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Becoming a quality 'qualitarian'

I-5 Design and Manufacture

Using a list for grocery shopping can be helpful for remembering which food items to purchase, but is your list optimized for your health? 

This week on “Take Care,” Ashley Koff talks about the importance of selecting and incorporating quality foods into your diet.  Koff is a registered dietician and creator of the website ashleykoffapproved.com, which provides viewers with a comprehensive and thorough guide to quality eating.

Click "Read More" to hear our interview with Ashley Koff.

A term that Koff often uses in describing her dietary approach is “qualitarian.”  Koff defines the word as “someone who believes that better quality choices are the key to optimal health.”

Qualitarians are careful in selecting what they eat.  Because grocery stores typically have many versions of the same food item, qualitarians look for foods that are the least processed and closest to their natural state.  Purchasing fresh vegetables instead of canned vegetables is an example of a quality choice.

The reason Koff gives for selecting minimally processed foods is that “at the core, the body wants what it recognizes.  When it recognizes something, it knows what to do with it.”

In other words, whole foods are more familiar to the body than processed foods that combine multiple ingredients and chemicals.

In addition to quality eating, Koff says there are three other keys to eating that make up a healthy diet -- quantity, nutrient balance, and frequency.  Combined with quality, they make up what Koff identifies as the “four pillars” of healthy eating. 

While you can control what you purchase at the grocery store, it is harder to select quality foods at restaurants.

“One of the key pieces when you’re eating out is to ask questions and look for no hormones or grass-fed [meat],” Koff says.

Koff says her nutritional plan is fairly easy to follow, and can be used by people who are already following other diets.

“There is no perfection when it comes to nutrition,” but “there are always better quality choices,” Koff says.