Beyond salads: Getting whole foods in your diet matters

Column by Paul Webster
Posted 1/15/18

Several years ago, I made a personal resolution to improve my health after a rather unsettling visit with my doctor. I thought I was healthy; after all, an athletic scholarship paid for my college …

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Beyond salads: Getting whole foods in your diet matters

Posted

Several years ago, I made a personal resolution to improve my health after a rather unsettling visit with my doctor.

I thought I was healthy; after all, an athletic scholarship paid for my college education. What I didn’t realize is that my health was slipping away. As confirmed by my doctor, I had hypertension, my cholesterol was out of control, and my blood sugars were at pre-diabetes levels. How could that be? I was an athlete!

Following my doctor visit, I began studying how I could control my health issues without medication. I became a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, and I started learning how to cook and eat healthier. I had not forgotten about the great food I’d learned to cook, I just learned how to make it healthier.

Within three months, my weight was in the healthy range again, my blood pressure was better than normal, my cholesterol was lower than it had ever been, and there were no longer concerns with my blood sugar. My success has stayed with me, and I owe it all to a diet that is based on whole plant foods.

If you have not yet heard the term “Plant-Based, Whole Food Nutrition”, make a simple resolution to learn and understand how nutrition can affect your overall health.

Plant-based, not vegan

Studies show that moving toward a plant-based, whole food diet has many health benefits, including improved cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels, cardiovascular health, hypertension, and reducing the risk of certain cancers.

There is a big difference between being “Vegan” and eating a plant-based whole food diet. The term vegan is not related to nutrition and does not equate to healthy. Items such as French fries, potato chips, and the crescent rolls you get in the tube at the grocery store are vegan, but by no means are they healthy.

Eating plant-based whole foods is about your health more than anything else.

Meatless

Including whole foods that are plant-based does not mean eating salad for every meal, but it does mean reducing or eliminating meats and processed foods. People often tell me they eat chicken instead of beef because it is healthier, but is it really?

According to the USDA Nutrient Database, a 3.5-ounce chicken breast contains 85 milligrams cholesterol while a 3.5-ounce sirloin steak contains 88 milligrams of cholesterol. What most people don’t know is that our bodies make all of the cholesterol we need, so there is no need to consume cholesterol in your diet.

What about protein you ask? The reality is that many Americans already eat too much protein.

Whether you start today or sometime this year, I suggest resolving to eat more whole foods while eliminating processed foods as much as possible. Start simple by eliminating animal products two days each week for the next month, then progress to even more meat-free days. Take the time to learn the health benefits of nutrition, you will be amazed at how it can change your life and your health. I know from experience!

Paul Webster is certified in Holistic Nutrition, Weight Management, Personal Training and is a professionally trained chef. His opinions are not necessarily those of Colorado Community Media.

Questions and Comments can be sent to Info@ServingHealthy.com

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