Why choose whole foods?
How about the fact that I'm writing a bi-weekly food column for Concordia's student newspaper? Tuesday's column is about whole foods (and will also feature this recipe).
Here's a sneak peak for both:
There's been a whole lot of talk about whole foods these days. It's rare to see a bread or cereal add that isn't boasting that it's "Made with Whole Grains!". And while it sounds, well, wholesome, seeing a claim like that on a box of Reese Peanut Butter Puffs cereal is enough to make you pause and wonder, what exactly is a Whole Food?
We'll take grains as an example: A whole grain is one that still has its bran, germ and endosperm intact. With white flour, all the good stuff is gone - the fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals from the bran and germ have been removed, and what's left is the starchy endosperm, providing empty calories. And so, it is required by law that the stuff be chemically "enriched" to make up for what it's now lacking. A bum deal if you ask me.
I might ruffle some feathers here, but in the past few years I've come to believe that what's more important that eating vegan or vegetarian is eating natural, fresh and good quality foods. So Reese Puffs are made with all three parts of (possibly, and likely) genetically modified grains of corn, and it's technically vegan, but is it really nourishing us? In my ideal diet, I would stick to grains I can actually see and avoid all flour products, because the less processed something is, the more vitality it has to offer. There's a psychological component to it as well - if I can see what I'm eating in a more complete state, I have a better idea of where it came from and develop a stronger connection to my food. Most of us eat wheat products every day, but when was the last time you ate a wheat berry? Yeah, I thought so.
Here's a thought: what if we ate more foods in their natural, less altered state, the way Mother Nature intended? Could it be that we're better off trusting in the intelligence of the earth as opposed to the products pumped out en mass by large corporations? Nutritional health is a hot topic right now, and it's pretty clear that North America is not getting obese on whole foods. North America is getting fat on foods that have been robed of most of their nutrients, boosted with lab-made vitamins and minerals, and baked up into fluffy white bread.
And the discussion around whole versus refined isn't limited to grains - you might consider eliminating other relatively new and strange things from your diet too: margarine, modified milk ingredients, hydrolyzed vegetable protein and the likes. I keep in mind as a general rule that if I can't pronounce it, Mother Nature didn't make it, and I shouldn’t be eating it.
For further reading check out two of my Desert Island Favourite books: The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia by Rebecca Wood and Healing with Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford.