I have always just assumed that the concept of real food was fairly simple. However, the more I talk with people about nutrition, the more I’ve come realize that most people really have no idea what they are actually eating, nor do they care. They rely on others to prepare “food” for them and when you talk to them about grocery shopping and cooking they are relatively clueless. We have become a society that allows marketing and price to determine what we eat and we trust, because our government ensures us that it is safe to consume. (McDonalds, Subway, IHOP, Healthy Choice, etc…) Since the early 80s they have told us to base our diet on “healthy” grains, low fat, and moderate protein. Yet, year after year the obesity rate grows, as does obesity related diseases.
So, let’s talk about real food. Real food, is food that is not processed, refined, or preserved. It has very few ingredients or better yet, doesn’t need to list ingredients because it is what it is. (I.e. an apple) Real food is perishable. (Twinkies last decades vs. a banana that last days) It is food that has not been GENETICALLY MODIFIED like 80% of all corn, wheat, and soybeans grown in the US nor, does it contain ingredients that you have to have a degree in chemistry to pronounce. Real food is just the stuff that God put on this earth for us to eat before science started jacking it all up.
How do you start eating real food again? Well, first you have to stop eating all that fast food as well as “TV” dinner style garbage. Yes, that includes all those “healthy” and “smart” dinners in the frozen section. Next, you have to learn how to cook. Don’t tell me that you don’t have time. You just have to schedule and prepare ahead of time. There are some fantastic resources online to provide you with healthy recipes and tips on how to prepare them. My suggestion is to find a few that are simple and fast and let them be your “go to” meals. Next, you will need to spend some time at the grocery store or local market learning how to shop. Real food tends to be on the perimeter of the store. (Produce, meat, and dairy) I typically avoid the center of the store except for items like healthy fats and frozen veggies. Look for SEASONAL fruit and vegetables they tend to be more reasonably priced. Also, the local farmer’s market or local CSA’S (Community Supported Agriculture) are excellent places to find organically grown veggies and grass-fed and free range meat and poultry.
Nutrition is relatively simple; you just have to re-learn how to eat what is truly healthy. There was a time, in our grandparent’s or great grandparent’s generation, that it was just a normal way of life to eat a diet rich in local, seasonal fruits and vegetables and locally raised meats and poultry. We have simply forgotten how to eat that way. I say start now, choose real food.