REAL food is essential to optimal health. But unfortunately, most of our modern dietary habits focus on marketing and convenience rather than true nourishment.
Modern foods are over-processed in a factory, packaged in colorful cardboard boxes or plastic bottles, shipped across the world, and designed to have an infinite shelf life.
‘Real' food is the food we humans crave and have been thriving on for millennia: home-cooked stews, savory meats, eggs with bright orange yolks, cream, butter, seasonal fruits ripe with juicy sweetness, and veggies so fresh you can taste the earth in which they grew.
These foods will spoil if you don't eat them – and this is a GOOD thing. Unlike modern foods, ‘real' food is teeming with life.
You will read different terms thrown around on this site that all point to ‘real' food. This includes words like nutrient-dense, traditional, organic, local, grass-fed, pasture-raised, bio-dynamic, and more.
If you feel discouraged because you don't know the lingo, don't like to cook, think it's too expensive, or feel like it's all too overwhelming – I've created a meal planning app that can help.
Otherwise, hop in the kitchen and familiarize yourself with ‘real' food and the neat gadgets you haven't (yet) had a chance to use. Here are some tips to start with.
Sixteen Ways to Adopt a Real Food Lifestyle
1 – Start with what inspires you. Maybe it's enjoying real butter or perhaps it's beginning the day with fried eggs and bacon. You don't have to adopt a ‘real' food lifestyle all at once. Your body will begin to thank you for eating nutrient dense food and ask for more.
2 – Eat with the season. Food is your best preventative medicine so use your meals as an opportunity to cultivate your own strength and wellness. Visit your local farmer's markets or sign up for a CSA farm box, to insure you are consuming local, seasonal foods that provide the right nutrients at the right time of year. For example, in many locales, citrus is in season in the winter when our immune systems can certainly use a vitamin C boost. By the way, eating with the season not only good for your body but it will save your budget too.
3 – Get to know your local farmers. Talk to them about what they do. Ask them what their animals eat and how they are raised. Ask them how they deal with pests on fruit and what are the best veggies this season. Most will be happy to answer your questions, and you will truly know the source of your food.
4 – Choose quality over quantity. This helps to prevent overeating (yes, really) and reduce your food bill. When you eat nutrient-dense foods instead of modern convenience foods your body actually can get everything it needs from much less food.
5 – Purge your pantry. Get rid of the junk. Stop eating and buying processed foods TODAY.
6 – Eat what your great-great grandmother ate. Or what someone else's g-g-grandma if you prefer their style of cuisine.
7 – Include some saturated fats with every meal. Like butter, cream, coconut oil, bacon, etc. Olive, seed, and nut oils are good, but can go rancid easily and should not be heated to high temperatures. DON'T consume vegetable oils including canola, corn, or soybean oil.
8 – Eat cultured foods. Every day. This helps to cultivate a healthy intestinal flora.
9 – Soak, sour, or sprout grains. If you eat them. A little forethought will help to optimize digestibility and neutralize the anti-nutrient, phytic acid.
10 – Limit your sweets. Instead, use minimally processed and nutrient-rich sweeteners such as raw honey, grade B maple syrup, or unrefined cane sugar called Rapadura.
11 – Choose raw milk and cream from grass-fed cows.
12 – Don't fear (real) salt. Choose a high quality sea salt, like a moist grey Celtic. It's full of essential trace minerals and does not contribute to health issues like its powdery white modern cousin.
13 – Consume broth with abandon! Broth made from scratch is easy to make, rich in minerals and gelatin, adds flavorful depth to your meals with soups, stews, and sauces, and is a money saver too.
14 – Eat meat, but know your source. Factory raised meat and poultry should be entirely avoided, which means passing on meat at most restaurants. Choose fish that are wild and sustainable.
15 – If you are a vegetarian, take extra care to follow #1-12 above. Consider taking a cod liver oil supplement for fat soluble vitamins not found in vegetable sources.
16 – Eat with joy! How we eat is just as important as what we eat, so be present while you are munching and enjoy every bite.
You may find many ideas on this site that conflict with mainstream nutritional teachings – because many of the commonly held ‘facts' surrounding modern diet are flatly wrong.
For example, did you know that saturated fat is not the root of all evil and is, in fact, essential to human health? Or that soy is an unacceptable food source unless it's been properly fermented?
Welcome to real food, where your plate is blessed with nourishing delicious morsels, and your dinner conversation might occasionally delve into the stark contrast between modern dietary politics and what actually tastes good and feels right in your body.