What is a SOUL diet?
You may have heard the term “Eating Soulfully” or “Soul Diet”. Eating Soulfully and a Soul Diet isn’t the same as the Soul Food found in the Deep South with fried foods. Eating Soulfully and a Soul Diet is a holistic approach and an answer to the Standard American Diet (SAD). That is why it is called the Standard American Diet with an acronym of SAD, which is very fitting in my opinion. The answer to eating a very SAD diet is to eat Seasonal, Organic, Unprocessed, and Local (SOUL) foods.
Eating seasonal foods is exactly what it sounds like. It means to eat foods that are in season in the area where you currently are. If you are unsure of what foods are seasonal in your area, there is a fantastic app that you can get at the Android Play Store or the Apple App Store that is called the Seasonal Food Guide. This app shows what fruits and vegetables are in season in your area, all you should do is list what season you’re looking for and what area you live in.
Organic fruits and vegetables are vegetables that are grown without any chemicals, such as pesticides, herbicides, and synthetic fertilizers. These fruits and vegetables typically have a higher ratio of nutrients and lower exposure to cancer causing chemicals that can be found on conventionally grown fruits and vegetables. If you cannot buy all of your produce organic, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) puts out a yearly list with the worst contaminated produce, called the “Dirty Dozen”. The EWG also puts out a yearly list with the least contaminated produce, called the “Clean Fifteen”. If possible, it is best to purchase the produce that is listed on the Dirty Dozen list as organic.
Dirty Dozen 2017:
11. Sweet bell peppers
Clean Fifteen 2017:
1. Sweet corn
6. Sweet peas (frozen)
11. Honeydew Melon
One of the worst things about the SAD diet is that most of the foods consumed by Americans is heavily processed. When I speak of processing, I am referring to the additives, hormones (think meat here), and high fructose corn syrup that is added to foods. Eating a diet that is heavy on processed foods causes major stress to your body and can increase your risk of cancer, diabetes, and metabolic disease, among other illnesses.
Whole foods are foods that have been processed as little as possible and includes no additives or artificial substances. Organic meat is meat where the animal was not given any growth hormones, antibiotics, or de-wormers and were free range animals.
Local means just that. Purchase foods from local suppliers. You can find these local suppliers at farmer’s markets and CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture). You can find a list of CSA’s in your area by going to www.localharvest.org/csa.
By transitioning to a more SOUL diet, you can improve your health and also help the environment. Not to mention that you help support your local community.
So, in conclusion, if you are tired of eating a SAD diet, start incorporating foods that are seasonal, organic, unprocessed, and local into your daily meal plan.