Whole Foods

Whole Foods

Whole Foods

Why whole foods? Can I have dairy on Level 1? Should I eat eggs? Are nightshades safe to eat?

Why Whole Foods?

A balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes provides many health benefits. 

A 2014 Yale University study found a diet of minimally processed, predominantly plant-based foods improved health. These health benefits contributed to preventing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.

We call these healthy foods “close to nature” because we ingest them in the same form as they grow. For example, an apple in the grocery store looks the same as the apple on the tree. 

Whole foods such as fruits and vegetables are packed full of phytochemicals, nutrients, and fiber. These compounds can help reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases. Because processing tends to break down these nutrients, eating the food raw or as close to natural as possible is the best way to ensure you’re getting enough of them. 

Processed foods, such as those from a box, bag, or bottle, are treated with chemicals and additives to preserve their shelf life, appearance, and flavor. These can decrease the nutrient content of those foods and make it more difficult for your body to absorb the nutrients. These additives can also have direct, unhealthy effects on your body. 

While grocery shopping in preparation for Level 1, you will find whole foods in the store's perimeter. Washing fruits and vegetables remove any pesticides, chemicals, and pathogens. Keep reading to learn more about different food groups.

Can I have dairy on Level 1?

While dairy can be beneficial, some people find it difficult to break down and cause digestive issues. The only dairy we include is cottage cheese and kefir. You may begin to have more variety of cheese during level 2. When reintroducing a food, start with small amounts to see how your body tolerates it.

Cottage cheese contains protein and calcium, making it great fuel! A 4 oz serving of cottage cheese contains about 12 grams of protein.

Which brand and type of cottage cheese should I buy?

We recommend choosing an organic, whole-milk cottage cheese. One brand Betr recommends is Good Culture, but there are many tasty brands that you can find.

Try eating cottage cheese by itself or with:

  • Your morning fruit
  • Betr Strawberry Jam
  • A salad
  • Salt and pepper
  • Tomato and basil

Should I consume eggs during Betr?

Yes, eggs are a high-quality protein and a good source of B12 and choline. 

When looking at studies comparing various types of calorie-matched breakfasts, eggs come out on top.

  • Eating eggs in the morning increases feelings of fullness, causing people to eat less throughout the day.
  • One study done with 50 people found that eating an egg-based breakfast reduced feelings of hunger and decreased the number of calories consumed later in the day compared to breakfast cereal.

Vitamin B12 plays a vital role in creating red blood cells and supports the normal function of nerve cells. Adequate Vitamin B12 levels are also a must for DNA replication.

Choline is an essential nutrient that regulates vital bodily functions, such as forming cell membranes and aiding communication between neurons. 

Pasture-rasied or omega-3 enriched eggs have an even better nutritional profile (Karsten, 2010). They contain higher amounts of omega-3 fat and are much higher in vitamin A and E (Samir, 2009). 

Try including eggs in your meals by making omelets with vegetables, hard-boiled on a salad, alone as a snack, or egg muffins - one of our favorite Betr recipes

Is it safe to consume Nightshades?

Betr nightshades include tomatoes, eggplants, and sweet peppers. 

Although discouraged by some “trendy” diets, there is insufficient research to prove that nightshades are inflammatory. However, everybody is unique, and if you observe sensitivity to any of the nightshades (or ANY food on the Level 1 list), you should avoid them.

No two people's guts are alike. A great way to find out your unique sensitivities is through the elimination process of Level 1. 

Working with thousands of clients, we have found our Level 1 nightshades to be tolerated by most people. One of the many goals of this phase is to try out food combinations and figure out what is suitable for you and your unique body!

Almonds & Walnuts

Of all tree nuts, walnuts have the highest antioxidant content. They are a rich source of healthy monounsaturated fats, omega-3, fiber, and protein to fuel your body with sustainable energy.

Almonds are a great source of protein and have the highest calcium content. Try a handful of these nuts, or use them to add some crunch to your favorite Betr salad or entree.


The goal for meals is to make about 25% protein to 75% veggies/greens with 70% being raw. Adding a side salad to meals or simply adding slices of raw cucumbers, peppers or tomatoes works just as well! 
Pack some nutritional goodness into each day with greens.
Many people who come to Betr Health look at the Level 1 food list and are not familiar with the varieties of our recommended leafy green vegetables. They are an important part of a healthy, fresh Betr lifestyle and are packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber while low in calories.

This makes them the perfect choice to help hit the Betr targeted goal of eating 70% of your vegetables raw each day. Eating a diet rich in leafy greens can offer numerous health benefits including reduced risk of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and mental decline as well as repopulate your beneficial digestive microbiota. 

A recent study by Dr. Ethan Goddard-Borger and Professor Spencer Williams, suggests that leafy greens are essential for feeding good gut bacteria while limiting the ability of bad bacteria to colonize the gut by shutting them out of the prime ‘real estate’. 

