Whole Foods and How to Create a Whole Hearty Kitchen?

Whole foods, balance and delicious meals which provide our minds and bodies with the nourishment it needs to thrive are the essence of Whole Hearty Kitchen.

photo of our kitchen at home

So this is my kitchen; which I love and I spend a huge amount of time in. In fact, this really is the WHK headquarters and even now where I sit and type this blog post!

I know it may sound corny, but this space really is the heart of our home. We spend the most amount of time here, together as a family or with friends (when allowed of course!). This sacred space in our home is where I can create, practice and play. However, as lucky as I am to have this amazing area to work in, this isn’t what a whole hearty kitchen is all about.

What is a Whole Hearty Kitchen?

A Whole Hearty Kitchen isn’t about what your space looks like, the latest tools, gadgets or food fads. A Whole Hearty Kitchen is:

  • The concious choices we make around how we eat and enjoy food
  • Finding tasty ways to provide our our minds and bodies with the nourishment it needs in order to thrive.
  • Eating lots of whole foods
  • Enjoying a balanced diet

These really are the core values that we live by when it comes to the food we eat which has been part of our food journey since our daughter’s diabetes diagnosis. If you would like to read more about this then why not check out these other posts:

By incorporating more whole foods and enjoying balance in our food choices, not only makes us all happier but alongside other aspects, has really helped with our overall daily diabetes care.

Moving to a Whole Hearty Kitchen

With a diabetes diagnosis, illness, food sensitivity or concern, one of the first things we look at is the food we eat. Unfortunately for most of us, we tend to approach this from a perspective of removal rather than inclusion or considering what we could be adding to our diets.

It is so easy to get bogged down in all the latest fads around food, what is good for us, bad for us, detox cleanses, low carb, Keto, no sugar, fasting and it goes on and on. Now, I am the first to put my hand up that I have been swept along in many of the seemingly convincing arguments for better health and blood glucose management. However, what diabetes has taught me is that excluding food groups wasn’t the way forward for us and in fact, just made everyone miserable.

I have learnt that:

  • The inclusion of all food and balance in our choices is key.
  • To achieve balance, no food is off-limits but when, how, what or with, has definitely become part of our consideration.
  • To help with blood glucose management and keep HB1AC in a good range by
    • Moving to a whole food diet with a lower glycemic index
    • Using some alternatives/replacements to reduce the net carbohydrate count

Whole foods have become an essential tool in helping us to eat healthier as well as supporting our daughter’s diabetes care. These foods are the essence of Whole Hearty Kitchen and the recipes shared here.

But What are whole foods and how can you start to include more of them in your diet?

What are Whole Foods?

Whole foods are foods in their purest form. They retain their nutritious and fibrous qualities, meaning that in general they haven’t been processed in any way.

Whole foods are:

  • Fruit and Vegetables
    • All types and varieties of
    • Fresh, frozen, canned or dried
  • Wholegrains
    • These are grains that have not had their outer husk removed.
    • Some examples are wholewheat flour, wholewheat bread and pasta, brown rice, rolled oats, quinoa, bulagar, freekah, buckwheat
  • Nuts and Seeds
    • All types and varieties
    • In thier whole form or as spreads
    • Some examples are cashew, hazlenut, almonds, walnuts, flax, poppy, hemp, sesame, sunflower, chia seed,
  • Legumes
    • These are all types of beans, lentils and peas
    • Dried, tinned or ready prepared packets
    • Some examples are chickpeas, kidney, canalleni, pinto, black, butter beans, tofu as derived from soy bean, all varieties of lentils, peanuts and peas
  • Meat, Fish and Eggs
    • All types and varities

The Benefits to including more whole foods in your diet?

Here is a list of some of the benefits we have found by including lots more whole foods into our diet:

  • They make great substitutes in cooking and baking. They can replace sugar, flour, animal fats and even be used as sauce thickeners.
  • Helps us to decrease the amount of trans and saturated fat we consume. This is because whole foods are lower in these type of fats and higher in healthy fats such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats
  • Increases our dietary fiber intake as most whole foods are rich in fiber. These also help us to feel fuller for longer and maanage blood sugar levels
  • Naturally increases the nutrients we are giving our minds and bodies, provididng the nourishment it needs in order to thrive.
  • Has made carb counting more accurate as I know exactly whats in our meals.
  • Potentailly helps to reduce the error rate for insulin delivery as wholefoods have helped us to reduce the overall carb count in many meals.

How can I include more whole foods in my diet?

Now, this is the part where making balanced choices comes in.

Don’t ditch the processed – We still use processed ingredients and processed foods. For convenience and time, there are many off the shelf products which are absolutely brilliant. But it’s just about being aware of ingredients and understanding the impact they can have on blood glucose levels.

Don’t try to make massive changes all in one go – Take it slowly by making small progressive changes instead. strive to achieve a balance between convenience and whole foods to create satisfying, balanced, nutritious, and above all else delicious meals.

Try replacing the processed white carbs with their whole-grain alternatives. Maybe just start with bread and slowly work up to pasta or rice. However, we have found that some of the wholegrains have different insulin requirements and may require less i.e. brown rice pasta. This process requires patience and logging of insulin given against blood glucose levels. So be ready for experimenting and perhaps have to make a few adjustments before you get the right formula.

Include lots of vegetables with every meal – try to make them the star of the show. Try cooking vegetables in different ways from boiling or steaming. Stir fry or roasting brings out lots of different flavours. Try adding stock, herbs and spices.

Check out WHK Sides Recipes for some extra inspiration

Try adding a legume – like a tin of beans (not baked beans) or lentils into a dish you always make like a spaghetti bolognese or chilli

Try a sugar alternative – there are lots of sugar replacements widely available which I use in my Sweet Treats section of WHK

Whole Foods and a Whole Hearty Kitchen

Anyone can create a whole hearty kitchen. Diabetes doesn’t mean that you have to stop eating the foods you love or restrict yourself by cutting out food groups. By adding more foods into your diet, making some changes slowly and being open to expereimnenting will allow you to explore what you like and how you want to eat.

By making some small adjustments and finding your balance can have many positives and in particular, can form part of your overall diabetes care. For some, this could be quite a radical change in eating habits whereas for others its tweaking an already balanced diet. However, wherever you are in your food journey,  set realistic goals! You don’t want any changes that you implement to become a fad that you easily pick up and drop. This is about making more of a long-term commitment to yourself (and maybe family) that through the inclusion of whole foods and balance you can provide your mind and body with the nourishment it needs to thrive.

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