Healthy Food in Gainesville, FL
24 Feb 2022
As kids, we’re taught that we should eat healthy food and avoid unhealthy food. And most of us learn by example. Fruits and vegetables are healthy. Cheesecake and Pixy Stix are unhealthy. As we grow older, we form generalizations about what constitutes healthy and unhealthy food based on our experiences. For most of us, it often boils down to “Healthy foods are the ones you *don’t* enjoy eating.”
But what exactly is it that makes a food healthy or unhealthy? Great question. Glad you asked.
What Makes a Food Healthy or Unhealthy?
At their simplest, healthy foods are the food items that are rich in nutrition and have a beneficial effect on our overall health. They give us energy, help us maintain our health, and make us feel good.
Unhealthy foods, on the other hand, remove benefits and may actually deliver harm to our bodies. Unhealthy foods are not conducive to maintaining health and may, in fact, leave us worse off in the short- or long-term.
That said, there are no concrete definitions for healthy and unhealthy that apply across the board to everyone. For example, whole wheat products are perfectly nourishing for most folks but can be deadly to people with gluten allergies.
In his book The Obesity Code, physician and author Jason Fung outlines the food groups that specifically lead to obesity and diabetes. The book demonstrates, through long-term studies and large controlled trials, how our fear of fats has been blown out of proportion because folks misunderstood the factual research findings. A lot of “practical advice” on eating healthy is based on the ingrained assumption that fat and calories are bad, period.
According to Fung, the measure of “healthy” is a food that is naturally occurring and goes through minimal processing. These healthy foods include whole grains nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, animal fats, and dairy. Most of these are high in fiber content, which streamlines the digestion process and aids the absorption of nutrients. They are also low in artificially-made sugars, which reduces the formation of fat and helps us keep our bodies lean.
But wait a second. Animal fats and dairy are healthy? Actually, yes. They provide protein, calcium, and other nutrients to help build bone and muscle. The naturally-occurring fats also stimulate early satiety, which means they prompt us to stop eating earlier (and thus consume less).
This principle is actually the basis of several famous and successful diet plans, including the plant-based diet (which consists of foods derived from plants and minimal amounts of animal products), the Mediterranean diet (which focuses on fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and moderate amounts of fish and dairy), and the paleo diet (which attempts to simulate the dinner menu of our hunter-gatherer ancestors).
On the other end of the spectrum are highly processed foods, such as canned goods, savory or sugary snacks, calorie-laden drinks, breakfast cereals, and microwave/ready meals. Intense processing strips away the valuable nutrients from these food while adding sugars and preservatives to the mix.
At the risk of painting with a broad brush, you can probably assume in most cases that “processed” means “unhealthy.” Natural foods aren’t inherently unhealthy—even trans fats from dairy products are better for you than highly processed unsaturated fats.
Eating Healthy in Gainesville, FL
If you’re looking for healthy food options in Gainesville, FL, you may want to give Bolay a try. Our Bolay Bols provide a nutrient-rich, exciting, and flavorful combinations of health vegetables like kale, quinoa, and brussels sprouts with just the right amount of premium proteins.