It's no secret that eating a double cheeseburger and super sized French fry may not be the healthiest choice to meet your nutritional requirements for the day. But what types of foods should we be filling up on and what are some common misconceptions about things like fat that may not be bad for us after all? Megan Cannon is a chapter leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation and is telling us more about another approach to eating called holistic nutrition.
"We're really promoting more natural nutrition, trying to heal the body using things like good food and vitamins that are derived from good food," Cannon said. "In the standard American diet, I feel like people are a lot more afraid of fats than they should be. There are a lot of really good fats that you can source from animals, and so that's really important in order to have good hormone function, in order to have good cholesterol, those things are really important."
We visited the Alternative Food Company in Lubbock, which is a locally based store that carries things things like organic produce, free-range poultry products, and locally raised meat. Cannon said that there are choices out there and simply doing some of your own research can help you become a healthier and smarter consumer.
"They consume too many processed things, so it's really important to have whole foods and in their natural form," Cannon said. "Some good examples of food would be like for energy from fat, coconut oil is really great, from certain types of milk it's great, from the certain types of meat. Basically the quality of the food is the absolute most important thing, and sourcing things locally and knowing where things come from."
Supporting local agriculture, both conventional and newer methods, is always a good way to stay connected with the food you eat and where it comes from.
"So this is PaiDom Beef, he's out of Nazareth and he does only grass fed," Cannon said. "He doesn't give his cows any hormones or any antibiotics or anything like that. So it's really good just to support the local farming."
Cannon said that holistic nutrition is incorporating things into your diet that can reap multiple benefits. For example, honey is a great natural sweetener and can help with those spring time sniffles, too.
"When it comes to eating locally, this raw honey is a really good example. You're going to be more prone to the allergens of the local area when it comes to this kind of thing. It's going to help boost your immune system and kind of get your body used to the things that are in the air around here locally anyways," Cannon said.
What products look like on the shelves can tell consumers a lot about what they're buying as well.
"There are products like peanut oil and peanut butter that can support the local agriculture as well. When it comes to peanut butter, if you are trying to watch your figure or anything like that, the fats that are in peanut oil, they're not necessarily bad for you," Cannon said. "But what you want to look out for is the sugar content, and here's a really good example. When there is oil on top, that means that there wasn't sugar added. That's just a quick way, a little glance. Usually when there is sugar added, you'll see it on the label, but also the sugar will soak up the extra oil."
And the old adage 'an apple a day keeps the doctor away' still rings true. Raw fruits and vegetables are vitamin and nutrient-packed, and provide unprocessed sugars.
"And a really good go-to to try to have unprocessed foods is always fruits and vegetables, they're great," Cannon said. "It's good to get things like this, like organic produce. They aren't going to have any genetically modified ingredients, they're going to be grown the right way, they aren't going to be sprayed with pesticides and all of those things matter when it comes to your body processing. It's going to really help your body in the long run when it comes to your body not having to process all of those chemicals."
Now eating a balanced diet of whole grains, proteins, fruits and vegetables is a great start to feeling and looking your best. After all, we are what we eat.