A real food diet is based on eating nutritious, natural foods that nourish you without filling your body with chemicals. It’s minimally processed, and while it may include cooked, frozen, or even canned food, it contains minimal preservatives. Even some packaged foods are real foods: brown rice, oatmeal, frozen vegetables, coffee.
“About 70% of the “food” available for purchase at your local supermarket isn’t food.”
– Food Renegade
Keep It Simple
If the label only has one ingredient, you’re on the right track. Some people simply refuse to purchase anything where the label has more than five ingredients.
Think of it this way: if you had the harvested foods and time and equipment to prepare them in your own kitchen, could you? Could your great-great-grandparent have done it?
A real food diet contains very few “white” foods, since highly processed sugars and flours that require bleaching just don’t count as real foods. Although there’s always arguement as to where exactly the line between real and processed foods lies, nobody (who doesn’t work for a flour company) would try to argue that today’s processed flour is an entirely natural food.
However, your great-great-grandparent ate ground grain. It just wasn’t bleached and “fortified” with artificial nutrients of questionable value.
What Do Most People Consider A Real Food Diet?
- mostly fresh, whole foods
- whole foods preserved by freezing, drying or canning, without chemicals or preservatives
- locally-raised vegetables and fruits
- lots of leafy greens
- organic, whenever possible
- dairy, including milk, cheese, and unsweetened yogurt
- whole grains
- unsweetened (minimal natural sweeteners such as honey and maple syrup)
- wild-caught/free-range seafood and meat (ideally local)
- no artificially sweetened beverages
What’s NOT Part Of This Way Of Eating?
- artificially sweetened anything… drinks, yogurt, cereals, etc. No high-frucose corn syrup, cane juice, white sugar, or even artifical zero-calorie sweeteners such as splenda. Stevia may be acceptable but read the package for preservatives and chemicals.
- refined grains such as white flour or white rice. Read all labels and avoid any that contain these. If a label says “wheat” or “wheat flour”, it’s unacceptable. Whole grain only, if you’re going to eat grains.
- No seed oils or deep fried foods.
- No fast foods.
Benefits of Eating A Real Food Diet
- You’ll probably lose weight. You may not lose it quickly, but it will add up over time.
- You’ll almost certainly avoid costly health care expenses in the future.
- Your kids will grow up healthier and probably live longer.
- You will probably live longer too.
- You’ll teach your children good eating habits.
- Your body will probably thrive on the additional nutrition it will gain from this way of eating.
- Several of the chronic diseases that afflict Americans are tied to food consumption, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer. Clean eating can reduce your risk.
- You’ll feel better, and have more energy.
- Your immune system will be more robust and you will experience fewer colds and flus. You’ll have to take less sick time off from work.
- You won’t have to worry as much about the controversy over GMO foods, as you’ll be eating much less corn, wheat and soy.
- It will be easier to maintain weight loss on a real food diet.
- Your exposure to obesogens will be drastically reduced.
- You may find that with practice, your food bills actually go down, since your fast food expenditures will be eliminated.
- You’ll discover just how tasty real food can be, as your taste buds recover from being bombarded with salt and sugar.
What About A Trial?
Consider trying the 10 Day Real Food Pledge. You’ll find it takes more planning ahead and more work, especially at first, to eat real food. However, you will probably also notice that your food tastes better and you feel better, even after only 10 days.
“A recent study which looked at more than 65 000 randomly selected people for the Health Survey for England has shown that the protective effects on health of eating fruit and vegetables rise the more portions you eat. At 7 or more portions a day your risk factors for death from any cause drop by 33%.”
Whether or not you choose to continue with a true real foods diet, any improvements in that direction can only help your health and that of your family.