What Are “Natural Foods” For Fat Loss?
One of my guiding principles of healthy nutrition is to eat “whole foods, as close to their natural state as possible” 80% of the time. But what do I actually mean by “natural” and what should you be aiming for?
What Are “Natural Foods”?
I realise that “natural” is a term you might see in food marketing and on food labels, so I’ll explain my definition.
I define natural foods as foods that nature has designed for us to eat (if we choose to), and that have the biggest health benefits when they are eaten with nothing added and nothing taken away.
Natural foods aren’t processed. They are recognisable as being in their natural form.
This isn’t the same as a food containing “natural ingredients”.
I’m talking about single-ingredient whole foods that are as nature intended (barring preparation and cooking in some cases).
8 Benefits Of Natural Foods
There are lots of reasons to eat more natural foods and crowd out the amount of processed, manmade foods you eat. Here are some:
Choosing And Cooking “Natural” Foods
Want to aim for my “80% of your food from naturalfoods” guideline?
The best advice I can give is to start shopping from the outside of the supermarket.
That’s where you’ll find fruit, vegetables, salad stuff, eggs, meat, fish, and complex carbohydrates like grains and pulses.
Of course, you’ll still need to go down the aisles, but you’ll be amazed by how many of them you can miss completely when you cut back on crisps, sweets, snacks, ready meals, and manmade food.
If you’re lucky enough to have a good butcher, greengrocer, farmers’ market, or bulk store where you live then do support it by shopping there.
Buy grains, dried pulses, legumes, and beans in bulk as these store for a long time and are really useful for making slow cooker recipes.
Stock Up And Buy Fresh
Stock up on meat, fish, and seafood and freeze what you don’t need.
Buy fresh vegetables and fruit, but don’t forget that frozen is fantastic.
In fact, frozen fruit/berries/veg can be a better option especially for out of season stuff.
Freezing retains the nutrients and means you can use what you want, without the rest going off.
If you do have vegetables to use up, make soup, stir fries, or big salads.
Shop From These 6 Natural Food Categories
1. Pulses, Legumes, Beans
Dried or canned beans, pulses, and legumes are some of the healthiest foods you can eat – and they are so versatile. Stock up on your favourites and pledge to try new ones.
Kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils, split peas etc are great for making curries and chilis, for adding to salads, or for making into dips and spreads.
2. Nuts And Seeds
All nuts and seeds have different nutrient benefits, including being a good source of healthy fats and fibre.
Be aware that they are high in fat, so eat in moderation, but definitely choose these over other high-fat foods.
There are so many wholegrains to choose from, so don’t get stuck with rice, oats, and cous cous.
Even if you eat a gluten-free diet, there are several grains you can eat. Wholegrains are low fat, complex carbohydrates with extra nutrition in the form of vitamins and minerals.
4. Vegetables, Leafy Greens, Fruits, Berries
Eat as many vegetables as you can.
There is no downside! All fruit and vegetables have different nutrient benefits, including vitamins, minerals, fibre, and antioxidants.
Try to “eat the rainbow”, and challenge yourself to try a new vegetable every time you do a food shop.
5. Meat And Fish
If you are an omnivore, choose lean protein from a sustainable source.
This is not just an ethical and environmental preference. Wild or sustainable meat and fish also has a better nutritional profile.
Oily fish helps you get enough omega-3 fat into your diet.
Eggs are a complete protein and contain a nice amount of healthy fat, plus tons of fat-soluble vitamins and other micronutrients in the yolk.
That’s it from me this week, I hope you enjoyed these tips – if you need any extra help with your nutrition please get in touch today.