Steps toward Whole Health

Since there is no end to the research that can be done about which foods are healthy, and since there is no universal formula given people’s varying health histories, I’ll condense some advice into a few steps to take. One basic approach to use is to question mainstream health claims and test them against a respect for God’s creation and a respect for the traditions of history. If there is conflict, gravitate toward God’s natural foods and toward the wisdom of bygone eras.

breakfast

1. First of all, seek natural foods. With any packaged foods, look for natural ingredients. Avoid anything you can’t pronounce or couldn’t define; avoid anything you don’t remember seeing in a garden, in a field, or on a tree; and certainly avoid anything that clearly tells you “artificial.” Look for brands with the fewest additives and preservatives. Avoiding chemicals in this form is very important! Just about every product, from ice cream, to tortilla chips, to salad dressing, is usually offered in more-natural versions and conventional versions. In the next point, I’ll encourage you to make some of those same products in your own kitchen—but if you’re going to buy them, please buy the most natural versions and you will avoid a lot of toxic substances in your food and in your body.

2. Then, seek wholesome foods. With anything you eat, try to avoid the most processed versions. Something may be “natural,” but has been pumped full of so many ingredients and undergone so many alterations to make it what it is, that it is hardly wholesome anymore. The more that ingredients in a food product have been changed from their natural form, the less able your body is to digest it and assimilate it. Or, some things, such as white flour and white sugar, have had their composition denatured so much that though they are “pure,” they are no longer wholesome at all. Try buying the simplest, plainest foods and cook from scratch with them. Buy or make plain yogurt and add a few berries instead of buying the expensive, even organic, flavored and sweetened yogurts. Cook whole grains for hot cereal instead of buying even the “natural” boxed cereals—those have undergone much processing and denaturing even though they are technically natural, containing nothing artificial.

3. Seek the most accessible foods—most accessible to your body. Avoiding artificial foods and processed foods will make great strides toward this action. But included in this idea are giving your body what it most needs: not just “okay” healthy foods, but therapeutic, nutrient-dense foods and foods which meet your individual biological needs. Cut back on sugar and grain altogether, even if the kinds you now have in your kitchen are more natural. Try to buy produce locally and in season since it will likely have more nutrients than that which was picked unripe and shipped across the country. Fresh and homemade foods are always richer in nutrients than foods from grocery stores, and as such, the nutrients are more accessible to your body. For instance, even though organic boxed chicken broth is technically “wholesome,” it in no way compares to the rich nutritional composition of homemade chicken stock.

Seek the most natural, wholesome, and accessible foods, and you will be on your way toward a pantry full of healthy foods and a body strengthened by good nutrition.