Whole food does NOT mean the entire package

Whole food does NOT mean the entire package

I met with my nutritionist this morning, immediately following my workout. Not sure why I scheduled it that way: I suppose I thought sweating and panting might make me look thinner. It’s been at least 6 months since I met with Rachel. She’s a genius; she’s the only person who could get through to me that nutrition is a life change,  a lifestyle, not the fad of the week. She taught me valuable lessons like, “Eat whole foods whenever you can, preferably all of the time.” When I first began meeting with Rachel, I wasn’t really clear on what “whole” foods were. I thought in some vague, unused portion of my mind, that whole food was the entire package, not just a portion of it. Turns out I was wrong. She taught me about portions, number and size, and about just plain common sense. Truthfully, she changed my life.

I flew solo for the latter part of 2010, confident that I had internalized all of Rachel’s lessons and sure that I could manage my behaviors thank-you-very-much. Again, turns out I was wrong. I am still amazed at how strongly emotions govern our food intake. And by “our,” I mean all of us lucky folks who eat when we’re happy, sad, bored, stressed, or just awake. No, I think there’s actually a subgroup of us that eats during sleep. Yikes. I don’t think I’m a part of that group, but would I know if I were?

Anyway, I walked into Rachel’s office this morning, trying desperately to suck it in and look toned all at once. I sheepishly looked at her, prepared for the look of disapproval she’d surely throw my way when she saw how I had let myself go to complete and utter ruin. All she did was to get up, hug me and invite me to sit down while I explained the reason for my visit. “What?” I thought in disbelief. “Is it possible that she really doesn’t see that my rear end has spread into the neighboring zip code? Is it possible that she can’t tell I slacked on my workouts for nearly an entire month?” I was pleasantly relieved.

“Well,” I stammered. “I think I just need to tweak my habits a bit, get my perspective back in line,” I lied to her face. Actually, I was there because I spent an entire half hour yesterday looking online for a whole, organic Snickers bar.  No such thing, by the way. I was way off kilter and had to be snatched back into the real world. So she and I sat there in her office for about a half hour. She didn’t tell me anything I don’t already know; she just reminded me, reviewed the basics with me. I left feeling much better.

For those of you who need a refresher course but don’t have time to meet with Rachel, take a look at these few pointers:

–  WHOLE foods are those that come from nature, not a processing plant. Free-range chicken, no steroids or hormones, is a whole food. Chicken-in-a-Biskit crackers…not.

–  Any time CHEESE is spelled with a “Z” in a food product, it’s not really cheese (e.g. CHEEZ-Whiz, Cheezits). 

–  “All natural ingredients” labeled on a package of food does NOT necessarily mean that the food is good for you. Chlorine is an all-natural product. So is animal fat.

–  The louder the package crackles, the worse the food is for you. Ever try to sneak potato chips? It sounds like static electricity in a megaphone, run through concert speakers.

There. I just saved you about $100.

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