You may be surprised to hear it from us, but whole grains are not the center of the universe. While switching from refined grains to whole has many proven health benefits, it’s only one part of the picture. Want some ideas for others?

  • Eat more whole foods. Choose straightforward brown rice instead of rice crackers more often, and whole fruit over fruit juice. Whole foods exercise your body’s digestive system in healthy ways, while modern processed food is, to some extent, already pre-digested.

  • Add cultured foods to your diet. Why does a glass of milk spoil in mere hours, but a round of traditional cheese can stay sound for months? It’s because the culturing process develops good bacteria that crowd out the bad bacteria. As a bonus, most traditional cultural processes also make nutrients more available. Enjoy good cheeses, high-quality yogurt, sauerkraut and other cultured foods to fortify your good bacteria.

  • Dance, walk, move. Activity is not just a way to burn calories: it’s also important for moving nutrients into your cells and moving wastes out of them. So every small move you make helps – even when your activity doesn’t reach weight-loss or aerobic-health levels.

  • Get close and personal with your food. The act of cooking a meal from scratch infuses food with emotion and meaning that nourishes us as much as the food itself. Growing your own food, or shopping at farms, farmer’s markets or local food producers has the same effect. Too busy? Make time on Sunday to cook a big pot of soup with the kids or your partner, then enjoy the fruits of your labor on rushed weekdays.

Happy 2009 to all. May the New Year bring you health and happiness. (Cindy)

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