Whole foods are natural foods that come to us as nature made them. They haven't been altered by chemical processes, and they don't have preservatives or additives that prolong their shelf lives or make them taste better. These foods often contain more vitamins, minerals, fiber, complex carbohydrates, and essential fatty acids than processed foods.
How do you tell whole foods from other foods? Generally speaking, whole foods come to you as nature made them. For example, raw and steamed vegetables and fresh fruits are whole foods. Whole wheat, whole grains (brown rice, kasha, millet, and so on), nuts, seeds, legumes (lentils, peas, beans), eggs, fish, lean meats, poultry, and unrefined oils are other examples. Refined foods that you want to steer clear of include white sugar, white rice, and white flour. Often, you're still hungry after you eat refined food. You crave food sooner because you haven't been properly nourished, so you eat more. That means bad news for your yoga-with-weights workout. Bye-bye motivation and energy, hello couch and nap.
Often, but not exclusively, whole foods are grown by using organic or sustainable-farming methods. In a way, they're a step back to the good old days, when people grew their own food and harvested on their own. They ate foods local to their areas and the places where they were born. People used to limit their diets to foods that were in season. They ate fresh food because they had to — they had no refrigerators.
Whole foods are pure and unrefined. They have a higher nutritional density, and they present nutrients to your body in such a way that your body can recognize them, absorb them, and take full advantage of their nutritional power by supplying you with the energy you need to do your yoga-with-weights workouts. When you eat whole foods and include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables as the basis of your diet, you don't have to eat as much to get the vitamins and minerals you need.
A great place to find whole foods is your local farmer's market. Lucky for you, farmer's markets are popping up everywhere in cities and towns. These markets provide wonderful fresh and seasonal foods that, for the most part, are grown locally. Farmer's markets often have live music to shop by and plenty of people worth watching. You can have a feast for your eyes and palate.
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