Eating a whole foods plant-based diet is one of the healthiest choices you can make. If you aren’t ready to take the leap, do your best to consume as many foods as possible in their natural form. More and more studies are linking processed foods to health issues including an increased risk of disease and mortality.
Americans continue to consume more processed foods. Things like packaged snacks, soft drinks, ready-made meals, and sugary cereals, many of which contain artificial colors, added sweeteners, emulsifiers, and other non-food ingredients. Highly processed plant-based foods aren't much better.
Studies show that eating processed food can lead to an increase in the rate of cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, diabetes and stroke. On the other hand, a higher consumption of unprocessed or minimally processed foods is associated with lower risks of disease.
Steer your grocery cart away from packaged foods like prepared and quick meal alternatives and load up on real foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains instead.
If you don’t have a lot of time to cook, there are ways to make quick, healthy meals. Purchase pre-cut vegetables, cherry or grape tomatoes, packaged salads or slaw mixes, pre-cut fruit, and fresh spiralized veggies. Look for quick cooking grain mixes or low sodium soups. Check out the frozen section for pre-cut, riced, or stir fry vegetables - just plain. Not with added sauces. Frozen fruit is good as well.
In the canned food aisle consider sliced beets, artichoke hearts, and beans - garbanzo, black, kidney, and etc. Pasta sauce and whole wheat, rice or bean based pastas are good options as well, in moderation. Read labels and select no sodium or low sodium options and those without added sugar or oil.
Take a proactive approach to your health. One way is to make conscious decisions about what you eat and use to fuel your body. Eating whole foods can help you feel better, have more energy and potentially avoid or reverse disease. Making changes can be hard at first but once you get into the routine it’ll be much easier.