Eat More WHOLE FOODS: Reflections by Magally Capriles

Low-fat, low-carb, paleo, keto, fasting, fruits, no fruits, vegan, calories, fats, don’t eat the yolk, no food after 7pm… The list goes on and on about the “dos and don'ts” of eating.

There is so much information out there on what we should or shouldn't be eating, that it is definitely causing more confusion than providing clarity and helping people figure out what they should eat in order to have a healthy and balanced diet. From childhood, we are overwhelmed with messages about food. Basic information is transmitted through our parents at the beginning of our lives. As we become older, we are influenced by things we see, hear and read in television, advertisement, print, Google...all of them attempting to shape our eating habits. With so much advice, how are we supposed to know what foods are good for us?

I believe that a relationship with food is an emotional rollercoaster; a lifelong journey that we need to figure out on our own and that, as any other relationship, you have to work on it and nurture it as it grows through the years. You must listen to your body and yourself, learning from mistakes and experience. This will let you achieve the best possible relationship you can have with it.

Like most of us, my relationship with food hasn’t always been perfect. I’ve had my many phases in which I’ve believed in certain theories or behaved following certain trends. I've had very enriching advice from dear friends and collaborators who know much more than what I ever dream to know. But what I’ve learned the most from these past few years is the importance of making time and putting effort into getting to know yourself, your body, what suits you best, and focusing on health, not weight loss.

This book has been very enlightening for me. Through this book, written by John Mackey, co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market along with Dr. Alona Pulde and Dr. Matthew Lenderman, I have gone deeper in my belief that regardless of the personal inclination you may have for certain foods or trends, there are two clear basic principles:

 

·   EAT MORE WHOLE FOODS – and fewer highly processed foods.

·   EAT MOSTLY PLANT FOODS – and fewer animal products.

 

Simple to understand, easy to achieve. Eating well is not as confusing as it seems. They back it up with such a huge body of medical science, health research, studies and evidence that I believe it will be difficult for someone to argue against them. These principles are more about what you SHOULD be incorporating in your meals daily to nourish yourself rather than about restricting yourself. We could all then make more or less dramatic changes depending on our circumstances, personal preferences and health situation, but we should all have these two principles as the pillars to our nutrition.

In regards to animal-sourced products: The authors are all vegan and they have made this choice for personal health and ethical reasons. In the book, they don’t try to convince you to go vegan all the way, although Mackey takes a whole chapter to explain why he believes it’s the right choice. In fact, the final take away is that a 90% wholefoods and plants is the optimal choice for health and longevity. What you decide to incorporate in that 10% is up to you, as long as it's wholefoods. He gives you great advice and ideas so you don’t surpass that 10%.

This book also brought to my attention something that I knew but didn’t really have it as a priority when making my day-to-day decisions on what to eat: HEALTH and LONGEVITY. Making conscious and healthy decisions every day can affect not only how healthy and good you are today, but how long and healthy your life will be tomorrow and every day after that. And, who doesn’t want to live longer if our time on this planet will be a good and healthy one?

The book is full of compelling research and studies on the “Blue Zones”: places that have the longest living communities and healthiest in the world. They include Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Ikaria, Greece, and Loma Linda, California. All of them maintain a 90% plant based diet based on wholefoods.

We are living in the era of lifestyle medicine. This is not only the future of medicine, it's already our present day medicine and we can start acting and changing our habits to shift our lives and health for the better. This book shows us how changes in diet and lifestyle can treat and even reverse the progression of many of the most common diseases, as well as prevent them. It states that genes are a predisposition, but our genes are not usually our fate. Even better, changing your lifestyle can actually change your genes: Good lifestyle overcomes bad genes. 

This book is a full on manual on how to live a long, disease-free, and as we say in Lamarca: active, healthy, conscious life. It provides us with the not so secret keys to living longer. It’s an easy read with a compilation of science-based reasons why a wholefoods, mostly plant diet, can be of great support for human health and longevity, battling chronic diseases, ethical treatment of animals, and environmental protection. It is without argument a more ETHICAL way of living which we share. Our dietary choices have meaning beyond ourselves.

It also speaks about consumer consciousness, and how important it is for us, being the most powerful engine of change, to shift and demand healthier, more sustainable options. We have the potential to be better humans, create better humans in the next generations to come and change the world for the better. And what's good for you is good for our planet, what's personally sustainable is globally sustainable. How beautiful is this?

I loved this book and I would recommend it to any person who is struggling to understand how to eat. It offers very simple (almost common sense) yet eye opening nutritional advice that debunks diet myths and confusing trends. Furthermore, it shares nutritious and easy whole food recipes and a 30-day guide on becoming what they call a “whole foodie”. Knowing the right foods to eat, learning how to make them taste good, and adapting your life so that it becomes easy to make these right choices day after day, surrounding yourself with like-minded people, being a part of a community where it's easy to make these choices and have these foods accessible. I personally found fascinating reading and learning about fiber intake and why it’s so important to eat whole foods that havent been deprived of its fiber, along with many other nutrients. I also loved the simplicity in which it defines what a wholefood is, as most of the foods we find are at least minimally processed: “Nothing bad added, nothing good removed.” It is as simple as that. Keep this in mind when choosing what to incorporate in your meals.

Read this book before you go seeking any other advice on what to eat. This will give you the basic and unarguable principles that you can then adapt to your preferences and make compatible equally healthy lifestyle choices.

It doesn’t seek to convince you into a certain type of diet, it looks to empower your choices through knowledge. It has certainly inspired me and changed my approach to food and health. Like John Mackey says in the book: “My relationship to food, like many things in my life, progressed through a series of awakenings”. In my short life, I've had a few, so I couldn’t agree more. Reading this book has been one of them.

 

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