Whole foods are those that are unprocessed and unrefined, or processed and refined as little as possible before being consumed. As such, whole foods do not contain added ingredients – such as sugar, salt, or fat.
Whole foods are not necessarily organic, nor are organic foods necessarily whole, although they do share a number of traits, such as an avoidance of chemically-assisted agricultural techniques.
Because of the lack of basic processing, most whole foods have a very short shelf life.
Examples of whole foods include unrefined grains; fruits and vegetables; unprocessed meat, poultry, and fish; and non-homogenized milk.