It finally clicked for me the other day. I have been doing a vegetarian diet for the past few weeks. I’ve seen my total number of ingredients fall drastically in each of my meals.
Most meals that I eat now have on average fifteen ingredients or less if I keep track properly. Which I don’t but you get the general idea.
Everyone is talking about the whole food diet. Which I totally agree with. So to clarify what that really means, besides the obvious, eat food that is whole. No refined grains, only whole ones. No supplements or protein packs, eat your fruit and vegetables to get what you need. Skip the toppings, breading, batters, artificial flavoring and preservatives. Eat the baked potato not the chips. No slushies and more smoothies. You get the idea right? Whole foods.
So to build on that basic concept, I think it is important to make two important guidelines to help with this type of eating plan.
First and foremost, only eat ingredients that you know what they are. If the food you pick up at the store has something called xanthan gum, or sodium acid pyrophosphate, or pyridoxine hydrochloride. Skip it. Don’t eat what you don’t understand.
Obviously apples have vitamins in them. Pyridoxine hydrochloride is technically vitamin b6, but the food we eat should not have to be forced vitamins. Especially when we don’t really have enough research or proof or guidelines that pyridoxine hydrochloride is the best form of vitamin b6. (I’m not a doctor, so I have no clue) It just makes more sense to either get your b6 from a vitamin, or whole foods. Preferably whole foods.
SKIP INGREDIENTS YOU DONT UNDERSTAND.
Secondly, limit your number of ingredients. Have you looked at the list of ingredients lately on your favorite foods? Pop tarts have over 40. Even the amazing salad I had for lunch yesterday only had about 15, all vegetables.
The lower the total number of ingredients you have, most likely the healthier the food is for you. Of course salt still needs to be used in moderation, so this rule is just a guideline. I mean potato chips ingredients still say: Potato, oil, salt. So skip the potato chips, and eat a great alternative, carrot sticks. One ingredient: Carrots.
So in most cases, the lower number of ingredients, the better it is for you.