and you list a great place to start. Thanks for the suggestions!

Come visit me: Yogurt