6 Guidelines to Following a Whole Foods Diet

A whole foods-focused diet really is preventative medicine. Use these rules to follow it closely.

May 2, 2017
whole foods dinner
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Adapted from Kathryne's new cookbook, Love Real Food

Real foods have been around for ages, and nutrition is a new, complex science. We're learning more about the benefits of whole foods every day, and I suspect that we'll someday look back at nutrition labels as primitive indicators of their contents. Regardless, research is showing that food really can be the best preventive medicine, and the beauty in following a whole foods approach is that you don't need to keep up with the latest research to know that you're eating well. 

More: 5 Steps to an Absolutely Epic Salad

Here are my basic suggested guidelines for following a whole foods–focused diet, which are rooted in science and backed up by my personal experiences, which you can read more about in my cookbook, Love Real Food.

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Stick with seasons and taste

While it's true that some whole foods might offer more nutritional bang for the buck, let the seasons and your appetite guide your decisions. By filling up on a variety of whole foods, you'll likely meet your nutritional needs with minimal effort. 

More: 70 Powerfoods to Supercharge Your Health

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Choose organic

Do it when possible, to avoid modern chemicals that don't belong in our bodies (fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, waxes, and other bad guys).

Farmers' Market
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Choose local when you can, too

Generally, the fresher the product, the more vitamins and minerals it has to offer. Buying local is also a great way to support your local community and minimize your environmental footprint.

More: 8 Foods You Should Always Buy at the Farmers' Market

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Read the ingredients

These days, even basics like bread are often composed of a long list of unrecognizable ingredients. While you're at the grocery store, take a quick glance at ingredients lists (here's everything you need to know about reading a nutrition label). For example, basic bread products should have around 5 familiar ingredients, not 25.

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Moderation, moderation, moderation

I hate to chime in with the choir, but moderation really is key. Eat what you want! Within reason. If you really want some ice cream, go ahead—have some. If you feel compelled to eat an entire carton of ice cream, though, maybe now is the time to address the source of your stress. Trust me, I've been there, and I never found an answer to my problems at the bottom of the carton.

More: 6 Ways to Be More Assertive in Your Diet

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Don't forget your emotions

Above all, pay attention to how different foods make you feel. Great meals should leave you feeling great afterward. If you feel like you've been run over by a bus after you eat, you might find that option slightly less tempting the next time it comes around. Maybe you fully embrace the "everything in moderation" approach, or you find good reason to omit a certain food(s). Either way, you have my full support.

As your taste buds get acquainted with more nutritious foods, your cravings will likely become better indicators of the nutrients your body needs. That has been my experience and that is why I only share recipes that make me feel good and taste amazing. You'll find over 100 of them (including Carrot Cake Breakfast Cookies and Everything Avocado Toast) in my new book, Love Real Food!

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