So let’s review the Betr Health Level 1 “Greens” Hall of Fame:


Kale is considered one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables on the planet due to its many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. For example, one cup of raw kale packs a whopping 684% of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin K, 206% of the DV for vitamin A and 134% of the DV for vitamin C. It also contains antioxidants such as lutein and beta-carotene, which reduce the risk of diseases caused by oxidative stress. To benefit most from all that kale has to offer, it’s best consumed raw in salads or juicing, since cooking can reduce its nutrient profile.


Spinach is a popular leafy green vegetable and is easily incorporated into a variety of dishes, including soups, sauces, omelettes, smoothies and salads. Pre-washed bags of spinach make this a convenient and easy addition to anyone’s daily menu. Its nutrient profile is impressive with one cup of raw spinach providing 181% of the DV for vitamin K, 56% of the DV for vitamin A and 13% of the DV for manganese. It’s also packed with folate, which plays a key role in red blood cell production and the prevention of neural tube defects in pregnancy.


Cabbage is formed of clusters of thick leaves that come in green, white and purple colors. It belongs to the Brassica family, along with Brussels sprouts, kale and broccoli. Vegetables in this plant family contain glucosinolates, which give them a bitter flavor but have been found to have possible cancer-protective properties. If kept as a full head, cabbage stores the longest of all greens and a leaf can be used as a non-grain “wrap” or “taco shell” substitute. It can also be chopped thinly and added to salads or lightly steamed as a side vegetable.

Beet Greens

Since the Middle Ages, beets have been claimed to be beneficial for health. Indeed, they have an impressive nutrient profile, but while beets are commonly used in dishes, the leaves are often ignored. This is unfortunate, considering that they’re edible and rich in potassium, calcium, riboflavin, fiber and vitamins A and K. Just one cup of cooked beet greens contains 220% of the DV for vitamin A, 37% of the DV for potassium and 17% of the DV for fiber. They also contain the antioxidants beta-carotene and lutein, which may reduce the risk of eye disorders, such as macular degeneration and cataracts. Beet greens can be added to salads, soups or sauteed and eaten as a side dish.

Romaine Lettuce

Romaine lettuce is a common leafy vegetable with sturdy, dark leaves with a firm center rib. It has a crunchy texture and is a popular lettuce, readily available precut and washed. It’s a good source of vitamins A and K, with one cup providing 82% and 60% of the DVs for these vitamins respectively. What’s more, research shows that lettuce may improve levels of blood lipids, potentially reducing the risk of heart disease. Romaine is best used in salads or as a non-grain “wrap substitute.

Swiss Chard

Swiss chard has dark-green leaves with a thick stalk that is red, white, yellow or green. It’s often used in Mediterranean cooking and belongs to the same family as beets and spinach. It has an earthy taste and is rich in minerals and vitamins, such as potassium, manganese and the vitamins A, C and K. Swiss chard also contains a unique flavonoid called syringic acid — a compound which may be beneficial for lowering blood sugar levels. While many people typically throw away the stems of the Swiss chard plant, they’re crunchy and highly nutritious. Try adding all parts of the Swiss chard plant to dishes such as soups or salads.


Arugula is a leafy green and has a slightly peppery taste and small leaves that can easily be incorporated into salads. Like other leafy greens, it’s packed with nutrients such as pro-vitamin A carotenoids and vitamins B9 and K. It’s also one of the best sources of dietary nitrates, a compound that turns into nitric oxide in your body. Though the benefits of nitrates are debated, some studies have found that they may help increase blood flow and reduce blood pressure by widening your blood vessels. Arugula can also be used in omelettes, as a burger topping, juicing, or added to smoothies. 

Fortunately, many leafy greens can be found year round, and they can easily be incorporated into your meals — in surprising and diverse ways. To reap the many impressive health benefits of leafy greens, make sure to include a variety of these vegetables in your diet. 

-Sources cited from Autumn Enloe, MS, RD, LD, The Academy of Culinary Nutrition and The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute

Geeshani Somaratne, Maria J. Ferrua, Aiqian Ye, Francoise Nau, Juliane Floury, Didier Dupont & Jaspreet Singh (2020) Food material properties as determining factors in nutrient release during human gastric digestion: a review, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 60:22, 3753-3769, DOI: 10.1080/10408398.2019.1707770 

Holt, S. H., Miller, J. C., Petocz, P., & Farmakalidis, E. (1995). A satiety index of common foods. European journal of clinical nutrition, 49(9), 675–690. 

Karsten, H., Patterson, P., Stout, R., & Crews, G. (2010). Vitamins A, E and fatty acid composition of the eggs of caged hens and pastured hens. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, 25(1), 45-54. doi:10.1017/S1742170509990214 

Samir Samman, Fan Piu Kung, Lissa M. Carter, Meika J. Foster, Zia I. Ahmad, Jenny L. Phuyal, Peter Petocz, Fatty acid composition of certified organic, conventional and omega-3 eggs, Food Chemistry, Volume 116, Issue 4, 2009,Pages 911-914,

Zeisel, S. H., & da Costa, K. A. (2009). Choline: an essential nutrient for public health. Nutrition reviews, 67(11), 615–623. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2009.00246.x


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