I think sometimes that I am a bit naive in thinking that people understand what I am talking about when I refer to real food. 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 realize that most people really have no idea what they actually eat. They mostly rely on others to prepare “food” for them and when you talk to them about grocery shopping and cooking they are relatively clueless. We are a society that allows marketing and price to determine what we eat and we trust that they are telling us the truth. (McDonalds, Subway, Healthy Choice, etc…)
So, let’s talk about real food. It 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 just what it says it is. (I.e. an apple) It is not food that has not been genetically modified like 80% of all corn 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. My wife and I both work and run a business and we have three kids, 16, 13 and 2! 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 olive oil 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 are excellent places to find organically grown veggies and grass-fed and free range meat and poultry.
Finally, I have said this before but it bears repeating, don’t be afraid to question what you have been taught about nutrition and don’t get caught up in some fad diet. Nutrition is really simple; you just have to re-learn how to eat 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.