Real Food is what feeds and nourishes you. But, you might have your own definition of real food depending on what you want or need in your life. You may crave energy. You may want strength. You may need balance or healing. Some people would consider beauty or love essential food for their lives.
Real Food for me and for this particular article is food in its most natural state; it is unprocessed or undergoes minimal processing. Real food does not need a label or fancy packaging. A lemon is a lemon. An onion is an onion. Real Food is whole food that is life sustaining.
Whole Foods: “Foods that have been minimally refined or processed, and are eaten in their natural state. In general nothing is removed from, or added to, the foodstuffs in preparation. Wholegrain cereal products are made by milling the complete grain.”
Our bodies were designed to digest real food. To me, the best real foods are in a special class called powerfoods.
Health Benefits of Real Food:
1. Full of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals to build and nourish the body.
If you research supplements carefully you will find that the better, more expensive supplements include a wider and more sophisticated array of ingredients. Manufacturers are actually trying to get the combination and chemical structure closer and closer to the whole food state. You might ask at some point: why not just eat the food?
2. No added fat.
Too much fat makes you fat. The high levels of fat added to processed foods and junk food is the ‘bad’ kind that has now been shown to increase heart disease and obesity. Real foods like nuts, on the other hand, do have fat in them, but it is often the ‘good kind’ that has been shown to actually help weight loss.
3. No added sugar.
White sugar (and similar high processed sugars) makes you fat, creates anxiety and depression, increases diabetes, causes heart problems, rots your teeth, and suppresses your immune system. Processed foods almost always have sugar added to them since companies know it is addictive, and they want you to eat as much as possible. Most real foods (except meat) have carbohydrates in them, but usually in lower quantities. Even when whole foods contain higher amounts of carbohydrates and sugars, like fruit, for example, the soluble fiber in real food slows down our bodies’ absorption of both. We call these smart carbs. Translation? You get energy, but without the problems that come with excess sugar and carbs!
4. No added salt.
To much salt is hard on the kidneys and creates high blood pressure. It ends up being one more toxin the body must deal with.
Real foods have minimal amount of naturally occurring sodium which is actually good for the body. Most processed foods have added salt to increase the flavor (even if it is very sweet) so you will eat more, and eat more often.
5. Real food looks, smells, and feels great.
I love strolling through the produce department of the supermarket or health food store. Seeing mountains of reds, greens, oranges, and yellows is not just a feast for my eyes, but for my nose as well. Even my body resonates with this offering of real food nourishment. I fill my shopping cart with these lively fruits and vegetables.
Going to the farmer’s market is even more fun! It is colorfully alive with tables filled with vibrant green lettuce, bright red tomatoes, cherries and apples, fuzzy peaches, yellow beans, sweet blueberries, juicy raspberries, and pickling cucumbers. Just thinking of all of this wonderful fresh food is making my mouth water.
Paying at the grocery store is not as much fun: waiting among lines of moms, teenagers, and businessmen with their carts piled high with packages and cans.
This picture is of me showing what I feel is real food compared to what real food is NOT. Click to watch the complete demonstration.
7 Guidelines to Get a “Real Food” Program Going:
1. Don’t eat food products containing ingredients that are unpronounceable.
2. Shop at the farmer’s market or grow your own food if you can. Your food will be fresher and have the most nutrition–with zero preservatives.
3. Eat Mostly plants, particularly, lots of greens.
4. Do not eat food products that make health claims. Most of these processed food claims are untrustworthy. Remember those margarine claims about it being so good for us? Then we found out margarine was giving people heart attacks.
5. Pay more for the best nutritious food you can find. This will sometimes mean buying organic. Much of the population who are overweight are eating way too much. They would do better health-wise not just by eating less food, but foods with a higher nutritional value. Eating real food gives the body what it truly craves: more nutrition.
6. Learn to cook your own healthy meals. It’s fun! You do not need to be a rocket scientist to make simple healthy meals like I do.
7. Eat a wide variety of real foods. Try adding new vegetables or fruits. You will get a wider spectrum of nutrition.
Want to learn more? Check out excerpts from my ebook in the article Green Means Lean
What Do Your Consider Real? Please leave your comments below!